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Thursday, June 6, 2013

Military Muscle – Crazy Wagon Part II


So the next wagon in the Crazy Wagon train is about the U. S. Military.  Yesterday’s Senate Armed Services Committee hearing included all members of the Joint Chiefs of Staff….and Senator Saxby Chambliss (R-Georgia).  His comment, that “...17 to 22-23… sets in place the possibility for these types of things to occur”, had me throwing flip-flops at the television again.

The great Senator is referring to the rapes that occur within the Armed Services. This ranks right up there with Senator Todd Akin’s (R-Missouri) comment last year when he said “legitimate rape” rarely caused pregnancy.  Legitimate rape? Really? So let me rephrase these two clowns and make sure I understand the landscape: Sen. Akin – if you are raped legitimately, you can’t get pregnant, and Sen. Chambliss – if you’re a 17-23 year old male, your hormones are gonna make you rape a team member? Really?  I understand that slips of the tongue happen.  I understand that you can mess words up that sound like other words (Nice to meet you vs. Nice to beat you).  I get that.  But these are fundamental, dyed-in-the-wool, deep-in-the-bones answers.
 
I spent my time, as a youth, between Cleveland, Ohio and Washington, D.C.  Whenever it was time to go to D.C., which was usually around the spring, early summer and late fall, I would always beg to see 8th & I (United States Marine Corp Silent Drill Platoon, or 8th & I for the location of the barracks). The sound of the rifles and in-step cadence has always been a favorite for me.  The precision is remarkable and to see it in person, even now, makes me proud to be an American.
  
What Senator Chambliss said yesterday was incredibly insensitive and offensive—and making me not so proud to be here.  His apology notwithstanding, I cannot blame this problem on age. It can be blamed on culture though.  We have roughly been hearing public accounts of women being raped in the military since the 1980’s.  Several movies have been made on the subject and countless hearings have been held.  This culture, not unlike the violent and sexual entitlement of sports celebrities, is corrupted.

So far, nothing is working and because of that, I will also blame leadership. Senator Chambliss is right about one thing…the age of our youth entering the military. Seventeen and eighteen year-old boys are listening and watching their commanding officers.  They are listening to what they say and watching what they do. It has not been that many months since General Petraeus resigned from his CIA job due to his philandering. Young enlisted men were taking note. And we wonder why this type of behavior is occurring.

The ban of women serving in combat was lifted in February of this year and I believe that was a good thing.  Women come with an innate nurturing ability that men do not have, and that can be useful when trying to neutralize intense situations.  But I don’t believe that is a pass for military women (or men) to be subjected to sexual harassment….just because the men cannot control their hormones and have sorry leadership.


This country needs to do a better job of giving the right people, the right job.  Just because someone has 20 years of “dedicated” service should not mean they have immediate access to higher command positions.  Their behavior, on and off the field of battle should be considered. Just because you are connected to a high-powered college with a high-powered football team should not give you direct and unabridged access to children….if you are a pedophile (Penn State, anyone?). Just because you exercised your military muscle and have a Purple Heart, should not give you the right to harass and rape others….that you are also supposed to be supporting. 

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