The US marines are grappling with a unique problem. Nearly 30,000 marines including retired veterans have been members of a secret Facebook site that published nude photos of Women Soldiers without their consent. The site has been taken down but many are wondering if this is an isolated incident. A defense department investigation is on and Congress is seized with this problem. Perhaps if only a few soldiers were involved the incident could be brushed away, but with the large numbers who avidly followed this site, the scenario looks bad.

The fact that the nude and semi-nude photos of women combatants also had their full names and ranks is disconcerting

The scandal

The scandal which can seriously affect the military and also discourage women from joining the armed forces is now known to have a wider clientele. The BBC has discovered a military message board which shows hundreds of women soldiers in the nude. This is not confined to the marines but several other branches of the military including the AirForce, Army, and Navy. The soldiers ask their colleagues to join up and share the naked photos of their women colleagues. It appears that many of the photos are first shared on Pinterest and Instagram. Investigators have come across at least half a dozen other similar sites.

Soldiers views

Last week the veterans news site "Task and purpose" brought out that a new site called Marines2.0 that is available on Facebook. This site has surfaced despite the ongoing investigation into the earlier facebook site. Vogue magazine has reported that a marine has said: " They can investigate all they want". Another member wrote on the site " It's not illegal to share nudes lol."

Unfortunately, the marines and soldiers making such comments are not aware of the law.

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It is against the conduct of a soldier as per the Unified Military Code. It is also a crime in many states and would come under porn laws. Photos of nude women without consent is a punishable act. This could lead to fines and a jail term

How to stop?

The bigger question remains as to how the top general staff is going to stop this.

Like the tiger who has tasted humans and does not give up, so also are many soldiers not going to stop. Perhaps the authorities know it and investigations will be done until another case emerges. In this contest, many are of the view that after all this is not a heinous crime. Marshal Tito complained to Stalin about the conduct of the Russian army during WWII. Stalin replied that a soldier under stress must be given some respite. This does not justify the act of the US soldiers but it's not something new.