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babylonsister Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Sep-18-06 10:23 AM
Original message
"For women considering going into [the military]: Don't."
http://www.democracynow.org/article.pl?sid=06/09/18/135...

EXCLUSIVE... Army Investigation into Sexual Harassment Charges by Specialist Suzanne Swift Ended in July, Attorney Says Military "Did Not Do Diligent Investigation"

In a Democracy Now! exclusive, Army Specialist Suzanne Swift speaks out in her first national broadcast interview. After serving in Iraq, Swift was arrested and confined to base for going AWOL. She says she was sexually harassed and abused by her commanders in Iraq and at home. In the interview, Swift reveals for the first time that an Army investigation concluded in July that they could not substantiate her claims. Swift says, "For women considering going into : Don't." Her attorney, Keith Scherer, says, "It's pretty clear from the language in the report that they didn't do a diligent investigation." Today, a Democracy Now exclusive. For the past several months, we have been covering the case of Suzanne Swift - she is the Army Specialist who was arrested and confined to base for going AWOL after her charges of sexual harassment and assault went un-addressed by the military.

Suzanne served in Iraq for a year but decided she could not return and went AWOL. She said she was sexually harassed both in Iraq and at her base in Fort Lewis, Washington. In June, the police arrested Suzanne in Eugene, Oregon and took her to the county jail. She was then transferred to Fort Lewis where she was confined to her base for 2 months.

Last week the Army completed its investigation into Swift's charges. Today, for the first time, Suzanne speaks to us _live - She's on the phone from Eugene Oregon. Also on the line are Suzanne's attorney, Keith Scherer and her mother, Sara Rich.

* Suzanne Swift, she went AWOL in January of 2006. She alleges she was sexually harassed repeatedly by her superiors in the Army.
* Keith Scherer, military defense attorney. We are also joined by Suzanne's attorney, Keith Scherer. He is a partner at Gagne, Scherer & Associates.
* Sara Rich, mother of Suzanne Swift.

More information at SuzanneSwift.org. Email Suzanne Swift's mother, Sara Rich, at formydaughtersuzanne@yahoo.com
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Captain Hilts Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Sep-18-06 10:37 AM
Response to Original message
1. It depends....
It's still a great opportunity for a lot of women.

For those without college, it might be the only way to finance going.

And, it would give them healthcare security throughout their lives, something many men and too few women have.

I hope her complaints are addressed, but I know too many women who really enjoyed their time in, but my experience is skewed to the navy, which might create the difference.
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Lydia Leftcoast Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Sep-18-06 10:45 AM
Response to Reply #1
3. That's more a sad commentary on our society than a
reason to love the military.

There SHOULD be more opportunities for young people who can't or don't want to attend college. In some European countries, they could go into apprenticeship programs starting at age 16 or so and end up with marketable skills.
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Captain Hilts Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Sep-18-06 11:02 AM
Response to Reply #3
4. Yes, yes it is.
I grew up in the military community and know that there are a lot of great folks that serve and I'm uncomfortable with describing it with broad strokes.

But, yes, I wish there were a way that people could earn the benefits, security and learn the discipline without it being associated with killing. It IS a sad statement that there is no such thing. I agree.
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Ilsa Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Sep-18-06 10:40 AM
Response to Original message
2. Thank you for posting this.
A friend of mine has a daughter who is a sophomore mech eng major, and she plans on joining the military after college. Both of her parents were military. But given the continuing abuse, especially after the PTSD her mom suffered at the hands of her commanding officers, she may try to talk her out of joining since there is no justice or real change.

Thank you!
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Captain Hilts Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Sep-18-06 11:04 AM
Response to Reply #2
5. Yes, there has been change.
Not enough, certainly. The new, macho 'Warrior' culture is repugnant to a friend of mine who's a retired marine corps colonel.

But, again, there are some very progressive pockets in the military. She can't assume that her mother's experience will be her own. I've known too many women for whom it was a great career.
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Recursion Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Sep-18-06 11:22 AM
Response to Original message
6. This (male) vet agrees
I'm sorry to say I saw way too many women get harrassed, passed over for promotion, assaulted, and in general treated like children or like the senior NCO's personal harem. Sadly, we don't protect the women who choose to protect us.
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