FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

Those Randy T-Men

by DAVID MACARAY

If you try to defend or make excuses for the actions of Obama’s Secret Service agents in Colombia (consorting with prostitutes), you’re probably going to come off as a pig or male chauvinist.  That said, unless these agents’ actions constituted dereliction of duty (i.e., resulted in the president’s security being compromised), the case can be made that they should have been given reprimands and suspensions rather than being fired.

First, as boneheaded and unprofessional as their conduct was (and no one can deny that the whole mess was a diplomatic embarrassment), give them credit for not having boasted to the prostitutes—even while drunk—that they were part of Obama’s security detail.  Considering how readily men succumb to the urge to show off for women, these guys didn’t do that.  They didn’t brag.  According to the reports I’ve read, the Colombian prostitutes said they had no idea these “customers” were Secret Service agents. [But they did know they were being stiffed by at least one gringo. Editors.)

Which, integrity-wise, is more than we can say for Dick Morris, Bill Clinton’s former political advisor, who was reported to have bragged to a prostitute that he was so “connected” to the Oval Office, he could get the president on the telephone any time he liked.  To prove it, Morris went ahead and called the White House, got Clinton on the phone, and allowed the woman to listen in.

Second, it’s one thing to insist that public servants representing the United States behave responsibly, but it’s another thing to wallow in self-righteous indignation.  Let’s not be hypocrites.  Despite the shrieking outrage expressed by pundits and commentators, male visitors to foreign cities tend to do much the same thing as these agents did.  U.S. soldiers did it in Saigon and Bangkok; Southern California teenagers did it in Tijuana, Mexico; and even some of my fellow Peace Corps volunteers—noble and idealistic as they were—did it in India’s larger cities.

What kept me personally from doing it wasn’t moral rectitude or piety.  It was  fear.  Fear of being robbed, fear of catching a disease, fear of word getting back to Peace Corps officials and being sent home in disgrace, and fear of the Communists.  I cringe at admitting to that last one, but it’s true.

The U.S. State Department had warned us volunteers that there were Indian Communists lurking about, waiting for an American fool like me to do something stupid or reckless or illegal, so they could report it to the media and embarrass the United States.  And I was just dumb and naïve enough to believe it.

When it comes to being de facto ambassadors, young, testosterone-fueled American males are bad choices.  That’s because they view foreign countries not as exotic cultures, with unique histories, languages and artifacts, but as “playgrounds.”  This viewpoint is exacerbated by the fact that in many countries prostitution is not only tolerated, but statutorily legal.  Which brings us back to the Secret Service.  As wrong as their actions were, it’s doubtful these same agents would have gone out trolling for whores had they been on assignment in Denver or St. Louis.

If we’re serious about fixing this problem, there’s a way to do it. We can do what Hollywood did to resolve the “casting couch” phenomenon (where casting directors extracted sexual favors from eager young actresses in return for giving them roles).  Hollywood fixed that problem by putting women in charge of casting.  And that’s what we should do with the Secret Service.  Assign only women agents on these foreign junkets.

DAVID MACARAY, an LA playwright and author (“It’s Never Been Easy:  Essays on Modern Labor”), was a former union rep.   He is a contributor to Hopeless: Barack Obama and the Politics of Illusion, forthcoming from AK Press.  He can be reached at dmacaray@earthlink.net

David Macaray is a playwright and author. His newest book is “Nightshift: 270 Factory Stories.” He can be reached at dmacaray@gmail.com

More articles by:
June 29, 2016
Diana Johnstone
European Unification Divides Europeans: How Forcing People Together Tears Them Apart
Andrew Smolski
To My Less-Evilism Haters: A Rejoinder to Halle and Chomsky
David Rosen
Birth-Control Wars: Two Centuries of Struggle
Jeffrey St. Clair
Noam Chomsky, John Halle and Henry the First: a Note on Lesser Evil Voting
Sheldon Richman
Brexit: What Kind of Dependence Now?
Yves Engler
“Canadian” Corporate Capitalism
Lawrence Davidson
Return to the Gilded Age: Paul Ryan’s Deregulated Dystopia
Priti Gulati Cox
All That Glitters is Feardom: Whatever Happens, Don’t Blame Jill Stein
Franklin Lamb
About the Accusation that Syrian and Russian Troops are Looting Palmyra
Binoy Kampmark
Texas, Abortion and the US Supreme Court
Anhvinh Doanvo
Justice Thomas’s Abortion Dissent Tolerates Discrimination
Victor Grossman
Brexit Pro and Con: the View From Germany
Manuel E. Yepe
Brazil: the Southern Giant Will Have to Fight
Rivera Sun
The Nonviolent History of American Independence
Adjoa Agyeiwaa
Is Western Aid Destroying Nigeria’s Future?
Jesse Jackson
What Clinton Should Learn From Brexit
Mel Gurtov
Is Brexit the End of the World?
June 28, 2016
Jonathan Cook
The Neoliberal Prison: Brexit Hysteria and the Liberal Mind
Paul Street
Bernie, Bakken, and Electoral Delusion: Letting Rich Guys Ruin Iowa and the World
Anthony DiMaggio
Fatally Flawed: the Bi-Partisan Travesty of American Health Care Reform
Mike King
The “Free State of Jones” in Trump’s America: Freedom Beyond White Imagination
Antonis Vradis
Stop Shedding Tears for the EU Monster: Brexit, the View From the Peloponnese
Omar Kassem
The End of the Atlantic Project: Slamming the Brakes on the Neoliberal Order
Binoy Kampmark
Brexit and the Neoliberal Revolt Against Jeremy Corbyn
Doug Johnson Hatlem
Alabama Democratic Primary Proves New York Times’ Nate Cohn Wrong about Exit Polling
Ruth Hopkins
Save Bear Butte: Mecca of the Lakota
Celestino Gusmao
Time to End Impunity for Suharto’’s Crimes in Indonesia and Timor-Leste
Thomas Knapp
SCOTUS: Amply Serving Law Enforcement’s Interests versus Society’s
Manuel E. Yepe
Capitalism is the Opposite of Democracy
Winslow Myers
Up Against the Wall
Chris Ernesto
Bernie’s “Political Revolution” = Vote for Clinton and the Neocons
Stephanie Van Hook
The Time for Silence is Over
Ajamu Nangwaya
Toronto’s Bathhouse Raids: Racialized, Queer Solidarity and Police Violence
June 27, 2016
Robin Hahnel
Brexit: Establishment Freak Out
James Bradley
Omar’s Motive
Gregory Wilpert – Michael Hudson
How Western Military Interventions Shaped the Brexit Vote
Leonard Peltier
41 Years Since Jumping Bull (But 500 Years of Trauma)
Rev. William Alberts
Orlando: the Latest Victim of Radicalizing American Imperialism
Patrick Cockburn
Brexiteers Have Much in Common With Arab Spring Protesters
Franklin Lamb
How 100 Syrians, 200 Russians and 11 Dogs Out-Witted ISIS and Saved Palmyra
John Grant
Omar Mateen: The Answers are All Around Us
Dean Baker
In the Wake of Brexit Will the EU Finally Turn Away From Austerity?
Ralph Nader
The IRS and the Self-Minimization of Congressman Jason Chaffetz
Johan Galtung
Goodbye UK, Goodbye Great Britain: What Next?
Martha Pskowski
Detained in Dilley: Deportation and Asylum in Texas
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail