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Posts tagged Military

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Support all vets applying for PTSD benefits

Trigger Warning: Rape

The first time the U.S. military betrayed me was when I was raped — twice — by my commanding officer in the Navy.

The second betrayal was when the Veterans Administration (VA) denied me disability benefits for Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) — which I have because I was raped in the military.

When applying for benefits from the VA, I had to “prove” that my rapes happened, through testimony from eyewitnesses, my ex-husband and others. This is a higher burden of proof than for other veterans applying for the same benefits — and only veterans applying for benefits because of sexual assault have to meet it. Even more, even after I had given it what it wanted, the VA failed to believe that the rapes had occurred or approve my benefits…

As a result of my rapes, I have endured decades of debilitating PTSD, anxiety, depression, insomnia, migraines, a sexually transmitted disease, nine miscarriages, suicide attempts, homelessness and an end to my marriage. It took 23 years, in the end, for the VA to give me any benefits at all.

And I’m not alone. By DOD’s own estimates, over 19,000 service members are assaulted in the military each year. For countless veterans like me, a denied VA claim is the second betrayal, and can mean the difference between life and death. And yet only 1 in 3 applicants receives PTSD benefits for military sexual trauma. In comparison, more than half of veterans applying for PTSD benefits linked to other kinds of trauma are approved…

And I know public pressure to change the VA’s broken system can work: it has happened before, when the VA changed the requirements for combat veterans applying for benefits. The same can happen for veterans who are survivors of military sexual assault — but only if thousands of people join me by signing my petition.

I strongly believe in the presumption of innocence in a courtroom, but this isn’t a matter of proving a crime beyond a reasonable doubt, this is a matter of providing necessary medical services for people who have been assaulted. There is no moral or ethical quandary with regards to providing these services; it doesn’t infringe on the assailant’s right to a trial, it doesn’t presume guilt before a trial is concluded, and most importantly it provides vital help to victims that have regularly been ignored, cast aside, and denied proper benefits.

Filed under Rape PTSD military petition change.org

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"We have to be very careful that we don’t stumble into a wider war here. If we are in Iran’s airspace with anything that belongs to the United States, that’s a provocation. We shouldn’t be doing that. We have no right to fly any kind of aircraft along the Iranian border- it’s fundamental. This is a question of national sovereignty."

US Congressman Dennis Kucinich- watch the entire video for excellent commentary on the subject.

Filed under dennis kucinich drones iran military military intervention sovereignty

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Pentagon and Air Force Dumped Veteran's Remains in Landfill

The incinerated partial remains of at least 274 American troops were dumped in a Virginia landfill, according to government records, The Washington Post reported on Thursday.

Air Force officials said that the dumping was hidden from families who had given authorization for the remains to be disposed of in a respectful and dignified manner, according to the newspaper.

There were no plans to inform families, officials told the newspaper.

New information revealed that the practice, exposed by The Washington Post in November, had become very widespread until it was halted in 2008, the newspaper reported…

[Figuring out how many soldiers remains were disposed this way] “would require a massive effort and time to recall records and research individually,” Jo Ann Rooney, the Pentagon’s acting undersecretary for personnel, said in a Nov. 22 letter to Rep. Rush Holt (Dem.-N.J.), who has pressured the Pentagon for information on the issue on behalf of one of his constituents, according to the newspaper.

Holt reacted angrily to the news, the newspaper reported.

"What the hell?" he told the Post. "We spent millions, tens of millions, to find any trace of soldiers killed, and they’re concerned about a ‘massive’ effort to go back and pull out the files and find out how many soldiers were disrespected this way?

"They just don’t want to ask questions or look very hard," he added, according to the newspaper. 

If there is a better metaphor for how our Government treats Veterans than incinerating their remains and dumping them in a landfill, I don’t know of it.

Filed under military US Government pentagon air force veterans

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The Militarization of Police

The reason the U.S. has para-militarized its police forces is precisely to control this type of domestic unrest, and it’s simply impossible to imagine its not being deployed in full against a growing protest movement aimed at grossly and corruptly unequal resource distribution. As Madeleine Albrightsaid when arguing for U.S. military intervention in the Balkans: “What’s the point of having this superb military you’re always talking about if we can’t use it?” That’s obviously how governors, big-city Mayors and Police Chiefs feel about the stockpiles of assault rifles, SWAT gear, hi-tech helicopters, and the coming-soon drone technology lavished on them in the wake of the post/9-11 Security State explosion, to say nothing of the enormous federal law enforcement apparatus that, more than anything else, resembles a standing army which is increasingly directed inward.

Most of this militarization has been justified by invoking Scary Foreign Threats — primarily the Terrorist — but its prime purpose is domestic. As civil libertarians endlessly point out, the primary reason to oppose new expansions of government power is because it always — always — vastly expands beyond its original realm. I remember quite vividly the war-zone-like police force deployed against protesters at the 2008 GOP Convention in Minneapolis, as well as the invocation of Terrorism statutes to arrest and punish them, with the active involvement of federal law enforcement. Along those lines, Alternet‘s Lynn Parramore asks all the key questions about the obviously coordinated law enforcement assault on peaceful protesters over the last week.

There is a reason that the Founders did not want a standing military. There is a reason that the Posse Comitatus act was passed after Reconstruction. Law enforcement should never be a war by the government against it’s people, but that’s exactly what it’s been turned into.

Filed under Greenwald military

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Wikileaks Cable Reveals 2006 Summary Execution of Civilian Family in Iraq



Women and children had their hands tied behind their back and were shot in the head in house raid, which was covered up by the military

As revealed by a State Department diplomatic cable released by WikiLeaks last week, US forces committed a heinous war crime during a house raid in Iraq in 2006, wherein one man, four women, two children, and three infants were summarily executed.”

Infants. Executed. And Dick Cheney doesn’t think the war hurt our reputation. How about now?

The only person who will be punished for this is Bradley Manning. He won’t be punished for executing civilians, mind you, but rather for informing the public of the executions. 

(via theamericanbear)

Filed under Wikileaks Military Iraq Murder

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House prevents debate on covering abortion for service women in the case of rape or incest

The Davis-Andrews-DeGette-Maloney-Sanchez-Slaughter Amendment to the National Defense Authorization Act should have been a no-brainer. It would have allowed the military health system to cover abortion care in cases of rape and incest – just as the federal government does in the Medicaid program, for federal employees and for women who use the Indian Health Service, among others. All the amendment would do is stop singling out U.S. servicewomen and military families for inferior treatment.

And yet, last night, House leadership prevented debate and a floor vote on this important amendment. Never mind that the House will vote on 152 other defense bill amendments; anti-choice members decided that the wellbeing of U.S. servicewomen wasn’t worth 10 minutes of debate.

These women are willing to fight, to kill, and to die at the order of Congress, but Congress isn’t even willing to TALK about providing for their reproductive health needs.

Filed under aclu pro-choice abortion rights military

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Rape rampant in US military


via omarha-redeye

From Al Jazeera:

A Command Sergeant Major told Catherine Jayne West of the Mississippi National Guard, “There aren’t but two places for women - in the kitchen or in the bedroom. Women have no place in the military.”

She was raped by fellow soldier Private First Class Kevin Lemeiux, at the sprawling Camp Anaconda, north of Baghdad. The defense lawyer in court merely wanted to know why, as a member of the army, she had not fought back.

The morning after the rape, an army doctor gave her a thorough examination. The army’s criminal investigation team concluded her story was true. Moreover, Lemeiux had bragged about the incident to his buddies and they had turned him in. It seemed like a closed case, but in court the defense claimed that the fact that West had not fought back during the rape was what incriminated her. In addition, her commanding officer and 1st Sergeant declared, in court, that she was a “promiscuous female.”

In contrast, Lemeiux, after the third court hearing of the trial, was promoted to a Specialist. Meanwhile his lawyer entered a plea of insanity.

He was later found guilty of kidnapping but not rape, despite his own admission of the crime. He was given three years for kidnapping, half of which was knocked off. 

(via eddyizm-deactivated20131128)

Filed under one of those mornings evil military