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Thursday, October 29 2020 @ 11:04 PM CDT

General Peter Pace, Have You Ever Been To a Prostitute?

Whited Sepulchers

by Rosa María Pegueros

When the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff makes a pronouncement on what he considers to be a moral question, it naturally brings to mind all of the matters on which the Reverend General could rule. Most people believe that prostitution is immoral, either because it exploits women or because it violates sexual mores, so I was just wondering, have you ever gone to a prostitute?
And while we’re at it, have you ever issued a directive that any soldier who patronizes prostitutes will be summarily dismissed from the armed services? Will he get a dishonorable discharge? Lose his pension?

Were you to issue such an order, would your fellow generals laugh at you as you stride around the Pentagon? Or would it be ‘wink, wink, nudge, nudge,’ public morality, private perversion?

If there is one tell-tale sign of the presence of American soldiers in a war or occupation it is the trail they leave behind of babies with American fathers. In the past, marrying the mothers of those children was discouraged by the armed services; special permission to marry was required. Most soldiers’ relationships were purely proprietary; money on the table, with no thought for the woman or the illegitimate children that might result.

Why should Americans care that Koreans, for example, shun mixed-race? What about the thousands of American-Vietnamese children?

Of course, the “fighting men” could not be expected to remain celibate during their tours of duty. In the past, it has even been the policy of the army to issue condoms and treat sexually-transmitted diseases with no questions asked, the assumption being that boys will be boys. Besides, it helps the local economy so everybody’s happy. The girls need the money, right?

So I was wondering, have you ever been to a prostitute? Have you turned a blind eye to your troops’ dalliances in town while on leave?

You may be a straight-arrow kind of guy who has never and would never visit a whorehouse but if we are talking morality, do you condemn the “johns” in your command with the same animosity that you direct towards gay soldiers? If not, why not? Or is “don’t ask, don’t tell,” your policy in this case? Do you believe that it is moral for soldiers to spend their leaves in brothels but not to seek the love of another man? Or are you a homophobe, plain and simple?

The issue of sex and the troops is taboo. Despite its artistic representations from the 19th-century Puccini opera, Madame Butterfly, to the Vietnam War version in Miss Saigon, male sexual behavior in war zones is so taken for granted that nobody talks about it. Consider some other aspects of the problem. The recent rape and murder by an American soldier of a young Iraqi girl and her family may deviate from the usual behavior of American soldiers; it is certainly against the stated ideals of the armed services but it is not as rare as we would hope.

What about Tailhook in 1991, where dozens of female members of the Navy were assaulted and sexually molested; where the participation of senior officers in the incident was concealed and the whole thing was covered up to avoid publicity? Finally, two years after the incident, 140 officers—officers!—were being considered for prosecution for public exposure, assault, conduct unbecoming an officer, and lying under oath to the Pentagon investigators. Then the top brass granted immunity to a number of them undermining the prosecution. The only reason that any disciplinary action was taken against the male officers in the Tailhook incident was because of outside pressure. Boys will be boys, eh?

Tailhook may seem like ancient history but the mistreatment of women in the military has continued to be the norm. Sixteen years later, female soldiers make sure that they go nowhere alone because even in the presence of other soldiers, they can be sexually assaulted and no one will intervene.

In 2006, Col. Janis Carpinski who had been the commandant of the prison at Abu Ghraib, reported to the International Commission of Inquiry On Crimes Against Humanity Committed by the Bush Administration that Lt. Gen. Ricardo Sanchez, former senior US military commander in Iraq gave the order that the real cause of the deaths of some female soldiers was to be concealed. They had died of dehydration because they were afraid to go out after dark because they were afraid of being assaulted and raped by their own comrades. To avoid the trip to the latrines, they didn’t drink water late in the day. Lacking adequate water in the terrible heat of Iraq, they died of dehydration.

No matter how good female soldiers are in their jobs, no matter how dedicated that they are to our country, to many of the men in the armed services they are little better than whores. They are always at risk for sexual assault or rape, and the brass will do little to protect them; boys will be boys, and the big boys cover for them. If you go out after dark, girls, you’re asking for it.

Writing on in The Private War of Women Soldiers, Helen Benedict quotes Spc. Mickiela Montoya, 21 “There are only three kinds of female the men let you be in the military: a bitch, a ho or a dyke.” “[Abbie Pickett, 24, a specialist with the 229th Combat Support Engineering Company] told me, "It's like sending . . . women to live in a frat house."”

Furthermore, says Benedict, the situation has gotten worse for female soldiers since the armed services have drastically lowered their entrance requirements to induct men with criminal and violent records, women soldiers are at an even greater risk. Add to that the constraints of operating in a Muslim country where there are no prostitutes are available, and women soldiers become even bigger targets.

Pace should take a leaf from General Dwight D. Eisenhower’s playbook. During the post-World War II occupation in Europe, Eisenhower heard rumors that there were many lesbians in his command, so he called one of his aides, WAC Sergeant Johnnie Phelps, and told her to collect the names of all the lesbians so that he could get rid of them. Estimating that some 95% of the women in the 900 women in the battalion were lesbians, Phelps told him that she would make the list but that it was one of the most decorated companies in the army, with the lowest number of venereal diseases and pregnancies. He would be losing all his top staff, all his clerical help, and furthermore, her name would be at the top of the list. Eisenhower gave up on the idea.

So General Pace, if you want to win this war, give the valiant gay and lesbian soldiers the respect they deserve and stay out of their bedrooms. If you want to clean up the sexual morals of your troops, you have your work cut out for you.

Khristian Soldiers are GAY!

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