decolonization / militat

Ha’anin Sindalun Americanu

“The moment a man enlists in the United States armed forces, his chances of being sexually assaulted increase by a factor of ten. Women, of course, are much more likely to be victims of military sexual trauma (MST), but far fewer of them enlist. In fact, more military men are assaulted than women—nearly 14,000 in 2012 alone. Prior to the repeal of ‘Don’t ask, don’t tell’ in 2011, male-on-male-rape victims could actually be discharged for having engaged in homosexual conduct. That’s no longer the case—but the numbers show that men are still afraid to report being sexually assaulted.”  [Source]

“On June 25, 2014, 122 women sued the Korean government, claiming that they were forced to engage in sexual intercourse for money for members of the United States military who were stationed in Korea after the Korean War cease-fire in 1957.” [Source]

“But at issue are also the broader American military culture, and the sexism and patriarchy found in the United States, Korea and much of the world. The behavior of men who take advantage of exploitative sex industries is often excused as a matter of ‘boys will be boys’ — as merely natural behavior for male soldiers. In fact, there’s little about the behavior that’s natural. Men on military bases and women in camptowns find themselves in a highly unnatural situation, one that’s been created by a series of decisions made over time (mostly by male military and government officials). Those decisions have created a predominantly male military environment, where women’s visible presence is overwhelmingly reduced to one role: sex.” [Source]

“Sadly, we police had to set up sexual comfort stations for the [U.S.] occupation troops [after WW2],” an official history of one Japanese police department says, according to a 2007 Associated Press report. “The strategy was, through the special work of experienced women, to create a breakwater to protect regular women and girls.” [Source]  [This is a particularly twisted statement as it both elides the forced prostitution of “regular” women and prepubescent girls during WW2 by the Japanese imperial military and casts women engaged in sex work voluntarily as non-normative and obscene.]

“Six U.S. citizens living in Guam, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands jointly filed a lawsuit in Illinois’ northern district court in a new lawsuit challenging federal and state voting laws denying citizens in territories the ability to vote in presidential elections. ‘On Veterans Day, it’s hard to be treated like I am good enough to risk my life defending democracy, but not good enough to vote for my Commander-in-Chief.” [Source]

“Guam has a small population of about 200,000 residents, but it’s home to one of the highest concentrations of military veterans among U.S. states and territories. One in eight adults on the Pacific island have served in the armed forces.  Despite those numbers, the island ranked last in the country for per capita medical spending by the Department of Veterans Affairs in 2012, with an average of $822 for each former service member. Virginia had the next lowest rate with a much greater $1,275 per veteran.”  [Source]

“Air Force Master Sergeant LeRoy Foster is a monumental pain in the ass to the Veterans Administration. He has been leading a small army fighting the VA’s years-long refusal to grant Agent Orange benefits to hundreds of veterans who served on Guam during the Vietnam Era. . . . ‘This is why I do not sleep at night,’ Foster wrote in a recent letter to his VA counselor. ‘This is what I carry around in me all day long and all night long for I am directly responsible for their deaths. I am responsible for the continuing suffering on Guam by so many children and so many young adults who have no idea what I did there.’” [Source] Note, of course, that there is no discussion of any kind of U.S. funding to clean up its toxic military sites left on this island — nor to compensate residents who suffered from its effects.

“In his last phone call home, Lance Cpl. Gregory Buckley Jr. told his father what was troubling him: From his bunk in southern Afghanistan, he could hear Afghan police officers sexually abusing boys they had brought to the base. ‘At night we can hear them screaming, but we’re not allowed to do anything about it,’ the Marine’s father, Gregory Buckley Sr., recalled his son telling him before he was shot to death at the base in 2012. He urged his son to tell his superiors. My son said that his officers told him to look the other way because it’s their culture.” [Source]
But hey, Happy Veterans Day to you all.  Let’s mouth platitudes over graves and omit to take care of those who are living with grave trauma and omit to protect the human rights of both our military personnel and our civilians.  As long as we mouth the right platitudes, everything can look oh so nice, green grass growing over the destroyed lives.
Decolonization is much more than the “equal rights now” platform of groups like We the People.  Decolonization is radical.  What does it mean that Guam is a U.S. territory?  A floating military base?  I am stunned by people who bend over backward to pretend “Guamanians” only need equal voting rights in order to live free and equal.  Let’s not forget the lessons of history.  There’s no reason the U.S. should rule Guam as its little fiefdom.
This is like the desire of some in the LGBTQ community to go mainstream and enter into bourgeois marriage contracts predicated on coverture and ownership of women.  Many in Guam want to remain a U.S. territory but just be allowed to vote.  Neither of these positions does anything to address the underlying factors of inegalitarianism in practice.

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