Military Pimping?

Check out this editorial in the New York Times yesterday on the dehumanization of U.S. female soldiers, specifically at Guantanamo Bay, where military jailers developed degrading behavior that followed to Abu Ghraib prison.
The author discusses a Pentagon report that was released Wednesday that described the use of “female tactics” to get information from prisoners:
“There were several instances when female soldiers rubbed up against prisoners and touched them inappropriately. In April 2003, a soldier did that in a T-shirt after removing her uniform blouse. Following up on an F.B.I. officer’s allegation that a female soldier had done a “lap dance” on a prisoner, the report described this scene from the interrogation of the so-called 20th hijacker from the 9/11 attacks: A female soldier straddled his lap, massaged his neck and shoulders, ‘began to enter the personal space of the subject,’ touched him and whispered in his ear.”
The author also puts her/his two cents in:
These practices are as degrading to the women as they are to the prisoners. They violate American moral values – and they seem pointless.
If devout Muslims become terrorists because they believe Western civilization is depraved, does it make sense to try to unnerve them by having Western women behave like trollops?”
While I’m not a fan of some of the language going on in this editorial (not only does the author refers to the women as “trollops” but says that they’re “sex workers” for the military), there’s obviously some insane shit that was being enforced there (add it to the list). At the same time, when a female soldier touches a prisoner inappropriately, isn’t it sexual assault? Can we really say that these assaults were “as degrading to the women as they are to the prisoners”? Gender aside, these soldiers are in power positions.

Join the Conversation

  • Kathy

    The women participating in this interrogation are in a power position in regard to the prisoner, but we don’t know what their rank/power is in regard to their military colleagues. Are they fully willing participants in the sexualized interrogations? Is there any coercion? Is there a chance that if they hesitate or refuse to use their sexuality when interrogating a prisoner that they’ll suffer negative consequences in their military careers? Be accused of not being willing to do whatever needs doing to protect the country? Labeled as weak and ineffective? I don’t know.
    These women are not serving their country or gender well, in my opinion. And they should be held accountable. But I sure would like to know if there are mitigating circumstances like command pressure.

  • nincompoop

    I would rather have these women soldiers beat the crap out of those prisoners.
    These are the same bastards who used to run around beating women with sticks and occasionally blow their heads off in a crowded stadium.

  • qusan

    For some reason, many people still cannot grasp that sexual assault/harrassment has far more to do with power than it does sex. These women are abusing their power when using their sexuality to antagonize detainees (not tried and convicted criminals).
    On the other hand, a former co-worker spoke of a female soldier she knew who was in Iraq who claimed that a number of the female soldiers were exhanging sexual favors for money from fellow male soldiers. In some cases, she claimed that men were spending their entire check in exchange for sex.

  • Roving Thundercloud

    I wonder, along with Kathy above, how willingly these female soldiers complied with orders. What happens to a woman who’s assigned to a military prison but refuses to cooperate in interrogations? I would have been highly insulted and humiliated if ordered to perform these acts, but would I have felt brave enough to refuse such an order? Maybe these women participated enthusiastically, but the fact remains that they were only asked to do it because they were women. Pretty repellent no matter how you slice it.