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  • Anna Brix Thomsen

Peer-Bullying in the Military: Welcome To The Bully Race! DAY 45

The military exists as an executive power with the purpose of protecting and defending a nation, its resources, people and borders. In coherence herewith Wikipedia defines the military as “an organization authorized by its greater society to use lethal force, usually including use of weapons, in defending its country by combating actual or perceived threats. The military may have additional functions of use to its greater society, such as advancing a political agenda e.g. military junta, supporting or promoting economic expansion through imperialism, and as a form of internal social control.”

Although we all know that abuse is not unusual in the military, the stories and images that have emerged over the last couple of years show an increasingly brutal and abusive culture within how soldiers not only treat their prisoners of war, but also their own peers within the military.

Today for example a story emerged about a British soldier, who, fresh out of basic training was the victim of an extreme case of bullying by his peers on a training facility in Germany. One-image shows the solider face down, hands tied behind his back, with a hand over his ass and the other show him in a compromising position with guys hovering over him apparently abusing his testicles. All this happened because the solider refused to go out drinking. He has now deserted his position due to this incidence and risks not only facing time in a military prison, but also to be sent to Afghanistan with the same group of people who carried out this extreme form of bullying that can be argued ranges on torture.

In an interview the solider said that: “If it was to happen in civvy street, all those lads in that picture would be arrested. But it’s a normal day in the Army.”

In fact bullying is commonly accepted as part of army life as a ‘banter’ where army men and women toughen up themselves and each other – not unlike playing war as a child, preparing for the real battle, only here preparing for situations of extreme torture and abuse by practicing on each other.

At least four suicides have been reported in Britain as being caused by bullying within the military and in 2004, former Deepcut Army barracks training instructor Leslie Skinner was sentenced to four-and-a-half years in jail for sex attacks on young male soldiers. In Russia a report done by the Human Rights Watch claims that there has been hundreds of deaths and suicide in the country directly caused by the extreme and brutal bullying taking place in the Russian military.

Now – when for example looking at the images from the case with the British solider and other images and leaked videos that has emerged over the last ten years, it is obvious that the viewing of porn and the emergence of extremely abusive porn is playing a role in the forms of abuse taking place in the military. But porn isn’t the core of this problem – porn is just another way we’ve found to advance our abuse and bullying against each other – legally and publicly for everyone to see, enjoy and get off to.

The fact that bullying is not only accepted and allowed in the military, but also even encouraged and carried out by the top-ranking officers, shows that our society is one that condones bullying. How could we not? We’re authorizing the military to ‘protect’ us and they say the need to use brutal methods to get their soldiers into shape. But have you considered why this form of bullying is used to strengthen soldiers ‘moral’? Could it be because the abuse and torture that they’re expected to carry out ‘in the field’ is ten times worse and any sense of moral responsibility towards one’s fellow human beings must be broken and obliterated before touching down in ‘enemy territory’.  Considering what we do to our own ‘peers’ and comrades, what is then not being accepted when it comes to the ‘enemy’? I actually don’t even know. Because I only have access to Television and Internet as media. But I suspect that the images that has emerged, for example from Abu Ghraib is but the tip of the iceberg considering how intensely military forces fight to keep what happens in the army ‘in the family’.

And so, just like we’re abandoning our children in the school system where they’re left to fight for themselves with teachers who have little to no training in preventing and stopping bullying, we’re abandoning the young men and women who joins the army – because while we give the military its authority, we’ve also agreed to give it a life of it’s own and to – on our permission – do whatever it takes to protect the ‘sovereignty’ and ‘honor’ and ‘values’ of our nation.

Having a look at the values the military promote within its very manifestation – with our authorization – we ought to look ourselves in the mirror and ask ourselves what kind of values, what kind of honor and sovereignty is protected by bullying in and by the military? Has the definition of what it means to be human become synonymous with ‘war’, ‘abuse’, ‘deception’ and ‘bully’? Should we call ourselves the ‘Bully Race’? I would suggest so. We have no right to call ourselves human. We’re not men. We’re bullies in the flesh. And all of us are interconnected; all of our institutions and cultures are interconnected. 

And therefore it is of vital importance that we start tugging in the threads that apparently keep our society together – because what we will find at the other end of this web of societal threads, is a neatly woven veil that we’ve solemnly knitted to fit over our own eyes so that we wouldn’t have to see or recognize ourselves in the face of each other, as the face of the world. Have a look now: what do you see? Who do you see? 

At Desteni we’re presenting two solutions – one directed towards changing our world systems and the bullying and abuse taking place at a global level. This is the Guaranteed Living Income System. We are also sharing a process that we as a group and individually have decided to walk, to become dignified, trustworthy and caring human beings, through getting to know and understand how our minds work and how we’ve become who we are today, so that we can stand up and change. This is called the Desteni I Process. 


Tortured: Young Army recruit tells how he went AWOL after becoming a victim of brutal bullying: Russian army bullying horrific:

Brutal Army bullies ‘ruined my life’: 

  1. Secret video shows bullying at Army School of Infantry in Catterick, Yorkshire:

  2. Catterick families call for inquiry into suicides and non-combat deaths:

  3. Independent review held into abuse allegations at the Army’s Deepcut barracks in Surrey:

  4. Religious bullying rife at US Air Force Academy:

  5. Bullying, harassment and abuse rife in South Korea army:

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