Elaine Donnelly, president of the Center for Military Readiness, has noted: "Social experiments - particularly the unrealistic theory that men and women are interchangeable in all roles and military missions - have failed the test of Abu Ghraib. 'Equal opportunity abusers' are not typical, but the debased activities of a few Americans reveal what can happen when uniformed soldiers - lacking a firm grounding in legal, moral and ethical values - wield unsupervised power over other human beings."
Brig. Gen. Janis Karpinski says she was ignorant about the abuse behavior and sexual misconduct allegedly practiced by the MPs under her command. Why? Did she not know the right questions to ask, or was it a matter of "see no evil" because of the sexual politics involved?
From the "don't ask, don't tell" policy pertaining to homosexuals in the military, to the politically correct assignment of women at the most sensitive levels, politicians, military and civilian commanders pretend that the powerful sex drive can be controlled and made irrelevant in the pursuit of military objectives. On ABC's "Nightline" last Friday, several women said they had been raped by fellow soldiers. They said the Army has not properly investigated their claims.
The military has tried to desensitize men through a program called Survival, Evasion, Resistance and Escape (SERE) so that any enemy could not exploit a captives' heightened concern about female colleagues being physically and sexually abused. In 1992, SERE trainers said the entire nation would have to be conditioned to accept combat violence against women.
Congress and the Pentagon need to do something about coed basic training and the assignment of women to certain jobs that put them and what should be the military's primary goals at risk. If they do, they are likely to find a connection between the disciplinary breakdown at the jail of ill repute in Iraq and the sexual politics of people who think the military is just one more sociological playground which can be changed into something it isn't.