Crossville Chronicle, Crossville, TN

Opinion

June 10, 2013

Stumptalk: The elephant in the room

CROSSVILLE — I recently saw video footage of the president surrounded by the heads of all the services; they had assembled to address the continuing and scandalous problem of sexual harassment in the armed forces. The elephant in the room, of course, was young women in the military serving in close quarters with young men.

In 1954 at age eighteen I joined the Navy. My reason was the same as everyone else’s in those days: to serve one hitch to satisfy the military obligation and then to get on with the rest of my life. At that time every male between 18 and 26 was subject to the draft.

Just about every boy I grew up with in my neighborhood joined the Navy; one went to law school and then joined the Air Force. Another got kicked out of the Air Force Academy when he decided that love was more important than flying jets. He got married, which was not permitted in the service academies in those days. For all of my friends and for most young men of the 1950s and 1960s, military service was a major inconvenience, so I never heard anyone complain — because no one ever did — about being denied his right to serve, only about the requirement to serve. Most served honorably and after discharge bragged about it, but few young men either enjoyed service or stayed longer than necessary. When I decided to reenlist, no one could understand and some were rude enough to say I was wasting my life. That’s the way it was in the circles in which I grew up. 

For reasons unrelated to the draft, a few women joined the services. In those days women served in administrative, clerical, or medical areas. At that time I never heard the phrase sexual harassment uttered by anyone because it was not a problem. Men and women lived separately and worked together only ashore in offices, hospitals, or clinics. Women did not serve on ships at sea or in field situations with infantry or other combat units. The armed services of those times recognized the wisdom of the ages. They did not mix hormone ravaged young men and young women together in situations guaranteed to create the problems now plaguing the armed forces.           

Why does anyone, other than pusillanimous admirals and generals and radical feminists who hate the military but want to make a political statement, think that sexual mixing in the armed forces is a good idea? What genius believes that putting healthy young men and women together in explosive, sexually charged situations is not going to cause problems? Who besides the god of political correctness benefits from these arrangements?

I served twenty years in the Navy, many of them at sea on ships with cramped living and working quarters. At sea men live and work in very close quarters. They sleep one on top of the other in cramped berthing compartments, shower in communal showers, and perform other bodily functions, always in the presence of an audience. Worse, they behave as young men have always behaved. They make crude, bawdy, and obscene remarks and they play offensive practical jokes. That’s the way men are. Why put women into the mix?

Mixing young men and young women together under these circumstances creates huge management problems, which are now causing much hand wringing and consternation among the leaders of the services who serve the god of political correctness above all others.

Young men by themselves cause enough trouble. When at sea as an independent duty hospital corpsman (a paramedic) I worked directly for the executive officer, the second in command. I saw him spend large portions of his time on personnel matters: sailors who got drunk and got into fights, sailors who got drunk and drove cars into either other cars or trees, sailors who got arrested, sailors who ran up huge debts with local merchants and then would not pay them, sailors who impregnated local girls and then refused to do the honorable thing, and so forth.

Adding women to this mix is idiotic. It increases the costs of operations and degrades readiness simply to satisfy Gloria and her progeny. Is there really a right to serve in the armed forces? Where exactly is it enumerated? Most of all, how do women benefit from the inevitable sexual harassment? Who benefits? No one; worse, women suffer, and the taxpaying citizens of the United States pay more for less.

 • • •

Stumptalk is published weekly in the Crossville Chronicle. The opinions expressed in this column are not necessarily those of the Chronicle publisher, editor or staff. To contact Stumptalk, email coordinator Jim Sykes at sykes113@frontiernet.net.

1
Text Only
Opinion
  • Lion and the Lamb: Our war on women

    Jimmy Carter, who was president from 1977 to 1981, has had quite an impressive career as an author. His first book was published in 1975, and he has now written a total of 37 books, 23 of them after his presidency. He has set a high example for other past presidents, especially those who would like to find ways of being as beneficial to their nation as possible in the days after their retirement.

    April 22, 2014

  • Tidbits: "Selfie" destruction

    Technology continues to profoundly impact our daily lives, from the Heartbleed Bug that put hundreds of thousands of websites at risk of compromising customer usernames and passwords, to the little light that tries to tell me I'm about to run out of gas. Technology also impacts our language, with new words being created to describe the latest gizmo, gadget or trend.

    April 21, 2014

  • Stumptalk: It depends on what you mean

    A writer’s headline asks, “Do we really believe in democracy?” To which I answer, “What do you mean by democracy?

    April 21, 2014

  • LION AND THE LAMB: Four ways to demonstrate opposition

    Marcus Borg and John Dominic Crossan mention in their book, “The Last Week,” that Roman-occupied Palestine during the first century was under the control of Pontius Pilate who lived in the coastal city of Caesarea. Each year at the beginning of the Passover observance when Jews celebrated their liberation from Egypt, Pilate feared that they might be getting ideas about revolting from Rome, so he would come with additional soldiers on horses to beef up the Roman garrison in Jerusalem. 

    April 15, 2014

  • WE THE PEOPLE: Is it (new) party time?

    The Democratic and Republican parties are toast, according to Joe Trippi. The Republican Party is coming apart at its Tea Party seam. Democratic candidates struggle to celebrate President Obama’s health care successes, while responding to criticism of his failed promises, e.g., government transparency.

    April 15, 2014

  • TIDBITS: I found it at the library

    I have such fond memories of going to my local library as a child, searching through shelf after shelf and finding a book that would make me a Little Princess in World War II England, or bring me along as Nancy Drew solved the Secret in the Old Attic.

    April 14, 2014

  • STUMPTALK: The reason words have meaning

    If words did not have accepted meanings we would not be able to communicate effectively and civilized society would not exist.

    April 14, 2014

  • Lion and the Lamb: Do we really believe in democracy?

    The recent Supreme Court decision, McCutcheon v. Federal Election Commission, is in a long line of debates about power in a democracy. Should power be in the hands of all the citizens or should it be in hands of those who have greater wealth and social position?

    April 8, 2014

  • We the People: Public education or business opportunity?

    A month ago, we followed the money trail left by a ‘think tank’ to the major sources funding an attack on our traditional, locally controlled public schools. We saw that a handful of billionaires provide major support to many organizations lobbying for change.

    April 8, 2014

  • Stumptalk: Just another government lie?

    There is a vault located in Fort Knox, Kentucky. It was built in 1936 and encased in 16 cubic feet of granite and 4200 feet of cement. The door is made of 20-inch thick material that is immune to drills, torches and explosives.

    April 7, 2014

Marketplace Marquee
Parade
Must Read
Section Teases
Seasonal Content
AP Video
Bon Jovi Helps Open Low-income Housing in Philly Pipeline Opponents Protest on National Mall Hagel Gets Preview of New High-tech Projects S.C. Man Apologizes for Naked Walk in Wal-Mart New Country Music Hall of Fame Inductees Named 'Piles' of Bodies in South Sudan Slaughter New Yorkers Celebrate Cherry Blossom Blooms SCOTUS Hears Tv-over-Internet Case Justice Dept. Broadening Criteria for Clemency Chief Mate: Crew Told to Escape After Passengers 'Miss Meadows' Takes Holmes Back to Her Roots Biden: Russia Must Stop Talking, Start Acting David Moyes Out As Manchester United Manager Raw: Leopard Bites Man in India Iowa College Finds Beauty in Bulldogs High Court to Hear Dispute of TV Over Internet Stowaway Teen Forces Review of Airport Security
Hyperlocal Search
Premier Guide
Find a business

Walking Fingers
Maps, Menus, Store hours, Coupons, and more...
Premier Guide
Weather Radar
2014 Readers' Choice