The Invisible War
Kirby Dick’s devastating documentary about the U.S. Military’s systemically endorsed sexual abuses against its own soldiers, puts yet another puzzle-piece in America’s horrific reality as a country submerged in endemic corruption and anarchy at every level of society. Made up of interviews with rape victim soldiers, and military officials the film thoroughly examines a wall of military and government bureaucracy that allows, and even encourages, sexual predators to prey upon its military ranks.
Statistics tell the story. Hundreds of thousands of rapes within the U.S. military have been reported in the past decade. When you factor in the fact that most rapes are not reported you come away with a realization of widespread rampant sexual abuses carried out in many cases by commanding officers. “25% of servicewomen didn’t report their rape because the person to report to was the rapist.”
Under the propaganda banner of “Support Our Troops,” the U.S. military has become a hydra of malfeasance. A “stop-loss” program that sends soldiers back for five, six, or even seven tours of duty in Afghanistan and Iraq has resulted in statistics that show that more soldiers die of suicide than are killed in action. A systematic refusal to provide medical care for servicemen and women such as former U.S. Coast Guard seaman and rape victim Kori Cioca — who suffers permanent damage to her jaw from the rape she endured — indicates a conscious disregard for humanity that matches the impunity with which America’s corporatized military kills foreign civilians. Of the sexual abuse victims interviewed in the film many have had close brushes with suicide. Their stories are heartbreaking.
Alongside documentaries such as Ami Horowitz’s “U.N. Me,” “The Invisible War” serves as a desperate wake-up-call to a dire crisis in America. It’s infuriating to witness Kaye Whitley, the defense department’s Sexual Assault and Prevention and Response Office dodging questions with a pat reply about a statement of fact “not being in her area of expertise.”
Retired Brigadier General Wilma L. Vaught of the U.S. Air Force asks, “When does this ever end?” in response to the ongoing catalogue of military sexual abuses that permanently affect the victims’ physical and psychological well-being. From watching this film, you come away with the cynical idea that the answer is “never.”
Not Rated. 95 mins. (A+) (Five Stars - out of five/no halves)