Today on Blogcritics
Home » Culture and Society » Is There a Culture of Rape Within the Military?

Is There a Culture of Rape Within the Military?

Please Share...Tweet about this on Twitter0Share on Facebook0Share on Google+0Share on LinkedIn0Pin on Pinterest0Share on TumblrShare on StumbleUpon0Share on Reddit0Email this to someone

There’s a heated argument in the comments section of this article about whether there is a “culture of rape” within the military. As with most arguments, the answer is both yes and no, and both sides are right and wrong.

It should first be noted that, as Dr. Dreadful opined, both military and civilian data indicate that the rates at which rapes and sexual assaults go unreported are roughly equal, though the reasons behind such failure to report these crimes are quite different. Second, here’s a PBS reference and a reference from McClatchy showing military rates of these crimes that are significantly higher than in the civilian community. It would seem, then, that there can be no argument against the existence of a culture of rape within the military.

To add fuel to the fire, it has been well documented that rape by military personnel has been a part of American military history from the very beginning, having been noted even by George Washington. Of course these crimes are not confined to the American military, as is clearly shown by the Rape of Nanking by the Imperial Japanese Army and the conduct of the Soviet Army as they drove through Poland and Germany on their way to Berlin. Both the Japanese and the Soviet high commands knew what their respective armies were doing and not only did nothing to stop it, but to an extent encouraged it. War is without question the greatest crime of humanity, and such unforgivable conduct is a part of war.

Nevertheless, I still maintain that the military does not in and of itself have a culture of rape. Now given the above evidence, how can I possibly make such a claim? The very notion that the military doesn’t have such a culture would seem ridiculous on its face, but there’s more to the story.

I clearly remember what the Navy was like when I arrived at my first ship, the USS Simon Lake (AS-33) back in February of 1982. My first impression was that of most boot-campers: “Wow, the work is hard, but this is still pretty cool!” With the benefit of hindsight I can look back and see just how unprofessional the ship was, from the material condition of the ship to the conduct of the personnel on- and off-duty. It wasn’t any better when I arrived on the USS Ranger (CV-61) in October of 1983. Sailors (myself included) were concerned with two things: getting drunk and getting laid; though the order depended on circumstances. I can now see that the Navy, and the entire military, was still in what I call the bad old days, still recovering from the wars in southeast Asia, because most of the higher-ups had either experienced combat or were commanded by someone who had.

But a watershed moment had already occurred: the crash of an EA-6B Prowler aboard the USS Nimitz (CVN-68). The investigation showed that several of the flight deck crew tested positive for marijuana. It was after this incident that the Navy began implementing its zero tolerance drug policy, and began emphasizing professionalism throughout the fleet, dragging us kicking and screaming into what we derisively called the “New Navy.” By the early 1990’s, having a beard on active duty was but a fond memory; a positive urinalysis test got one kicked out, no questions asked; a DWI conviction often (but not always) meant one wouldn’t be promoted, ever; and an accusation of sexual harassment usually stopped one’s career dead in its tracks. We enlisted men by and large dreaded women being assigned to our surface fleet, because we could all envision a liberal hell (I was conservative in those days) of political correctness throughout the command.

And you know what? The men began behaving! Of course there were those who still held fast to the code of conduct of the neanderthals of yesteryear (and usually didn’t last long), but most of us adapted and even appreciated the change. I strongly suspect this is what led to the period of time in which the rate of rape within the military was less than in the civilian community (the quote in the reference is taken from the Oxford Companion to American Military History). And that’s the crux of my argument: while I will never deny the evil that any military does, and while one period of time in which the sexual assault rape was lower than in the civilian community does not in and of itself prove that there is no culture of rape therein, it does show that a professional military force can in peacetime be a safer place for women than the civilian community. The reference also notes that while the sexual assault rate for the military was lower than the civilian rate, the degree to which it was lower was not as great as the degree that other serious crimes were lower than civilian rates.

Read that last sentence again. Is it saying that serious crimes are committed less often by military members than by the civilian community? Yep! In fact, ask most people in the military (and most well-traveled Americans) and they’ll tell you that the most law-abiding nations they’ve seen are Japan and Korea (and Singapore, of course). Here’s what Slate found:

In Okinawa, Japan, for example, American soldiers have been involved in several high-profile rapes and have been accused of more widespread violence. While it’s reasonable to expect that a population of young men trained in warfare would commit crimes at higher rates, a recent study found that the troops in Okinawa were less than half as likely to break the law as those in the general population. In Korea, too, U.S. servicemen seem to be arrested for serious crimes far less often than the locals.

The article goes on to note that the level of violent crimes changes significantly for combat vets. The greater the exposure they had to combat, the greater risk of criminal behavior.

Any claims of a culture of rape then, must be taken in the context of the times;especially in regard to whether there are sustained major combat operations during the time in question. I have said all along that the military is a tool, and all blame for how that tool is used or what that tool does belongs on those putting the tool to use; in this case, our military has been at war nonstop since 9/11. While military personnel must be held accountable for the crimes they commit, the ultimate blame must be laid on those who took this nation to war: our civilian leadership. Any such epidemic of rape by military personnel, then, is not the result of a culture thereof, but is rather a symptom of what happens to those who experience combat. Unfortunately, the above studies and observations would indicate that the current high rates of sexual assault and rape by military personnel will continue for several years after the end of sustained combat operations which, in my opinion, would mean until the point that combat vets no longer comprise the majority of front-line supervisors.

The easy rebuttal to that last paragraph would seem to be, “well, the solution is let’s just not fight any more wars; problem solved!” But such a view is simplistic and pollyanna-like, the worst sort of naivete. The world is too interdependent for America to hide her head in the sand and pretend that we don’t need to have a strong military to defend our interests outside our own borders. What America needs is not only a military capable of winning quick victories with a minimum of bloodshed, but also presidents and congressmen who are determined to use the military only in times of clear necessity and then only as a last resort.

Powered by

About Glenn Contrarian

White. Male. Raised in the deepest of the Deep South. Retired Navy. Strong Christian. Proud Liberal. Thus, Contrarian!
  • Glenn Contrarian

    I note the hyperlink to the Slate article is no longer there. Is this a copyright issue?

  • http://www.RoseDigitalMarketing.com Christopher Rose

    Glenn, you said you were going to show that there was not a culture of rape in the military and then only offered the idea that it was being at war that was to blame, although there isn’t enough data to support that argument. Not really much of a counter-argument there…

    You then finished off with some unrelated argument about the type of military the USA needs and what kind of political leaders it should have.

    Confused much?

    For the record, Wikipedia has interesting entries on Military Sexual Trauma and Rape in the United States you might consider.

  • Igor

    Rape is a manifestation of power. That’s why a power-seeker like Mitt Romney would attack a defenseless junior classman. Yes, it’s rape.

    That’s why the military is especially susceptible to rape: the power hierarchy demands it. In fact, it is seen as a weakness and a disqualifier to not rape (or it’s hetero equivalent, like cutting off hair).

  • Glenn Contrarian

    Chris –

    And yet you ignore the documented time frame in which the level of rape and sexual assault was less than in the civilian community. You think it’s “insufficient data”, but the Oxford Companion to American Military History is a quite valid source of information.

    You also think the comment about the civilian leadership is unrelated, but apparently you don’t realize that it’s NOT the military who decides to send our troops into combat – it’s our civilian leadership…and the effects of combat (ordered by the civilian leadership) upon the survivors thereof is always a concomitant part of the combat experience. It is logical, then, that if the military is seen as a deterrent and is not taken on military adventures as were were in Afghanistan and especially Iraq and Vietnam, then the conduct of military members will likely go back to what it was when we had had no sustained combat operations for over a decade.

    And the proof lay in the conduct of the troops in Japan and Korea, where their crime rate was half that of the local populations in two of the most law-abiding nations on the planet.

    But this is Chris I’m talking to, and he’s still got to stick to his personal mandate that Thou Shalt Not Agree with Glenn no matter how right he is.

  • Glenn Contrarian

    And for Igor, you’re quite right that rape is a crime of power, and the military in times of sustained combat operations is all about the exercise of power.

  • http://www.squidoo.com/lensmasters/IanMayfield Dr Dreadful

    The teaser line claims that you are going to show that the blame for military rape lies on the shoulders of the civilian leadership. But unless I missed it, there is not one word in the article in support of this proposition.

  • Glenn Contrarian

    Doc –

    I think twice before I call you wrong on anything, but this one qualifies. Perhaps I could have written it more clearly, but I believe I showed that a professional military that has not engaged in sustained combat ops for at least a decade can be a safer place for women than in the civilian world.

    But the low rate of crime – and particularly sex crimes – jumps significantly after sustained combat ops (and for several years afterwards).

    Therefore, with the aforesaid professional military, if it is rarely if ever engaged in sustained combat ops, the ‘culture of rape’ does not exist…and since it is only the civilian leadership that can order our troops into combat, then the overarching lame rests on their shoulders.

    I hope I made it clear enough, but you’re level-headed enough that if you rebut my argument, you’ll do it for good reason, and so I promise to not be thin-skinned concerning your rebuttal.

  • http://www.squidoo.com/lensmasters/IanMayfield Dr Dreadful

    the overarching lame [sic] rests on their shoulders.

    If you’re right that the incidence of sexual crimes goes up after combat, then by that standard everything that happens to a military unit after combat can be laid at the door of the civilian leadership. You’re hardly justified in singling out that one after-effect for blame. It’s a weak postulation.

  • http://www.RoseDigitalMarketing.com Christopher Rose

    Glenn, unlike me you have beliefs. I believe what the evidence shows me or compels me to accept as true. I am committed to accepting the truth of situations, even when I don’t like it. As such, I really don’t care whether you are right or wrong, I only care whether you present a convincing argument.

    In this case, you are trying to present an argument based on what you believe to be true; we know this because you announced last week what you were going to write, and you have tried to justify your beliefs with the information above.

    Unfortunately, you haven’t made your case but, because you believe it to be true, you are dismissing my rebuttal of your presentation and trying to justify that dismissal by saying that I won’t agree with you on principle. You really need to get over your self on that point…

    There simply isn’t enough evidence to support your belief, and you must know that on some level because you argue “can be” not “is”. That is conjecture, or hope, or belief, but it isn’t a factual argument.

    Furthermore, it is the job of the military to go to war, so you are arguing that when they aren’t doing their job their stress levels are lower and their behaviour better. That is true of everybody, regardless of their situation.

    Nonetheless, it is clear that there is a culture of sexual violence in the military both within its personnel and externally towards its enemies.

    This seems more like yet another attempt by you to defend those things you have an affinity for rather than genuine enquiry, which is exactly why your argument fails to convince.

    If it makes you feel better to dismiss criticism because of what you believe about the source of that criticism rather than the criticism itself, that is between you and your conscience.

    As I said above, your article is confused and confusing, as others have also remarked…

  • troll

    …frankly the peacetime “rape differential” noted in the Oxford that developed in response to zero tolerance policies is evidence for the existence of a rape culture that was briefly supressed

  • Glenn Contrarian

    Doc –

    Yes, the ultimate blame for everything that happens to a military unit is laid upon the civilian leadership, for the buck stops at the White House.

    And that’s the way the military is – the captain is responsible for whatever his crewmembers do, 24/7, on- or off-duty. If he’s asleep in his rack and the guy on watch runs the ship aground, the captain will go before the court-martial and testify that he was the one who had the conn when the ship ran aground. Why? Even though he was in his rack, it was his responsibility to ensure that training and discipline and morale for every crewmember on board the ship is at a level sufficient to preclude any such unfortunate event.

    When a member of our military kills an innocent person overseas, although the member is to be held fully responsible, the blood lay mainly on the hands of the president. That’s the way that the concepts of honor and duty and responsibility work within the military, Doc. If a president is man enough to take the responsibility for what he did wrong that cost the lives of those in the military – which Reagan did (Beirut) – then the military will see him as an honorable man and strongly respect him and follow him. But if he’s not man enough to do so – see Bush 43 (with Cheney and Rumsfeld) – they will see respect him but little, if at all. The military sees Obama as someone who’s much more likely than Romney to end the wars, to not be so eager to waste their blood. They don’t exactly like Obama, but to them he’s the lesser of the two evils.

    I suspect that whole last paragraph sounded like it had one too many shots of testosterone…but if I read you correctly, you know in your gut that that’s the way it is, the way it must be.

    So…yeah, while you might think this whole comment was veering off topic, I wanted to illustrate to you the relationship that the military has with the president, and how the president is largely held responsible by the military for what they are ordered to do.

  • http://thingsalongtheway.blogspot.com/ Cindy

    Any claims of a culture of rape then, must be taken in the context of the times…Any such epidemic of rape by military personnel, then, is not the result of a culture thereof, but is rather a symptom of what happens to those who experience combat.

    I am not sure how you are using the word culture. If you don’t see people being turned in for raping women and men in a platoon–then it is a rape culture. And if you see that those with the most power are excusing it, failing to deal with it, covering it up, or otherwise punishing the victims–then it is a rape culture. And if the victims are being stigmatized when they report it–then it is a rape culture.

    So, the social forces in play, the behaviors, the jokes, the attitudes, the social fears and expectations make up aspects of a culture.

    My next post will be examples that will make it clear what this looks like.

  • Desert Rat

    If they go unreported, how would anyone know about them to calculate the rates?

  • http://thingsalongtheway.blogspot.com/ Cindy

    Military Sexual Trauma, January 2004. Department of Veterans Affairs Employee Education System (pdf) (publication pp 13-14/pdf document pp 27-28)

    “Veterans who reported MST while still in the military often state that subsequent to the report they were transferred to less desirable positions or experienced other negative consequences, such as escalation of the trauma or being court-martialed for fraternization. Some who pursued the complaint or pressed charges report that this process was worse than the MST itself.”

    Legislation aims to remove rape accusations from military ‘chain of command’, 11/18/2011

    A 2008 Department of Veterans Affairs report revealed that just eight percent of sexual assailants in the military were referred to military court, compared with 40 percent of similar offenders prosecuted in the civilian justice system

    Army Col. Michael Robertson is one example of what Speier says is often lacking with military justice. Robertson was convicted Wednesday on 14 charges, including assault and sexual harassment. His sentence was 90 days in a military prison and a $30,000 fine.

    Yet Robertson remains eligible for full military benefits, and is not required by the court
    to register as a sex offender.

    The Military’s Secret Shame, Apr 3, 2011

    Greg Jeloudov was gang-raped in the barracks by men who said they were showing him who was in charge of the United States. When he reported the attack to unit commanders, he says they told him, “It must have been your fault. You must have provoked them.”

    The Invisible War Filmmaker Kirby Dick Takes on the Pentagon, Jun 11, 2012

    The Invisible War, is an investigation into the ongoing “epidemic” of sexual assault within the U.S. military. It includes the testimony of dozens of women, and a few men, whose experiences in the armed forces included not just rape, but institutional retaliation; former judge advocate general (JAG) officers and investigators who speak of being instructed to treat victims like criminals; and lawmakers frustrated with decades of Pentagon stonewalling.

    Dick wisely lets the institution hang itself. He shows a top Department of Defense official getting booted out of a 2008 House subcommittee hearing on military sexual assault for openly defying a congressional directive. In an excruciating display of ineptitude, Dr. Kaye Whitley, the civilian who until last year ran the military’s office on rape prevention and response, sits for an interview with Dick and responds to one question after another–easy ones, no hardballs here–with a vapid smile and “that’s out of my area of expertise.” The Department of Defense comes off looking at best oblivious and at worst vengeful, misogynistic, cruel.

    …a group of women and men sued Defense Secretary Robert Gates and his predecessor, Donald Rumsfeld, for maintaining a culture that enabled and protected their rapists. The words in this video are taken directly from their complaint. [A 2 minute headline formate video of comments made to victims by perpetrators and military authorities…set to music.]

    The full legal complaint is searing – and depressingly repetitive. This video seeks to distill their accounts of a culture that, these women and men say, not only allowed their assaults but bullied them when they tried to report and, in many cases, left their assailants free and even thriving.

    I mentioned the physician who stopped his examination of an obviously brutalized male soldier after receiving a call from a superior . There are other similar recountings of victims’ examinations being stopped and military physicians cooperating within the rape culture.

  • Glenn Contrarian

    Cindy –

    You really didn’t try to understand what I wrote, did you? Particularly about the several years in which the military rate of sexual assault was lower than in the civilian world…and WHY it was lower then but not now.

    Because every one of your references do nothing to refute what I posted in my article, but actually reinforced my contention. Read it again, Cindy, and while you do so, please put away your preconceived notions – be a true liberal and listen to both sides of the story before you make up your mind.

  • http://thingsalongtheway.blogspot.com/ Cindy

    A true liberal is a dangerous thing. I’ll pass on that, Glenn.

    I read your article twice, though. You seem to have adopted the position that we are ‘doing battle’ and that their are two ‘sides’. (Though it is understandable why everything is a battle with sides in your point of view.)

    I didn’t intend to ‘refute’ your narrative. My only intention was to clarify what culture is and why the military, in particular, is a rape culture.

    (troll, did make a good point in refuting your interpretation of the data you chose, maybe you should listen to his ‘side’–being a true liberal and all ;-)

  • Glenn Contrarian

    And troll’s point is well taken and understood – he has that habit of cutting through to the chase, doesn’t he?

    But again, for several years the rate of sexual assault in the military was less than in the civilian world, and my point was that it’s the timing, that the statistics (and my personal experience) show that the military is more dangerous for women only in time of war and in the decade or so immediately following war…

    …and that in times of sustained peace, the military is a safer place for women than in the civilian world.

    Actually, in times of sustained peace, the military’s not just a safer place for women, it’s a safer place period as the article in Slate showed. That’s why I lay the blame not on the military, but on the civilian leadership that orders us into combat, because the statistics still show that the major determinant is combat – and not merely life in the military – that makes the military less safe for women.

    And I’ll share an opinion with you that may or may not surprise you, but I suspect it will be no surprise at all to the men among the BC residents – the tendency to truly evil cruelty, the desire to dominate by force of will and conquer by force of arms if necessary, lay dormant within most men. The great majority of us keep it locked away…but we know it’s there (and many of us are ashamed of it). There are triggers that let loose this monster, one of which is combat where one must kill or be killed.

    All this is my opinion, of course, but I’ll continue – almost all men cannot help but feel the need to feed this monster, and we do so with our machismo. We feed it at football games, or watching WWE and boxing matches and “guy movies”. But all these are just little tidbits of nourishment, the merest table scraps for the beast that lay within men…but we know what it really wants, and most of us fear it, fear what it will do to us, and fear what we might do not just to those we love, but even to innocent strangers as well.

    Cindy, the “culture of rape” isn’t in the military – it’s in men. And the more men do that which feeds that beast – like combat – the more they are unable to keep that beast chained, bound in whatever emotion that each particular man chooses to use to keep the monster locked away.

    Again, that’s all just my opinion, but it might give you some insight. That, and it makes you wonder about the zero percent rate of child abuse within households where the parents are lesbian mothers.

  • http://www.RoseDigitalMarketing.com Christopher Rose

    Glenn, could you be clearer about “periods of sustained peace”?

    Looking at the Timeline of US Military Operations, there hasn’t ever been what most people would consider a sustained period of peace.

    I also don’t get how you think one period of anything is sufficient evidence to base any theory upon.

    Finally, it is equally hard to buy into your latest conjecture, that it isn’t a military issue but a male thing. That subtle shifting of the goal posts doesn’t at all explain why sex abuse in the military is higher than in the civilian population by an average of 10 to 20 per cent.

  • Glenn Contrarian

    Chris –

    *sigh*.

    There were ZERO periods of large-scale sustained combat operations from the end of Vietnam to the invasion of Iraq. Our misadventure in Beirut did not involve a more than a portion of our military forces, and the first Gulf War – Desert Storm – was over very quickly and did not not involve long-term occupation with near-daily operations against a popular insurgency. Also during that time were our operations in Grenada, Panama, Bosnia, and a whole slew of lesser operations ranging from Central and South America to Southeast Asia to the Middle East to Africa…

    …but none of these were anything that could be called a major war. It was a 27-year period of relative peace bookended by wars that involved most of America’s military forces.

    And if you’d bother to try to understand what I wrote, you’d realize that it’s only in time of war or in the decade afterwards that sexual abuse has been a problem in the military. If that were not the case, then the rate of sexual abuse in the military would not have been LOWER than in the civilian world for several years.

    But I get it – Thou Shalt Not Agree with Glenn No Matter What, never mind that you have zero military experience and not a great deal of knowledge or understanding of military history.

    BTW, could you please explain to us how it is that the only households where child abuse has not been a significant problem…are households that are run by lesbian mothers? I mean, when men are taken out of the equation, households appear to be more peaceful. Why is that, Chris?

  • http://www.RoseDigitalMarketing.com Christopher Rose

    Glenn

    *sigh*

    So you’re saying that it is in periods when there has been no MAJOR war for over 10 years, (a major war being something that involves “more than a portion” of the USA’s military forces and doesn’t involve any long term occupation), that the rate of sexual abuse in the military reduces and that somehow proves that there isn’t a culture of violent sexual abuse? That seems highly selective to me.

    You go on to state that there was a 27 year period of relative peace but, if I follow your argument correctly, it was only after a change in military protocols in the 90s that the rate of military sexual abuse actually reduced.

    You seem to equate questioning your arguments rather than gratefully accepting them as somehow inappropriate. I really DID understand what you wrote, which I’d have thought you could notice if you actually realised that is how I was able to ask you focused, relevant questions about it.

    Perhaps if you weren’t so busy leaping into your comfortable little martyr role you’d have noticed that – or my multiple previous rebuttals, most recently two days ago in comment 9 of this very article, of your tired old bleating that I never agree with you “no matter what”. Apparently the possibility that you aren’t actually making a very compelling argument in support of your BELIEF doesn’t occur to you.

    Oh, by the way, as you have also been told on multiple occasions but appear incapable of remembering, I do have military experience and you have no information about my knowledge or understanding of military history, so please stop embarrassing yourself by making shit up.

    Finally, your argument about the lack of child abuse in lesbian households, which is based on an article you read in HuffPo rather than actual research, is irrelevant to your theory (which, let me remind you, is as yet unproven), that there isn’t a culture of sexual abuse in the military.

    Personally, I don’t see why there is a reduced rate of abuse in periods of prolonged peacetime, if there is, actually contradicts the view that there is such a culture.

  • Glenn Contrarian

    Chris –

    No, I frankly don’t remember you ever saying you had military experience. Okay, so what is your military experience?

    Second, you stated:

    You go on to state that there was a 27 year period of relative peace but, if I follow your argument correctly, it was only after a change in military protocols in the 90s that the rate of military sexual abuse actually reduced.

    Actually, if you’d read my article, the sea change (so to speak) began with an incident in 1981…five years before the beginning of the study showing a LOWER rate of sexual abuse in the military than in the civilian world.

    Third, you didn’t address my question concerning exactly why it is that in the study by UCLA, there were ZERO observed instances of child abuse when both parents were lesbians.

  • Glenn Contrarian

    And Chris –

    Tell me, since you’ve got military experience, how much more dangerous for you yourself to walk around base at night was it than to walk down the streets in the city?

  • http://www.squidoo.com/lensmasters/IanMayfield Dr Dreadful

    A true liberal is a dangerous thing.

    Dangerous to whom?

  • http://www.squidoo.com/lensmasters/IanMayfield Dr Dreadful

    …and how the president is largely held responsible by the military for what they are ordered to do.

    Glenn, unless there are some horrible things going on at the highest levels of government that we don’t know about, the president does not order the military to commit rape, and certainly not against its own.

    The experience of combat certainly changes a person in fundamental ways, and a leader should be aware of that, among many other things, before he commits his nation’s armed forces to action.

    Yes, the president is responsible for the military, but the responsibility for what the military does can’t be laid at his door like that. In the same way, a chief of police is responsible for maintaining law and order in his city, but he’s not responsible for every crime that happens in his jurisdiction.

  • http://www.squidoo.com/lensmasters/IanMayfield Dr Dreadful

    how much more dangerous for you yourself to walk around base at night was it than to walk down the streets in the city?

    Round about the same degree of difference, I would imagine, as that between walking around a gated apartment complex at night versus walking down a city street.

  • Igor

    I blame it all on Abe Lincoln, who kept the Confederate states in the Union thus enabling them to poison the whole USA with their aberrant and immoral ideas.

    Yes, there was more to Old Abe than the axe-swinging Vampire killer that we all love and celebrate in story and song. He was also President of the USA!

    So, perhaps short of time to give it sufficient consideration while pre-occupied with chasing down the undead, he chose to try to keep that confederate band of perverts IN the Union instead of kicking them out in the cold as they richly deserved.

    We didn’t need that motley band of sister-boinking slave-selling child-rapists in the union. Old Abe should have said “Via con dios, we’ll see you when you come to your senses, and then maybe we’ll let you back in and this time with one senator so you can’t plug things up”.

    But instead we first beat them and then let them back in with congressional representatives and senators.

    Two things every southerner hates are black colored people and northerners. But they cover it under a lot of syrupy feigned gracefulness and slow talking wheedling.

    The southerners figured out a way to jam up the congress by manipulating the seniority system and inventing a rule that the president or VP must come from a southern state. And now, somehow, they created a senate rule that defeats majority rule with a ‘cloture’ rule, and they’ve got everyone scared into going along with it!

    They invented the myth of The Noble South, that their soldiers and officers were finer and more gracious than northern ruffians, but you never saw a sorrier collection of back-shooters and sneak murderers than southern troops. Just what you’d expect from a community that featured slavery as the Highest Achievement Of Mankind, as they proudly announced in the “Ordnance of Secession”, unanimously signed by all southern representatives.

    Abe should have cut them loose and let them drown in that cesspool of misanthropy, privilege and conceit in the south. One after another the confederate states would have repented and asked for re-admission to the union as their situation degenerated. And if any one didn’t, who cares? Who needs them? All the vigor and advancement was happening in the North and West anyhow. The south would have atrophied and died.

    It was a poison pill. The southerners determined to use tricks to take over national institutions. One of those institutions was the Military (another was the FBI and another the Secret Service, which came to be southern dominated, too). Always eager to blow their horns about how noble confederate soldiers had been and how good their generals were (both lies), the south promoted themselves relentlessly. It became Politically Correct to allow confederates their conceits about military prowess, which were undeserved.

    So it’s no wonder at all that it took until 1949 to desegregate the military and even longer to de-sexualize it, in particular the officers training schools, dominated by southerners. It’s no surprise that we are still getting sex and rape scandals. Once a lad hears that southern drawl from an officer he figures he has carte blanche to treat any mere woman the way his great grandfather treated black female slaves: as property and sex slaves.

    Yes, there’s a culture of rape in the US military, and it’s roots are in the slave-holding south. Don’t be fooled by the Saccharine drawlings of southern officers.

  • Glenn Contrarian

    Doc –

    Whatever the military does is laid at the feet of the president, just like whatever the Wehrmacht did is because of Hitler. Sure, many of the officers and enlisted of Hitler’s armies were held fully accountable and some hanged for their crimes, but who was it that created the atmosphere, the military-wide attitude that prevailed within the Wehrmacht?

    And I can tell you from personal experience that while a commander won’t be held responsible for each and every crime committed by those under his command, it is he and he alone who is responsible for creating the atmosphere, the command-wide attitude that either precludes or encourages those commands. If there’s few (or no) significant crimes in a particular command, then the commander’s doing his duty as he should. But if those under his command are committing above a certain level of those crimes (there can be no set level, of course), then he’s not doing his job and needs to be fired.

    Order the Navy Times sometimes, because several times a year there will be this or that article about a captain who was fired…and in each and every one of those articles you’ll find comments about how he or she failed to foster a proper attitude within the command, how he or she did not maintain proper discipline within the command. The captains are held responsible, and so are the admirals, and so is the Secretary of the Navy…but the buck stops in the Oval Office, and every senior person in the military knows it.

    If you want a civilian equivalent, look at how New York City – which is still living down the reputation of a ghetto-ridden crime capital – is actually the safest major city in America. A good leader (was it Koch or Giuliani?) came in and was able to make the change. Same kind and degree of change occurred in Singapore under Lee Kuan Yew.

    The overall conduct of a command or a city or a nation is the responsibility of the leader thereof. It has always been and will always be thus.

  • Glenn Contrarian

    and Doc –

    Round about the same degree of difference, I would imagine, as that between walking around a gated apartment complex at night versus walking down a city street.

    Thing is, if the military was as inherently violent as others here seem to think, the more dangerous area would be within the fences of the base, not outside the fences.

  • Glenn Contrarian

    Igor –

    The root cause of any “culture of rape” is certainly not because of Southern culture. If that weren’t the case, then the American military as a whole wouldn’t have a relatively stellar reputation of conduct over the generations. While our military’s committed war crimes as all militaries have, our overall conduct has set the standard. Or can you name a major military force (other than those from the British Commonwealth) whose conduct towards the defeated has been as exemplary?

    And while there were generals on both sides in the Civil War who were almost inhuman in their wastage of humanity – Sherman and Grant come to mind – there were some whose nobility is above question, such as Robert E. Lee. So it is in any war; indeed, two of the most honorable flag officers in WWII were Yamamoto and particularly Rommel – but they were the exception to the rule.

  • http://www.squidoo.com/lensmasters/IanMayfield Dr Dreadful

    who was it that created the atmosphere, the military-wide attitude that prevailed within the Wehrmacht?

    The difference is that Nazi Germany was a dictatorship with a cult of personality centred on Hitler. Anything the Wehrmacht did was acceptable in that culture, as long as it was done in the name of the Führer.

    In the case of the United States, the general attitude towards the C-in-C doesn’t – or shouldn’t – change regardless of whose arse is leeching sweat onto the Oval Office chair.

  • http://thingsalongtheway.blogspot.com/ Cindy

    23 Dr.D-

    Dangerous to anyone who is not privileged by the dominant culture.

    Example:
    A portrait of a social worker might include the following characteristics: liberal, kind, seeking social justice. But that social worker arises from a context. The context is that the social worker is trained by a system to look at those in need of social justice in particular ways (relates back to my past comments on education as indoctrination). Those ways would be based on the point of view of an outsider who examines ‘those people’s’ problems from ‘on high’, and offers solutions sanctioned by power and authority.

    How I see it, in this example, is true social justice requires directly empowering all marginalized social groups. That is something that cannot be done within this system. That is somethng that works against the system . And the system protects itself. It uses both conservatives and liberals alike to do that. The only way I see out is to step out of the groups that dominate the field and tilt one’s head sideways to try to see if there is something we are missing.

    As a liberal I couldn’t see where my beliefs fit into and replicated the things I find to be problems for human beings and society. As a liberal I was still trying to use a system that created the problems to try to solve them. There may be some effect. But, working as a liberal from within the system, by and large I am creating as many problems as I am trying to solve. I am helping to cover up and keep in place a great deal of oppression.

    Liberals and conservatives both can be thought of as authoritarians like. It is many liberal teachers who blindly enforce the rules of the institutions they work within instead of either questioning them, themselves, or helping their students to question them. They enable an army of new students ready to deny, excuse, tolerate, and replicate the problems of this system.

    We may very well have a better way of doing things one day. But it won’t happen until liberals recognize their role in maintaining this one. Even if one thinks that we are making positive progress (not sure an elderly person in a nursing home instead of a family home thinks this is progress, but whatever), that doesn’t necessarily answer the question: What changes do we need to make to do even better? The reason we have what we have, is because we do what we do. If we want to do better, we still need to change what we do. So, in any case we need to do something different. Defending what we are doing isn’t the answer.

    (Just an amusing reminder of the march against the war I partook in with 10,000 liberals–we all went home able to feel better that we had changed the world. The system gave us a permit to march where no one could see us on a day when all of the war corporations were closed. That is a nice analogy for what I see as the problem with the true liberal.)

  • Glenn Contrarian

    Doc –

    On the “cult of personality”, no, such neither enables nor precludes atrocities or lack of discipline within a military. The second-best captain I served under was a self-promoting prima donna who replaced the ship’s logo (Lincoln’s profile on the penny) on the ship’s daily brief (called the “Plan of the Day”) with his own profile, underscored with the phrase “It’s good to be the king”. But he was a very, very good captain and tried to laugh at his own personality. He was a pilot, and his call sign was “Poodle”. The best captain I served under, however, was just the opposite – soft spoken, humble, and to this day I still think the world of him.

    The point is, whether or not there’s a cult of personality is not a determining factor (though it can certainly be a factor). While Hitler did indeed cultivate that ‘cult of personality’, our own military has committed atrocities (like the “kill all Filipinos over 10 years old” command by an American general in the Huk Rebellion back in the very early 1900’s) when no such cult has been present.

  • Glenn Contrarian

    Cindy –

    Liberals and conservatives both can be thought of as authoritarians like. It is many liberal teachers who blindly enforce the rules of the institutions they work within instead of either questioning them, themselves, or helping their students to question them. They enable an army of new students ready to deny, excuse, tolerate, and replicate the problems of this system.

    Then such liberals as you describe above aren’t truly liberals, because while liberals may stick with a certain system or set of beliefs, they are not afraid to at least consider different systems or sets of beliefs. Conservatives, on the other hand, are very resistant to having to listen to conflicting information or concepts.

    Note that what I’ve just said means that there’s many who are politically liberal but whose personalities are quite conservative. Conversely, there’s who are politically conservative but whose personalities are liberal in that they’re not afraid of listening to the other side, of honestly considering concepts that conflict with their own.

  • http://thingsalongtheway.blogspot.com/ Cindy

    Well, then Glenn, I guess I must have been talking about ‘fake’ liberals. The ones I was calling ‘true’ were more like you–reactive and actually not considering much of anything new, but their next argument.

  • troll

    (…for those who haven’t viewed it and at the risk of being accused of persevering let me recommend Cronin and Seltzer’s “Call It Sleep” again for a grim situationist critique of the dangerous liberal)

  • Glenn Contrarian

    Um, Cindy –

    Well, then Glenn, I guess I must have been talking about ‘fake’ liberals. The ones I was calling ‘true’ were more like you–reactive and actually not considering much of anything new, but their next argument.

    Do you remember when I finally agreed with you about the feasibility of a anarchistic governmental system? Remember? Of course you do. If I refused to consider new things – as you just claimed is the case – then would I have agreed with you?

    Furthermore, would I have gone from being a strong political conservative to being a strong Obama-loving political liberal if I were simply reactive and not open to new ways of thinking, to new concepts and new ideas?

    I suggest, Cindy, that you take a minute and consider whether perhaps your comment concerning me was based less upon an objective observation and more upon your personal opinion since I say things you don’t like to hear…and given that I’ve just reminded you of a significant instance that proved you unquestionably wrong about whether I’m as close-minded as you claimed, one wonders what your reply will be.

    And can you present an example of you having changed your mind concerning an issue due to someone’s arguments on BC? Frankly, I suspect you can…but I’ll leave it up to you to point it out.

  • http://thingsalongtheway.blogspot.com/ Cindy

    I will go even further Glenn. My comment concerning you was completely subjective. Ever since I got saddled with this apparatus with which to take in and spew out ideas, I have not been able to be objective. And I don’t remember what anything was like before that. ;-)

    I apologize for being rude. My response was based on the quick-draw reply belying your not having considered what I was saying–not really. It does not actually mean that because you did not, in that instance, that you can not.

    I will recommend you watch the video troll suggested. It might open a crack in a door to an even newer perspective. (Or it might sit on the shelf in your memory and come to be useful in some future adventure.) I just watched it again and found it even gave me more to think about the 4th time.

    In any case, I am sorry for my generalizing obnoxiousism in that post to you.

  • http://www.squidoo.com/lensmasters/IanMayfield Dr Dreadful

    Cindy, I was going to remark that perhaps your definition and mine of what constitutes a “true liberal” are different, but I think Glenn has already addressed this.

    I’m more of a classical liberal with a conservative (heh) amount of social liberalism thrown in, but I see that this position demands a degree of state intervention that you’re not comfortable with.

    I suppose you could say that the UN Declaration of Human Rights is a pretty fair representation of my general outlook, though I have an issue or two with Article 16.

  • http://www.squidoo.com/lensmasters/IanMayfield Dr Dreadful

    Glenn @ #32: I think you’ve pretty much buried your own argument. If there’s no correlation between the leadership style of a Commander in Chief and the behaviour of those he sends to war, then the responsibility for sex crimes committed within the military surely lies with the military itself.

  • Igor

    29-Glenn: Nonsense! Robert E. Lee was a traitor defending his extraordinary privilege as a slave owner. He chose his ‘peculiar institution’ over loyalty to his country. For his own financial advantage.

    Cohen on Lee


    Dispelling the myth of Robert E. Lee

    By Richard Cohen, Published: April 25, 2011

    It has taken a while, but it’s about time Robert E. Lee lost the Civil War. The South, of course, was defeated on the battlefield in 1865, yet the Lee legend, swaddled in myth, kitsch and racism, has endured even past the civil rights era when it became both urgent and right to finally tell the “Lost Cause” to get lost. Now it should be Lee’s turn. He was loyal to slavery and disloyal to his country, not worthy, even he might now admit, of the honors accorded him.

    I confess to always being puzzled by the cult of Lee. Whatever his personal or military virtues, he offered himself and his sword to the cause of slavery. He owned slaves himself and fought tenaciously in the courts to keep them. He commanded a vast army that, had it won, would have secured the independence of a nation dedicated to the proposition that white people could own black people and sell them off, husband from wife, child from parent, as the owner saw fit. Such a man cannot be admired.

    But he is. All over the South, particularly in his native Virginia, the cult of Lee is manifested in streets, highways and schools named for him. When I first moved to the Washington area, I used to marvel at these homages to the man. What was being honored? Slavery? Treason?

    He was not, as I once thought, the creature of crushing social and political pressure who had little choice but to pick his state over his country. In fact, various members of his own family stuck with the Union.

    “When Lee consulted his brothers, sister and local clergymen, he found that most leaned toward the Union,” Pryor wrote. “At a grim dinner with two close cousins, Lee was told that they also intended to uphold their military oaths. .?.?. Sister Anne Lee Marshall unhesitatingly chose the Northern side, and her son outfitted himself in blue uniform.”…

    After the war, the South embraced a mythology of victimhood. An important feature was the assertion that the war had been not about slavery at all but about state’s rights. The secessionists themselves were not so shy. In their various declarations, they announced they were leaving the Union to preserve slavery. Lee not only accepted the Lost Cause myth, he propagated it and came to embody it.

    in that exotic place called the antebellum South, there were plenty of people who recognized the evil of slavery or, if nothing else, the folly of secession. Lee was not one of them. He deserves no honor, no college, no highway, no high school. In the awful war (620,000 dead) that began 150 years ago this month, he fought on the wrong side for the wrong cause. It’s time for Virginia and the South to honor the ones who were right.

  • Glenn Contrarian

    Igor –

    Don’t get me wrong – I’m not glorifying the South by any means. I’ve changed so much over the years that even when I play a Civil War video game on the computer (yeah, this middle-aged white guy is still a gamer), I never choose to play the South. Look also at what I said were two of the most honorable generals of WWII – Rommel and Yamamoto. Do you think I support what Germany or Japan stood for in those days? Certainly not!

    Yamamoto opposed attacking America, which was why he wrote that if Japan attacked America, Japan would be able to “run wild” for about six months before the tide would begin to turn. About six months after Pearl Harbor came the Battle of Midway.

    Rommel for his part took pains to treat his prisoners well, even to the point of refusing to follow orders from Berlin on what to do with those prisoners. He was very well respected – and even admired – by many who fought against him.

    What’s the point? A military man – and particularly a high-ranking military officer – may choose to follow what he personally feels is the more honorable path, even though he knows feels his nation or his side is in the wrong. If you’ll remember, quite a few of our own flag officers refused the assignment to lead our troops in the Iraq War…but one was eventually found who would do it, who thought that it was a matter of duty to lead our forces occupying Iraq if he was called to do so. Perhaps one thing that’s factoring into your disagreement with me is that your perception of the “right thing to do” doesn’t match up with what I hold to be prime examples of honor in the military.

    Perhaps one more example should serve. In the Battle of Waterloo, an English sharpshooter had Napoleon in his sights and asked for permission to shoot. Wellington promptly denied such permission, saying that gentlemen do not assassinate generals (or words to that effect). Now if Napoleon had been killed, many, many men on both sides would probably have lived, but the honor of Wellington forbade him from going through with it. And Napoleon, for all his military adventurism, did a lot of great things for France’s government, some of which survive to this day.

    I do take history seriously, and so I will do some more research to check on what you claim about Lee, including checking your reference. But I’ll tell you this much – the language that Cohen uses would indicate that he is not giving an historical observation so much as he is giving an opinion, for no real historian would make a statement so judgmental as “He deserves no honor, no college, no highway, no high school.”

  • Glenn Contrarian

    Cindy –

    That’s why I respect you – you’ve got guts. I’ll look at the video sometime tonight or this weekend, probably when I get around to checking the references Igor and Dreadful provided.

  • Glenn Contrarian

    Doc Dreadful –

    Glenn @ #32: I think you’ve pretty much buried your own argument. If there’s no correlation between the leadership style of a Commander in Chief and the behaviour of those he sends to war, then the responsibility for sex crimes committed within the military surely lies with the military itself.

    No, because the same ends can be achieved with different styles of leadership. For instance, look at Patton and Bradley – two completely different styles of leadership, yet both were quite capable of achieving the same ends. The key lay in what those ends are, what a leader decides must be the ultimate goal, and what that leader is willing to to in order to reach that goal.

  • http://thingsalongtheway.blogspot.com/ Cindy

    Glenn,

    We seem to be way past Roger’s thread about Julian Assange. So, I will put my response your idea about needing need ‘intelligence operations’ on this thread, Glenn. It’s 8 minutes long and says a whole lot about what US intelligence combined with the military have done to innocent victims.

    Let me just put out the basic statistics on the secret wars waged against the 3rd world by the US CIA: approximately 3,000 major and 10,000 minor operations. This is why terrorism came to the US, Glenn. This shows the why the US is considered around the world by the populations who are marginalized to be a terrorist organization. How 6 Million People Were Killed In CIA Secret Wars Against Third World Countries

    So, when I suggested that Bradley might have come to see something that you, in your knife and fork deployment, hadn’t–you may get a gist of what I mean. And also why I cannot be sympathetic or sing the Star Spangled Banner.

  • http://thingsalongtheway.blogspot.com/ Cindy

    Oh, it’s only a 6 minute video…there are longer versions available. And it would be good too, if you could read his two page talk he gave in 1987, below the video.

  • http://thingsalongtheway.blogspot.com/ Cindy

    If anyone wants, here is the 3 hour version on C-Span video of Stockwell, ex-cia director of operations angola, enlightening us as to the US intelligence workings.

  • http://www.squidoo.com/lensmasters/IanMayfield Dr Dreadful

    Glenn @ #43: I think you’re a bit confused about the difference between a C-in-C being responsible for something that goes on under his command, and being to blame for it.

    If it transpires that there is widespread rape in the armed forces, then the President rightly and properly should take responsibility for it and do something about it. Saying that he’s to blame for it because he sent troops into battle, or signed legislation facilitating a big increase in the number of women in the military (which might go a long way towards giving us an explanation for the phenomenon were it not that male soldiers, sailors and airmen have also been victimized), or whatever it is he did, is like blaming the city council because they had a centre divider installed along Main Street and somebody crashed into it and killed themselves.

  • Igor

    Robert E. Lee was certainly a slave-owner, and he abused them with beatings.

    Rad Geek on Lee


    …today I’d like to take a bit of time to talk about another of the idiot notions popular with the Stars-and-Bars crowd: the idea that Robert E. Lee opposed slavery, or that he didn’t own any slaves. No he didn’t, and yes he did.

    Robert E. Lee defended the institution of slavery and personally owned slaves.

    Lee cheerleaders love to point out that Lee wrote to his wife, in 1856, that “In this enlightened age, there are few I believe, but what will acknowledge, that slavery as an institution, is a moral & political evil” He did write that, but the use of the quotation is dishonest. The quote is cherry-picked from a letter that Lee wrote to his wife on December 27, 1856; the passage from which it was taken actually reads:

    In this enlightened age, there are few I believe, but what will acknowledge, that slavery as an institution, is a moral & political evil in any Country. It is useless to expatiate on its disadvantages. I think it however a greater evil to the white man than to the black race, & while my feelings are strongly enlisted in behalf of the latter, my sympathies are more strong for the former. The blacks are immeasurably better off here than in Africa, morally, socially & physically. The painful discipline they are undergoing, is necessary for their instruction as a race, & I hope will prepare & lead them to better things. How long their subjugation may be necessary is known & ordered by a wise Merciful Providence.

    Robert E. Lee, letter to his wife on slavery (December 27, 1856)

    Lee, in other words, regarded slavery as an “evil”, but a necessary evil ordained by God as the “white man’s burden”. Far from expressing opposition to the institution of slavery, the purpose of his letter was actually to condemn abolitionists; the letter was an approving note on a speech by then-President Franklin Pierce, which praised Pierce’s opposition to interference with Southern slavery,…

    And what did “the painful discipline … necessary for their instruction” mean? One of the sixty-three slaves that Lee inherited from his father-in-law explains:

    My name is Wesley Norris; I was born a slave on the plantation of George Parke Custis; after the death of Mr. Custis, Gen. Lee, who had been made executor of the estate, assumed control of the slaves, in number about seventy; it was the general impression among the slaves of Mr. Custis that on his death they should be forever free; in fact this statement had been made to them by Mr. C. years before; at his death we were informed by Gen. Lee that by the conditions of the will we must remain slaves for five years; I remained with Gen. Lee for about seventeen months, when my sister Mary, a cousin of ours, and I determined to run away, which we did in the year 1859; we had already reached Westminster, in Maryland, on our way to the North, when we were apprehended and thrown into prison, and Gen. Lee notified of our arrest; we remained in prison fifteen days, when we were sent back to Arlington; we were immediately taken before Gen. Lee, who demanded the reason why we ran away; we frankly told him that we considered ourselves free; he then told us he would teach us a lesson we never would forget; he then ordered us to the barn, where, in his presence, we were tied firmly to posts by a Mr. Gwin, our overseer, who was ordered by Gen. Lee to strip us to the waist and give us fifty lashes each, excepting my sister, who received but twenty; we were accordingly stripped to the skin by the overseer, who, however, had sufficient humanity to decline whipping us; accordingly Dick Williams, a county constable, was called in, who gave us the number of lashes ordered; Gen. Lee, in the meantime, stood by, and frequently enjoined Williams to “lay it on well,” an injunction which he did not fail to heed; not satisfied with simply lacerating our naked flesh, Gen. Lee then ordered the overseer to thoroughly wash our backs with brine, which was done. After this my cousin and myself were sent to Hanover Court-House jail, my sister being sent to Richmond to an agent to be hired; we remained in jail about a week, when we were sent to Nelson county, where we were hired out by Gen. Lee’s agent to work on the Orange and Alexander railroad; we remained thus employed for about seven months, and were then sent to Alabama, and put to work on what is known as the Northeastern railroad; in January, 1863, we were sent to Richmond, from which place I finally made my escape through the rebel lines to freedom; I have nothing further to say; what I have stated is true in every particular, and I can at any time bring at least a dozen witnesses, both white and black, to substantiate my statements: I am at present employed by the Government; and am at work in the National Cemetary on Arlington Heights, where I can be found by those who desire further particulars; my sister referred to is at present employed by the French Minister at Washington, and will confirm my statement.

    Testimony of Wesley Norris (1866); reprinted in John W. Blassingame (ed.): Slave Testimony: Two Centuries of Letters, Speeches, and Interviews, and Autobiographies Baton Rouge: Louisiana State University Press (ISBN 0-8071-0273-3). 467-468.

  • Igor

    Power and rape are entwined.

    The power (and intellectual disposition, as with Lee) to enslave people and beat them, even murder them, was accompanied by a perceived Right To Commit Rape, even upon children.

    There can be no doubt that the slave-owners of the “Noble South” were often serial rapists. The genetic records, now available to us through DNA studies say that 35% of the genes of our “black” people are from white people. That results from Elegant Southern Gentlemen raping helpless negro slave women (it would be laughable to try to argue that it is from black men raping white women, the nightmare fantasy so beloved by racists).

    Have you not looked into the faces of the ‘black’ people around you and seen their white European ancestrors staring back at you?

    I have read in the past of Robert E. Lees escapades among the slaves under his care (especially ‘octaroons’ and ‘quadroons’). I suppose he considered it his Godly duty to contribute to the improvement of the black race by fathering children among the women, as he considered it his duty to whip and punish male slaves.

    The ideas of the Rights of slaveowners over the bodies of the slaves they own translate directly into the notions of imagined rights of military officers over the bodies of military subordinates. Widespread rape of military women is now an inescapable fact. And in the distant past there was rape of subordinate men, although not to the same extent.

    The vector that carried this disease from plantation to army was the Southern Gentleman Soldier.

  • http://thingsalongtheway.blogspot.com/ Cindy

    The testimony of the slave is excruciatingly important. It is the voice of the marginalized culture.

    The dominant culture, of which Lee was a member, control what views and events of a history get placed on the record and which are transmitted through its system of education. Those in the dominant culture have their own perspective. This leaves out the perspective of other cultures with which those in the dominant culture are unfamiliar and which have no power of voice. No authority, printing presses, or power within the system of information transmission (educational system, press, radio, TV, political system).

    As members of the dominant (privileged) culture, I hope we become aware of this. I am convinced that not being aware of it, not looking for and hearing the voices of the marginalized, is a problem that will have to be seen and acknowledged to create a better world.

    We should make a point to use the word histories rather than history. This is accurate as histories and their tellings vary according to one’s place in it.

    When I grew up, the history of Columbus was this.

    Don’t fail to realize that when you become elderly, unless you are wealthy enough to pay for whatever care you need, or you have some very rare family members–you may eventually see what it is like to be in the unprivileged. What amounts to imprisonment without much love at the end of life without committing any crime is the fate of many elderly.

  • Clav

    What amounts to imprisonment without much love at the end of life without committing any crime is the fate of many elderly.

    True. And if it happens under the circumstances you posit, it will still be true, even if the government is paying for it.

    You can’t buy love, and the government won’t be providing it. Also, infirmity to the point of being bedridden is imprisonment. Again, the government won’t (can’t) get you out of that, either.

    Dying slowly sucks, even with your family around you. Most of them are probably just there for their inheritances, anyway.

  • Glenn Contrarian

    Doc –

    I believe that I have shown that in peacetime (after most of the combat vets have retired or left the military) the military is a safer place (for all serious crimes including rape) than in the military. We in the military do not want criminals among us and we try our best to get rid of them – such was my experience. Yet when the military was sent into sustained combat operations, the effect was such on so many military members that we all can see what happened.

    And what was the trigger, the catalyst? Being ordered into combat by the Commander-in-Chief. I know that you want to differentiate between responsibility and blame, but perhaps you and I hold different personal definitions of responsibility. My definition is closer to the military view, just as my definition of “duty” is certainly more aligned with the military view. On a side note, the military view of “duty” is actually close to the Japanese translation – “giri“.

    But I will still maintain that while such military members must be held fully responsible for what they do, and while their respective chains of command share the responsibility (particularly if they have not aggressively done their utmost to prevent such crimes), the buck stops at the Oval Office. The underlying blame and the overarching responsibility lay with the one who took the military from an environment where it was safer for all to an environment where it was safer for none.

    Or, to use the frankly more appropriate example that I gave to Cindy, the military was taken from the state where the monsters within men were chained, controlled, forced to remain dormant…to a state where those monsters were loosed and allowed to affect the psyches of the men who faced the horror of combat.

    One man gave the orders which made that difference, and so that one man bears the blame and the responsibility.

  • Glenn Contrarian

    For Igor and Cindy, on Robert E. Lee –

    And George Washington was a slaveowner, too. Who was in a better position to end slavery – Lee, or Washington?

    What neither of you are doing is taking Lee’s actions and words in the context of his time and his culture – and Lee was from the South. What both of you should do is to compare apples to apples, and compare Lee’s actions and words to those who were truly his contemporaries – slaveowning Confederate officers.

    Was Lee racist? Almost certainly to some extent…and if Abraham Lincoln’s words supporting the preservation of slavery (before he was president) are any indication, he was racist, too.

    It is a basic error to judge someone’s words and actions if one does not take such in the context of the subject’s contemporaries, culture, and time.

  • Glenn Contrarian

    Clav #51 –

    Very, very true – but what’s interesting is this is a problem that is largely confined to America (although Western Europe may have the same problem). This is because in a rich nation like America, people have the option of consigning their elderly parents to the hell of nursing homes. Such is not the case in third-world nations, and so the elderly normally grow old at home where they belong.

    It’s ironic, really – the incredible financial success of America has itself forced us to believe that it’s good and right (or at least necessary) to put our parents in nursing homes. I’m facing that choice as of a few minutes ago after reading an e-mail from my brother, and I really don’t know what to do.

  • Igor

    Glenn, your attempted red herring about Washington is wasted.

    Here again are Wesley Norris’s words:


    …Gen. Lee notified of our arrest; we remained in prison fifteen days, when we were sent back to Arlington; we were immediately taken before Gen. Lee, who demanded the reason why we ran away; we frankly told him that we considered ourselves free; he then told us he would teach us a lesson we never would forget; he then ordered us to the barn, where, in his presence, we were tied firmly to posts by a Mr. Gwin, our overseer, who was ordered by Gen. Lee to strip us to the waist and give us fifty lashes each, excepting my sister, who received but twenty; we were accordingly stripped to the skin by the overseer, who, however, had sufficient humanity to decline whipping us; accordingly Dick Williams, a county constable, was called in, who gave us the number of lashes ordered; Gen. Lee, in the meantime, stood by, and frequently enjoined Williams to “lay it on well,” an injunction which he did not fail to heed; not satisfied with simply lacerating our naked flesh, Gen. Lee then ordered the overseer to thoroughly wash our backs with brine, which was done.

    Robert E. Lee was a sadist and a monster.

    I ask you: could you have so ordered other humans to be so tortured and abused? Especially since you knew perfectly well that those humans HAD been set free by their owners intention and written will? That you had to violate a written contract to do that sadism?

    The Robert E. Lee myth was nothing more than an attempt by southerners, traitors to the USA, to whitewash their own treasonous behaviour; and for no better cause than slavery!

    And don’t try to pass off that crap about the Temper Of The Times! Don’t try to excuse such behaviour with “everybody was doing it”. Clearly, the refusal of the overseer is evidence that Lee was a sadist.

  • Igor

    54-Glenn: you really don’t get it, do you?

    All the glossy ‘financial success’ was BOUGHT with the deteriorated futures of American citizens. And then it was all ‘redistributed’ (as in “wealth redistribution”) to a few rich people.

    It has NOTHING to do with irony. It is not ironic, it is The Plan. In the same way that pre-empting education is part of The Plan. In the same way that denying medical care causes high infant mortality. It is all part of The Plan. In the same way that home evictions are part of The Plan.

    And if you want to know what The Plan is you’ll have to remove your own blinders, instead of making up excuses like ‘irony’, which is no better than “gods will”.

    But you’ve clearly got a gullibility problem, since you bought all that Robert E. Lee whitewash.

  • troll

    I believe that I have shown that in peacetime (after most of the combat vets have retired or left the military) the military is a safer place…

    …you’ve shown no such thing with your single trial study plagued by possibly confounding variables and I fear that we’ll have to wait for the next transit of Venus to test your hypothesis

  • troll

    Clavos – I rather doubt that Cindy is looking for a government solution

  • Clav

    …traitors to the USA…

    Really? If true, we should be honoring their memories annually — July 4th would be a good date for that.

  • Glenn Contrarian

    Igor –

    AGAIN, you are ignoring the context of the times and of the subject’s contemporaries and experience.

    I’m not sure if you’re aware of this, but Lee was a lifelong military man, and such men tend to take the lessons they learned in the military and apply the same in their personal lives. Ask most military brats even today and they’ll tell you that their dads would sometimes apply what they learned in the military to the discipline they impose at home.

    There is no reason to believe that Lee would have considered slaves as deserving of lesser punishments than what he meted out to military members in his command. The ones punished in your reference would have been – in Lee’s eyes – considered deserters. IF you would please educate yourself on the context of the times, you’ll find that compared to some deserters (particularly those in the Confederate Army), Mr. Wesley Norris got off pretty lightly…because he was still alive!

    CONTEXT of the times/experience/contemporaries, Igor, CONTEXT!

    From the Wikipedia:

    People who are away for more than 30 days but return voluntarily or indicate a credible intent to return may still be considered AWOL. Those who are away for fewer than 30 days but can credibly be shown to have no intent to return (for example, by joining the armed forces of another country) may nevertheless be tried for desertion. In rare occasions, they may be tried for treason if enough evidence is found.

    In the United States, before the Civil War, deserters from the Army were flogged; while, after 1861, tattoos or branding were also adopted. The maximum U.S. penalty for desertion in wartime remains death, although this punishment was last applied to Eddie Slovik in 1945.

    Lee was a general, a lifelong military man. In Lee’s eyes, the slaves were no better than deserters (and he likely respected his soldiers much more than he respected slaves). Norris was a very, very lucky man.

    CONTEXT, Igor. CONTEXT.

  • Clav

    Just to be clear:

    In #59 I am endorsing the idea of being a traitor to the USA, NOT the concept of slavery.

    We should produce more “traitors;” no one who considers themselves a patriot is clear-eyed enough to see just what a cesspool its politics have made of the USA.

  • Glenn Contrarian

    and Igor –

    Here’s some advice that will help you – instead of immediately passing judgement on a man’s actions, first ponder what might have made his actions good and right in his eyes. Lee’s actions were good and right in his eyes because the punishment was less than what he often meted out to his own troops for what he would have considered a comparable offense.

  • Glenn Contrarian

    troll #57 –

    I guess it was silly of me to depend on the word of the Oxford Companion to American Military History. I have to ask you, then, what it is that you consider a credible reference?

  • Glenn Contrarian

    Igor #56 –

    Don’t preach to me with assumptions about what you think are going through my mind. Do you really think I’m for cuts in education, denial of medical care to anyone for whatever reason the HMO’s dream up, and allowing the meltdown of home ownership to continue? Guy, those are RIGHT-WING positions, not mine! I’m a strong liberal who’s for single-payer health care, boosting education funding (and taking for-profit universities to task), and forcing Big Finance to bite the bullet on mortgages. Why do you think most of the BC conservatives think of me as a tree-hugging, freedom-hating liberal?

    BUT the difference between thee and me, friend, is that I take history seriously enough to know that persons in history must not be judged by modern laws and morals, but only in the context of the times. All too often what we think of today as monstrous or sadistic, was simply normal and expected in the great majority of human history.

  • http://www.squidoo.com/lensmasters/IanMayfield Dr Dreadful

    Lee was a general, a lifelong military man. In Lee’s eyes, the slaves were no better than deserters (and he likely respected his soldiers much more than he respected slaves). Norris was a very, very lucky man.

    Oh, well, that’s all right, then…

  • troll

    Glenn Contrarian #63 – your hypothesis goes well beyond the evidence presented by your source doesn’t it?

  • Glenn Contrarian

    Doc –

    Context of the times, please. By today’s standards his actions were nothing short of repugnant, reprehensible, and all the comments by Igor and Cindy would certainly apply. But by the standards of the time, his actions were not excessively cruel, but were acceptable and even expected.

    I know you understand this, Doc, just as you know what punishments were like for the sailors of the British Navy, such as keelhauling.

  • Glenn Contrarian

    troll –

    When one reads a study that dovetails quite nicely with what one experienced in a twenty-year career, one does tend to accept that the study has credence.

  • troll

    Glenn Contrarian –

    how do you get from, Comparisons of the crime rates of civilian and military populations during peacetime periods in 1986–92 reveal that contemporary peacetime rates of rape by American military personnel are actually lower (controlling for age and gender) than civilian rates. – the evidence from the Oxford

    to,

  • troll

    cont

    I have shown that in peacetime (after most of the combat vets have retired or left the military) the military is a safer place…etc – your claim

  • troll

    (…you do see that while the Oxford is describing you are predicting – right?)

  • Glenn Contrarian

    troll –

    I am not ‘predicting’. Here’s the pertinent quote from the Oxford Companion:

    To place military rape rates in context, it is valuable to compare them with civilian rates. Comparisons of the crime rates of civilian and military populations during peacetime periods in 1986-92 reveal that contemporary peacetime rates of rape by American military personnel are actually lower (controlling for age and gender) than civilian rates. However, the data also indicate that peacetime military rape rates are diminished far less from civilian rates than are military rates for other violent offenses. This “rape differential” is also reflected in the World War II data: U.S. Army rape rates in Europe climbed to several times the U.S. civilian rates for that period, while military rates for other violent crimes were roughly equivalent to civilian rates. Thus, in both contexts studied, a rape differential exists: the ratio of military rape rates to civilian rape rates is substantially larger than the ratio of military rates to civilian rates for other violent crimes.

    The fact that the degree to which rates of military rape to civilian rape rates is significantly smaller than the ratio of other crime rates in the military to civilian crime rates does not negate the fact that contemporary PEACETIME rates in the military are still lower than in the civilian world. And it’s not as if the Oxford Companion is the only publication that finds that military personnel are generally quite well-behaved. Read again the quote from Slate:

    In Okinawa, Japan, for example, American soldiers have been involved in several high-profile rapes and have been accused of more widespread violence. While it’s reasonable to expect that a population of young men trained in warfare would commit crimes at higher rates, a recent study found that the troops in Okinawa were less than half as likely to break the law as those in the general population. In Korea, too, U.S. servicemen seem to be arrested for serious crimes far less often than the locals.

    Mind you that the servicemen are arrested for crimes less than half the rate of locals…and this is in two of the most law-abiding countries in the world!

    If anything, troll, the difference in the ratios to which you refer is probably more indicative of what happens when you take any profession that is physically demanding, mentally and emotionally difficult, dangerous, and traditionally almost entirely male…and put women in there working alongside those men. Talk to those women after a year and ask them whether they’ve been sexually harassed, and you can guess what their reply is going to be. Then if you make the work many times more demanding, difficult, and dangerous (as in the transition for military personnel from peacetime to war), and it doesn’t take a social-worker-cum-rocket-scientist to figure out what’s going to happen next.

  • http://www.squidoo.com/lensmasters/IanMayfield Dr Dreadful

    But by the standards of the time, his actions were not excessively cruel, but were acceptable and even expected.

    Lee may have possessed more honour than many of his contemporaries, but like most historical figures (including many actual saints :-) ) he was no saint, and while we can understand the social and cultural context of some of his more reprehensible acts, we don’t need to be making excuses for them.

  • Glenn Contrarian

    Doc –

    I heartily agree that he was no saint, and I am making no excuse for him. All I’m doing is pointing out that it is folly to judge a historical figure without taking into account the context of the times, the culture, and that figure’s life experience.

  • http://www.squidoo.com/lensmasters/IanMayfield Dr Dreadful

    Again, the government won’t (can’t) get you out of that, either.

    They can if they legalize euthanasia. That’s never likely to happen in this country, though, thanks to the Religious Right, whose primary goal seems to be to ensure innocent people stay alive so that they can suffer as much as possible, and to kill guilty people quickly so that they don’t suffer at all.

  • troll

    Glenn Contrarian –

    I’m not ‘predicting’.

    oh – never mind then…I was operating under the assumption that your claim was substantive and was meant to apply beyond the ’86 – ’92 period…as a number of your comments above seemed to imply

    sorry for the confusion and pointless argumentation

  • Glenn Contrarian

    troll –

    If you had included a rebuttal of the Slate article as well, I’d take your comment more seriously.

  • Igor

    @60-Glenn: IMO the “context of the times and of the subject’s contemporaries and experience.” are VERY relevant.

    They clearly show that Lee was content to go along with his fellows, who were criminals, in spite of everything his christian religion must have taught him was wrong, dead wrong. And everything his soldiers creed told him, too. That’s NOT the mark of a hero. That’s a tool.

    The “context of the Times” was against Lee!

    If you had been stationed to Abu Graib and told to torture prisoners would you have done it?

    Lees own overseer knew it was wrong and demurred.

    Many people have refused illegal orders, and suffered for it. More pliable and compliant thugs have been promoted over them. That’s how good soldiers are passed by inferior opportunistic soldiers. Do you approve?

  • troll

    Glenn Contrarian – I’m not clear on what in the Slate quote you’d like rebutted…I can think of several influences that might have produced the observed effect other than a combat vet free force (and the extent to which this has been the case in Japan and Korea over the years is a question)

    maybe it’s as simple as the influence of the Tao

  • http://thingsalongtheway.blogspot.com/ Cindy

    Clav,

    it will still be true, even if the government is paying for it.

    My understanding is that the gov’t generally is, at least eventually, paying for this warehousing. It seems the state is served by this arrangement. Maybe it allows people to keep their nose to the grindstone worrying about how they will get the money to remove their cellulite, buy the right cars and clothes and stay young and beautiful forever instead of needing to stay home and take care of elderly and children. Maybe a culture of work-a-holic shop-a-holics suits the elite who want consumers to be focused on consuming and that is why the gov’t does pay to warehouse the elderly. Maybe it is just so they can be put out of sight, so no one has to feel guilty about them. It’s be hard to maintain a cheerful shopping mood with a bunch of old, sick people lying around starving and cold.

    In Hawaii the tradition is Ohana housing for caring for the elderly at home. That means you can add onto your home, as long as it could fit on your lot no matter how small, a quarters for your parents, called an Ohana. This is ancient cultural tradition.

    The state has interfered with Ohana housing claiming that people are using Ohana houses as rental income. So to stop this evil practice white man makes laws against Ohana housing. The effect on the elderly? Who cares? It matters more that some people at the bottom of the earning pool shouldn’t get to make a few hundred bucks a month–they must be stopped, no matter what the cost to a cultural heritage and its ancient family values–and the elderly people themselves.

  • http://thingsalongtheway.blogspot.com/ Cindy

    Fork the state, Clav. I hope it implodes soon.

  • http://thingsalongtheway.blogspot.com/ Cindy

    54 Glenn,

    That is instructive. It is the wealthier society which can afford to lock away its elderly.

  • http://thingsalongtheway.blogspot.com/ Cindy

    Glenn,

    Regarding your comments in the 50s-60s (maybe more) in your responses to Igor.

    You are not being open minded. Not at all. You position is dedicated to a predetermined mindset especially about the military and perhaps other things.

    To an outsider this is ludicrous. You, in your right mind, would be expected to argue with yourself–if you were not beholden to an ideology as surely as any conservative you have ever criticized.

    Lee was a monster. It is plain on its face by the evidence.

    And when you hold up people like George Washington and Abraham Lincoln as you did in a post mentioning my views–you can be sure that neither one of them has any place in my heart.

    I almost think you are doing a North vs South thing. You wouldn’t be doing that with someone who abhors teams of any kind, would you? Because if that comment was intended for me, as a northerner, to defend my territory, then I really think anyone can see what my point is in saying there is real pathology in all this domination bullshit.

  • Glenn Contrarian

    Cindy –

    Are there any men that you hold up as good, as worthy of emulation? If I were a betting man, I’d bet large sums of money that if there are any such men that you look up to, you just haven’t found their feet of clay.

    What I do instead is accept what one does that is right and good, and denounce and reject what one does that is wrong and evil. For instance, we all know what Hitler did that was wrong, unforgivable, and we would all agree that nothing he did could ever atone for his evil. But on the other hand, how often do we hear him complimented for bringing the German economy from the depths of the economic disaster that was the Weimar Republic to becoming the second or third strongest economy in the world in less than a decade?

    In other words, if you decide to reject a man because he has knowingly done that which is evil, then you reject pretty much all men. I would suggest instead that it is wiser to try to refrain from being too quick to judge others.

    And please notice that I’m only referring to men here, because I’ve strongly felt for many years now that women are generally more intelligent and certainly more virtuous than men.

  • Glenn Contrarian

    Igor –

    Did you not read the list of punishments that I linked to? Are you so ignorant of military culture that you think that those who spend a lifetime in the military don’t tend to use what they’ve been taught by the miltiary when it comes to problems at home? If so, then you need to talk to a few military brats.

    You say that what he did was against the “Christian” religion…yet have you read some of the punishments in Leviticus and Deuteronomy? Hasn’t the modern-day Religious Right taught you anything about how hypocritical they can be, how cruel-minded they can be, yet at the same time hold themselves up to being oh so virtuous? I’ve known many within my own family who did hold precisely such hypocrisies, yet were still generally good and kind people.

    In other words, don’t be so quick to judge unless you’re in a position to do so.

  • Igor

    60-Glenn: Wesley Norris was a Freeman, he was NOT a deserter. He wasn’t even a soldier. As a freeman, he was kidnaped off the streets and sent back to the possession of a slaver where he was treated with sadistic brutality.

  • Igor

    80-Cindy: excellent comment.

    I agree: Washington and Lincoln are no heroes of mine. Lincoln sent 40 American Indians to the gallows for a simultaneous show hanging in 1862 in Mankato Minnesota, for protesting the theft of their lands by white men.

  • Igor

    Glenn: Your condescending demands that I improve myself are wasted on me. You can quit that sneering coercive technique.

    Also, I think it’s dumb to take mere humans as heroes. It’s bound to come to no good, either as moral missteps or as a shizophrenic dilema.

    Thus, as you can see in your own responses here, in order to cling to your heroic precept of Robert E. Lee (a thoroughgoing scoundrel and brute, as the record shows) you must abandon your own sense of morality and manliness to try to save an outworn notion, one that was impressed on you by a propagandist, not that you fairly arrived at for yourself.

    But it’s hard to abandon given precepts, as one has to take on the responsibility for his own actions without reserving a little excuse where you can exculpate oneself by blaming your mentors. But that’s a man’s path.

  • Glenn Contrarian

    Igor –

    As I’ve told you before, you’ve made quite a few good posts with which I agree…in other threads. But you are not being at all objective. To listen to you, Lee had no redeeming qualities whatsoever…but it’s hard for me to accept that you really believe such. Is that really the case?

  • Glenn Contrarian

    Okay, Igor, I finally looked up the Norris story you’re stuck on:

    The death in 1857 of his father-in-law, George Washington Parke Custis, created a serious crisis, as Lee had to assume the main burden of executing the will. The Custis estate was in disarray, with vast landholdings and hundreds of slaves balanced against massive debts. The plantations had been poorly managed and were losing money. Lee took several leaves of absence from the army and became a planter and eventually straightened out the estate. On June 24, 1859, Lee was accused by the New York Tribune of having three runaway slaves whipped and of personally whipping a female slave, Mary Norris. One of the captured slaves, Wesley Norris, confirmed the account in an 1866 interview printed in the National Anti-Slavery Standard, though he denied Lee personally whipped Mary Norris. Lee did not respond to the attack until 1866, claiming in a letter the accusation was not true. The Custis will called for emancipating the slaves within five years, but state law required they be funded in a livelihood outside Virginia, and that was impossible until the debts were paid off. They were all emancipated by 1862, within the five years specified.

    You claimed Norris was a free man…but he was not. Note that all the HUNDREDS of slaves were emancipated (as per the will) by Robert E. Lee…and this was in 1962, DURING the Civil War. So assuming that Norris was telling the truth, he was – according to Virginia state law at the time – a runaway slave, and was punished in the way that Lee saw fit, which was less severe than the punishment that his soldiers sometimes received.

    Was Lee racist? I have no doubt that he was, for most people were racist in those days; indeed, even in the 1960’s, most people were still racist. In that case, do you think that if someone is racist, then they cannot be good moral people? I’d say that would be a mistake. The link, btw, illustrates how a person can be racist yet still be a relatively good, moral person. There’s also another link in the story about my own journey out of racism, and most BC regulars can tell you of my opinion of racists and racism…but what I’m trying to tell you is that it’s not good to be too judgmental, for it’s almost never a clear-cut issue.

    And in any case, please examine your own moral compass to see how it compares with those of other men…and realize that whatever your personal view of religion, Jesus’ admonition that “he who has not sinned, let him cast the first stone” is pretty good advice.

  • http://thingsalongtheway.blogspot.com/ Cindy

    Glenn,

    There is something in your views that takes the dominant culture and replicates it wholesale without question. I see heroes are a part of the culture that cooperates with domination. We don’t need heroes and celebrities, we need people who live humanely and offer kindness, no matter how quietly they do so. Everyone is human and everyone has feet of clay. We are not, as TV would have us think, cartoons.

    I find problems with teams, heroes, and other social constructions because I think they train us in mindless patriotism.

    The short post below should be read, at the link. It may surprise you.

    Hitler Loved Dogs
    by David Macaray / November 10th, 2011

    Many years ago a philosophy professor gave our class a fascinating assignment. First, he instructed us to take a few minutes and decide who our favorite celebrity was. By “celebrity” it could be anyone famous–a writer, a politician, an athlete, an actor, a musician, a nuclear physicist, anybody. And they didn’t have to be alive. It could be an historical figure. It could be George Washington, Albert Einstein, or Emma Goldman.

    Then he asked us to take a few minutes to seriously consider what our favorite celebrity would have to do–what egregious crime they’d have to commit, what disgusting character flaw they’d have to expose–in order for us not to “like” him or her anymore. According to the professor, the object of the exercise was to “explore the boundaries of tolerance.”

  • http://thingsalongtheway.blogspot.com/ Cindy

    should have been: “other [such] social constructions”

  • troll

    …so now that it’s been established that there is a culture of rape within the US military – and that it is a clear offshoot of our history of slavery – the question becomes what to do about it

    just say “no” to military service boys and girls

  • roger nowosielski

    troll, since I’m in transit, it’s not feasible for me to contribute to this fascinating thread, other than to tell you there is a message in your mailbox.

  • troll

    (thanks for the heads-up…I’ll give you a call shortly to find out your Albq eta)

  • Glenn Contrarian

    troll –

    No, the only place where such is established is within the minds of those who want to believe it. If such were indeed the case, then there would not have been a time of several years when the rate of sexual abuse in the military was less than that in the civilian community.

  • troll

    If such were indeed the case, then there would not have been a time of several years when the rate of sexual abuse in the military was less than that in the civilian community.

    there is no logic of necessity here Glenn Contrarian – were you spend a moment considering alternate possible explanations you’d see this…maybe

  • troll

    (btw – to be clear – I think that there’s a pretty well documented culture of rape throughout US society…probably related to our history of slavery as Igor points out…so I find the whole military/civilian rate comparison something of a distorted distraction from the get-go)

  • Igor

    troll: I think you make a good point.

  • Glenn Contrarian

    troll –

    if it were throughout US society, then the military wouldn’t be so much to blame, now would it?

    Besides, I’ve seen nothing from the “pro-rape-culture” crowd exploring (1) the likelihood that the statistics stem from women being shoehorned into a physically and emotionally demanding and dangerous job that has traditionally been the province of men for all human history, or (2) there is a greater rate of reporting such crimes in America period as compared to other nations (and we should remember that in most of the world, rape is more of a problem than it is here).

    So please don’t lecture me on not exploring alternate possible explanations, because if you’ll check my previous comments I have done exactly that (one of which resulted in (1) in this comment), whereas the “pro-rape-culture” claimants have presented exactly zero alternate explanations.

    Your turn.

  • http://thingsalongtheway.blogspot.com/ Cindy

    I agree with troll about the culture as a whole. And I am really glad that he said it, as I would not have brought it up, though I wanted to. (I did not like my last experience when describing a subject equally controversial.)

    Glenn,

    The proposal that the culture, as a whole, is a rape culture, does not remove the special role and effect of the military. If rape is a proposition based on power and domination and on objectifying and dehumanizing others, the military is like the condensed milk, the ideal nursery, the perfectly climatized greenhouse of the problem. The male in this culture is already preset by being indoctrinated to objectify women sexually. Males will, to varying degrees, express this indoctrination or oppose it. In different subcultures with different rules of acceptance and ostracism they may engage in behavior they would not have in their ordinary civilian circumstances.

    My friend, John, said his father was in the army in WWII, and the military culture permitted much more raw and crude speech and jokes and attitudes toward women than the civilian culture did. However, there was a cultural imperative to never talk like that in front of women. You would be ostracized for that. The culture at large has changed toward acceptance of more and more objectification and public degrading, Glenn. The culture in the military would be expected to move in the same direction.

    (Note: The following question is not intended to imply anything about the effect of combat on incidence of rape.) In your explanation, Glenn, what did you make of the cover up aspect? What did the doctors and the commanders and also those participants (who weren’t even present during combat) hiding and trivializing and mocking rape have to do with the fact of combat’s effects on rape?

  • Glenn Contrarian

    Cindy –

    (1) I have yet to see you, Igor, Chris, or troll address the following point from comment #100: the likelihood that the statistics stem from women being shoehorned into a physically and emotionally demanding and dangerous job that has traditionally been the province of men for all human history. That point would apply to any such profession (like, say, if women began boxing men professionally, or worked alongside men in other physically demanding and dangerous jobs). The point should also in and of itself would also answer your third-hand information from your friend John.

    That, and I’ve pointed out several times the lower incidence of rape in the peacetime military than in the civilian world. This would not, could not be the case if there were indeed a ‘culture of rape’ therein.

  • http://thingsalongtheway.blogspot.com/ Cindy

    Glenn,

    Why don’t you answer my questions then?

  • troll

    Glenn Contrarian – you’ve presented insufficient data from which to generalize about any peacetime military and what you have presented is shaky

    you’ve claimed that it is not possible both for a culture of rape to exist within the military and for the measured rape rate to drop below that of the civilian population as was observed in ’86 – ’92

    but perhaps those years leading up to no tolerance policies were a period of both heightened self-policing and intensified pressure to suppress reporting – the shit was in the breeze

    if so then a drop in the rate would be expected and wouldn’t be incompatible with a rape culture even if it fell below that of civilians

    so – do you think it’s legitimate to make broad statements about the peacetime military based solely on the recent arrest rates of servicemen in Japan and Korea? and this without even considering what might make these occupations special cases?

    re …the likelihood that the statistics stem from women being shoehorned into a physically and emotionally demanding and dangerous job that has traditionally been the province of men …

    using ‘statistics’ as a euphemism for rape is icky – but aside from that you’ve given us a possible condition explaining why the culture of rape in the military might be intensifying

  • troll

    …and didn’t the first Gulf War happen right there in that 86 to 92 period? so how is that a peacetime military anyway?

    (if you already rationalized this one I missed it)

  • http://thingsalongtheway.blogspot.com/ Cindy

    Glenn,

    Why are you motivated to reason that it is the dangerousness or the physical and emotional demands on the women that is the explanation?

    Spit it out Glenn, misogynists don’t ‘fucking like pussies’ in their macho world.

  • http://thingsalongtheway.blogspot.com/ Cindy

    So they rape women and men (who likely don’t fit their macho imperative), because they are psychologically twisted by domination culture.

  • Glenn Contrarian

    troll –

    you’ve claimed that it is not possible both for a culture of rape to exist within the military and for the measured rape rate to drop below that of the civilian population as was observed in ’86 – ’92 but perhaps those years leading up to no tolerance policies were a period of both heightened self-policing and intensified pressure to suppress reporting – the shit was in the breeze…if so then a drop in the rate would be expected and wouldn’t be incompatible with a rape culture even if it fell below that of civilians

    Did I not address in my article the watershed moment that came in 1981, and the changes that came soon afterwards? If there were a “culture of rape” that is a part of military service, then such would never – never! – have been at a lower rate than in the civilian world. BUT if after such a period of enforced change in the military the rate dropped down below that of the civilian world, then that would show conclusively that such a “culture of rape” is not and never has been necessarily part of the military. All it takes is ONE instance – in this case six consecutive years that we know of – to show that rape is not a natural part of military service.

    so – do you think it’s legitimate to make broad statements about the peacetime military based solely on the recent arrest rates of servicemen in Japan and Korea? and this without even considering what might make these occupations special cases?

    Come now, troll – you know very well that the higher the rate of serious crimes in a given area, generally speaking, the higher the rate of rape and sexual assault will be in that area…and Japan and Korea, being two of the most law-abiding nations on the planet, do serve as stellar examples of just how well our military personnel can be.

    …and didn’t the first Gulf War happen right there in that 86 to 92 period? so how is that a peacetime military anyway?

    FYI, the first Gulf War lasted only a few DAYS, and there was no follow-on insurgency. The Iraq war and insurgency lasted years, and the Afghanistan war is the longest in our history. Troll, you’re a pretty intelligent fellow, and I’m really surprised you didn’t answer this one yourself.

  • Glenn Contrarian

    Cindy –

    Why are you motivated to reason that it is the dangerousness or the physical and emotional demands on the women that is the explanation?

    Spit it out Glenn, misogynists don’t ‘fucking like pussies’ in their macho world.

    So they rape women and men (who likely don’t fit their macho imperative), because they are psychologically twisted by domination culture.

    Did you miss the part where I linked to a UCLA study showing that there were no known cases of child abuse in a household where both parents were lesbians? Or do you think I just tossed in that reference just for grins and giggles?

    And do you think the world’s misogyny is only in the military? Just today there was a story about a woman who was executed by the Taliban for adultery while a crowd of about 150 MEN stood by and cheered.

    Cindy, as far as I can tell, within almost all men there is a monster. Most of us keep it chained, tied up, bound, and gagged…but still we hear its thoughts, and we know what it would have us do. As for myself, I pray silently every week, sometimes every day to keep that monster locked away, that I would never have cause to let it loose.

    Again, this is going on my own experience and opinion, but every man you meet has that monster inside of him. He might deny it till his dying day, but it’s there. We see it in war…and we see it in rapes and murders, the vast majority of which are committed by men.

    If you want to accuse me of misogyny, fine – but if you’ll read what I’ve always written, I think far more highly of women than men…and I am always, always more suspicious of men then of women, and statistically speaking, I’m well advised to do just that.

    If you’re offended at me laying the blame on men because we are men, sorry, but I don’t think that’s misogyny – it’s reality. We men are a sorry lot of bastards. Hopefully, someday women will take over and put some sense into the world. But we’ve got too many neanderthal knuckle-dragging overtestosteroned idiots to allow that to happen just yet.

  • http://thingsalongtheway.blogspot.com/ Cindy

    I appreciate your sharing the depths to which you comprehend your cultural indoctrination–as a male in this culture. Some day you will realize that it is due to the kind of process of which the military is a distillate.

    I hope one day you will be open to hearing some views on why that is. Today is apparently not going to be that day.

  • http://thingsalongtheway.blogspot.com/ Cindy

    btw you still did not answer my questions:

    In your explanation, Glenn, what did you make of the cover up aspect? What did the doctors and the commanders and also those participants (who weren’t even present during combat) hiding and trivializing and mocking rape have to do with the fact of combat’s effects on rape?

  • troll

    If there were a “culture of rape” that is a part of military service, then such would never – never! – have been at a lower rate than in the civilian world

    you continue to claim this without justification

    Japan and Korea, being two of the most law-abiding nations on the planet, do serve as stellar examples of just how well our military personnel can be.

    but show nothing about the existence of or lack of a culture of rape in the military generally

    FYI, the first Gulf War lasted only a few DAYS, and there was no follow-on insurgency.

    …so the vets from that war are not combat vets? didn’t experience the stresses etc?

    Glenn Contrarian – we’ve gone in circles enough

  • Glenn Contrarian

    Cindy –

    I appreciate your sharing the depths to which you comprehend your cultural indoctrination–as a male in this culture. Some day you will realize that it is due to the kind of process of which the military is a distillate.

    Can you name a single culture – past or present – where there hasn’t been what is by your definition a “misogynist culture”? And even in the least misogynistic of those cultures, can you show that the professions therein which were almost exclusively male did not have a significant degree of misogyny, of sexual harassment?

    I strongly doubt it.

    My contention, Cindy, is that in all cultures, past and present, primitive and advanced, and under every form of government including the rare times when a woman is the head of state, such misogyny in physically demanding/dangerous male-dominated professions as we have been discussing in this thread has always been present…the only difference being the degree to which the misogyny is tolerated (and sometimes enforced). Furthermore, I am almost certain that with few exceptions, the more advanced the society, the lesser the degree to which said misogyny is tolerated.

    AND because this misogyny is present in all cultures past and present, primitive and advanced, Cindy, it is therefore NOT a matter of “cultural indoctrination”, but of biology, of how our behavior is influenced and sometimes governed by our hormonal makeups. Lastly, I would say that it is only in advanced cultures (not necessarily “technologically advanced” or even modern, but advanced cultures past or present) that human civilization has tried to overcome this biologically-mandated misogyny by force of law, and that such efforts have been met with varying (but always limited) success.

    For instance, IIRC it wasn’t until the last half of the 1800’s that women were allowed to vote in European democracies, and as usual, European democracies being generally more progressive than our own, they beat America to that particular cultural achievement by several decades. Thing is, though, is that universal suffrage is with very few exceptions still a very new thing in the grand sweep of human history, something that’s less than two hundred years old, and virtually unheard-of in major cultures of antiquity. If you want a prime example of culturally-enforced gender-based horror, read up on “bound feet” in China. It lasted for nearly a thousand years, and one of the great achievements of the communists in China was the elimination of this cultural abomination. BTW, my wife knew an old Chinese woman who had lived through this lifelong torture.

    It’s not culture, Cindy, it’s biology…and modern advanced cultures are trying to overcome that biologically-mandated misogyny little by little. But generally speaking, the greater the degree to which men have dominated any physically-demanding and dangerous profession, the greater the degree of sexual harassment that women will have experienced therein.

    It’s not culture, Cindy, it’s biology…any behavioral psychologist would likely tell you the same thing.

  • Glenn Contrarian

    troll –

    you continue to claim this without justification

    And you continue to claim that there is such a culture despite the obvious efforts of the military to enforce regulations against it.

    but show nothing about the existence of or lack of a culture of rape in the military generally

    because you’re staring at a particularly ugly tree and assuming the whole forest looks the same.

    ..so the vets from that war are not combat vets? didn’t experience the stresses etc?

    troll, you’ve generally been very good about bringing up valid logical points, but here you’re being silly. The First Gulf War was called the “hundred-hour war” for a REASON. Why? Because the Iraqi forces folded and dissolved so very quickly under the onslaught. Our casualties? Here:

    The DoD reports that U.S. forces suffered 148 battle-related deaths (35 to friendly fire), with one pilot listed as MIA (his remains were found and identified in August 2009). A further 145 Americans died in non-combat accidents.[108] The UK suffered 47 deaths (9 to friendly fire), France two,[108] and the other countries, not including Kuwait, suffered 37 deaths (18 Saudis, 1 Egyptian, 6 UAE, and 3 Qataris).

    Read that again, troll – we suffered nearly as many deaths from accidents as we did from combat! Such is almost unheard-of in all military history! The point is, guy, the degree of face-to-face combat was NOWHERE NEAR what we faced in the invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq. We did not have to go house-to-house against a hostile population and a popular insurgency…and then have to go do it all again in the same cities a year or two later, and again, and again!

    One more thing, troll – there were about 150,000 U.S. and coalition troops deployed in the Gulf War…or, in other words, a significant minority of American ground troops. If you’d been around the military during that time, you’d have found that those who wore the Kuwait Liberation Medal, while it was relatively common, were still the exception to the rule. Today, however, the great majority of our ground forces have served in Iraq and/or Afghanistan…and that means that unlike after the Gulf War, the GREAT MAJORITY of our ground forces have been exposed to the horrors of face-to-face combat, just as the great majority of our ground forces during the Vietnam war spent at least one tour of duty incountry. Now, look at the PTSD results of those wars:

    The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs estimates that PTSD afflicts:

    Almost 31 percent of Vietnam veterans
    As many as 10 percent of Gulf War (Desert Storm) veterans
    11 percent of veterans of the war in Afghanistan
    20 percent of Iraqi war veterans

    Now think REAL HARD, troll – would a 10 percent rate among a significant MINORITY of ground troops have anywhere near the cultural effect on our ground forces as a whole as a higher rate among the GREAT MAJORITY of our ground forces?

    Hm?

    Okay? Like I said at the beginning, you’ve got a habit of being very good about bringing up logical points…but in this matter, you not only showed your ignorance about military matters as a whole but effectively insisted that one war was effectively equal to another war. If you continue to take this particular line of argument, I think you’re going to have a very, very difficult time being taken seriously by any Gulf War-era vet (like myself).

  • http://www.RoseDigitalMarketing.com Christopher Rose

    From Wikipedia: A matriarchy is a society in which females, especially mothers, have the central roles of political leadership, moral authority, and control of property. It is also sometimes called a gynocracy, a gynecocracy or a gynocentric society. The male equivalent is a patriarchy.

    Most anthropologists hold that there are no known societies that are unambiguously matriarchal,but possible exceptions include the Iroquois, in whose society mothers exercise central moral and political roles. However, this reluctance to accept the existence of matriarchies might be based on a specific, culturally biased notion of how to define ‘matriarchy': because in a patriarchy ‘men rule over women’, a matriarchy has frequently been conceptualized as ‘women ruling over men’, whereas in reality women-centered societies are – apparently without exception – egalitarian.

    There are also matrilinear, matrilocal, and avunculocal societies, especially among indigenous peoples of Asia and Africa, such as those of the Minangkabau, E De (Rhade), Mosuo, Berbers and Tuareg and, in Europe, e.g., Sardinian people.

  • troll

    Glenn Contrarian – the combat vet rapist is your hypothesis and you’re certainly free to introduce refinements as you see necessary but I do question calling a force that deployed to a declared war zone resulting in a 10% ptsd rate and lots of Iraqi death and destruction a peacetime military

  • Glenn Contrarian

    Chris –

    Give examples, and then examine the physically-demanding and dangerous professions therein which were dominated by (or were exclusively) the men…and then get back to me.

    troll –

    So a war where maybe a tenth of our troops were involved for less than a week is somehow every bit as bad as one in which a great majority of our troops was involved in for a decade or more? That’s real good, troll.

    Less than a WEEK, troll. Less than a WEEK.

  • troll

    Glenn Contrarian – you’re ‘putting words in my mouth’ as is your habit

    I introduced no equivalence nor any metric to compare wars

  • http://www.RoseDigitalMarketing.com Christopher Rose

    Glenn, before you even researched this article you predicted what it would say and challenged readers to come prepared with their responses.

    Even then, clearly expecting some debate, you produced a poorly constructed and logically dubious piece of work.

    You’ve had lots of responses, they have all disagreed with you and, despite all your hedging and goalpost moving, you have failed to persuade any one of your contention.

    I don’t think that justifies your constant feeble attempts to shape and control the debate, which you are clearly not winning.

    All you are doing, as far as I am concerned at least, is demonstrating the futility of debating with people who believe, rather than follow evidence, and the falsity of your repeated assertions to listen to reason, which you cling to rather desperately.

  • http://www.squidoo.com/lensmasters/IanMayfield Dr Dreadful

    Glenn, your challenge to Cindy was to name a society in which there hasn’t been a misogynistic culture, which of course anyone with knowledge of anthropology can do in about two seconds.

    But in order to “win” your argument, you’ve taken it upon yourself to redefine terms to include any society in which gender roles are clearly divided and defined, thereby making your challenge meaningless.

    Misogyny is the hatred, dislike, mistrust or disrespect of women. Therefore, a misogynistic culture would be one in which the role of women is to be hated, disliked, mistrusted or disrespected – by their menfolk if not also by themselves. The prime example is of course the Judeo-Christian-Islamic tradition – on which our modern global civilization is largely based – wherein all human woes are said to be traceable back to the original female.

    If, instead, you’re going to insist that it include any culture in which any man or group of men has disliked any woman or group of women, the exercise becomes as pointless as if you’d demanded of Cindy that she name a society in which no-one had ever fought each other.

  • Igor

    Trolls comment #98 is instructive. It is probably true that the rape culture is a subset of a culture of privilege and denial, of people elevated by the denigration of other people: men over women, whites over blacks, slaver over slave, southerner over northerner. Confederate Gentleman Officer over union Brute. Southern grace over northern plainness, greasy chicken over lean range-fed chicken.

    All of these things have been rampant since 1865, and probably before.

    Ever since the end of the civil war we’ve been subjected, all over the USA, to a barrage of revisionist history about What A Noble Cause Secession Was, How Noble Southern Officers Were, How Ungrateful Ex-slaves Were, How Incompetent Black Politicians Were, How invasive Northern Carpetbaggers Were, etc., etc., ad nauseum!

    I blame it on Abe Lincoln. He should have booted the ungrateful southerners OUT of the union, and made clear that their intrusions in the west would be totally opposed. The Confederacy would have withered and died, and individual states would have begged for re-admission to the union.

    And we’d be far better off today!

    Lincoln was excessively gracious. At Appommatox when Lee (the loser) surrendered, Lincoln instructed the band to play Dixie saying it was his favorite song. Ever since then ungrateful and treacherous southerners have declared ?he south shall rise again! and displayed the traitorous confederate flag prominently and gone around mumbling their semi-illiterate drawl with the intention of expressing their invidious comparison.

    Well, I’ve got an invidious comparison of my own to make:

    -the confederates LOST the war
    -slavers were morally inferior to their slaves
    -Robert E. Lee was a lousy general who could only win occasional sneak attacks
    -people who talk slow sound stupid
    -traitors are detested even by their clients
    -Paula Dean is a fat diabetic slob who is poisoning anyone dumb enough to listen to her.

    Lincoln should have hung the traitorous officers who lead the secession. It would have been so in any other revolution.

    But the ungrateful, unreformed, treacherous Secessionists, thus excused from the gallows which they so richly deserved, instead set about with a sneaky whispering campaign to elevate the Legend Of the Lost Cause and how noble it’s goals were and how noble it’s officers were, especially in comparison to those Northern Union Ruffians!

    Well, isn’t that the message we’ve all heard all our lives?

    Stop putting up with it!

  • Clav

    troll,

    Having spent 20 (or more) years in the Navy, Glenn is likely the most knowledgeable overall about military matters who is currently a regular on BC.

    But, in all those years he did (as he freely and frequently points out) miss entirely the the quintessence, indeed the raison d’etre and the most transmogrifying aspect of military service: the experience of, and participation in, combat.

    For that reason, his observations as to the effects of that experience on military people are purely speculative, or at best, hearsay.

  • Glenn Contrarian

    Doc –

    Glenn, your challenge to Cindy was to name a society in which there hasn’t been a misogynistic culture, which of course anyone with knowledge of anthropology can do in about two seconds.

    Okay, then do so. It shouldn’t take you long. But as you do so (probably with the Iroquois or Hopi tribes), please bear in mind exactly what I said, which I defy you – IMO the most intelligent BC resident – to deny:

    such misogyny in physically demanding/dangerous male-dominated professions as we have been discussing in this thread has always been present…the only difference being the degree to which the misogyny is tolerated (and sometimes enforced).

    Doc, there are people on BC that I hold in high regard, you and Clavos being at the top of the list. But I very strongly doubt that you can provide a single example disproving the above statement…and the above has been my point all along, that the misogyny may be suppressed (as it was for six years in the study I referenced), but when men are put into an environment where their baser instincts become at least to some measure their most effective survival tools (e.g. kill or be killed), that tendency to commit evil that lay within us is loosed and it’s very difficult to get back under control.

    And the responsibility for the concomitant increase in the misogynistic crimes by men lay with the one who ordered them into aforesaid environment – in our case, the president.

  • Glenn Contrarian

    Clavos –

    I’m very glad to see you participate in this discussion. It would be wrong of me to make assumptions as to what your opinion would be, and I think you’d agree that any such assumptions would probably be erroneous to begin with.

    But I do invite you to give your opinions, for while I might know a thing or two about military history, you have experience that I (thankfully) never had, and can add insight that no one else (other than Dave, AFAIK) could provide.

  • Glenn Contrarian

    Igor –

    You really have no idea of what my general opinion of Southerners is, do you? Two things: one, I grew up in the very deepest of the Deep South, and two, familiarity breeds contempt. I’ll leave it at that.

  • Doug Hunter

    If there was a culture of rape in the military I wasn’t let in on it. I never raped anyone, neither did anyone I know. I do remember a comrade touching the leg of one of my wife’s friends unannounced when everyone was pretty hammered, he got a mouthful and I doubt the girl suffered PTSD, but who knows as those pessimists say she was probably just putting on the tough face, maybe she crys herself to sleep each night to this day! Put in a harsh light that could be sexual assault (the article specifically says a culture of rape though, entirely different than laying your hand on a girls leg…)

    Anyway, no one ever indicated it was acceptable, I received no telegraphing that it would have been swept under the rug, nothing that I could detect anyway. In fact quite the opposite, we were warned repeatedly about thing that could be seen as harassment and reminded of the penalties and trouble that could arise.

    My experience tells me there’s not an active ‘culture of rape’ in the military although in light of statistical evidence I think the pertinent question becomes: Does the military do enough to prevent rape? Sounds like no to me.

  • http://www.squidoo.com/lensmasters/IanMayfield Dr Dreadful

    Okay, then do so. It shouldn’t take you long. But as you do so (probably with the Iroquois or Hopi tribes)

    I was going to go with the !Kung, but the other two will do just as well.

    such misogyny in physically demanding/dangerous male-dominated professions as we have been discussing in this thread has always been present

    Cindy was trying to demonstrate that it is precisely the culture to which the American military belongs that causes its misogyny, not the environmental conditions under which it operates. She then suggested a way out, arguing that misogyny is not a natural state for males and offering you evidence of other cultures – control groups, if you will – where this is so. You can’t then refute her by insisting that she concede your original point. That’s a circular argument.

    Back we go, then, to the !Kung, who are traditionally a hunter-gatherer people. Hunting, particularly in the arid savannah where they live, is a stressful and often dangerous occupation. Although !Kung men are responsible for most of the hunting, and join into hunting bands (that have nicknames much in the same way that Americans nickname their sports teams), I haven’t read or watched anything that suggests they spend their time on the range kvetching to one another about what bitches their womenfolk are.

  • Glenn Contrarian

    Doc –

    Okay, finally someone has provided a cogent argument. Concerning the !Kung, I found an interesting quote concerning their transition to modern life:

    The changing gender roles, growing inequality between the sexes, and transformation from a wandering hunter-gatherer lifestyle to life in a village has contributed to more domestic violence, as women are more dependent on men and are more restricted from outside intervention (they now have closed doors).[citation needed] Less open houses and wealth collection also challenges traditional sharing ideology.

    The above may or may not be true, but it is somewhat backed up by this reference:

    The government resumed its policy[11] of forcing all Bushmen [which includes the !Kung] off their lands in the Central Kalahari Game Reserve, using armed police and threats of violence or death. In the reservations, Bushmen can no longer hunt or heal in traditional ways, and alcohol abuse and domestic violence have become common. Many of the involuntarily displaced Bushmen have been forced to live in squalid resettlement camps and have resorted to prostitution.

    Okay, you’ve provided an example – you shoot, you score. But I can then make the argument that it appears that any civilization that has passed beyond the hunter/gatherer stage has become more misogynistic than before…and in any case the example of the increase in domestic abuse among the !Kung had absolutely nothing to do with the military, did it?

    Best of all – from my standpoint – is the fact that in hunter/gatherer societies, men hunt and they kill. They are concerned with threats that are comprised more of animals than of their fellow human beings. Once they have moved beyond the hunter/gatherer stage, how does the impulse, the instinct to hunt and kill manifest itself? One must answer this question, for such instincts don’t just go away.

    Your turn!

  • Glenn Contrarian

    And Doc –

    I haven’t read or watched anything that suggests they spend their time on the range kvetching to one another about what bitches their womenfolk are.

    Absence of evidence is not evidence of absence. I should think you’d be better served to find reliable studies that show that such conduct and language is not present, then to assume absence because you haven’t read anything saying it’s there…

    …especially given the fact that it’s certainly present just about everywhere else where there’s humans who haven’t become natives of Pandora….

  • http://www.squidoo.com/lensmasters/IanMayfield Dr Dreadful

    But I can then make the argument that it appears that any civilization that has passed beyond the hunter/gatherer stage has become more misogynistic than before.

    Not on the strength of the !Kung, you can’t. Based on that standard of evidence, you might as well argue that missionaries’ accounts of cannibalism among the Fijians proves that all Melanesian societies were cannibalistic.

    Best of all – from my standpoint – is the fact that in hunter/gatherer societies, men hunt and they kill. They are concerned with threats that are comprised more of animals than of their fellow human beings. Once they have moved beyond the hunter/gatherer stage, how does the impulse, the instinct to hunt and kill manifest itself?

    Societies don’t stop hunting just because they are no longer hunter/gatherers.

    Besides which, that’s not the point, as Cindy has been arguing and as I stated in my last comment. In fact, while there’s quite a lot of her hypothesis I don’t buy into, you are strengthening it quite a bit with every comment you make!

    especially given the fact that it’s certainly present just about everywhere else where there’s humans who haven’t become natives of Pandora

    Again, stating that some misogyny is present in all human societies is hardly an earth-shattering revelation, any more than it would be if I were to say that all human societies contain people who gossip. A few misogynists does not a misogynistic culture make.

  • http://thingsalongtheway.blogspot.com/ Cindy

    Glenn,

    (Pardon me if I write like you you are apparently missing my points or glossing over them. SO I WILL CAPITALIZE THE IMPORTANT BITS!)

    First, your arguments seem very confused, like you are just making things up or grasping at half-baked ideas you don’t really understand. You don’t apparently know what behavioral psychology is (pretty much the opposite of what you think it is) or that it is more defunct than even Freud. Good thing for you, that it is, since it doesn’t support your biology argument.

    But we do not need culture to determine that it is NOT biology. WHY??? If it were, as I pointed out before it would be in ALL MEN!!!!!! EVER HEARD OF DNA???????? We are mere potentials.

    It is NO SURPRISE that cultures of domination (patriarchal cultures) have dominated the globe; since they have the means (bombs, tanks, guns, diseases, alcohol, etc) to wipe out matriarchal cultures that would not feature domination and colonialism as a main event.
    Take 1000 Bruce Willis’, Chuck Norris’, and Clint Eastwoods–give them guns, swords, and smallpox and tell them to get everything of value from a tribe of Australian aborigines and guess who will end up surviving and spreading their culture? Guess how good ol’ Clint and Bruce and Chuck and their wives will raise their boys?*

    Still, there is ample evidence within known egalitarian-leaning cultures and from examining different practices in child-rearing, gender studies, the variety of masculinities, and the ability to change. Since you don’t know of any cultures, never even heard of any that are not essentially patriarchal (even though I already directly gave you a link to one in Roger’s thread (YOU, who condemns everyone for not looking at proferred EVIDENCE, could not have failed to notice that! COULD YOU? ) , and also, since you seen to be a bit light in your knowledge of (like, never heard of) the entire field of GENDER STUDIES, I can assume that YOU HAVEN’T ACTUALLY EXAMINED THE AVAILABLE EVIDENCE.**

    Here are some MEN who discuss gender who would disagree with you, based on, what appears to be, a tad more serious thought than you seem to have given it. I list them as I recommend reading/viewing their work:

    Michael Kimmel
    Robert Jensen
    And Jackson Katz, the fellow resposnsible for the Tough Guise video and other info.

    *That is the second time I will post the video that details the theory of culturally indoctrinated aggression in males.
    **Otherwise known as talking through your hat or out your posterior.

  • http://thingsalongtheway.blogspot.com/ Cindy

    OH AND ONE MORE THING GLENN!!!!

    YOU DIDN’T ANSWER MY QUESTIONS AGAIN!!!! DID YOU???? DID I MISS IT???

    WHAT DO YOU MAKE OF THE PEOPLE WHO PARTICIPATED EVEN THOUGH THEY WERE NOT IN COMBAT????? DID THEY HAVE THE COMBAT VIRUS?????

  • http://thingsalongtheway.blogspot.com/ Cindy

    Did his genetic make-up force the doctor to turn against the male rape victim when the call came down from the chain of command?

  • http://thingsalongtheway.blogspot.com/ Cindy

    BTW Glenn, the link I gave you in Roger’s thread was the !Kung.

  • http://thingsalongtheway.blogspot.com/ Cindy

    That should have been in your analysis this whole time.

  • http://thingsalongtheway.blogspot.com/ Cindy

    But I can then make the argument that it appears that any civilization that has passed beyond the hunter/gatherer stage has become more misogynistic than before.

    DOESN’T THAT GO AGAINST YOUR ASSERTION THAT ONLY CIVILIZATION CAN ERADICATE GENETIC MISOGYNY IN MEN?

    Wouldn’t that be now saying the EXACT OPPOSITE?

  • http://thingsalongtheway.blogspot.com/ Cindy

    WTF??? I have seen radioisotopes with more stability than your theoretical positions, Glenn.

  • Glenn Contrarian

    Doc –

    Again, stating that some misogyny is present in all human societies is hardly an earth-shattering revelation, any more than it would be if I were to say that all human societies contain people who gossip. A few misogynists does not a misogynistic culture make.

    And that’s precisely my point! A relatively higher number of rapes within a military does not a culture of rape make within that military, especially given that there is a documented time of several years when there was lower rate than in the civilian community!

    Do you not see, Doc, that when there is a civilian community that has a sexual abuse rate that was for several years higher than that of the military, one cannot logically claim that the military has a “culture of rape” exclusive of the civilian community. Remember, no one is born and raised in the military. Indeed, with one (rarely used) exception, everyone who joins the military is an adult, presumably mature enough to know right from wrong, legal and illegal.

    Yet I’m supposed to buy the argument that when someone joins the military, they (gasp) all of a sudden turn into either sexual predators or sexual victims of those predators?

    No.

    Now, are you going to claim that there is no direct connection between combat and the prevalence of PTSD? Of course you wouldn’t. Are you going to claim that there isn’t an increased level of crime – including sexual abuse and rape – among those with PTSD as compared to those without PTSD? Of course you wouldn’t. Nor would I claim that PTSD is solely to blame…but in the big picture, I think you’d agree that it doesn’t take that much of an increase to make a significant statistical difference.

    Connect the dots, Doc, and identify the trigger, the catalyst. There’s more than one, of course, but for the purposes of this discussion, I say that the most important trigger is combat.

  • http://www.squidoo.com/lensmasters/IanMayfield Dr Dreadful

    You’re preaching to the choir, Glenn. If you’ll refer back to one of my previous comments (which I’m too lazy to find for myself right now), you’ll recall my opinion that allowing for the gender imbalance within the military, the sex crime rates are probably close to the greater social norm.

    I think Doug (who doesn’t post here nearly often enough IMO) nailed it pretty squarely in #126.

    But my original observation, which stands, is that you’ve made a lousy job of making your case and your attempts to refute Cindy’s have only strengthened hers.

  • Tom Forehand, Jr.

    Above is presented the “Testimony of Wesley Norris (1866″).

    It is one thing to make an allegation about being whipped. Where is the proof that this part of the story actually happened?

    It can be documented that Norris (and two others) escaped, were capture, were returned to Virginia where Lee sent them South to work. However, the only indication of a “whipping” seems to come anonymous sources and Mr. Norris’s interview after the war.

    I would suggest that those who repeat this allegation offer proof that Lee had anyone whipped. Simply repeated this story by Norris does not make it true.

    Also, has anyone stop to ask the question as to whether or not Norris and other might have held a grudge against Lee — a grudge which might have caused Norris to exaggerate part of his story?

    Thanks,
    Tom Forehand, Jr.

  • Glenn Contrarian

    Cindy –

    Civilization is a Pandora’s Box. Once she’s outta there, she ain’t getting back in. Short of worldwide catastrophe, we are never going back to a hunter/gatherer society, so the only possible way to control misogyny is through higher civilization.

    So NO, I did not contradict myself.

    And I never said anything would ‘eradicate’ misogyny – that’s flatly impossible. IIRC, I said “control” or “minimize”.

  • http://thingsalongtheway.blogspot.com/ Cindy

    Glenn,

    AND because this misogyny is present in all cultures past and present, primitive and advanced, Cindy, it is therefore NOT a matter of “cultural indoctrination”, but of biology, of how our behavior is influenced and sometimes governed by our hormonal makeups.

    The Piaroa is considered by some anthropologists to be a true anarchist culture. They have moved into modernity and can no longer be considered simply ‘hunter-gatherer’. They defy your beliefs that all cultures are misogynistic. As do many of the other cultures at that link, which describes peaceful societies–many egalitarian or with that tendency.

    Also read Leacock on gender relations, she basically states it as a problem of creating a hierarchical society. One of her books demonstrates how their are cultures whose gender relations you only think you know about, such as many North American Indians (as described in the history of white men–females are often misunderstood in terms of the white man’s culture. They therefore tried to stuff the native women into roles they understood based on those of white women within the patriarchy. Women and Power in Native North America.

    Vivian Gussin Paley, in You Can’t Say, You Can’t Play has demonstrated that children in kindergarten have fully incorporated this culture’s hierarchical social order into their social world view and therefore their belief system about reality and how the world does and should work.*

    Lastly, I would say that it is only in advanced cultures (not necessarily “technologically advanced” or even modern, but advanced cultures past or present) that human civilization has tried to overcome this biologically-mandated misogyny by force of law, and that such efforts have been met with varying (but always limited) success.

    ‘Force of law’? Look again at the peaceful societies.

    * I suggest that when we get some adults who learn to question the beliefs they started with in kindergarten instead of reinforcing them, we may have some hope of becoming an advanced society. I won’t hold my breath.

  • http://thingsalongtheway.blogspot.com/ Cindy

    It appears among these two Amazonian cultures, that social structure and childhood indoctrination, rather than biology, appear to be the salient variables in male domination. A further link to the full 21 page article is here (scroll down to below the introduction).

    Overing, Joanna. 1989. “Styles of Manhood: An Amazonian Contrast in Tranquility and Violence.” In Societies at Peace: Anthropological Perspectives, edited by Signe Howell and Roy Willis, p.79-99. London: Routledge

    Piaroa territory is almost completely free of expressions of anger, physical violence, and displays of violent excess. The good life, for them, consists of tranquility and harmony. In their egalitarian society, men and women are equally autonomous. No one supervises the labor of others, there is no concept of a collective will, and there is no ownership of land. The Piaroa highly value social skills and the ability to live together in a community which functions, as an institution, to help prevent relationships of domination from developing. Their shamans teach children lessons in social morality, such as the harm caused by vanity, jealousy, arrogance, dishonesty, cruelty, malice and ferocity; they also teach the importance of mastering the emotions. Piaroa values contrast with those of the Shavante, an American Indian society of Central Brazil, where males dominate females, children are socialized to react violently to situations, and ceremonies celebrate male ferocity, sexuality, and violent ritual dominance of women.

  • http://thingsalongtheway.blogspot.com/ Cindy

    140 – Tom Forehand, Jr. presents a clearer example than I could imagine of precisely how the dominating culture (and its proponents, such that he is) control which history gets legitimated and which gets repressed.

  • Glenn Contrarian

    Cindy –

    That’s beautiful, and no, I’m not being sarcastic. This is the second time you’ve proven me wrong about a preconceived notion of mine, both times because you patiently stuck to your position and provided examples thereof…and I am sincerely grateful. This time concerned whether functional societies can exist without overt misogyny.

    Note the word ‘overt’ – even the people who serve as your example obviously agree that they feel such emotions, but they found different ways to control those emotions. If they gave themselves over to their emotions – as we in our ‘modern’ society do all too often, they might well be just like us.

    But here’s the sadness: apparently none of the peaceful societies listed on the page you referenced are technologically advanced, and anyone with a passing knowledge of history knows the role that war and the arms race has played in technological development, probably the best examples being rockets, computers, and nuclear power. Even modern medicine owes a significant amount of its progress to our efforts during war.

    So one must wonder if it is indeed possible for a society to become technologically advanced without misogyny and the host of ills and tragedy that comes with it. I don’t know…particularly since our world as it currently is, the technologically-advanced nations consume our world’s resources at such a pace that only a minority of nations can hope to be “first-world nations”.

    Going back to the subject of the thread, I still maintain that in the modern world, the problems in a military are more indicative about the problems in the civilian population than about the military itself – and that includes rates of sexual assault.

    Again, Cindy, thank you.

  • Igor

    @128-Glenn: whoa! I think you’re skipping over a lot in order to jump to conclusions. You say:

    …is the fact that in hunter/gatherer societies, men hunt and they kill. They are concerned with threats that are comprised more of animals than of their fellow human beings. Once they have moved beyond the hunter/gatherer stage, how does the impulse, the instinct to hunt and kill manifest itself? One must answer this question, for such instincts don’t just go away.

    Your premise about “hunter/gatherer” is seriously flawed. You seem to imply that there is something about “hunter/gatherer” that is intrinsic to humans. Thus, your contention that the “hunter/gatherer” instinct must out, and find some expression.

    But none of that is proven. It isn’t even a decent model.

    Modern anthropology of Bay Area Indians (“Indian” being the designation their modern descendants prefer, not ‘native Americans’) often incorrectly refered to as “Ohlone”, but more properly and definitively “Tuitun”, describes them as ‘opportunistic’ rather than ‘hunter/gatherer’. That’s because they mostly eat what easily comes to hand, such as clams and acorns, especially acorns, which made up most of their diet. That diet, incidentally, was pretty good, giving them a longevity about 10 years better than ‘civilized’ crop growing humans in the Fertile Triangle.

    The Tuitun hunted very little, mostly for rabbits and such, employing the very small weak bow such as Ishi demonstrated in the dioramas devised by Dr. Kroeber in SF and Berkeley (and if you haven’t read “Ishi” now’s a good time to correct that oversight).

    The Tuitun bow was small and weak so it wouldn’t foul while creeping through dense underbrush in search of rabbits. Useless against the local apex predator, grizzly bear, which was fond of snacking on local humans, who were defenseless, individually, against grizzlies (thankfully, the last one was killed about 100 years ago or my walks in the local mountains would be considerably less enjoyable).

    Anyway, those humans were ‘opportunistic’ eaters, quite satisfied with a modest diet of acorns, not really hunters at all, who lived here at least 4000 years, left no evidence either in artifacts or verbal legend of war, and were quite pacific, overall.

    I take it that the description of early humans as “hunter/gatherers” is wrong. Some people may have acted that way, but there is nothing intrinsic in human nature that would dictate or pre-dispose that way. But I suspect a lot of people eagerly embrace such descriptions out of personal bias.

    Therefore, IMO the conclusions you draw are bogus. You know, that stuff about violence having to find an ‘out’.

  • Igor

    @130-Dr.D : IMO you, like Glenn, have too much presumption riding on your characterization of humans as “hunter/gatherers”, which I believe is an antiquated term.

    My conclusion is that a people whose ‘opportunistic’ lifestyle provides enough casual food need never become hunters of animals.

  • Igor

    @140-Tom: are you a birther?

  • troll

    Clav(os) –

    Having spent 20 (or more) years in the Navy, Glenn is likely the most knowledgeable overall about military matters who is currently a regular on BC.

    I suspect (and know of one confirming example personally) that not all long serving Catholic priests were aware of the depth of the rape culture in that institution before the recent publicity

  • http://thingsalongtheway.blogspot.com/ Cindy

    Note the word ‘overt’ – even the people who serve as your example obviously agree that they feel such emotions, but they found different ways to control those emotions.

    Glenn, are you now suggesting that emotions like anger or hostility are ‘non-overt’ misogyny? Infants (girl infants) get angry–are they small latent misogynists? Really? Just the emotions themselves?

    If they gave themselves over to their emotions – as we in our ‘modern’ society do all too often, they might well be just like us.

    Thank you. That is my point. They do something else. It is their culture that is different, not their biology.

    But here’s the sadness: apparently none of the peaceful societies listed on the page you referenced are technologically advanced…

    Here’s what I find to be the sadness. People in the technologically “advanced” societies are pathological. They apparently will continue to justify teaching their children the ways that create war and misogyny. Some of them even claim to be Christian. We all know Jesus would be defending technology and the military over peace, right?

    Medicine and rockets are all swell. But I wonder how much sense medicine makes to the people you murder, torture, imprison, rape, and step on so that you can develop technology to save some other people. WTF???? (Dick Cheney has an LVAD heart pump.)

    Never-the-less, peace and lack of misogyny does not require us to undo our technological advances. It just requires us to teach our children something different.

    If we are smart enough to develop ‘advancements’ you think we’d become ‘advanced’ enough to recognize that. Unfortunately, most people are not capable of much new thinking or questioning their indoctrination after kindergarten age.

  • Clav

    Unfortunately, most people are not capable of much new thinking or questioning their indoctrination after kindergarten age.

    Is the problem that they’re “not capable,” or is it that we are all born into this particular type of society, which has been in existence for millenia, and is so all-pervasive that, as we become aware of its shortcomings, we simply opt to take the easier path of adapting ourselves as individuals to “get by” under the status quo rather than take the much more onerous, difficult and even dangerous path of resistance, for what, on the individual’s level, and in his/her lifetime, is not only not likely to be at all rewarding, it is likely to result in their lives becoming a living hell as all those indoctrinated people become aware of what they are doing, and inevitably conclude they are threatened.

    It’s not a good thing, but I think most humans, male or female, make that kind of a decision, at least on a sub-conscious level, fairly early in life.

    I’ve never been a parent, but had I been, I definitely would have thought twice about teaching my children to go so much against the societal norms as to make them outcasts and dangerous in the eyes of others.

    The result, of course, is plus ça change, plus c’est la même chose.

  • http://www.squidoo.com/lensmasters/IanMayfield Dr Dreadful

    Igor @ #147: I never made any presumption that the hunter/gatherer lifestyle is an automatic part of human progression; that would have been Glenn, who speaks in #128 of such a “stage”. I merely observed that the !Kung have such a culture.

    Paleontological evidence shows quite clearly, I think, that humans were gatherers long before any of them took up hunting. And in any case, it’s rarely an even division. Some groups, like the Lakota and the other Plains horse cultures of the 16th-19th centuries, relied on hunting a lot more than gathering, whereas with your local Tuitun people it seems to have been the other way around. With people who live near water it’s also arguable whether fishing is a form of hunting or gathering, since there’s very little tracking involved and it’s mostly a case of dangling your net or line into the water and waiting (although there are other, more proactive methods).

    So yes, I agree that human cultures don’t necessarily coalesce into the nice neat categories of the anthropologists.

  • Cindy

    Clav,

    Perhaps, but, would the world be much of a place for any of them without the resistance of their predecessors?

    Also, consider that resistance is not the only path of expressing one’s divergence with the cultural norms. What we say, what we believe, what we support are all ways of changing the world. There are many people engaged in positive works, associations, activities.

    I, myself, hope that I will work directly with the elderly–person to person–some time when I am free to do that. That will have to be enough for me. Like the starfish story. I have found it too constantly upsetting for me to buck the tide. That doesn’t mean I can’t do something effective and positive and to also have some personal peace.

  • troll

    …for those interested in petitioning the US government concerning this military culture of rape there is this

  • Cannonshop

    #24 But, Doc, in your Chief of Police example you ignore the fact that in MOST jurisdictions, the Chief of Police is considered to be accountable for the actions of his subordinates, and is responsible in the enforcement of, and establishment of, policies of conduct applying TO the cops under his command by way of what we call a ‘Chain of Command’ (much like in military circles-an officer is responsible for, and accountable for, the conduct of his soldiers, his commander is in turn responsible for and accountable for HIS conduct and the conduct of his peers and so on…)

    The Commander-in-Chief is responsible for the conduct of the soldiers-albeit he has several layers between himself and Joe Snuffy Private, but he is the Commander. What his soldiers do reflects on him, as does what he does in response to what they do or have done.

    Now, neither the Chief of Police in your example, or the Commander in Chief (or any given line officer below him) are really accountable for the actions of their respective opponents (i.e. the Chief has no control over the actions of Criminals, Officers no control over the actions of enemy combatants…) But both are damsight responsible for what their subordinates do, on, or off duty, when it comes to matters defined by their respective authority as ‘criminal’.

  • Igor

    Now we have a new sex scandal becoming public at our military flying schools. IIRC, about a dozen women have filed charges of molestation. And it’s been 20 years or so since the “Tailskid” scandal broached. Thus, I conclude that the military has no interest in solving these problems.

    They could solve this problem if they wanted to.

  • Tom Forehand, Jr.

    Rad G.

    It was noted: “She shows he did pay six times the normal bounty to capture one young girl, who he then had tortured.”

    By “tortured,” I assume you are referring to the claim that Lee had a woman whipped.

    Just because Norris accused Lee of whipping Norris and two others, this does not mean that Lee had anyone whipped. Please supply substantial proof, besides Mr. Norris’s testimony, that Lee ever had anyone whipped.

    If you refer to a book as proving this, please give the page number and explain how that book proves Lee whipped someone.

    Because Lee paid more for the return of Norris and two others does not prove he had anyone whipped.

    It should be remembered that Norris, himself, claimed that he was aggravated at Lee because Lee did not free Norris soon enough after Norris’s owner died. So, it is not unexpected that Norris had a reason to exaggerate some of the details of the story you are referring to.

    Thanks,
    Tom Forehand, Jr.

    P.S. It is easy to make an accusation (true or false) but it is something else to prove it. So please do so….