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Sex and the single (we hope) soldier


So it looks like getting yourself pregnant in a war zone could get you a court-martial instead of an early DEROS*, at least if you're serving in TF Marne over in Northern Iraq. And Daddy may well end up on charges along with the prospective mama, since the orders in Iraq are to keep your camies buttoned and not be fucking your fellow soldiers.

By way of background, when I was born in 1959 that was the end of my mother's Air Force career. No ifs, ands, or buts: that's the way these things were handled back in the day when women were in separate parts of the military. Jump forward twenty years, and things had changed. Female soldiers who got pregnant had the option of getting out, or staying in with the kid if they were married and could find child care. Now I guess anything goes; they'll even let single parents enlist these days, which used to be an automatic bar to enlistment. Which I can understand; there is a war on, after all, and it's hard to find in-shape folks without criminal records who also have high school diplomas that actually mean something. Oh, yeah, they have to be in moderately decent physical condition, too.

Now, call me an asshole if you want, but I'm totally in favor of this policy. You knew what the orders were when you got sent to Iraq, you swore to obey those orders, and then you went and fucked somebody anyway, and then you got pregnant. Deliberate or not, who cares at this point? Now you have to be sent back to CONUSstan and some other poor bastard has to be shipped in to do your job; as a secondary consideration, the Army is now on the hook to pay for pre-natal care, birthing the kid, and fiddling your pay so that you now collect separate rations and/or quarters allowance, assuming you stay in and don't opt to check out early on your enlistment. Which winds up screwing somebody else, since the Army now has to find someone to replace you not just for your tour in Iraq, but for the rest of your enlistment. That sucks ass.

I remember seeing all the useless pregnant women in the 331st ASA Company** who were awaiting out-processing and being pissed off because we we short of bodies already (the Army has always been short of linguists) and they were drawing the same pay I was for doing...nothing. Once you were on pregnancy profile you couldn't work in the motorpool, you couldn't go to the field on exercises, you couldn't do much of anything. The smart thing to do would have been to send these women to field stations so they could at least get some use out of them before they became civilians again, but the Army wasn't that flexible. It probably still isn't. It's not like you can call Robert Half and have them send up a truck mechanic/med tech/whatever you happen to be short on because Specialist M.J. Rottencrotch was off the Pill when she was banging Specialist J.D. Dumbshit and is now expecting a blessed event. Or even move them from one unit to another in the way civilian companies shuffle people between offices.

I dunno that a court-martial is the right answer, or the whole answer. I'd prefer to see thoughtless assholes like this involuntarily extended so that whatever time lost to pregnancy is just nailed on to the end of the enlistment, for Mom and Dad both. Hey, he helped cause the problem, he should help fix it, amirite? And just because I'm a vindictive fuck, the extension would have to be served in the war zone. Taste some hot sweaty justice in the Sandbox, losers. Nobody's been crazy enough to make me Secretary of the Army, much less Defense, though, so we probably won't see that policy any time soon. But I can dream, can't I?

* DEROS: Date of Estimated Return from Overseas Station.
** This was my permanent duty station in Germany after I got bounced from the 340th ASA/11th Armored Cav.

Comments

( 15 comments — Leave a comment )
(Deleted comment)
wombat_socho
Dec. 22nd, 2009 01:05 am (UTC)
Yeah. You would think so, wouldn't you? Still, despite the higher level of education in the military population, common sense is still in short supply. :(
(Deleted comment)
wombat_socho
Dec. 22nd, 2009 03:13 am (UTC)
After 16 years in all three components of the Army and growing up as an Air Force brat, I'm pretty cynical about these things, but I'll ask her.
thaadd
Dec. 21st, 2009 10:26 pm (UTC)
What about the incidence of rape/sexual coercion that alot of women face in the field? Don't tell me you believe the army does anywhere near as good as handling it as civvies - which still can be shit.

You get forced, you don't want to have to report a senior officer, you find out you're pregnant - and hay, maybe catholic. (Me, I'd abort, but that's me).

2 months later you can't say shit about rape with no rapekit and reporting.

I'd say it'd be alot smarter to just force the women to be on birthcontrol unless they can say it fucks with them. Draconian, but you don't sign up to the military because you are interested in thatl...

wombat_socho
Dec. 22nd, 2009 01:10 am (UTC)
Well, this gets back to the original objections to having women in the combat zone to begin with. Social conservatives were very much against this, but were told to sit down and shut up (this was in the 1970s when the Democrats ran Congress pretty much the way they do now) and sure enough, we're seeing problems with fraternization, rape, and wll the other problems. No women in combat/combat support jobs, no problem, eh? But of course we can't do that because it wouldn't be FAIR. [/sarc]
(Anonymous)
Dec. 22nd, 2009 12:16 am (UTC)
Funny - I don't know why this thing is causing any outrage....

Incapacitated is incapacitated - the theater commander has X
numbers of functional bodies, and when one gets preggers then
he has X-1.

In a nod to issues of gender fairness, and in the spirit of "it takes
two to tango" the impregnatOR and the impregnatEE are both
getting swacked - which I will note now leaves the theater
commander at X-2 function bodies - but that is a fair thing to do.

So must agree with the K here, this is self-inflicted removal from
the battle - keep your zipper zipped, get a "sexual aide" at the PX,
or us a condom (might not be the K recommended path there - have
to ask him) but don't get pregnant in the combat zone.

Knocked Up == Knocked Out

doug

wombat_socho
Dec. 22nd, 2009 01:11 am (UTC)
To quote that classic military novel From Here To Eternity: "Stick to yer rubber glove and be a queer like the Chaplain's lecture says."
thaadd
Dec. 22nd, 2009 12:19 am (UTC)
http://www.cnn.com/2008/US/07/31/military.sexabuse/

Google sexual assault us military and you will have just about every news website talking about it.

The big thing about the military contractor contract provisions, for instance - a month or two ago - some people we hire to do the scut work require a sneaky little clause saying you can't take the aggressor to a court of law - you have to deal INTRA company for 'shut up money' for your dignity and health. That went to congress, not CCN. Yes, Contractors will be worse, less supervised, but every single guy I know (and I know a fair amount) who has served recently has said it can be pretty bad if you're way out.

I dunno. I frankly think it's stupid and unhealthy to expect everyone to go without. Then again, I'm a commie liberal who thinks licensed, tested, regulated sex workers (aka, you can't work if you fail a drug test, or an STD test) could help out alot of societies fuckups.
(Deleted comment)
wombat_socho
Dec. 22nd, 2009 01:13 am (UTC)
Of course we are too PC now to do the obvious thing and just get the women out of the combat zone. Any general who values his career would never even whisper such a thing, and in the wake of the Fort Hood shootings I have zero confidence that there are any generals that have the balls to buck the politicians.
(Deleted comment)
wombat_socho
Dec. 22nd, 2009 03:21 am (UTC)
Well, that's the question - is the Army in Iraq losing enough manpower due to pregnancy that division commanders feel the need to come down hard? Apparently so. How are you going to separate female troops who can keep their pants on from the ones who can't? You can't. I don't buy the argument that we need to have women in the combat zone. We somehow managed to fight an assload of wars for 200+ years without having women in combat, and it was plenty obvious (if you go back to the hearings on this in the 1970s) that this had nothing to do with a shortage of male recruits. It was all about "empowerment" and "gender equity" and a bunch of other political horseshit that has nothing to do with fighting and winning wars.

I agree that there's no FEBA in either part of the Sandbox. Get all the women out of those units, replace them with guys, end of discussion and end of problems.
edwarddain
Dec. 22nd, 2009 02:21 am (UTC)
Women are quite capable of keeping it zipped *and* being effective assets in a combat zone.
I'd suggest that the answer is less get women out of a combat zone and more make sexual assualt/rape a flogging offense...

The idea that the answer to this would be to remove women is about as viable as the idea that the solution to domestic violence is to keep women out of the house and away from men.

Congratulations! With that attitude you've now joined the radical Lesbian/Feminist Separatists of the 1970's! Unfortunately, they found out that DV was equally as prevalent in lesbian/same-sex relationships as it was in heterosexual ones. The answer is changing fundamental nature and attitude of the abuser or rapist, not a trying to create a target-poor environment.

Just like terrorists, rapists and abusers can always find a justification and a target for their acts.

(In the interest of full disclose, my spouse is a female USA vet with two combat tours - Just Cause and Desert Storm - as an MP (Combat) officer. She also happens to be the victim of domestic violence/rape while in the military, none of which happened in a combat zone)

Sexual assault/domestic violence is a pretty complex topic and one that is generally prone to a fair amount of rhetoric and crummy Internet research. The OP is not about that, it's about really crummy judgement in a combat zone.

Here's the kicker, pregnency proven? This actually allows for a very real penalty for a soldier-rapist. While you can't prove the rape, it is certainly proof of sexual activity - and a court martial for that is better than no court martial at all.

For the record, I have no problem at all with the topic and the penalties discussed in the linked article (I'd actually like a combination of both the Iraq and the Afganistan "solutions"). Nor does my spouse...
wombat_socho
Dec. 22nd, 2009 03:32 am (UTC)
Re: Women are quite capable of keeping it zipped *and* being effective assets in a combat zone.
'd suggest that the answer is less get women out of a combat zone and more make sexual assault/rape a flogging offense...

This isn't just a sexual assault issue, though. The Strategy Page article said nothing about that. This is about soldiers getting pregnant in a combat zone in spite of standing orders against fraternization. I agree that sexual assault deserves flogging (and rape, hanging) but it's a tad off-topic here.

The idea that the answer to this would be to remove women is about as viable as the idea that the solution to domestic violence is to keep women out of the house and away from men.

This is a faulty analogy, partially for the reasons you describe in the paragraph following. The answer to the problem of female soldiers getting pregnant in the war zone is a simple one: if you have no women in the war zone, they're not going to get pregnant.

(In the interest of full disclose, my spouse is a female USA vet with two combat tours - Just Cause and Desert Storm - as an MP (Combat) officer. She also happens to be the victim of domestic violence/rape while in the military, none of which happened in a combat zone)

And I respect her for being a combat vet. Which doesn't change my opinion on the subject - if you're going to have standing orders on fraternization, you might as well save yourself the trouble and get women out of your AO, period.

For the record, I have no problem at all with the topic and the penalties discussed in the linked article (I'd actually like a combination of both the Iraq and the Afganistan "solutions"). Nor does my spouse...

I think I want to see numbers on how well the respective policies are working out in Afghanistan and Iraq before I decide that one is working better than the other. I'm inclined to favor the Afghanistan policy because I think we ought to treat adults like adults, and punish them if they fuck up, but things aren't that simple in the Army these days. Maybe they never were.
edwarddain
Dec. 22nd, 2009 04:25 am (UTC)
Re: Women are quite capable of keeping it zipped *and* being effective assets in a combat zone.
Well yes, the whole rape/assult thing was a rabbit-trail in the comments.

That is pretty much the same reason why we would both agree - treat people like adults and hold them responsible for their actions.

The real problem is if you think that there is a problem with having female soldiers getting pregnant. Accepting that female soldiers are a reality of modern militaries, there should not be a problem with them getting pregnant any more than there should be one with a male soldier siring a child.

The real issue is when it happens (for either men or women) in a way that disrupts unit cohesion to greater rather than a lesser degree. Either by pulling a female soldier out of action with a child, or pissing off the local populace because some young buck can't wear a condom. There are and have always been women in the AO, but we much more used to it when they aren't wearing uniforms.

The issue(s) involves holding people responsible for thier actions instead of trying top dictate morality from the top - since we both know how well that works...
wombat_socho
Dec. 22nd, 2009 03:09 pm (UTC)
Re: Women are quite capable of keeping it zipped *and* being effective assets in a combat zone.
Unfortunately the parallel between motherhood and fatherhood breaks down from the service perspective because fathers aren't physically disabled for part of the pregnancy. (True, some women aren't either, but they're the exceptions.)

I admit to being somewhat reactionary on the subject of women in the military; sixteen years of putting up with double standards and "soldiers" who cannot physically do their jobs has made me very tired of the gender equity arguments. I honor your spouse for not being one of those, and all other women who can and have done the same jobs as male soldiers without concessions or adaptations, but in my experience they weren't that damn common. Which, considering I served in MI electronic warfare units where putting up antennae was the most strenuous part of the job, is rather damning imo.
edwarddain
Dec. 22nd, 2009 04:53 pm (UTC)
Re: Women are quite capable of keeping it zipped *and* being effective assets in a combat zone.
*chuckle*

Yeah, but male soldiers have been coming up with creative ways to disrupt unit cohesion by way of physical injury or action for millennia...

I have the benefit of knowing a number of women with prior service. I'm also an Army brat (my dad did similar things as you, Viet Nam era), my wife is a Navy brat - and my slave is an Air Force brat (who's mother mother retired with her 20 in, and who *her* parents were both career Air Force, hell, her grandfather was Army Air Corp first, *then* Air Force).

And both of them (and myself) have seen a fair amount of the sort of attitude that you are describing (either from the outside or the inside). Damning as it may be, it is also reflective of an evolving military and one that is evolving hampered by political BS that goes both ways. Sex/Gender, Sexual Orientation, Military Science and Doctrine, and our opponents have changed and we're all still scrambling to catch up.

Frankly I think the military would figure how to make it all work just fine (including make gays and women in the military work out fine and fairly) if the politico's would keep their damn fingers out of the pie.
wombat_socho
Dec. 22nd, 2009 09:43 pm (UTC)
Re: Women are quite capable of keeping it zipped *and* being effective assets in a combat zone.
Frankly I think the military would figure how to make it all work just fine (including make gays and women in the military work out fine and fairly) if the politico's would keep their damn fingers out of the pie.

And the next time we see that will be the first. Funny, but it seems to me that in the days when more politicians had military experience (in both parties) they screwed around with the military a lot less. Maybe, as more veterans from the Sandbox get involved in politics, we'll see a return to that, but I'm not optimistic.
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