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August 03, 2008

Rape in the Military

I am having a real problem with this:

It took Diane Pickel Plappert six months to tell a counselor that she had been raped while on duty in Iraq. While time passed, the former Navy nurse disconnected from her children, and her life slowly unraveled.

Carolyn Schapper says she was harassed by a fellow Army National Guard soldier in Iraq to the extent that she began changing clothes in the shower for fear he'd barge into her room unannounced, as he had on several occasions.

Even as women distinguish themselves in battle alongside men, they're fighting off sexual assault and harassment. It's not a new consequence of war.

But the large number of women serving today in Iraq and Afghanistan is forcing the military and Department of Veterans Affairs to more aggressively address it.

The data -- incomplete and not up-to-date -- offer no proof that women in the war zones are more vulnerable to sexual assault than other female service members or American women in general. But in an era when the military relies on women for invaluable and difficult front-line duties, the threat to their morale, performance and long-term well-being is starkly clear.

Of the female veterans from Iraq and Afghanistan who have walked into a VA facility, 15 percent have screened positive for military sexual trauma, The Associated Press has learned. That means they indicated that while on active duty, they were sexually assaulted, raped or sexually harassed, receiving repeated unsolicited verbal or physical contact of a sexual nature.

This is where I start to lose it.

Get your story straight, people. Which is it? Is is 15 percent? 40 percent? Or is it some inspecified, "jaw-dropping" number that is "possibly far higher"?

"My jaw dropped when the doctors told me that 41 percent of the female veterans seen there say they were victims of sexual assault while serving in the military," said Harman, who has long sought better protection of women in the military.

"Twenty-nine percent say they were raped during their military service. They spoke of their continued terror, feelings of helplessness and downward spirals many of their lives have taken since.

"We have an epidemic here," she said. "Women serving in the U.S. military today are more likely to be raped by a fellow soldier than killed by enemy fire in Iraq."

When I read nonsense like this I start to become very, very angry, for a number of reasons. The first is that no one - no one - deserves to be raped.

Ever. Rape is a crime. It is a violation - an indignity no human being should ever be forced to endure. That said, the very fact that Congress is having hearings on this subject ought to suggest a problem of a very different nature than the one being discussed with such great outrage by the likes of Rep. Harmon:

These strong, tough, intelligent, fully equal combat flowers need the immediate protection of the federal government because 41% of them have been the victims of sexual assault and 29% of them have been raped by their fellow servicemen. The Editorial Staff does not know about you, but we are not hearing a compelling argument for fuller integration of women into the armed forces.

For the last few decades, activists of all stripes have pressed for the full integration of gays and women into the armed forces.

They claim both men and women can sleep, defecate, and shower together in close quarters, on board ship, on submarines, and in the field, inexplicably waving away the age-old problem of attraction between the sexes, without posing any detriment to good order and discipline. Yet here we have Rep. Jane Harmon claiming that fully 40% of female servicewomen are being RAPED or sexually harassed by their male coworkers? Apparently Ms. Harmon has an odd notion of good order and discipline.

Activists claim women are fully the equals of men in every sense of the word. They claim women can hold their own in combat. They claim women can fight just as well as men.

They claim women are just as mentally tough as men; they claim women can withstand the rigors of war as well as men do, that we will not buckle under the stresses and strains of combat; that we can defend ourselves. They claim that female service members ought to be fully integrated into the combat arms because there are no meaningful differences between men and women. And yet, we read accounts like this:

Schapper, 35, of Washington, served with the Virginia Army National Guard on an outpost with few other women. She worked well as part of a military intelligence team with the men around her. It was in the down time that things got uncomfortable.

She shared a house with about 20 men, some of whom posted photos of scantily clothed women on the walls. She said her team leader, who lived in the house, frequently barged into her room and stared at her. The experience was unnerving, Schapper said, and she began changing clothes in the shower. But she never filed a formal complaint.

It is awfully hard to enforce rules if no one knows they are being violated. Still, one can always object - vociferously. Did she do that? No one knows. Did she publicly confront her tormenter? Try to embarrass him? Did she try to enlist the help of male coworkers? No one knows. To all appearances, she merely suffered in silence...

Passively.

If she complained, Schapper figured, she'd be the one moved -- not the other soldier.

"In military intelligence, you work with Iraqis on a daily basis you get to know, and to move me would disrupt the team I was working with as well as disrupt the work I'd already done," Schapper said. "I didn't want to be moved, and basically I'd be punished, in a sense."

Schapper said other female troops she has spoken with described similar experiences. A picture of one was posted with "Slut of Bayji" written underneath. Another endured having a more senior enlisted soldier ask her favorite sexual position over a public radio, said Schapper, who has met with members of Congress on behalf of the nonpartisan advocacy group Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America.

Since returning to the U.S. in 2006, Schapper has gotten help for post-traumatic stress disorder at the VA in Washington. Group therapy with other Iraq veterans has been helpful, she said, but she wishes there were a women-only group.

It's hard to understand this kind of thinking. Not wanting to disrupt the work of a team is understandable, but a team leader who is bullying one team member is probably bullying others. He is clearly breaking the rules, if left unchecked, he will only do it to others. The behavior needs to be stopped. This is not a particularly deep insight.

What did she think she was accomplishing by not coming forward? The truth is, she was scared. The other unpleasant truth is, she failed to report a serious breach of military regulations. That is wrong, and not only as it impacted her. Did she never think of the other victims this man had probably bothered before her and would go on to molest if she didn't come forward? Or did she only think of herself?

Among the competing narratives put forward by the women in the military lobby, something does not quite ring true. The stories are diametrically opposed. If one is accurate it casts doubt upon the others and yet the proponents want us to accept them all at face value.

Either it is not true that these women can defend themselves as well as men both verbally or physically (in which case they should be fully integrated into all branches of the military with no special accommodations) or they cannot even defend themselves against the depredations of some of their stronger male coworkers (in which case they require special protections if they are to be integrated, even in a limited way, into the armed forces).

Either it is true that men and women can bunk, shower, and defecate in close quarters without causing problems detrimental to the good order and discipline of the command, OR 4 in 10 women who live and work in close quarters with men are being raped and/or sexually harassed.

They can't both be true.

That is, unless Ms. Harmon doesn't consider rape detrimental to good order and discipline. She can't, unlike many feminists, have it both ways. She can't insist 40% of women are being raped and sexually harassed on the job, yet insist integrating women into the armed forces doesn't have a negative effect on command readiness. That just doesn't make sense.

She can't insist women are fully capable of defending themselves (much less taking the fight to the enemy), and then tell us they fragile flowers who require special protection from their own coworkers in order to be deployable. That just doesn't add up.

This whole scenario doesn't really make much sense; especially when one looks at studies of job satisfaction in the military and learns that women in general (and black women in particular) are more satisfied with their military careers than their civilian counterparts. Are we really to believe there is an "epidemic of rape in the military" that is worse than what exists in the civilian sector? Apparently so:

A third of the women in the military say they have been sexually harassed, according to a recent Pentagon survey, and women in male-dominated specialties consistently rank their job satisfaction lower than those largely occupied by women. But female job satisfaction ratings seemed largely unaffected by these factors. Among each ethnicity that Lundquist studied, the women consistently had higher levels of job satisfaction than the males.

I am female and I have been around the military all my life. While it is far from a perfect institution, I believe the military does a better job, in its ham fisted way, of dealing with race and gender issues than the civilian sector. If anything, the armed forces are likely to go overboard in their attempts to enforce equitable treatment of minorities and women. What people need to realize, unfortunately, is that heavy handed government attempts to solve human problems cannot change human nature.

What they also need to realize is that, by blurring the relationship between our acts and the consequences which result from them, government attempts at social engineering often reward some extremely poor decision making.

Human beings, regardless of race, gender, ethnicity, religion, or training, instinctively rely on a pecking order. During my lifetime I have watched both men and women harass and attempt to intimidate each other. Men tend to do this sort of thing via overt displays of aggression. Women do exactly the same thing, but they do it more subtly; by ganging up and excluding each other from social groups. Aggression and attempts to dominate each other are an integral part of human nature; perhaps not the most attractive part, but nonetheless something we all need to learn to deal with sooner or later. Aggression, whether of a sexual or non-sexual nature, isn't going away any time soon.

If you take emotion out of the equation, sexual harassment and rape are just particularly nasty forms of aggression: attempts to dominate another human being via sex. That war is an ugly and violent business should not come as a surprise to anyone in this day and age, and the business of the military is to fight and win wars. Therefore, if a woman is unwilling or unable to defend herself (perhaps violently) it is difficult for me to see what she is doing in the armed forces in the first place.

This is not to say that it is ever acceptable to break the rules. But if women as a class of people lack the assertiveness to report violations of the UCMJ (and this seems to be the argument Rep. Harmon and the CNN article are making), if they are so traumatized by their male coworkers that they require keyless entry locks on the doors of their hospital rooms in order to feel "safe", it is hard to argue that any system of rules will ever be enforceable. How could they be, when the victims will not turn in their "attackers"?

lavena_sidebar_right.jpgI think, in the end, what bothers me the most about this issue is that, as so often happens when we try to engineer social results by act of Congress, we have created a situation where some young women sign up for the military with a false picture in their heads of what military service entails. They often have the best of intentions.

They want to serve this nation. They are bright and patriotic. And because they are female, because women traditionally do not serve in the combat arms, they are led to believe the likelihood that they will ever have to go to war is either nonexistent or extremely remote.

Sometimes, as in the case of a lovely young Private from St. Louis, Missouri, her parents talk to the recruiters. They try to get as much information as possible. But the young woman is resolute: she wants to serve.

And then comes that awful day.

That day no parent ever wants to face. That day no parent should ever have to face.

Because, you see, unlike so many of those stories Rep. Jane Harmon likes to tell us, the scant evidence left behind seems to suggest that Lavena Johnson fought her attacker.

It looks as though she fought like hell. Good for her.

I can't get her story out of my mind. Listening to Dr. Johnson speak about his daughter's death, I only know two things:

1. The question of what happened to this young woman has not been resolved satisfactorily.

2. This country, and the United States Army, owe the Johnsons better treatment than they have received.

Ironically, though it makes me angry, I understand why and how things like this happen. I have been around the military too long to think it is some kind of galactic conspiracy.

But whatever happened, it cannot be swept under the rug. Every institution, whether military, religious, or civilian, has criminals. This is no surprise to any thinking person. The problem, unfortunately, is that when something like this happens, the demagogues and the reactionaries claim it is symptomatic of some far deeper epidemic in the system, the idea being that if one killing was covered up, there must be ten thousand bodies lying in unmarked graves. This is why people cover things up. They are always afraid of the overreaction. And the overreaction, they hype always comes: there are always those who want to exploit a story like this for political ends.

That is why I thought long and hard before writing about this. I think it is probably no accident that there are no conservative blogs in the sidebar of Lavena's page. A story like this is so convenient if you oppose the war. It is less so if you support the military, if you support what we're trying to do in Iraq and Afghanistan. But if you do support the military, you also support the idea that we have to do right by those who commit to defend this country. That also means not being afraid to admit when things occasionally go wrong. And I fear something has gone very, very wrong here and those who do love this country on both sides of the political spectrum should be demanding the truth here. This issue knows no political party. I truly believe it has nothing to do with the war and should not be politicized.

It is a simple matter of justice and respect for a young woman's service.

I think we need to demand the truth, both about Ms. Johnson's death and about rape and sexual harassment in the military. I think true rape must be punished, and harshly. But also women be held accountable for their own actions. It is not rape if you get so drunk that invite a coworker back to your room, pass out, and wake up halfway through the act in question and suddenly change your mind. Men aren't mind readers.

Even the best rules won't work if women refuse to report rule breakers. If women decide to tolerate or cover up evidence of sexual abuse, they can't very well complain if it persists. They are aiding and abetting their own abusers.

And the saddest thing of all is that they are helping to perpetuate a climate in which sooner or later, some poor young woman will pay the ultimate price.

Posted by Cassandra at August 3, 2008 08:42 AM

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Comments

Since I'm over here and observing male-female interactions, I'll let the comments commence before I say anything.

However, bear in mind that --

1. every woman where I am is *armed* and trained in firearms use,

2. every woman I know over here carries a decent knife as a backup (I've taught a couple how to grip it and use it most effectively when they asked me), and

3. co-ed housing, latrines and shower facilities are definitely *not* the norm.

Posted by: BillT at August 3, 2008 10:39 AM

I know.

This is meant to kill two birds with one stone, Bill.

1. The widespread allegation that women are sleeping with their sidearms and are afraid to get up and go to the showers/latrines at night for fear of being raped.

2. The whole idea that it should not bother anyone to have openly gay personnel sleeping/showering with hetero personnel. The idea that you are now bunking opposite sex people with each other doesn't seem to occur to anyone. But that is what you are doing.

Posted by: Cass at August 3, 2008 10:54 AM

My point is simple:

Either this problem is real (you guys are all incipient rapists). In which case let's face it: the whole women-in-the-military thing becomes somewhat problematic, doesn't it?

Or it is not that bad.

In which case Ms. Harman has some 'splainin' to do.

My question is: which is it?

Posted by: Cass at August 3, 2008 10:56 AM

I think that the argument for integration of women into the military is not that "women can defend themselves as well as men both verbally or physically." Rather, there are two entirely separate approaches, neither of which argue that women are exactly physically equal:

1) For feminists, that women cannot be the political and social equals of men while being a protected class. Women therefore must be able to fight even if they are at greater risk than men, i.e. even if they are less able to protect themselves. The principle of equality in the greater society matters more than the lives of the individual female soldiers. Is that heartless? No. Since soldiers' individual lives are normally risked in service to the greater principles and interests of their country, that is normal.

2) For the military, that women can serve functions -- especially in COIN environments in Muslim parts of the world -- that men cannot. Thus, again, it doesn't matter if they are equally capable of defending themselves. In this case, however, the reason is that they are indispensable. Medics are also generally less capable of defending themselves (due to all the extra gear they carry, and time spent training to heal rather than to fight); but no one would think of removing them from the battlefield because they serve a critical function.

These are two very different approaches that lead to the same place: integrating women into the military, at least in some cases.

The chief argument against doing so, as I have understood it, is that the difference in female fighting capacity is so great (due to strength differences, endurance differences, and differences in capacity to set aside emotion during combat) that women on the front lines are an unacceptable danger to their whole unit. I think we've seen enough examples in Iraq to cast serious doubt on that proposition. Women in combat have performed fairly well, certainly above the level that would justify them given the many advantages they bring to the COIN operations. The equality need not be exact to justify them: even if they are a little bit of a disadvantage in one area (due to strength, say), but offer advantages in other areas (due to cultural interaction with Muslim women), it is justified from the military's standpoint.

Anyway, it may really be the case both that "women cannot defend themselves as well physically or verbally" and also that integrating them is the right thing to do. It may be that their practical equality is not the point: here are two separate sets of arguments for doing it even if they are physically not equal to men (on average).

If either argument is accepted, women belong in the military even if they can't defend themselves as well -- even from fellow soldiers. Because we need them anyway, we have to do what it takes to put protections in place for them. If rape rates are high, we may need more protections -- or more likely, severe punishments, such as a return to the traditional punishment for rape in wartime.

Posted by: Grim at August 3, 2008 11:15 AM

Good discussion, Cass, although you appear to be citing the statistics given in the article you reference incorrectly. In one VA hospital, the Congresswoman was told that of all women patients seen AT THAT HOSPITAL (not service-wide), 41% were victims of sexual assault (sexual assault may include rape but includes other types of attack as well). Of that number, 29% were raped. That's 29% of the 41% number.

Also, the article uses various terms that mean different things: sexual assault encompasses rape but not all sexual assaults are rape. Sexual trauma is a different category from both rape and sexual assault. Whoever wrote that article did a very poor job of defining their terms and applying statistics in a clear manner.

Regarding your reply to Bill, I don't think this article does either of the two things that you appear to be battling against (1) an exaggeration of crimes against females in the Services and (2) makes any statement about gays in the military.

Grim, I agree with you completely. Protections need to be implemented, and violations need to be dealt with swiftly and severely.

Posted by: Jeffrey at August 3, 2008 11:57 AM

First, this is from CNN - the network that is always negative. And the network that twists all stories to make Bush look bad.

Second, these numbers (40% or whatever) how are they generated. What is the researchers definition of sexual assault?
Remember, soldiers are 'college age' people - 19-21 years old, and that age group has its irresponsible moments.

Third, not respecting the other people around you is wrong. To violate a person's privacy or worse is wrong. I am not defending rapists.

Fourth, was it one time or many times, he entered her room without knocking? Why didn't she report it? Did she discuss it with anybody at the time it was happening?

Fifth, deployment is constant high stress, no place to truly relax and unwind.

Sixth, Convicted rapist should be punished harshly.

Posted by: Marvin at August 3, 2008 11:59 AM

I didn't "misquote" anything. I took Rep. Harman to task for generalizing for repeatedly citing this one stat and using as the basis of her hyperbolic, "there is an epidemic of rape" statement, Jeffrey. That is the entire point of my "get your stats straight question.

Posted by: Cass at August 3, 2008 12:26 PM

Just to give you some idea of the skew:

From a 2004 article:

Military-wide, sexual assault in the military has dropped by half since the mid-1990s, Chu said. He cited military surveys in which soldiers can anonymously report being assaulted. In the mid-90s, between 6 and 7 percent of women answering the survey reported they had been assaulted in the last year; in 2002, the figure was around 3 percent, he said.

Quite a difference from either 29 percent or 41 percent.

My point remains this: you don't cite an isolated statistic unless it is intended to be taken as being representative of the larger population. That is what Ms. Harman has been doing - repeatedly - for months now.

You're right: there is a lot of confusion regarding sexual harassment/assault/rape. But I used raped and/or sexually harassed, not raped. In other words, I understood the distinction.

Posted by: Cass at August 3, 2008 12:39 PM

For the military, that women can serve functions -- especially in COIN environments in Muslim parts of the world -- that men cannot.

But that is not the argument that has been advanced, Grim.

*This* is the argument that has been made: "Women are tough enough to do the same jobs men can do, and do them equally well. And so you cannot - with fairness - ban them from those combat specialties. Additionally, allowing women to serve will not negatively impact unit readiness."

I am sorry, but this argument is utterly incompatible with this argument:

"40% of women are being raped and/or sexually harassed by their male coworkers, and if we do not put special measures in place to protect them, they cannot defend themselves because they will not report it when men make unwanted advances to them."

What really blows me away, Grim, is that you can make this statement after you say you witnessed a female officer whom (you say) pretty much singlehandedly destroyed an entire command. Tell me - again - why that happened? And why her CO would not turn her in?


Posted by: Cass at August 3, 2008 12:48 PM

And just so you know I am not just bashing the woman involved here, let me say that I think the male CO was equally if not more at fault.

Posted by: Cass at August 3, 2008 12:50 PM

I won't defend the argument you are attacking, because it is plainly wrong. My point is that there are two alternative positions -- which I understand to be the main arguments in favor of women in the military -- that are not based on the proposition you are attacking.

As for the female officer you're citing back to me, I don't see how she has any relevance to this debate. Women do offer capacities in COIN operations that men do not, especially in Muslim countries; and the fact that women officers can sometimes be bad ones (as can male officers) doesn't change that fact in the slightest.

Let me, however, point out that my own feelings on this matter are not strong; I can easily play the other side. Against what I call the feminist argument, I would point out that the substantial protections necessary to enforce equal opportunity in the military, and suppress sexual violence and harrassment, mean that women are necessarily a protected class, whether or not they are allowed to serve in the military. Thus, the greater social equality that the feminists hope to be gained cannot be gained: we can have an America where women cannot be soldiers, or we can have an America where they can -- but only with great protections erected specifically for them. Either way, women have to be protected.

If women are to enjoy social and political equality, then, it must be in spite of being a protected class. However, I think that is a workable position. Quakers are also a protected class -- and indeed, require a great deal of protecting -- but enjoy full social and political equality. The fact that they require protecting doesn't undermine the respect in which they are held. Neither should it for women, whether they are protected by soldiers, or protected as soldiers.

There are several objections to be raised to the military's assertion that women are necessary to COIN operations, chief among them propositions that we shouldn't be doing COIN operations. Obviously isolationists, whether Left or Right, won't be moved -- they feel the military should serve as a striking force only, and not do COIN, FID, or nation-building operations. This also applies to some of the Air Force leadership (like retired Gen. McPeak and his fighter mafia).

I don't happen to agree with that proposition, but if you did, it would be a substantial reason to reject the importance of women to COIN as a reason to have women in the military.

Posted by: Grim at August 3, 2008 01:24 PM

...women are necessarily a protected class

True enough -- however, Cass's observation merely shows that there is a line between protecting a woman because it is right to do so and protecting a bad officer solely because she is a woman.

If we make the distinction between the man and his rank/position, we must also make the distinction between the woman and her rank/position.

Posted by: BillT at August 3, 2008 01:55 PM

Grim:

The female officer you cited has relevance to this debate because, if I remember correctly, it was her gender (and the tricky PC nonsense associated with such) which made her fire-proof. Had she been a man, that whole situation most likely would have turned out differently.

There seem to me to be two contradictory arguments being made here and moreover they seem to be applicable to the cases of both gays in the military (but only if they serve openly) and women in the military.

I've said before that I have no problem with gays in the military. To me, the only issue they have ever posed has been the fraternization issue (i.e., the same one women pose).

And it is funny - when DADT or DACOWITS are brought up, the first thing people say is, "we desperately need people - can we really afford to turn anyone away?"

And I want to turn this on its head and say, "Hmmm... think of it another way. If you claim that (in the case of women, for instance) they can serve, but all sorts of special accommodations must be made in order for them to do so, then you have raised the unit cost of fielding a female recruit far above the unit cost of a male recruit.

The logical implication of that is that on average, we could afford to pay recruits more if we didn't allow women at all. Think of savings if we didn't have to jump through all these special hoops: think of the millions of dollars we spend each year on equal opportunity stuff, on sexual harassment, on investigations, on babysitting, on obstetric staff, on redundant bathrooms and other gender-specific facilities for women at bases around the world?

Don't get me wrong. I actually have the greatest respect for women in the military. But you are not making a logical or compelling argument for the marginal utility of women as a force multiplier.

You just aren't. Period. As a taxpayer (not a woman) I want to know what I am getting for my money besides some vague gender equity credits in the Afterlife?

Posted by: Cass at August 3, 2008 02:02 PM

OK, but I wasn't aware that was a point in dispute. The whole reason I brought up the female major in the first place was to recognize that point. :)

Posted by: Grim at August 3, 2008 02:06 PM

Ah, that was to Bill. Though it also can stand for a response to your first few lines, Cass. :)

You say:

And I want to turn this on its head and say, "Hmmm... think of it another way. If you claim that (in the case of women, for instance) they can serve, but all sorts of special accommodations must be made in order for them to do so, then you have raised the unit cost of fielding a female recruit far above the unit cost of a male recruit.

Well, not precisely. The cost of having an army composed of both women and men is definitely higher than having an army composed of men alone -- at least, in terms of those protections: it is not clear how far we would have to raise pay scales to draw the force levels we want if we eliminated the female part of the force, and continued to bid with the market for volunteers. The men who want to be in the military already are, so to replace the women, we'd have to raise benefits and pay to some degree to attract additional men (or institute a draft, which also raises costs in various ways).

However, granting the cost increase w.r.t. the protections for women, it does not follow that the cost continues to increase for each female recruit. Presumably, many of these protections are costs that you pay when you attract the first female recruit, but which you don't have to buy again for each additional recruit. For example, if we have to have quarterly EO training because we have one female in the unit, that cost doesn't go up if we later have two or ten.

And indeed, since the Army has quarterly EO training for every unit whether there are women or minorities in it or not, the marginal cost for an additional female recruit should be close to zero.

Therefore, in order to enjoy any substantial savings, we'd need to do more than 'not integrate women further.' We'd have to remove women from the military more or less entirely.

Posted by: Grim at August 3, 2008 02:13 PM

I should also like to add, since 'the female major' comes up from time to time, that it is true that she was the worst officer I've ever seen. However, I also knew another female major in Iraq who was among the best officers I've ever seen: disciplined, efficient, dedicated, inspiring and charming (which, as she was a PAO, was part of the job).

I mentioned the one female major to make clear that I could accept that bad female officers also need to be subject to the standards of their rank. I don't want it to be thought, however, that I am suggesting that she was in any way typical of female servicemembers, female officers, or even female majors. She was a special case (and not in a good way).

Posted by: Grim at August 3, 2008 02:18 PM

I don't want it to be thought, however, that I am suggesting that she was in any way typical of female servicemembers, female officers, or even female majors.

I note with suspicion your failure to disavow her as a typical female...

Posted by: BillT at August 3, 2008 02:28 PM

A typical white female, even. White women are a problem, that's, you know, we all live with that.

Posted by: Grim at August 3, 2008 03:19 PM

Not *all* of us.

I'm stuck with a bunch of ol' men...

Posted by: BillT at August 3, 2008 03:21 PM

You two are just cruisin' for a bruisin'...

Posted by: Miss Ladybug at August 3, 2008 03:29 PM

I resemble that remark, you know ...

Therefore, in order to enjoy any substantial savings, we'd need to do more than 'not integrate women further.' We'd have to remove women from the military more or less entirely.

That was kind of my point :p
It wasn't a serious suggestion so much as a philosophical question, Grim. No one is going to eliminate women from the armed forces.

The question I meant to ask was this: as opposed to an all-male force, where is the value-added in having women in the military to the taxpayer?

Posted by: Typical White Female at August 3, 2008 04:02 PM

"I'm stuck with a bunch of ol' men..."

Which leads one to wonder about the reason for the electric blue thong.....

0>;~}

Posted by: DL Sly at August 3, 2008 04:24 PM

...where is the value-added in having women in the military to the taxpayer?

Well, as a purely philosophical point, I suppose we could get the COIN benefits from women if they were in the civilian expeditionary force that SECDEF Gates (and many others) want. I don't guess they'd have to be in the military, as long as they were deployable alongside the military.

So, I suppose it's possible that we could achieve the same benefits without the costs.

On the other hand, the quarterly EO training would probably remain in place to address ethnic tensions, so the savings might not be that great; and we might, as noted above, have to up our bidding price for soldiers in order to fill the ranks. Insofar as we wanted to make a decision based on "value to the taxpayer," as opposed to other principles, those factors would need to be considered.

Posted by: Grim at August 3, 2008 04:37 PM

Ju no, de teepeecal white wemen hab been berry berry good to me. Jus had to say dat in defense ju no...

And if we are to start worrying over the ROI to the taxpayers, why, the performance of the entire government could be called into question!

Must drink beer, do not question ROI... do not question... do not... do Beeerrrrr.

Posted by: bt_what-me-worry_hun at August 3, 2008 06:21 PM

But I support the troops!

I have been reading this and enjoying the discussion and debate tremendously.

What bothers me about this, and what has bothered me in the past, is the protectionist attitude toward the accused.

I don't mean the 'innocent until proven guilty,' as that is a right the accused needs to have in order to protect the investigation and so forth.

I am talking about dismissing it out of hand as a 'boys will be boys' or 'don't bother me with this.'

As an FRG leader, one of the things I had to be aware of was the chain of concern in regard to domestic issues; sometimes I would work outside the chain and go right to the chaplain, with the one needing the help.

However, what is the proper procedure for sexual harrassment charges? I know here it is either the first sergeant or the CO, then the EO office, then brigade or battalion level, depending on
where everybody was.

How is it supposed to work in theatre? Remember, the Engineer has been retired a few years and we are out of the loop in some aspects.

Posted by: Cricket at August 3, 2008 09:28 PM

Well, having been there recently, my sense from talking to people about EO complaints was that it would end your career if you were an officer; and could be a very serious matter for an NCO as well.

The last time we talked about this, I said: 'Maybe this is what it takes to have a society where women have equality of opportunity.' And Cass said: 'Many people don't realize that.'

Now she says: 'Maybe it's not worth it.' And maybe it's not. It is, though, what it takes.

Posted by: Grim at August 3, 2008 09:59 PM

No. I am just throwing the question out there, Grim.

It is my sense that it's not really a question that a guy can really ask these days without getting jumped all over. Frankly, I wasn't sure I could ask it without getting flamed out, but I thought that I would try. I think it is an interesting question, and I do not know the answer.

I think it is worth discussing.

Posted by: Typical White Female at August 3, 2008 10:19 PM

I'm of the opinion that the problem is in the proof but also that the punishment for assault, sexual or otherwise should be extremely harsh if a person is duly convicted.

Being a guy with an overall resistant attitude that is directly proportional to the amount of force in the push, I can't understand how anyone would tolerate harassment day in and day out. There is little in life worth that.

Also I can't imagine anyone in this day and age managing to have a boys will be boys attitude. Seems like a fast track to a career ender at minimum, a civil suit at mid point, and a prison sentence if criminal statutes/UCMJ violations were brought and the offender were convicted.

Further I can't imagine that if a female or a weaker person of either gender were being harassed and/or assaulted that no one would rise to the occasion and offer a word of advice or caution to the offender, and if the knot-head failed to heed the warnings, that someone would be willing to step forward and witness against the harasser, at minimum...

I raised my daughters to tolerate no such garbage from anyone. Nope, not under any circumstance. That they should be willing and prepared to stand on their own feet so that they would not have to expect help from another. If they received help, fine. But they should be prepared to stand alone if necessary.

I understand the points Cass makes, and that the journalists who politicize and/or distort the issue help no one. But I have nothing other than equal protection and equal justice under the UCMJ and the Laws of the land should be the goal, and nothing less should be expected or tolerated.

Posted by: bthun at August 3, 2008 10:22 PM

And Grim is right.

I was about to say that I have never heard (in the Marine Corps, at least) that this kind of allegation could be safely ignored. It just can't.

It would take multiple layers of wrong/badness, plus it would require the woman to just give up after one try (which is pretty dumb if you ask me - the rules are plain, and if you don't get satisfaction, you should just move up the chain). Sometimes, even when it is hard, you have to fight for your rights.

Posted by: Typical White Female at August 3, 2008 10:22 PM

OR I could have remained silent and said, what Grim and Cass just said. That'll teach me. =8^}

Posted by: bt_what-me-worry_hun at August 3, 2008 10:23 PM

And lest I sound unsympathetic, I am not.

I'm not saying such a thing would be easy, or pleasant. I am just saying that the alternative would be to let a guilty person go free. That, to me, would be unacceptable. And I think if you were a rape victim you would feel some sense of closure from bringing that person to justice.

Posted by: Typical White Female at August 3, 2008 10:24 PM

First, slight modification -
Even the best rules won't work if people refuse to report rule breakers.
And rape should certainly be reported, and acted upon - severely.

Then, people are different. I, for example, would probably not have made it in infantry training when I was in (assuming I had been physically capable - happens I was discharged as "medically unfit for induction" after being drafted back in the day) let be actual combat, but could have served in any of a number of "support" specialties. OTOH, I know a few women who are quite capable.

And the statistics: they reek of magic...

Now the question: do I think it OK to have women in the services (resounding YES) even in a common dorm (yes, if not quite as enthusiastic, but bear in mind I am over sixty) or combat (back to the resounding YES with one caveat, there is a difference between carrying twenty pounds of equipment and handling a vehicle-mounted machine gun [or tank cannon] and carrying eighty pounds of equipment and throwing a hand grenade: screen for capacity) - overall, sure. Wasn't there a study a couple of years ago showing that a greater proportion of women could be good fighter pilots than among men?

Posted by: teqjack at August 4, 2008 01:25 AM

How is it supposed to work in theatre?

There are multiple routes to take -- it depends on the individual's desires for the outcome.

1. If it's a case of simple workplace harassment (unwanted remarks, etc.) the usual route is to tell the offender to knock it off or, if you're worried about repercussions, have someone you trust tell the offender -- when I was asked to do that, I usually phrased my "advice" in terms of the remarks being unprofessional, rather than inappropriate, because it hits more chords that way.

2. The EO Team is the Back Door to the Boss. The individual retains anonymity if he or she just wants the harassment to stop. EO does an unofficial investigation, which usually consists of workplace interviews and, if the complaint was valid, the offender gets additional counseling and a veiled warning. If it's a more serious matter, the EO Team member will pass the word directly to both individuals' unit commander, who has UCMJ options. The plaintiff loses anonymity when the commander investigates and decides the situation warrants UCMJ action.

3. Serious allegations go right to the commander -- or are *supposed* to go there -- for investigation and UCMJ action, regardless of whether the plaintiff uses the EO Team or uses the chain of command directly.

Wasn't there a study a couple of years ago showing that a greater proportion of women could be good fighter pilots than among men?

Yup. Physiologically, women are more resistant to "greyout" during high-G maneuvers and retain their decision-making skills for several seconds longer during pre-greyout maneuvering. Upper body strength isn't as much of a factor because of the hydraulic assists or fly-by-wire nature of the aircraft controls.

However, men still make better *helicopter* pilots because their upper body strength comes into play during any number of the fifty-gazillion emergencies a helicopter is prone to, and *older* men make the best helicopter pilots because they've survived multiple emergencies -- that experience level translates into a greater chance for crew/passenger survival.

So, the optimum mix for in-theater aerial support would be women fighter pilots and older, warrior-gentlemen helicopter pilots -- ideally stationed on the same forward airfield...

*ahem*

Posted by: BillT at August 4, 2008 04:04 AM

Which leads one to wonder about the reason for the electric blue thong.....

An integral portion of the Site Prep for the arrival of the lady fighter pilots...

Posted by: BillT at August 4, 2008 05:02 AM

Comments are interesting, but many stray from the point, I think. The issue is not the generic question of whether women should be in the Armed Forces, but rather what to make of the incredible statistics cited in the CNN report. Are they to be believed? If so, then what to do? If not... then why are they being reported?

Cass - "[Feminists] claim both men and women can sleep, defecate, and shower together in close quarters, on board ship, on submarines, and in the field, inexplicably waving away the age-old problem of attraction between the sexes, without posing any detriment to good order and discipline. Yet here we have Rep. Jane Harmon claiming that fully 40% of female servicewomen are being RAPED or sexually harassed by their male coworkers? Apparently Ms. Harmon has an odd notion of good order and discipline."

Exactly.

As to Rep. Harman's claim that women in the military need more protections... What, exactly, does she want? Last time I checked, rape is a violation of the UCMJ. In fact, I think it is a capital offense (not that the military would actually hang somebody for it; the death penalty is just so barbaric and icky, you know). What more CAN we do? Do we really want to make females a genuine protected class in the military? Do we want male soldiers to feel terrified of a court martial from even being in the same room / tent / space with them? How about taking a page from "Starship Troopers" and having a pair of armed MP's constantly on guard outside female quarters and forbidding male EM's from even speaking to females except in the strict line of duty?

Or... Wait! I know! How about getting the actual facts and NOT letting either CNN or a feminist member of Congress control the debate?

Posted by: docjim505 at August 4, 2008 06:02 AM

I have to admit to having changed my opinion on women in the services during my adult life, and not in a positive direction I have to say.

When I was younger, I wanted to BE in the armed forces. I also contemplated a career in law enforcement. So it is probably not surprising that I was a strong supporter of women in the armed forces. I used to argue with my husband about this all the time. As time went on, I started to see some things with our peers that really bothered me. Time (and a 3 year tour in recruit training at Parris Island, and one at Annapolis) only increased my misgivings.

As a woman, I pay close attention to the difference between men and women. I don't whitewash things men do that I don't like. I was a rather vocal critic of the chauvinistic attitudes at the Naval Academy in the 1970s. I would not have wanted to be a female mid in that atmosphere, and I think to a large extent the guys willfully turned a blind eye to a lot of ugly things that they saw as 'harmless' (Cricket's "boys will be boys" mentality). I thought it was ugly, nasty, and stupid. Or, as Bill would say, just plain unprofessional. There is absolutely ZERO reason for anyone to act like that on the job. None. They are not getting paid to act like frat boys on an extended hazing binge.

I've experienced sexual harassment (both physical and verbal) on the job, mostly in the seventies but partially in the eighties. Things have changed a lot since then, and it really is because of changes in the law that have driven changes in society. People like to say laws don't make any difference, but that is nonsense. They do. They make an enormous difference. Often they literally reshape societal attitudes. Just think about integration and busing.

As much as a lot of you guys rail against some of the excesses now, I wonder how much some of you would like us to go back to a time when it was quite common for women to have to deal with that crap on a daily basis? I know I had to. And I know that the climate has changed.

As far as workplace harassment, I never saw any need to complain about it. I just dealt with it one on one. I really do see that as an interpersonal problem - it is essentially bullying, and you have to deal with it that way. Either that, or sometimes it is just a guy who is making unwanted advances and perhaps doesn't understand that you really do mean "no" (some men think that you are being coy). So you just have to be more direct without being a complete jerk. Or sometimes if you are the only woman in a group of men, they are trying to push your buttons and you just have to decide how you want to handle that.

Regarding women in the armed forces, my main problem is that despite seeing some really stellar and professional female service members, I have seen quite a few who (like many women in the civilian world) have what I'd call more traditional female values. IOW, they are more like me.

Except they are not honest about it.

There is a very good reason I did not end up in the service. I thought about it, and when it came right down to it, I wanted to have children. I looked honestly at my priorities. And I asked myself one question: was I willing to deploy and leave my children?

And the answer was: NO WAY. Knowing that, I could not in good conscience accept a commission, because I would not be deployable. And yet I see female officers pull that crap all the time. I have actually heard female officers plan to get pregnant to get out of a proposed deployment. In the case I am thinking of (and this is what really shocked me and changed my mind) the officers in question were not even married. Thank God they were not Marines.

I am sorry, but that is just wrong.

Posted by: Cassandra at August 4, 2008 06:13 AM

Good point, docjim. That *was* the original point of my post :p

I often get the feeling that what the Democrats want to do is raise the cost of fielding the armed forces so high that we can't ever go to war. When you start thinking about this, if Harman manages to get this narrative accepted (i.e. 40% of military women are being sexually harassed on the job) she will tie some sort of ridiculously time-consuming and expensive millstone around the necks of the services to try and solve a problem that we are not even sure is happening.

Not helpful, unless the object is to prevent the military from doing their jobs.

Posted by: Cassandra at August 4, 2008 06:20 AM

Not helpful, unless the object is to prevent the military from doing their jobs.

Add "...under a Republican Administration."

The Dems had noooooo problem sending us to Haiti to re-install their favorite Caribbean poster boy, even though 75% of the troops landed with no ammo and the remainder had the traditional three-round mag issued to stateside magazine guards.

Or changing the mission in Somalia in midstream and then refusing to send the commander armored vehicles.

Or sending the Air Force to drop smart bombs on Serbian decoy positions in Kosovo and the Chinese Embassy in Belgrade.

Or launching Tomahawks at abandoned Taliban camps in Afghanistan and a pharmaceutical lab in Khartoum.

Posted by: BillT at August 4, 2008 09:08 AM

In reading this, I keep thinking of sailors and officers I know who have no doubt that the mere whiff of anti-female behavior/abuse (or even justified punishment of females in their command, in some cases) could end their careers. Maybe it's different in the Army or Marine Corps, but I do find the volume of these numbers to be highly questionable. When the mere hint of poor behavior toward females is feared, I just can't see the kind of widespread abuse described happening.

Posted by: FbL at August 4, 2008 10:41 AM

The Thunder Run has linked to this post in the - Web Reconnaissance for 08/04/2008 A short recon of what’s out there that might draw your attention, updated throughout the day...so check back often.

Posted by: David M at August 4, 2008 11:31 AM

It seems to me we have not just apples and oranges here but an entire fruit salad.

Plappert was raped by Iraqis after being separated from her group. I do not see how this can be considered a problem with the military unless her fellow soldiers or her commander were negligent in allowing her to get into this position. Rather, her situation is analogous to a woman who works at a firm located in a dangerous part of town, works late one night, and has to walk to the parking lot alone. In her case, the military’s responsibility is making sure she understands when she enlists that “non-combat” does not mean “safe areas”; providing physical and psychological services to assist her afterwards as they would for any injured soldier; and finding and bringing to justice the rapists.

If this type of incident were to be considered a problem with the military then the only solution is to remove women from the military or, hmm, I was going to say keep servicewomen Stateside but a military woman can be raped Stateside as well. So the only situation would be to remove women from the military.

Schapper was sexually harassed by a fellow soldier. This is a problem with the military but it is not unique to the military: civilian women are sexually harassed as well. It sounds like the military has sensitivity training in place and has channels for reporting harassment so I do not know what else they could be expected to do. (Although it might be helpful to have a combination “Dear Abby”/hotline that servicewomen could call for advice on harassment. It can be hard to sort through these issues especially for very young women - which I know Schapper was not. The advice line could present options ranging from “get a lock for your door” to “here’s how you report this up the chain of command.”)

However, if - as Schapper implies - a harassment complaint automatically results in transferring the complainer, that does not seem right so that policy (if it exists) would bear reexamining.

Lavena Johnson was apparently raped by a fellow serviceman. This is a problem with the military. Yes, civilian women are raped by coworkers but this type of attack seems particularly heinous in the military. In an organization where each member is encouraged to rely on the others for his or her life, rape tears apart that fabric of trust and cohesion. I take Cassandra’s point about establishing a pecking order - and can even see that with sexual harassment although I don’t like it - but raping to establish the pecking order is akin to stabbing a fellow soldier in the back to establish the pecking order.

This type of incident and this alone seems an area where further investigation is warranted. It will not be possible to eliminate this type of attack - as someone else said, all organizations have their criminals - but I would hope the incidence would be lower in the military than in the civilian world. What is needed is information about the incidence of this type of attack specifically.

More importantly, if the military has in fact mishandled the Johnson case as egregiously as it seems then that needs to be made clear and the military’s existing mechanisms for dealing with this type of rape should be reviewed.

I think open homosexuals serving in the military is a separate issue - and a huge one. Rape is a crime of violence not of passion so opposite-sexed people living in close proximity does not trigger it. Personally I believe the burden of having open homosexuals in the military will fall more on the gay servicemen and women than on the straight and more on servicemen than servicewomen. However, I concede I am not qualified to speak to issues of unit cohesion and morale.

As for servicewomen who deliberately get pregnant to avoid deployment that is unquestionably wrong, both from a duty perspective and from a “wanted child” perspective. (What are the odds that Mom will make it through her offspring’s childhood without letting slip that the kid was only conceived to avoid going overseas?) However, I don’t think this is a problem unique to women although I may be wrong about that. I thought there were always tales of men who deliberately injured themselves to avoid deployment or even military service altogether.

I am curious about the military’s stance toward servicewomen who are pregnant and those who are mothers. As far as I know, pregnant women do not have to leave the service but I don’t know if they could if they wanted to. Apparently they do not have to deploy while pregnant but what about after the baby is born? I gather some women who are mothers have gone to Iraq, for example. If getting pregnant only postpones deployment for nine months that seems a very short-term benefit in exchange for 18 years of child-raising. In that case, I would worry that these women are too dumb to be trusted in a war zone and be grateful they won’t be going.

One last statement of the sort that seems obligatory in such discussions although it should be assumed. I clearly understand that sexual harassment can be terrifying and damaging. It should not be tolerated and I hope it would not be by decent men (or women) in or out of the service. Rape is a horrendous crime and there are no circumstances that justify it. If the most attractive woman in the world wants to walk stark naked down the middle of the street in the worst neighborhood in the world in the middle of the night there is still no justification for raping her. Certainly no woman protecting her country and her fellow servicemen and women should have to fear it from one of her own.

Posted by: EliseK at August 4, 2008 12:55 PM

I am curious about Lavena Johnson.

Not that I don't think for one minute that it couldn't have been a military person who attacked her. But interestingly enough, she was found in a KBR tent. I am not sure (honestly) what that means. Does everyone over there sleep in those tents?

Or was she found in the tent of a KBR contractor? That is a horse of a different color, and might well explain the unstraightforward response from the Army. Anytime more than one organization is involved in an ugly scenario, especially in a foreign country where the governing law is fuzzy (sorry Fbl!) that tends to be what is going on.

Posted by: Cass at August 4, 2008 01:11 PM

Not to throw water on things, but if winter soldier can be a sham, so can late reports for political reasons by women.

the whole thing can be summed up in a military term: brain fart. so many of the facts are not commonly available. anyone care to list out the number of women who died, then find out that a large number of them are suicides and accidents with weapons? (they changed the breakdown info so that would be hidden).

with so much political agenda on it, nothing can be accepted as fact. so its a house of mirrors and no one can tell which way is the right way.

sigh.

ultimately it means a demoralized male population that we need. women soldiers who cant finish their training but still get to be promoted instead of being thrown out like the men. training now soft leading to soft soldiers (nice cards to hold up for the drill sargents). inability to carry munitions so teams are undersupplied. inability to move as much material, so that supplying takes longer.

there is also a detailed problem of women having to be relieved of duty because they break down crying (but are not penalized for such behavior).

not to mention some who join for politically negative purposes, who wish to create a winter soldier type situation they can make change for.

oh... and not to mention the get pregnant, get hoorable discharge, get abortion, keep benifits situation. (as many as 30% of those deployed to one ship got pregnant to get otu of service)

all brain farts...

Posted by: artfldgr at August 4, 2008 01:23 PM

Cass -- "She was found in a KBR tent" means that she was found in one of the tents in the KBR Compound.

Posted by: BillT at August 4, 2008 01:23 PM

During the United States' Panama invasion, a female truck driver taking troops into a combat zone started crying. Another woman who had been performing the same job also broke into tears, and the two women were relieved of duty. After reporters learned about the incident, the Army "took pains to convey that the women had not disobeyed orders or been derelict in their duty," reports The New Republic. "On the contrary, according to an Army official quoted in the Washington Post: "They performed superbly." Since men, too, have been relieved of duty after breaking down emotionally during combat, the point is not to single these women out. The point is that the Army was less than candid about the incident. As The New Republic commented: "To call the overall performance of a soldier who breaks down and cries during combat 'superb' is ludicrous and patronizing." ("Soldier Boys, Soldier Girls," The New Republic, February 19, 1990, cited in Congressional Quarterly Supplement, February 7, 1990, p. A14.)


=========================


Following the War of Israeli Liberation in 1948, women were never allowed into combat again (unless by accident). It has been Israeli law since 1950, for a variety of reasons, including underperformance by women and overprotectiveness to the jeapordizing of combat mission goals by men, that women are still drafted, but not placed into combat.

When women have been placed into combat they have underperformed, to the danger and detriment of their units. Nations that have allowed women into combat have done so only temporarily, and even the soldier-starved Israeli army will no longer allow women to fight in their combat forces (though they still fill many support roles, as they ought to, as long as they can meet the same requirements as the men who fill those roles).


=======================


and from: www.worldnetdaily.com/index.php?pageId=20966

"There's something very odd about it," said Donnelly. "Here we have a new paradigm of women in the military and there's no information available about how it's going."

Donnelly calls it the result of "social engineering" policies instituted in the military over the last decade by "Pentagon feminists" seeking to advance the careers of servicewomen at the cost, she says, of military morale, efficiency and readiness.

A longtime military advocate, Donnelly served on the Defense Advisory Committee on Women in the Services, or DACOWITS, in the 1980s and was appointed in 1992 by former President George H. W. Bush to the presidential commission that studied the likely ramifications of women in combat. After 10 months of exhaustive interviews with hundreds of soldiers, the commission voted against women in combat aviation, land combat with the Special Forces and on combat ships such as submarines and amphibious vessels.

But then-President Clinton dismissed the recommendation when he took office shortly afterward.


On May 23, an unnamed Marine staff sergeant assigned to a ground unit gave birth aboard the USS Boxer, an amphibious vessel deployed in a war zone near Kuwait. A Pentagon official told the Washington Times the Marine did not tell anyone she was pregnant because she did not know that she was.

Donnelly thinks the incident demands review of liberal pregnancy policies imposed on the Navy and Marine Corps in 1995 by then- Secretary of the Navy John Dalton. Under the Dalton policy:


Pregnancy tests are not required prior to deployment;

Deployments on Navy ships are permitted up to 20 weeks of pregnancy, provided that medical care is no more than 6 hours away;

Regulations require that a pregnant sailor notify her commanding officer within two weeks of diagnosis;

Servicewomen may not be assigned overseas after the 28th week of pregnancy.
The Dalton policy also forbids "downgrading marks or adverse comments related to medical limitations, assignment restrictions, and/or periods of absence due to pregnancy."

===================

Operation Desert Shield and Operation Desert Storm marked the first large-scale combat deployment of women. Estimates are that between 35,000 and 50,000 women were deployed to the combat zone alongside some 550,000 men.3,5-7 Many of their needs were similar to those of men except for gynecological care.7 Studies on women in the Persian Gulf War have noted similar findings. In a study of the 1st Cavalry Division's medical visits, gynecologic disorders were the most common diagnosis recorded in women. Approximately 26% of the 1,792 visits were gynecology related. Women were 6% of total troop strength and found to be three times more likely to have sick call visits than men.8 Twenty-four pregnancies were encountered in the 458 gynecologic visits. They found that 25% of the pregnancies occurred before arriving in theater.8 -

In another study during the first Persian Gulf War, at the 312th Evacuation Hospital, 49 of 577 gynecologic visits were for pregnancy. Many women stated that they were told to stop their oral contraceptive pills as they would not need them or that they would not be available. This resulted in the majority of conceptions occurring in theater. Pregnancy represented the single largest reason for evacuation due to a policy requiring all pregnant soldiers to be administratively redeployed.9 A study of visits to the 8th Evacuation Hospital located in Saudi Arabia found that a large part of the hospital's gynecologic resources were used to treat preventable conditions. They found that 25% of visits were female and that the most common complaint was to rule out pregnancy (29%). Twenty-eight of 300 gynecologic visits were for pregnancy. Six of 10 women admitted were for pregnancy-related problems. Pregnancy (n = 26) accounted for 16% of the hospital evacuations (n = 176) and 56% of all women evacuated.6 The estimated cost per pregnant woman for evacuation is $10,000.2

Looking at the Navy during the Persian Gulf War, the repair ship Arcadia had 36 of its 360 women redeployed secondary to pregnancy during the first Persian Gulf War.3 In other conflicts such as Somalia, there were 72 women that became pregnant while using prophylactic mefloquine. They suffered an unexpectedly high rate of spontaneous abortion.10 And in Bosnia, it was reported that one female was evacuated every 3 days for pregnancy.3 Thus, over the past 14 years, unintended pregnancies have had a significant impact on military operations in the combat zone.

As of 2003, women account for 15% or 210,000 of the 1.4 million military personnel. Most are age 35 or younger, 40% are married, and 50% have children, many as single parents. Approximately 9% of the female soldiers are pregnant at any one time.4 Of the 250,000 troops deployed to Iraq as of March 31, 2003, some 25,000 have been women.

10 (23%) soldiers were pregnant before arrival in theater. Thirtythree (77%) soldiers became pregnant while in theater. The final disposition is predictable with 92% being administratively redeployed with most of the remaining leaving via medical evacuation.

findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_qa3912/is_200705/ai_n19431431/pg_1


An interesting finding of this study is that the majority of pregnancies occurred while in theater. Given the known date of arrival in theater combined with the confirmation of gestational age by ultrasound, there was little doubt to this finding. What makes this so interesting is that upon arrival in theater, all soldiers are familiarized with certain standing orders. For Operation Iraqi Freedom/Operation Enduring Freedom, all were introduced to General Order Number One. This basically stated that sexual relationships in the combat zone are prohibited. Since pregnant soldiers automatically receive an administrative redeployment, it stands to reason that this was the most common disposition.

=================

and you get this kind of contradictory pap...

Israeli female soldiers performed better than male soldiers in the evacuation of settlers from the Gaza Strip in August, according to a study carried out by the army. Although news media cameras focused on female soldiers crying from the emotional stress of removing women and children from their homes, the study shows that they dealt with a greater number of violent confrontations than did their male colleagues and handled the challenge more efficiently.


[so they attract violence because they are smaller and that is a benifit... they cry and breakdown more often and that is a benifit too. brain farts]

=============

there are many who also blame incidents are abu graib due to the lack of responsible training the women get since they can opt out.

Janis Karpinski, an Army reserve brigadier general, was named commander of the 800th Military Police Brigade and put in charge of military prisons in Iraq. General Karpinski, the only female commander in the war zone, was an experienced operations and intelligence officer who had served with the Special Forces and in the 1991 Gulf War, but she had never run a prison system. Now she was in charge of three large jails, eight battalions, and thirty-four hundred Army reservists, most of whom, like her, had no training in handling prisoners.

======

A month later, General Karpinski was formally admonished and quietly suspended, and a major investigation into the Army’s prison system, authorized by Lieutenant General Ricardo S. Sanchez...


anyone care to list out the disgraces that have happened since we softened up in the west?

heck... the men are now so demoralized that we are picking recruits from gangs, and political groups and ignoring the problem that will occur when they come back and train freinds.

brain farts...

Posted by: artfldgr at August 4, 2008 01:57 PM

This seems rather similar to the relationship between US forces and Iraqis. Congress will butt in and prosecute and pull strings to get convictions if you end up in an altercation with Iraqis, whether enemy, allied, or just foreigners in Iraq.

If it was just Congress, that wouldn't be such a big thing concerning consequences, but it is also the military chain of command, up to and including the US President.

When the US was training Iraqis to fulfill a certain mission type, they knew or claimed that the Iraqis were potentially capable, but that currently their capabilities were inferior to the US's, so the Iraqis couldn't take the same mission types as we could. Thus the Congressional push to leave Iraq to the Iraqis and the military attempt to get it done by training Iraqis to, if not our level, at least close to it.

Congress also pushes for female integration in the military. Why? For the same reason they pushed to leave Iraq to the Iraqis. American military members dying in a foreign country is bad for the local constituency, you know. And that means less votes next election. A similar political motivation and benefit was there for withdrawing US forces from Iraq.

In both such cases, the similarities are striking. Both the Iraqis and women in the military could potentially be an asset and supplementary auxiliary force. In both cases, they could substantially increase our combat force multipliers or manpower restrictions. They were both protected in the sense that there were people who could do the job better and have already been doing the job better. And in both cases, they had some rather incredibly negative consequences when the reality did not live up to the potential, at least the positive potential people had made themselves believe in.

You see, fighting wars takes work, good training, rather than just brilliance or paper potential. Fighting wars and winning takes that and makes it all a one shot deal. Do it right the first one, or risk not ever getting another chance.

Yet, the Iraqi auxiliaries were given plenty of chances. Chances that never would have been given to another force that had run away like they did in Fallujah. Those kinds of disasters break nations, not just armies. So what was the difference for them?

The difference was the same for the integration of women into the US military combat forces. The difference is that the greater United States military and society could afford those kinds of setbacks. But for how long? In Iraq, it was getting shaky paying to cover up the mistakes of the Iraqis, both allied, enemy, and neutral.

The reason why we did it is because of the potential rewards, the fact that they outweighed the potential and actual risks. We could afford to take such risks because the reward was something we just couldn't buy or wasn't willing to buy or convert our own current forces into.

I will not speak of tactics or strategy concerning women and their contribution, actual or potential, to the US military's fighting prowess. I will not seek to weigh your conscience with guilt trips based upon arguments that blacks were excluded because they were seen to be a disruptive influence on the ability for America to fight.

What I will say is this. Women make up 50% of the total manpower pool of America. Until and unless America is willing to recruit foreign auxiliaries, pay them US military salaries and benefits like the British did concerning the Gurkhas, America, as the only non-expansionist superpower empire in existence, will need that manpower should she wish to continue to hold her throne in this world.

50% of your total population contains many hidden and potentially brilliant traits, minds, and wills to be recruited into your fighting force. But potential is never the same as actuality.

We know from history that if you work at it and you make the right decisions concerning training and leadership and recruitment, then you will be able to integrate new elements into your fighting force and your fighting force will be the stronger for it. Wars forced the integration of blacks and Iraqis into our wars and fighting forces. Yet there has not yet been a war that has forced America to integrate women into the combat branches. Cause there's never been a war that America couldn't handle with a military that didn't have women in fighting positions. Vietnam was perhaps the beginning of the end for the US draft and the end of the beginning for the demand for women in the military. Yet even that was lost because of political, not military, reasons.

Until there is such a war, integration will be hard. There will be far more theory than actual results. If there's no need for it to be done, if war doesn't make up a need for it to be done, then it won't be done.

But that doesn't mean people won't try. Many people will try to integrate women into combat for political reasons such as feminism or equality or just to make themselves feel good and be re-elected. And for those people, they will make a disaster of the military.

The war with Arabia and Persia may inevitably create this demand for women. Whether because of COIN, because our enemy's dominance and self-confidence comes from beating and oppressing their own womenfolk and children, or just because America wins wars because of the brilliance of their leaders and the indomitable spirit of her defenders.

Open up the other 50% of your population, even on a limited basis due to biological and feminine limitations, and you will get far more brilliance.

The dross and the junk will never rise to the surface in an actual, by god, fighting war. Rather, people like Petraeus will rise, because the demand will be there for it. And when there's demand, the supply will respond if it is there. The same will occur with auxiliary Iraqis, Afghans, or American women. All that matters is whether the rewards outweigh the risks. There will be rewards, but there will also be detriments and negative consequences as well. That's called reality, compared to the fantasy land so many pacifists and Leftists live in.

Posted by: Ymarsakar at August 4, 2008 04:59 PM

In the final tally, women in the military must be more warriors than the men are. If they don't know how to defend themselves... how the hell are they going to defend me?

Maybe the military needs to teach this to their people, rather than "sensitivity training".

You tell me, Bill, Cass, Grim, and company, which will do more good in the long run

Posted by: Ymarsakar at August 4, 2008 05:01 PM

Well, I'm going to start off by saying that 15% suffering from Rape-related trauma doesn't contradict the 40% experiencing rape. It's like experiencing combat but not suffering from Combat Stress. Not everyone goes through PTSD, though they may go through the same (or similar) traumatic event.

As for moving the soldier that complains as opposed to moving the problem... It seems to be the status quo around the military for a variety of things.

Posted by: Tough Girl101 at August 5, 2008 07:34 AM

First of all, it wasn't 40% who were raped.

It was 40% who experienced some kind of sexual harassment, 29% who said they were raped. However, what does conflict are a variety of surveys that have been done in the military (self reporting) where the rates ran closer to 3-7%.

Regarding moving the problem, let me just say this about that :p

Without knowing that particulars, there are two kinds of 'problems'.

I have seen (over 27+ years in military) chronic complainers. And every officer or staff NCO sees those sooner or later. So there is some of that: you start to wonder why this one person, no matter where they go, cannot seem to get along with anyone? They always have an excuse why they could not complete an assignment. It is always someone else's fault, not theirs, even on a 2-person team, even if you put them with someone who is a stellar performer and gets along with everyone. And frequently they have a history.

Then, there are people who get picked on. That is different, but also troubling. They are legitimately being victimized but there is an aspect of the problem that is sometimes being caused by their own behavior. It doesn't make what happens to them right, but as someone who is almost invariably older than they are you watch them and feel helpless, because they never do listen.

They won't leave the boyfriend who takes advantage of them, and if they do they just take up with another who is the same or even worse.

They won't stand up for their rights in the barracks, and so other people walk all over them.

They are over familiar with people, they lend their stuff to people they hardly know and never get it back, they don't seem to understand the barriers that people with a better sense of self enforce automatically. And, people being people, others with stronger egos walk all over them.

And the ugly truth is that by failing to stand up for themselves in even the most elemental fashion, people like that shift the burden to someone else to protect them. Sometimes, it is even an attention-getting device. I say that because I have spent a lifetime feeling sorry for people like that and trying to rescue them from themselves. After 20 years of that I figured out that it is mostly a thankless job. You cannot "make" someone respect themselves. You can try, but in the end, they have to decide to take the responsibility. Other people are not going to think much of you if you don't even think much of yourself - they take you at your own evaluation - sad but true.

Posted by: Cassandra at August 5, 2008 08:00 AM

That was more of a general observation, by the way :p

I still don't think anyone deserves to be raped, obviously. Clearly, that's a crime.

Harassment, on the other hand, is more ambiguous. It is hard for me to see where sexual harassment is any different than the bullying that men do to each other. What makes women so special? Why do they require special treatment? Men don't have special classes to prevent on the job bullying to protect their tender egos. It really strikes me as rather silly.

Crimes are crimes. If they happen, we all know a crime has occurred and we all know where the MP's office is. How is that different than getting the snot beaten out of you? Yes, it is brutal and dehumanizing. But Marines get in fights. They do crappy things to each other sometimes. They just do. It is a fact of life. If you want it to stop, you either report the offender or you stand up for yourself.

I really am at a loss to understand why women are a special case.

Posted by: Cassandra at August 5, 2008 08:07 AM

It is hard for me to see where sexual harassment is any different than the bullying that men do to each other.

Some of it is Rite of Passage into a unit -- being ragged to see if you're "tough enough to hang with us" is something men understand on an intuitive level, because that's something we grow up with.

Women do not, because it's foreign to their upbringing -- that's a *negative* aspect of the whole "protecting" thing Grim is so adamant about (and with which I happen to agree). Some of the complaints of "sexual harassment" I poked my nose into were actually attempts to make the female newcomer feel like "one of the guys" -- they were overtures of *friendship*, but carried out so clumsily they were misunderstood. And note that I said *some* of the complaints; there were others -- not many -- that were blatant propositions.

Posted by: BillT at August 5, 2008 08:32 AM

I really am at a loss to understand why women are a special case.

But you understand that Grim and I think so and you like us in spite of that.

*slithering for the bunker*

Posted by: BillT at August 5, 2008 08:35 AM

Yeah, I do.

Because I don't insist (as so many of the women in this article apparently do) on seeing everything in life through the same stubborn lens of my own experience. That is a good part of why I do this.

People have different cultures, and men and women are different. They have to make attempts to accommodate each other. Part of this is called "manners" - they are the social lubricant that oils the machinery of society. And alcohol (and drugs, to a certain extent) and rituals are also social lubricants that help us relax and dissolve some of the barriers between us temporarily.

Which is what I'm trying to write about this morning. Fascinating subject.

Posted by: Cassandra at August 5, 2008 08:45 AM

Part of why I think it benefits both men and women to be around each other is that we modify each other. Each learns from the other. It's not a bad thing.

It always cracks me up when the manly-men rail on and on about it. You don't have to stop being men. Just bend a bit. Don't go overboard. Don't compromise yourself.

And the women don't have to stop being women. I stayed at home with my boys despite social disapproval and was proud to do it. Many women still make that choice. My daughter in law quit her job to stay home with my grandson. She knows her own mind.

We are free to do as we will. The thing is, there are always tradeoffs. Only children rail against them. The fact of the matter is that men and women have more freedom now than we used to :p We are just so spoiled that now we bitch about the fact that we may have to face consequences for choices that were far more costly, or even nearly impossible, decades ago.

Waaaahhhhh!!!!!!

Posted by: Cassandra at August 5, 2008 08:50 AM

Waaaahhhhh!!!!!!

Gaaak! The secret weapon's been launched!

*frantically searching pockets frantically for a relatively frantically clean hankie frantically*

Posted by: BillT at August 5, 2008 10:55 AM

But you understand that Grim and I think so and you like us in spite of that.

True enough!

Posted by: Grim at August 5, 2008 10:56 AM

See? Turn on the waterworks and *who* shows up?

*Both* of us.

Posted by: BillT at August 5, 2008 11:02 AM

Got a spare hankie, Grim?

Found mine and I don't think it would help in the least...

Posted by: BillT at August 5, 2008 11:04 AM

But you understand that Grim and I think so and you like us in spite of that.

And I note that you two ne'er do wells are not exactly above using my Achilles heel agin' me :p

Posted by: Cass at August 5, 2008 11:05 AM

We're your Achilles heel? Outstanding. :) (I do believe, Bill, that I have a bandana or two to spare -- although I gave the big one to my dog.)

Posted by: Grim at August 5, 2008 11:19 AM

*blink*

Ne'er-do-wells?

Grim -- we've been hyphenated!

We've *arrived*!!!

Posted by: BillT at August 5, 2008 11:36 AM

Sorry for coming to this dance so late, I been busy. Anyhoo, I got opinions on this (yes, I'm using atrocious grammar, so sue me :P ) and I'd like to share them.

I worked with all kinds of women in my 5 years in the Army. Good ones, bad ones, competent ones, ones that should never have gotten through Basic, etc. What did they have in common? Gender, and that's it. I saw the exact same stuff in men I served with too. No gender has a lock on good service, nor bad. It really was up to the individual. I knew a female drill sergeant who could have physically beat my sorry butt into the pavement, and a male drill sergeant who would probably not have lasted ten seconds in a boxing ring with Laila Ali.

The point is this, women can serve and can serve well. There are physical differences which TEND to make men have more upper body strength and women TEND to perform better in high-G situations, but those are not inborn to every man and woman. But when it comes to harassment, it's really a problem of order and discipline in the unit. If anyone in Schapper's unit knew it was going on (and I'm not excluding Schapper from this) and did nothing to stop it, then they're partially responsible too. Look, I'm old fashioned, and I had some naive ideas about women when I first enlisted. Army women disabused me of those ideas rapidly. I don't think it's harassment if you like it, but if it still counts, oh yeah... I was harassed by female soldiers in my time. If it bothered me, I'd have said something to the individual, if it didn't stop, I'd have taken it to the chain of command. We ONLY had two briefings a year telling us all this stuff (and I am lead to understand they're up to four a year now). If you don't get it by then, you're not going to get it at all.

Is Schapper to blame? Normally, I'd say no the harasser is to blame, but in this case she refused to stand up for herself (even anonymously) so why would anyone else. If her chain of command was turning a blind eye (the implication from the article) that's different, but we've got no indication they knew. How can they help her more than telling her four times a year how to report harassment if she's not going to listen?

Rape is a completely different matter. It's a crime of violence, and I would LOVE to see the military call for the death penalty (as provided for in cases of rape by the UCMJ) in most of its cases. Due to forensic evidence, it's pretty hard to miss a conviction, and the only point of debate would be the he said/she said bit, and just a bit of a fight (bite marks, broken nose, etc) on the victims part would 100% secure the perps guilt (I don't care HOW kinky you are, a broken nose is NOT a turn on or foreplay).

I think women can be a valuable part of the Armed Forces. Yes, they currently cost more than their male counterparts. Yes, I hate that they can cost big bucks by getting pregnant and getting shipped stateside (though if you establish they got pregnant in theater, slap em with a violation of General Order One and bust them down in rank... oh yeah and find baby's daddy and bust him too). But those costs WILL eventually go away. It will take decades, but women (I beleive) will eventually integrate into the military just fine. I point to the fact that when the Army desegregated the troops, there were these high costs (and probably more physically punishing adjustments). But with minor exceptions, I think the Army (and I'm sure the other three lesser services as well ;) ) demonstrates best how racial integration should work.

Posted by: MikeD at August 5, 2008 11:44 AM

"Yes, I hate that they can cost big bucks by getting pregnant and getting shipped stateside (though if you establish they got pregnant in theater, slap em with a violation of General Order One and bust them down in rank"

Sounds good in theory, but I can tell you that is RARELY done because commanders don't want to deal with the subsequent Congressional inquiry that would without doubt be generated. Then you become the "Big bad commander picking on a poor young women who got pregnant".

On the topic of woman and men in the military especially down range I can tell you that it makes a commander's (and senior NCO's) job very difficult.

I was in Iraq for one year and we had numerous issues that came about as what I see is the inevitable result of putting young (or immature) men and woman together thousands of miles away from their homes and/or their significant others.

Some came to light when a spouse back home found out his/her partner was "hooking up" down range, some were the result of married couples deploying together and trying to deal with the (then) confusing and often conflicting edicts of GO #1 and the various sub-commanders interpretation of it. In one particular case we had a young woman who was so promiscuous that her commander suggested she was trying to be a one woman MWR center.

During my time, we had two incidents which were fully investigated one was investigated as a possible rape (turned out the woman was claiming possible rape to cover the fact she was under the influence of drugs she stole from the base pharmacy), the other as a series of indecent assaults & sexual harassment complaints (soldier was convicted, reduced and booted out of the Army).

Now I can't speak for every commander in the Army, but we took them very seriously where I was(CID worked for me on my base so I was involved to a degree in all investigations). So from my experience its hard for me to buy into the fact that the military isn't doing enough to protect woman. The Army has multiple avenues for women to report problems, the NCO/officer chain of command, the inspector general, every base and unit has an appointed EEO Officer/NCO and reports can even go through the chaplains.

Posted by: Frodo at August 5, 2008 12:07 PM

I have read all the comments, and this is a great discussion. But as a civilian, I always wonder how these women, who have been trained to carry weapons and defend themselves in hand-to-hand combat, can succumb in such large numbers are are being reported, to sexual assault by their male peers? I think it's mostly horse s#!+ blown out of proportion by feminists such as Harmon and media such as CNN. Why the hell doesn't a service woman in this situation hit the bastard with the butt of her sidearm, or shoot him in the leg a la Jack Bauer? Isn't she trained to throw a punch?

How are these delicate orchids supposed to defend themselves, if captured, against animals who consider women chattel?

When we lived overseas, we had access to AFRTS for a period of time, as it was broadcast openly until the Saudis objected to Rosie Perez groin-grinding the camera on the Arsenio Hall show.

I watched all those public service announcements that fill time during normal commercial breaks, and I knew from that how to go to the chain of command to report abuse etc. How on Earth can a woman in the military, who gets all sorts of training besides watching the PSAs not know this, and not use it when necessary?


Posted by: MathMom at August 5, 2008 01:18 PM

To be fair, the hand to hand stuff is pretty half-heartedly taught, the rifle might be a bit drastic if a guy slaps your rear (which DOES qualify as sexual assault by the way), and as for reporting it, I don't see ignorance of how to do so as an excuse.

Sounds good in theory, but I can tell you that is RARELY done because commanders don't want to deal with the subsequent Congressional inquiry that would without doubt be generated. Then you become the "Big bad commander picking on a poor young women who got pregnant".

And I'd be perfectly happy to personally stand in front of a Congressional Comittee and explain that they were given an order, they refused to obey that order, and if they can't manage to keep it in their pants for 15 months, then maybe they don't really have the discipline and self control their previously higher rank required. Then I could really confuse em by quoting that "good order and discipline" stuff that they don't understand. It'd be fun.

This is a better reason:
trying to deal with the (then) confusing and often conflicting edicts of GO #1 and the various sub-commanders interpretation of it.

Amen. That's the fault of the commanding authority. If you can't write a clear "No drinking, no porn, no nookie (and for the 'parsing' folks among the audience "nookie" is anything you wouldn't do in front of your mother that you do with another person) order" then you need a swift kick in the rear and should be replaced with someone who can.

Posted by: MikeD at August 5, 2008 02:16 PM

The hand to hand training, currently called combatives, is starting to be taken more seriously but the results vary unit to unit. Results depend a lot on time available, command emphasis and the quality of the trainers. I can tell you that with the limited time available and the number of tasks to train, most Reserve units give this a pass but infantry units, which are all male, are heavily into it.

But even if trained, given two people who have had close to equal training, the bigger, stronger and more aggressive of the two will most likely prevail.


The confusion with GO #1 when I was over there was because it was worded as no co-habitation, not no sex. This caused special issues with married couples who deployed together. It later was changed to read that there was no co-habitation except for married couples. Then I believe it was altered to prohibit "sexual relations and intimate behavior between men and women not married to each other". Frankly I don't know what it is now as I heard that was relaxed in Afghanistan to make those relationships "highly discouraged" not prohibited.

Posted by: Frodo at August 5, 2008 03:20 PM

But even if trained, given two people who have had close to equal training, the bigger, stronger and more aggressive of the two will most likely prevail.

Heel stomp to the instep is a great equalizer. Especially if it's unexpected...

Posted by: BillT at August 5, 2008 04:12 PM

Actually, current Army combatives are horrible. I spoke with the CSM for MNF-I, CSM Marvin Hill, last year. I asked him why they'd chosen Brazilian JuJitsu as a basis for combatives. He explained that it was chosen because it reduced training injuries substantially.

In other words, it was picked because it was less dangerous.

He said that the Army only does combatives at all because it seems to increase soldiers' confidence. They don't expect it to come up in the field, so it's not really an important Army training concept.

So just remember: if you went through Army combatives recently, you were taught how to feel good. If you want to learn how to fight, you might want to get some extra training on the side: but remember, you might get hurt.

Posted by: Grim at August 5, 2008 04:35 PM

Which is why I mentioned the heel stomp. They don't *teach* it, so they no longer teach the counter to it, either.

And, as an aside, I put five training cycles through BCT-I in 71 through 72, and we bloodied -- maybe -- three noses per cycle doing hand-to-hand, and that was back when it was Organized Barroom Brawling 101. The most common training injury we had was stress fractures of the heel from *marching*...

Posted by: BillT at August 5, 2008 04:58 PM

Also late to the party, sorry...

It is not rape if you get so drunk that invite a coworker back to your room, pass out, and wake up halfway through the act in question and suddenly change your mind. Men aren't mind readers.
Actually, according to all of the quarterly briefings I've sat through, UCMJ says it is. If either party is inebriated or potentially inebriated--meaning they have had a single drink--they are considered unable to give consent. Ergo, every time my wife and I play our favorite drinking game, "Are you easy yet?", we are technically committing mutual spousal rape.

What happens if both parties are drunk? Well... who complains first?

I was married before I came in, so I watch the intraservice dating scene as a fascinated and occasionally disturbed bystander. Given the way the rules are set right now, I'm sometimes amazed that the uniformed sexes even talk to each other.

As far as general order #1, it was widely known during my deployment to OEF that a battalion senior officer was fooling around with a specialist within the command. Considering how little time I spent on the base, if I had heard about it, everyone knew. How eager would someone be to report GO#1 violations at a lower level, knowing from RUMINT that this was going on?

Sig (live from BNCOC!)

Posted by: Sig at August 5, 2008 05:40 PM

Un-be-****-lievable.

On the otter heiny this is coming from someone whose next door neighbor was relieved of command for adultery :p

Which, now that I come to think of it, isn't really "adult" behavior, is it? Moron...

You'd think people would be better at this stuff. If they are going to do it, you'd think at least they wouldn't get caught. But no...

Posted by: Cass at August 5, 2008 05:59 PM

Actually, I think it's pretty much only adults who commit adultery. :)

Posted by: Grim at August 5, 2008 06:14 PM

Unless you're from Kentucky.

Posted by: BillT at August 5, 2008 07:03 PM

It is always someone else's fault, not theirs, even on a 2-person team, even if you put them with someone who is a stellar performer and gets along with everyone. And frequently they have a history.

Why are you talking about the Democrat party?

Men don't have special classes to prevent on the job bullying to protect their tender egos. It really strikes me as rather silly.

That's cause general society sees men as cavemen that bash each other's skulls apart, as a natural behavior. Women don't have social hierarchy fights of this kind so they have to be protected from the brutish boys in school who want to play dodgeball with them...

How are these delicate orchids supposed to defend themselves, if captured, against animals who consider women chattel?

Effective hand to hand in armor greatly varies depending on what service you are speaking of. Marines generally have pretty good ones, although not trained for asocial and criminal violence. SF and SEALs usually have superior skills when recognizing unconventional violence, such as crime and what not, and dealing with it with lethal h2h force. The other branches, Navy, AF, and Army don't particularly focus on it since they have other things to deal with in war.

who gets all sorts of training besides watching the PSAs not know this, and not use it when necessary?

They may feel that Congressional protection is better than self-defense or learning how to take care of themselves. This creates a self-reinforcing institution.

units give this a pass but infantry units, which are all male, are heavily into it.

Their mentality and esprit de corps sees themselves as warriors and warriors know how to kill with hands only. So this self-reinforces.

Posted by: Ymarsakar at August 5, 2008 07:31 PM

It is rather obvious that it isn't a thing with bigger, faster, stronger, when Marines go home stateside and are taken out by petty thugs and corrupt cops.

It is quite obvious that if their hand to hand training didn't account for criminal and asocial violence, like the link I provided explained, the training given to other branches like Army logistics or something, is totally hopeless.

It doesn't matter if the rapist and his victim have the equal training, for their training is both crap to begin with.

Posted by: Ymarsakar at August 5, 2008 07:33 PM

"Posted by: Grim at August 5, 2008 04:35 PM"
Grim,

That is very disturbing.

"So just remember: if you went through Army combatives recently, you were taught how to feel good. If you want to learn how to fight, you might want to get some extra training on the side: but remember, you might get hurt."
Do they still issue a bayonet to infantry?

Posted by: bt_just -started-worrying_hun at August 5, 2008 09:19 PM

There was a story Michael Yon wrote about concerning a sergeant grappling with an enemy on the ground. They were on top of each other to the point where the sergeant's boots were on the ground, and he went to pull out a knife.

Why did he do so? Was his armor too heavy for him to get up and put a foot on the insurgent's throat, crushing it? Was his hands disabled and too weak to puncture the enemy's eyes? Why did he need to reach to his body to reach for a knife when he was already stronger than the enemy and had him in range?

This is war. None of the social or civilian restrictions need apply when your ultimate objective is killing a specific target. Yet they do apply. They apply because the military trained them to apply. You need a weapon to be deadly. That is still the ultimate belief of most people, whether military trained or not.

Yet Michael Yon was deadly even without a weapon. He was far more deadly than the two soldiers that had frozen and were waiting for orders on what to do, when those soldiers were armed with assault rifles and Yon wasn't. That's cause Yon still had a thinking brain, which is the only weapon you need.

but remember, you might get hurt."

Good training is optimally one where people don't get hurt in the process of training. It is inefficient to have to heal up from injuries or wounds as that decreases the training time. But good training also means that you are learning something that can be applied directly to the situations you will face in life.

If people are not training with 60 pounds of body armor and equipment, with sidearm, knife, and assault rifle on their body, to fight hand to hand, then they are not training for any real event. Because when they need hand to hand skills in warfare, it will probably be used when they have their armor on. Not when they are wearing just BDUs.

The training has to apply to reality. If it is safe and doesn't apply to reality, then you're just wasting time. You'll find out that Murphy likes to change things in translation. And that change might be inconvenient enough to kill you.

The military will accept accidental fatalities in training because what they are training to do, fighting and winning a war, is worth it for the few lives lost in training harshly.

Injuries in hand to hand training should not be considered on that same level. While useful, it is not the primary tool people are going to need to fight wars. Thus wounds, minor, major, or fatal, should have less of a tolerance than other kinds of things like live fire.

Posted by: Ymarsakar at August 5, 2008 10:27 PM

"Good training is optimally one where people don't get hurt in the process of training."

Good training is training that prepares you for the combat. If you are injured and miss other training you need more, that isn't good; which is the Army's point here.

From the Army's perspective, the combatives game isn't worth the coin. Any injuries in combatives are a waste of training time, because the Army doesn't care if you learn the combatives or not. They're just to build confidence, not something the Army believes you'll really use. So, they want a system that judges "optimal" injuries at about zero percent.

Now, if you were actually planning on fighting with "combatives," you'd pick a system that trained for it. This is going to increase the number of injuries if you "train as you fight; fight as you train." Most won't be serious; a few will be. Nevertheless, 'the more you bleed in training,' etc.

I guarantee you that you won't learn anything worth knowing about hand to hand combat, or melee weapons fighting, without some bruises and strains at the least. Lots of them, if you get to be any good at it. :) Why, I've had broken bones, burst a sac in my elbow that filled with blood and swelled to several times its normal size, cracked ribs, bone bruises, and so forth and so on.

It's a gentle and gallant exercise. Like horsemanship: indeed, the same kind of man likes both.

Posted by: Grim at August 5, 2008 11:14 PM

Lots of them, if you get to be any good at it.

What kind of training methodologies are you using, in terms of taking out things from the realism for practice?

TFT takes out speed, but includes follow through (don't touch and then pull back), targeting (no padding), and various other realism cues like not releasing a hold just because the other guy taps out.

Most other things either take out speed, targeting, or follow through. A person can strike with full speed and follow through at armored bodies, but he then lacks targeting cause that's not the target you are going to see or feel in actuality. The shape is different and how it reacts will be different too in terms of tissue damage responses.

Martial arts include targeting for the most part, as well as speed, but they don't have follow through. In point of fact, when you are trained to let go of a finger, joint, leg, or what not when the other starts tapping the mat or you, that's an incredibly bad habit to train for when in real situations.

For example, that heel lock technique shown in mma and other fighting styles, is either done all the way through, until the other guy taps your leg and then you stop, or it is done, with the right technique or speed all the way through, until the end when the person lets the foot go so when he straightens his back it doesn't break the ankle joint.

The former lacks targeting and good habits, the latter lacks follow through.

And then there's the choice between competitive or adversarial training between two people, like sparring, and cooperative training where one person simply acts as a demonstrator and/or canvass board.

There is also the issue of principles being better than learning techniques, given the principles are outnumbered by the techniques. It takes a lot less time to learn the principles than the techniques, and while you can create and apply techniques from principles, you can't do the same with techniques until you practice them like a thousand times before hand to figure out why they work.

There are an incredible number of methods by which joints can be broken in the human body. But the principle is that joints can only be broken in six different fashions. Extending it up and down. Moving it side to side. Or twisting it over or under.

It would take a lifetime for the Army to teach each different technique and if they tried to do so, it would cause many injury chances for people when they are practicing this stuff and have an accident.

Yet, if time and money were the factors the Army cared about, why then would they refuse to teach the principles even?

Posted by: Ymarsakar at August 6, 2008 12:30 AM

The military will accept accidental fatalities in training because what they are training to do, fighting and winning a war, is worth it for the few lives lost in training harshly.

However, when you're damaging equipment, it's a different story.

We used to practice touchdown autorotations regularly -- in fact, we needed to demonstrate proficiency in the maneuver at least twice per year, to prove we wouldn't turn crew, passengers and aircraft into a smoking hole if the engine quit. he Army declared a moratorium on touchdown autos because it got "too expensive" to keep replacing the skid shoes (inflation, ya know) and it considered the probability of an engine failure as too remote to be worth the training expense.

Pilots lost (or never became proficient) in the skill of bringing 5 tons of metal traveling forward at 90 knots and descending at 2,500 feet per minute to a gentle landing.

Two years after the moratorium came the rash of in-flight engine failures and the Class A accident rate went through the roof...

Posted by: BillT at August 6, 2008 02:31 AM

in fact, we needed to demonstrate proficiency in the maneuver at least twice per year, to prove we wouldn't turn crew, passengers and aircraft into a smoking hole if the engine quit. he Army declared a moratorium on touchdown autos because it got "too expensive"

This wouldn't happen to have anything to do with the balanced budget that people give so much credit to Clinton for, did it?

Posted by: Ymarsakar at August 6, 2008 03:08 AM

No, it occurred during Jimmeh Cottuh's tenure, but the high rate (accidents per 100,000 flying hours) was compounded by the accompanying cut in fuel allocations -- we were having more accidents and flying fewer hours. Although the monthly rates dropped at the end of each fiscal year because nobody flew -- we were always out of fuel by August.

Clinton's contribution was to cut funding for both spare parts *and* fuel, so the accident rate remained relatively steady except for the spikes in those months when we actually *flew*...

Posted by: BillT at August 6, 2008 05:26 AM

Normally what I take out, as you put it, is live steel. We train mostly with hardwood wasters like these. There is a slight difference between balance, but these are designed to eliminate it as much as possible. Thus, you can do full-speed, full-strength practice and risk only bad bruises (if you wear armored gloves -- I use my Nomex assault gloves with the knuckle guards).

In unarmed combat, the key thing is to recognize when what you're doing could be fatal, and not let it be. A good partner will also know when he's gotten into a losing position, and tap out.

For people just starting, of course, you need to take out the speed until they build the muscle-memory and experience to defend themselves. It's important, though, to put the speed back in. The key danger is that you'll rely too much on thinking. You've got to get to the point that your body does the thinking, and your mind is clear (what the Japanese call "no-mind"). In a truly dangerous moment, that is what will save you.

Posted by: Grim at August 6, 2008 09:24 AM

Yes, the Clintoon years were marked by general scrambling for money to train and rotate it so everyone got trained, the equipment was maintained and no one got hurt.

All the money went to welfare. Once the spending cuts were made into the military budgets, welfare spending increased proportionately.

Then there was the Shinseki thing with the berets.

Pffft.

Posted by: Cricket at August 6, 2008 09:39 AM

I am actually glad to say, I was out before it went to the All Beret Army.

Posted by: MikeD at August 6, 2008 10:34 AM

No, it occurred during Jimmeh Cottuh's tenure, but the high rate (accidents per 100,000 flying hours) was compounded by the accompanying cut in fuel allocations -- we were having more accidents and flying fewer hours.

So that's why the casualties for this war period after 9/11 are statistically tied with the training total accidents of decades before.

Posted by: Ymarsakar at August 6, 2008 12:35 PM

It's cheaper and more politically convenient to have people die in peace than it is to have them die in war. In peace, you don't need a reason to die, but in war, all of a sudden we need "justifications' or else 'you lied'.

Posted by: Ymarsakar at August 6, 2008 12:49 PM

I am actually glad to say, I was out before it went to the All Beret Army.

Heh. I ducked wearing one by quoting the reg: "All Soldiers will be issued two berets once they have been ordered in sufficient quantities."

"We don't have enough, so you'll have to buy one."

"No, DA says I'll be *issued* two. I'll wait until everybody else has their two and then you can *issue* me two."

"But you'll be out of uniform."

"No, because the soft cap is authorized for wear with the flight suit until the berets are all issued."

"But..."

Heh. The one I was finally issued was one of the ones made in China that DA insisted didn't exist -- and, since it didn't exist, I couldn't very well wear it...

Posted by: BillT at August 6, 2008 01:11 PM

Bill has the mind of a Special Forces ODA member.

Which is pretty scary when you think about it.

Posted by: Ymarsakar at August 6, 2008 01:13 PM

A good partner will also know when he's gotten into a losing position, and tap out.

Should you be allowing that, given the tendency for people to do as they are trained to do, when you don't want your enemy to be controlling when or if you release them from a lethal situation?

Posted by: Ymarsakar at August 6, 2008 01:16 PM

Good question. Next time I have a partner in a headlock with his neck about to snap, I'll ask him if he thinks I should really let him tap out. :)

I suppose it's possible that some potential future enemy could "tap out" and I might automatically let loose of the grip. I think the danger my training partner is greater, though, than the potential represented by an enemy thinking of it under the circumstances.

Posted by: Grim at August 6, 2008 06:50 PM

The Engineer wasn't so lucky. In a moving, touchy-feely that sent the right note to Shinseki's retirement, all of Fort Leonard Wood (except for the recruits), changed their headgear at the same time.

I was trying not to uh...*hurl*...cry.

Posted by: Cricket at August 6, 2008 10:13 PM

I suppose it's possible that some potential future enemy could "tap out" and I might automatically let loose of the grip.

Well, the thing is if you are training for muscle memory, and your muscle memory is trained to release holds or at least hold and stop and prevent the final follow through that breaks joints or crushes whatever due to somebody tapping their hands on you or on the ground or making some kind of noise, your muscle is going to react the same way it was trained to if it happens in real life. Somebody grabs your hands and starts beating on it, is it really differentiable to your muscle memory from a tap out?

This makes it separate than enemies thinking of doing it specifically, since if the proper stimuli just happens in real life, your muscle memory will act regardless of what your brain says, if that is what you are training for.

Posted by: Ymarsakar at August 6, 2008 11:11 PM

And besides, if you know the limitations and angle degrees of joints and at what pathological limit it gets to before it starts breaking, do you need some kind of feedback from your partner to safeguard him?

Technically you should already know exactly what you are doing and what it will do to someone, if you follow through. And if it gets to the point, where you are able to follow through, he's already lost whether he taps out or not.

Now if it is not cooperative, but rather competitive or adversarial, then accidents can happen even without the partner realizing it just went and gone, if you are doing it at speed. If nobody realizes what is going to happen, then they can't tap out beforehand. So tap out can't seem to erase that little thing.

But to use your example, Grim, if you have him in a headlock and you are able to go through the necessary extra degree of motion to destroy that joint, then what good is he doing by tapping out? You and he know that any further and he's going to have a cervical injury, because he's already extended as far as possible. He knows it cause it is starting to hurt and you know it cause you can feel how his neck is arranged.

Posted by: Ymarsakar at August 6, 2008 11:19 PM

Well, it's cooperative rather than competitive only in the sense that you want to ensure that your partner isn't killed. :) Up to that point, it's pretty competitive stuff.

At least with an advanced partner. Now, for someone just starting out, a few good "give it your all" classes are good to start, so they can get knocked about and realize they aren't as tough as they thought. If that inspires them to settle down to the discipline, then, there is a long period of much slower and repetitive teaching to master things like footwork, balance, and otherwise develop the ability to understand how it should all feel while you're doing it.

Posted by: Grim at August 7, 2008 09:09 AM

I'm pretty late to this, it's kind of a sore subject with me, and I was debating me with myself about it. I'd like to see how these "statistics" compare to the civilian population at large. I've read articles that state 1/3 of American women can expect to be assaulted/raped sometime in their lifetime, even higher numbers about sexual harassement. I'm not sure that I see the situation in the military as much different than that in cilivian life, frankly. By the way, how do these statistics compare with those in police and fire, jobs similar to military command type organizations? Would similar numbers mean it's okay? No, but it would indicate that the military is not the problem and that keeping women out of the military would not prevent the violence, and hence remove the rationale for removing women from specialties where they now serve.

What really bothers me about these discussions is an emotional reaction, I guess. The "solution" *always* seems to be to REMOVE women from the areas in question. Just take the little woman out of the reach of those nasty men, protect them from the real world, and they'll be safe. Maybe even all the way back to the kitchen, eh? Oh, but wait, women are getting assaulted in their homes too...

I tend to agree with MikeD and Ymarsakar, pretty much, and Cass too, in some respects. I can't see coed crews on submarines or in SEALS, for instance. IMO, though, we cannot go back to an all male military, nor should we.

Rape/assault are crimes and should be prosecuted. I would think those are pretty straight forward, or as much as they can be. There are always problems even there; the Duke lacrosse players, date rape, morning after thoughts...but in most cases the crime is pretty clear.

Sexual harassment is a bigger problem, both in definition and handling. I believe it was Cassandra that mentioned the constant complainer--I've seen that in action. When I first started the station was not set up for coed occupancy. The single bathroom by the rescue bedroom was used as the "Women". Some of the guys started leaving Hustler in there. I thought it was infantile and never mentioned it, another woman screamed to high heaven about "sexual harassment." Made things tricky all around.


The other issue IS dealing with what is "new guy" testing. I'd bet at least some of what is being called harassement is simply the kind of thing that gets dropped on newbies all the time. Reluctance to complain in that situation is a valid concern, particularly when teams have to depend on each other. Made me hesitant to complain about anything because I recognized at least part of the motivation.

The "solution", if there is one, goes back to what was said in another thread. It IS ludicrous for a woman who wants to act as an MP in a war zone to be afraid to complain about "conduct unbecoming"--but at the same time the command has to realize that "conduct unbecoming" should apply to BOTH sides. IMO it's the 'female culture' that has the bigger change, simply because up to fairly recently women have been conditioned to expect someone else to protect them, but that's changing as women change their jobs and expectations. The women who enter the military DO have to accept the responsibility for protecting themselves. Recognition of the problem and channels for handling it now exist and they have to take the initiative to use them--or quit complaining.

Posted by: Maggie100 at August 7, 2008 03:31 PM

Well, I'll say one more thing about the self-defense issue. We had periodic meetings to deal with these issues when I was in Iraq, and though only the women and the command staff attended, the minutes were posted for people to read afterwards.

One thing I remember from the minutes was that women soldiers expressed was that they really wanted to be issued some sort of non-lethal self-defense weapon, like a taser. They were just not comfortable using lethal force in self-defense.

These are women who have self-selected as professional soldiers. They don't want to kill, though, not even in self-defense, not even against a rapist actively trying to rape them. They'd feel "more comfortable" -- a direct quote as I recall it -- if they could defend themselves without hurting anyone.

Now, admittedly the rapists in this case would be fellow soldiers; maybe that confuses their loyalty picture, so they have a competition in their minds between the duty to protect other soldiers and the duty to resist rape. How, though, does that differ from women dealing with abusive husbands?

I'm going to guess that if you polled male soldiers on the same question -- would you be comfortable killing a man who was trying to physically rape you, even if he were a fellow soldier -- the answer would be close to 100% in the "Yes, absolutely" column.

Posted by: Grim at August 7, 2008 07:15 PM

They'd feel "more comfortable" -- a direct quote as I recall it -- if they could defend themselves without hurting anyone.

That's one restriction we're not under. Except, legally that is.

Now, admittedly the rapists in this case would be fellow soldiers

And if it was a family member or a close friend that assaulted them in civilian life?

They were just not comfortable using lethal force in self-defense.

That's derived from the various societal conditioning to ensure that sheep never fight back. Shackle a baby elephant to an iron stake in the ground and even when it grows up to be large enough to rip that thing out of the ground, it still won't cause it tried before and couldn't when it was young. This is conditioning and it is the same type of societal conditioning that makes men and women refuse to use violence. Even the thought of it is typically disgusting to people.

That is what the conditioning was supposed to do.

However, some people overcome their conditioning or the condition never took. Serial killers, rapists, murderers, you know, stuff. To them, violence is as natural as breathing. It varies from individual to individual, but the basic truth is still there. Violence to them is easy to use, it is in fact the preferred tool.

And when using violence, one does not consider "whether it is lethal or non-lethal", one considers whether it will take out, subdue, kill, or cripple the target.

When you start considering lethal to non-lethal outcomes, you are thinking about what society wants you to think about as a law abiding member and peaceful cog. When the other guy is thinking about hurting you and you're thinking about somehow not hurting him, your intentions are not as strong and clear as his intentions. His OODA is thus faster looping than yours.

If you have hurt the target, meaning you've ruptured his eardrums, damaged his spinal cord, ripped out one of his fingers out of the joint, or a number of other things that violence does to people, now you can think about mercy and non-lethal issues. Cause you are in the position of strength now and mercy can only ever be given out by the strong.

But if you just walloped him, if you just knocked him to the other side but he is still standing and thinking about attacking you, then you don't have the luxury of thinking about "non-lethal" techniques. All attacks are lethal, whether you know it or not. Some are just more lethal than others in terms of certainty and percentages. Even the Tazer can kill, if the target has a heart condition.

If you don't have the intention to strike, the willingness to hurt and cripple or kill, then it doesn't what you want, you won't be able to do it. Why worry about lethal techniques when you can't even do them given your current mentality?

Techniques just don't use themselves. It takes a human mind to work them, to apply them, to decide upon them.

If that is how they thought now, I would guess that that was what their mind was on before hand when training. Which means they weren't training right and didn't get the stuff. Which means they shouldn't worry about it now, when it comes to applying it, cause they can't.

The same is true of a civilization as it is true for individuals. If you do not have the power to destroy, then you don't get the power to create, either. Without a civilization's military power to destroy things, you aren't going to be left around free to create stuff. One leads to the other, one might say, but not vice a versa, except in some exceptions.

Society has taught us that to use violence means that you have become a monster. Some anti-social or asocial being that must be locked up or put down for the good of all. Violence is bad and evil. Only people the government decides can use violence are good or at least tolerable.

If you believe such things, then no amount of H2H training will make you able to defend yourself against real violence.

But, there's no need to strip societal conditioning away from a person to make him a conscienceless killer, as the Left likes to believe, either.

You just need to repress it and kick it off when you need to. When the situation calls for it. When the other guy obviously ain't playing by the rules, neither should you.

There are any number of targets on the human body that doesn't necessarily kill the person if you damage. People should learn those targets and learn how to injure them, rather than relying on some kind of tool attachment to do the job for you.

If a person believes he needs a tazer, then that means he believes the tazer is more reliable of a tool to knock a person out than his own hand to hand skills. This makes perfect sense if you know how to use a tazer but doubt your ability at h2h.

Grim,

What about the tap out issue I brought up. Why did you need it in the example you provided, or why did your partner need it given that if he knew he was in danger of permanent injury, why didn't you know it as well given you were the one potentially inflicting such a thing on him?

Posted by: Ymarsakar at August 7, 2008 07:51 PM

Now, for someone just starting out, a few good "give it your all" classes are good to start, so they can get knocked about and realize they aren't as tough as they thought.

Anybody that has ever injured one of their joints and was able to compare it to the non-specific trauma of bruises and hits, will realize that the human body can withstand an awful lot of non-specific trauma, but it cannot withstand injury.

Even with adrenaline and endorphines pumped to the max, once my ankle ligaments/tendons were damaged, I could not run or jump.

Yet, I've pulled through more pain than my peers were ever capable of. None of that mattered, for no matter how tough you want to be, you cannot change the reality of physics and how the body anatomically works.

Posted by: Ymarsakar at August 7, 2008 08:24 PM

"Now, admittedly the rapists in this case would be fellow soldiers; maybe that confuses their loyalty picture, so they have a competition in their minds between the duty to protect other soldiers and the duty to resist rape. How, though, does that differ from women dealing with abusive husbands?"

It would for me. Attacking an unknown male in self defense would be easier than attacking someone whom I knew, had worked with, perhaps even knew of (or had met) the family. Part of it would be a lack of belief in the seriousness of the action--I would be inclined at first to think it was a joke of some kind that got out of hand, or some other kind of misunderstanding. There is also a clear expectation about work place behaviour that doesn't include assault. The background "rules" there are different.

Spousal abuse brings up a whole 'nother reaction set. Marriage is for better or worse, not having resources to leave, fear of what others would say, lack of support from family/friends, being abused long enough to damage one's world view... Not to mention past cultural reluctance to either acknowledge or condemn abuse in a marriage. Spousal abuse, even physical, is actually *not* one of the only two accepted reasons for divorce in the church I was raised in. Background "rules" in marital relationships are different which leads to a different set of reactions/acceptable behaviour.

Bottom line is that women have to *learn* to be agressive, at least in some circumstances such as the military. This is the "female" culture that's been mentioned and it's hard to get across how deeply that can be ingrained, even when the reasons against behaving that way are understood to be valid. Honestly? I could not be a *combat* soldier. I don't mind working around people shooting--it's not the violence that would hold me back, and I could be supply or medic, where self-defense comes into play. It's that I simply cannot bring myself to attack without it being self-defense and the biggest reason (if not the biggest) is that I was raised with the mantra that "Nice girls don't" and that mantra was reinforced by those around me when growing up. I understand a need for violence in some circumstances intellectually, I agree it's necessary in some circumstances, but I could not attack except in self-defense. My daughter doesn't have that constraint to that degree; I encouraged her to take at least basic self defense courses in her teens. She also played lacrosse, and while it was "girl's lacrosse" they did not play "nice." I NEVER used the phrase "nice girls don't." I don't think she'd hold back if attacked, I can actually see her as a police officer if she had wanted to do so. I have never taken any courses, I probably should if only to work on that initial hesitation! I am not surprised at that finding, I am only surprised that so many younger women still hold it, I would expect to find fewer still among women who joined the military. There's been a lot of discussion about relative levels of aggression found in the genders in other threads; women do need to change, IMO more than men do if this is going to work. I will admit to a certain impatience with the lack of recognition on these women's part--if they admit they're so reluctant to kill that they'd be reluctant to even defend themselves why choose the military? Choose a specialty carefully, but understand that the "military" is a fighting force and understand what that could mean.

On a side note, it's actually discouraging, if that's the word, to read results like that. I had hoped things were moving along a little faster!

Posted by: Maggie100 at August 7, 2008 08:35 PM

That's derived from the various societal conditioning to ensure that sheep never fight back.

I doubt it. I don't think "conditioning" is what's at work here at all.

What about the tap out issue I brought up. Why did you need it in the example you provided, or why did your partner need it given that if he knew he was in danger of permanent injury, why didn't you know it as well given you were the one potentially inflicting such a thing on him?

The tap-out issue is chiefly about trust, initially. There is fear to be overcome, and it help many students to you know that they can stop the game at any point it gets to be frightening or too dangerous for them. A good instructor gives them the tool so they can learn to trust their fellows, and develop the skills you're talking about in terms of knowing what's dangerous.

Between more experienced men, it is a formality. Formalities serve a useful purpose in the combat arts, though: the purpose of showing honor and courtesy to a worthy opponent. A tap shows that you recognize that you were fairly beaten, just as bowing (in many Eastern forms) or saluting with the sword shows that you respect your fellow combatant. The duel was principally about reinforcing the social equality of gentlemen.

If the form starts as a way of easing and encouraging entry into a dangerous fellowship, it becomes a symbol of the honor of that fellowship. That is a purpose in itself: perhaps as great a purpose as any in the art.

Posted by: Grim at August 7, 2008 08:43 PM

I doubt it. I don't think "conditioning" is what's at work here at all.

Then what do you believe was the primary motivator for the incidence at call?

Posted by: Ymarsakar at August 7, 2008 10:07 PM

Choose a specialty carefully, but understand that the "military" is a fighting force and understand what that could mean.

That may be exactly what they did do. When it was a choice between Army and Marines, they chose Army. A chioce between AF and Army, they chose AF.

But these days of war means that just cause you chose a backlines career in the military doesn't necessarily mean that you won't see action anymore or won't be put at or near the front lines. In terrorism, there are no front lines. The guys waiting in line to be recruited into Army and Police in Iraq know that first hand.

They aren't going to wait until you get up to the front lines before trying to kill ya.

Maggie, what would be your response after reading this?

http://www.targetfocustraining.com/blog/2008/05/intervening-terror.html

It's that I simply cannot bring myself to attack without it being self-defense and the biggest reason (if not the biggest) is that I was raised with the mantra that "Nice girls don't" and that mantra was reinforced by those around me when growing up. I understand a need for violence in some circumstances intellectually, I agree it's necessary in some circumstances, but I could not attack except in self-defense.

There are different levels of attack or social aggression one might say. We go from sharing coffee together or a drink together, which is a very social situation, to a bar room fight, which is still a social albeit anti-social situation, to assassination, which depending on the culture, may or may not be social at all. In ours, it is asocial. When somebody brings out poison or wmds or firearms and tries to kill specific or non-specific targets, that is neither social nor anti-social. It is completely asocial like amoral. Without morals at all or without consideration of morals.

When you say "attack",Maggie, what exactly do you mean? What do you think differentiates an attack from a non-attack, in your view?

Posted by: Ymarsakar at August 7, 2008 10:19 PM

I think that it has to do with biological factors, or even metaphysical ones to do with male and female natures. Men in society receive broadly the same conditioning, but I believe they would express a far greater willingness to kill in that circumstance.

It may have to do with the greater female connection between left and right brain, which may be causing the brain to balance the loyalty-to-other-soldiers duty with the duty to self defense in a way that male brains do not. Or it may be that higher testosterone levels are associated with a greater willingness to enact physical violence on aggressors. Or it may be that there are differences at the deeper level, below what biology informs. It is hard to say where it is located precisely: but I don't think it's training. I think it's first nature, not second nature.

Posted by: Grim at August 7, 2008 11:25 PM

Ymarsakar,

I read the site you listed here, I'm not exactly sure how to answer your question because I'm beginning to think I look at 'violence' differently than what is being discussed. Have patience please! I'm not quite sure how to explain this clearly, I'll warn you this is most likely going to ramble.

I do not have a problem with 'violence'--human beings can be aggressive, will fight over what they consider important. This is simply a fact of biology, and I get tired of people pretending we don't. For me the question comes in when we try to channel, regulate, or otherwise control that biological fact in society. What is considered civilized, effective, nice, appropriate...and how the normal, natural, innate and biological aggression is viewed by society in terms of what is "appropriate" is the problem. Particularly the apparent denial these days of the fact that sometimes the only answer to violence IS violence. What still gives me nightmares now--even more so than the sheer numbers of people killed for no reason at Virginia Tech--is how NOT ONE PERSON tried to stop the shooter by throwing desks, chairs, computers, ANYTHING at him to stop him. I realize this sounds odd, AND that sometimes there isn't anything to be done when faced by a gun. I simply can't get around the fact that no one even tried. Even when the one professor actually blocked the door with his body no one used that opportunity to block the door with furniture while he held that door. So that in one sense, my "answer" to that site is that I would at least understand what the choice is, backed up by my belief that that yes, there are times when you yourself have to be prepared to return in kind when violence is offered because that is the only option and you are your own answer. For me, and I suspect for many people, *that's* the first step--not wondering if I could do whatever. All the training in the world won't do a thing unless that first realization is faced. I can't say that I'm particularly brave--I am squeamish about getting hurt and am way too good at imagining the ways and means of ending up hurt--but when doing the firefighting the goal of getting the fire out as quickly as possible bridged the gap of obsessing over what might happen so that I could carry out what I had to do. The "reward" of doing the job bridged the gap to acceptance of possible hurt on the way to the goal. Training repeatedly did me no good in that respect--I still had to accept the possibility that in using that training and doing the job could still result in getting hurt. Training in self-defense does no good either unless one accepts what it's for and why one needs to use it--and is willing to do so. I've seen comments in lots of places about people who are hot in training, strut around--and then strike out in the real deal. It's my guess they didn't accept that very first step.

Now, how does my sideways thinking tie this into the issue? Our society views violence and reaction to violence differently, I think it's one of the dividing lines between those who enter professions such as the military or police and those who don't--not entirely the adage of "rough men" etc. Those who do are willing to confront that moment and accept it and the cost. I'm not sure everyone *understands* it, but they are confronting at least some aspect of it when they enlist. I also suspect the confrontation with the reality of that idea contributes to the divide between those who have seen combat and those who haven't, not just the physical fact of killing.

In our society today there are cultural factors obscuring even an understanding of that point. We are taught that non-violent methods are best, that if violence is offered that we should call the police, and that it's best not to confront any violence ourselves--witness the people who watched a man stomp a child to death while calling 911. Women have another dose--that women, even more than men, should be non-violent. That a 'real woman' never, ever raises her hand. I can't get rid of that idea myself, even though I know it's a crock. But that's why I can understand to a certain degree the response of the women. As a whole, women are less aggressive, our society teaches that violence is wrong, and their non-combat specialties means that they shouldn't have to defend themselves--especially from a fellow soldier. All sorts of shoulds obscuring that fact on the website. That there are people out there that could wish her violence--and that she might be the only person to stop him and have to use violence to do it is a foreign idea, counter to the culture she was raised in.

Now, I do agree that men and women tend to differ in innate levels of aggression and how disagreements of various kinds are handled. That's true, always will be true, forever and ever amen. Problem is that men and women overlap in that trait, can show the same capability in exhibiting violence, and it's not clear how much is due to biology or to cultural conditioning. I believe (and yes, it is a belief), that a great deal of it is due to social conditioning and therefore capable of changing. This is also where my personality tends to influence what I say on this. It is a fact that entering the military means entering an organization whose 'product' so to speak, is fighting. Violence, in other words. I can't understand why any person, male or female, doesn't understand this--remember way back when in the Gulf War we had some NG types talking about how they did't think they would actually ever have to fight? . Second, it is perfectly clear and has been for some time that women entering the military even in specialties that used to be behind the lines types are no longer "safe" behind those lines. This is not secret, women entering those fields should know that before they sign on the dotted line. Therefore, it makes my head hurt when I read this stuff. I can understand why women might be reluctant to fight back in whatever manner when talking about fellow soldiers but at the same time it makes me want to scream that even the "idea" of hurting or killing someone *who is attacking them with the express purpose of hurting them* is still a no-go. As has been pointed out--what are they going to do if attacked by the enemy? Whip out their taser?

What worries me is the usual all or nothing government reaction. Women are changing, there are those out there NOW who are performing admirably--and we really cannot do without women in the military. There will be more, cultural expectations of women are changing but I don't want hasty policy changes backwards because idiotic articles like this are being waved around in Congress.

As far as me personally...this is a tricky question because I've never been confronted with a physical attack. I would have no compunction about fighting back because I might hurt the person. The best I can say is that I don't think I would freeze. I'm already past the idea that there might be a situation that I would have to depend on me, that I might have to deliberately try and hurt someone else who is trying to hurt me.

In a larger sense? All kinds of things can be an attack, I'm not a pacifist. Paying people to commit terrorism is an attack. Blowing up the WTC is an attack. I feel no guilt over Hiroshima. I think my wording wasn't clear, I was talking about me personally as a combat soldier. The reasons why aren't important here, but I would hesitate in firing upon someone who wasn't directly threatening me. I would be no good in clearing buildings, for instance. I would hesitate too long and probably endanger the rest of the team. That's why I said I'd be better as a medic or quartermaster type. It's not the fact that people are fighting, it's that I personally couldn't do it unless it was defensive.


Posted by: Maggie100 at August 8, 2008 12:23 AM

I actually think it's a combination of three factors, Grim. Men are--as a whole--more agressive then women. It seems clear that women do value and tend to relate to relationships more than men. I can see the conflict when an attacker is a fellow soldier, based on all sorts of factors. Any conditioning that men receive in our society to channel agression is directed more heavily at women than men--women in general are not even encouraged to participate in competitive sports as men are.

There are always going to be differences--but at least some of them can be socialized OUT as well as in. There are women there now who are performing well against these stereotypes. And women can certainly be taught to defend themselves; that attitude is due in large part to societal attitudes and those can be changed--they already are changing.

Posted by: Maggie100 at August 8, 2008 12:34 AM

Men in society receive broadly the same conditioning, but I believe they would express a far greater willingness to kill in that circumstance.

But they don't receive the same conditioning precisely because cultural cues for men and women are different. There's more of a social tolerance for men fighting men for social dominance than there is the same for women. Rather, one might say, there are more social models for why fighting leads to a higher social rank for men to observe and model after, than there is for women.

So the conditioning isn't the same, although it is getting to be the same given academic feminist changes to schools.

Posted by: Ymarsakar at August 8, 2008 01:02 AM

The article in question, Maggie, only speaks of violence as the intent to kill, as asocial violence, not as social or anti-social aggression.

Violence's only purpose is to kill, just like a firearm is there for. But unlike Leftist beliefs, that doesn't mean this suddenly makes it a bad thing. Meaning, it does not justify the argument that just because guns are only designed to kill people, that guns should be banned and not used by law abiding citizens.

In most cases, people don't have trouble with the intent to harm their attackers, if their own lives are endangered. It just so happens that they often don't know how to harm their attackers. So their intent or lack of it, doesn't mean anything except flight to the human fight vs flight instincts.

I think it's first nature, not second nature.

I assume you mean the difference between what one is born with and what one learns while living.

However, there's no evolutionary advantage for women to refuse to fight when they are being attacked. There's an evolutionary advantage for them to avoid physical confrontations and to adopt verbal skills to manipulate or control situations in a social setting, but as human beings, their first nature, they can gain skills in other areas as well. Just like men can gain skills in what would be traditionally feminine arts.

Fighting and killing doesn't require any additional aspects that a man is born with that a woman is not. All humans are born with the capacity to survive and to defend their lives, whether that capacity is used or not, developed or not.

For one thing, we know that in other cultures, the Celtic sub varieties like with Boadicea and the Germanics, the women fought on an equal level with the men. And we know with the Sarmatian Virgin Archers, that the same was true for the steppe people, at least at one time. Although it's hard piecing together myth from truth given such things from the steppes were passed down orally.

Regardless, it seemed that as humanity progressed more and more from a hunter and gatherer lifestyle to a settled lifestyle of farming and cities, women became more and more relegated as inferiors rather than partners.

Women fought as men back in the barbarian tribes not because I think they were "socially advanced" or whatever, as the French would claim, but because that's part of necessity and tradition.

Posted by: Ymarsakar at August 8, 2008 01:16 AM

There are also a lot of men who believe that non-lethal force is the only justified force to be used. THey are against the Iraq war or are for banning handguns and what not.

Another reason why I don't believe the barrier spoken of concerns the first nature, rather than the second.

Posted by: Ymarsakar at August 8, 2008 02:16 AM

"The article in question, Maggie, only speaks of violence as the intent to kill, as asocial violence, not as social or anti-social aggression."

I don't think most people define it that way; I don't so I suspect I missed at least some of the point of that article. I'm not sure I can understand the point being made re "asocial" when applied to actions by people in social communities. "Violence" as a word, as a concept capable of being defined, only has meaning within a context. How can 'violence' have any any meaning in an asocial context? Even calling it "violence" provides a judgement, a context drawn from the society discussing it.

A person kills another. Is this natural biological action? Murder? Mercy? Self-defense? Aggression? Reasonable reaction? How can one have any feeling to confront about killing another person unless there is context behind the meaning of that word as understood by the person? Paraphrase--I understand that at one moment I can stand on a street corner facing a man with a gun or knife threatening me with rape. On the other "side" is me either raped, messed up and raped, or maybe harmed but unraped with the attacker dead. According to the article the outcome is decided by a decision to train with the understanding that the intent of that training is to kill an attacker, that 'defense' or injuring the attacker is not enough and is in fact pointless since an injured attacker can still kill. I still may not understand the point but I think that's where "asocial" comes into play, simply because society makes judgments now about "reasonable force" and this concept basically strips the idea back down to "kill or be killed", forcing the trainee to look at the proposed action straight on. I say this is not asocial, it is making the trainee look at his/her intent without the pretty words wrapped around it and agree that this is what s/he wants and intends to do; that decision making is done within the context of society, not outside of it. The confrontation comes in because the decision is deliberately made in opposition to what society in general says these days is permissable in regards to self-defense,if a label is needed I suppose it could technically be called "antisocial". The implication that this decision is hard means that society does indeed have influence in the making of that decision. Psychopaths and sociopaths, who ARE asocial, have no problem confronting that idea at all because they *don't care* what society says. Put in those terms makes it even clearer that this concept is not asocial but very heavily influenced by society--this is exactly what soldiers have to be taught to do in contemporary militaries. Not because it's an idea inherently foreign to humans, which a quick glance at past history will illustrate, but because at least some societies no longer accept that basic adage and what is necessary in warfare is not accepted as ordinary behaviour in ordinary society. It's also exactly why combat soldiers are NOT psychopaths, nor are the trainees engaged in this training for the reasons stated--they're drawn from precisely that society and the conflict is what causes the problems. If they were asocial there were would be no conflict. It is a deliberate decision made for deliberate reasons and understood to be bound by society's judgements even in those circumstances. This "intent to kill" may be be called many things, but "asocial" is not one of them.


There is no analogy to guns here; as often pointed out guns are only tools, it's the intent of the user behind it that makes the difference, not whether a gun, knife or bare hands are used to kill.

"In most cases, people don't have trouble with the intent to harm their attackers, if their own lives are endangered. It just so happens that they often don't know how to harm their attackers. So their intent or lack of it, doesn't mean anything except flight to the human fight vs flight instincts."

I don't agree with this, maybe because I don't know anyone trained in hand to hand, nor do I know anyone who owns handguns, concealed carry or not. I've also listened to too many women who are freaked by the idea of actually confronting someone who intends them harm. People I know, whom I encounter on a day to day basis, automatically turn to the police when confronted by agression of any kind. The idea of taking steps on their own, to fight back on their own, simply doesn't occur to them. They don't even get to the point of confronting a decision as to whether or not to kill their attacker, the big decision point comes when deciding to fight at all. The people watching that toddler being stomped to death did NOT need to know anything, they simply needed to mob the guy. In my world, in the situations likely for me, self-defense means stopping someone attacking me long enough for help. I suspect our differing views on this come from differing environments. I admit I'm guessing but I suspect this is the starting point for the women mentioned in the article too. Knowing how to kill an attacker isn't the issue, learning to take at least some kind of action is.

"Regardless, it seemed that as humanity progressed more and more from a hunter and gatherer lifestyle to a settled lifestyle of farming and cities, women became more and more relegated as inferiors rather than partners.

Women fought as men back in the barbarian tribes not because I think they were "socially advanced" or whatever, as the French would claim, but because that's part of necessity and tradition."

I have a somewhat jaundiced view of human nature. Women fought because they could, because they needed to, and because they didn't have the luxury of not doing so. Women fighting does not automatically mean "socially advanced" nor does the lack of women fighting automatically mean the opposite. Status of women is influenced by a lot more factors than just urban living.


Posted by: Maggie100 at August 8, 2008 03:37 AM

"Violence" as a word, as a concept capable of being defined, only has meaning within a context. How can 'violence' have any any meaning in an asocial context?

That's because violence, real violence, obeys no social rules and thus has no social "contexts". It is making violence into a social game, that makes so many people call for social solutions to it.

It's why people think crime will go down if you just give them more money because they think the social condition of poverty is causing people to use violence to commit crime.

Even calling it "violence" provides a judgement, a context drawn from the society discussing it.

Depends on who is using it. Leftists or fake liberals or pacifists, when they say "violence", mean it in a negative way. Someone like me means it in a neutral way, same way we talk about any other tool a person may use. It is neither evil nor good on its own merits.

According to the article the outcome is decided by a decision to train with the understanding that the intent of that training is to kill an attacker

The article was actually describing the difference between people having a social get together and then people trying to kill each other with knives at that same get together, and what kind of intent separates the two sides. On one side, we have a social setting that has social solutions, whether that be social aggression or social verbal peacemaking. On the other side, we have violence as I understand it, where people have one goal, which is to hurt each other. Not chit chat, not be polite, and not follow some kind of competition or ROE rules. The gulf between them takes the form of the decision to act. That is the same decision women in the military mentioned concerning why they preferred tazers over more/better h2h training. They chose the social side. Another decision may have chosen the side with violence.
******

Separate topic,

One of the reasons why warfare between officially recognized parties don't devolve to the level of asocial violence is because in asocial violence, oftentimes only one side is coming out alive. War is so uncertain that people may not be willing to risk the survival of their entire nation on the results of war, so that why they have rules about non-combatants and such. It provides some social protections, between nations, to those officially recognized parties engaged in war. So they're going to try to kill each other, but they'll stop at a certain point, like say surrender as opposed to total genocide.

There's also that aspect of fighting in a social hierarchy because you were given orders.
&*****************
I believe you are under the misapprehension that violence is seen or defined in the article as either social or asocial. It isn't. Violence is a tool and what you use it for depends on the user, not the kind of violence.

Knowing how to kill an attacker isn't the issue, learning to take at least some kind of action is.

In the news in question, the woman (mother) was quoted to have said that they wanted to knock the assailant down but they couldn't find anything to do it with.

So, their inability to know how to strike with bare hands meant they had some kind of internal justification to do nothing. Regardless of what reasons or calculations they had to make their decisions on, that is still the decision they made. Which is why the article stressed that it does not matter what you know or think you know, it matters what you train for, as in actually do or practice.

You get the surety from training and you learn to take some kind of action from training. That matters because it translates intent to action, and it doesn't need some kind of mental judo to create that intent in the first place.

Without such things, people are left with themselves, their uncertainties, and whatever instinct or partial training they have had. And for most people observing violence done to another, that instinct will usually tell them to do nothing or flee.

There is no analogy to guns here; as often pointed out guns are only tools, it's the intent of the user behind it that makes the difference, not whether a gun, knife or bare hands are used to kill.

Violence is the same way. So how can you say there is no analogy between the use of guns and the use of violence?

that decision making is done within the context of society, not outside of it.

That decision still has to be made by the individual whether to kill or not to kill. And if he thinks he is in a "societal context", he is going to make the wrong decision, for he is not in society right now against murderers or rapists. Society has many laws or rules dealing with those outside it. But none of them will make your decision for you. You have to do so. That kind of responsibility involves that "terror space" Chris mentioned. If the police ever happens to use lethal force, they will have to justify it, not only to the law and greater society, but to themselves. Most socially conditioned people will find it rather abhorrent to have killed people that were obeying societal conventions, so there is justified worry when deciding on actions that might cause exactly that.

In the end, that "decision" making is done by the individual. Society has no say in it, cause society ain't around. If a person tries to justify his decision by saying "society made me do it", then what differs him from any other criminal that says society made them that way? A person's conscience should be their own and they really shouldn't try to blame it on outside factors.

The implication that this decision is hard means that society does indeed have influence in the making of that decision.

Whatever influences society has on a person making the choice to kill or not to kill, it is solely based upon that person's decision to be apart of that society. It is still derived from the person's own decisions, however, not society's. An influence is there only because people allow there to be an influence of their own free will.

I've also listened to too many women who are freaked by the idea of actually confronting someone who intends them harm.

It's easy for them to say that now, when it is abstract and they are thinking of it in social terms, but when it actually happens, you can rely on the human self-preservation instinct to kick in. However, that instinct doesn't actually tell people how to accomplish anything. So if people are liable to panic beforehand, they are liable to panic during it as well.

In my world, in the situations likely for me, self-defense means stopping someone attacking me long enough for help. I suspect our differing views on this come from differing environments.

In my world, 'self-defense' is ensuring that anybody targeting me will be harmless to me if I sat down in front of them, for at least an hour. When they're helpless, then my defense is assured. While most people think that subduing or disabling a person means holding them down or something, to me disabling a person means breaking their joints so I don't have to touch them for them to be unable to do anything to me. Nobody can run around or kick me with one/two broken ankles. And it is going to be very hard, if not impossible, for people with broken joints in their arm limb to be doing much of anything requiring dexterous control.

If I needed help, and didn't have it when I needed it, why would I run after it when I no longer need the help and have taken care of the problem already? I suppose calling an ambulance via 911 for the injured parties may be beneficial, but it's something primarily beneficial to those on the ground. It's not help I specifically, it is help they specifically need.

I suspect many people tell women to knock down their assailants and then run for help because they think the women can't sustain themselves for long in a grappling contest with bigger, stronger, and heavier men. After the men were disarmed and metrosexualied, it might have started applying more and more to them as well. It does in Britain. Or rather it did, until the crime went up so fast you couldn't run away in the first place.

But violence doesn't really care whether you are bigger, stronger, or even faster. It is like death, an equal opportunity offender. People may see that as a negative thing, but it can also be a positive thing. Terrorists showed us what was what on 9/11 and this was scary and negative. Then we showed them we could do the same thing to them, and it was good and positive.

Since I didn't hear the exact comments the women made in that meeting Grim refered to on the tazer requests, I can't make too many extrapolations from such. I am beginning to suspect more and more, however, that they may have wanted the tazers because they knew tazers worked. They didn't know or were sure that their H2H training would work. If they were, then it would have been no trouble knocking someone down using their hands, which is the same result as a tazer. Just takes more effort and time. Makes me suspect they either thought the training they had produced real lethality or they just only learned a minimal set of techniques that were focused on killing, but with no real explanation of anything else.

I have a somewhat jaundiced view of human nature.

And how would it differ from my own views?

Status of women is influenced by a lot more factors than just urban living.

My primary point was that many women do not want to hurt people mainly because of cultural and societal conditioning rather than because of the fact that they were born female.

Posted by: Ymarsakar at August 8, 2008 06:28 AM

"That's because violence, real violence, obeys no social rules and thus has no social "contexts". It is making violence into a social game, that makes so many people call for social solutions to it."

We are discussing this with different meanings behind the same words. "Violence" for me is the use of physical force to accomplish a goal. That is what I consider an "asocial" definition, in the sense there are no judgements attached to it. The term simply distinguishes it from other means of obtaining a goal, such as money, trade, or mutual agreement and the tool to exert that force is irrelevant.

I consider social programs that throw money a failure often simply because many people don't understand that simple poverty is NOT automatically the reason some use violence. Gangs, for instance, have set up a subculture within the larger community; that subculture uses violence as a method to get what they want and those wants may not be satisfied by social programs offering money. Sometimes they fail simply because they don't recognize that there are people who LIKE using violence to get what they want. But even within that subculture violence is never unruled--even the Crips and the Bloods have a context to that violence, it's just not the context of the larger society. Conflict occurs because the rules of the subculture conflict with the rules of the larger society about using violence, not the existence or use of violence itself.

"The article was actually describing the difference between people having a social get together and then people trying to kill each other with knives at that same get together, and what kind of intent separates the two sides."

Yet another point of disconnect in our discussions. I don't see the two as mutually exclusive, again because *I* see violence as a method, and only one among several. I consider it perfectly possible for a person to function with more than one method of obtaining a goal, depending upon cirucmstances. A tea party is a specific function, one that forbids the use of physical violence in *that* social interaction. In that setting, verbal force is the accepted method. It is not making violence into a social game, it is proscribing limits on what methods can be used in a specific context. If a physical fight breaks out my anger/shock/horror is not because violence has been used, it's because a method has been used that breaks the convention of that setting--same as if a firefight breaks out during a diplomatic meeting.

TO ME, the definition you've given is an artificial distinction. Violence within a society *cannot* be without rules, and therefore without context, or that society ceases to exist. It doesn't matter if the context is a tea party or a free for all where the winner is the one left standing; as long as violence is no longer an abstract concept but practiced by humans it has a context and humans always put rules on it. Even "no rules, to the death" is a rule, it's the one usually dressed up as "might makes right."

"On the other side, we have violence as I understand it, where people have one goal, which is to hurt each other."

Yup. And a psychopath doesn't care if someone gets hurt as long as s/he gets what he wants, a sociopath enjoys hurting people in the process. This is precisely where our POV diverges. I view violence, as I've defined it, as a common method among humans as a species to obtain a desired goal that is beneficial in some way to the person using that method *within the context of human society.* Violence *practiced* by humans cannot be without rules, it is ALWAYS a social game when practiced by humans. There have always been humans who simply like to hurt people and yet there have always been rules. Nero was allowed to hurt whom he liked--until he broke the 'rules' and started going after the priveleged classes. Oops, a rule.

This is why I view the issue of the female soldiers differently. Women as a general population are less inclined to use violence as a method of obtaining their goals. In addition, they've come from a society that frowns these days not only on the use of physical force in general but in particular by women. It's not primarily a matter of training, it's becoming accustomed to the use of an unfamiliar method. Training does no good until they have accepted the idea of using violence themselves.

How does my view of people differ from yours? I see the use of physical violence as a normal behaviour among humans as a species. A biological trait, if you will. There is no point in getting worked up over it, it's a fact. Therefore I don't believe we'll ever have a perfectly peaceful society. Hence, my term 'jaundiced'. On the other hand, I see no reason to give up efforts to control this tendency--as long as everyone recognizes that physical violence is indeed part of human nature and plans accordingly. That's the part I think we're losing sight of, and why I can be pessimistic.

Posted by: Maggie100 at August 8, 2008 12:56 PM

We are discussing this with different meanings behind the same words. "Violence" for me is the use of physical force to accomplish a goal. That is what I consider an "asocial" definition, in the sense there are no judgements attached to it.

While I agree with you, I think, that violence is a tool, I disagree on your categorization of it.

Violence cannot be asocial, for that would categorize it as one thing. Violence, because it is a tool, can be used for any number of things, whether they be asocial or not. Any society can use it as part of their thing, like the Palestinians. And any society can refuse to use it and put it out. But it doesn't make violence one type of societal level or not just because it is a tool.

You can say violence is not part of the culture like people say guns should not be part of our culture or society. But that is not the same thing as saying it is asocial. Asocial has the same implications as amoral. Meaning, it involves individuals and people and their decisions. Tools cannot be amoral and neither can they be asocial. Situations are like that, people may be like that, but not tools.

It is not making violence into a social game

That was a separate point of Chris' on how people treat criminal situations as social situations where if you talk with reason or give them what they want, they'll automatically go away like in a social setting.

as long as violence is no longer an abstract concept but practiced by humans it has a context and humans always put rules on it.

That is an aspect of society, not an aspect of violence. The only rules violence obeys is physics and human nature. Any other rules put over that, is indeed superficial, since it only affects violence if people all agree that it does.

Violence does not change if you put it into a human context according to the intent with which it is used. It remains the same. Just as a gun does not change depending on why a person uses it. Whether to hunt down students at Vtech or to kill terrorists. It operates on the same fundamental principles and laws it has always operated on. And those laws cannot be changed or modified or overlaid by society, except in a superficial sense.

So long as everyone obeys the rules, then yes violence can be changed by the context in which people use it, for say sports or competition or just to vent out aggression in the society. But once people stop obeying societal rules, then society's rules no longer have an effect on the use of violence, regardless of what context that violence is used in. So long as one party doesn't follow the rules, violence won't follow the rules of society either.

While society has an interest in placing restrictions on the use of violence much as it has in placing restrictions on procreation, it only works if people allow it to work.

If as you say violence is essentially ethically neutral and it only changes due to the context in which it is used, then doesn't that mean what matters is society and its morality and the morality of the people using violence? It should not change what violence is or is not just because some people use it in a particular fashion.

Even "no rules, to the death" is a rule, it's the one usually dressed up as "might makes right."

That's not made by humanity or human society, though. That one was made up and enforced by nature and physics. Where Force A overcomes Force B cause Force A was stronger. Where species X survived over species Y because species X was more adaptable and more suited to the environment.

There's not much humanity can do about those things. Not when society breaks down.

I view violence, as I've defined it, as a common method among humans as a species to obtain a desired goal that is beneficial in some way to the person using that method *within the context of human society.*

You can name that aggression and it would still fit your definition. Society does not allow human beings to use violence to obtain their personal goals. Otherwise, it wouldn't be a society, just anarchy. These two things are mutually exclusive to me.

I realize that societies or individuals use aggression to benefit themselves or their tribe, but there is still a minority that use violence not because of society but because they are outside of society. And whether it is our society against theirs or not, their rules are still foreign and alien to us, even if it is familiar and comfortable to them. They are outside our society and we are outside theirs.

Yet they are the enemies of humanity, because they are using violence and aggression that inevitably leads to the extinction of their tribe. They don't play by rules and thus cannot be allowed to exist for they would be a perpetual threat to us. I speak of other societies like Palestinian for example.

There are many human societies, Maggie. There are also many ideologies. Some are good, most are bad, and some are even evil. What you wrote could only ever apply in the context of our society.

Violence *practiced* by humans cannot be without rules, it is ALWAYS a social game when practiced by humans.

The rules aren't made by humans and it is not a social game precisely because society requires cooperation and violence is the ultimate proof that you ain't cooperating, but competing to destroy other each other based upon the rules of physics and nature. That's not cooperation, and that violates the core of what a society means or rather should mean.

There have always been humans who simply like to hurt people and yet there have always been rules.

The distinction is important to be made between rules human beings made up and rules the universe lives under. That's very critical in speaking of rules.

It's not primarily a matter of training, it's becoming accustomed to the use of an unfamiliar method.

That is what training does, accustom people to doing things they otherwise wouldn't do or never have done.

Training does no good until they have accepted the idea of using violence themselves.

They are never going to accept the use of violence in such a fashion, for it will always be an abstract or theoretical thing for them. Until it happens and then what use will their mental decision cycle be of to them?

It's one thing if they don't want the training or don't want to defend themselves, but it is highly unlikely human beings born with the self-preservation instinct would willingly or knowingly put themselves into danger without the tools to defend themselves against that danger.

It is another thing when people don't want to use violence because they don't understand what it is nor do they believe that they can use it with confidence and surety.

The former is a permanent problem that is hardwired, like a true pacifist or something, and no amount of mental debate will solve their problems unless they choose to solve them. The latter is solved easily by training and by giving them the knowledge that they can be trained to the point where they don't need a tazer for lethal or non-lethal take outs. If they don't believe it is possible, then they cannot make an informed choice.


Posted by: Ymarsakar at August 8, 2008 03:11 PM

I defined violence as the use of physical force to accomplish a goal, stating that I considered that an “asocial” definition because it carries no value judgment, it is simply a definition of a tool. It's often used by human beings to achieve a goal, again, no value judgment, simply a recognition that human beings use this as a tool to achieve their goals. Later on you say:

“Tools cannot be amoral and neither can they be asocial. Situations are like that, people maybe be like that, but not tools.”

I disagree; the tools themselves have no morality, and that includes violence. They acquire morality, a social meaning only when used by people. Violence can be “good” as in self-defense, or it can be “bad” as in an armed robbery. Violence is the same in either case, the judgment of “good” or “bad” is attached by the humans—same as with any other tool used by humans.

“The only rules violence obeys is physics and human nature.”

I'm not sure what you mean here. Physics is involved only if one is referring the physical effort involved in each act of force, as in Force A trumps Force B. And how does physics rule a confrontation where a gas attack takes out a machine gun nest? Or when a pot of cooking food in the face stops a domestic attacker with a knife? Violence is an expression of a biological trait common to primates but I'm not aware of any biological function that governs it other than that.

“Violence does not change if you put into a human context according to the intent with which it is used, it remains the same.”

“So long as everyone obeys the rules, then yes violence can be changed by the context in which people use it.”

“While society has an interest in placing restrictions on the use of violence much as it has in placing restrictions on procreation, it only works if people allow it to work.”

“If as you say violence is ethically neutral and it only changes due to the context in which it is used then doesn't that mean what matters is society and its morality and the morality of the people using violence? It should not change what violence is or is not just because some people use it in a particular fashion.”

Short answer--it doesn't. This is what I meant about violence being neutral, as it were, because our perception/judgment of violence is solely dependent upon what we think of the degree of violence and the use to which is is put. Violence as the use of physical force to achieve a goal does not change; whether we think it's good or bad it is still the use of physical force to achieve a goal. It's only our opinion of said violence and/or the goal that changes.

“That's not made by humanity or human society, though. That one was made up and enforced by nature and physics.”

This is in reference to my comment about “Might Makes Right”. I am beginning to think we're also talking about two different things here. Violence toward an individual and violence within a society are two different things, and violence in nature is yet a third. Violence in nature is not strictly analogous to the use of force in human society—for one thing, what we call violence in nature generally has no aim; it is an occurrence and not an intentioned action. Survival of species has nothing to do with violence as we understand it, in fact 'fitness of a species' has very little to do with the fitness of an individual, nor does it automatically deal with what we would call adaptability or “survival of the fittest.”

That same dichotomy becomes clearer when you say “The rules aren't made by humans and it is not a social game precisely because society requires cooperation and violence is the ultimate proof that you ain't cooperating, but competing to destroy each other based upon the rules of physics and nature. That's not cooperation and that violates the core of what a society means or rather should mean.”

“The distinction is important to be made between rules the human beings made up and rules the universe lives under.”

The rules ARE made by humans, no matter what they are. There isn't anything else involved here, Nature doesn't care and nor does the universe. We make up the rules, or lack of rules, or patchwork rules/lack of same. On an individual level there is more than one ethnic/culture/society that allows honor killings (of one kind or another) of women. India in particular is still notorious for the bride killings and female infanticide. And yet that is a functioning, cooperative society with observed laws against other kinds of killings. The people (even if technically against the written law) have agreed that in their particular social game that use of violence against members of their own society is permissible. To ME, yes that does violate what a society should be but this is one that does allow intrasocietal violence while at the same time it is a cooperative, functioning society. The example from your website actually demonstrates the two levels conflated here also: People may go to a party and expect any “violence” to be verbal—and they will indeed fall to those attending who have no intention of following that rule. Thing is—in a society (like ours) where the people have agreed that isn't on other parties are authorized to use violence in turn to stop the perpetrators. While that isn't much consolation to those killed at the party society itself stops that action at the societal level and enforces what the people have agreed to—which is what you are referring to in the above quote. Actually, that tactic has been used in the past precisely to further someone's aim, and either the perpetrator was seen as a clever dude or at least feared enough no one took action—which works out too. The violence itself didn't change—only the perception and reaction to it by the society at large, meaning the social context.


“...but it is highly unlikely human beings born with the self preservation instinct would willing or knowingly put themselves into danger without the tools to defend themselves against that danger.”

I think Grim put his finger on one likely reason. The women are being offered the option to arm themselves against a possible attack by fellow troops. In this case, when being warned of the possibility of attack from *fellow soldiers*, it's hard to see it as “putting themselves into danger.” How? By working with fellow troops? The concept is mind boggling. The other thing is that not all people have the same reaction to danger—some freeze instead of fleeing or fighting, and training does not automatically confer an ability to act. I saw a few volunteer firefighter trainees, who attended all the training and drills offered and did well, freeze solid when confronted by live fire. It happens. Firing back at enemy forces who are shooting at you is a bit different, I doubt they'd ask for a taser in that circumstance.

Posted by: Maggie100 at August 12, 2008 01:37 AM

Female civilian perverts viewing young men get induction physicals. Tramps ,whores and white
trash prostitutes next on jerry springer!

Posted by: steve at November 8, 2008 11:28 AM

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