umm, whose women? and who are
January 7, 2004 9:22 AM   Subscribe

Rumors of rape fan anti-American flames "They are raping our women!" - This is the eternal tribalistic cry and lament, often all too true but also often used as a baseless or exaggerated claim for war propaganda, to incite to hatred of a "barbaric" enemy who commits unspeakable acts ( see The "Rape of Kuwait"). The history of Rape in Warfare is long and may be instinctually driven, at least in part. Now, mass rumors spreading through Turkey - which seem to have inspired a recent indigenous Turkish terrorist car bombing - allege mass rapes of Iraqi women by American troops. "There are more than 4000 rape events on the record" claimed the Turkish journal Yeni Safak, on October 22, "citing" (though the purported supporting citation contains nothing about such atrocities) internet sex therapist Dr. Susan Block's piece on the metaphorical "Rape of Iraq"[ Warning : preceding link is NSFW ! Here's the work-safe CounterPunch version]. Having more or less invented modern PR and propaganda techniques (see Ed. Bernays, Ivy Lee) - handy during both war and peace - Americans are now on the receiving end of Propaganda's use of the shameless lie. (identification of "mystery meat" links inside)
posted by troutfishing (13 comments total)

 
"They are raping our women!" [ Google search - "Raping our women" ] - This is the eternal tribalistic cry [ From the Catholic Church,"Biblical Laments: Prayer Out of Pain" ]
andlament [ Google search, "Biblical rape lament" ]", often [ Russian troop mass rapes of German women during occupation of Berlin, WW2 ] all [ "Rape as a Crime of War - A Medical Perspective" - A medical history of rape in warfare, from Physicians for Human Rights ] too [ "The Rape of Nanking: An Undeniable History in Photographs"] true [ "The Tip of the Iceberg Report on Vietnam 'Tiger Force' Atrocity Only the Tip of the Iceberg" , by Nick Turse ] but also often used as a baseless or exaggerated claim for war propaganda, to incite to hatred of a "barbaric" enemy who commits unspeakable acts ( see The "Rape of Kuwait" [ Google search, "Rape of Kuwait,babies,incubators,Rendon Group,Hill and Knowlton" ]). The history of Rape in Warfare [ Google search, "history of rape in warfare" ] is long [ "RAPE OF WOMEN DURING WARTIME, BEFORE, DURING, AND SINCE WORLD WAR II", from ReligiousTolerance.org ] and may be instinctually driven [ American Scientist Online, "Darwinians Look at Rape, Sex and War" - review of two recent books on the purported instinctual nature of rape, in war and not, by Craig B. Stanford ]
", at least in part. Now, mass rumors [ The Ankara Globe reprints the Boston Globe piece, as a front page story ] spreading through Turkey - which seem to have inspired a recent indigenous Turkish terrorist car bombing - allege mass rapes of Iraqi women by American troops. "There are more than 4000 rape events on the record" claimed the Turkish journal Yeni Safak, on October 22, "citing" (though the purported supporting citation contains nothing about such atrocities) Internet sex therapist Dr. Susan Block's piece on the metaphorical [ by "FEMINISMS AND GLOBAL WAR PROJECT" 's > Project Director, Professor Neferti Tadiar - "metaphorical rape" highlighted ]
"] "Rape of Iraq" [ From "Dr. Susan Block's Journal", "The rape of Iraq", with a picture of a wounded Iraqi child in the center of the page, and a naked woman on the left sidebar who is holding a telephone and advertising Dr. Block's services - Warning : preceding link is NSFW ! Here's the work-safe CounterPunch version]. Having more or less invented modern PR and propaganda techniques [ "Public Relations", from the Wikipedia ] (see Ed. Bernays, Ivy Lee [ "Edward Bernays (November 22, 1891 - March 9, 1995) is regarded by many as the "father of public relations," although some people believe that title properly belongs to some other early PR practitioner, such as Ivy Lee. " - Wikipedia ] ) - handy during both w[Google search - "allegations of rape in war propaganda"]a ["German and English Propaganda
in World War I - A paper given to NYMAS on December 1, 2000 by Jonathan A. Epstein, CUNY Graduate Center /NYMAS
"]r[ Class notes outline, lecture on Propaganda, from the University of Brighton, UK. "History Warfare Propaganda Rape" terms highlighted (Google cache) ] and peace[ National Public Radio's "Present at the Creation" series, "The Marlboro Man" (the history of the "Marlboro Man") ] - Americans are now on the receiving end of Propaganda's use of the shameless lie [ From the "Pagan Institute Forum" (!), "These are the mind tools of the Media War", from "RALPH REED AND THE SIX MIND-TOOLS", By Rev. Ed Hubbard ]

OK now - are you happy? I like links, but hate mystery meat.

posted by troutfishing at 10:02 AM on January 7, 2004


so, what subset of those links can we follow in order to qualify to comment on this thread?
posted by badstone at 11:42 AM on January 7, 2004


Technical note: Use of the <TITLE> tag would have been appropriate here.

OK - I follow, sort of. Though I'm a bit confused as to why a sex therapist feels that it is appropriate to use the concept of rape as a metaphor for war. Does it not dilute the horror of the crime of rape itself, and shift focus away from the actual victims of rape, to extend the word to other contexts?
posted by PrinceValium at 12:25 PM on January 7, 2004


I'm happy you didn't fill the above with italics and small type.
posted by turbodog at 12:27 PM on January 7, 2004


So in short: Sources in Turkey are apparently propagating the story that American soldiers are raping Iraqi women by the thousands, citing as evidence an opinion column which uses the metaphor of "brutal, systematic rape" to describe America's occupation of Iraq.

It was bad as a metaphor, it's worse as a lie.
posted by monju_bosatsu at 1:01 PM on January 7, 2004


Does it not dilute the horror of the crime of rape itself, and shift focus away from the actual victims of rape, to extend the word to other contexts?

Does describing a war as a rape dilute the horror of the crime of war itself, and shift focus away from the actual victims of war?

I don't find the metaphor all too surprising at all. We're looking at a new (in form, at least) American colonialism, and, for those of us in the anti- or post-colonialist camp, there is a strong, strong correllation between land invasion (war) and bodily invasion (rape). Both involve the 'objectification' of the subject: In a rape, the victim is reduced to a purely sexual being, to be taken and violated, with all other context removed. In order to get a war going, the enemy must be ultimately evil, and essentially reduced to an archetype. We reduce (in this recent case) the Iraqi people into evil Baathists and poor, oppressed, and noble people, struggling under the yoke, blah blah blah, etc. We meanwhile frame the war in terms of resources to be acquired and costs in American lives. Both rape and war involve the destruction of identity, the desire to see one's power over another confirmed. These are the most horrible crimes mankind commits against itself, and they are intimately related.
posted by kaibutsu at 1:30 PM on January 7, 2004


It's atrocious, pure propaganda by somebody who knows that shameless lies can sometimes outperform terrorism in polarizing situations.

I'm surprised that the Metafilter right wingers are not fulminating about this here.

It would be justified, but the culprit might as well be anonymous, so it would be far less gratifying than roasting Hillary Clinton for a rather dumb or off color joke about Gandhi working at a gas station (which he did, BTW)
posted by troutfishing at 1:37 PM on January 7, 2004


To link that back to the actual content of the link, though, I think it is also unsurprising that we would see accusations of rape by American soldiers, given this link between the crimes of war and rape. One crime is national, one crime is personal. An accusation of rape against a foreign invader moves the crime from the realm of the national (fairly abstract, if it weren't for the body parts strewn all about) to the intensely personal. Something to be understood on an individual level, instead of the statistical level.

And given the history of corporate America abroad (see Thailand, and a particular story we ssaw around here a while back about an aerospace companies ties with an underground prostitution ring), I don't expect that such accusatioins will be unfounded for long...
posted by kaibutsu at 1:41 PM on January 7, 2004


Kaibutsu - I didn't disagree with Susan Block's war-as-rape metaphor, but I did think that the way she presented her "Rape of Iraq" piece, with a picture of a wounded Iraqi boy in the hospital over the text and a naked woman holding a phone (to advertise Block's sex-therapy service) along the left sidebar, lessened somewhat the gravity of Block's point.
posted by troutfishing at 1:46 PM on January 7, 2004


On reflection - if there was actual substance to the allegations, I would suspect private corporate entities (such as was the case in Thailand) rather than the US military, for the fact that American military personnel are generally far better disciplined than US civilians.

But the Halliburtons and Bechtels in Iraq?........I just don't know.
posted by troutfishing at 1:53 PM on January 7, 2004


Ah, I only read the CounterPunch version, being in the computer lab and all. Does sound pretty gaudy. (And I thought my posts were adjacent - the 'linking back' referred to my previous blathering.)
posted by kaibutsu at 2:15 PM on January 7, 2004


I have a friend stationed in Iraq. In her last letter home she reported a rape...of an American female soldier by one of her fellow American soldiers.
posted by jengod at 8:20 PM on January 7, 2004


jengod - what was that?....did you say that your friend wrote to tell you that thousands of Iraqi women are being raped at a secret concentration camp north of Baghdad?

Turkish news headline - "New evidence of American atrocities come to light - "I have a friend stationed in Iraq. In her last letter home she reported a rape..." states American on prominent internet web site! "

This is a really bad game for the US but I don't think there's a damn thing to be done about it. Anti-US sentiment in the Islamic world is at an historic high. Rumors that the US was grinding up Iraqi war orphans and serving the meat to US troops would probably be believed also.

The strange aspect of this is that - as relatively effective as it is at domestic PR, the Bush administration is utterly ineffective and clueless at PR in the Islamic world. US PR giants dispensing crap from gold plated dumptrucks get nimbly outmaneuvered by a few deftly placed malicious rumors.
posted by troutfishing at 5:15 AM on January 8, 2004


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