Thursday, August 07, 2008

The Rape and Murder of Pvt. LaVena Johnson

I've tried to bring myself to post on this ever since another blogger sent me a notice about the petition calling for a full investigation into the death of 19-year-old Pvt. LaVena Johnson in Iraq in July of 2005. But everytime I think about writing on it, I feel so sad inside, I can hardly lift my fingers off the keyboard.

It's all over the blogosphere, I try telling myself. Nobody really needs me to post on it, too, right? Readers can go here and here and here, for example, and there's WAY more than that.

But I can't walk away. I want to. Some things are just too horrible to think about. The situation of Dr. Siddiqui and her children, for example, has been haunting me all week already. I don't want to focus too closely on the images that are conjured up by LaVena Johnson's broken and wounded body screaming out from the grave that her last night alive was a nightmare.

She had cuts, bruises, scratches, scrapes and teeth marks all over her body. She was hit in the face with a blunt object (possibly a rifle butt), that pushed her teeth in backwards. Her elbow or shoulder were dislocated. She was set on fire. Her genitals had acid poured on them (to destroy DNA evidence?). And she was shot in the left temple by a M-16 (a 40" automatic weapon). See what I'm saying about the images? Imagine how she must have tried to fight off her assailant to wind up in that condition. And she was barely more than five feet tall.

But two things are making me sit down this morning to write. One is that the Army still claims LaVena Johnson committed "suicide." Uh-huh!

And the second is that this petition calling for a Congressional investigation has only 3000 signatures so far. I don't know which fact makes me feel sicker.

I guess it's old news that military leaders lie, especially about sexual assault in the military. And if you pay attention even a little bit, you know that multiple rapidfire tours of combat in Iraq, the lowering of military recruitment standards, and the addition of thousands of highly-paid and historically out-of-control mercenaries with no supervision has escalated violence of all kinds against women -- both in Iraq and after folks come home.

But even though the mainstream media has done almost nothing to publicize the Johnson case, I cannot begin to understand why only 3000 people nationally have stepped forward to demand, if not justice, at least some more believable answers.

The blogosphere is huge. Amy Goodman's on board. So what's going on? Have we become comfortably (or uncomfortably) numb? Are we just overwhelmed with the continuous barrage of garish blood-letting that increasingly surrounds us? Are we scared? Do we just not give a shit? What's the deal?

If Johnson was my daughter, I would hope more than 3000 people in this whole country would care enough to sign a petition. It takes considerably less time to do so than it took to kill LaVena Johnson.
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NOTE: Color of Change is also organizing an effort here. Please support all efforts that keep this case alive until LaVena Johnson's death is no longer a mystery.

6 comments:

Anonymous said...

I WAS IN THE MILITARY FOR THREE YEARS, AND I KNOW THE MILITARY CAN HIDE WHAT EVER NEEDS TO BE HIDDEN. IN THIS TYPE OF WAR SETTING ANYTHING CAN BE CARRIED OUT. IF YOU HAVE A HABITUAL SOLDIER WHO STAYS IN TROUBLE BEING OVER THERE IS JUST LIKE A GET OUT OF JAIL FREE CARD. IM SO SORRY TO HERE ABOUT THIS BABY WHO'S LIFE WAS JUST BEGINNING. MY HEAT GOES OUT TO THE FAMILY.

Changeseeker said...

Thank you for weighing in, Anonymous. I know that what you say is true and it's so, so sad.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous wrote:
How in the h--- can anyone say that was suicide. Whoever did that their conscience should haunt them for the rest of there lives, my heart goes out to her family and I hope and pray that someone will soon come forward regarding this matter. May Gos continue to bless the family.

Changeseeker said...

Indeed, Anonymous #2. I hope so, too. You know, you can write me directly at changeseeker(at)gmail.com

Anonymous said...

This is surley a disgrace. My heart goes out to the family and I hope justice is served!!!!!!

Changeseeker said...

I do, as well, Anonymous. I believe that all truth comes out in the end. I'm sure that whoever did this has carried a heavy burden ever since, whether he realizes it or not.