Tuesday, July 29, 2008

BOAT-ROCKING NOT GOOD IDEA IN STORM

Truthout has a section dedicated to culling articles on assorted women’s issues. Good enough. I don’t spend much time on them since most of it is still that Second Wave soviet-ish stuff. But sometimes it’s hard – cruel hard, it is – to pass over some of this stuff. And you can learn a little more about how things operate in this 2nd-Wave-soviet universe, because these people are not going to stop until … well, they’re still not sure on when they’ll stop – perhaps at the Last Trumpet, but if the Bugler is a ‘man’, well, not even then. (Jennifer Hogg, "Military Women Get Ready to Rock the Boat", http://www.alternet.org/asoldierspeaks/92289/military_women_get_ready_to_rock_the_boat/)

I had mentioned back in the Spring of ’07 that – April being a ‘Month’ dedicated to women’s abuse issues – there seemed by purest coincidence to be articles ‘discovering’ that female troops were being sexually abused in astronomical numbers in the military, although there’s always the question of definition in these matters nowadays. I had noted that if so, then – presuming that ‘abuse’ meant serious assault and harm – it meant that either a whole lot of the ‘heroes’ over there were rampant sex-offenders or that there were a couple-three stupendously busy ‘bad apples’.

This past Spring the emphasis changed: women in the military were in general being abused in crisis numbers, but suddenly there was no focus on the combat zones.

The alert citizen might then have presumed that there would be a lull until the next Spring ‘awareness’ cycle, but – alas – this is an election year. And everybody knows what that means.

Ms. Hogg of the Women’s Media Awareness Center ‘reports’ that – the title says it all – “Military Women Ready to Rock the Boat”, an article dated July 18th. The military is failing in its promises to “the young, the poor, the single mothers” who joined up as a last resort to obtain “adequate housing, health care, and jobs”.

Well, here we go again. Another Israeli gambit, whereby a bad idea is introduced for political reasons, the consequences predictably are not at all good, and another 'crisis' is declared to solve the bad-consequences of the initial bad plan. And if you call attention to that, then you are a 'hater' and 'shrill' and fill-in-the-blank.

In this case, with the assistance of the Democratic Party and all the markers it could call in, those stalwart resolutes of the soviet Second Wave three decades ago deconstructed 'marriage' and 'family' on the basis of their hugely dubious assumption that those things were bad for 'women'. Whether such structures were of any value to society, and whether the deconstruction of said structures would have a bad effect on society ... these were not questions for the mothers of the revolution; after all, their revolution was a world-historical event, not to be sidetracked by the nitterings and natterings of any single 'country', especially one run by 'men'. Recall that at this time in US history there was still a Soviet Union out there and people were still laughing at Lenin and his whacked-out ideas of world revolution.

Now it appears that the drive to put women in the military was not at all to 'civilize' or 'sensitize' the military by de-machoizing it. It was simply a necessary revolutionary ploy to find employment for all of the young women - most of whom would not have read the mothers or heard them speak over the click of plastic chardonnay glasses on this or that bosky campus - who would, in a '70s version of the '60s, simply say I-shall-go-for-it, leave home, have kids without husband or marriage, and then start looking for a job. And all this at a time when US economic and industrial primacy was clearly starting to decline relative to the rest of the world and the country was obviously going to be hard-put just to provide jobs for the workers it already had.

Of course, maybe the reduction of the US labor force into a short-order peasantry was part of the foreseen consequences. If there were going to be far fewer jobs, then the revolution's solution might well have been: halve the salaries and benefits in order to accommodate the doubling of the workforce necessary to provide 'our' side with jobs. Neat. Shrewd. And who could lose? Lotsa young women trying to raise kids while holding down a job as a waitress or a barrista? Lotsa industrial blue-collars? The whole American enconomy? The whole American society?

Collateral damage. Because hey - the mothers were revolutionaries, not omniscient gods (.. goddesses?) and where would the Russian people be if Lenin had gotten out of bed that last morning before Red October and said Hang on, let's think this through one more time ... ? So scads of young women, under the gimlet-eyed tutelage of those-who-wear-sensible-combat-boots, headed for sea, field, and sky. It is a subject worthy of future historians; of that there can be no doubt.

Well, the military is failing in a lot of things these days, especially – not to put too fine a point on it – in winning the two current large-scale combat operations not-quite-accurately termed ‘war’ but hardly an 'occupation'. But it should come as a surprise to nobody who read the manifestos a few decades back that ‘the war’ can only be a mere historical accident compared to the long-term, supra-national objectives of ‘the revolution’.

In the eyes of the revolution, women – like the world’s ‘workers’ before them – are citizens of no nation, but rather constitute an international class whose loyalty must be to no merely national entity.

Nonetheless, the military having spent the past couple of decades twisting itself into a pretzel trying to make room for the demands of the 2nd-Wave, it is now being taken to task for having the effrontery to distract itself from their ‘concerns’ by losing a war on two fronts (and if the balloon goes up over Iran .. then three fronts).

This cannot stand, says the author. She shrewdly acknowledges that “for the military” a lot is riding on the election, “with two occupations taking place simultaneously … and a third waiting in the wings.” Clearly – and this is giving her the benefit of the doubt – she purposely understates the critical situation the military is currently in by referring to Iraq and Afghanistan as “occupations”; they are hot-war, surround-fire, 4th generation warfare frakfests. And for her to toss off that Iran might be a third such “occupation” undermines either her reportorial integrity or her competence in military affairs, or both: if the balloon goes up over Iran the US military on the ground in Iraq, virtually the entire field force of the Army and sizable chunks of the National Guard and the Marine Corps – will be in a position only marginally better than Custer’s on that last afternoon.

But women “risk being forced into silence lest the boat capsize”. Surely, a measly war should not be allowed to stand in the path of the revolution, comrade sisters!

And then she tries to trump any possible argument about the validity of her position with one of the old 2nd-Wave ploys: “But if [the boat] is that close to going under, isn’t it time for a better boat?” Tee-hee, zang, gotcha, trump – that sort of thing, delivered with a bright, perky, winsome, in-ya-face toss of the head. This is what passes for ‘logic’ among the cadres of the revolution. But it’s not rocket science to know that the time for pulling apart the hull and building a better boat is exactly not when you are in danger of capsizing; it’s when you get back to port, God grant that you do. For the moment, one is advised precisely not to start ripping out watertight bulkheads and other ‘obstructions’.

A horror story about a female soldier shot by a male soldier “who had a record of three previous assaults against her”. A random homicidal maniac? A ‘relationship’ gone bad? The author – shrewdly, again, I think – doesn’t say. Because that would open up the whole question of whether it was ever wise to place young males and females in the same units, and then putting those units in the front line (or in Iraq, where everywhere is the front line). And the mothers of the revolution don’t want that to get discussed. They went to great lengths precisely to manage things so that it wasn’t discussed.

Why do we have mixed-gender units? Without raising the whole women-in-the-military thing at the moment, why not simply have same gender units and deftly sidestep all of the problems associated with young people of both sexes together under the incredibly stressful and intimate conditions of hot war?

And it would be a hell of a lot easier on commanders who must not only lead but provide for the units. Is it true that once a year all women in the military have to be gotten to a medical facility advanced enough to perform mammograms? On top of ferrying pols and ‘contractors’ around, are what available transport resources the military has being tasked with moving all deployed females back and forth to mammography exams? And a single-gender unit would be easier to supply, with such special items as might be needed.

Because on top of everything else, We are now facing the prospect of the ‘Israeli Outcome’: embarked on a gambit that from the get-go was almost guaranteed to remain insoluble. But I’ll go further and say that the mothers of the revolution purposely deployed the ‘Israeli Gambit’: knowing that what you’ve started will not only be insoluble but will continue to generate increasingly bad outcomes as it goes on, you plan to capitalize on those bad outcomes to keep you in business for the rest of … Time, perhaps.

The only losers? Lotsa young women who - driven or even addled by anxiety or 'dreams' have signed up for the military jobs-and-education program, not really imagining they would wind up in a shooting war. Lotsa young guys who find themselves distracted by sexual tension when they need every ounce of attention they can muster to handle the losing end of 4th Generation Warfare. A military distracted by utterly preventable problems when it's fighting (and not-winning) wars on two and perhaps soon three fronts. But - to opine as the mothers of the revolution - a few eggs must be broken to make the revolution's omelette. Da! Ja! Yah.

This type of tactics has not worked well for those who have deployed them. The consequences of these tactics will burden a military already burdened with the modern problems of bureaucracy and the corrosive effects of the military-industrial complex, to say nothing of a national economy that is starting to give way. And the two un-won wars. And maybe the third on the way.

Nor can it be ignored that ‘women’ are well represented in the sad parade of senior military personnel who have helped things spiral downward: the Army Medical Corps general officer who oversaw the repugnant neglect of wounded vets at Walter Reed, the Army JAG – one Lt. Col. Beaver – who played the game and went along with her field commander’s urge to commence torture. And the female officer Jane Mayer refers to in "The Battle for a Country's Soul" on Truthout (July 15th) "who pushed to have Khaled el-Masri imprisoned after his mistaken rendition" and was then "promoted to a top post handling sensitive matters in the Middle East". And we'll leave Condoleeza Rice's fatuous but tenacious enabling out of it since she's not in the military, although a poster-person for the Second Wave's success.

Whatever reason there was for all the ‘change’, infusing the military with more relational integrity or sensitivity or whatever it was that women theoretically have and men don’t that would lead the military into broad sunlit uplands of mature war-fighting like they do it on Picard’s ‘Enterprise’… that hasn’t paid off at all. The tires should have been kicked before it all got started, but that was precisely what the mothers of the revolution fought successfully to prevent.

Amazingly, the author then goes on to note that “forty percent (39) of those [97 females dead in Iraq] are attributed to non-combat related injuries”, and from that spin a coy implication that those numbers do not reflect suicides caused back in the States from sexual assault by male troops, and that god-knows-how-many of those 39 deaths were “murders” perpetrated by male troops.

“One begins to understand”, she continues in the accents of grave maturity, “why some women in Iraq –marked as targets by both their uniform and their womanhood – carry weapons for protection against fellow service members.” OK. If that’s true, if in the middle of a losing war with no front and an almost unidentifiable but effective enemy … if on top of all that our forces are now also split in such a way that Our female troops are prepared to fire on Our male troops, well then, something is very wrong. And more Political Correctness, more sex-awareness classes, more unit ‘advocates’ and more 'appropriateness' lectures are not the solution.

And of course if all of this 'report' is not true, if this is just a tad of feminist hyperbole designed to spackle up the faithful, well ... a lot of those desperate faithful will take it as real and as an option, just as they did all the previous hyperbole (to use the most charitable description) of the past thirty-plus years.

And if Our legislators have been lying to Us and not reading the bills before voting on them and not really giving a crap whether the laws they're passing are good for Our common weal or not, well it appears that they got the idea from the mothers of the revolution, who - taking their cue from Lenin and Goebbels - realized that the people don't need to be told the truth; they just need to be herded in the correct direction. Yah.

Put the females into separate units where sex isn’t a danger or a distraction (well … ummm … presuming no threat to the women from the artistes-who-formerly-wore-sensible-shoes). Good lord, We are starting to run into the same problems the German Army did in the Ukraine: Party political doctrine refused to permit the clearly effective and very necessary action required to achieve operational success.

No wonder the Democrats are so edgy about being accused of being ‘soft on defense’. In the pursuit of votes, they raised up the 2nd-Wave feminists as an Identity with carte-blanche to demand its way to an agenda whose ‘success’ was clearly riddled with conceptual inconsistencies and potential consequences that any grade-school teacher could have pointed out.

The job of the military is not to be a ‘laboratory for social engineering’, one knowledgeable participant noted two decades ago. In those heady days with the USSR coming to the end of its far-too-extended run, he probably figured it would be considered purely rhetorical to add the next point: that the job of a military is to focus itself without distraction on the ability to win the wars it is ordered to fight.

Well, here We are. Troops uncertain of the reliability of their own colleagues, distracted not simply by the concern of getting slapped with a sex-charge, but actually distracted to the point of being ready to shoot or be shot by other service-members. And all of that before you start factoring in ... umm, the enemy. I don’t think that even Bin Laden, as shrewd as he might be, could ever have imagined a success like this.

The article is right though: things need to get better. Right now. And planning further initiatives to neutralize the perennial birds-and-bees elements of human relations, to cauterize the messier elements of sexual attraction, is not going to have any immediate traction. Uncle Sam looks foolish enough now without actually wading out into the surf and trying to command the tides like King Canute.

Separate the genders, and get on with the war. It is – is it not? – the primary concern. And it is not going well.

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