Wednesday, January 18, 2006

BBC Hardtalk Women Soldiers in Iraq

On hardtalk this morning was Kayle Williams who talked about her book which described her experience in the US 101 airbourne in Iraq. One of her main aims was to document the experience of woman soldiers in Iraq

The main points from the interview were

Large amount of sexual harassment occurs in the army mainly when there are down times. Kayle comment was it was a large amount because the majority of the soldiers are in 19 to 24 years old age group.

Kayle is married to a ex iraq Veteran. I am not sure if they met in Iraq.

Kayle husband was severly injured in Iraq and the treatment after the injury was first class but since then it has degraded significantly.

She worked in signals, looked after transport vehicles, spoke Arabic and took intelligence training.!!!

Iraqies first viewed the female soldiers as prostituets due to their experience with Russian Army

Her most inept staff sergeants were two females

She took part in an exercise where she thought she would be interrogating a female but ended up interrogating a naked male. This experience has had a significant negative effect on her

In interrogating prisoners they weren’t sure how far they could go but treated them as terrorist not combatants. Interogating officers thought what they were doing was approved by Rumsfield and based on current and previous experiences at that time.

She believes the interogation process created more enemies.

Conflict of interest in terms of soldiers on the ground. On one hand they should be helping rebuilding Iraq and on the other hand any of the Iraqies could be the enemy. So when you start treating people as the enemy they become the enemy.

After the fall of Sadam there was a lot of hope from iraqies

There is part of her that wants to go back and help her trainees and finish the job in Iraq

Main reason from writing the book was to get a female soldiers story out there different to Jessica Lynch and Lynndie England

My take on the interview is that she seemed honest so I think what she said, actually happenned to her. The only think I don’t understand is how someone in signals can be a fluent in Arabic take part in intelligence and manage a truck.

My only experience with the army is that three of my close friends ended up being officers from duntroon in the Australian army and my experience in the army cadets.

My first two years of army cadets was only males and the last two were integrated. There was a big difference in how cadets acted and performed in both groups. This is only in high school but from my experience the maturity levels of people in the 19-24 age group is not much better then seniors in high school.

I have no firm opinion of women in combat and might write a post to try and firm that up. I haven’t read anything yet to say that it has been negative/positive factor in Iraq. I take kayle's point though that having a fluent Arabic speaker who is a woman is a positive in Iraq


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