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Tuesday, September 21, 2004

Rape in the Ranks

In his excellent article on the subject Col David Hackworth writes about issues that most in the military hierarchy would apparently rather not deal with.
By April 2004, rapes and assaults of American female soldiers were epidemic in the Middle East. But even after more than 83 incidents were reported during a six-month period in Iraq, the 24-hour rape hotline in Kuwait was still being answered by a machine advising callers to leave a phone number where they could be reached.

“Nobody had a telephone number, for crying out loud,” says Brig. Gen. Janis Karpinski, then commanding general of the 800th Military Police Brigade, who was in Kuwait preparing to bring her unit home after running the military prisons in Iraq.

Military stupidity at its finest, or senior male brass who chose to shrug and look the other way?

Karpinski believes the latter. “Reports of assault ... were mostly not investigated because commanders had other priorities,” Karpinski says. “The attitude of Lt. Gen. Ricardo Sanchez,” then the ground commander in Iraq, “permeated the entire chain of command: The women asked to be here, so now let them take what comes with the territory.”

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