Self-Discipline or Cohabitation - Which Is a Military Fantasy?
Fields, Suzanne, Insight on the News
The soldier in the foxhole during World War II dreamed of a woman sleeping next to him. Now some soldiers in Haiti actually have a woman next to them. Men and women are sharing small tents in Haiti with no barriers for privacy, and there's nothing they can do about it. Orders are orders.
Lest someone gets the wrong idea, the commanders defend these arrangements on behalf of unit integrity. "In my opinion, it's easier to run a unit if you're able to reach out and touch everybody," says Maj. Cindy Sito, a former air defense officer now serving as Army spokeswoman in Port-au-Prince. Many of the men agree. (I'm sure they do.)
Wives waiting at home see it a little differently. A wife of a noncommissioned officer serving in Haiti worries about the potential for harassment - or the false accusations of harassment - and the lack of privacy and military readiness. She's angry.
"The shock of my spouse sleeping in the same room with the opposite sex morally outraged me," she says. "My husband and I are proud to be in service for our country. This policy may cause us to change how we uphold our freedoms and earn our living."
The public might wonder why the Army decided to conduct a social experiment in sleeping accommodations and how long it intends to wait for an evaluation of such a radical change. Pregnancy rates are one measurement, but mission success, recruitment and reenlistments will tell us something about policy, too.
It's clear that it's politically incorrect for a soldier, male or female, to complain about co-ed conditions. Harassment charges against men, however, are welcome.
The Navy, for all of its sappy capitulation to radical feminists in allowing women on combat ships, at least demands the separation of bunks and bathrooms for women and men at a cost of millions of dollars. Defense Secretary William J. Perry says shipboard environments for men and women require appropriate security and privacy, which include "a self-contained berthing area [birthing areas come later] with adequate usable bathroom and shower facilities that do not require transit through male berthing spaces to gain access." Despite this, the USS Acadia was labeled the "Love Boat" when it returned from Desert Storm because so many women came back "in the family way."
Army Sgt. Mary Rader told the Presidential Commission on the Assignment of Women in the Armed Forces that when she served in Desert Storm, men and women on guard duty warmed each other up by necking, and officers of both sexes conducted affairs with men and women of lower rank. …