America should address rapes of military personnel

Published: Sunday, April 1, 2007 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Sunday, April 1, 2007 at 12:00 a.m.

More than a year ago I wrote a letter to the editor after contacting Rep. Cliff Stearns and others voicing concern that the Pentagon was not aggressively addressing the issue of rape in the military and in Iraq specifically.

The situation has not changed. This goes beyond the issue of morality.

When considering the total number of U.S. military personnel in Iraq and the number of women serving in that force, the percentage of women reportedly being sexually assaulted is astronomical. The Code of Conduct for professional military personnel continues to sink to the lowest possible levels.

The military has lowered its standards for enlistment and allows gang members, known felons, and other dubious persons to join. As disgraceful as some of the conduct has been by "our" military personnel in Iraq, it is equally disgraceful for the Secretary of Defense, the Pentagon and the Congress to lack the will to aggressively address the problem and forcefully prosecute the perpetrators.

That yellow ribbon on your vehicle and that flag you wave should have a more sacrosanct meaning than just "Support the Troops."

The soldiers committing these heinous acts bring disgrace to the women they assault, to their peers serving with honor, to the families back home, and to the United States of America.

We are asking the dedicated young women of America to serve their country in peace time and in war. When they have been stained rape, we must be outraged.

Denny Cautrell,

U.S. Army, 1968-71


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