It’s been several months since we first heard of the disgusting military nude picture situation. I know a lot of people call it a scandal, but that word is overused in my opinion.
The last known status on this investigation was that a joint task force of FBI and NCIS agents have a small office a Quantico, where they sit eight to ten hours a day, scouring through photos on several sites, trying to capture the roots of photos, identify victims, and locate where the people distributing them are.
At the same time that update went out, several self-identified victims came forward, some who had nude photos shared, others who did not, stating they were upset by the photos being sent, rightfully so.
As a veteran, I find the whole thing appalling. It has ruined unit and branch cohesion in a way that only the service would ever be capable of doing to itself – implosion.
That’s not to say that the leadership of our armed services caused this problem, because they didn’t. That’s not to say they contributed to this problem, because they didn’t.
The problem has been the acts of about four dozen members of various branches of service, who have since disseminated all of these photos and videos to tens of thousands of others, who in turn have re-posted them to tens of thousands, and so on.
I have always said that our military, and the things service members do while not in combat, are a direct reflection of ourselves.
While these photos were being hung around the internet, many of these female victims were serving bravely overseas, some were preparing for overseas assignments, some where in the States, getting equipment and personnel ready for war-fighting. And yet, they were being victimized, over and over and over again.
If you are a veteran, or actively serving, be it on active duty, reserves, or national guard, and you support the dissemination of this material, you should do yourself and everyone else who does or has served a favor, and ask your unit command for discharge right now. We don’t have room for people like you in the service.
When I served, masculinity abounded in the service, as it should, and certainly there was varying degrees of womanizing. The most terrible thing I can gather from this is that it’s that casual pervalence of looking at women as a conquest is what was used by these few bad apples to support the actions they took.
I can tell you that nothing could be further from the truth. It’s understandable that people would link these two things together, because it appears quite easy. But in reality, in order to turn your interest in the opposite sex into victimization speaks to a entirely different reality that the perpetrators are working from. It’s called narcissism.
True, we all experience levels of narcissistic behavior within ourselves, but the level this group of criminals are at is sociopathic. Their actions show that not only do they think they are superior, but that their idea of women is that they are merely here for their convenient delight. That the only purpose they serve is when they themselves have an itch to scratch. And that’s why guys like them post this content. They have a momentary need, they solve for it, and then they don’t think about it ever again.
The idea that you can take whatever you want from a woman, is not an idea that ever come up in the passive womanizing I was aware of in my time of service, nor was it something I ever explored. Did I find certain women “hot?” Absolutely! And I don’t feel bad for having my own opinion of what is attractive and what isn’t, and I never will feel bad for that. But what I do know, is regardless of how I may have felt about a particular woman in my dating past, is that I never decided to embarrass her for being who she is with me, and no one else. I always took that as my experience with her, and no one else will learn of it from me.
You can call it what you like, but I think the difference between civility and barbarianism is when you experience something raw and potentially filled with emotion, you shouldn’t be looking to exploit that experience, or any person involved.
Heck, even barbarians have a level of civility when it comes to this, so maybe that comparison is insulting.
But more to the issue at hand, is the male role as protector. Too often, we as men avoid that role. I say too often, and don’t misunderstand the use. When I say that, I don’t mean by and large, men all over are devoid of responsibility. I’m saying that sometimes in the most crucial moments of decision making, collectively, we as men miss the mark of what we should be doing. If we considered our role as protectors in every decision we made, I think our society would be a lot safer in general, and we wouldn’t have as much fodder for news and blogs to cover, because risk taking behavior would be cut by third overall, and literally all deviant behavior would be cut in half or more. As I’m getting older, I know this is becoming a larger part of my process, and I can only hope it would be installed by many other men.
Before the investigation opened, I was sent a link on a certain social media site (which I won’t reveal), to view photos that were undoubtedly part of this investigation. I didn’t think twice, and didn’t click the link. I knew something was wrong, because it’s a social media site I’m on, but I have no activity, so I figured it was spam anyway, and that the title was some attempt at click bait.
When I heard of the problem being exposed, and the speech given by General Robert Neller, I instantly thought of that link. I looked at it, and even clicked on it, and it confirmed my suspicions. The people sending it were looking for anyone with a military background. For whatever reason, they thought we were all interested. I guess we might all be interested, but we all have a very different take on this.
What I saw really brought this issue through my front door and right in my face, where I had to sit and think about my past as a man, and how I’ve related to women over the years. I can’t say I’ve been perfect in my relationships. I can’t say that in my relationships that I would do it all the same again. I know I have misstepped, I know I have done things wrong. But I can be sure that I’ve never done anything remotely like this to any woman, and wouldn’t dream of it. But I do wonder what it takes for someone to reach their level of depravity.
Prior to writing this, I looked to see if that link was still active, and it sadly is. But it has been receiving far less traffic than before, and I’ve noticed most of the users who posted the material are now deactivated, probably either by their own doing, or maybe a sign that these accounts are slowly being dealt with, and so are the things they’ve done.
There’s been no updates that I can find on this investigation since May of this year, and that’s most likely because law enforcement agencies have taken the correct stance in not discussing active investigations.
In one sense, it can’t be done fast enough. But on the other hand, having investigations experience myself, I would hope it goes as slow as investigators need to make as many defense-proof cases as possible. Because I don’t want a single one of these perverts getting to claim honorable discharge and reap benefits of service they betrayed.