One of the things that irritated me the most about Sarah Palin – among a long list of various twitches and annoyances that plagued the face and intellect of the former GOP rising star – was the rape kit scandal. Under her reign as a mayor, the city of Wasilla, AK, upheld a rule forcing rape victims to pay for their own kit (which price could go up to $1,000). Said kit contains all the necessary medical and procedurial examinations that could lead to the instruction of the crime and, hopefully, the prosecution of the rapist. Cashing in on one’s traumatic experience was one trait of Sarah Palin’s total disregard for women’s rights – despite being a woman herself – and the utter cynism lying in banking benefits in the state holding the record rate of rape per year (mostly targeting native american women, to add a sinister spin to the horror). Alaska also being the only state with an excedent budget, there was not even any pathetically capitalist excuse to rank money in from any source available.

If you think this story is revolting and morally bankrupt, brace yourself for the following.

Halliburton, Dick Cheney’s company and its subbranch, KBR, were once contracted to work for the United States government in Iraq. Halliburton is the main private contractor allowed on Iraqi soil throughout US occupation thanks to a seven-figure contract with a specific clause of exclusivity. Halliburton, the monster of the military-industrial complex President Eisenhower warned us against in his 1961 address, is not just a symbol of the capitalization of war, it is also upholding degrading values among its employees – values that are now being politically accepted among Republicans.

Last year, a KBR employee was raped by several other colleagues. Here is the story as reported by Republicans For Rape  (see below):

KBR contractors drugged and gang-raped a co-worker, Jamie Leigh Jones, in Iraq, anally and vaginally, suffering genital mutilation. She woke up bleeding from both orifices. After she was examined by a doctor, the evidence was handed back to KBR, where the rape-kit, photos, and notes disappeared. She was then locked in a shipping container, where eventually a guard gave her a cell phone to call for help. Agents were called at the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad, where they took Jamie out of KBR custody. The rape-kit was later recovered, but the photos and notes were gone, essentially letting the rapists go free.

Halliburton being an Iraq contractor, the infamous patriotic rhethoric we have been spoon-fed ad nauseam has been applied in this situation: those employees are not your average rapist – they are real American patriots fighting for freedom and civil rights in Iraq, risking their lives for their brothers. Not for their sisters, who they rape with complete immunity.

Senator Al Franken (D – Minn.) has taken upon himself to amend the Defense Appropriations Bill in an effort to stop the ensuing madness and inhumane, cruel treatment inflicted on that woman and perhaps others on Iraq bases and elsewhere, places where the United States is no longer relying on its Army to carry the dirty job of overthrowing governments with no precise plan in mind. Halliburton might be the number one private contractor serving in Iraq, but its employees are American citizens working on American bases and therefore submitted to American law. Not only should these employees be prosecuted and sentenced the way they would have been in the motherland, paying for the horror they inflicted upon a colleague, but Halliburton should also be held responsible for not directly reporting its employees to the authorities, tampering with evidence, and ultimately blatantly violating the laws enforced by the very government they are working with. Senator Franken added a clause that companies that would feel impervious to criminal law in Halliburton fashion would see their contract with the US government terminated. It is already enough to have gotten themselves in the quicksand mess that is Iraq without having to hire raping mercenaries as freewheelin’ field help on top of everything else. The amendment proposed  to the 2010 Defense Appropriations Bill has been defended by Franken:

The constitution gives everybody the right to due process of law … And today, defense contractors are using fine print in their contracts do deny women like Jamie Leigh Jones their day in court. … The victims of rape and discrimination deserve their day in court [and] Congress plainly has the constitutional power to make that happen.

As Rachel Maddow implied during her coverage of the scandal, Al Franken’s proposed bill is not groundbreaking moral politics. It’s not extraordinary, unusual or postmodern attitude towards the rule of war. Actually, it has nothing to do with the war in itself. This is pure common sense. This is simple law enforcement. This is what should have been done without Al Franken having to come at the stand. KBR’s presence becoming a liability to the United States government should not have raised any questions as to whether KBR is a reliable representative of the United States in Baghdad.

John McCain was among the 30 senators supporting rape

John McCain was among the 30 senators supporting rape

You can count on the Republican Party, 2009 grand cru, for being more outlandish and absolutely non-sensical than it was the year before.

Several senators – check the list below – have decided to vote against Franken’s bill. Their excuse? Halliburton is fighting the good war, and is extremely profitable to the United States government. The US Chamber of Commerce has also decided to battle against Franken’s amendment in order to “protect business interests”. KBR can not be blamed for a few bad apples. You have to give them credit for being consistent in their double-standard approach to crime: when two ACORN employees are suddenly bringing the entire organization down nationwide, Republicans are setting the house on fire for matters of principles, of morality, of professional ethics, and their fight against socialism. When Dick Cheney’s money maker and warmongerering company is raping its own employees then holding them hostage so they wouldn’t file a complaint, they are only behaving as slightly distraught patriots would, and it should not reflect on the company at all. The sad thing about it is that it was terribly predictable. In a climate of economic uncertainty and moral failure, one can only wish that the Republican Party would step up to the plate and fight for ideologies that do not imply the downfall of the little bits of humanity and dignity people have left. Instead they gleefully trample over the very foundations of the rule of law and humanity just to add a little more zeroes after their already overinflated bonuses.

Republicans For Rape, a satirical mock-organization aiming at denouncing the thirty Senators going against rape victims,  has listed all the senators voting against Franken’s bill, thus asking for immunity in case of rape. Feel free to contact them, especially if you are a registered Republican Party member, to tell them that crimes against one person, in a situation as traumatic and serious as rape, should never be overlooked. No rapist should be exempted of punishment for the simple reason they are working for another criminal (here’s to you, Cheney).