Thursday, November 25, 2010

Turkey Blog

I am pretty amused currently.  A lot of times I am tempted to put smiley faces on this blog... right now one would be fairly reflective of my mood.  Not everything is great, but it's the lull before the inevitable end of semester cram-fest.  I mean there are other things on my mind... things about the car, issues I haven't dealt with.  Snow for example.  I don't even have an ice scraper.  I don't have jumper cables.  I haven't changed the oil and am wondering when I need to do that.  My car, Atticus is his name, seems to be doing well.  I just took a nice four-hour drive through some pretty crazy holiday traffic.  I am still pretty intimidated by traffic in general.  I was happy with how well I performed in the city once I arrived.

Both this evening and yesterday's were well spent playing some Apples to Apples.  Thank goodness for that ice breaker... sometimes I forget what to talk about outside of West Point's walls.  We share so much that is easy to talk about in our little gray fort.  I mean all you have to do is ask someone what they did last summer and everything becomes familiar acronyms and training and complicated systems that have become somewhat intrinsic to me.  I guess this is how people get stuck in the military, forgetting not what, but how to talk about subjects outside of military jargon.  I sometimes want to stop mid-explanation to civilians because as I explain one complicated system I realize it's related to another complicated system and they aren't possibly going to memorize it and no one expects them to... so how about we keep the explanation simple?  And on top of that, the academies are one big fraternity with an overabundance of rules which can all be traced back to an exclusive gentleman's code that was once associated with the place.  And I do mean fraternity because of the dominating male essence of the place.  Delicate, graceful, effeminate?  Nothing at West Point brings these adjectives to mind, except maybe the statue of Fame at the top of the supposedly largest free-standing polished granite column in the Western Hemisphere at Battle Monument.  And even Fame isn't the same, she used to have an exposed breast until some officer thought it was too arousing for the good ol' boys.  At least that's what the description was that I read in the museum, although the Wikipedia article claims it was just because the statue was too large and awkward.  I guess I'll have to go back to the museum to find out for sure...

More tedious research into the laws preventing women from serving in ground combat.  I began reading War by Sebastian Junger, since we're supposed to discuss this come the end of Thanksgiving Break.  I can't help get absolutely heartbroken when I read.  It isn't so glorious really:  war.  It is a tough job.  It is admirable of these men to take on this burden.  But whose to say women can't do this?  Who the hell has the right?  These men face a hard task it is true.  But I believe they have the potential professionalism to handle women at these isolated outposts.  Why don't they?  Why doesn't Congress?  Is the message that under the stress of combat, men are allowed to lose their ever-living minds and go on a sexist, raping rampage with any women who might have the misfortune to find themselves on a combat outpost with the sex-deprived, mentally and physically exhausted men?  Is the message that under a constant and dreadful threat men would irrationally protect women who chose to serve under the same conditions?  Is the message that the social fabric of a mixed-gender unit under heavy enemy fire and subject to constant assault and ambush would disintegrate and all hell would break loose?  What does a book like this do but show that the complexities and complications of war are as much of an issue for an all-male unit as they are for a mixed-gender unit.  I don't believe this would be much worse if there were women interspersed amongst the men.  I wonder if the psychological strength of a woman would help with issues such as PTSD.  I wonder if anyone would admire that woman, no matter who she was personally, and would anyone hold her as a hero in their hearts.  A woman who goes to war can hardly be seen as seeking glory and fame.  It does less good to a retired female soldier to have been in combat.  What good does that do her when she can never have the honor to be counted a Ranger or an Infantryman or someone whose job it was to go to a place and win the nation's wars by engaging in direct combat with the enemy?  It's an honor.  We honor those who take on this incredible burden.  It isn't the same in all countries.  This has nothing to do with my thoughts on war... but once you're in it, and once you are a soldier, you have a duty and a commitment.  A woman who wants to defend her country in the same manner by directly engaging the enemy ought not be prevented and surely ought not to be persecuted for it.

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