« Supporting the Troops | Main | Supply Lines »

September 15, 2007

Comments

On the plus side, Alan Keyes is running for President again!

Truly, the Republicans are blessed by the quality of their field.

You really expect "these people" not to hide behind the troops anymore? They have been doing it since 2003, why quit now? It is the safest argument.

The Iraq war is not now (and I claim it has never been) about who wins "over there", but about who "wins" over here. GOPers like Boehner don't care whether the Shia or the Sunni end up ruling Iraq, so long as they can spin the outcome as proof that a Republican president achieved "victory" -- or better yet, brought victory close enough that the US must elect another Republican president to finish the job. Oh, and make sure the "death tax" is permanently repealed. It's a package deal.

-- TP

I'd like to sneak into the tanning salon Boehner patronizes and turn the dial up and lock his booth from the outside.

Now really, ladies and gentleman, forget the civilized pistols at dawn. Put me on the show with Boehner or any of the other Republican leadership or their mouthpieces in the media or the blogging world and watch what happens when they repeat these filthy insults they've memorized for the Fall sweeps week.

Wolf Blitzer and his notepad over keester, me across the table, and Boehner simultaneously wondering why his windpipe is closed and how it is that his various sphincters have lost their functional tone.

I don't appear particularly imposing but my grandsmother on my father's side was wiry.

Reportedly, Alan Greenspan states in his new book that the growing income and standard of living gulf between the rich and the poor in the United States could lead to massive social instability and violence, although it's beyond me what exactly an Ayn Rand devotee expected from the virtues of selfishness.

That won't be the only grievance.

Now, in case some believe I am threatening violence, please know that folks in leadership positions in a government continually repeating the slur through the media megaphones of wanting the defeat of our troops and victory for the terrorists IS an implicit threat of violence against me and the many others who hold perfectly legitimate views on this war.

The Blue Meanies slurred the Jews as wanting the worst for the Aryan race from the mid-1920s on; the violence in Bosnia was preceded by a concerted media campaign from inside the government against certain groups;
need I mention Hutus and Tutsis.

Now I know (of course I know, whaddya think, I'm an idiot) that the rank and file Republican in this country doesn't go along with Boehner's words.

So, if anyone who is nominally Republican has the time, you might want to call your Republican Representative or Senator and request very politely and diplomatically, that they shut the kingfanuck up before they even think about uttering this slur.

Enough.

Rep. Boehner, with his Bob Dole tan and his fluorescent ties, is not the brightest bulb in the House. But he is onto something that I have to concede.

When the US invaded Iraq, its purpose was unequivocally imperialist, as the rest of the world and many in the US recognized. So, while only a sociopath could wish to see innocent soldiers and civilians die, many people myself included, hoped from the outset that this act of agression would fail. For the safety of the world. I did then and I do now. And fail it has.

But that is a matter separate from the refugee situation, the need for reparations among the Iraquis, and the grave concern that the aftermath of our aggression somehow be quelled, or at least not spread to the rest of the region. And we need to plan for the complete withdrawal of US forces from the country - including those perpetual looking airbases.

The reason that the GOP engages in this "to criticize policy is to support the terrorists" BS is that it's so transparently obvious that we're fighting a counterproductive war of choice.

If we were actually in the existential struggle they pretend we're in, there wouldn't be so much criticism. They can't win an argument on the merits, so they seek out distractions like the MoveOn ad, and say things like Boehner's secretary says here.

The question to me is, do they believe it, or do they realize they can't win an argument about the strategic grounding for what we're doing, and they're just saying these things to "fool the rubes," as Boehner might describe it?

i think i agree with John Cole's take on this: that Boehner phrased things terribly but is merely saying that the cost of dealing with the consequences of not doing [whatever] would make the cost of doing [whatever] seem small. but, that the GOP in general deserves everything it can get for stuff like this...

Spinning off what cleek pointed out above, in some ways I can't disagree with everything Boehner said.

Afterall, IF the ME turned into a democratic paradise and IF al Qaeda was totally destroyed along with all terrorist groups in the world and IF all of this could be traced directly to our intervention in Iraq, then the price would be small.

For anything less, however, such as an Islamic theocracy in Iraq, continued killing in Israel, Palastine, Lebanon, etc, or the continued existence of a single al Qaeda cell, it wouldn't be.

So, Boehner is right, but only under the terms as I have put them.

Democrats are no better. Unfortunately it took segregationist Governor Wallace to reveal the truth that "there's not a dime's worth of difference between" Republicans and Democrats. The Democrats willingly went along with the War in Iraq, suspension of Habeas Corpus, detaining protestors, banning books like Spam, spam, spam, spam spam! from Amazon, stealing private lands (Kelo decision), warrant-less wiretapping and refusing to investigate 9/11 properly. They are both guilty of treason.
Support Dr. Ron Paul and save this great country.

next time i hear about that fncking America Deceived book, someone's gonna get a beating.

$3 Billion a week isn’t that much. We make $57 Billion in empty promises to future social programs each week.

Hil, you and the rest who agree with you have it all wrong. Boehner isn't saying the price that our soldiers (and others) have paid is small. He's saying that the future price would be so much greater if al Qaeda is NOT stopped where it is AND if the ME is not stabilized. He was talking in relative terms.

America Deceived (book)

Oh my God, the stupid, it burns, it burns!

Charles Bird: He's saying that the future price would be so much greater if al Qaeda is NOT stopped where it is AND if the ME is not stabilized.

I agree.

Obviously, as a soundbite, that was the kind of thing that would have the US media attacking him non-stop if he were a Democrat; and obviously, when he claims that the "investment" - the lives lost, the mutilated and disabled survivors, the material costs - is being made to stabilize the Middle East and stop al-Qaeda, he is talking crap.

But yes, I agree with Charles Bird: it's clear what he meant was that (given he supposedly believes the US can still win in Iraq) the lives lost would be comparitively a small price given the long-term effect of not stabilizing the Middle East and not stopping al-Qaeda.

But as no one with any sense could possibly think that the US military is or can "win" in Iraq, or believe that the US occupation of Iraq will ever lead to stability in the Middle East, Boehner - speaking from Baghdad - is either a senseless asshole spewing crap out of his mouth, or a creepy traitor to his country who wants to let Bush have his war in Iraq till the end of his Presidency. Pick one. Possibly both.

But the remark itself: yes, I agree with Charles's interpretation.

Boehner said "investment". He is _obviously_ addressing that part of the question which pertained to the monetary cost. Only a very stupid or very dishonest person could pretend that he was talking about troop casualties.

Sheesh.

But we have invested a lot of person-years in iraq, not even counting the casualties.

And that's definitely an expenditure, not like we were sending them to work and take time off at the beaches of Rio.

In every US war or occupation or even basing I've ever heard of, our soldiers have brought back a fair number of wives from the countries we sent troops to. That's part of the reason we have so many vietnamese and koreans and filipinos in this country. During and after WWII our soldiers married a fair number of french and german and italian and japanese women. But I haven't heard of that from iraq -- maybe my lit search has been inadequate? I've heard only of one instance, a lebanese-american who married an iraqi woman and went AWOL, who was suspected of defecting.

In every other war our soldiers have had lots of prostitutes. In this war I've heard of no instances of that. It might be censorship? I've heard only one possible suspicious incident, where a bunch of US troops were in a building and some of them weren't wearing armor, and a mine went off. People were asking how it happened and the officers announced that it was a building that was used as some sort of part-time base. It *could* have been an iraqi whorehouse that got bombed, though there's no shred of evidence apart from our guys being so unusually unarmored. Beyond that I've heard nothing. Nothing about iraqi prostitutes being killed for consorting with americans, nothing at all.

The implication is that our troops are having to make do entirely with the 15% female US troops. A lot of them are doing without women for months at a time. And yet there are some milbloggers who say that the military results are worth it!

Certainly we're investing lives in this venture. The hope is that it will pay off so well that all the years our soldiers are spending in that heat -- shooting people, blowing things up, maintaining inventory, moving supplies, painting schools, not having sex -- will be more than worth it.

And we dearly hate to cut our losses. I'm even that way about stocks. I buy a stock, it goes down and looks like it's going to keep going down -- instead of selling at a 50% loss I'm likely to keep it until it goes bankrupt. Once I had a goldmining stock -- they owned a whole lot of gold but there was a question how soon they could take it out of the ground -- and it went down and down. Then it had a reverse split so it could stay listed, and my hundred shares were about to become 50 which I'd pay a premium to sell, and I actually bought an extra 100 shares at 1/16. I lucked out, after 3 years they got bought by another company and I more than doubled my money. But it cost me 3 years of owning the stock, feeling like a chump.

There's always the chance that we could sell off our iraq investment. Maybe to a multinational force, or maybe the chinese army would take it on. We might come out of this with a profit after all.

Boehner said "investment". He is _obviously_ addressing that part of the question which pertained to the monetary cost. Only a very stupid or very dishonest person could pretend that he was talking about troop casualties.

You want to give him the benefit of the doubt as a humane person. But he's arguing for continuing the occupation. So there's no reason to give him the benefit of the doubt on that.

Oh, investment includes "human resources"* too, not just money. And lives are convertible to money (though natives and soldiers have a very bad exchange rate**)

*German: Humankapital
**only from the victim's point of view of course.

J Thomas: The implication is that our troops are having to make do entirely with the 15% female US troops.

The implication of that sentence is that for you "our troops" are all straight men, and that the "female US troops" are not only not "our troops", they exist as a kind of sexual resource for "our troops". Of course many US soldiers appear to feel that they can and will "make do" with Americans when Iraqis are not made available. Perhaps that's what you were thinking of.

Jes, yes, those were precisely the implications I intended. I'm sure women soldiers know what they're getting into now before they get past being recruits. "Either you're a bitch or you're a whore."

Go to iraq with the US army and you'll spend one whole year surrounded by sex-starved young men who vary widely in social skills. All armed. You need to be either real real tough or ready to accept what comes.

There aren't nearly enough such women to ease the tensions. This is one of the costs we're paying.

Jes, yes, those were precisely the implications I intended.

Should have known. I assumed that you'd apologize (or express regret, at least) for implying that women are not really soldiers but exist as whores for real soldiers, but typically, you actually meant that women who are recruited as soldiers exist for the sexual use of the "real" soldiers.

Yuck. *wipes fingers*

Not a shock. Chicken hawks without any real skin in the game find it easy to overlook the human cots of war. That he could so easily overlook the financial costs further confirms the lack of fiscal discipline modern republicans have. Pathetic.

"Boehner said 'investment'. He is obviously addressing that part of the question which pertains to the monetary cost. Only a very stupid or very dishonest person could pretend that he was talking about troop casualties."

Right.

But why does Boehner hire this stupid, dishonest person, Jennifer Towhey, to serve as his spokesperson?

Investment.

I'm just now learning the language. I'll refer from now on to however many civilian Iraqis have had their options expire as "collateral investments".

Maybe we could bundle these investments together and sell them back to the Iraqis as a way of offloading our investment risk.

I'm glad I've attended this investment seminar. It gives me a fresh appreciation for how the global economy works. My pallet of U.S. currency is offloaded on to the tarmac in Baghdad where it is forklifted to undisclosed locations and converted to bullets, which end up neatly arrayed in Patrick Tillman's forehead, all of which is then newly issued as pious rhetoric to feed the folks back home.

If we invade Egypt, may I call the venture a "pyramid scheme"?

Jes, I don't consider it my place to apologise for the behavior of our male troops. I'm not one of them, I didn't train them, etc.

It's hard to get good information but it really sounds like there isn't a whorehouse in iraq where it's safe for our brave troops to take off their body armor, and it isn't safe to bring iraqi women on base except as prisoners, and tne brave contractors aren't sending many women either. When the male troops are limited to their own comrades that puts a lot of pressure on the women troops.

We need to either sstablish much better relations with the iraqis so that we can get far more fraternization with the locals, or we need to get out of there.

15 months is far too long.

Again, I don't in any way applaud things being as they are, I don't want to encourage it, etc. I'm just pointing it out. It sounds to me like you're blaming me for not supporting the women, just like the wingnuts blame me for not supporting the troops.

I'm just now learning the language. I'll refer from now on to however many civilian Iraqis have had their options expire as "collateral investments".

Maybe we could bundle these investments together and sell them back to the Iraqis as a way of offloading our investment risk.

Jeebus that's awesome.

Random observations on the troop/sex angle:

Hilzoy wrote a post not long ago regarding Iraqi women prostituting themselves. There was followup with links and references in comments addressing the fact that American and foreign contractors know precisely where to procure these services.

Yet another benefit of privatization, I'd say snarkaliciously, were I a smart aleck.

Presumably, some of the 15% of our troops who are female suffer from horniness, too, and "make do" with the 85% of the troops who identify as the male persuasion.

In the Philippines, a luxuriant prostitution trade surrounded our former bases. I read a long time ago, too, that Filipina prostitutes are flown into Saudi Arabia and housed in burkha-free compounds for the benefit of the men, who, like all men of upstanding moral and religious values who have accidentally instituted a system that deprives them of frequent sex, find loopholes.

In the old west on the U.S. frontier, first came the male labor force, then came the prostitutes, then came the holy rollers to redeem the male labor force and the prostitutes, then came more prostitutes to service the holy rollers, who had a lot of time on their hands during the day when the male labor force was laboring.

Then was born the 24-hour global workday for prostitution. It was a great coming together of mutual interests, a daisy chain of that good old productivity when men were men and women were women, and children were accidents and output outraced input because unions didn't exist and nobody got paid enough to put a crimp in the owner's profitutes.

John Thullen, you're a National Treasure.

I have to side with Jes here, on the really creepy, what Iraq needs is more exploitation of local women by the occupiers. Plenty of people go 15 months without sex, it doesn't kill you. Given the general conditions of third world prostitution, and, by "prostitution" I mean rape: the fact that their isn't much of it going on, is probably one of the few good things about this occupation compared to others.

We need to either sstablish much better relations with the iraqis so that we can get far more fraternization with the locals, or we need to get out of there.

Or recruit a lot more homosexuals, or let the straight guys engage in a little situational homosexuality without repercussion, or set aside a lot of jerkoff time for the guys. Or they can behave like, you know, adults for 15 frickin' months.

J Thomas: It's hard to get good information but it really sounds like there isn't a whorehouse in iraq where it's safe for our brave troops to take off their body armor, and it isn't safe to bring iraqi women on base except as prisoners, and tne brave contractors aren't sending many women either. When the male troops are limited to their own comrades that puts a lot of pressure on the women troops.

No man with the use of both his hands needs to be celibate. No one should be a soldier who doesn't have the use of both his hands. That men believe they're entitled to sex is an issue: that women are raped as a result, without penalty to the men who commit rape, is... well, I would say it's a stain on the US military, but the US military is already so stained I am unsure anyone would notice.#

I'll look back for Hilzoy's article. What I remember is prostitution of iraqi refugees in syria, where there are enough of them to strain the economy and not a lot of legitimate jobs.

As for people who say it's perfectly fine to deny our male soldiers access to friendly women for a year or 15 months at a time, to extend a useless occupation -- I can only conclude that you don't support the troops.

As for people who say it's perfectly fine to deny our male soldiers access to friendly women for a year or 15 months at a time, to extend a useless occupation -- I can only conclude that you don't support the troops.

Damn right I don't support any man, inside or outside of the army, who thinks it's his right to have "access" to women. Women are not slot machines. If you think that affirming the humanity of women means that you are not "supporting the troops", I cannot say what I think of you without violating the posting rules.

"Plenty of people go 15 months without sex, it doesn't kill you."

As any married couple can attest.

"Or recruit a lot more homosexuals, .....", etc.

Whatever happened to the concept of the court eunuchs? Oh yeah, they are all busy being moderate Republicans. Read on, I get the Democrats, too.

"or they can behave like 'fricken' adults for 15 months."

Well, I agree, but we have roughly two choices, generally speaking, when we recruit soldiers. Recruit them as young as possible and its easier to train them to kill but more difficult to train them not to screw. Or, wait until they are truly adults, and forfeit the enthusiasm for killing but be thankful for the discipline they display in keeping their hands off the local women, if you're lucky.

"no man with both hands needs to be celibate."

Yes, but every celibate man needs two hands and an extensive video collection. Life turns out to be just like high school. I would rephrase this as "Every man needs a hand up and a handout." ;)

To continue in a previous vein upthread .......

..... then came the conservative political strategists who brought the holy rollers and the prostitutes together and formed the modern Republican Party, and then came the Democratic political strategists who looked upon what had been successfully wrought and said "hey, wait a minute, why do you guys get all the prostitutes?", and then came the investment bankers and the consultants who lay with the prostitutes and determined that if you laid off half the prostitutes and made the other half put out more, you could increase output with lower overhead (to coin a phrase), and thus rationalize the industry and increase profits for shareholders, which along with the laughing curve would cause a trickle down effect, which is why health inspectors finally closed down the joint, which made everyone unhappy and caused Ronald Reagan to run on a platform of less regulation, more unpaid overtime, and more sex within marriage in a shining hammock on Blueberry Hill, and tough luck for everyone else.

This is all my way of saying that I'm against prostitution and its depredations, including rape, and that I'm against this stupid, senseless war because it would give us all more time to enjoy consensual sex without having to remove body armor, and that I'm against two-handed celibacy, especially for our troops who lose both hands to roadside explosions.

Masturbation Not War.

Someone should print 50 000 t-shirts and send them out to Iraq. Now that's supporting the troops...

Jes, I am certain that you are reading things into my words that are not there. But this is probably not the time to resolve it. Maybe next time it happens, or time after that, or time after that one. I'm tired of it just now.

J Thomas: I am certain that you are reading things into my words that are not there.

Fine: I'll take that as an apology and a retraction of everything you've said in this thread. Next time, perhaps you could just refrain from defining female soldiers as prostitutes and arguing that male soldiers deserve access to prostitutes.

Women are not slot machines.

...
well, I'm disciplined enough to stifle.

J, I was reading that the same way Jes was, so if you weren't trying to be extremely offensive you failed.

You make it difficult for me not to respond but I'm almost managing it.

You misread me, or I was unclear, I believe what I was saying was orthogonal to the ways you are predisposed to think.

Do you want to continue?

Actually, I think John Thullen is an international, or perhaps interplanetary, treasure.

I agree with Jesurgislac and Asteele here that J Thomas either has views I strongly disagree with or that he words his posts in a highly misinterpretable way.
Nonetheless there is a problem with mixed forces. The "theoretical availability" of women (willing or not) traditionally causes trouble that is mostly absent when no women are "at hand" at all*. That is in no way the women's fault. The only way to prevent that is either very harsh discipline against male disbehaviour ot to hire the service of professional** sex workers.
The trouble is that the US army abroad does neither and that officers even participate in the abuse of women.

*think war in deserted areas or longtime operations at sea.
**i.e. voluntary, not last resort or coerced women.

Hartmut, I was saying that. I don't see why this is a hard concept.

Also, suppose we did send only male soldiers and the iraqis successfully kept their women out of sight and out of reach. Having the troops spend a year at a time away from any friendly women ought to be seen as a significant cost. Sure, they can masturbate. It's still a significant cost, one of the punishments that prison delivers. I don't see why this is a hard concept either.

Hilzoy: Actually, I think John Thullen is an international, or perhaps interplanetary, treasure.

Absolutely. He should be listed as one of Earth's Global Treasures.

Hartmut: The only way to prevent that is either very harsh discipline against male disbehaviour ot to hire the service of professional** sex workers.

Which latter is generally just exporting the problem.

J Thomas: Sure, they can masturbate. It's still a significant cost, one of the punishments that prison delivers. I don't see why this is a hard concept either.

Because men are not entitled to sex with another person. True, the patriarchal society we live in says that men are entitled to sex with someone else, and that not having another person to have sex with is therefore "a significant cost" or "a punishment" and that men are bygod entitled to buy access to a woman who will pretend she wants sex with him, but in fact, it's not. If there's no one around who wants to have sex with you, you have sex with yourself or you do without sex - it's that simple. Not a deprivation or a punishment. Prostitution may be a timehonored way by which men evade the consequences of not making themselves desirable/attractive enough for potential partners, but to argue that it's essential to men is to argue that it's an obligation for women. Hell no.

And though this thread has been 'jacked from its original topic, um, isn't it kind of suitable that a thread discussing "Republican party leadership" has turned into a discussion of male sexual habits/prostitution?

Jes, depriving men of the *opportunity* to find interested women is a punishment for them. If they fail to find anyone who's interested given the opportunity, that's their own problem.

But men in prison have no possibility of finding a compatible woman. And likewise men in an army with not enough women, where too many of the women present are choosy (which is OK for the men they choose), and whre it's downright dangerous to meet local women.

Most places our army goes, a fair number of soldiers learn the local language from girlfriends. That isn't happening to a significant extent in iraq.

Similarly, a man in prison who's denied gainful employment has a significant opportunity cost from that. Our reservists have their careers on hold for a year at a time or more, which is another big cost to them personally, although I suppose that since we don't have a labor shortage whatever their careers lose other people's careers gain.

If you want to say these aren't costs of the occupation I guess you can. There are plenty of other costs to count. I'm a little bit baffled by your attitude.

Did it seem to you that I was saying men deserve to have women to have sex with, whether any women are actually interested or not? I'd consider that an incredibly stupid thing to say. You don't know me so I wouldn't be offended if you assumed I was being that stupid.

It seems to me more that men deserve the opportunity to create a chance to meet women who might like them. Like, I once had a job offer on Kwajalein atoll. It was interesting work and it paid well, but the nearest women were islanders 300 miles away and the first vacation time was after 50 weeks. I didn't have a girlfriend at that particular moment but I wasn't ready to take that job. It wasn't that I felt like life owed me a woman who'd marry me and raise a family and all that, but I wasn't ready to eliminate the possibility for a whole year.

Opportunity cost.

Jes, depriving men of the *opportunity* to find interested women is a punishment for them.

Only if you regard "the opportunity to find interested women" as a basic human right.

Even if you do, you can't argue that male US soldiers in Iraq don't have the opportunity - it's just they're in a situation which is demographically against them.

And likewise men in an army with not enough women, where too many of the women present are choosy (which is OK for the men they choose)

Why would any man have a problem with that? They can spend their time in army studying how to become attractive and appealling to women. This will be good for their sex lives when they get out of the army. They can regard it as a temporary training opportunity which will reap future dividends. I'm partly being sarcastic, but yeah, I'm also appalled that you see the "problem" as women being "choosy".

, and whre it's downright dangerous to meet local women.

It's usually downright dangerous for local women to get sexually involved with US soldiers. Oh, you mean that in Iraq, unusually, it's also downright dangerous for the soldiers?

Did it seem to you that I was saying men deserve to have women to have sex with, whether any women are actually interested or not?

Yes indeed, and you seem to be saying it again with your attitude that the problem is women being choosy. If you genuinely feel that there is no problem with a man not having sex with someone when no one is interested in having sex with him, then why would you regard it as a "punishment" for men to spend time in Iraq? I

This exchange speaks for itself:

J Thomas: I am certain that you are reading things into my words that are not there.

Jesurgislac: Fine: I'll take that as an apology and a retraction of everything you've said in this thread. Next time, perhaps you could just refrain from defining female soldiers as prostitutes and arguing that male soldiers deserve access to prostitutes.

J Thomas, I'd recommend you cut your losses here. All the future holds is more of the same.

Gromit, I hate to give up the possibility of communication even with people who think like republicans, but it looks like you're right.

In the time I attempt this I could be doing something useful.

I know this is old, but I agree with this response.

Sigh. In all this time, I don't seem to be able to remember in time that Americans don't do irony or sarcasm.

I already knew I was onto a losing streak when arguing that men aren't entitled to have sex, but I'm surprised J Thomas thinks the idea of women choosing is Republican.

Well, I'm all for having women reframe the sex debate by considering themselves entitled to have sex. Go slow and be gentle, though, because "Giddyup cowboy", and "Your turn, Bub," make me feel cheap and shrink my violets.

I think we need a U.N. Commission to sort this out.

Too often we've had all-female armies invade countries and the local men surrender, the beggars, and think to themselves "here comes my entitlement" and all they get are demands to clean out the gutters and put down the doggoned T.V. remote.

Jes mentioned men having sex with themselves.

I don't like rejection. It's all I can do to catch my eye, let alone make small talk. Plus, I'm always afraid I'll give myself something, to steal from one wag. I keep asking myself to dinner, but there is just something about me that gives me the creeps, so I don't give myself my phone number. For one thing, I have no interests in common with me. Plus, what's the hurry? It's not a race, says I to me. What really annoys me is when both of me fall asleep immediately after the fact, when I really want to talk to myself.

Maybe I should stalk myself.

And, the jokes at inappropriate moments .... it's hard to concentrate! Jokus interruptus.

;)


And Thullen neatly refutes Jes.

(J Thomas -- I'm sure you meant well, but going back to your original comment I can't figure out what your unobjectionable point was. Certainly, it's not fun being stuck someplace where you've got no or only a slim chance of meeting someone with whom you might mutually enjoy having sex -- I'd sympathize with a friend in such a position. It's also not fun getting shot at, or a whole lot of other things about being in Iraq. I'm not following what point you meant to make by focusing on the lack of sexual opportunity for male servicemembers in Iraq, if there was more of a point to it than a passing expression of sympathy.)

LB, I regarded it as a cost of the occupation. Depending on how the news goes it might also wind up being hard for the veterans of this war after the occupation is over. "Oooohhh, they're all suffering from PTSD, if I get involved with this guy he might strangle me in his sleep."

And when I thought about it, I considered it amazing that there are guys actually in iraq who report that things are going fine and if we just keep sending them back for 3 to 10 more years they'll be happy for victory. I'm sure I didn't make that clear, but as I considered it, I was really starting to wonder who are those guys, and what's special about them that they'd feel that way under the circumstances.

Well, I was going to agree with Jesurgislac, but then I found out that maybe it was sarcasm and/or irony, so I'm rethinking.

I'd hate to think that a thread could be this badly derailed over an offhand remark, followed by an endless attempts at the same joke, but it probably wouldn't be the first time that's happened.

This week, even.

seemingly endless, or so I hope.

Seriously, I doubt that lack of sexual opportunity is percieved by male servicemembers as one of the primary hardships of being stationed in Iraq. Being endangered, tired, dirty, uncomfortable and so forth are all the sort of things that tend to take your mind off sex. I'm sure it's something people bitch about, but I doubt it's a significant source of additional hardship.

I don't know about other adult males, but if deployed overseas, I wouldn't be considering prostitutes as a means of achieving sexual release. Nor would I be considering female soldiers. Why? Because I'm married. Even if unmarried, though, prostitution would be still not one of my options, nor would any old female soldier.

I'm funny that way, I guess. Somehow, life has arranged things so that I've been deprived of sex partners for years at a time because of this oddness, especially (shudder) in early puberty. I resent life for having done this to me, and if I thought I could bring it off, so to speak, I'd sue.

John Thullen: I don't like rejection. It's all I can do to catch my eye, let alone make small talk. Plus, I'm always afraid I'll give myself something, to steal from one wag. I keep asking myself to dinner, but there is just something about me that gives me the creeps, so I don't give myself my phone number. For one thing, I have no interests in common with me. Plus, what's the hurry? It's not a race, says I to me. What really annoys me is when both of me fall asleep immediately after the fact, when I really want to talk to myself.

Woody Allen once called masturbation "sex with someone you love." (A male friend once wrote a perfectly lyrical paean in praise of being good to yourself - which I would link to, if it were available online. It's in the British Library, which is probably not a lot of help.)

Slartibartfast: I don't know about other adult males, but if deployed overseas, I wouldn't be considering prostitutes as a means of achieving sexual release. Nor would I be considering female soldiers. Why? Because I'm married.

There must be something wrong with the universe. I found myself liking Slartibartfast more than John Thullen.

*wanders off, practicing sarcasm*

Just for the record: I have never visited a prostitute but I consider it a legitimate business, provided it is done completely voluntarily and on the sex worker's terms. I do realize that this is not usually the case.
I would not object to the institution of official (heavily regulated) army brothels open to both sexes (no political chance in the US, France had those in Yugoslavia though) although I would probably not use them (were I in the army).
Keeping morals aside for the moment, I think that by comparision armies that had such a system in place avoided a lot of trouble that those that ignored the problem had to deal with (and I do not mean enforced prostitution as e.g. Imperial Japan in WW2 used).
The real world problem is that soldiers are seen as sexless creatures and that therefore the unsavoury results of ignoring that urge are suppressed.
A woman (soldier or not) that kills or maims a soldier trying to rape her should not be seen as a murderess and attempted rape* by whomever (general or private) should get that person out of the military and into a prison without delay or mercy.
I also propose a hall of shame for them.
From what I hear, sexual misbehaviour plays a significant part in the bad reutation of US soldiers worldwide.
From what I hear about NATO troops in Yugoslavia: France uses offical controlled brothels, Germany silently tolerates soldiers using local brothels provided they behave and don't get caught, US soldiers tend to get into trouble.

*that includes officers using their rank to achieve sex from lower ranking soldiers by promising privileges or threatening reprisals

I guess, for the record, that I don't have any particular aversion to other people availing themselves of prostitutes. It ain't for me, is all I'm saying. My wife is my best friend and my lover and partner in raising a family, as well as a bunch of other things that I'd have to think long and hard (please, I'm preaching here) about damaging. If I were to step outside the boundaries of our marriage, I'd do so after discussing it with her, not before.

I agree with Jes that there's something awry in the local space/time continuum, and hereby request another threadjack thread to rectify things.

Jes, Woody Allen quotes Karl Krauss with that.
(who also considered sleeping with a woman a bad surrogate for masturbation btw).
For the record: I am solitary and the few women I me(e)t long enough to consider courtship were taken before I dared to make a move. Thus I know that 34 years can be survived without a sex partner other than oneself.
---
the Bundeswehr slang for masturbation during deployment abroad is Umschalten auf Handbetrieb (switch to manual mode) btw.

I prefer Neal Stephenson's "executed a Manual Override", myself.

Slarti, some armies have or had mandatory celibacy like the Roman Catholic Church. I hear that North Korea follows that policy and that South Koreans stationed at the border mock their opposite numbers by megaphone/loudspeaker about it. On the other hand war-bride policies have a long tradition too. Friedrich II. e.g. granted privileges to Prussian soldiers that married women from occupied Saxony in the 7-years war.

Hartmut: I would not object to the institution of official (heavily regulated) army brothels open to both sexes (no political chance in the US, France had those in Yugoslavia though) although I would probably not use them (were I in the army).

I'd be open to that, providing everyone who wanted to make use of a prostitute in one of those brothels first had to spend time providing sexual service in the brothel. A true army brothel, entirely staffed by its own customers. (You think I'm joking? Nope. It's the only way I'd find a "heavily regulated army brothel" the least bit acceptable.)

Slarti, I agree with you completely, and I personally feel the same way. Still, it's a big opportunity cost. Fifth deployment means 5 years away from your wife? For the hope of victory in iraq?

And an unmarried soldier in his 5th deployment has lost 5 years he *might* have found the woman he'd want to be with for life.

I doubt that lack of sexual opportunity is percieved by male servicemembers as one of the primary hardships of being stationed in Iraq. Being endangered, tired, dirty, uncomfortable and so forth are all the sort of things that tend to take your mind off sex.

Fair enough, within limits. Sometimes. Speaking for myself, when I was real young every time I almost got killed I *really wanted somebody* and was not the least gruntled about it.

So, does this make the cost less? It's real bad to get killed or mutilated, but losing a year out of your life staying tired, dirty, and scared isn't the same as *losing* a year of your life. Maybe more like misplacing it.

And yet you lived through the experience.

I'm still not getting your point. "We have to end the war -- our brave boys aren't getting laid!!1!11!"? Because you'll get wide agreement on the need to end the war, even if your reasons are weird. "The US should have done something official to ensure sufficient sexual opportunity to our male soldiers -- it's abusive to deprive them so." There, I can't really see what you might be advocating -- attempting to hire local women who our invasion has left desperate as prostitutes for our troops is about as grotesque a proposition for anyone to advocate as I can imagine, and I'm sure that's not what you meant to suggest, I just can't think of what else would be relevant.

And what Slart said (which was also really sweet. I hope Mrs. S reads here occasionally and comes across it). People are celibate out of moral or personal committment all the time, and it doesn't do them any particular harm.

Dammit. Sorry about the italics.

"Sigh. In all this time, I don't seem to be able to remember in time that Americans don't do irony or sarcasm."

Yes, that's obviously the correct conclusion to draw from the fact of the existence of J. Thomas.

And thank goodness that slurs on a nationality become fun, and not bigotry at all, when made against nasty Americans.

After all, it's hateful if someone says something anti-woman, or anti-gay, but anti-American? All in good fun!

And so true.

It's fortunate that Britons can -- alone -- appreciate any possible irony.

Forced celibacy (at least outward) can do pretty heavy damage or the RCC would have far less trouble witch child abuse etc.
---
Could anyone here imagine realistically the US armed forces instituting the 69th Hooker Squad aka the Horizontal Branch? In Germany there was a conservative outcry when making prostitution a recognized profession* was discussed not that long ago (there already is an inofficial whore union). Now imagine congress debating that for the saintly innocent military (forget boys joining the army because they knocked up a girl unwilling to take the consequences).

*parliament even dicussed whether the unemployment agency could/should propose/advertise vacancies in that profession and if benefits could/should be cut in case of refusal (no joke).

attempting to hire local women who our invasion has left desperate as prostitutes for our troops is about as grotesque a proposition for anyone to advocate as I can imagine, and I'm sure that's not what you meant to suggest

Actually, that appears to be exactly what J Thomas was suggesting. That and women serving in the US military ought not to be so "choosy".

Hartmut: Forced celibacy (at least outward) can do pretty heavy damage or the RCC would have far less trouble witch child abuse etc.

Note that the Roman Catholic Church regards masturbation as a mortal sin. A priest who sexually abuses a 14-year-old girl is, in the eyes of the Church, committing a mortal sin: but he's also committing a mortal sin if/when he masturbates. Therefore, according to Catholic doctrine, just as a woman who has an abortion every few months is sinning less than a woman who uses contraception every time she has sex with her husband, so a priest who rapes a little girl every few months and is then very sorry and promises never to do it again, is actually - according to Catholic doctrine - less of a sinner than a priest who masturbates privately three times a week and admits to his confessor that he doesn't see how he can ever stop.

Jes, same with contraception vs. abortion (driving up abortions among young female Polish Roman catholics).
Btw, I don't know what happens to a soldier caught masturbating or if there are any regulations about that.
Not up-to-date on that but hasn't masturbation (even by priests) been reduced to venial sin in the 80ies?
A German bishop lamented a few years ago that half of his priests boozed, a half whored and a half was lazy* (Eine Hälfte säuft, eine Hälfte hurt, und eine Hälfte ist faul).
In the RCC there was at the height of the sex scandals the apprehension/suspicion that priesthood was actually drawing sexual predators because the church would protect them to keep face while giving them access to potential vitims. The US military might have the same problem given the lowered entrance treshold and the same unwillingness to move against offenders because it's bad PR.

or rotten, the German word 'faul' means both.

Actually, that appears to be exactly what J Thomas was suggesting. That and women serving in the US military ought not to be so "choosy".

Jesurgislac, I have been willing to drop this misunderstood repeatedly, but you continue to troll me. Are you sure that's what you want?

I was not saying that US servicewomen who are not prostitutes should be. I was not saying that desperate iraqi women should be hired as prostitutes. (Apart from all the other reasons not to, they would have to be kept onbase all the time or else they would be killed for collaboration.)

I was saying that the problem is more immediate than in other recent wars, and these are some of the reasons why.

I don't find it particularly pleasant to continue to respond to your ignorant contempt, but I will continue it somewhat longer if you keep trolling.

Boehner isn't saying the price that our soldiers (and others) have paid is small. He's saying that the future price would be so much greater if al Qaeda is NOT stopped where it is AND if the ME is not stabilized.

Well, he's also saying that the only reason to oppose making the investment is that you don't want the possible outcome.

Just like I tell my wife: "the only reason you oppose my spending $100 a week on Powerball tickets is that you don't want us to have $300 million." Why does she hate our family and want it to be poor?

via Glenn Greenwald

Fred Kagan yesterday went to National Review -- home to countless tough guy warriors like him who fight nothing -- to argue against Senator Webb's bill. There is no need to give our troops more time away from the battlefield, Kagan types. Besides, doing that would be too administratively difficult ("this amendment would actually require the Army and Marine Corps staffs to keep track of how long every individual servicemember had spent in either Iraq or Afghanistan, how long they had been at home, how long the unit that they were now in had spent deployed, and how long it had been home").

If troops want more time at home, Kagan says, there is an easy way to achieve that: "win the war we're fighting."


In short: Make war not love you lazy bastards.

I was saying that the problem is more immediate than in other recent wars, and these are some of the reasons why.

You succeeded in communicating, to me and to at least one other, that you perceived the choosiness of US female service personnel and the lack of Iraqi female prostitutes as the source of a "problem" that US male service personnel have in Iraq: they often have to do without sex with another person during their entire tour of duty. If you do not in fact see the lack of prostitutes available to US male soldiers as a problem, since all male soldiers fit for duty have the use of both hands and therefore do not need to use other people in order to obtain sexual relief, you have not managed to communicate that.

Btw, male masturbation does not even require hands ;-)

Btw, male masturbation does not even require hands ;-)

I have a friend who says that at 16 he was sufficiently flexible to go down on himself.

"Look Ma, no hands..."

Hartmut: Not up-to-date on that but hasn't masturbation (even by priests) been reduced to venial sin in the 80ies?

No.

I can only read the lack of understanding of J Thomas as all but intentional.

Let me put it simply - women soldiers in Iraq are at risk of assault from their fellow male soldiers because there are no alternatives.

And the risk is quite high, in case you were wondering.

These increased numbers of assaults are exacerbated in two ways - there are more women soldiers than ever before, and other, less objectionable, outlets are not available.

Not including masturbation, which is way less objectionable but is also way less desirable in the view of men who might consider a sexual assault unobjectionable.

It's really that simple.

We don't need grammar police, we don't need thought police. Y'all need to get a grip. :)

Jake

...suspicion that priesthood was actually drawing sexual predators because the church would protect them to keep face while giving them access to potential vitims. The US military might have the same problem given the lowered entrance treshold and the same unwillingness to move against offenders because it's bad PR.

This seems unlikely to me. Joining the military to get protection for rape seems like a really bad career move.

The army could punish somebody without giving any publicity to it at all, if they wanted to. Also they have an informal punishment system that keeps no records whatsoever, and somebody who does things that don't support the army might quite plausibly get caught by that.

Air force, maybe. Fighter pilots especially aren't known for their social skills and feel a strong sense of entitlement for being the very best in the world. Army, less so.

"I can only read the lack of understanding of J Thomas as all but intentional."

That wouldn't allow for the possibility of large and deep tone-deafness/insensitivity, of an almost Asperger's-like quality and consistency.

I note the possibility as someone with his own whiffs of Aspergeryness in spots. It might also be largely writing style, perhaps.

In any case, I think other readings are reasonably available. Assuming knowledge of intent can lead to trouble.

Jes, are we casting aspergersions now? :)

You do read in a trollish mood today.

Then again, trolls are not the worst that could happen, are they?

Jake

Let me put it simply - women soldiers in Iraq are at risk of assault from their fellow male soldiers because there are no alternatives.

No one's ever called me Aspergery, but I can't really read J Thomas' comments as focusing on the plight of female servicemembers subject to a heightened risk of assault, rather than on the harms to male servicemembers deprived of sexual opportunity. Which really does strike me as a kind of bizarre thing to focus on.

"Jes, are we casting aspergersions now?"

Better than casting asparagus, as an American politician once said.

And with that I return to not commenting on either the topic of the meta-commentary.

Oops. Not Jes, but rather Gary.

I think we need to form up sides here. I'll take JThomas. Who else is with us? :)

When I was a kid, we had dirtclod king of the hill fights at construction sites. This feels just like that.

Ahh, the good old days.

Jake

Jake, that was Gary insulting Jes, not Jes insulting J Thomas. And Gary, wasn't that over the posting rules line?

ack -- "OR" the meta-commentary, not "of"

Jake-

I think the point that many on this thread have been trying to make is that rape is not *caused* by a lack of available and/or cooperative sexual partners. That said lack exists has never been disputed. But placing these two things in a cause-and-effect relationship implies that one should expect rapes when one does not give these poor men some acceptable object upon which to sate their implacable lusts.

That some men respond to the lack of available and cooperative sexual partners by choosing to rape their fellow troopers is evidence of some dysfunction beyond simple sexual privation. These men have become sexual predators and this is a problem which cannot be solved by giving them access to women who may be used as sexual commodities without societal censure.

Does that make the issue clearer?

Would you care to argue any of that?

You succeeded in communicating, to me and to at least one other, that you perceived the choosiness of US female service personnel and the lack of Iraqi female prostitutes as the source of a "problem" that US male service personnel have in Iraq

See, you have this box you keep trying to put me in. I refuse to stay in there, though you may refuse to notice me leaving.

I've noticed very often people perceive problems that they say would all be fixed if *somebody else* changes their bad behavior. Like, we wouldn't have a problem with Republicans if the Republican voters would just wake up. But they don't.

Our army is good at getting past that. Like, their problem with insurgents would go away if the insurgents all gave up or surrendered. But since insurgents don't do that, the army tries to kill them as fast as possible.

And then when it turned out that iraq got new insurgents faster than we could kill the old ones, it was clear that our problem would go away if we could just get enough tame iraqis to kill the bad iraqis for us. But our tame iraqis didn't do that. So the army has had repetitive cycles of improved training methods to teach the tame iraqis how to kill insurgents.

They might not do the *right* thing, but they generally make an effort to handle their own problems instead of just griping that somebody else doesn't do what they want them to.

I want to reccommend this approach to you. You say that the problems our women soldiers are having with american men in iraq, and the problems the men are having, and this whole facet of the cost of the continuing war, will all go away if only the men do what you say. I want to suggest that you set up a training program and arrange to go to iraq and teach the male soldiers about this. Particularly the Marines. Teach them about how all their problems with women will disappear if only they masturbate enough.

If you have any problems when you follow this approach be sure to blog about it -- I might have some additional suggestions for you.

But then I'm one to talk. My idea for palliating this problem for american men and women in iraq and for the society they're returning to is for Bush to let them come home -- not likely.

And my idea to deal with the problem of you trolling me is to almost literally tell you to go to hell and teach the devil-dogs new tricks. So I guess you and I are in very much the same boat, rowing in different directions.

Actually, LB, J Thomas brought up the trolling comment in reference to Jes earlier in the thread. Then I got all confused as to who was flinging aspergersions, and confused Gary with Jes.

Momentarily, I assure you.

But, my first post supporting J Th lacked, I don't know, a certain je ne sais quoi. Something like a creative spark, leading me to believe I might be the subject of the aspergersions. Clearly, and in retrospect, I had too little presence in the thread to warrant such calumny.

On the other hand, there is some evidence that some VERY bright people might have Aspergers. So it isn't necessarily a calumny.

Anyway, upon reading Gary's post MUCH more carefully, I can see that it might be open to various different interpretations, depending upon ones currently active defensive posture.

Jake

"Jake, that was Gary insulting Jes"

It was? Here? I don't see how Jes entered into it at all.

Jake insisted that "I can only read the lack of understanding of J Thomas as all but intentional."

I wrote that "I think other readings are reasonably available" and that "[a]ssuming knowledge of intent can lead to trouble."

Since I noted that I seem to be somewhat Asperbergy, if I'm insulting anyone by suggesting it as one of any number of possibilities, I'm insulting myself more by saying it's not just a possibility. But if it's an insult, than I've just proven that I correctly described myself.

:-)


What Jes has to do with any of this, I have no idea.

I understood you to be referring, as Jake was, to Jes's interpretation of J Thomas's comments, and characterizing it as showing Asperger's-like lack of understanding. Now I'm not sure who you were characterizing, but whoever that comment was pointed it, I'd call it over the line.

Who's on first, did you say? And What is playing second?

"Jake insisted"? Gary, I hardly think saying something ONE time counts as insisting.

I'd think it wouldn't get to the level of insisting until maybe the 4th or 5th time, at the earliest. Even then I might want to qualify my insistence upon someone elses "insisting" with a comment such as "I might need to hear more before I can say - I think another 6 months will tell the tale".

(to bring us back to the republicans)

Jake

Are we mixed up enough now, or can I give it a stir?

Yeah, I have no idea who meant what or was directed at whom. J Thomas's comments still seem off to me, but everything else has me completely confused.

"Now I'm not sure who you were characterizing"

Jake insisted that "I can only read the lack of understanding of J Thomas as all but intentional."

I wrote that "I think other readings are reasonably available" and that "[a]ssuming knowledge of intent can lead to trouble."

The subject was Jake's claim that there was only one possible reading of J. Thomas' intent. I responded that there were other possible readings. There were no other readings under discussion, other than Jake's of J. Thomas. I don't know how this can be taken as referring to someone else's reading: whose? Where?

But I hope I'm clear now, however inadequate what I previously wrote in response to Jake was. I was responding to Jake's words. As I quoted. If I was responding to someone else's words, I would have quoted them, so you'd know I was responding to them.

"I understood you to be referring, as Jake was, to Jes's interpretation of J Thomas's comments"

Er, why? Why her, and not, I dunno, Abe Lincoln, who has as much to do with what I wrote as Jes does? Eh, whatever, you must have had your reasons, obviously. Life would be much simpler if everyone simply thought like me, you know. I don't know why this doesn't occur to everyone.

Life would be much simpler if everyone simply thought like me, you know.

Some of us just can't manage it, Gary.

There were no other readings under discussion, other than Jake's of J. Thomas.

To nitpick you into the ground, sure there were. Jake wasn't referring to his own reading of J Thomas, he was referring to 'the lack of understanding of J Thomas', presumably as present in the comments of some unnamed third party. Which, given the course of the thread, was almost certainly Jes. At which point my reading of your comment, while I certainly accept your statement that it was wrong, wasn't inexplicable.

The comments to this entry are closed.

Blog powered by Typepad