Do not search for information on getting sand in your genitals. It’s a morass of nonsense out there, with all kinds of bizarre pop culture notions. Most of it seems to be about getting sand in your vagina, which is treated as slogan to mock and trivialize women’s problems, but getting sand under your foreskin…oh, my. That’s no joke. That’s a very serious problem that must be dealt with surgically.
Remember Brian Morris, the Australian circumcision fanatic? One of his talking points is that getting sand in your penis is a major problem for uncircumcised men, and that in particular entire armies have been devastated in the desert by grains of sand getting caught up there, or laid flat in the jungles by all the damp rot and unhygienic conditions. He paints a grisly picture of the uncircumcised penis, and claims that it’s standard military policy to make sure you don’t have one of those dangerous folds of skin. How can you possibly fight if you’ve got a tiny, hideous bit of flesh attached to your penis?
I really had no idea. I may be a flabby old college professor, but apparently because I was born in America in the 1950s, when every boy baby was given cosmetic surgery practically as soon as they were born, I can whip the ass of every anteater boy out there. Good to know.
Morris is rather insistent. He claims that circumcision is a serious medical issue for the military.
In attempting to ridicule the notion that circumcision arose in the Middle East to solve problems caused by ‘sand and dust’, Vernon cites an article by Robert Darby, an anti-circ activist. Darby’s claims stemming from ‘medical records’ ‘he analyzed’ are false. Infections, initiated by the aggravation of dirt and sand, are not uncommon under desert conditions, and have even crippled whole armies of uncircumcised soldiers. It is difficult to achieve sanitation during prolonged battle. To contradict Darby, and thus Vernon, a US Army report by General Patton stated that in World War II 150,000 soldiers were hospitalised for foreskin problems due to inadequate hygiene. To quote: “Time and money could have been saved had prophylactic circumcision been performed before the men were shipped overseas” and “Because keeping the foreskin clean was very difficult in the field, many soldiers with only a minimal tendency toward phimosis were likely to develop balanoposthitis”. The story was similar in Iraq during ‘Desert Storm’ in the early 1990s. In the Vietnam War men requested circumcision to avoid “jungle rot”.
Well, if General George Patton thought it was a serious problem, it must be so. “Old Blood and Guts” wouldn’t be put off by trivia.
Except, well, it turns out that Brian Morris is rather sloppy with the facts.
Attempting to refute my argument he cites “a US Army report by General Patton”, and lists a series of pages that are supposed to back up his claim. But when you actually check those pages you find that they have nothing to do with sand under the foreskin and fail to provide any support for the argument that Morris wishes to make. For a start he gets the details of the book wrong. It is not a “report by General Patton”, but a multi-author volume in the official history of U.S. medical services in World War 2, edited by John F. Patton MD. Secondly, there are only two occurrences of the word sand in the entire volume, neither of which has anything to do with foreskins or circumcision. The volume scarcely deals with the Middle Eastern or North African (desert) combat theatres, but mostly with the South-East Asian and Pacific theatres, characterized by dense jungles and wet, humid conditions that posed many intractable health problems, affecting many parts of the body, not just the penis. But in those conditions sand and dust were not an issue. There is not the slightest support for his hyperbolic claim that “Infections, initiated by the aggravation of dirt and sand, are not uncommon under desert conditions, and have even crippled whole armies of uncircumcised soldiers.”
I’m sure you uncircumcised men are quite pleased to hear this. You don’t need to get the tip lopped off in order to go kill people in the Middle East. And I’ve lost my last possible advantage in a bar fight.