Monday, February 09, 2009

HOMELESS FEMALE VETS

Alternet runs an article about the increasing number of female vets now ‘homeless’.

The problem of vets whose lives and selves have been seriously deranged by the experience of the sustained Fourth Generation Warfare and urban occupation that is Iraq is a very real one.

Psychological symptoms of PTSD – if not MBTI – are visible, on top of the myriad of factors that create civilian ‘homelessness’, that catch-all classification. But there is most likely a moral or spiritual derangement as well , created by the type of activities required of an actively-opposed occupation army in urban or inhabited areas; and this set of dynamics will interact with the psychological and physical systems of every soldier, and create a lethal feedback loop. Nor can any of this be deemed ‘unforseeable’.

For the troops, We must do everything that can be done – although just how to therapeutically address such a concatenation of syndromal dynamics is and will continue to be a clinical nightmare.

And as I said in the Post “Purple Hearts” a couple of days ago, the particular emotional constitution of the average female is probably a vital element in the problem. (I won’t get into the almost Soviet-style doctrinal mish-mash as to whether ‘women’ are or are not ‘different’, bequeathed to Us by the Second Wave’s decades-long political strategies and the conceptual lucubrations of subsequent ‘Waves’, Wave-lets, sub-Waves, and anti-Waves.)

But what is starting to show up now in Afghanistan adds another layer of complication, as Our ongoing military misadventures bring that Feminism into closer and closer contact with stern, un-spinnable realities (perhaps even Reality). From the beginning it has been an unshakeable strategic principle of Feminism that ‘reality’ as commonly understood must not be allowed to trump ‘the dream’, which the Advocacy has always insisted is the ‘true reality’ that merely needs to be released from the millennia-long death-grip of ‘patriarchy’ and its fake and oppressive ‘reality’.

That Bubble could be sustained back in the heady late-80s and 1990s when it looked like ‘war’ was going to become a ‘Star Trek: Next Generation’ sort of affair, with Marriott-suite ‘warships’, lots of button-pressing and staring at computer screens, and the occasional ‘field experience’ of ‘beaming down’ to the ground without lifting a leg and walking around in your ‘shipboard uniform’ holding a light weapon that resembled nothing so much as a TV remote and an instantaneous communications-device that looked like a small Blackberry.

And where busty blondes could be brilliant military experts, able to best any male opponent (of any species encountered in the further reaches of space) in mano-a-mano combat, while wearing tight, spandex suits. I can’t help but believing that such imagery supported the long-waltz of the Second Wave into the military, and was accepted by erstwhile ‘serious’ legislators and heavy-hitting pols.

Afghanistan has brought back into American experience an older, an ancient, reality. Thin, perhaps-single-file gaggles of troops, threading their way over mountainous paths and tracks, heavily laden with equipment and supplies in thin mountain air, in a country where timely re-supply is never assured, and the possibility of ambush or hostile fire casting a pall of foreboding and unremitting alertness over everyone in the unit.

Not even a healthy male, young and in shape, can ‘hump’ so much of a load under such conditions and still be ready to engage in combat operations simultaneously. It’s like the old early-1950s TV show about the ‘Texas Rangers’, where the patrol car, for maximum readiness out in the rough Texas back-country, had to pull along a two-horse trailer containing their mounts; the unit could not then pursue baddies making their speedy escape in cars or trucks not so encumbered.

The psychological pressures are thus added to the physical pressures.

And then you must factor in the fact that females – as a rule, and excepting the rare lesbian-on-steroids – are, by general scientific consensus, demonstrated to be less-endowed for carrying and lifting heavy loads. If the males have started suffering various disabling back-injuries simply from this type of sustained exertion, then it can be expected that the females will suffer even more such injuries, and with even worse consequences to their physical health.

This is a reality that the Advocacy did not want anyone to think about; not, at least, until they had established such a female presence in, and perhaps control of, the military so that such a reality and its consequences could be finessed away.

But events have overtaken the Plan. Or outrun it. (Can you say ‘Iraq’?)

The Navy has been finessing in this whole area for quite some time. In the first Gulf War, its medical officers were not to keep records of shipboard pregnancies, for fear that such information would undermine public support for – or more often acquiescence in – the expanding required intermixture of females and males on the same ships at sea. Later, reflecting that ‘upper body strength’ problem, Navy procedures no longer called for ‘two seamen’ to carry a stretcher with an injured crewman to the sickbay, but rather ‘four sailors’ – which, while a Politically Correct solution, does nothing for combat efficiency, effectively doubling the number of crewmen taken from their battle-station duties in an emergency or combat situation.

All the Services – the Marines fighting the bitterest rear-guard action – have had to adopt a preferential Physical Fitness Test specifically for females, so that the inevitable shortcomings of the females’ brute physical endowment would not create a glaring ‘fact’ that was “unacceptable” to the Advocacy and its political panderers. War, after all, would no longer be ‘brutish’ and ‘male’, so what was not to like? Objections were simply ‘misogynist’, ‘old boy’, and ‘patriarchal’. The ‘revolution’ would put an end to that.

Now comes Afghanistan. And wherever else the US military might find itself operating in the future, the chances that its military and naval members will simply stride down red-carpets in freshly-pressed dress uniforms to receive the respectful and cheering plaudits of foreign dignitaries and crowds … those chances are gone, baby, gone.

Ships are going to be going into harm’s way – the old fashioned kind. Troops are going to be slogging along in remote and torturous terrain under less-than-friendly eyes. Look up those old newsreels of the World Wars and Korea and Vietnam. This will not be the Second Wave’s kind of military operation: It had been expecting that the next generation of military ops would be, as noted, ‘Star Trek’.

We are approaching the situation faced by the Soviets in Finland and the Wehrmacht in Russia: the Bubble of the Politically Correct Doctrine is wrecking the actual military operations. And the troops, now as then, pay in blood and pain. And death.

With so much else gone wrong, with so many other Bubbles in so many areas now bursting, it can seem unimaginative to ask How many mistakes in how many areas of national undertaking will We allow to continue? But this particular Bubble is killing and maiming right now, and has been, I’m going to imagine, for some time. ‘The troops’ are paying, in a more bitter and brutal coin than ‘asset deflation’ and ‘lifestyle constriction’.

They are there obedient to Our word. What say We now?

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