Soldiers since the beginning of time have been involved in rape; Attilla the Hun’s men engaged in it; the Vikings did it; it happened in ancient Rome; and the Duke of Wellington wrote about it, with regard to his troops who at one stage raped large numbers of nuns.
More recently, we had the experience of Russian troops raping practically any woman they found in Eastern Germany during the fall of Hitler’s 3rd Reich, the experiences of the Korean “Comfort Woman” and the inhabitants of Nanking, China under the Japanese.
Then during the Bosnian War, we had the Serbs and Croats doing the same thing, and in Africa it was standard practice in the Congo when the UN peacekeepers went in and is standard practice in many of today’s wars of liberation.
The Americans are no better or worse than anyone else when it comes to this sort of thing and whilst it should not be condoned and should be treated severely as a breach of military discipline, it can no more be completely stopped than can the tide at Bosham in East Sussex which came in despite King Canute’s orders to make it turn back.
We are when placed under extreme pressure and, in particular situations, no more than animals, once the veneer of civilization is stripped bare in battlefield and other situations which most of us will never have to experience and no amount of psycho-babble emanating from the comfort of a well-heeled reporters /columnists office is going to change that.
In civilian life, rape should be treated with the utmost severity and the rules of war need to be toughened up to deal with it, but we need to look more deeply at the alienation of unsuccessful young men and take action.
This to ensure that they do not fail as often and then become powder kegs of hatred and resentment in bedsits ready to hack into computers, commit crime and commit rape on the one group of people physically weaker than they are which is what happens now in the very city that Naomi Wolf lives in and practically everywhere else.
By not encouraging marriage, disenfranchising what would formerly have been blue-collar workers, breeding resentment through excessive inequality, not teaching people the difference between right and wrong, suggesting that any lifestyle, no matter how bizarre is just fine and not giving people the ability to have an enabling philosophy of life we are creating the conditions for a lot more of this sort of thing and, when the chickens-come- home- to-roost, absolutely, nobody should be surprised.