Courage To Resist, which supports soldiers with the courage not to fight, just finished three days of events in cities all over the US. Iraq war resisters have very little visibility, and receive very little support. That's why I always revisit. Just to remind us.
One resister I've never blogged about is the one whose story touches me the most deeply: Suzanne Swift.
Swift served in Iraq in 2004 and 2005, where she was raped and sexually harassed by superior officers. Earlier this year, facing re-deployment - which would mean serving under the command of officers who were complicit in the assaults - and suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder, Swift went AWOL.
Swift was arrested at her mother's home in June of this year. She faces court martial for being AWOL and "missing movement".
The army claims it conducted an investigation of Swift's charges and found them unsubstantiated. (What a surprise.) After members of Iraq Veterans Against the War and Veterans for Peace staged a sit-in at a congressperson's office, a congressional investigation was launched. Meanwhile, Swift is serving in a different unit while she awaits court martial.
The website for Suzanne Swift, unfortunately, is a bit of a mess, but perhaps you'll find it more useful than I did. There is a link for actions, and if you took a few minutes to write to your US representative or local newspaper, I'm sure the Swift family would be very grateful.
The first time I wrote about a female soldier who had been raped and sexually assaulted by "fellow" soldiers and officers, the post was picked up on a pro-military blog and wmtc was barraged with denial. Many people who claimed to be veterans were convinced the charges were false. The charges had to be false because, they claimed, women in the company "are like our sisters". I have no doubt that is true for many male soldiers. Does that mean it didn't happen?
Think of the logic here. It's unthinkable that a male soldier could have raped a female soldier in his unit. But it's perfectly all right to accuse the female soldier of fabricating a story of rape and making a false accusation? But isn't she your sister? Is that how you would treat your sister if she told you she had been raped? What if the rapist was one of your friends? None of your "brothers" could have committed such a crime, but your sister, well, she's just a lying bitch.
I really feel for Suzanne Swift. Here are some photos of actions supporting her, and here's a roundup of press about her case. Her "special court martial" - which gives the military the right to try her without a pre-trial hearing - is scheduled for January 8.