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Welcome to the Official Website of James Landrith
Men Should Be Offended (or Enough with the Simplistic Assumptions Already)
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Blog, Commentary and Articles - Rape, Sexual Assault and Abuse
Written by James Landrith   
Sunday, 06 October 2013

Christer S. Rowan shared the following graphic on his website:

 

 

 

As a man who has been raped, I’m offended by a lot of assumptions. I’m offended by the assumption that ANY rape survivor is to blame for what was inflicted upon them – REGARDLESS OF THEIR GENDER IDENTIFICATION. As a rape survivor, I’m also offended by the assumption that my mere gender status means I don’t understand the dynamics of sexual violence and need to be taught otherwise.

 

I’m offended by ALL FORMS OF VICTIM-BLAMING.

 

I’m offended by the assumptions that clothing, time of day and location are the overwhelming forms of victim-blaming and everything else survivors face is rare or somehow less important. Given that the majority of survivors are hurt by someone we know, the majority of victim-blaming we receive is not necessarily related to clothing, location or time of day. That’s a rape myth in itself and silences those of us who don't fit into narrowly defined boxes.

 

Last Updated ( Sunday, 06 October 2013 )
 
Time to Support All Survivors (or Mine! Mine! Mine!)
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Blog, Commentary and Articles - Rape, Sexual Assault and Abuse
Written by James Landrith   
Wednesday, 02 October 2013

Jacob, writing for Toy Soldiers on “Military rape and suicide“:

The majority of reported cases of sexual violence in the military involve male victims, yet only one VA facility in the country offers residential treatment for men.

This is what happens when one treats an issue that affects everyone as a “gender-violence” problem. The other (apparently non-) victims do not get the help they need. When combined with the attitudes in the military and cultural attitudes about male vulnerability, this leaves abused men little recourse. They must tough it out, turn to drugs, or turn to suicide to cope with their problems.

What makes this particularly disgusting is that these men chose to fight for their country. They chose to give the ultimate sacrifice, and rather than help them, we ignore them.

Advocates who use ideologically charged and openly discriminatory terminology to attempt to claim or dominate a topic for their broader based cause or ideological crusades, to include attempting to downgrade the experiences of other victims on the basis of race, gender or other arbitrary factors, are not truly dedicated to eradicating sexual violence.  That is textbook ideological advocacy that co-opts the suffering of survivors of sexual violence to make a political case, rather than actually working to end rape, sexual assault and other forms of violence.  Rather than helping all survivors, they contribute to the culture of shame, hate and mockery that those who don’t fit their narrow definitions and box-based thinking suffer on a daily basis.

We’ve all had enough of that.

Read the rest here:

http://toysoldier.wordpress.com/2013/09/23/military-rape-and-suicide/

Last Updated ( Wednesday, 02 October 2013 )
 
The Kenyan Massacre’s Roots in America’s Somalia Policy
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Blog, Commentary and Articles - Foreign Policy, Military and War
Written by Sheldon Richman   
Tuesday, 24 September 2013
The Kenyan Massacre’s Roots in America’s Somalia Policy
by Sheldon Richman
 
Last weekend’s hostage-taking — and the murder of at least 62 people — at the Westgate Shopping Mall in Nairobi, Kenya, has its roots in the U.S. government’s intervention in Somalia, which began in the 1990s. Although there is no justification for killing innocents, it is fair to point out that al-Shabaab, the Islamist group that committed the attack on the mall and that controls parts of Somalia, would probably not be in power if not for the United States.
 
As Scott Horton, host of a nationwide radio program focusing on foreign policy, points out in the September issue of Future of Freedom (which I edit), the U.S. government has intervened directly in Somalia and backed repeated invasions by neighboring African states, including Kenya. In the process, a relatively moderate government was overthrown, resistance to invaders was radicalized, and the al-Qaeda-linked al-Shabaab gained partial control, which would have been unlikely without that intervention.
 
Horton, drawing on firsthand reporting by journalist Jeremy Scahill, notes that after the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, the Bush administration compiled a list of countries “ripe for ‘regime change,’” including Somalia, “none of which had any involvement whatsoever in the attacks or any real ties to those who did.… Luckily for the Pentagon and CIA, it was not very difficult to find cutthroat warlords willing to accept their cash to carry out targeted assassinations and kidnappings against those they accused of being Islamists — or anyone else they felt like targeting.”
 
A backlash followed. Somalia’s Islamic Courts Union, a coalition of a dozen groups, put down the warlords and the U.S.-sponsored Transitional Federal Government. “The ICU then declared the reign of Islamic law,” Horton writes. “That, of course, was none of America’s business, and even if it had been, the Somali regime lacked the power to create an authoritarian religious state like, say, U.S. ally Saudi Arabia.… And Somalia’s traditional Muslim beliefs were much more laid-back and tolerant than those in Arabia.”
 
This was unacceptable to the Bush administration, so in late 2006 it had Ethiopia, its Christian client state and an old Somalia antagonist, invade and overthrow the ICU, “with CIA and special-operations officers leading the attack.” In 2008, however, Somalis kicked the Ethiopians out. Helping in the effort was, in Horton’s words, “the youngest and least influential group in the ICU, al-Shabaab (‘the youth’).” On its way out of power the Bush administration, seeking to save face, got the “old men of the ICU” to agree to “accept the form of the Transitional Federal Government.” This only inflamed al-Shabaab, which accused them of being American agents.
 
“It was only then — years after the whole mess began — that it declared loyalty to Osama bin Laden’s al-Qaeda. It started acting like al-Qaeda too, implementing Arabian-style laws and punishments in the areas they dominated, such as cutting off the hands of those accused of stealing,” Horton writes.
 
Unfortunately, the Obama team has continued along the same disastrous path:
After the Ethiopians withdrew, [the administration] sent in the armies of Uganda and Burundi under the auspices of the African Union to hunt down and destroy al-Shabaab. Then came the Kenyans, who apparently panicked after luxury resorts near their border had come under attack. In 2011 the Ethiopians reinvaded. Kenyan forces took the port city of Kismayo from al-Shabaab in 2012 and loudly declared victory when the rebels melted away. But the stubborn insurgency continues the fight.
The Americans, for their part, continue to back the invading forces, as well as what passes for the “government” in Mogadishu, with hundreds of tons of weapons and tens of millions of dollars.
The CIA and the U.S. military still take a direct hand, not only by helping the nominal government, but also by attacking Somalis with helicopters, cruise missiles, and drones — and, Horton writes, “by overseeing at least two different torture dungeons.”
 
The horrendous attack in Nairobi has the news media abuzz over possible terrorist threats to “soft targets” such as shopping malls, not only in Africa but also in the United States itself. As we think about this, we should realize that this is a threat made in Washington, DC.
 
How many times do we have to experience what the CIA calls “blowback” before the American people cry, “Enough!”
 
Sheldon Richman  is vice president and editor at The Future of Freedom Foundation in Fairfax, Va. (www.fff.org).
 
Talking with Men, Not at Men Makes A Difference
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Blog, Commentary and Articles - Rape, Sexual Assault and Abuse
Written by James Landrith   
Sunday, 22 September 2013

The Women's Resource Center at the University of Wisconsin - Milwaukee asked the following question

 

If you come across someone who laughs at the idea of teaching men not to rape, what's the best way to explain things to them(without exploding in frustration)?

 

I'd start by remembering that 1 in 6 males experience sexual violence by age 18, not including those of us hurt as adults. I'd start by viewing us as more than potential allies, but as survivors in our own right. Talk with us, not down to us, or at us. The condescension and arrogance of some advocates - especially toward male survivors - makes it harder for many men to trust. Listen to us as well if you value our buy-in and desire our participation in your campaigns and advocacy efforts. We are actual human beings, not targets to be converted. You should expect to receive some pushback when you tell a male survivor of rape that they need to be taught not to rape.

 
We Must Not Be the World’s Policeman
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Blog, Commentary and Articles - Foreign Policy, Military and War
Written by Sheldon Richman   
Wednesday, 04 September 2013
We Must Not Be the World’s Policeman
by Sheldon Richman
 
Even if everything Secretary of State John Kerry says about chemical weapons in Syria were true, the evidence would prove only that Bashar al-Assad committed crimes against civilians. It would not prove that the U.S. government has either the moral or legal authority to commit acts of war.
 
These issues must be kept separate. We have reason to be skeptical of Kerry’s case — why did President Obama try to stop the UN inspection? — but if it were otherwise, the case for U.S. military intervention still would not have been made — even if authorized by Congress.
 
No one appointed the United States the world’s policeman. The government’s founding document, the Constitution, does not and could not do so. Obama and Kerry have tried hard to invoke “national security” as grounds for bombing Syria, but no one believes Assad threatens Americans. He has made no such statements and taken no threatening actions. He is engulfed in a sectarian civil war. Inexcusably, Obama has taken sides in that civil war — the same side as the Syrian al-Qaeda affiliate — but still Assad poses no danger to Americans. Bombing would make him more — not less — of a threat.
 
As it interferes in other people’s conflicts, a self-appointed world policemen will breed resentment and a lust for revenge. No one likes a bully, especially when it’s a presumptuous superpower armed with nuclear warheads and monstrous conventional weapons. (By the way, Assad's conventional weapons have killed far more people than sarin gas has.)
 
You might ask, How could U.S. punishment of Assad be equated with being a bully? Isn’t he the bully? To be sure, Assad is a criminal. But the U.S. government’s record on the world’s stage hardly qualifies it for any merit badges. It rails against Assad’s brutality, but it backed Iraq’s late president Saddam Hussein, even when he used chemical weapons in the 1980s. It condoned the Egyptian military’s mowing down of over a thousand street demonstrators after the recent coup, and it has more than tacitly approved Israel’s string of onslaughts against the Palestinians and Lebanese. In these cases, American presidents could have properly responded by ending military aid  — but they refused.
 
Similarly, the U.S. government for decades provided advanced weaponry to brutal and corrupt monarchies in the Arab world and autocrats in Asia and Latin America. More often than not, when a government represses its population, it uses equipment made in the USA.
 
America’s selective outrage is not lost on the world. The U.S. government is neither an honest broker nor an avenger of the victims of injustice. It is the world’s ham-handed hegemon, with overriding geopolitical and economic interests that determine what it does in any circumstance.
 
Assad is a suitable foe, not because he is uniquely cruel — hardly — but because Russia and Iran are his allies. American foreign policy in the Middle East has long been dedicated to guaranteeing that no country can challenge U.S./Israeli hegemony. American presidents have no problem with strongmen who crush their people’s dreams of freedom, as long as those rulers do what they are told. But if they don’t toe the line, watch out.
 
Saddam Hussein and Libya’s Muammar Qadaffi learned that the hard way. Now it’s Assad’s turn (earlier in the “war on terror,” the CIA outsourced torture services to him), even if that means helping al-Qaeda in Syria.
 
It’s not just that no one appointed the United States the world’s policeman. By assuming that role, the U.S. government — no matter who’s president — undermines the values we claim to uphold, such as freedom, justice, privacy, and peace. The invasions of Iraq and Afghanistan left hundreds of thousands dead, many more gravely wounded, and corrupt authoritarian governments in control of the social wreckage. The law of unintended consequences cannot be repealed, and the risk is no less with interventions that begin modestly, because no one can say what the other side -- which includes Iran and Russia -- will do.
 
At home, a perpetual war footing drains our pockets, puts us at risk of retaliation, violates our privacy, and distorts our economy through the military-industrial complex.
 
James Madison understood well: “No nation could preserve its freedom in the midst of continual warfare.”
 
Sheldon Richman  is vice president and editor at The Future of Freedom Foundation in Fairfax, Va. (www.fff.org).
 
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