FEROCIOUS FABLE, OR FEARSOME FACT?

If there is anything left to say about the function of women in our armed services and sexual harassment in all branches of the military, it probably isn't worth saying. The recent convictions by courts martial of the army's Sergeant Simpson for rape of subordinate women at the Aberdeen Proving Grounds, and that of air force Colonel Rauhecker on a sexual harassment charge that was reduced to unprofessional conduct, were extensively detailed in the press. Further coverage of the pending trials of the army's highest ranking enlisted man, Sergeant Major McKinney and the air force's Lieutenant Flinn, the first female B-52 bomber pilot, both on adultery and fraternization charges, ought to convince everyone that whatever sexual conduct rules our military is supposed to obey, they are not promoting readiness for war.

Messrs. Simpson and Rauhecker, respectively, were given 25 year and several month prison sentences. The former will forfeit his prior military service, while the latter will be permitted to retire with pay and allowances. The trials of McKInney and Flinn have yet to begin, but both of them will certainly leave their respective branches of the military. They will effectively be either officially or unofficially drummed out of the service. While each of these cases is important to the individuals involved, taken as a whole they are enormous distractions from the stated purpose of our military: to protect the nation in time of war, and to be sufficiently powerful to prevent all prospective enemies from entertaining the idea of attacking the country in times of peace. For those unfamiliar with the process, it takes a great deal of hard work and perpetual training by extremely dedicated professionals to realize this goal. We are well along the road of replacing that worthwhile goal with a substitute: administering equality of sexual behavior within our million and a half person armed services. May God protect our country as we do so.

I can only dimly imagine what brilliant and creative satirists such as Gilbert and Sullivan might do with such material. A stream of operettas, each trenchantly lampooning our pompous and hilarious Victorian moral commandments that hardly anyone observes today, would show it as prudish puffery,the hokum it really is. As they poked fun at British modern major generals and the ruler of the Queen's navee who polished up the handle of the big brass door so carefullee, so would they show our foibles and lunatic assumptions about male sexual self-discipline within a dominantly masculine military hierarchy.

Military organizations historically tend to be run by bold, aggressive, physically active, assertive males. That is not to say these men aren't intelligent, but it is a practical and positive, highly achieving, can do intelligence rather than the dreamy, scholarly kind. If a nation decided to modify its military by requiring its officers and senior enlisted personnel to exhibit intellectual and philosophical traits, my feeling is that nation might fight less wars, but would lose some of them. Kicking ass may not be well-regarded in the best social circles, but it has its uses.

Where I, who do not consider myself a cantankerous, hide-bound, brutish reactionary, differ from contemporary thought expressed all too frequently by those who never served in America's military, is as follows. No country, including ours, can afford to be sufficiently stupid to hold the belief that a typical military outfit is not composed of the very kinds of men who are likely to be highly sexually aggressive towards females. They are. Neither Pat Schroeder, Gloria Steinham, nor any other feminist is going to change that fact. True, one can issue regulations prohibiting exploitive sexual behavior of subordinates by those of superior rank, and our military has done so. Enforcing these regulations is totally another matter. We are in the process of finding that out.

For the interesting armed services social experiment that we are now dealing with to work, only two things must happen. We must change human nature, and we must believe the instinctive behavior of adult human male primates can be cerebrally controlled. Beyond that, the matter is simple. Nevertheless, short of castrating all males as a condition of enlistment, I would not suggest we bet the national defense farm on a successful outcome.


Sam Orr sorr@metrolink.net
World Traveler
and Philanthrope
(Location Unknown)