Monday, June 17, 2013

Solving Problems - MTQ Solutions for the Armed Forces

This post will contain controversial proposals to difficult social issues.  It will certainly offend some readers and a jump break has been placed at this point to assist readers with avoiding contact with perspectives that they may not wish to read.

Our military has evidenced some troubling statistics in recent years.  The suicide numbers are clearly troubling as is the number of sexual assaults.  Much attention has been given to the numbers and superficial efforts haven't provided meaningful improvement.  As a veteran, it is my firm belief that the armed forces are in need of significant cultural change.  Sure, increasing the number of women in the armed forces is a great idea and if they want to be in combat, I say go for it.  Likewise, I say the more gays, the merrier, after all variety is the spice of life.  I don't know if these 2 changes will be sufficient to make an impact on issues such as sexual assault so I feel it necessary to add some suggestions.

There is no doubt that sexual assaults are criminal and offenders need to be dealt with accordingly.  Sexual assault is a crime of violence, it also includes an act of a sexual nature; hence, the labeling, "sexual assault."  While we must punish the criminals, we must also work on refining the environment so that it is a more sophisticated and sexually aware environment.  In crimes like rape, there is often elements of displaced anger and frustration often mixed with an unhealthy dose of sexual repression.  To combat repression, sex must be brought out of the closet (for all, hetero and homo, alike).

Step one is an educational campaign, starting from day one of basic training.  Our armed forces have long been successful with slogans.  "Be all you can be" and "It's not a job, it's and adventure" come to mind.  To launch an open and healthy sexual environment, perhaps they could start with an "Its ok to masturbate" campaign.  This could be launched in basic training and would certainly help to identify an acceptable outlet for horny (and often sexually frustrated) GIs.  I remember many educational sessions in basic training, often chanting something like, "...if your shit's weak, we'll fall asleep, drive on sergeant, drive on..." as a drill instructor was about to begin a presentation.  I can envision instructional videos as part of the basic training curriculum.  I don't think too many would fall asleep.

Second to encouraging masturbation among the young and the horny, there also needs to be opportunity for sexual engagement.  In armies and military conflicts of the past, prostitutes often followed the troops.  Yes, I said prostitutes and yes, I'm saying we need to bring prostitution onto military posts.  Now I've encountered some who have argued with me that prostitution is degrading to women.  By no means do I intend to degrade women.  I am advocating prostitutes for all, male, female, gay, lesbian - if consenting adults can negotiate the terms, then it is A.OK with me.  I really get excited thinking about transformational opportunities to be had at the Officer and NCO clubs.  It could certainly add new meaning to full service.  And I'm not necessarily advocating what is traditionally referred to as "whore houses" either.  With the internet and cell phones, I'm thinking more along the lines of an on call arrangement.  Along with sexually liberating the troops, attention should be given to ensure there are facilities to support the new military.  I recall from my days in the service, that there would be the First Sergeant's office next to the Commanding Officer's (CO) office and often a day room.  Well, why not convert some of that day room space to conjugal rooms.  I remember the old days of sex starved GIs hanging by the CQ (charge of quarters) desk waiting for a pizza.  With cell phones and conjugal rooms, why not a pizza and a prostitute?

I suspect one of the unspoken issues in today's military is that it has become a gentrified political poster child for diplomacy.  We send our troops to some foreign land with the expectation that they confirm.  I don't get it.  We put their lives in jeopardy and they can't have a beer because the might offend someone.  Our female troops need to adapt the uniform to wear a burqa.  Huh, who's running our military anyway?

I realize that some may find my suggestions ridiculous and outlandish.  To those, I quote an intellectual who once said something to the effect that the definition of insanity is doing the same thing the same way and expecting a different outcome.  If that be the case, I may be ridiculous and outlandish but definitely not insane and while my ideas may shock some, perhaps when one can say, "beer, masturbation and prostitution" in the course of polite conversation we have achieved a cultural shift in the right direction.

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