Overdevelopment, Overpopulation, Overshoot
Container City: Shipping containers, indispensable tool of the globalized consumer economy, reflect the skyline in Singapore, one of the world’s busiest ports.
Earlier this week, I wrote that “some military scandals are far worse than others.” While the Petraeus affair and investigations into Gen. John Allen continue to fuel a media frenzy, far more pernicious and widespread instances of sexual misconduct haunt the armed forces. On Wednesday, The Air Force released its report detailing a culture of sexual abuse at Lackland Air Force Base in Texas, where members of the Air Force go through basic training.
Eleven basic training instructors have been charged with offenses ranging from inappropriate touching of female recruits to rape. Two commanding officers have been removed, and Air Force Gen. Edward A. Rice Jr., commander of Air Education and Training Command, said at a press conference Wednesday that six more have received “disciplinary action.” Forty-eight women — some as young as 17 or 18 years old — have come forward with stories of sexual misconduct.
According to a Department of Defense statement, the Lackland report found “weaknesses in institutional safeguards, leadership, and the instructor culture of self-accountability, with the conditions leading to abuse of power in basic military training ‘ever-present.’”
The scandal is considered the worst in the military in over a decade but, as Reuters noted, “the disclosures of harassment and abuse at the Air Force base have been overshadowed by the abrupt resignation of Petraeus.”
In response to the report, Gen. Rice announced the establishment of the Military Training Oversight Council, which will be chaired by a three-star general. “The purpose of this council is to ensure we have the appropriate level of leadership oversight over issues associated with trainee safety and the maintenance of good order and discipline,” he said.
Although over 40 recommendations were included in the report, some say it did not go far enough. Rep. Jackie Speier, D-Calif., who serves on the House Oversight and Government Reform and Armed Services committees, told Salon via email that she found the report “incomplete” as it did not include any interviews with victims (for fear of jeopardizing the courts-martial). Speier noted:
The fact is that the power imbalance between a young recruit and MTI is far too lopsided for any non-professional relationship to be considered consensual. I am going to introduce legislation that will amend the Uniform Code of Military Justice to reflect the imbalance and clarify that any trainer who engages in a personal relationship with a trainee should be dismissed.
The Lackland base is far from the only site of sexual abuse in the military. The Department of Defense estimates that the number of actual sexual assaults in the military each year is close to 19,000, although many service members never come forward out of fear of retaliation — only 240 cases of sexual assault in the military were prosecuted in 2011, out of 3,000 reported cases.
Natasha Lennard is an assistant news editor at Salon, covering non-electoral politics, general news and rabble-rousing. Follow her on Twitter @natashalennard, email email@example.com.More Natasha Lennard.
Man Covering His Mouth: A shepherd by the Yellow River cannot stand the smell, Inner Mongolia, China
Angry Crowd: People jostle for food relief distribution following the 2010 earthquake in Haiti
“Black Friday” Shoppers: Aggressive bargain hunters push through the front doors of the Boise Towne Square mall as they are opened at 1 a.m. Friday, Nov. 24, 2007, Boise, Idaho, USA
Suburban Sprawl: aerial view of landscape outside Miami, Florida, shows 13 golf courses amongst track homes on the edge of the Everglades.
Toxic Landscape: Aerial view of the tar sands region, where mining operations and tailings ponds are so vast they can be seen from outer space; Alberta, Canada
Ice Waterfall: In both the Arctic and Antarctic regions, ice is retreating. Melting water on icecap, North East Land, Svalbard, Norway
Satellite Dishes: The rooftops of Aleppo, Syria, one of the world’s oldest cities, are covered with satellite dishes, linking residents to a globalized consumer culture.
Child Brides: Tahani, 8, is seen with her husband Majed, 27, and her former classmate Ghada, 8, and her husband in Hajjah, Yemen, July 26, 2010.
Megalopolis: Shanghai, China, a sprawling megacity of 24 Million
Big Hole: The Mir Mine in Russia is the world’s largest diamond mine.
Clear-cut: Industrial forestry degrading public lands, Willamette National Forest, Oregon
Computer Dump: Massive quantities of waste from obsolete computers and other electronics are typically shipped to the developing world for sorting and/or disposal. Photo from Accra, Ghana.
Oil Spill Fire: Aerial view of an oil fire following the 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil disaster, Gulf of Mexico
Airplane Contrails: Globalized transportation networks, especially commercial aviation, are a major contributor of air pollution and greenhouse gas emissions. Photo of contrails in the west London sky over the River Thames, London, England.
Fire: More frequent and more intense wildfires (such as this one in Colorado, USA) are another consequence of a warming planet.