Abu Ghraib Is For Lovers

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If you want more details on the collapse of Lynndie England's plea last week, or if you want to read something that will almost definitely make you feel better about your own life-management skills, The New York Times has a chronology.

NEXT: When Men Were Men and Continents Were Divided

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  1. Anyone got a fake login name and password? I hate these registrations.

  2. mr. nice guy – http://www.bugmenot.com

    tim, you’re absolutely right, i feel better about my own life.

    [At Graner’s wedding] “Another man stood in for Private Graner, because he had begun serving his sentence and Ms. Ambuhl, as an admitted co-conspirator, is not allowed to see him.”

    aww, isn’t that sweet. he may kiss the bride! in ten years.

  3. I’ve made some big mistakes with members of the opposite sex, but I can honestly say that none of them involved naked POW’s.

  4. Dave has hit the nail on the head as to the secondary lesson that ought to be learned from this sordid tale.

    “Coed” units are rife with this nonsense. The only Army unit commanders that I’ve know who don’t have this problem with fraternization are in the few combat arms areas where females do not serve.

  5. but surely this is excessive? it’s a fucking episode of sally jesse.

  6. In a training or deployed environment there is a lot of sex when males and females are put together…

    It stands to reason, if this is true, that if you put together recruits who are secretly gay, they will wind up doin’ the nasty.

    The solution is obvious: recruits should not train alongside other recruits of the same gender!

  7. Dave,
    Every female friend of mine that was in the military dated one of their superior officers (one Marine, two USAF). One of them is married to her old drill instructor (one USAF).

  8. The sordid tale of Pfc. England and her lover should be a warning to any sorority girl who’s thinking of getting involved with frat pranks.

  9. This situation is old hat. The Lifestyles of the Sex-Crazed and Trailer Park Deprived made Jerry Springer a millionaire.

    You rarely hear of these things from the Marines. Has to be the segregated training.

    On a lighter note, when I need to learn of the foibles of young women, now I can go to The Superficial (hat tip:Sully)

  10. One of our friends just got back from Afghanistan, and no SHE did not date, sleep with or otherwise engage males in her unit, or in the ranks above her. It’s called basic discipline folks, if you read what kind of freak Garner was, I think we can say this is a man to whom “self-discipline” was an unkown concept.

    And if you guys really think men and woman can’t serve together because of this, well I can’t see how you can reconcile that with ANY sort of concept of free will. Cause you seem to be saying these folks don’t have any.

  11. suprisingly the simple answer to these password sites thanks to likeminded individuals is as follows

    fake/fake

  12. Skeptikos,
    I don?t think that anyone hear argues that the sort of discipline you describe is possible, but whether its likely to be the norm. To the form I would say it is most assuredly possible, to the later I would say most assuredly not. While your friends actions are commendable (sadly, we?re at the point where basic discipline is commendable), we must also look on the margins.

    For example, most people would say that if they were on welfare, they could not fathom having a child just to get a larger check because of the sheer idiocy of that idea. Many of us may know someone that was on welfare and did not do this. However, one must look at the margins as well as the norm. There will be people that do have children to increase their welfare payouts and those that spend hundreds of dollars on Fubu clothing with those checks. Just because you or I or a good friend of ours wouldn?t do the same in that situation does not mean it will not occur. I for one think that we would probably be better off with gender segregated units because of the stupid shit people do for the attention of the opposite sex.

    I refuse to dip my pen in the company ink because of the likelihood that it would end badly and the exposure to sexual harassment. That doesn?t mean there aren?t plenty of people that do the same. The difference is at my workplace we?re not being shot at and I can go out on nights and weekends to blow of some steam.

  13. Maybe this is proof that we should reinstate the draft. Are these the individuals we want volunteering to defend us?

    DISCLAIMER FOR NEO-CON HAWKS:

    Yes, I am well aware that these folks are not representative of the armed forces as a whole. I would not sink so low as to speculate otherwise. Most of our men and women in uniform are decent, disciplined and perform their duties bravely and effectively. But in no way do I think this closes the book on misconduct in the military. These three are just the ones who were stupid enough to get caught.

  14. I’m telling you guys, genetically engineered super soldiers is the way to go here. We can make them so that they have little to no sex drive, or completely subvert that drive to the need to commit violence.

    I see no unintended consequences here! None whatsoever!

    Interesting article. Makes me glad I never enlisted, despite being deprived of heavy ordinance because of that decision.

  15. Skeptikos – You don’t have to rule out free will or dismiss the idea of military discipline to understand that people naturally want to have sex of their own free will. Especially if it’s possible that you could be dead from a mortar/IED/insurgent attack the next morning.

    These folks joined the military, not the priesthood. Maybe if the bizarre rules surrounding who can date whom are set at a reasonable standard it wouldn’t be such an issue.

    “You rarely hear of these things from the Marines. Has to be the segregated training.” – Happy Jack

    You’ve never heard female Marines referred to as (choose a branch) “Army/Air Force/Navy mattresses”? Segregated training has never stopped people from having sex – remember your sex ed course in school? Just because they were segregated for training didn’t stop people from having sex… It just postponed it until they were no longer totally segregated.

  16. “Maybe this is proof that we should reinstate the draft. Are these the individuals we want volunteering to defend us?” –

    Nah. As bad as you might think discipline is now, it ahs to be far worse in the non-volunteer military. The amount of supervision required for the draft military made it prohibitvely expensive – not that there aren’t always going to be discipline problems, but I’d be willing to bet (with no proof at my disposal whatsoever) that the percentage of NJP/court-martials has dropped since we phased out the non-volunteers.

    Let me hedge my bets tho, on the off-chance someone will produce the numbers and they don’t reflect my expectations… If the numbers don’t bear me out, I would expect that to be due to the zero tolerance approach possible in a volunteer military, rather than the “being in the military IS your punishment, screwing up won’t get you booted out” mentality of the draft military.

  17. Interesting point of view rob, and you manage to state quiet clearly that you don’t believe in free will. Bottom line, if you can’t control your basic functions then you don’t belong in the army, navy or marines.

    You still seem to be saying that a person must have sex under these circumstances (priesthood?). If you can’t control your basic bodily functions under normal circumstances, you shouldn’t be a priest or a soldier.

    I don’t know, you and mo still seem to be arguing that humans are overwhelmed by their gonads. I’m not buying it.

    A person who can’t control their genitalia is not in possession of free will.

  18. “A person who can’t control their genitalia is not in possession of free will.”

    Ding!Ding!Ding! We have a winner!

    Is it really so hard for you to imagine the possibility that a large fraction of the populace fits this description? It’s scary, I admit. But sooo true.

    Let me fill you in on a secret, Skeptikos. The junior enlisted ranks of the military are filled with moderately attractive females used to being overlooked by men who absolutely freak out when they suddenly are treated like queens by the sex-starved grunts they are stationed with.

    Putting men and women together in the field is a bad idea, period. Especially for the reserve components. Hell, my bro-in-law just got back from a company command in Iraq. He went through two first-sergeants (senior NCO in a company) during a 15 month deployment. You want to guess why they both lost their jobs? That’s right! Boinking their company clerks, that’s how.

  19. I?m not saying that people are overwhelmed by their gonads, I am saying that while people can choose to control themselves, many people CHOOSE not to. Looking at the reality of human nature, where people will CHOOSE not to control their sexual urges all the time, we need to act accordingly. Apparently, in Skeptikos? world, men and women never cheat on their spouses/significant others or do any sort of sexual behavior that they shouldn?t. My claim is that people will have sex because every person in the military isn?t the demon-fighting model of a soldier that is portrayed in the commercials. Our military is filled with the same flawed people that our civilian world is filled with (myself included). People who have natural urges and CHOOSE to act on them on occasion.

  20. I’m with rob on this one. When I was in the Navy the single biggest personnel issue I faced was unwed mothers. The second biggest was divorced dads who couldn’t afford child care on E4 pay. (Incidentally, the unwed mothers didn’t face the child care issue because the Navy didn’t require unwed, active duty mothers to work, and even gave them hardship discharges. Most of them left the service within a year of having their babies.)

    Guess what? Fraternization is against regs. Guess what else? It happens all the time.

    Skepticos, so I guess what you are saying is that you have never eaten too much at a meal or had too much to drink, because you are 100% in control of your basic functions 100% of the time? Nah, I didn’t think so.

    I don’t think this illustrates a lack of free will, by the way. I think people choose to do things they know they may later regret because they decide the immediate pleasure is worth the later pain. It might not be rational, but it doesn’t mean it isn’t a result of free will.

  21. Skeptikos: I’m not arguing against free will. I’m saying that this is behavior people gladly engage in – of their own free will – because it’s enjoyable.

    As for the nonsense that “if you can’t control your basic functions then you don’t belong in the army, navy or marines” I have to ask…

    How long can you deny the urge to eat, drink, sleep, urinate or defecate? (All bodily processes, just like the desire to have sex.) Yeah, that’s what I thought… But anyone who does these very human things isn’t fit to be in the military?

    You can argue that you have more control over sexual behavior, but it’s an amazingly powerful drive, and in the end people succumb to it or most of us wouldn’t exist.

    Besides, what’s the standard definition of a US soldier circa World War 2? “Oversexed, Overpaid, and Over Here!” By your definition, those GI’s were unfit for service too.

    http://www.heretical.com/costello/15ovesex.html

  22. All this talking about sex and fraternization is missing the point. I don’t care, and I think most of us don’t care, that Lynndie had sex with Chuckie who had sex with Megan (we find it morbidly interesting, but we probably don’t actually care), or any of the other fraternization issues; what makes people care about this so much is that the fraternization involved a sociopath who got some stupid soldiers to violate some Geneva conventions they probably would not have violated on their own. If it was just a matter of them having sex and writing “OMG, U R so hot” emails to each other it wouldn’t matter; the problem is that the people involved decided to get their jollies (or follow orders, we don’t know) by abusing prisoners, and that problem would NOT have been avoided by the simple expedient of segregating soldiers by gender.

    Who cares if soldiers are fucking each other when they’re also raping prisoners?

  23. Aw, geez, Jennifer! There you go dragging us back on-topic!

    But the sad reality is that the military spends an inordinate amount of time and resources trying to prevent normal human behavior, and even (as sulla points out about the 2 first sergeants) removing people in the midst of deployments to prosecute them for having sex.

    There’s a trade-off being paid in experienced leaders on the ground at the altar of anti-fraternization (based on the leaky logic that Skeptikos endorses).

    If this were about prosecuting homosexual behavior in the military, I wonder if people would all follow the same divisive lines…

  24. Rob-
    I don’t know if I’ll Godwin or anti-Godwin this thread by pointing this out, but of the major political and military leaders of World War Two–Eisenhower, Roosevelt, Churchill, and so forth, the only one who seems to have been faithful to the One Woman in His Life was Adolf Hitler. Of course, I’m not saying that chaste people are Nazis; I’m just thinking maybe chastity isn’t as militarily important as it’s made out to be.

  25. I’m struck by how childish all these people seem to be. I shouldn’t be, I realize, but I am. I mean, making the remark “Don’t forget the horns and goatee.” to the court artist while you’re facing ten years in prison are not the actions of an adult.

  26. Jennifer – You’re definitely not the first person to note that Adolf was a non-smoking, non-drinking, vegetarian war-hero who was faithful to his one true love while FDR who was credited with saving us from Hitler was a smoking, drinking, meat-eater who never served in the military and slept with his mistress rather than his wife for 2 decades. However, I hear both adored children and puppy-dogs.
    http://www.ishipress.com/roosevel.htm

    But yeah, I’m 100% with you that a chastity isn’t a predictor of exceptional military service. Even Audie Murphy eventually had children. http://history1900s.about.com/gi/dynamic/offsite.htm?site=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.audiemurphy.com%2Fbiograph.htm

    Shem – You don’t think it’s perfectly human (tho it is certainly a bit childish) to say something unkind about the guy who just destroyed your chances at a more lenient sentence? I’d probably have tried to throw a sharp pencil into his eye from my seat at the defendant’s table… But then I can occasionally be a vindictive SOB like that.

  27. Ah yes, another Audie Murphy link – that little dude was bad-ass!

  28. Don’t know rob, looks like the Marines have fewer mothers all the way around.

    Maybe segregation works to cut down the hormones (or maybe the ability to act upon them).

  29. “Don’t worry boys, when you get back she will be the same as you left her: freshly fucked with tears in her eyes”

    Skeptikos, what are you talking about? The free will of most young soldiers seems to be directed at obtaining sex and alcohol.

    Do dry prudes have a history of combat?

  30. mo said “Apparently, in Skeptikos? world, men and women never cheat on their spouses/significant others or do any sort of sexual behavior that they shouldn?t.”

    Yep, even in the bible, sin is a result of the big G giving us freewill, and still we ate the fruit. And folks f*ck up of their free will, and should except the consequences. Jees, I thought there be libertarians here, not a bunch of liberal/conservative apologists.

  31. So freedom and responsibility for everyone don?

    Except for those poor horny boys and girls?

    You sound like a bunch of nanny staters. Turn in your freedom cards immediatly and report to the publik skool office right now.

  32. Skeptikos – You’ve gone off the deep end calling the people who are for freedom and against hammering people for doing something that harms no one.

    “sin is a result of the big G giving us freewill, and still we ate the fruit. And folks f*ck up of their free will, and should except the consequences.”

    YOU should give up your freedom card, since you’re the one advocating that sex should be declared a crime.

    Yes, consensual sex between military members harms no one – favoritism/discrimination, sexual harassment, sexual assault and rape are crimes that can be shown to harm. Unless you think that, as you apparently do, an oath of enlistment or commissioning oath carries the same celibacy requirements as those of the Catholic priesthood.

    By the way, the link you include lists married women and women who are parents – but I don’t see how this makes your point about women in the Marine Corps having less sex. It just shows they don’t get pregnant or married as much (by small margins at that). Neither avoiding marriage nor avoiding pregnancy are indicators of how much or how little sex they are having.

    While we’re talking about that link, I also notice that the Corps does have the lowest #’s of single parents (tied with the Air Force who doesn’t segregate the troops like the Corps). Similarly, in the other categories (a few cherry-picked areas that is) the Corps has a small percentage “advantage” but most often they’re tied with another service.

    In other words, no real advantage can be shown by the link you gave.

  33. Post-post edit… First paragraph should have read:

    You’ve gone off the deep end calling the people who are for freedom and against hammering people for doing something that harms no one “a bunch of liberal/conservative apologists.”

  34. rob,

    1. I advocate that IF an ADULT, WITHOUT coercion, signs a contract, like those recruits did. (Now to be honest, that is the one problem I have with ROTC type stuff in high school)

    And say the contract was to defend your country (like it was) and you were expected to abide by some unusual (many private companies have the same or similar fraternization or siblernization as the case me be-sorry very pitiful attempt at humor) some restrictions on your ability to have sex with certain associates employed by your company (or army)

    That then, a free and responsible adult might just be expected to live up to that freely entered into contract.

    I know, I know, as you have seem argue, we’ve become a bunch of poor helpless folks that need to be protected from ourselves.

    Which is why I would never join the army, or live any place that would limit the variety, or the consistency of the sex I personally love so much.

    The rules probably do need to be changed, but telling me woman need to be kept out because some fool and fooless can’t keep their hands to themselves and that we aren’t responsible for our commitments just seems so tired.

    And you know, I bet that’s what they said when we started getting women cops, woman bosses, woman lawyers. Tired, that’s all I’m sayin’, tired.

    2. I also advocate sex, a variety of it, and large amounts of it. Say two hours a day, hetero, homo, I’m not suggesting, just two (well, maybe 3) hours per day (possibly all day on the weekends, then some live music and then more sex).

  35. Skeptikos,
    Sorry if I came off snarky, but you seemed to willfully misrepresent my point about people having sex and not having sufficient discipline as thinking people were slaves to their biology. I actually agree with your entire point. However, my point was that it’s difficult to get people in such closed quarters with limited release to act so principled. I don’t think we need to ban women, but I think sepeartion is a good policy. One that people that know more than I, my pals in the military (male and female), have endorsed. Let’s simply respectfully disagree.

  36. Skeptikos:
    The rules probably do need to be changed, but telling me woman need to be kept out because some fool and fooless can’t keep their hands to themselves and that we aren’t responsible for our commitments just seems so tired.

    I am a bit bitter about women in the Military in general and the Army in particular. Being a pilot I have seen women Officers go through the same training as me using about $15 million+ of your taxpayer dollars and then get out after one or two years when they get pregnant and decided to start a family. I have seen subordinant enlisted females
    get out of work while deployed because they were banging their senior NCO’s. I have heard of cases where the dynamics of a front line service support unit were destroyed because two or three females kept changing boyfriends. When you are getting shot at everyday you can’t hold a grudge against your buddy because your old girlfriend is going out with him now.

    Of course with the England and Graner case there was more to it than just a love triangle. But I have been waiting for sometime for a story to open up what really goes on with sex in the Military because unless you have seen it up close you don’t know how bad it is.

  37. Thanks for clarifying your point, Skeptikos. I can agree in principle that if you sign a contract you should live up to it. But a contract is not a cure-all for all-too-human behavior. Not to mention that the contract is for service in defense of your country, and mentions nothing about sex. (Believe me, I’ve still got mine.) So until they trot out the annexes to the contract about sex and drugs, I still believe that when it comes right down to it – as a contract – it’s unenforceable. (Doesn’t mean you can’t still get hammered, it’s just not a violation of the agreement to serve.)

    Even so, I think anyone who expects a contract that controls other people’s sexual behavior in all its myriad and wacky manifestations is either the sort of prude who believes they can/should get to control other people’s consensual sexual behavior is probably a bit naive or a bit totalitarian.

    Dave – I’ve seen the same thing, but I’ve concluded that if you make it that much easier to be above-board about the whole thing – while hammering the actual violations I mentioned previously – it would go a long way toward squaring away the whole mess.

  38. I like this:

    “The now infamous pictures of detainees masturbating, he said, were a birthday gift for her.”

    Aw, honey, you shouldn’t have.

  39. Yeah, ain’t love grand? Ugh…

  40. Yes, consensual sex between military members harms no one –

    It sure hurts military capabilities.

    . . . IF an ADULT, WITHOUT coercion, signs a contract, like those recruits did. . . .

    And say the contract was to defend your country (like it was) and you were expected to abide by some unusual . . . restrictions on your ability to have sex with certain associates employed by your company (or army)

    Nice theory . . . doesn’t match reality. Eighteen year olds are going to sign the contract and then violate it when they get the chance. Consequently, the military must force them to abide by the contract, at least the portions that might impact military capabilities.

    Sending home those who violate the contract doesn’t nessesarly make sense. There have been a few times the guys from the brig made a big difference in a fight. So some bad ass 24 year old male soldier may be someone you want to keep in theator even though he violated the rules with a number of girls.

    The military is a tool. It has to be judged by how well it does its job of kicking ass. If sexual interactions compromise this, something has to be done. What is done should result in optimal combat capability, not any form of “fairness” or other PC crap.

  41. rob, it’s certainly understandable to make a statement like that, but only to someone from whom you can expect a reasonable amount of leeway from, like a friend or possibly your lawyer. Making it to some random person who will then turn around and tell the papers, allowing it to spread around and possibly come to the attention of one of the people who will determine your sentence is childish and shows a definite lack of self-control. Which is, I suppose, what made this problem in the first place.

  42. “Yes, consensual sex between military members harms no one –

    It sure hurts military capabilities.” –

    How? Military dating military isn’t frowned upon (in many instances) and military married to military is actually encouraged by DoD assignment practices designed to ensure married military couples are stationed in the same area.

    So my argument still stands – but I agree that the obvious primary requirement is that it must not demonstrably hurt military capabilities or shown to harm others.

    Of course, you put it better: “The military is a tool. It has to be judged by how well it does its job of kicking ass. If sexual interactions compromise this, something has to be done. What is done should result in optimal combat capability, not any form of ‘fairness’ or other PC crap.”

    I’d just add that as long as it doesn’t affect military capability (which in most cases it doesn’t), then there should be no punishment.

    Shem – True, true. But failure to be media-savvy is probably even more common for most folks than a willingness to have sex with someone they work with.

  43. How? Military dating military isn’t frowned upon (in many instances) and military married to military is actually encouraged by DoD assignment practices designed to ensure married military couples are stationed in the same area.

    Primarly, I’m thinking in terms of shipboard romance (resulting in special relationships, jealosy, babies, etc.) and field romance (sentries engaging in sex on duty, etc). Isn’t there a term: “barracks whore”?

    Certainly, you can make an argument for relationships that don’t look harmful, which I think you are talking about. However, a counter example would be Korea, IIRC cerca 1976: concearn for NK invasion leads many (~75% IIRC) of American military females to decide that duty has just become less important than personal safety. Those in relationships to military men often had their men decide that their family’s safety was more important than duty as well. Essentially, a “meltdown” in military capability due to the threat of a nasty war . . .

  44. Anyone who takes their family to Korea with them is probably a goof to start with. “Hey honey, want to move with the kids to the area where we’re most likely to face an invasion after the totalitarian gov’t realizes it’s heaving its last breath? Did I mention it’s near the most heavily armed border in the world?”

    But aside from that, I’d agree that if the relationship is causing problems the people involved in it should be told to knock it off until the mission is completed, etc. But all of the things you list are things that are in addition to sex except babies. (Special relationships, jealousy, etc.) I think that it’s bad form to get knocked up and sent home, but I see no way to close that loophole to be honest.

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