In an effort to rally support among nations growing increasingly skeptical about NATO-led attacks on Muammar Gaddafi's forces in Libya -- especially India, Russia and China -- US ambassador Susan Rice announced in a closed door meeting at the United Nations Security Council that Gaddafi's forces were issuing Viagra, the drug used to treat erectile dysfunction, to soldiers "so that they go out and rape" civilians in areas that support the rebels.
Rice did not provide any supporting evidence for her allegation. She made the comment as part of a debate with another envoy to highlight that "the Coalition is confronting an adversary doing reprehensible things."
Sources: here and here.
Rice's offhand, and frankly bizarre, remark should be investigated with the utmost seriousness and objectivity before it is permitted to influence NATO policy regarding Libya. Rape allegations are lobbed too often and too easily for no reason other to achieve an emotional, knee jerk reaction, and to unfairly convict the accused in the court of public opinion.
The stakes in this instance, for the world community, are too high to allow a false rape claim to stand, and that's true even if we think the military action against Gaddafi is justified.
As an African American woman, Ms. Rice should be sensitive to her own nation's tragic history of overreacting to false cries of rape, and to the devastating impact such overreaction has had on the black community. It is, of course, hoped that her allegation was not concocted out of whole cloth in an effort to engender rape hysteria and to paint the opposition as evil. If it was, Rice should be summarily dismissed from her post.
The power to cry "rape" should be reserved for those times when it actually occurs, and that's true whether the speaker is a rape victim or a UN ambassador purporting to report on a war atrocity.
Thanks to Aharon