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News ::
Fleischer: Rape of POWs 'not worth mentioning' (english)
26 Mar 2003
At today's White House news briefing, WND asked
presidential press secretary Ari Fleischer about the
Iraqis' holding of a female United States soldier as a
prisoner of war and how it relates to the issue of women
in combat.
WND: Ari, one of the U.S. POWs in Iraq
is Shoshana Johnson of Texas, while The
New York Times this morning reports that
Pfc. Jessica Lynch of West Virginia is
missing or captured. And during Desert
Storm, Maj. Rhonda Cornum was
captured and gang-raped, while the other
U.S. female prisoner of war would neither
confirm or deny that she, too, was
gang-raped. And my question, does the
president think that the Iraqi army has
somehow changed to avoid the raping of
female prisoners?


WND: Or does he believe that it would be


WND: to keep the women out of
combat areas?

FLEISCHER: The history of our military is
that men and women have served this
nation honorably and with distinction. The
treatment of prisoners by Saddam Hussein
is the only point worth mentioning here. It's
a given that men and women serve our
country with dignity, that Saddam
Hussein's regime had better not harm our
prisoners. The president has made that
clear. Lester, no follow-up.

The Washington Times reported yesterday that Johnson
was the first U.S. female held as a POW since the
Clinton administration's military leaders repealed a rule
barring servicewomen from positions with a high risk of
encountering enemy fire or capture.

"It's bad when a man is captured. But if a woman is
captured, she doesn't have the same chance [to defend
herself] that a man does," Elaine Donnelly, president of
the Military Readiness Center, told the paper.

Said retired Army Lt. Col. Robert Maginnis, "You must
consider that women in every society are preyed upon if
they are overtaken. ... Now that women are closer to
the front lines, they are more subject to becoming
captives and being manipulated."
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