FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

The Wrong Argument

At times, in matters of war and peace, living in the United States seems like a trip through Lewis Carroll’s Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland: Events are often not what they seem. The New York Times, in its “At War” column, presented such a discussion on the topic of women in the U.S. Marines.

The article, “Lt. Col. Kate Germano on Marines and Women,” (July 28, 2015) dealt with the lieutenant colonel’s removal from duty as the head of the women’s training battalion at Parris Island in South Carolina. Lt. Col. Germano had been relieved of duty after the Marine Gazette declined to publish an article by her about the inequality of Marine training that required less strenuous and rigorous training of women compared to male recruits. (There is no evidence that the article in the Gazette was directly linked to Germano’s removal from her command post.)  The article, “When Did It Become an Insult to Train Like a Girl?” was censored from the Gazette. Germano presented well-reasoned arguments showing that women could train as hard as men and needed to be held to the same standards of training and expectations, both prior to, and during basic training.

This is the wrong argument. Common sense dictates that all military recruits need to be treated the same way. But, the argument needs to be made that the nation is long overdue for a necessary discussion about the endless nature of the wars it now fights, many of these wars being wars of choice and not necessity. A necessary war has not been fought since World War II, and that so-called “Good War” was replete with crimes against humanity and against the collective wisdom enshrined in the laws of war.

War in the 20th and 21st centuries has seldom been about noble intentions. Instead, the extension of military might and empire and the control of natural resources by the U.S. and much of Western Europe have been the drummer to which we march.

The response to the horror of the attacks of September 2001 could have been dealt with by a police action. The intelligence apparatus of the government failed to prevent them, but could have prevented them. The administration of George W. Bush made little of the reports of an imminent attack against the U.S. and dismissed available intelligence that was literally right under their noses. A police action would have necessitated an elite unit, or elite units, and then the issue of gender bias in military training would have made sense. As a society, however, we are far, far away from that kind of rational debate. Our irrational foreign, military, and economic policies got the nation into the horrible mess it found itself in in 2001. We needed to have kept our friends close, but our enemies closer (to paraphrase a popular quote from the movie The Godfather), and we did not.

U.S. foreign policy allowed religious fundamentalist hatred to fester following the Soviet military defeat in 1989 in Afghanistan, which was the Soviets own Vietnam quagmire. Following the Soviet defeat, the U.S. cut those fundamentalists loose, not worrying what their response would be when the U.S. invaded Iraq in 1991.

U.S. policy was so fragmented following the initial attack in Afghanistan in 2001 that Osama bin Laden was allowed to escape while he could have been captured in December at the Battle of Tora Bora.

Relieving Lt. Col. Kate Germano was an act of cowardice and it needs to be reversed based on the facts presented in The New York Times. Accepting her arguments for a more egalitarian Marine Corps, however, will do nothing to change the face of U.S. militarism.

The comments section that accompanied the Times article about Lt. Col. Germano did not contain any highly rated reader comments that made any protest against the underlying reality of the constant war footing of the U.S., or the conduct of endless wars in which the U.S. is now involved. For 35 years all of the questions about war have steadily moved to the right, leaving a gaping hole where debate and protest once existed. An Orwellian argument for endless wars and constantly changing enemies could not have been better scripted.

More articles by:

Howard Lisnoff is a freelance writer. He is the author of Against the Wall: Memoir of a Vietnam-Era War Resister (2017).

Weekend Edition
July 13, 2018
Friday - Sunday
Brian Cloughley
Lessons That Should Have Been Learned From NATO’s Destruction of Libya
Paul Street
Time to Stop Playing “Simon Says” with James Madison and Alexander Hamilton
Jeffrey St. Clair
Roaming Charges: In the Land of Formula and Honey
Aidan O'Brien
Ireland’s Intellectuals Bow to the Queen of Chaos 
Michael Collins
The Affirmative Action Silo
Andrew Levine
Tipping Points
Geoff Dutton
Fair and Balanced Opinion at the New York Times
Ajamu Baraka
Cultural and Ideological Struggle in the US: a Final Comment on Ocasio-Cortez
David Rosen
The New McCarthyism: Is the Electric Chair Next for the Left?
Ken Levy
The McConnell Rule: Nasty, Brutish, and Unconstitutional
George Wuerthner
The Awful Truth About the Hammonds
Robert Fisk
Will Those Killed by NATO 19 Years Ago in Serbia Ever Get Justice?
Robert Hunziker
Three Climatic Monsters with Asteroid Impact
Ramzy Baroud
Europe’s Iron Curtain: The Refugee Crisis is about to Worsen
Nick Pemberton
A Letter For Scarlett JoManDaughter
Marilyn Garson
Netanyahu’s War on Transcendence 
Patrick Cockburn
Is ISIS About to Lose Its Last Stronghold in Syria?
Joseph Grosso
The Invisible Class: Workers in America
Kim Ives
Haiti’s Popular Uprising Calls for President Jovenel Moïse’s Removal
John Carroll Md
Dispatch From Haiti: Trump and Breastfeeding
Alycee Lane
On Heat Waves and Climate Resistance
Ed Meek
Dershowitz the Sophist
Howard Lisnoff
Liberal Massachusetts and Recreational Marijuana
Ike Nahem
Trump, Trade Wars, and the Class Struggle
Olivia Alperstein
Kavanaugh and the Supremes: It’s About Much More Than Abortion
Manuel E. Yepe
Korea After the Handshake
Robert Kosuth
Militarized Nationalism: Pernicious and Pervasive
Binoy Kampmark
Soft Brexits and Hard Realities: The Tory Revolt
Helena Norberg-Hodge
Localization: a Strategic Alternative to Globalized Authoritarianism
Kevin Zeese - Nils McCune
Correcting The Record: What Is Really Happening In Nicaragua?
Chris Wright
The American Oligarchy: A Review
Kweli Nzito
Imperial Gangster Nations: Peddling “Democracy” and Other Goodies to the Untutored
Christopher Brauchli
The Defenestration of Scott Pruitt
Ralph Nader
Universal Voting Dissolves the Obstacles Facing Voters
Ron Jacobs
Vermont: Can It Happen Here?
Thomas Knapp
Helsinki: How About a Fresh START?
Seth Sandronsky
A Fraught Century
Graham Peebles
Education and the Mental Health Epidemic
Bob Lord
How to Level the Playing Field for Workers in a Time of Waning Union Power
Saurav Sarkar
I Got Arrested This Summer (and So Should You)
Winslow Myers
President Trump’s Useful Idiocy
Kim C. Domenico
Outing the Dark Beast Hiding Behind Liberal Hope
CounterPunch News Service
First Big Strike Since Janus Ruling Hits Vermont Streets
Louis Proyect
Survival of the Fittest in the London Underground
David Yearsley
Ducks and Études
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail