Major Planetary Memes
Suck Out War * Blacklist Blackwater * Nix the Neocons
Shards of the
A Letter to Ken Burns about his PBS production: The
War - An Intimate History
By Dr. Suki Falconberg
Excerpt: "I was raped and prostituted by the U.S. Military. Why
don’t you tell my story, Mr. Burns? It is far more ‘colorful’ than
that of these soldiers who raped their way through Europe and Asia
Don’t you want to know what it’s like to be mounted by a line of
soldiers? It is a hell beyond any possible imagining."
- - -
‘The War,’ Mr. Burns, is the Yokosuka rape queues in August 1945,
with American GI’s lined up for blocks, two abreast, to get at the
Japanese girls enslaved in ‘comfort stations’ for them—with the full
cooperation of the American and Japanese authorities.
Destitute, vulnerable girls were raped into unconsciousness as the
men joked and laughed and jostled in line, waiting their turn. Some
girls bled to death. Some committed suicide—that is, the lucky ones
who could escape. Not one ‘comfort girl’ has told her story—due to
shame. Why did you not tell this particular ‘intimate history’ of
‘The War,’ Mr. Burns? Especially since ‘usage’ of the girls was
Why has the small detail that almost every GI in Japan, 1945, was a
rapist escaped you? Why his this big ‘dirty secret’ of war never
‘The War,’ Mr. Burns, is the men who lined up to use the prostitutes
on Hotel Street in Honolulu: women were raped 100 times a day—a
different man entered the girl every three minutes. Why should I
mourn these rapists when they were killed in the attack at Pearl
Harbor? They slaughtered the bodies of these women in a fashion far
more brutal than any bombing could ever be.
‘The War,’ Mr. Burns, is the widespread rape of French girls by GI’s
after they ‘liberated’ Paris. Rape by American soldiers was so
common that Eisenhower actually had to acknowledge it was happening,
although he did nothing to stop it.
‘The War’ is the public parks in Palermo, where pimps considerately
laid out mattresses so the GI’s could fuck starving Italian girls
comfortably, for a dollar or two a turn.
‘The War’ is homeless, prostituted girls in Berlin doing it in the
rubble for a few cents and agreeing to ‘share’ a GI bed so they
would simply have a place to sleep that night. This, after they had
already had the insides raped out of them by the invading Russian
army and then were labeled ‘whores’ since it was a convenient way
for the authorities to deal with these ‘ruined’ women.
The War’ is the village in Okinawa where GI’s raped every woman,
girl, and child—the victims were too sick and starving to even try
to run from their attackers.
‘The War,’ Mr. Burns, is the starvation prostitution forced upon
tens of thousands of European and Japanese girls (some barely into
their teens) by the ridiculous conflicts men create to display their
It is also the brothel attached to a military base in Arizona
stocked with ‘worn-out whores’ and reserved exclusively for black
solders, so that the white GI’s would not have to ‘contaminate’
their penises by raping the same prostitutes. Thousands of black
GI’s passed through this brothel daily, and who knows what insane,
pathetic creatures they left dead of rape and misery.
‘The War,’ Mr. Burns, is not your blind, masculine-centric vision of
it, full of all these lies about valor and sacrifice and courage and
nobility. There is little that is noble about the raping, war-making
brute we call a soldier.
I was raped and prostituted by the U.S. Military. Why don’t you tell
my story, Mr. Burns? It is far more ‘colorful’ than that of these
soldiers who raped their way through Europe and Asia Don’t you want
to know what it’s like to be mounted by a line of soldiers? It is a
hell beyond any possible imagining. It has happened to me.
My PTSD, as it is so fashionably called, is far more intense than
that of the men who raped the life and dignity and beauty out of me.
The emotional damage to the soldier does not compare to the
suffering he inflicts on the women he ravages.
War is never good for women. War sexually enslaves women. Men gain
by war. They have the pleasure of rape: they mount starving women,
‘cheap whores,’ and take their pleasure, and the woman is silenced
forever by her shame.
What a male abomination is not just your grandiose seven-part, tidy
version of ‘The War,’ but PBS as well. You pretend to be
enlightened, but you are as blind and callous and cruel as the
soldier rapists who destroyed the lives and bodies of so many women.
I looked at your so-called ‘companion volume’ to the series. The
index carries not one reference to rape, prostitution, military
brothels, or the sexual suffering of millions of woman. How can you
overlook, ignore, dismiss a ‘fact’ so enormous? As if these women
simply never existed.
What a betrayal of our raped bodies is your grand, masculine-centric
version of ‘The War.’ Even your title indicates that you own this
territory, this war, your war. It is, indeed, your war—since all
wars are the product of your male phallic cruelty.
War never ‘liberates’ women. War sexually destroys us. It has never
been otherwise. Briseis had no say in her fate as a ‘captive’ woman.
No one asked her what she thought of the arrangement. No one has
asked the Filipina women trafficked onto the fifty U.S. bases in
Iraq what they think of their lot as the GI’s line up for their
five-minute shot inside them.
Men make war because they love war. Don’t ask me to feel sorry for
the way they ‘suffer.’
Dr. Suki Falconberg, Rape/Prostitution Survivor
The Black Heart of "Blackwater"
Dept.’s Murderous Guardians
By Robert Scheer
-- -- How did it come to be that the ostensibly best-educated
and most refined representatives of the United States in Iraq are
guarded by gun-toting mercenaries who kill innocent civilians? More
urgently, why did State Department employees and their bosses in
Washington tolerate—and pay to conceal—the wanton murder conducted
on their watch?
That’s the real scandal of the more than $832 million the U.S. State
Department paid Blackwater, investigated this week by the House
Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, headed by Henry Waxman
(D-Calif.). The issue is not simply that of the Blackwater forces’
horrid behavior but, more important, why the mayhem they unleashed
upon innocent Iraqis was approved and covered up by the Bush
administration. For example, why did a top State Department official
initially suggest a payment of $250,000 of American taxpayers’ money
to conceal the uncontested fact that, as the House committee report
states, “a drunken Blackwater contractor killed the guard of Iraqi
Vice President Adil Abd-al-Mahdi”?
The State Department enabled the Blackwater shooter to be spirited
out of the country within 36 hours, and although Blackwater
subsequently fired him, he has never faced any criminal charges. Nor
have any of the others involved in the 195 shooting incidents
Blackwater officials admitted have occurred in the past two years,
incidents in which 84 percent of the time Blackwater contractors
fired first. According to Blackwater’s own documents, the
congressional committee reports, “in the vast majority of incidents
... Blackwater shots are fired from a moving vehicle and Blackwater
does not remain on the scene to determine if their shots resulted in
casualties.” During one trip U.S. diplomats made to the Ministry of
Oil, 18 different Iraqi civilian vehicles were smashed by the
fast-moving motorcade. Those hit-and-runs were conducted in full
view of the escorted State Department officials without any of them
forcing a subsequent investigation.
Despite all the nonsense about a “liberated Iraq,” one of President
Bush’s favorite phrases, the Iraqis still lack the authority to
prosecute American mercenaries occupying their country because of a
law pushed through by then-U.S. proconsul Paul Bremer, who was also
guarded by Blackwater personnel. Bremer awarded the original no-bid
contract to Blackwater, run by a major Republican campaign
contributor, Erik Prince, who has donated $225,000 to the GOP.
Prince’s sister Betsy DeVos was Michigan’s Republican Party chair
and a Bush-Cheney “Pioneer” who came through with at least $100,000
for their 2004 campaign.
But this is not yet another story about payoffs to the GOP faithful
who have predominated in the occupation and are totally untrained
for their assigned tasks in the restructuring of a country that they
know nothing about. The Blackwater guards know their job all too
well, which is to guard top U.S. officials by any means
necessary—including the casual extermination of innocent Iraqis.
Clearly, paid contractors are better for this task than American
military personnel, since contractors operate outside of the
restraints imposed on ordinary troops by law and by their own
consciences. Many Blackwater contractors have been recruited from
the U.S. military at much higher pay than direct service to their
country afforded them. Whereas a top Army sergeant is paid $51,100
to $69,350 a year in salary, housing and other benefits, a
Blackwater contractor (often a retired sergeant) receives six to
nine times as much. The U.S. government pays Blackwater $1,222 per
day for one Blackwater “Protective Security Specialist,” which, the
congressional report notes, “amounts to $445,891 per contractor” per
year. In an unusual display of disapproval aimed at Blackwater from
the right side of the aisle, Rep. John J. Duncan Jr., R-Tenn., noted
Tuesday that Army Gen. David H. Petraeus’ annual salary amounts to
less than half of what some high-ranking Blackwater security
officials in Iraq earn.
Of course they’re worth it, along with the Iraqi deaths they cause,
if your own life is on the line and that’s all that matters. This is
clearly the position of the State Department employees in Iraq and
their bosses in Washington who have covered up for Blackwater for
years. As the House committee majority staff states: “There is no
evidence in the documents that the Committee has reviewed that the
State Department sought to restrain Blackwater’s actions, raised
concerns about the number of shooting incidents involving Blackwater
or the company’s high rate of shooting first, or detained
contractors for investigation.”
No better evidence that the Iraqis are the Indians, attempting as
imperfectly as they may to protect their ancestral terrain. But this
time the imperial majesty of the United States, represented by
American Ambassador Ryan Crocker, is established not by the U.S.
cavalry but by a band of hired gunslingers.
I survived Blackwater
former U.S. official received the security company's services -- and
witnessed its disregard for Iraqi lives.
October 6, 2007
When the Iraqi government last month demanded the
expulsion of Blackwater USA, the private security firm, I had one
reaction: It's about time.
As a U.S. official in Baghdad for nearly two years, I was frequently
the "beneficiary" of Blackwater's over-the-top zeal. "Just pretend
it's a roller coaster," I used to tell myself during trips through
We would careen around corners, jump road dividers, reach speeds in
excess of 100 mph and often cross over to the wrong side of the
street, oncoming traffic be damned.
But much more appalling than the ride was the deleterious effect
each movement through town had on the already beleaguered people of
Iraq. I began to wonder whether my meetings, intended to further
U.S. policy goals and improve the lives of Iraqis, were doing more
harm than good. With our drivers honking at, cutting off, pelting
with water bottles (a favorite tactic) and menacing with weapons
anyone in their way, how many enemies were we creating?
One particularly infuriating time, I was in the town of Irbil in
northern Iraq, being driven to a meeting with a Kurdish political
leader. We were on a narrow stretch of highway with no shoulders and
foot-high barriers on both sides. The lead Suburban in our convoy
loomed up behind an old, puttering sedan driven by an older man with
a young woman and three children.
As we approached at typical breakneck speed, the Blackwater driver
honked furiously and motioned to the side, as if they should pull
over. The kids in the back seat looked back in horror, mouths agape
at the sight of the heavily armored Suburbans driven by large, armed
men in dark sunglasses. The poor Iraqi driver frantically searched
for a means of escape, but there was none. So the lead Blackwater
vehicle smashed heedlessly into the car, pushing it into the
barrier. We zoomed by too quickly to notice if anyone was hurt.
Until that point I had never mentioned anything to my drivers about
their tactics, but this time I could not contain myself.
"Where do you all expect them to go?" I shrieked. "It was an old guy
and a family, for goodness' sake. Was it necessary for them to
destroy their poor old car?"
My driver responded impassively: "Ma'am, we've been trained to view
anyone as a potential threat. You don't know who they might use as
decoys or what the risks are. Terrorists could be disguised as
"Well, if they weren't terrorists before, they certainly are now!" I
retorted. Sulking in my seat, I was stunned by the driver's
The Iraqis with whom I dealt quickly learned to differentiate
between the U.S. military and private contractors. The military has
established rules of engagement, plus it is required to pay
compensation for damages (though it is a difficult and bureaucratic
process). Blackwater seemed to have no such rules, paid no
compensation and, per long-standing Coalition Provisional Authority
fiat, had immunity from prosecution under Iraqi law.
As we do the work of bridge building and improving our host
citizens' lives, if the people providing our transportation and
security are antagonizing, angering and even killing the people we
are putatively trying to help, our entire mission is undermined.
Janessa Gans, a visiting political science professor at Principia
College, was a U.S. official in Iraq from 2003 to 2005.