Editor and Publisher Magazine is reporting this week that a woman serving in Afghanistan may have been murdered because she was a lesbian.
"The military first reported that Ciara Durkin, 30, (of Boston MA) who served in the National Guard, had died “in action,” then revealed that she was killed in a “noncombat” incident that was being investigated."
E&P continues, "Her family was told that she had been killed by a single gunshot near a church. They are charging that the military has been dragging its feet in giving them more details. They reject any chance of suicide and suspect friendly fire or murder.
"A new twist emerged today in a Boston Globe article: Her family says she had told them to push for an investigation if anything ever happened to her. She was in a finance unit and may have found some improprieties, according to a story in the Patriot-Ledger, which also disclosed that her family had notified the military about her concerns about her safety three weeks ago."
"The Globe reported that the family wondered if, as a lesbian, she may have been targeted. E&P reports, "She did say to us that she had concerns about things she was seeing when she was over there," her sister, Fiona Canavan, told WGBH-TV in Boston. "She told us if anything happened to her, that we were to investigate it."
Does any of this sound familiar? Does Pat Tillman's name come to mind? I'm not suggesting that Pat Tillman was gay but that our government is perfectly capable of covering up murder in order to avoid scrutiny of its conduct of the war.
If Ciara Durkin was murdered it may have been because she had uncovered wrongdoing or because she was a lesbian. But we must rely on the Dept of Defense's honesty to find out and if the Pat Tillman case is any indication of how things are being done today we will never know. At least Sens. John Kerry and Ted Kennedy have demanded an investigation.
Continuing the E&P report, "The Globe article observed: “(Sen.) Kerry said the Durkin family desperately needs answers to three questions: Why has the Army not responded to the Durkin family's request for an independent autopsy? Why, after not responding to the family's request for an independent autopsy, did the Army fail to contact the Durkin family with the Army's autopsy results? The family was told to be available to receive a phone call between 1 and 3 p.m. on Oct. 1, and the Army never called. Why has the Army refused to make Durkin's will and paperwork available to her family, so they can respect her wishes as they plan her funeral and burial?”
A Boston Patriot Ledger editorial declares, "The initial reports of Ciara Durkin’s death in Afghanistan are a byproduct of the Bush administration’s wrongheaded intent to shape the public perception of this fight and the war in Iraq."
The circumstances of Ciara Durkin's death should be made public and any improprieties dealt with post haste. If the motive in her death was sexual orientation it raises questions regarding the impact of Gen. Peter Pace's homophobic statements and provides further ammunition (pun intended) to kill Don't Ask Don't Tell. If she was killed because of shenanigans she had uncovered it signals the depth of corruption pervading the DOD and begs for a full investigation of our Afghanistan operation.
Ciara Durkin's family and all Americans need and deserve to know who/what caused her death. Anything less will signal that the DOD is more interested in covering its ass than in protecting its own soldiers.