May 08 2013

Shirley he can’t be serious

President Obama is shocked/shocked that more and more members of the military appear to be confused about precisely which sorts of violent, antisocial behaviors are patriotic, and which are criminal. Here he responds to the grim 411 that sexual assaults in the military are up over 30% since 2010:

“I want [the victims of sexual assault] to hear directly from their commander in chief that I’ve got their backs. I will support them. And we’re not going to tolerate this stuff and there will be accountability. If people have engaged in this behavior, they should be prosecuted. […] I don’t want just more speeches or awareness programs or training but, ultimately, folks look the other way. If we find out somebody is engaging in this stuff, they’ve got to be held accountable — prosecuted, stripped of their positions, court-martialed, fired, dishonorably discharged. Period. It’s not acceptable.” [USA Today]

Obama can hardly be astonished that a couple of half-assed sensitivity training courses have failed to eradicate the military epidemic of moral turpitude; “this stuff” is necessarily endemic to the armed forces. That’s because a high moral purpose is absolutely antithetical to the systematic perpetration of deadly force, which perpetration is, after all, the whole raison d’être of the whole flippin military. To wit:

As I suggested in yesterday’s post, the United States appears to have created a warrior class with a culture distinct from that of the general fun-lovin’, happy-go-lucky populace. Despite lofty romantic narratives alluding to honor and quiet heroism and national pride, military culture is ultimately grounded by mores that place a higher value on group cohesion through dominance than on compassion, justice, or truth. These mores are necessary both to foster the required fierce sense of tribal unity, and to permit the execution of the required acts of intimidation and aggression — acts that would be considered psychotic under any other circumstances. Mounting body counts on all sides obfuscate the very concept of “greater good.”

The thuggy, murdery, cannon-foddery nature of the wars becomes more difficult to ignore, while simultaneously the sexual assault rate climbs: coincidence? I think not. It’s nice that the president “has [the victims’] backs,” but if he thinks that it’s even possible to extirpate violent behavior from a tight-knit culture based on violence, that dude seriously needs to answer the clue phone. As these relentless wars drag ever onward, it is to be expected only that fewer and fewer members of the military will be able to survive such extreme cognitive dissonance with their moral compasses intact. Warfare debases all humanity.


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  1. nit picking

    Maybe lose the “thuggy.” But otherwise, YES!

  2. Ar-nony

    Last week, my military sister was raped by someone in her cohort. She reported it, he agreed with the military police that she didn’t give consent (but he didn’t *rape* her or anything, nah man, it was all in good fun), and the final outcome is that the bitch is lying. I’ll rephrase that in case anyone missed it: he told the military police that she said no and withheld consent, but that didn’t wasn’t enough to convince them that she wasn’t exaggerating about what happened.

    I’m not proud of this, and eventually I’ll work through the rage and grief that my violent fantasies are currently helping me cope with, but I want to spit on every veteran and active service member I see. I’m glad they aren’t taken care of by the military. Trained killers don’t deserve to be coddled with health care and employment opportunities provided by my taxes. If *my* sister is being treated like a bag of dog shit to be sneered at, everyone deserves to be treated like that.

    I’ve been anti-military my entire life but also knew that soldiers are real people who are as fully rounded and complicated as I am, but now I wonder if that’s really true. What sort of people would agree to kill other people just because they’re told to do so?

    And no, I don’t feel any dissonance about my contempt for soldiers while supporting my sister. My sister is more valuable to me than they are.

  3. au naturel

    I think it’s called “sensitivity training” so that the men will ignore it. Same as when “women’s issues” are raised in any sort of political setting. The men will predictably roll their eyes, exhale elaborately and that’ll be the end of it. If anything, it seems designed to make them hate us even more.

  4. skeptifem

    I’m not entirely convinced that the group cohesion at all costs system is needed for warfare. In fact I would bet it causes problems. George Orwell wrote about being part of an anarchist militant group in spain that lacked any such system. The only downside he seemed to mention was the lack of funding and the fact that people ended up pooping all over the place because no one specified an area for it.

  5. Ron Sullivan

    ” …different…”??? You optimist, you.

  6. Falkland

    If this is what male US soldiers do to their female colleagues, it isn’t difficult to imagine what they do when they land in combat zones where poor women of colour live.

  7. TotallyDorkin

    Here’s one of the dudes who does sensitivity training for the military. Look for the funny anecdote where he tells the audience about how he put a dumb woman in her place while clarifying that he doesn’t do “Sensitivity” training he does “LEADERSHIP” training.

    Also the dude never stops yelling at the audience. It’s all flying spit and jabbing fingers.

    it’s a ted talk, but it’s really just a commercial for his services.


  8. Kristine

    Of course he’s surprised. The greatest lie of the Patriarchy is that men who hurt women are the exception to the rule. Most men buy it hook line and sinker. It never occurs to them that they could be even partially responsible for women’s suffering, it’s always those other guys.

    Does anyone else miss the days when there would be fifty comments or more? Well, except for the concern trolls, they were awful.

  9. Lady K

    As if Shirley doesn’t have enough to worry about already!

  10. quixote

    “Warfare debases all humanity.”

    Yes. Yes, yes, yes, yes, yes. And makes the debasement continue with each new generation that could have been a fresh start. And justifies the debasement, because your life is at stake because we’re at war y’know.

  11. Kea

    IBTP might be getting fewer comments ’cause the blog is banned in many places. I’ve been moving around and I noticed it. Modern mind control techniques in all corners of the globe.

  12. That Girl

    It makes my heart glad when I click and see a new post. Thank you. Your humor makes the patriarchy a little less grim.

  13. emilybites

    Twisty! Don’t feel pressured, please, but it warms the cockles to see the semi-regular blogging return.

    I saw an excellent comment on these events along the lines of ‘Ok, so the military says they have the best discipline going – fine. So, either the guys in charge are NOT saying ‘Stop raping so much, chaps,’ and the chaps are ignoring them, OR the guys in charge are saying ‘Have at it, troops, women have to look out for themselves.’

    So the military is either a bunch of uncontrollable psychos or a mob ruled by a bunch of uncontrolled psychos. Either way, things? Are not in hand.

  14. Twissb

    This behavior looks to me like anti-competitive behavior justified by the pornography myth per AD: “She wants it – they all do.”

    The last thing any commentator or trainer seems to bring up, it seems, is the reality that men fear having to compete on their own merits with women. Knee-capping in some form is the consequence. In the case of invasion or occupation, it’s just the victor’s right to despoil the enemy’s women.

  15. Ron Sullivan

    I wonder what I said.

  16. Kristine

    Holy crap! TwissB wins feminism!

  17. Sxydocma1

    “…needs to answer the clue phone.”

    Awesome. I’m going to use this line in my next meeting.

  18. noshoes

    Succinct, brilliant, hits nail perfectly on head. This is why I read IBTP!

  19. tinfoil hattie

    “If this is what male US soldiers do to their female colleagues, it isn’t difficult to imagine what they do when they land in combat zones where poor women of colour live.”

    Shirley you don’t imagine the U.S. military is chock-full of wealthy white women!

  1. Sunday Link Encyclopedia and Self-promotion | Clarissa's Blog

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