“I have a greater responsibility than you could possibly fathom. You weep for Santiago, and you curse the marines. You have that luxury. You have the luxury of not knowing what I know. That Santiago’s death, while tragic, probably saved lives. And my existence, while grotesque and incomprehensible to you, saves lives. You don’t want the truth because deep down in places you don’t talk about at parties, you want me on that wall, you need me on that wall. We use words like honor, code, loyalty. We use these words as the backbone of a life spent defending something. You use them as a punchline. I have neither the time nor the inclination to explain myself to a man who rises and sleeps under the blanket of the very freedom that I provide, and then questions the manner in which I provide it. I would rather you just said thank you, and went on your way, Otherwise, I suggest you pick up a weapon, and stand a post. Either way, I don’t give a damn what you think you are entitled to.” – A Few Good Men
The entire way through the incredible and heart-rending documentary that is The Invisible War, I was constantly reminded of Aaron Sorkin’s play (and film) A Few Good Men, it’s the use and abuse of power, a violation of trust that people put into their fellow servicemen, and the fact that the military is quite happy to cover it up and allow it to continue, much like the Code Reds portrayed in A Few Good Men.
The Invisible War looks at the sexual assault and rape of men and women in the armed services.
This is what not an easy film to watch, but that’s what makes it such an important film to see.
The thing that angered me most, aside from the assault of these people who wanted nothing more than to serve their country, an admirable and noble choice, for which they are brutalized and punished, is the fact that the upper echelons of each of the services branches are complicit in these assaults, by their complete lack of prosecuting these sexual predators, and then treating those victimized as the guilty parties.
The men and women who share their stories with us in this film have had their veteran aid claims denied, had their evidence lost for the duration of their trials, and once it’s closed have had them amazingly resurface, have been tried in military court for adultery (though they are the victims) and have been summarily demoted and discharged.
In effect their lives have been completely shattered and destroyed, while their attackers have been promoted, rewarded, and have committed their crimes again, without repercussions.
There is something inherently wrong with a system like that. Allowing these sexual predators to carry on without punishment, without a blemish on their military career, condones these actions for others willing to commit them as well, giving them a safe hiding place.
And what happens when these people retire from service and move into your neighborhood…
These people need to be held accountable for their actions.
When people say why don’t you report it? Military life operates under a chain of command, so what happens when those who assault you are the very people you would report to?
Is there something that can be done? A civilian oversight located on each and every base? But how well would that work?
It’s undeniable that something has to be done, these people need to be prosecuted and added to lists of sexual offenders so people can KNOW what they have done.
Otherwise they will keep committing these heinous acts, and be rewarded for it.
What kind of message is that sending? And what does that mean for the nations that allow it?
The Invisible War is a brutally powerful film, about an issue that needs to be resolved.