The Blaze vs. Al Stefanelli »« Today in Iraq – 23 September 2011

The Double Standard on Supporting the Troops

I hate “We Support our Troops” car ribbons. Really pal, that $1.05 magnet somehow makes you a part of the team? The sticker by its self is empty without action, merely a chance to get a cop to maybe let you get out of that speeding ticket. It is completely different than my experiences in airports or shopping off base in uniform where some nice people came up and shook my hand, offered kind words, or even better, bought me a beer. But the sticker is just like the American flag pin that has become a required uniform item for politicians, just a meaningless symbol of in group loyalty. Politicians are already supporting America (in theory) by becoming public servants and if you really want to support our troops try giving one of the many unemployed PTSD affected former Soldiers a job, even if it is just cutting your grass. Try helping out at a veteran’s function, there are ways to help aplenty.

Why do some people only support the actions of our troops when they commit intrinsic action and sanctioned homicide? Yet when those same Soldiers attempt to freely live their personal lives, a large chunk of society rejects them. Just saying “we support the troops” does not cut it, as a paper thin commitment is just that, paper thin.

Recently a fellow deployed Soldier came out on national TV to ask a question during the latest GOP debate and was booed by the crowd. The mob may be the mob, but the candidates did not condemn the action when it happened. Too hot of a subject to touch. One of them might end up as the next Commander and Chief but he or she failed to stick up for a Soldier freely exercising his now legal right to be gay.

Rick Santorum went further to respond to the question (he later made a half-assed apology, condemning the crowd but not his words) and later reiterated his stance.

SANTORUM: The fact that they’re making a point to include it as a provision within the military that we’re going to recognize a group of people and give them a special privilege and removing Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell, I think tries to inject social policy into the military and the military’s job is to do one thing — and that is to defend our country. We need to give the military, which is all volunteer, the ability to do so…and I believe this undermines that ability.

KELLY: So what would you do with soldiers like Steven Hill? Now he’s out…so what would you do as president?

SANTORUM: Look, what we’re doing is playing social experimentation with our military right now and that’s tragic. I would just say that going forward, we would reinstitute that policy if Rick Santorum was president. Period. That policy would be reinstituted and as far as people in, I would not throw them out because that would be unfair to them because of the policy of this administration, but we would move forward in conformity to what was happening in the past, which is — sex is not an issue. It should not be an issue. Leave it alone. Keep it to yourself — whether you’re heterosexual or homosexual.

He also stated that “any type of sexual activity has absolutely no place in the military,” which is bullshit. Soldiers fuck. There are rules on who you can fuck (no officer on enlisted action, no banging people in your chain of command) or where you can fuck (no cohabitation if not married) but Soldiers defiantly fuck. It is fucking boring over here, so some people choose to pass the time doing the horizontal tango. In my row of CHUs (army for the trailers in which we live), there are several married couples who live together and grace us with an audio blow by blow every few nights (the walls are thin). Even in pervious wars, camp followers (whores) were abound. In WWII it was that nice European farm girl, in Korea the female camp followers would share sleeping bags with Soldiers, and in Vietnam it was “me love you, long time”. If there is a fight happening on planet Earth, sex usually follows. So that line is a bunch of bull. Being gay does not entitle someone to a special privilege in this love fest; it merely gives gay Soldiers the ability to get it on without have to post a lookout for bigots.

Sex is a HUGE issue here, so are sexual crimes. Gays do not factor into the equation. For fuck’s sake, we are still collectively getting over having females in service on the FOBs. Contrary to your standard infantry private’s thoughts on the subject, not every female in the service is willing to bang at the drop of a hat. The same rules apply here as back home, don’t be a total dick, toss in a bit of romance, and respect the rights of your fellow human being. Those who violate those rules get a reduction of rank, a dishonorable discharge, and a lengthy stay in military prison.

So to the assholes who booed the gay Soldier for his act of bravery in being brutally honest to a live non-receptive audience, make no mistake, people are having sex somewhere on my base at this very moment and yes, a few are bound to be homosexuals. It’s called personal freedom, and as long as it is done off duty and does not violate UCMJ, the acts between two (or more if your fun) consenting adults is not my concern and it should not be yours.

Social engineering is nothing new to the military; the same bigoted talk was used when the army racially integrated. The same reasons were citied and the end result was an army now praised to be a progressive model of American race relations as it will one day be praised for orientation relations. When it comes to huddling in a bunker as mortars rain overhead or clearing a building to engage and destroy the enemy, nothing about the fellow Soldiers standing with you matters other than the flag on their right shoulder, not race, creed, background, or orientation. At that moment we are all equal, all just a bunch of scared apes fighting other scared apes (who don’t get Fox news to tell them that they are the bad guys). It is an incredibly intimate moment and maybe one day it won’t take the fear of death to elicit that feeling of true respect in American society.

The Blaze’s take on the story was that it was the Soldier’s question and not his orientation that was booed. Which kinda makes sense but, upon a bit of thought I feel that it still is the same sentiment. Maybe Hill was not technically booed at, but his lifestyle and it’s recognition  matters deeply to him and every other gay Soldier was and he is a Soldier, who the right always claims should be respected no matter what. The Blaze also claims that the boos came from only one or two people. But how come every time a crowd makes a collective gaff, it is always “one or two people” and they always seem to be standing right next to the microphones?

Comments

  1. John Morales says

    WTF, “sex is not an issue”, therefore soldiers must keep their orientation to themselves or else?

    (Talk about self-refuting statements!)

    And did he really refer to himself in the third person?

    (What a Santorum!)

  2. says

    I actually don’t support our troops. Nothing personal, but they signed up to follow orders knowing that those orders might lead them to participate in wars of aggression. In today’s case, whether or not it’s felt that it’s worth finishing the job (whatever that means) our soldiers in Iraq have to know that they’re there under false pretenses – a lie – that has caused massive civilian casualties. Whenever I see a “support our troops” sticker I assume it means that they want the troops back in the US where they belong, and out of uniform, working some other worthwhile job that doesn’t involve killing or being killed.

    • says

      Actually, we signed up to defend the Constitution, which means we follow the chain of command that said document lays out. In other words, we’re willing to go where the American people ask us to go through our elected officials. The “where” in that is secondary. We’re on board to support the idea that a democratic body can decide where to commit force and where to withhold it.

      We go where we’re ordered. If people don’t want us in Iraq or Afghanistan, then they should vote accordingly. When that happens, we’ll be pulled out. If you want us rebuilding schools in Louisiana or building bridges in Alaska, then you vote that way too.

      That’s why most people you talk to who joined the military said that they were signing up to defend their country. They’re willing to lay their lives on the line to uphold the idea that democratic institutions can direct policy one way or the other. Outside of that compartmentalization, its all on you.

      Of course, I guess that makes me one of the naive million or so people who felt strongly enough to do that.

      • geocatherder says

        Thank you, aussieyank, Assassin Actual, and your fellow servicepeople.

        I support the troops; We The People said, go (even though I personally disagreed with that) and you all went. I want to see you come home. I want to see you have good medical care. I want to see those of you with PTSD treated, and treated well. I want to see you all have jobs, and/or good schooling. That’s my idea of what Supporting The Troops means; and every day I become more activist about harassing my congresscritters on these and other subjects.

        Thanks for reminding me of my own duty.

        Oh, and I don’t have a sticker on my car. Talk about useless…

  3. noahsarkive says

    I have to say I was rolling on the floor with Santorum’s comments. The man is positively incoherent. Of course, his head up the ass remarks were mightily acclaimed by Tea Party-ers in the crowd.

    Following his logic (??!), he would, as President (OMG!!), cashier all married soldiers – after all, they openly have sex. Especially soldiers with children, unless they can hide the evidence. Include in that number, non-married military who admit to having sex.

    Add to this mental soup his support of the Defense of Marriage amendment so gays couldn’t marry…and…the only people left in the military would be closet gays!!

    Don’t ya love it?

  4. says

    (whores)

    I assume the extra letters in “prostitutes” or “sex workers” would have made an otherwise interesting but long blog post into an interesting but too long blog post.

      • says

        Not many little girls grow up wanting to be prostitutes. Most are forced into it through a need to survive, feed addictions, or are trafficked (though I know there are some women (and men, but really, the word is rarely seriously applied to men) who choose it, and have known some personally, but they are a minority). A word like “whores” dehumanizes them (though, sincerely, I’m sure you didn’t mean it like that) and assigns a blame to those who didn’t choose to enter sex work and it gives a sex-negative image to those who did choose to do it.

        • says

          I get where your coming from, I fall into the vulgar vocab to often. Part of me feels the word is just a word, the part that has been raised with camwhore, lootwhore, and the like. But then again I have never had to traffic my body. I would hazard to say that the internet speak version has desensitized me to alot of touchy words but its the same resentment some people give me when I say that we murder people, to them its “targets” or “Hadg” and the like. I’ll try to watch it in the future, despite being the mean insenstive prick that I am (and boy am I one for I am not a “nice” person).

          • says

            Well, you’d have to work damned hard to convince me you’re not a “nice” person. Thank you for listening and taking to heart my concerns. After the recent women in atheism/skepticism kerfuffles, I’m never sure how such things will be taken.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>