Sunday, May 20, 2007

GUNS, WOMEN, AND WRONG

Matti Friedman of the AP reports that Israel is debating women’s role in combat (http://www.boston.com/news/world/articles/2007/05/13/israel_debates_womens_place_on_battlefield/).
It caught my attention because the Israeli feminist who is pushing for widening women’s role in that army’s combat forces says outright the kind of things that were sorta not mentioned by the salesforce when women-in-the-military/women-in-combat was for sale over here.

Naomi Chazen, an Israeli feminist, says “The move is not crucial for the army, but for Israeli women”. You would think that in a small country surrounded by slavering enemies and itself having pissed many of them off and having also just recently lost a serious land operation … you would think that the army’s best interests would be paramount. But that would be not-getting-it. That would be not really understanding the nature and dynamics of the feminist advocacy in this matter; revolutions do not brook ‘other’ concerns.

“The army plays a central role in Israel … if the army creates inequality on any basis, these values get into Israeli society”, says Chazen. So it’s not about the army or military success, it’s about equality. And “any basis” might include that women are not well-suited for the hell of combat. Neither ‘facts’ nor ‘science’ nor the weight of historical praxis will be allowed to impede the revolution (as Goebbels once opined candidly: “Truth is whatever the Party thinks is good for the German people”). Nor will discussion or research be permitted, if they start to head in the undesired direction. Nor will the actual realities of … umm … reality – combat, say, for instance – be allowed to interfere.

It’s about ‘equality’ – although how that value is derived from the suitability for combat is a little foggy. And its proponents intend for it to stay that way. The army is a stepping-stone to the revolution’s stronger position in society, and that’s all that really matters to the revolutionistas. This was the gambit deployed by the American sistern, but it was the early 1990s and it didn’t look like there would ever be another war involving Americans, and if one came it would resemble battle as waged on the concierge-level suite that was the bridge of Picard’s ‘Enterprise’. Israel, currently, faces far more serious potential combat. Combat that’s gonna sorta look like what American forces are facing in Iraq as We speak.

An Israeli general observes that “such principles [as the revolutionistas espouse] cannot drive military policy in a country that feels its national survival is at stake”. He’s being too modest: “Feels its national survival is at stake”? If the Bushist Imperium wrecks the Army and the Marine Corps and locals take the opportunity thus afforded to march into Israel (whatever its boundaries are), who’s gonna stop them? There won’t be anything left boot-wise except the Rhode Island National Guard, and Our bad-ass Navy and Air Force missiles are notorious for blowing up whatever they run into, and if the baddies are on Israeli streets, then We will wind up destroying Israel in order to save it. So the general understates the case.

He continues: “As we’ve seen in other armies [hint, hint!], gender integration causes sexual tension and is detrimental to combat performance and it’s just not worth it. It’s not coincidental that throughout human history, men have done the fighting.” Well, the Americans certainly can’t disagree – April was an ‘Awareness Month’ and by amazing coincidence We were blitzed with ‘news’ that female soldiers are being raped and abused in record numbers by our erstwhile ‘heroes’ in Iraq and that women are refraining from going to the latrine in the middle of the night because they are so fearful of being raped. Either there are a couple-three stupendously busy and robust bad apples over there or the women are letting us know that we don’t have many heroes on the ground over there after all. Or maybe you can be a hero and a sex-abuser? Or is that thinking too much?

Of the Israeli general Friedman delicately observes that “feminists might call his views old-fashioned”. Yah. As if that settles anything. Gravity is a view that’s kinda been around a long time now, too. The functional solidity of matter is kinda long in the tooth. And – as Quaint Al noted, taking his cue from the revolutionistas – the Geneva Conventions and the Constitution are kinda old-fashioned and quaint too. The hot ironies! Let’s change all that stuff! C’mon! Whaddah-ya? A sissy?

Friedman, wisely, sidesteps the yawning abyss she has just opened, shifting to the question of whether Israeli women really want to be in full-frontal combat (currently, they are very much segregated and assigned support duties). Wisely from the viewpoint of her career, but it is precisely here – where the Boomer idiocy about being ‘over 30’, shrewdly surfed back then by the revolutionistas, is applied corrosively to huge cultural and societal questions – that the matter has to be decided. Which was precisely why the Advocacy back then not only avoided it but used its new clout (those desperate Dems and bored media types) to discredit the very concept that something that had been around a long time could be worthwhile. (Truth be told, JFK had used the same gambit to discredit Eisenhower and Nixon at the decade’s outset).

Worse: As Christina Stansell observes in her TNR article “A lost history of abortion” (http://www.tnr.com/doc.mhtml?i=20070521&s=stansell052107), in the current Supreme Court decision in Gonzales v. Carhart “one hears the echo of the anti-choice movement’s new emphasis on abortion as a de facto violation of something at the very core of women’s being”. Now I am not here taking a position on abortion; I am pointing out that Stansell is calling “new” what was among the very first objections raised to abortion decades ago; and one which the Advocacy quickly moved to squelch by discrediting it. Theory was deployed to the effect that there is no such thing as ‘women’s nature’, that ‘women’ have no ‘nature’ (Men meanwhile were defined as ‘rapist’, which urge to perpetrate was so widely defined as to constitute for all practical purpose a ‘male nature’). And the huge danger lurking in this gambit – that if human beings have no ‘nature’ then there are no natural protections on their behalf that any government or constitution is bound to observe … well, who knew? It was the Sixties! It was an Emergency!

In the same informative article, Stansell quotes Mr. Justice Kennedy as being concerned that if a woman is going to contemplate so grave a procedure, she should have access to as much information about it as possible, and that it is in the State’s interest to ensure that she has access to that information. This, to the revolutionistas, is interpreted as “paternalism” (by, of course, the Patriarchy). Men don’t have the right to tell women what they need. That society has a right to deliberate about major changes to its ethos … well the outrageous Emergency of women’s oppression simply required that all those inefficient and quaint democratic processes be dispensed with. Who says people need to be accurately informed? A question that Rove and Cheney - those unsleeping children of darkenss - took to an entirely new level of play.

You can't be showing 'consequences' to somebody if it's going to maybe change their mind! What's consequence got to do with it? Anyway, we're making history here and eggs (if we may) have to be broken. And when the Imperium then borrowed the revolutionistas' playbook and took the game on the road to Iraq ... oops.

And so the laws were ‘overhauled’ and ‘reformed’. And into the broad sunlit uplands We went. Or were supposed to.

Meanwhile, the Israelis now face a far graver and immediate crisis. And that may in a way be a blessing: while the revolutionistas over here have forced the ignoring of many an elephant in the room, you can’t ignore a military situation right there in front of you, any more than you can sit in a football stadium of a Saturday afternoon and claim that patriarchal oppression explains the lack of female professional players. It’s all too obvious and right there in front of you. Better to go about it as the Harvard faculty does: gassy hype and bloviating abstractions and hyperthyroid outrage conveniently packaged and delivered for the hype-greedy evening news.

This is why the Pentagoons – sisters (if we may) under the skin to the revolutionistas – want to control the media: the bodybags and the wounds - all the consequences - would be too vividly and undeniably clear to The People, and then what would happen?

What indeed?

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