Wednesday, April 25, 2012

US Armed Forces and Women * 78

American women constitute 18% of US personnel in the armed forces. This does look nice, but what it hides is significant. The matter reached a head and at a recent press conference Leon Panetta, the secretary of Defense brought out the fact that he was aware that there have been cases of rape and molestation of women in the US armed forces. He also opined that perhaps because of this stigma more women are not joining the armed forces. What is the fact? Many women who have served earlier in the armed forces have testified that they have been raped. But they also said that the army put a lid on these rape cases and in some cases the matter was allowed to die down. One of the survivors Barbara Grove who served at Cherry Point in the mid nineteen fifties gave startling information. She said two women were raped and one hung herself from the ceiling. Though the incident is over 50 years old I suppose this is still prevalent in the US armed forces.
Last year more than 3000 women reported to their superiors that they had been sexually assaulted while on duty. Theoretically women in the US army are barred from active combat duties. This is a good thing as it recognizes the infirmity and biological difference in women. A few women in the combat zone during the Iraq war were captured by Iraqi troops and systematically raped. That is one of the reasons the US army women are not used ina combat role. The debate of women in the Armed forces is an ongoing one. I suppose women can take part in all activities except as soldiers in actual battle conditions. The US has now an all volunteer force. May be it will be a good idea to have a selective draft in force. To try and fill the ranks of the army with women to over come shortages in manpower is fraught with grave consequences. Thus what ever happens, rape and sex is not going to go away in American armed forces, for that matter in any armed force in the world

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

A Military Coup in India?

A military coup is not a small matter. It means removal by force of arms a civil government and replacing it with a military rule.Two strike units of the Indian army moved from Hissar to Delhi on 16 january this year.Information leaked to the Defense Secretary who alerted the Prime Minister at 2 am in the night. The movement was halted, but it brought out that the army given the will can easily oust the government in Delhi. One can recollect that when General Ayub Khan took power in a military coup in 1958, the common man in Pakistan welcomed it. Something similar could well happen in India. The reason is not far to seek. Rampant corruption where even central cabinet ministers took part in looting the nation has bred dsgruntlement among the masses. Food is costly and 70% of the population is subsisting on a dollar a day. The common man may well welcome an army coup. There is an old saying nothing is impossible'. That could herald a coup . It could be a necessity. The scenario in SE Asa is not very encouraging. Most of the countries have military rule. Burma, Pakistan, Bangladesh and Tibet have military rule or a dictato rship in some form or another. India is the exception where the army has remained apolitical. But don't be too sure!

Friday, April 6, 2012

Why Buddhism died in India

Gautama Buddha was born a Vedic Brahamin. He was from the highest caste and of royal lineage. He renounced his wordly life and attained Nirvana or Buddhahood. Buddhism initially spread in India and became a state religion. From India Buddhism spread to distant lands like China, Tibet and South East Asia. As the religion spread it slowly died away in India. This is certainly food for thought and one wonders how Buddhism completely vanished from the face of India. There are many reasons for this, but I suppose the main reason is that Buddhism had nothing special to offer. It merely restated Hindu concepts in a different language. In addition Hinduism recognized Buddha as the 9th Avatar of Vishnu and incorperated him in the Hindu religion itself. Thus Buddhism vanished from India but thrived in distant lands. But again Buddhism is not anything unique as far as India is concerned.

My Chinese Girl Friend

China is our neighbour, but it hides its people behind an bamboo curtain. A small incident will bring out the frightening quality of life in China. After reading this I wonder how anyone can talk of China being a better place in the world. Some time back I met a chinese girl on the net. After some time we did become intimate and she promised that she would make it to Singapore to meet me. In the long emails we exchanged I wrote to her about India, the killings in China, the conquest of Tibet and a host of other topics. But what surprised me was that the girl was totally ignorant of all these matters. On the contrary she wrote to me that her emails wete being checked and she was frghtened. I wrote to her calm herself. But in between she asked me about the deaths during the Red Guard movement. She hadnt heard of it. One fine day I found all my mails bouncing. Somebody had tinkered with the settings. A month later I recieved one short mail. All it said was 'farewell' . I wondered what had happened to my Chinese friend. So sad! Alas this China , a closed nation. I wouldnt like to live there.