Why the War is Sexist (And Why We Can’t Ignore Gender Anymore)

News Abroad

Huibin Amee Chew graduated with a degree in Women's Studies and Social Studies from Harvard College in 2004. As a student, she was active in anti-war and student-labor solidarity organizing, but became increasingly aware of the lack of an outlet for her feminist consciousness in her anti-war work. She now works for the Chinese Progressive Association, a community organization in Boston, Chinatown, and is a founding member of the Coalition to Defend Reproductive Rights. Through education and direct action such as clinic defense, the Coalition to Defend Reproductive Rights seeks to organize around the lack of access to safe reproductive healthcare. The following article was prepared in connection with a conference sponsored by Historians Against the War in February at the University of Texas, Austin.

“Our sons made the ultimate sacrifice, and we want answers” – Cindy Sheehan on truthout.org

“Nice puss – bad foot” – Caption under the photo of an Iraqi woman whose leg was destroyed by a landmine, on a website allowing soldiers to swap pictures of dead Iraqis for free access to pornography

Refusing to be silenced as a military parent, Cindy Sheehan’s courageous voice has lent new urgency to stopping the war in Iraq. “Mother Cindy” has been likened to a Rosa Parks of the anti-war movement. Both widely recognized women served as symbolic figures to help bring the weight of a larger base of organizing to bear on the public.

Yet today we have an anti-war movement which largely fails to point out connections between war, and U.S. patriarchy or gendered domestic inequalities. To galvanize organizing against militarism to its full potential, we must question its gender-blind approach. In fact, Sheehan came as a surprise to segments of the movement which prioritized looking to the troops and potential recruits as the centers of resistance. Sheehan and Hurricane Katrina remind us that as the war’s effects are much broader, we can expect and should look to support rebellion from a variety of mutually reinforcing fronts.

What would it mean to put not just Cindy’s son at the center of outrage, but women like Sheehan herself, as military mothers, wives, and partners? How have these women themselves, not just the troops, been militarized, manipulated, and exploited? What would it mean for the anti-war movement to interpret women like Sheehan as activists and agents fighting against exploitation which directly affects them in their own right – not just as stand-ins for others’ struggles, defined by a male-dominated left?

Below is a numbered list of suggestions for how to apply a gender analysis to the war – how to understand its links with U.S. patriarchy. Like lists enumerating “Why the War is Racist” which have circulated in the U.S., the below reasons get at why the war must be understood as sexist. This list is a start, by no means meant to be exhaustive, at offering a wider understanding of who is hurt by imperialism.

  • Soldiers are not the only – or main – casualties of war.

The ideology of militarism glorifies soldiers, focusing our attention on their heroism and sacrifice. The U.S. anti-war movement has largely not escaped this soldier-centered paradigm – causing a gender bias in who it recognizes as ultimately suffering from war.

In the 20 th century, 90 percent of all war deaths have been of unarmed women, children, and men. As the occupation wears on, more and more Iraqi women and girls are killed – reported as “collateral damage.” Bombs and modern war weapons murder and maim noncombatant women in approximately equal numbers to noncombatant men – even if from the U.S. perspective, men make up the vast majority of our war dead. Soldiers are not those primarily losing their lives in this occupation. At the same time, note that U.S. imperialism benefits from certain strategies that maximize “collateral damage” (such as using long-distance, high tech weapons rather than infantry), because these also minimize our own soldiers’ deaths and the potential public relations blowup. The tendency to devalue the enemies’ lives is reinforced by not only racist but also sexist ideologies – history is made by “our boys,” and enemy females’ deaths are not even acknowledged.

Putting U.S. soldiers’ deaths abroad in the context of other wartime deaths occurring at home causes another shift in perspective. For example, during World War II, U.S. industrial workers were more likely than U.S. soldiers to die or be injured. Historian Catherine Lutz observes, “The female civilians who worked on bases or in war industries can be seen as no less guardians or risk-takers than people in uniform.”1 This is not to downplay the amount of suffering and exploitation soldiers are forced to endure, but to widen our scope of who we recognize as affected in war.

  • The economic harms of war are exacerbated by patriarchy for women – both within the U.S. and in Iraq.

With the destruction of Iraq’s economy, women and girls have suffered especially from deprivations. In the article, “Occupation is Not (Women’s) Liberation: Confronting ‘Imperial Feminism’ and Building a Feminist Anti-War Movement,” I discuss in detail some gendered ways Iraqi women and girls disproportionately bear certain effects of the country’s economic collapse – from unemployment to the dramatic drop in female literacy.

In the U.S., poor women bear the brunt of public service cuts. In Massachusetts, for example, most Medicaid recipients, graduates of state and community colleges, welfare and subsidized childcare recipients, are women – and all these programs have faced budget slashes. Most families living in poverty are headed by single mothers.

Furthermore, imperialism helps to intensify and increase unpaid labor that is performed by women in their traditional gender roles. Childcare, healthcare, homemaking all become heavier without public sector aid – whether due to economic collapse in occupied lands, or imperialist austerity in the aggressor nation. For instance, as hospitals are destroyed or become unavailable, women in both Iraq and the U.S. disproportionately shoulder responsibility for their families’ healthcare. As schools close or childcare becomes unaffordable, women are strained with extra work watching children. Alarmingly, industrialized nations plan to impose IMF Structural Adjustment Programs on Iraq because of its sovereign debt. Feminist scholars have documented how SAPs have disproportionately harmed Third Worldwomen across the globe in terms of health, education, and overwork.

U.S. women from military families, and wives of government contractors, are saddled with the unpaid task of holding the family together until their spouse returns. As the heads of single-parent households, these women take increased responsibility for homemaking and childcare, on top of their jobs. One brother of a serviceman put it: “Soldiers may enlist, but their families are drafted.”

That the military depends on such women to figuratively “oil its machinery” by maintaining troop morale is evidenced by its creation of “support groups” for military wives, even while it simultaneously lengthens troop deployments to cope with overstretch. Rather than being dismissed as a mere service for needy women, these support groups should be seen as an attempt to strategically harness and propel women’s labor – including their performance of correct, sexually loyal roles – that the troops’ emotional functioning and lack of rebellion partly relies upon.2 Bluntly, the Pentagon is responding to its post-invasion recruitment shortage by drawing on reserves, increasing deployments – and laying the economic, emotional strain on women of military families. These ‘support groups’ are a cheap alleviation for structural oppression and exploitation, in the larger context of imperialism’s priorities.

At the same time, our government’s distorted agenda, sharpened in this period of outright military aggression, harnesses and compounds economic sexism that pre-dates the Iraq war. Given U.S. history, patriarchy’s operation cannot be disentangled from pre-existing structural racism either. Racist incarceration which disproportionately targets black communities intensifies black women’s unpaid labor heading single households – even as women on workfare-welfare are kept out of decent jobs. Arab, South Asian, Muslim, and immigrant women are similarly strained by the detention of their partners and family members under the War on Terror.

  • Militarization intensifies the sexual commodification of women.

Feminist anthropologists such as Cynthia Enloe have documented how the U.S. military perpetuates the sexual commodification of women around military bases both in the U.S. and abroad, to manage and motivate its largely male workforce.3 Additionally, we must analyze collusion between foreign and indigenous patriarchies under imperialism in exacerbating women’s oppression. 

Following a pattern observed across different conflict regions by feminist scholars, Iraqi women face increasing pressures to earn their subsistence from men by bartering their sexuality. This is due to a lack of other economic options under both military attack and oppressive gender relations. In Baghdad, prostitution reportedly became widespread between the fall of the Hussein administration in April 2003 and November 2003, as women disproportionately suffered growing poverty.4 Today, reports have surfaced of young Iraqi teens working in Syrian brothels, after being displaced from Fallujah where U.S. forces launched brutal offensives and chemical weapons attacks on civilians. Sexual violence, as well as the trafficking of Iraqi women and girls, showed horrific rises almost immediately after the invasion and continue. While initially perpetrated largely by Iraqi men,5 these rapes and abductions were exacerbated by the occupation force’s negligence and inability to establish security – its priorities, afterall, have been to secure the oil.

The U.S. anti-war left was in general embarrassingly unsure how to address such violence, inconveniently at the hands of Iraqis rather than U.S. forces – let alone suggest an adequate remedy which might have direct effects on the problem, besides calls for a (male-led) resistance to replace the occupiers. But an understanding of the gender dynamics typical of wartime economies would press the need to provide solidarity for Iraqi anti-occupation movements for women’s rights. The U.S. anti-war movement largely has not treated freedom from sexual violence as a human right equal to Iraqi struggles for food, water, shelter, or healthcare. Meanwhile, as the occupation persists, with growing contact between military forces and Iraqi civilians, sexual brutality by both U.S. troops and Iraqi police under occupation authority has increased.

Jennifer Fasulo is co-founder of Solidarity with Organization of Women’s Freedom in Iraq (SOWFI), a U.S.-based group providing political support to an anti-occupation, feminist women’s group in Iraq. She reminds us of the specific historical and geopolitical context of the occupation, pointing out that the conflict has intensified the growing religious fundamentalist movement in Iraq – opposed by Iraqi feminists and socialists – including segments that systematically perpetrate violence against and harassment of women. The rise of Islamist fundamentalism throughout the Middle East is not merely indigenous, but has its roots in U.S. support, which recruited and imported Islamist militias as opposition to secular, democratic and socialist movements throughout earlier decades.

  • Militarization helps perpetuate sexual violence, domestic violence, and violence against women – both in the U.S. and Iraq.

Even though women serve as soldiers, the U.S. military is a misogynist, homophobic institution that relies on patriarchal ideologies and relations to function – with effects on larger society, as well as the countries we occupy or station bases. While the racist ideologies behind the war are regularly paid lip service by activists, we less frequently raise how this war depends on sexism. But the military and its public support are based on deeply embedded patriarchal values and practices.

The U.S. military trains men to devalue, objectify and demean traits traditionally associated with women. It molds men into a gender role of violent masculinity defined in opposition to femininity. By ‘violent masculinity’ I mean a mode of operating that glorifies violence as a solution to tension – and that is unaccountable to the feminine/civilian ‘protected’ in that the masculine/soldier ‘protectors’ are encouraged not to view these people as their equals. Feminist historian Catherine Lutz observes militarism teaches us, “we prove and regenerate ourselves through violence.”6

One soldier reported his training in boot camp:

“Who are you?” “Killers!”

“What do you do?” “We kill! We kill! We kill!”

Furthermore, soldiers are purposefully trained to eroticize violence – from a heterosexual, male-aggressor perspective, even if some soldiers are gay and some are women. For example, during the first Gulf War, Air Force pilots watched pornographic movies before bombing missions to psyche themselves up.7 Until 1999, hardcore pornography was available at military base commissaries, which were one of its largest purchasers.8

The military teaches soldiers to internalize the misogynistic role of violent masculinity, so they can function psychologically. At the 2003 Air Force Academy Prom, men were given fliers – using tax-payer dollars – which read, “You Shut the Fuck Up! We’ll Protect America. Get out of our way, you liberal pussies!” They were then treated to a play which provided instructions on how to stimulate a female’s clitoris and nipples to get her vaginal juice flowing (in case she was otherwise unwilling?).9

 Alarmingly but not so surprisingly, according to the Veterans Association itself, over 80 percent of recent women veterans report experiencing sexual harassment, and 30 percent rape or attempted rape, by other military personnel.10 Crimes of sexual violence by military personnel are shocking – and institutionally ignored. Over the course of several years, a two-year-old girl was repeatedly raped by her Air Force father, who also invited his fellow servicemen to gang rape her. Eventually, he was simply allowed to retire; today, a decade later, he receives a pension and is fighting to claim his daughter’s custody.11 Lawyer Dorothy Mackey of Survivors Take Action Against Abuse by Military Personnel (STAMP) reports that of the 4,300 sexual assault and abuse cases she is handling which were brought up to military and government officials, only 3 were actually prosecuted. In Mackey’s own experience as a survivor of repeated sexual assault by military personnel, her attempt to press charges was opposed by the Department of Justice as a threat to national security.12

The U.S. Inspector General reported that military service is more conducive to domestic violence than any other occupation, citing the military’s authoritarianism, use of physical force in training, as well as the stress of frequent moves and separations as factors.13 The military’s institutional sexism and indifference to violence against women could be added! A checklist used by the military to determine if rape reports are valid lists a women’s financial problems with her partner, and “demanding” medical treatment, as factors indicating she’s lying.14 The Army recently offered the perk of free breast implants for servicewomen, so its surgeons could “get practice.” Meanwhile, it has a drastic shortage of rape kits in combat regions and refuses to pay for servicewomen’s abortions even in the case of rape.

A therapist who practices near a large Army Base and treats soldiers returning from Iraq reported escalating domestic violence ever since troops began coming back, and wife-killings in bases at an all-time high – covered up by the Army.15 She also discussed soldiers’ addictions to pornography, cultivated over their service, as a source of sexual selfishness and abuse towards their partners. Pornography trained the soldiers to use women’s bodies as masturbatory devices.

Militarism’s patriarchal roles extend into larger culture, not just ideologically in terms of how little boys broadly are taught to be soldiers – but institutionally, as well. Phoebe Jones of Global Women’s Strike and Survivors Take Action Against Abuse by Military Personnel (STAAAMP) places the Abu Ghraib scandal in the context of a prison-military complex of abuse:

It’s all connected… You have prison guards here, like Charles Grainer [implicated in the Abu Ghraib abuse scandal], who go to Iraq and abuse people there. Then you have soldiers come back from Iraq or Afghanistan getting jobs as prison guards, and they rape and abuse people. The military could stop it if they want to, but they don’t want to. They’re socializing men into doing this.16

Prison torture was outsourced to U.S. companies using personnel from domestic prisons. Beyond this the prison-military complex, the impact of rape culture nurtured by the military can be traced through U.S. society further. In 1997, the number one reason for veterans to be in prison at the state, federal, or local level was for sexual assault.17 An exploration of the effects of militarism on socialization, and institutions from school to family, are outside the scope of this brief essay – but must be considered.

The impact of violence against women cannot be separated from racial and economic hierarchy, even though these pieces are often analyzed without reference to each other. One result of Hurricane Katrina – little responded to by the left – was the devastation of domestic violence shelters and sexual assault services. The Louisiana Coalition Against Domestic Violence describes poor women forced to live in homeless shelters, experiencing rape and physical abuse from partners they have been unable to escape, on top of the storm’s destruction.18 Of course FEMA did not provide alleviation. Yet rather than critiquing the government’s patriarchal failings, the left allowed right-wing reports of abounding chaos (laced with racist undertones) to fill the gap of explaining sexual abuse. Needless to say, poor and non-white women disproportionately face a lack of recourses to gendered violence. For instance, although violence against women cuts across class, women on welfare suffer especially high rates of domestic and sexual violence – a direct result of having less freedom to leave their abusers.19 And again, government policy is involved; welfare law, purportedly to encourage ‘strong’ families, denies funds to poor women who leave their partners, requiring their economic dependency and endurance of abuse.  

  • Militarization and war decrease women’s control over their reproduction.

Just months after the invasion, increased back alley abortions were reported in Baghdad as women lost access to healthcare and contraception. In the U.S., budget stringency means that policies like universal healthcare and free contraception on demand will appear to remain a distant realities. Since women, not men, get pregnant, the lack of reproductive healthcare is an issue of women’s equality – affecting women’s control of their labor, bodies, and futures.

Furthermore, a Christian right-wing takeover of the U.S. political scene has reframed debates over “morality” in terms of issues like abortion and gay rights – diverting outrage away from, say, the economic exploitation of this administration and its war policy, to the treatment of a clump of cells and who one loves. The Christian conservative movement focuses its political intervention more on directly controlling individuals’ personal behavior, than on altering the structures of society to alleviate inequality and meet human needs. In our historical context, the ideology and agenda of limiting women’s control over their reproduction is connected to U.S. imperialism – and thus has much broader implications than strictly women’s reproductive health. For one, imperialism relies on a gendered reproductive division of labor, that trains poor men to be soldiers while valorizing motherhood for women, the better to exploit their women’s paid and unpaid labor. I am unable to do a full exploration of these connections in this essay – but they demand thought and examination!  

  • Militarization and conflict situations result in a restriction of public space for women – impacting their political expression.

Feminist scholars have observed the physical barriers to women’s public access in conflict situations time and again. In Iraq, due to insecurity, women are restricted from seeking healthcare, attending school and work. Such limitations have shaped the trajectory and form of women’s organizing, as well. When the political actors are men, women’s bodies and behavior risk becoming a battleground to be fought over by others – they risk marginalization in the political sphere unless they are able to actively organize around an agenda that takes into account their gendered position.

Within the U.S., the anti-war movement’s troop-centered analysis has also shaped women’s space politically, if not necessarily physically. Military mothers like Cindy Sheehan are publicly recognized for their connection to the troops – and specifically, their stance of support for rather than conflict with individual troops. An analysis of gender which problematizes the effects of violent masculinity is less welcome.

  • Occupation will not bring women’s liberation.

As an occupier with little accountability to the Iraqi people (or the U.S. public), the U.S. government is not capable of – or interested in – bringing democracy and liberation to Iraqis. At the very best, U.S. officials have merely “played two sides of the fence” with regard to women’s rights – bartering them away when convenient in order to maintain power. But at worst, three long years later, events have made it tragically clear in all its horrific consequences that the continued occupation’s primary goals have been the economic, political, and military interests of a U.S. elite – with as much non-transparency as possible for the sake of public relations. A lengthier discussion of the specific historical and geopolitical forces at work in the U.S. occupation of Iraq, bearing on Iraqi women’s positions, was the subject ofa previous essay, “Occupation is Not (Women’s) Liberation: Confronting Imperial Feminism and Building a Feminist Anti-War Movement.”


Imperialism requires particular gender relations to function. Little boys are taught that soldiering is a rite of passage – a vehicle to manly respect. The public learns that soldiering – and now serving as security or emergency personnel – entitles a special claim to citizenship, to this country and its offerings, even if in actuality such promises do not really materialize. But that is P.R. to boost recruitment. And by valorizing the violent, masculine protector at the expense of the feminine, at the expense of women, the state and society extract women’s labor at undervalued rates, preserving a gendered division of labor at women’s expense, and reinforce male sexual entitlement. Part of the military’s appeal to (heterosexual) men, the boost to troop morale it relies on, is the male privilege it promises to offer over economically dependent, sexually available women.

The military uses the work of women, sectored into patriarchal and exploitative economic relations, to function – whether as marginalized soldiers, military wives, sex workers, or civilians.

A gender analysis – a recognition of the connections between imperialism and U.S. patriarchy – drastically widens the spectrum of people we must consider the ‘casualties’ of war, and deepens our understanding of imperialism. Not only does the war perpetuate sexist inequality and patriarchy, but also it enlists patriarchal relations – economic, sexual, and ideological – to carry out its operations. I have outlined ways women are affected by the war – both as distinct from men, and disproportionately compared to men, due to gendered workings. Righting these injustices requires special attention to gender, and is not guaranteed by merely opposing the war.

We must recognize the connections between the war in Iraq and patriarchy at home – and resist.

“Americans have thousands of media outlets to choose from. But they still have to visit a porn site to see what this war has done to the bodies of the dead and the souls of the living. One of the pictures... depicts a woman whose right leg has been torn off by a land mine... a medical worker is holding the mangled stump up to the camera. The woman’s vagina is visible.. The caption for this picture reads: ‘Nice puss - bad foot.’”– About website allowing soldiers to swap pictures of dead Iraqis for free access to pornography

“There are plenty of women in Fallujah who have testified they were raped by American soldiers... They are nearby the secondary school for girls inside Fallujah. When people came back.. they found so many girls.. totally naked and.. killed.” -- Website (Click here.)

1 Homefront: A Military City and the American 20 th Century, by Catherine Lutz, p.46

2 This analysis presented by Cynthia Enloe during a talk in MIT in 2003. Enloe would count sex workers around military bases, and female military personnel, as other women enlisted, both formally and informally, by the military, to facilitate its operation.

3 In the current Iraq war, girls and teens displaced from U.S.-destroyed cities like Fallujah have been traced to the sex trade in Syria.

4 UNIFEM; http://www.womenwarpeace.org/iraq/iraq.htm

5 More recently, with greater contact between U.S. troops and Iraqi civilians compared to early on in the occupation, sexual violence against Iraqis perpetuated by occupying forces has increased.

6 in Homefront, by Catherine Lutz

7 Michael Rogin in “‘Make My Day!’ Spectacle as Amnesia in Imperial Politics.” Cultures of United States Imperialism. Durham: Duke University Press, 1993. See also Robert Jenson in “Blow Bangs and Cluster Bombs: The Cruelty of Men and Americans,” Not For Sale: Feminists Resisting Prostitution and Pornography.

8 http://www.feministpeacenetwork.org/MVAW.htm

9 Dorothy Mackey of Survivors Take Action Against Abuse by Military Personnel, 2004 Boston Social Forum.

10 http://www.womenagainstrape.net/Latest%20News/MackeyPaper.htm

11 Dorothy Mackey, private communication, Aug. 9, 2005.

12 in “Rape Nation,” http://www.alternet.org/rights/19134/

13 http://www.feministpeacenetwork.org/MVAW.htm

14 in “Rape Nation,” http://www.alternet.org/rights/19134/

15 http://www.quakerhouse.org/costs-of-war-01.htm

16 in “Rape Nation,” http://www.alternet.org/rights/19134/

17 http://www.womenagainstrape.net/Latest%20News/MackeyPaper.htm

18 http://www.lcadv.org/

19 http://www.mincava.umn.edu/library/articles/#506, for instance, see “Poverty, Welfare, and Battered Women: What Does the Research Tell Us?” by Eleanor Lyon

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More Comments:

Peter K. Clarke - 10/9/2007

Willis: Your comment is devoid of meaning beyond blind rebuttal. I have been reading HNN regularly for five years and this has to be among the most asinine comments of the 83,000+ made here so far. If you somehow think that your devotion to your military history reading hobby proves that non-military reasons for foreign adventurism do not exist, then I would recommend reading a bit more widely.

Peter K. Clarke - 10/9/2007

I think the article makes a number of good points, even if it is long on rhetoric and short on historical context. The main point, hammered home repeatedly, is that manifold horrific side effects accompany war, conquest, and armed occupation (only the latter of which truly applies to Iraq since 2003, by the way), and the main implication is the terrible squandering of America’s might and reputation that is resulting from the incompetent misues of this awful power as a FIRST resort, and under deceptive pretenses, rather than as a last resort. What bogs the article down more than anything else, however, is its ritualistic reliance on archaic cliches such as "imperialism."

Rome was an empire, but did Caesar motivate Romans to go shopping to support the glory of the realm? Britain had a global empire, but did the East India Company wait "until after Labor Day" to "launch" its "new product" on the subcontinent?

Please get this through your heads, people, George W. Bush is as much a great imperialist as Mickey Mouse is a lion. We are in Iraq because Rove convinced him that it presented a good opportunity with which to run in 2004 as a "war president," and outflank the fossilized spineless Democrats. There is no coherent U.S. strategy in Iraq today, Patrick, et. al., because, for the Washington D.C. traitors who foisted this blunder-ridden mess on us, their "mission" WAS "accomplished" already in November 2004, when the couch potato fake-Christian American swing voters gave these chickenhawks the legitimacy they failed to gain in Florida in 2000.

I appreciate the interesting mix of comments on this board, and it is especially welcome to hear a female voice, from outside the USA (a great rarity on both counts), but too many posts (including many of hers) suffer, as does the article itself, from excessive resort to prefab buzzwords and stock agendas in place of clear and relevant thinking.

Peter K. Clarke - 10/9/2007

Mr. M., Some of your prior comments here are insightful but the the last two paragraphs of this most recent post leap from common sense to absurdity. That raping and pillaging are part and parcel of warmaking generally is hardly an "act of faith." Try Naimark's "Russians in Germany", or "Fires of Hatred" if you think the Children's Crusade is the only instance of brutality towards women and children occuring during wartime.

Peter K. Clarke - 10/9/2007

While I appreciate that Willis is after all willing to state his theories rather simply engage in Kindergarten comparisons about "reading lists", a war buff does not a historian make. "Fast forwarding" is not a standard historical tool. Dates, for example, are.

The identification of "Saddam’s Iraq as the epicenter of conventional and unconventional military power, and one which could no longer be left in his hands" was widely apparent in the early 1980s. The invasion of Iraq took place in 2003. Historians use dates because they often, as in this case, expose bogus attributions of cause and effect.

You have a lot of good ideas in your post, Patrick. I am skeptical about the ceasefire approach, however. There is no clear counterparty with whom to arrange such a truce, and most of the murky assemblage of shifting enemies who might qualify as candidates for part-time service in that role seem pathologically incapable of ever adhering to any meaningful cessation of violence. I seen no signs of them inflitrating any of Willis's beloved shopped malls in the foreseeable future, nor do I think we could kill them all in Iraq even if we had competent leaders supported by the American people. I do think it would be possible for America go about things in ways that would create NEW enemies for it at a markedly slower pace what it has suffered under the misrule of Cheney and his chickenhawks. But, I see no major positive improvements as long as these bungling traitors are in power, in office, and not impeached, on trial, or in prison.

Patrick M. Ebbitt - 9/24/2006

Dear Mr. Thomas,

Your write, "Before 1250, the arabs had fought well against our Crusaders"

What country are you from?

As a God fearing, red, white & blue American, born and bred, I am very interested in hearing the perspective of a foreigner regarding my nations adventure in Iraq. We get to hear from so very few foreign posters like you at HNN and your viewpoint would be appreciated. As my country is only 230 years young and never participated in the Crusades a foreigner like you may be able to share your lands experience in successfully dealing with Arab peoples.

One of the fears many of us in my country have is that a few of my fellow countrymen support the Iraq War for the wrong reasons. Whereas I believe my country is in Iraq to remove a tyrannical dictator, establish democracy, bring freedom/peace/stability/friendship and build strong alliances with the great peoples of Iraq others in my country are of a different mind. My country has a vociferous minority that is racist, warmongering, opportunist and bloodthirsty. This small minority, really no more than a few percent of my countries population and growing exponentially smaller by the minute, view Arabs as Godless non-white lesser beings of totally expendable life and open to full exploitation by my countries economic interests and dictates.

Any foreign insight you can share from either a personal or your nations perspective would be of great benefit to the readers of this site.

Patrick M. Ebbitt - 9/24/2006

Dear Mr. Willis,

You write, "You have absolutely no idea what you're talking about as pertains to the political/military situation, strategic or tactical, in Iraq. You are too cocooned in your hatred to want to understand it. Even when it is presented to you over and again, in exactly the same terms, you refuse delivery."


"If you ever open your mind and heart enough to consider the truth of the matter, say so and we can talk."

My mind is yours Swami... explain the geo-political/military/strategic/ tactical dynamics of the Iraq War... keep the language simple so that even a vegatard such as I can understand...

This should be good...

Patrick M. Ebbitt - 9/24/2006

Dear Ms. Paul,

The term 'kool aid' or drinking thereof, refers to a poison laced concoction allegedly fed to the 914 followers of the Reverend Jim Jones and his Peoples Temple cult on November 18, 1978 mass suicide in Guyana, SA

Kool Aid is a child's soft drink and a term progressives use to describe rabid right wingers who in lemming like fashion die en masse for any/all of their misguided causes... Republicans drink kool aid for GW Bush...

Jim Jones, a charlatan drug addict, had extensive ties to the GOP, created his own city Jonestown, Guyana and bilked his followers for all their material wealth... Typical Republican...

Patrick M. Ebbitt - 9/24/2006

As the right rails against the treatment and degradation of woman in the Arab World the State of South Dakota has virtually banned abortion even, in cases of rape and incest, while Missouri has outlawed the distribution of contraceptives in county clinics. Two Republican strongholds with disproportionately high rape and incest rates per capita.

Further, Mr Krauthammer in his weekly WAPO wing-nut feed trough highlights the unique institution of polygamy as "the province of secretive Mormons, primitive Africans and profligate Arabs" and spews forth blame against the cause of seeking legitimacy over criminality of polygamy on gays and the push for legalization of gay marriage. Talk about a disconnect. Nowhere in his screed does he discuss the psychological damage done to women locked in polygamous arrangements. Can't do that as most all US Polygamists are Republicans. Don't want to offend/alienate the base.

The treatment of women in the US is deplorable.

Before we go lifting up any burqas we better be sure our own skirt isn't blowing upward to reveal our panties.

Patrick M. Ebbitt - 9/24/2006


You make many well articulated, excellent points. Your opening clearly cites the 1st Law of History-- It's written by people who aren't born yet.

And, you're light years ahead of me as to your pedigree as a historian... I am just a lowly businessman...

The causes of the Iraq War, in my uneducated opinion, is a multi-facet gem centering on economics particularly oil, cultural gaps and historical precedence including, the US need to cleanup the remnants of the faded British empire and blowback against our own failed policy over the last 86 years dating back to 1920. The 1991 cease fire agreement coupled with Iraqi violations over 12 years gave the Administration carte blanche to deal with Saddam as they pleased to which they have haphazardly brought us to the wars 3rd anniversary. Sans 100K dead, Abu Ghraib, al Fallujah, a democratic elected theocracy, death squads and a destroyed infrastructure there is not enough byte space at this site to explain away that this misadventure is anything less than what it is... a catastrophe.

I'll pass on your 911 explanation as I believe it was strictly a Saudi military/financed/motivated/trained/coordinated operation that had nothing to do with Iraq or OBL. Your WMD line of reasoning will require some proof either in the form of found materials or the debunking of Hans Blix, Richard Butler and Scott Ritter or your vetting of Plame or Downing Street Memo.

Your talking points about media manipulation are well founded as the few stories of success and progress are not reported. These tales don't sell newspapers. On the other hand the crowing right... Humes, Barnes, Krauthammer, Kristol, Hitchens, Will et al... severely weakened the American public resolve by trumpeting the 'cakewalk' talk of the Administration only days into the offensive. Instead of indoctrinating the public to the travails of the hard struggle ahead many were lulled to sleep only to awake three years later to see the war still raging. Watching the Sunday morning talk shows today these same rats are showing yellow by now jumping off a burning ship... Nancy girls. The mouthing of Mr. Rumsfeld and "Last Throes" Cheney have done nothing the stiffen the spine of the public or fill the leadership void the nation requires. A nation at war yet, never placed on war footing with tax cuts to boot.

Mr. Bush never stated the words "Mission Accomplished" in his May 1, 2003 speech. He didn't have to as it was posted in BOLD LETTERS behind his 'cod pieced' back. Mr. Hitler never said many of the quotes attributed to him however, the visuals of his propaganda machine implanted images in the minds eye of the German populace. I am sure you recall the silent, musically enhanced films of Leni Riefenstahl?

You write, "It is important that we not discount the complaints, but it is more important that we recognize that these voices are neither a majority or even a representative sample." The 72% of troops engaged in Iraq who believe we need to be out of country over the next twelve months coupled with 8000 desertions from an all volunteer army shoot down this farm raised chucker.

You then write, "The campaign in Afghanistan, and the toppling of Saddam were simply two missions among the many to come." That's awfully big of you... willing to go on for years allowing someone else to do your fighting and dying. Where do you stop... Iran? Syria? North Korea? Will your war last long enough so that your children have the opportunity to die for your vanity?

The flypaper strategy isn't working as well as you insist or seem to believe... if this were true "Operation Swarmer" the biggest offensive since the initial shock and awe campaign would not be underway as we chat. And, there are still very few, if any foreign fighters in Iraq. We are killing native Sunni's the people we are supposed to be defending. Can you say irony?

I'll pass on the 'roaches' comment... racism is not my bag...

There is no need for me to fire away you are a lost cause. A proponent of perpetual war and you offer no alternative options.

My only solution at this time is that the US propose a full, unilateral cease fire. The Murtha/Rumsfeld solution of redeployment while Iraqi's fight it out is a terrible idea. Paraphrasing Colin Powell... we broke it, we bought it... as anything less would allow a repeat of the US failure to stop Saddam from mass killings following the '91 war. A cease fire would allow all parties to get a much needed break especially, the beleaguered Iraqi Security Forces, allow the main players now sorted out by three years of fighting to take a seat at the table to discuss grievances and give a war weary populace a breather and maybe some water/ electricity/medical care. We see some recent movement here as the US and Iran will begins talks on how to quell the Iraq violence.

Finally, you are absolutely correct in that we have only touched the surface as there are many more deaths, atrocities and domestic infighting to come. Hold on tight this ride has just begun.

Patrick M. Ebbitt - 9/24/2006


Long time no terrorize...

I am unable to spell deplorable let alone provide a definition... my spell checker keeps correcting me by highlighting A-B-O-R-T-I-O-N...

Polygamy seemed to be the topic de jour for your namesake this morning. Mr. Krauthammer's scales were on end and it was discussed on local talk radio. One caller stated that it was just the Republican's eating their own. Now that's funny.

When bad things happen to bad people you won't see any schadenfraude on my part but, you guys are really struggling for a strawman to take the heat of this failed administration and the mid-term elections... polygamy... at least it's an all inclusive concept one that Republican's strive for at the polls.

Yes, Utah is the center of the Democrats fund raising universe maybe the DNC can hold their convention in SLC. Howard Dean would be a big hit singing with the MTC.

Don't take it too hard that the GOP is loaded with perverts always look at the bright side you guys still have Fred Phelps...

Patrick M. Ebbitt - 9/24/2006


Come out of your cave and into the sunlight...

constitutional equality, abortion rights/ reproductive issues, domestic violence/rape, divorce/single mother parenting, health issues, lesbian rights, career/glass ceiling/low earner/equal pay issues. elder parent care... how many more issues need listed and where would you like to start the discussion?

Mr. Krauthammer, a leader within your party, is responsible for kicking off the polygamy debate and for you to be in denial that Republicans are free of sexual perversions is absurd.

Reasonable probability would dictate that a fair percentage of NAMBLA/NARAL members are GOP'ers. Where's your proof that Democrats have taken money from these two despicable groups... only for the sake of argument mind you as I am a registered Libertarian... Where's your proof that your nemesis Soros is tied to these sick groups?

If the only tag you can smear me with is that I am an effeminate I'll gladly take that as a compliment. I'll be sure to look you up next time you're cruising at the Blue Parrot...

Patrick M. Ebbitt - 9/24/2006

Dear Mr. Miller,

No need to call me 'sir' as my father is still alive. My friends call me Patrick. It's odd but, when I read words like "glorious" to describe our nation thoughts of Herr Shicklegruber and goose-stepping troops nattily attired immediately come to mind.

As an author, a very good one at that, your lack of concern for those handful of citizens who look upon Arab peoples in a racist light is understandable. A historian would not pass on this dynamic. What I do find interesting however, is your response or lack thereof to the question of Mr. Thomas' reference to "our crusade". You neither condemned nor supported this concept.

Your response centered on issues that I never questioned. Free speech or criminalization of selected speech, Ms. Chew's 'lefty' right to publish as she pleases, the use or misuse of the word hegemony to describe US foreign policy and the fact that very real enemies are afoot striving to end our existence. The only point I'll take issue with from your non-answer is that your mindset suits the majority of posters at this site but, that is for another time.

By the way, your article "Why Hasn't There Been a Civil War" is excellent. I also read John Burns' recent reports that contradict your premise and agree with Mr. Thomas that there is a dearth of factual information coming from Iraq. Keep up the good work and be safe.

Patrick M. Ebbitt - 9/24/2006

Dear Frederick,

You're very quick, quite knowledge and extremely intelligent. I should've known better than to try to slide one by you as you're probably one of the best posters here at HNN. I pale in comparison but, believe it or not, I agree with many of your ideas. It is only the sorta/kinda far out in right field thoughts that you toss into play that I'll take issue with such as the "our crusade" notion. To be honest with you it is one of those "why do they hate us" concepts that alienates those Arabs who are on the bubble and that we really need on our team if we are to win this struggle.

Mr. Bush test drove this lemon at the wars onset only to have it backfire miserably. One of my peeves with this administration is that they totally failed to sell the public on the Iraq War and continually use the wrong wording/terminology/phrases to carry the message. How many different names have we attached to this adventure over the last three years? Leno, Letterman and Jon Stewart can fire their script writers as the WH does the job for them. Today it is "Operation Swarmer". This moniker more aptly describes the polls movement away from Mr. Bush over the past three months.

Your genealogy was very interesting and well written. Here's to the Thomas'. May you all have a blessed, healthy and prosperous life.

Lorraine Paul - 3/27/2006

"Adventurous deniers of the norm"!.

Oh! dear, Charles. Are you a proponent of 'conflict theory'? Be careful, Rob will get on your back wheel and accuse you of being a 'commie true-believer'! However, fear not, Charles, as Rob will tell you, I am on your side!

(Note to self - ask Rob if he denies the benign but dynamic influence of Marxist thought upon academia, especially in the discipline of History).

Charles Edward Heisler - 3/25/2006

In free societies women control their own lives Lorraine, no matter the level of education and employment. Laws here protect women from inequalities of pay or treatment. Much of the "control" is perceived and much of the "control" is willing subjugation on the part of some women as you suggest.
What would perfection be? Do you really want a world where the real and delightful differences in gender were not recognized and appreciated?
Further where is the concept of a perfect world suggested in either the history of or the behavior of mankind?
Progress, while motivated by the wallowing of the miserable is rarely
advanced by these mewling groups, it is adventurous deniers of the norm that push the edge to further successes.

Lorraine Paul - 3/24/2006

Charles, you are speaking of highly educated women in academia. What about the women on the shop floor, on the land, serving in cafes and restaurants, working on Amtrak? (I speak of Amtrak because it was my pleasure to travel around your country using trains not planes or buses. What an incredible experience!) I doubt very much that they are getting equal pay for equal work.

As for past injustices, they are now so, dare I say 'embedded' into most societies to be ideological! The fundamental Muslims do not have a monopoly on controlling women's bodies and lives. The 'West' has been quietly doing it for centuries too, and continues to do it. Unfortunately, often with the collusion of certain women. However, there will always be 'collaborators'! LOL

Charles Edward Heisler - 3/24/2006

I guess my response has to be, what does the fact that women couldn't vote in 19th Century have to do with the price of tea in 2006? It is interesting to study the outrages suffered by 19th century women but to carry that information forward and continue to be angry is silly. Matter of fact, the "woman vote" has decided some pretty important elections in the United States recently, showing that the one gender, one vote thing works here.
The focusing on the past to explain the present is legitimate but, as many "minorities" are want to do, focusing on the past to excuse the present is more dicey.
As an American male I have not allowed myself to fall into the trap of permitting formerly abused groups making me guilty for the past abuse.
That position is unhealthy and it is non-productive.
My experience has been that women perform (replacing "compete")equally to men and are paid equally as a result, but then I have had the pleasure of working with and beside some competant and capable women throughout my working life.
The point of my comments was that I do not believe it is necessary to develop academic programs that emphasize past abuse and extrapolate that abuse to the present which seems to be the goal of most Woman's Studies programs, resulting in a curriculum rife with simply perpetuating old myths and realities and encouraging both a sense of victimization where none exists and sense of entitlement where none is deserved. It is a tiresome exercise and results in the kind of screeds like the author of the subject article produced here. Anger and hate speech seem antithetical to good scholarship and learning.

Lorraine Paul - 3/24/2006

Hmm! I've done it again...Oh! well, it was probably so good it was worth repeating twice!

Lorraine Paul - 3/24/2006

She is also in the middle of a messy divorce...obviously brought on by the fact that she did women's studies!!

Charles, one thing has puzzled me. Why do you say "...women compete well, if they must compete, with men, etc"? I don't believe in competition in the workplace, the only one who benefits is the employer. However, I do not believe this is what you were referring too.

I must tell you, Charles. Many of the systems you take for granted (dare I say ideologically),that is, the educational system, workplace practices, a universal health system are very different here in Australia. So, as you can see, we are starting off from opposite directions just by that fact alone. On the other hand in a short time, when the US has re-made the world in its own image, we will have the same miserable, uncertain lifestyle that many people in your country lead. I'm not saying that in a nasty way but in Australia we do seem to have 'got it right' in many areas where the ordinary working person is not doing as badly as some in other counries. At the moment we do have a liveable basic wage.

Now back to your comments. New Zealand, in the 19C was the first country to give women the vote. However, The state of South Australia was ahead of them. But these two countries...the 'thingy' that proves the rule! (God my memory!!) On the other hand the leaders of South Africa, after the Boer War, decided it was too hard to have to deal with each other, England, the black majority and sundry other matters, that women's suffrage was left for another day. I don't think it was until well into the 20C that women were given the vote in the US and England. Apparently, in France it was even worse!

Does it not strike you that just these few facts alone point to a great wrong? If Women's Studies concentrates on the causes for these wrongs, with a bit of cross-referencing to the struggles faced by others, is that a harm? Women were never a true minority, therefore, why did it take so long for us to get the vote. As I have pointed out, there are few women even today, getting equal pay for equal work.

My position is that of a women of, and for, the working class. Apart from the rise of the leisured women of the middle-class and, before that, the aristocracy, women have not shirked.

As for physical strength, a male friend said to me many years ago, and only in jest (he wasn't a complete fool)...women aren't as strong as men, therefore, why should they get equal pay? My reply to him was - then surely if the likes of Schwatzennegger <sp> worked at the desk next to his, "Arnie" should get more money than him.

Remember, equal pay for equal work.
bye for now

Lorraine Paul - 3/24/2006

She is also in the middle of a messy divorce...obviously brought on by the fact that she did women's studies!!

Charles, one thing has puzzled me. Why do you say "...women compete well, if they must compete, with men, etc"? I don't believe in competition in the workplace, the only one who benefits is the employer. However, I do not believe this is what you were referring too.

I must tell you, Charles. Many of the systems you take for granted (dare I say ideologically),that is, the educational system, workplace practices, a universal health system are very different here in Australia. So, as you can see, we are starting off from opposite directions just by that fact alone. On the other hand in a short time, when the US has re-made the world in its own image, we will have the same miserable, uncertain lifestyle that many people in your country lead. I'm not saying that in a nasty way but in Australia we do seem to have 'got it right' in many areas where the ordinary working person is not doing as badly as some in other counries. At the moment we do have a liveable basic wage.

Now back to your comments. New Zealand, in the 19C was the first country to give women the vote. However, The state of South Australia was ahead of them. But these two countries...the 'thingy' that proves the rule! (God my memory!!) On the other hand the leaders of South Africa, after the Boer War, decided it was too hard to have to deal with each other, England, the black majority and sundry other matters, that women's suffrage was left for another day. I don't think it was until well into the 20C that women were given the vote in the US and England. Apparently, in France it was even worse!

Does it not strike you that just these few facts alone point to a great wrong? If Women's Studies concentrates on the causes for these wrongs, with a bit of cross-referencing to the struggles faced by others, is that a harm? Women were never a true minority, therefore, why did it take so long for us to get the vote. As I have pointed out, there are few women even today, getting equal pay for equal work.

My position is that of a women of, and for, the working class. Apart from the rise of the leisured women of the middle-class and, before that, the aristocracy, women have not shirked.

As for physical strength, a male friend said to me many years ago, and only in jest (he wasn't a complete fool)...women aren't as strong as men, therefore, why should they get equal pay? My reply to him was - then surely if the likes of Schwatzennegger <sp> worked at the desk next to his, "Arnie" should get more money than him.

Remember, equal pay for equal work.
bye for now

Lorraine Paul - 3/23/2006

Dear Julian,

I think you will agree that Gary Cooper is not a sissy and well up to the basket-ball(?) coach's weight! Halfway through High Noon he stops his deputy (played by Lloyd Bridges, without his scuba) from usurping his place with a sensitively placed punch to the jaw! A knockdown fight ensues, all done with true manliness, especially in the clinches. We are not talking Brokeback here! At the end several baddies are shot and killed by Gary (now there's a name to conjour with). However, now I think of it - instead of riding his horse off into the sunset a la Alan Ladd, he drives off in a 'surry with a fringe on top'!

Hmmmm! Do you think Mansfield is revealing a little too much of himself in his choices? Although, as Seinfield so eloquently put it...not that there's anything wrong with that!

J. Feuerbach - 3/23/2006

Dear Lorraine,

"High Noon?" What's "High Noon?" Mr. Mansfield and most guys in this forum only watch one title over and over. I know for a fact that most of us have the whole DVD collection: the "Stallone Rambo Trilogy."

Watching anything else would be unmanly -and maybe gay. ("Not that there's anything wrong with that," as Jerry Seinfeld would say.)

Lorraine Paul - 3/22/2006

Charles, I thank you for taking the time to formulate this interesting and dilemma-filled post. Could you give me a little time to answer you? I'm an old-fashioned reader in that I can read something on a computer screen and never pick up as much richness and subtlety as I can whilst reading from paper. Therefore, I have printed out the above and will give you as honest an answer as I can...remembering that this is not in my true area of interest.

I have spoken to my friend who did do Women's Studies, as a major no less, unfortunately, as she is organising her parent's 60th Wedding Anniversary she doesn't have much free time. Actually, that should read 'any free time'!

I hope to get back to you later today. It's now 2.55pm here.

Lorraine Paul - 3/22/2006

Dear Julian, You appear determined to goad me into an indiscretion! LOL

Is this man married? Perhaps some desperate but 'sensitive' woman took pity on him, however, I cannot imagine any of my friends being so brave. Too heavy a burden and he may not even be house-trained! LOL

On an even more bizarre note - his reference to Gary Cooper as the definition of a 'manly man'! High Noon has been one of my favourite films for many years. Certainly, the part played by Gary Cooper displays the highest degree of intelligence, integrity, courage, and, let us call a spade a spade, 'sensitivity'! Although, I would say that these are the attributes all sexes should strive for, don't you think?

As a conservative, is Mansfield aware that High Noon was directed by Otto Preminger just before he left for Europe. Does he know the 'real' story behind "High Noon"? That it is an allegory for the reactions of groups and individuals towards McCarthyism and HUAC? Cooper is the moral compass of the story! lol You can see why my mouth fell open when I read that. He has credited a character, created by those 'sneaky' commies, as being the epitome of a 'manly man'.

Some days start off bad and just get better!!! LOL

Lorraine Paul - 3/22/2006

Poor Jacoby! Having to drag George Orwell in. There is a lot I admire about both Pamela Bone (a small stir was created by her support for the war) and George Orwell, on the other hand, neither of them has influenced my thinking.

I am curious as to why Jacoby hasn't used any American social commentators to back up his weak argument. Are they running out of credibility or rhetoric?

On a lighter note - have you seen our controversial tourism advertisements?

Lorraine Paul - 3/22/2006

What is the old saying? 'Talk the leg off an iron pot!' Yes, guilty as charged!

I've just been reading an interview with Chalmers Johnson (now there is a died-in-the-wool commie true-believer) and according to him it is only the spending of and on the military keeping the US afloat. Paradoxically, he also states that it will be the thing that will bring the US down.

Not a happy thought for me as our economy is linked to the US dollar.

I would say that there hasn't been a 'successful' communist country, because, there has never been one! Wouldn't you agree?

Now I know this isn't the answer you want, Rob, but it is an honest one.

Has your crystal ball pinpointed my age, weight, bank balance and height yet? I'm smiling too! :)

Charles Edward Heisler - 3/22/2006

Lorraine, because there is a "woman's movement" is insufficient reason to begin country wide, or world wide to include you, an academic field of study that takes on, or tries to take on, the mantle of academic respectibility of the more traditional discipline. That is especially the case when so many of the "scholars" in this field come from other disciplines and their fields of study were/are often far outside the kind of experience necessary to develop a core curriculum based on historical research.
My major complaints revolve around what I believe to be course work that merely reiterates and reinforces the perceived and real discrimination fostered upon women over the ages but, more often, as is being experienced contemporarily.
Tied with this rather negative attitude is a real attempt by those in the field to shut down necessary conversations about limitations that women do have in the work place and in professions. Best example I can provide is the treatment received by President Summers over a purely speculative and fine question he made at a seminar concerning women's aritmetic reasoning ability. There was no tolerance shown this academic leader--the mere asking of the question (remember, he was not making a claim-only asking the question) was enough to set in motion the kind of firestorm that led to his resignation.
As is the case in any question concerning minorities and minority differences, questions must be asked, speculations must be made before meaningful answers and resolutions can be effected. The Harvard example is not unique in academia, these politically correct programs, of which Women's studies is only one, tend to be, in my opinion, anti-academic--they restrict not enhance study in the area they purport to research.
Of course I do not know how these programs are organized and run in Australia--I will only hope the are more open and less strident than here in the U.S.
I suppose there is value in gender studies and racial group studies but I am not sure that these studies have enough useful or usable information to create enough undergraduate hours of classwork to comprise a major and am very sure that graduate level work in these fields are better handled under the supervision of traditional, well established disciplines.
I won't even go into the old but hidden gripe about the fact that there is no Man Studies programs, that no such program could or would be allowed to exist anywhere on the globe because of the outrage such study would engender but, also, because there simply is not enough to study there if you focus strictly on gender and the impact of society on gender--even discussing a Man Study program seems ridiculous--why is that not the case with women?
My experience both in academia and in the work place suggests that women compete well, if they must compete, with men, perform equally, fail equally, and succeed equally. That there was abuse in the past is well known, that this was cultural is well known, that put in context of time and place it is interesting information, if not particularly useful in explaining the condition of women today. The vast majority of men, I suspect, are well aware that the physical abuse of women is wrong, that women should and do deserve equal pay for equal work, are willing to live with that salary equity. What needs to be studied here?
That you seek to promote the "worth of your gender" is great but what makes you believe your gender needs promoting? I believe that worth has been well known for centuries and most certainly is in progressive modern societies.
What we need to know, however, are the kind of matters that Dr. Summers alluded to, do women have an inability to learn and utilize mathmatical calculations equal to the male of the species and if so, how can we design curricula to enhance that learning? Are there inherencies that prevent women from performing necessary tasks in a myrid of work place situations and can those situations be modified to bring success? I am not sure that it is necessary to create academic programs to study these questions and find answers, especially when these programs seem to want to stop the conversations of the differences and even more especially when the curricula seems to focus soley on the weakness of men relative to the treatment of women and to deplore infinitum on that deplorable treatment. If these programs are to continue to exist, they need to graduate women and men who want to coexist with the opposite sex in a professional manner and to research and discover ways that genders can enhance each other's existence.
I don't see that happening--far too often, the academic outcome is similar to the article that inspired our conversation--a completely unsupported and unsupportable rant against men and governments, full of wild claims and historical inaccuracies and incorrect assumptions. Sorry, Lorraine, I have heard too much of this sort of thing in my time in the academic saddle and it obviously angers me.

J. Feuerbach - 3/22/2006

The reps from my phone company have learned the hard way to call me Mr. Feuerbach. My friends call me Jules. So I think it's ok for you to call me Julian.

My dear Lorraine: What's going on with Pamela Bone, this noted Australian journalist and self-described "left-leaning, feminist, agnostic, environmentalist internationalist???"


Talk to her and help her return to the flock! By the way, if you are a liberal living in the States and Jeff Jacoby says anything good about you, your liberal career is over. Ah, the convoluted logic of this article is memorable. You can practically smell the despair!

J. Feuerbach - 3/22/2006

She took a class at Harvard with Harvey Mansfield, a government professor. The following article summarizes some of the ideas that Professor Mansfield presented in the class that Ms. Chew took. Now I know where Ms. Chew is coming from. Actually her piece now makes a lot of sense.

The question is what idea of Mr. Mansfield pissed her off the most. Choose one of the following 9 answers.

A. Academic gender studies, which see "male" and "female" as fluid categories constructed by society, and feminism, which says there is almost nothing that men can do that women cannot are nonsense.

B. Men are more willing than women to stick out their necks for causes, ideas, and people. They possess a greater taste for the physical and intellectual combat that has led to mankind's greatest achievements.

C. The gender-neutral society is by definition a mediocre one, with male greatness viewed as threatening to the social order and men and women crammed into boxes they don't fit in.

D. Plato and Aristotle described how the quality called "thumos," or spiritedness, which men supposedly have in abundance, helped keep cities safe and spurred vigorous debate in the agora.

E. Basically you know manliness when you see it. (Note: I suppose or hope he's not alluding to the size of a guy's penis)

F. Statistical social science is unmanly. It breaks men and women down into measurable attributes while failing to see them whole.

G. Stereotypes are "democratic," possessing a respect for the wisdom of the past. The common understanding is that men are aggressive while women are caring; women are "faithful or at least unadventurous" in sex relative to men; they are "soft," "sensitive," and "indirect"; they cry and complain more. Of these clichés, "not one has been disproven" by social science.

H. Men have the highest offices, the leading reputations; they make the discoveries, conceive the theories, win the prizes, start the companies, score the touchdowns. (Note: I suppose or hope that scoring isn't a seduction culminating in sexual intercourse.)

I. Manly men disdain women's work. Forcing manly men to wash dishes, or to curb their aggressive ways in politics or business out of deference to "sensitive" women, does violence to nature and gelds modern society.

Rob Willis - 3/22/2006

Simple, women usually talk twice as much as they need to. Yes, I'm smiling as I type this, lighten up. Had to take a shot...;-)

Still waiting for your communist utopia success stories. Or "socialist" model, whatever you prefer. I see that France, that great poster child for your ideaology, is burning again. Shame, really.

Feel better

Lorraine Paul - 3/22/2006

Hmmm! now how did that happen?

Lorraine Paul - 3/22/2006

caveat emptor!! How many times do all of us wish we had observed that maxim? As a woman who adores shopping, within limited means, I should have made it my watchword! However, Charles I think you should be wary of condemning Women's Studies out of hand.

As I can only speak to an Australian experience, I am sorry that your encounters with the subject were such that you appear to find nothing scholarly or interesting about it.

As I have stated it was one subject that I avoided like the plague, although, my reasons for doing so were more personal than academic. I will be honest here, in the late 70s I read 'The Female Eunoch' and it changed my life. Although, I have not read it since it contained all I needed to know about women's studies. The university I attended has changed the name to the gentler Gender Studies, which makes me a lot happier. All hail the day of people's liberation, not just women's. Unfortunately, women's liberation has, to my mind, been hi-jacked by the middle-class and the stridency of Gen X. Would you agree that, internationally, the women's movement has moved from discussing equal pay for equal work not to mention becoming more aware of the experiences of women across all classes to more banal pursuits. On a personal note, I won't be burning my bra any day soon! However....

I would style myself a feminist, in that, I am interested in promoting my gender as equal to the male gender! I'm not saying the same, but equal! If you have to, you could call me an old-fashioned feminist.

Lorraine Paul - 3/22/2006

I almost missed your above post!

caveat emptor!! How many times do all of us wish we had observed that maxim? As a woman who adores shopping, within limited means, I should have made it my watchword!

Charles I think you should be wary of condemning Women's Studies out of hand. As I can only speak to an Australian experience, I am sorry that your encounters with the subject were such that you appear to find nothing scholarly or interesting about it.

As I have stated it was one subject that I avoided like the plague, although, my reasons for doing so were more personal than academic. I will be honest here, in the late 70s I read 'The Female Eunoch' and it changed my life. Although, I have not read it since it contained all I needed to know about women's studies. The university I attended has changed the name to the gentler, Gender Studies, which makes me a lot happier. All hail the day of people's liberation, not just women's. Unfortunately, women's liberation has, to my mind, been hi-jacked by the middle-class and the stridency of Gen X. Would you agree that, internationally, the women's movement has moved from discussing equal pay for equal work not to mention becoming more aware of the experiences of women across all classes and nationalities to more banal pursuits. On a personal note, I won't be burning my bra any day soon! However....

I would style myself a feminist, in that, I am interested in promoting the worth of my gender! If you have to, you could call me an old-fashioned suffragette feminist.

If I have rambled please put it down to bronchitis season....at the moment I have a sore throat and congested chest! I'm not accusing anyone of having a doll with pins sticking out of it as this happens to me twice a year!

Lorraine Paul - 3/21/2006

Julian (am I allowed to call you that?)I certainly don't think you are an MCP. In fact I agree with your statement.

Once I would have liked to think that "Mad Maggie" was an aberration. No more. Do I really need to give examples? On the other hand I would also dispute that this is a modern phenomenon as I can remember reading years ago of quite a few documented cases, in times gone by, of women joining up, as men, to fight side by side with their man.

I also refer you to Anne Bonney, the female pirate; and I don't think she was the only one at that point in time.

Now this does not mean that I have stepped back from my original position, which is, that war is sexist. Even on a basic level women (sadly) have agitated for quite a while to be allowed to join combat troops. Is this not so? Also, I remember my mother telling me that American soldiers referred to American servicewomen as 'ground sheets'.

On the other hand, does a bullet or missile discriminate? I really feel that we haven't touched the surface of this question. Certainly it would have to be said that the military is sexist.

Charles Edward Heisler - 3/21/2006

Lorraine I am not anti-woman but I am anti-feminist silliness and that includes these so called "academic" programs in "Woman's Studies", womaned by woefully prepared quasi-academics that are rarely well studied enough in any history save the ranting and raving of their miserable guest lecturers (yes I have heard them and heard of them) and angry neo-editorialists.
I have seen the bibliographys of these cobbled up attempts to make an education out of unreasonable fury, divorcee war stories, and spousal abuse victimization.
The fact that these programs are so wide spread says much more about the intellectual courage, or lack thereof, of the traditional liberal arts colleges than it does the legitmacy of the curricula.
These studies would be better served within the aegis of English, History, Sociology, Departments in the form of elective courses--at least we could be somewhat assured that the students might be taught by scholars trained to reserve judgement until the facts were fairly established instead of having these poor students subjected to impassioned rantings of the permanently angered furies.
This is academic nonsense to the inth degree and truth be known, you would find more scholars on my side of the argument than in support of Woman's Studies but, hell having no fury like..., none dare speak out.
Higher education is not about "small comforts" it is about balance and knowledge and knowledge, with balance, brings comforts both large and small.
Further, to address your determined effort to work in the tired conceit of the war on terror, students, not governments buy textbooks. In this case, let the buyer beware! I believe that saying predates Voltaire.

Charles Edward Heisler - 3/21/2006

Oh my heavens Lorraine, I wasn't talking about my prowess, especially as a married man! I was pointing out my hearing problem with women--I can.

J. Feuerbach - 3/21/2006

If war is sexist and the result of too much testosterone, let’s not forget the sinking of the Argentine light cruiser ARA General Belgrano during the Falklands War on May 2, 1982. 322 sailors died, mostly kids. The ARA General Belgrano was outside the exclusion zone and sailing away from the area of conflict when it was sunk by HMS Conqueror. The commanding officer of HMS Conqueror informed the Admiralty that the Argentine cruiser had changed course four hours before he attacked the cruiser. Some argue that that neither Maggie nor the Cabinet were aware of the Belgrano's change of course before the cruiser was sunk. How do you say baloney in Spanish? Ask any Argentinean what they think about Ms. Thatcher. “Ah, that f*cking bitch.” No further comment.

A friend of mine is a domestic violence advocate and expert in the field. She also sees war and violence as a guy thing. She argues that men are incompetent when it comes to solving international conflicts and that women should be given an opportunity. My answer is always the same: “Just give gals a chance and they’ll catch up. Don't forget that women have been discriminated in too many fronts and the war and violence departments are no exception.” Her response is always the same: “You are a male chauvinist pig.”

Lorraine Paul - 3/21/2006

I was not speaking of your prowess! However, it is refreshing to have a man admit his limitations! LOL

Lorraine Paul - 3/21/2006

Mr Feuerbach, I thought I had replied to the above, however, it seems to be nowhere in sight. All I will now say is that the phrase "puckish devilment" figured prominently in my previous reply. LOL

Charles Edward Heisler - 3/21/2006

Krauthammer is merely a pundit, a conservative one, like the many indistinguished liberal pundits that rave against the darkness these days!
NAMBLA and NARAL most certainly are left of center so most likely vote for the Democrats. (Patrick, I can use the same reasoning as you do and probably more effectively!)
Didn't say Soros was tied to the above groups, only that he is an foreign oil and money trader that supports Democrats.
I am happy that you are proud to be "an effeminate", as a member of yet another apparently infinately divisable behavior orientation group I guess, like women, you have been just devastated by masculinity!
Since I'm not into the mewling of the oppressed, don't look for me to swish thru the doors of the the Blue Parrot anytime soon.

Charles Edward Heisler - 3/21/2006

No way Lorraine, a couple, one at a time has been more than enough for me!
I haven't totally lost my hearing as most "seraglio kind of guys" surely must have done!

Lorraine Paul - 3/20/2006

Mr Miller, As most of your petulant and pompous postulations have concentrated almost wholly on my perceived shortcomings (including the above diatribe) I find it strange that you are now calling the kettle black!

As for 'homework'. Without meaning to be rude or hurt your feelings I really don't have any interest in you. As I said a few days ago, you have lost all credibility with me. Therefore, why would I bother finding out about you? Nothing you have contributed since has piqued my interest. Could it be that you have an over-inflated belief in your own importance.

For goodness sake give the Sabine women a rest. You well know that often ancient Greek gods/myths/stories were mainly based on human weaknesses and foibles. Lysistrata never happened but it could have given the many wars between city states.

Mr Miller, have you noticed that you are offering nothing new or of interest? All you are doing now is repeating your inane and banal insults. Can I expect this to continue or can you dredge up something original and captivating to add to Ms Chew's article? Remember, that is how all this started. I hate to say it, my dear, but you are becoming a wee bit boring!

By the way, I have never knitted in my life...but I have been known to crochet a very pretty and intricate doiley. I will now anticipate your next insult...no, I don't intend to stick to it and not bedevil this site!
Have you greased and oil changed the humvee lately?

J. Feuerbach - 3/20/2006

Ms. Paul,

You state, "I hope that I haven't succumbed to a female Don Quixote syndrome in defending her right to speak."

Don Quixote is perhaps the greatest book ever written. It's also very relevant to our present situation. Maybe Don Quixote's madness is the only thing that can save the world. But that would be another story.

Reading your exchanges with Mr. Miller, a letter than Don Quixote sent to Dulcinea del Toboso popped into my mind.


"Sovereign and exalted Lady,--The pierced by the point of absence, the wounded to the heart's core, sends thee, sweetest Dulcinea del Toboso, the health that he himself enjoys not. If thy beauty despises me, if thy worth is not for me, if thy scorn is my affliction, though I be sufficiently long-suffering, hardly shall I endure this anxiety, which, besides being oppressive, is protracted. My good squire Sancho will relate to thee in full, fair ingrate, dear enemy, the condition to which I am reduced on thy account: if it be thy pleasure to give me relief, I am thine; if not, do as may be pleasing to thee; for by ending my life I shall satisfy thy cruelty and my desire.
"Thine till death,

"The Knight of the Rueful Countenance."

Lorraine Paul - 3/20/2006

No worries, Steve.

Rob Willis - 3/20/2006

Mr. Clarke-
I didn't broach the reading list subject, you did, recall?

I'm not a war buff, i work in the history field. My studies are not a "hobby".

I am aware of the usefulness of dates, however, my post, as stated, was a broad sweep, not a thesis. It was intended to continue a line of thought on both sides. You cannot be relied upon for that.

I am sorry, but anyone who spouts conspiracy theories without a single shread of evidence to back it up, then critiques someone else's historigraphy, cannot be taken seriously.

Steve Broce - 3/20/2006

Lorraine, the Quote referenced US casualties and industrial accidents. Our involvement was about 3.5 years. That was what my refernce was to.

Richard F. Miller - 3/20/2006

Given your content-free, experience-free posts, there's little else to respond to; you have established your ignorance of war and, given your comments about embedding, journalism as well. All that you've left your fellow posters is sarcasm, which has been personally directed but also unafflicted by the burdens of original, or any argument. That makes you a polemicist--a witless wit, as one might say.

You've offered nothing here to attack other than a self-promoted sparkle with a rather brief half-life. One thing I have learned to appreciate is sticking to one's knitting. Other than cheap shots (I do not work for Murdoch--but then, your comments are as homework-free as they are of any other seriousness)--what is it that you do know about, Paul? Do you have an academic speciality, or you simply one more dilletante, full of today's headlines and Op-Eds but otherwise free of any depth?

Needless to say, your citation of the Rape of the Sabine Women as a counterfactual was not an encouraging start for a history website.

Lorraine Paul - 3/20/2006

By the way, Mr Miller. Have you noticed that you are starting to repeat yourself? Do you have anything more to say about Ms Chew's article or are you now only out to 'get me'? If this is so, I can only be overwhelmingly flattered.

Lorraine Paul - 3/20/2006

Oh! dear! Mr Miller....put out your fires and nurse your sick??? When was the last time you stroked a fevered brow not your own? I seem to have really got on your back wheel. You'll be telling me next....

"The truth!...You can't handle the truth!!"

I think you should have a good lie down, a cup of tea and allow the tablets to take effect.

May I suggest you cease attacking me, as you are not doing it very successfully. You must be aware that you are displaying the worst tactics of gutter journalism. Do you write for 'our Rupert'?? I would be very surprised if you did not.

Richard F. Miller - 3/20/2006

And incidentally, given where I am and where I go, keeping my head down is awfully good advice. But I doubt you'd know that, celebrating your "marginality" while better men and women than you take risks, pick up your garbage, police your streets, put out your fires and nurse your sick, all the while you sneer at them from your comfortable perch made possible by their sacrifice.

And to ally yourself with some of the great liberation movements of the past...well, that's all of a piece with somebody who describes themself as "clear headed and progressive," no? Many of those reformers took risks that you can only of. Sarcasm is no substitute for substance. Oscar Wilde was brilliantly sarcastic, but also wrote what is still being read and produced.

And Lorraine Paul?

Richard F. Miller - 3/20/2006

Nice try, Ms. Paul. Unfortunately, your response fails to deflect from your astonishing ignorance about warfare in general or this war in particular. You opine on both topics with the vibrancy of a broken toilet whose plumbing keeps flushing beyond the normal cycle. Besides failing to respond to substantive queries, your distance from that about which you claim to know is furthered with each post. Why you would think I'm soldier just because I'm in Iraq reveals one piece of stupidity--anyone remotely familiar with this conflict knows that several hundred thousand foreign civlians of all stripes are here on an infinite number of missions. Moreover, your asnine comment about soldiers marching off to battle reveals complete ignorance of how this conflict is being waged and by what tactics. Other than a sarcasm which is a mile long and an inch deep, you have nothing of substance to contribute to any discussion about war, other than to embarrass the point of view you purport to represent. I have met many soldiers here who are deeply antiwar; unlike you or your Mistress Chew, their reasons are substantive, informed and enlivened by personal anecdote so far removed from your experience as to make your comments here especially silly.

In that regard, you add little credit to your point of view other than diminishing those informed antiwar voices who have something genuine to contribute.

Lorraine Paul - 3/20/2006

Mr Feuerbach, I, too, have found this thread entertaining. Although Ms Chew is something of a polemicist, however, not all that she has to say can be dismissed. I hope that I haven't succumbed to a female Don Quixote syndrome in defending her right to speak. However, I did find her critics' rebuttals ludicrous and couldn't resist temptation. As Noel Coward wrote...I can resist anything but temptation!

As a newcomer to this site I am unaware of previous debates, however, I would further say that if HNN is attempting to arouse 'lively discussion' they have certainly succeeded in this thread!

I had a look at the other topics and noticed a plethora of 'the usual suspects'. Do they do nothing else but hang around this site?

Lorraine Paul - 3/20/2006

Mr Heisler, I don't think anyone could accuse YOU of being a "90s kind of guy". On the contrary you display all the worst aspects of the 'seraglio kind of guy'!

Lorraine Paul - 3/20/2006

Mr Miller, Actually it would be remiss of me not to point out the following -

"Your posts, besides being somewhat defective both as to syntax and anecdote, now evidence an epistemology drawn from pure fantasy. I suspect that you've never worn a uniform or been anywhere near a real combat zone. How on earth could you possibly know to state what would motivate a man or woman in combat?"

Mr Miller, your last sentence in the above para needs more work.

Lorraine Paul - 3/20/2006

Mr Miller, Oh! thank you, thank you! Life is not often this kind to me, but there you are! I will have to thank my "godless god" or is it goddess? However, would you mind waiting whilst I reply to Mr Feuerbach's interesting and amusing words. I would add that they are more interesting but not as amusing as yours so don't feel downhearted.

Mr Feuerbach from your list of ten I can only admit to seven! Although, like any woman worthy of her salt, one would like to think of having enslaved a male or two! As for Ms Chew it might be my luck to eventually meet her. At which time we can have a bit of a giggle and a whinge over the pov's expressed by some pathetically ill-informed little boys in this thread! We shall raise a glass or two to those, such as yourself, who have displayed grace and charm.

Now, Mr Miller, I know several published authors, and from more than one sphere, so, although I am pleased for you, I am not over-awed! From what I have gleaned from your posts, however, you obviously write fiction.

Yes, I did 'improperly indentify' you. However, I am not the only one. I took my cue from other men on this thread who urged you to 'keep your head down'. You cannot blame me for the false impression you implanted yourself. Perhaps deliberately?

An embedded journalist! I have to say it again it is just too good to be true! An embedded journalist!! I really do not want to enter into answering that statement, I'll leave it up to a real journalist to do so.

Mr Miller, you say you are a historian and I presume from this that you are also an academic. How can this be so when you are incapable of understanding and analysing a few short paragraphs? Where did I say I had contempt for Aussie soldiers? My dear, you have manufactured this statement 'out of whole cloth'. If all you are capable of is twisting my words, not analysing them, to prove a point, then I feel sorry for your readers.

As for being 'marginalised'. This could not be further from the truth. My attitude towards Little Johnnie and our involvement in a foreign war are right up there with the 'silent majority'! As for how the Australian public votes I suggest you do some research. We do not, as I believe the US has, 'a first past the post' system. We have a preferential voting system. Again you have displayed your lack of knowledge, and with such complacency too!

Further, it has never been a problem with me to be 'marginalised'. I consider it an honour. The marginalised are usually correct and certainly more humane in their thinking. I refer you to the abolition of pit ponies, child labour, slavery, and then there is the implementation of decent working conditions. All brought about by the marginalised in society.

The rest of your words are not worthy of comment.

Charles Edward Heisler - 3/20/2006

Patrick, seems you took the easy way out, not defining deplorable unless the restriction of abortion, approved by many, many American women is your criteria! Not enough definition to support the claim Patrick.
Alas, your causal relationship between Polygamists and Republican vote grubbing is mere fantasy--the fine folks of Utah are indeed Republican in nature but they are not Polygamists, except for those with archaic ideas of what the Mormon Church supports.
In any case, if it were true, wouldn't that make them so like the Democrats who have for years, out of necessity, taken support and money from any special agenda that has come down the pike, such as NAMBLA, NARAL, and foreign money and oil traders named Soros???
Careful in your simping to the feminists, they probably just hate you all the more for trying to be a 90's kind of guy and the abuse you have to take being in their company isn't worth the any of the rewards you think you deserve with the toady act.

Lorraine Paul - 3/19/2006

Picture this, Charles. Women's Studies is a subject on University curricula around the world. We even have it in our own little backyard campuses.

As I said it wasn't one of choices but it was the choice of a friend of mine. Now also picture this, our campus could afford to buy books. As of then we had not squandered our wealth on fighting unnecessary wars in countries who were formally important trade partners. Many of the books used in Women's Studies were up-to-date and available in several copies.

I notice that the US administration has spent trillions "fighting" terrorism. Have you been reading lately how your schools are having to plead for books? I have! Therefore, I didn't need for you to tell me how badly students are treated with books so out of date.

Oh! by the way, why are you so anti-woman? After all, we have been given so little credit for the small things, not to mention the big things we have contributed. For example, you know that saying, attributed to Voltaire, that goes something like...I may not agree with what you say but will defend to the death your right to say it? I heard the other day that it was said by one of his women friends. Surely you won't deny us these small comforts in a male dominated world?

Lorraine Paul - 3/19/2006

Mr Ebbitt, forget weasel words like 'lowly businessman', historians aren't creators of history, merely the ones who, often selectively, tell the story.

Lorraine Paul - 3/19/2006

What challenge? Do you really expect me to take you seriously? You accuse me of gun-toting when I am totally for gun-control. (Thank goodness we have it in Australia.) You accuse me of being a communist and then taunt me into admitting it. You know full well that one's beliefs are sacrosanct. To deny one is one thing, is admitting to being another. I give no-one that sort of control over me, nor should you!

McCarthy was not a 'boogie man' unfortunately he was quite real and his actions were real in destroying the lives of many people. To ally yourself with such a failed human being is beyond my understanding.

It is quite obvious that given half a chance you would have me confined to Guantanamo Bay with all that that entails. Not for something I have DONE but for what YOU think I BELIVE in. You are a nasty piece of work, Mr Willis.

It is also obvious that you have no problem with the incidents which are contained in Ms Chew's article. I can see you now..."Ha!, Abdul, so you live in Baghdad, you must be a terrorist. Take that you non-human!!!!". Absurd is it not? Of course you must know that every Arab or Muslim is not a terrorist, or potential terrorist. Or do you?

J. Feuerbach - 3/19/2006

Ms. Paul,

My opinion is that HNN chooses articles like the one written by Ms. Chew to induce some lively discussions among contributors. If lively discussions is what you want, who can deny that propagandists come up with the best products? Mr. Reeves and Ms. Chew are two good examples of propagandists. The fact that they are at odds with each other could indicate a desire by HNN to show openess to and welcome all perspectives. I personally (is there another way?) think these blogs insult people's intelligence. But please don't read me wrong. The posts and interactions they generate might be shallow but pretty damned entertaining! I'm having a blast!

So HNN, keep up the good work and bring us more Mr. Reeves and Ms. Chews!

J. Feuerbach - 3/19/2006

Ms. Paul,

I know that you'll handle the above post by yourself. I've also learned the hard way to avoid triangles so I won't get involved in this exchange. However, I've inherited from my father --not my mother-- an immoderate interest in gossip.

"Like your Mistress Chew, you are..." the above post reads. Mistress? I looked it up in the dictionary. It has different meanings. Would you mind letting me know which meaning is applicable? Of course, I've already picked one but that's another trait I inherited from my dad.


1) A woman in a position of authority, control, or ownership, as the head of a household: “Thirteen years had seen her mistress of Kellynch Hall” (Jane Austen).

2) A woman who owns or keeps an animal: a cat sitting in its mistress's lap.

3) A woman who owns a slave.

4) A woman with ultimate control over something: the mistress of her own mind.

5) A nation or country that has supremacy over others: Great Britain, once the mistress of the seas.

6) Something personified as female that directs or reigns: “my mistress... the open road” (Robert Louis Stevenson).

7) A woman who has mastered a skill or branch of learning: a mistress of the culinary art.

8) A woman who has a continuing sexual relationship with a usually married man who is not her husband and from whom she generally receives material support.

9) Mistress Used formerly as a courtesy title when speaking to or of a woman.

10) Chiefly British. A woman schoolteacher.

Because I know you'll love the "Usage Note," I'm including it at no extra cost.

"Usage Note: English has no shortage of terms for women whose behavior is viewed as licentious, but it is difficult to come up with a list of comparable terms used of men. One researcher, Julia Penelope, stopped counting after she reached 220 such labels for women, both current and historical, but managed to locate only 20 names for promiscuous men. Murial R. Schultz found more than 500 slang terms for prostitute but could find just 65 for the male terms whoremonger and pimp. A further imbalance appears in the connotations of many of these terms. While the terms applying only to women, like tramp and slut, are almost always strongly negative, corresponding terms used for men, such as stud and Casanova, often carry positive associations. ·Curiously, many of the negative terms used for women derive from words that once had neutral or even positive associations. For instance, the word mistress, now mainly used to refer to a woman who is involved in an extramarital sexual relationship, originally served simply as a neutral counterpart to mister or master. The term madam, while still a respectful form of address, has had sexual connotations since the early 1700s and has been used to refer to the owner of a brothel since the early 1900s."

Charles Edward Heisler - 3/19/2006

Bosh, Patrick, methinks the "Lady" protests too much.
Define "deplorable" and while you are at it, give us all an idea of where you learned the voting habits of Polygamists and how much of the voting public you think they comprise.

Charles Edward Heisler - 3/19/2006

Picture this Lorraine--a bibliography for a Women's Studies curriculum that has anything dated before 1963 or a reference with a male name! Nothing more than instituitonalized hate speech!
Get my drift, with or without a misplaced "a" or two?

Richard F. Miller - 3/19/2006

Dear Ms. Paul: Allow me transfer my characterization of Ms. Chew to yourself as one teeming with pronouncements but otherwise having empty pockets.

First, I am not a soldier and never have been. I am actually a military historian who accepts embedded assignments as a journalist. I don't need to footnote this, merely to refer you to Amazon.com. Whatever indoctrination I may be suffering from, it obviously doesn't measure up to yours--your contempt for your fellow Diggers is astounding as you fail to credit them with being anything other than dimwits for voting for John Howard. The fact is that he won, your preferred candidate lost, such is democracy, so deal with it. That your passion puts you at such odds with your fellow citizens suggests that you are, to be very delicate, marginalized?

Since you improperly identified me, the rest of your post can be dismissed as something between callow and hollow. Like your Mistress Chew, you are speaking through your hat--or towards whatever Godless God you insist you don't pray to although evidencing all the signs of faith-based knowledge. How could it be otherwise? Combat motivations centering on Halliburton and Bechtel?

Your posts, besides being somewhat defective both as to syntax and anecdote, now evidence an epistemology drawn from pure fantasy. I suspect that you've never worn a uniform or been anywhere near a real combat zone. How on earth could you possibly know to state what would motivate a man or woman in combat?

I'm rarely this direct on these postings (because it rarely applies), but you are an example of an incautious someone educated far, far beyond their intelligence. I wish you the best of luck in life but might suggest that there is much more to it than doing polkas on a computer keyboard.

Rob Willis - 3/19/2006

Mr. E-

If you feel the need to get in a pissing match with me, bring it on. Unlike some on this board, I claim no elite pedigree, nor do I claim to know everything. But I do know some things very well, and this topic is one of them. Oh, and I don’t claim to be right, because I’m humble enough to realize that the truth of history is never revealed while it is happening, it takes decades, perhaps centuries before that happens, if we are lucky.

Let me try to give you my take in a broad sweep and we’ll go from there. My comments were directed to those who simultaneously claim that the Iraq war is both a giant political miscalculation and a sinister plot to occupy the world, perpetrated by an American administration who are either masters of Machiavellian intrigue, or completely incompetent, depending on the day of the week.

Start with the military as an organic creature. There are and have always been men who make their way to higher rank based on political connections and the willingness to get along. There has never been a time in history when the soldiers in the ranks haven’t felt used, abused, and screwed by their superiors. This should be kept in mind whenever you see a talking head or acidic editorial sourcing a soldier who is disgruntled about the campaign in Iraq. It is important that we not discount the complaints, but it is more important that we recognize that these voices are neither a majority or even a representative sample. Why am I stating such a simple outline of the political dynamics of the military? Because too many pundits have gleefully seized on the voices of a few to paint a twisted picture of conditions on the ground. This has been a concerted effort by hostile media organs and activists everywhere. There are many, many stories of incredible success and hope occurring in Iraq; I know, because I am hearing some of them via email, right from the horse’s mouth (as an aside, the performance of the Ukrainian troops during the first weeks could be a very interesting essay). All of this is to say, those who base their opinion of the mindset and moral of our troops on the “catastrophe of the day” reporting are doing so at their own risk.

Why did we invade Iraq? In simple terms, we identified Saddam’s Iraq as the epicenter of conventional and unconventional military power, and one which could no longer be left in his hands. We then proceeded to kill it, and by doing so change the political calculus in the region. We (the coalition, or just the U.S. if you prefer) had every right to do so, and had the right long before 9/11 occurred. What!?, you say? Yes, we did. At the conclusion of the 1991 war, Iraq was dictated some very specific terms by the U.N in exchange for Saddam remaining in power. These terms involved some silly things like giving up the materials and research associated with WMD’s, implementing a protective no-fly zone, a reparations scheme that delivered Iraqi oil for needed imports, etc. etc. The U.N. politely took over the oil-for-food program and promptly jumped on the payola gravy train. We have come to discover that many of our bold and fearless Allies were giving Saddam access to all sorts of evil little tokens of their appreciation, and golly, it was a great day for everyone. It didn’t matter that Saddam kicked out the U.N. inspectors in ‘98, they weren’t capable of finding a chemical artillery shell under a linen napkin anyway. And of course, by then the graft was in full swing, and Saddam had the U.N. boys by the short hairs, they weren’t about to get to upset, were they?
Meanwhile, American and British pilots (who were chosen to do the hard work because they COULD) were regularly being SHOT AT during their no-fly zone missions, and from any objective point of view, this was justification enough to roll into Baghdad and finish the job. We did not. The U.N. sent nasty notes. Bill Clinton continued chopping our military and intelligence assets into bite-sized political estates, and enjoyed his interns.

Fast forward to 9/11/01. Some really bad guys (“BG’s”) incinerated a bunch of babies enjoying their morning juice, along with their parents and a boat-load of evil capitalist war criminals, in the World Trade Center. They were BG’s from a particular “gang” and Bush’s response was to go after that gang and vaporize it. But he wisely recognized that vaporizing one gang wouldn’t solve the problem. He declared war on every similar gang on the globe, and has, since that day (with Congressional approval) declared a “War on Terrorism”. Note (pay attention…) he did not say “Bin Laden’s guys, just them”, he said terrorist, in all forms and in all places. Iraq, as a proven supporter of terrorist groups in a myriad of ways and who had long since proven themselves incapable of playing by any civilized rules, became a prime target in this new war.

Fast forward again. We are engaged in a prolonged (perhaps decades-long) real, live shooting war. The campaign in Afghanistan, and the toppling of Saddam were simply two missions among the many to come. A mission is defined as a specific action undertaken as part of an overall operation, which in turn is part of an overall campaign. If Bush ever said “mission accomplished “ in reference to the initial destruction of Saddam’s army (he didn’t) he would have been correct to do so. The mission was accomplished. The campaign was just starting, and is only now underway in earnest. What is the purpose of the campaign, you ask? The president has told us over and over again: Root out and kill every last BG SOB who engages in terrorism (and that is a specific term, not to be morphed or confused into terms like “insurgent” or “freedom fighter”). But there is a problem: terrorists are very much like cockroaches. They hide behind children and toss bombs into pizza joints, and it is therefore sort of difficult to engage them in traditional battlefield terms.
What to do? Exactly what we are doing: using Iraq as a base of operations that allows traditional military strikes and most critically, covert operations designed to slowly and inexorably identify the habits, weaknesses, command structures, and full nature of the terrorist culture in the Middle East. Then we kill them. It is the covert side of the war that is the most important and the least understood by most folks. It is not transparent (thank God) to the flakes in the media, and this drives the media nuts. But we have another little secret, too: Military operations by nature rely on keeping the enemy guessing, and whether we like it or not, the commanders are going to keep their mouths shut about the true nature of their business. This is precisely one of the points I wish you to understand: SHUT UP about what is going militarily in Iraq, because you have no way of knowing. Understand the over-arching strategy: We are drawing those who are disposed to commit terrorist acts to our military forces in-country instead of to Detroit. They cannot resist the opportunity, and Bush knows this. He knows that the only way to kill roaches is to offer them a big fat cupcake and wait for them show their heads.
Catching on yet? Judging this war by any traditional political or military standards will lead to false conclusions, because this truly is a new kind of war, a type that has never been waged before. It is painful, demoralizing, costly, uncertain, (as every war is and always will be), but it is absolutely necessary. I have lost, personally. So have many I know. I am not a Bushite. But I support this fight because as clichéd as it sounds, it will be fought in a shopping mall near me if it isn’t fought over there.

Fair enough so far? I have just touched the surface. Fire away.

R. Willis

Lorraine Paul - 3/19/2006

Mr Ebbitt, I am so delighted that you have finally got to the crux of the matter. Little Johnnie Howard finds women in burqas confronting. To me that says more about Johnnie than the burqa. On the other hand, many find the commercials on TV confronting. There is one here in Australia which is shown in prime time depicting a young man playing with his kitten (Freud would love that). The thing is he is throwing tampons for the kitten to catch.

Further to that, I won't go into the paradigm of the objectification of women in selling everything as it isn't truly in my area of interest, except that I am a woman and one of my majors was Communications.

What is that phrase again? hmmm! that's right "living in denial".

Lorraine Paul - 3/19/2006

Mr Ebbitt, thank you for your explanation. I can see why Mr Miller reverted to the 'hah! I know and you don't so now I can patronise you' form of discourse.

To think that those living in Jonestown queued to partake of the 'poisoned challice' just as the closed-minded illiterati queued to swallow the lies of Bush, Blair and Howard. Although, by the numbers in Australia who protested against our involvement I am doing my fellow citizens a disservice. As I said earlier, we are very proud of our soldiers even though we may condemn the situation they are in. As for those who swallowed the lies in the US I can't truly condemn them as they are ill-served, not to mention ill-informed about the rest of the world in so many ways.

Lorraine Paul - 3/18/2006

"....if for no other reason then to encourage future "scholars" to adopt simpler language, better reasoning, and much better evidence!"

Don't you know the difference between the useage of 'then' and 'than'? Why do you men keep putting me in the position of defending Ms Chew by your arrogance and stupidity? I can see why you want "simple language" as it seems beyond you to analyse anything without pictures!

Lorraine Paul - 3/18/2006

Don't hold your breath waiting...I'm still waiting to find out how he identifies 'commies'.

Lorraine Paul - 3/18/2006

Mr Feuerbach, I couldn't agree more with the above. I found it significant that Mr Clarke singled me out as the 'lone female' in this and most other threads. Going by the treatment meted out to myself, I can only conclude that this is a 'closed shop' - only one gender need apply! However, I must be a gender hybrid (not androgynous, I assure you) because if I wasn't I would have scurried away long before this. I can only put this down to my early upbringing as an only child and the only girl (although not what would be considered a tomboy) in a street full of boys. You see, fellas, you don't scare me! I know all your secrets! LOL

Lorraine Paul - 3/18/2006

Mr Feuerbach, When one reads the examples which Ms Chew uses, and I have no reason to doubt her examples as they appear to me to be borne out each night on the TV news, one can't help but empathasise, firstly, as a fellow human being; and, secondly, as a woman. It is as a human being that I have attempted to follow this debate.

To see the pictures coming out of Iraq, and thank goodness we Australians have access to media not as heavily censored as yours seems to be, would make anyone, even the Millers and the Willis's start to question 'why are we there'!

To be 'freed' by such methods is a strange freedom indeed!

Lorraine Paul - 3/18/2006

Mr Miller, I used those examples due to a reticence to sink the slipper by mentioning Somalia, My Lai, Fallujah and Abu Ghraib.

To use Little Johnnie Howard as an example of a patriotic Australian merely shows your lack of knowledge of Australian current affairs. John Howard has managed to win several elections on the trot. He achieved this by what you would probably call 'brilliant political nous' but what was really shabby lying and bribery. To call him a patriot curdles my milk as he has achieved something which no other Prime Minister has - he has managed to split himself in half and crawl up both the English Monarch and the US rulers backsides, leaving not even his shoelaces visible. John Howard promised a 'more relaxed and comfortable' Australia. He is known as the ugg boot Prime Minister. His relaxed and comfortable Australia means privatisation, job losses, utilising the dirty tricks of, and pandering to, the religious right, scandals, arrogance, and a move to the right worthy of Ghengis Khan. His only saving grace is that Her Majesty's Loyal Opposition is in total disarray and therefore unelectable. However, I do not wish to digress.

I am not the one with the closed mind, indeed, I would say that yours is not only suffering with that condition but is also indoctrinated to a fine degree. As it should be if you are to be an effective soldier. Good Lord! Imagine if you had to enter a combat zone unsure if what you were doing was right. You would be dead in a minute.

Keep your illusions that you are fighting a just war for the betterment of humankind. Bechtel, Haliburton et al demand it!

Lorraine Paul - 3/18/2006

Mr Willis...All I can say is - All that knowledge and no understanding!!!

J. Feuerbach - 3/18/2006

I agree with Mr. Miller when he counterargues, "To connect thousands of years of human history, across virtually numberless and different cultures, epochs, religions, social, economic and political organizations, and to tie these to the Iraqi War" is a stretch. Again, I think that discussing if war is sexist or not is a waste of time. Two classic quotes come handy: "War is the symptom, not the disease."
-L. M. Heroux
"All war is a symptom of man's failure as a thinking animal."
-John Steinbeck
I've argued above that the military is a sexist institution. If it ceased to be sexist --sexism: behavior, conditions, or attitudes that foster stereotypes of social roles based on sex--, it wouldn't be able to complete its mission. I used Jung to indicate how this happened. However, I condemn militarism, namely an abuse of legitimate militar power. The invasion of Iraq is a good example of militarism. (For those who think this is a church, check this definition of militarism.)

I disagree when Mr. Miller when he implies that war, the military, or even militarism can't be analyzed through the lenses of gender. The problem is when these are the only glasses we wear to analyze this or any other social phenomenon. And this is what Ms. Chew unfortunately does. However, let's not forget that "Nothing is more than 80% true." The inability to find anything redeemable in Ms. Chew's piece is a sign of close-mindedness and lack of intellectual rigor, two attributes that academia should abhor.

Rob Willis - 3/18/2006

Gee, I hope so. Would love to meet you in person, it would be nice.

Nice mis-direction play. Would you care to take up my challenge?

R. Willis

Rob Willis - 3/18/2006

Mr. Clarke-
I will compare my reading list with yours any day.

Very, very sincerely,

R. Willis

J. Feuerbach - 3/18/2006

Ms. Paul,

I did some research and I came across some research done in 1991 by the US Department of Veterans Affairs. Its conclusions are not very encouraging.

"Taken together, the findings reviewed above are troubling: PTSD currently exists in many veterans decades after their exposure to combat. Whether this remarkable chronicity is the true course of the disorder or only the consequence of a failure to recognize and treat the disorder or only the consequence of a failure to recognize and treat the disorder is unkown. Whatever the reason, it appears that PTSD can last, essentially, for a lifetime."

This would explain why your dad and mine --both war veterans--are who they are. PTSD is a shitty psychiatric condition that can be treated but never goes away. I'll keep looking for new information.

You argue, "I would even go so far as to say that there is a rich vein evident in some of the remarks made in this thread." At risk of misinterpreting what you are saying (I find it easier than asking), I would argue that a guy doesn't need to go to war and come back to show certain attributes. Apparently it has to do more with nurture than with natura. Here's a study on delinquency prompted by the fact that the rate of female delinquency has increased relative to the rate of male delinquency. Disclaimer: I'm not accusing anyone of delinquent behavior.

"What is it that causes males to offend so much more and females to offend so much less? As with many human behaviors the answer may lie in socialization. Gender-schema theory recognizes that our culture polarizes the sexes into two exclusive genders. Girls are socialized into the feminine role and boys into the masculine role, and both are taught to exhibit the “appropriate” traits for their respective genders. Feminine traits include gentleness, understanding, and sympathy, whereas masculine traits include assertiveness and dominance (Siegel and Senna, 246)."

I love the final paragraph:

"In summary, males are more delinquent primarily because our culture to a certain degree expects and condones it, and females are less delinquent because it is against their assigned gender role. When females are delinquent they are punished more harshly for breaching expected norms. Mother culture works hard to make sure that boys and girls live up to its expectations."

So Ms. Paul, could it be that Mother Culture through some contributors to this thread is sending you a kind reminder? Just a thought!

Richard F. Miller - 3/18/2006

Mr. Clarke: First, on the civil war post. I am not presently in a position to respond to your countervailing factuals about Biafra, East Timor, etc. By the time I will likely be in a such a position, the post will have long since been "cold." However, for my own purposes, I will look into the examples you've raised and will find some way to get back to you...if there is indeed disagreement (I won't presume any if your examples pan out.)

Regarding, sexism and war. Yes, war, bad, bad war. Homicide, infanticide, suicide, genocide, rape, pillage, plunder, etc., etc. To argue that war is more "sexist" in that regard than it is either "homicidal," or dismissive of property rights is to cherry pick your evils from a totality of evil. Moreover, the melding together of evils, declaring them universal (and including fictitious evidence, such as the Rape of the Sabine Women) is to ignore vast changes in precisely how war's homicide has changed over the centuries. Do I think that the Children's Crusade is the only instance of brutality towards women and children in wartime? Ha! We've communicated too often for you club me with that!

However, what I do believe is that each war and each resulting set of brutalities is sui generis in circumstance, motivation, and so forth; in short, they are specifically historical and driven by a unique set of factors as to the identity of victims, number of victims, type of death inflicted on victims, the modes, rationalizations, and politics, and so forth. To say that people die in war, women are raped, houses are burned, makes for an excellent sermon, but aids historical understanding not in the least.

What I questioned about Chew's varied pronunciamentos was its emphasis on American wars and its singling out one genre of misery, which led her, or her lapdog Paul, to blandly state such absurdities as more industrial workers died than soldiers in World War II. Thus, as John Adams once observed, "Ideology is idiocy" if it leads to such positions.

I'm sorry but I recoil instinctively whenever I'm being given historical anecdotes spanning centuries intended to prove some point about what happened yesterday. I regard the study of history as a painstaking business, am way of "lessons" as well as "useful pasts" and have no problem denouncing as poor methodology (to be kind) whenever somebody explains the presence of rape in Iraq using examples drawn from mythology, the Crusades, or "facts" on a website put out sponsored by those who were never troubled by a fact in their lives.

Charles Edward Heisler - 3/18/2006

" gender analysis – a recognition of the connections between imperialism and U.S. patriarchy – drastically widens the spectrum of people we must consider the ‘casualties’ of war, and deepens our understanding of imperialism. Not only does the war perpetuate sexist inequality and patriarchy, but also it enlists patriarchal relations – economic, sexual, and ideological – to carry out its operations. I have outlined ways women are affected by the war – both as distinct from men, and disproportionately compared to men, due to gendered workings. Righting these injustices requires special attention to gender, and is not guaranteed by merely opposing the war.

We must recognize the connections between the war in Iraq and patriarchy at home – and resist."

After reading this tortured, over written, thing with every feminine buzz word from the 60's on thrown in, my suggestion is that we simply should, to maintain sanity, just ignore the "connections", if for no other reason then to encourage future "scholars" to adopt simpler language, better reasoning, and much better evidence!
My heavens, couldn't this all have been summed up in a couple of paragraphs of simple language?
Women's Study at Harvard you say? As has been suspected, a field of study without scholars, students, or necessity.
The School of Liberal Arts' Underwater Basket Weaving at it's finest.

Rob Willis - 3/18/2006

I have studied military history since I was old enough to read. This has been supplimented over the decades with ample study of politics, diplomacy, ideologies, and most lately, the way these things are percieved by the general population.

I have read hundreds of first-person accounts, stacks of official histories, dozens of biographies, and absorbed countless bits of information from a variety of sources. This may seem to be a modest pedigree (I only possess a pesky Masters in history, so I really don't count much I suppose), but what little I can claim to know leads me to this conclusion:

You have absolutly no idea what you're talking about as pertains to the political/military situation, strategic or tactical, in Iraq. You are too cocooned in your hatred to want to understand it. Even when it is presented to you over and again, in exactly the same terms, you refuse delivery.

Please stop embarassing yourselves on this issue. If you ever open your mind and heart enough to consider the truth of the matter, say so and we can talk.

Oh, sorry about the 2000 election, not over it yet, huh? Must be difficult to get up in the morning...

R. Willis

Richard F. Miller - 3/18/2006

First, a correction. War being the last refuge of scoundrals was not coined by one of my countrymen. According to Boswell, it was uttered by Dr. Samuel Johnson. Second, as to my colloquialisms, I will once again revert to Dr. Johnson. Unless, as Bernard Shaw noted, America and England (or in your case, Australia) are divided by a common language, reference to a dictionary or compendium of slang is the preferred antidote to unfamiliar slang or neologisms. (Dr. Johnson, in case you didn't know, having introduced the English-speaking world to the best known effort along those lines.) Alas, regarding Kool Aid, I will qoute Dr. Johnson again: "Sir, I can offer only the argument, not the understanding of it."

Third, unless you're going to argue that John Howard is some mutant (in spite of having been elected and re-elected), my impression of Australians is that they typically do not shy away from the most vital assertions of national pride and identity. Granted, there are those on the left (I believe the congratulations you bestowed upon yourself was "clear thinking and progressive") who will denounce patriotism as something less of a virtue, at least on those occasions when it doesn't serve a broad leftist agenda. (One thinks here of many-failed movements of "national liberation" in which leftists, unwilling to salute their home country flag had little problem blessing the efforts of others prepared to kill for theirs--if they were others who were favored, e.g., NVA, Che, Castro, etc.)

Regarding Ms. Chew's credibility--she comes to this site with pronouncements aplenty but otherwise empty pockets. I infer from her posted cv that she hasn't spent five minutes in or around the military. Most of what she writes in this piece appears not to come from either personal experience or dispassionate, peer reviewed evidence, but the fever swamps of the left. Being remarkably free of weighty evidence or personal anecdote, the best she can do is to imagine "sexism and the military." That is an act of faith or fiction, but not serious history.

Even granting absolute truth to your own assertions about Sabine Women (drawn from mythology, you might have noted) or the Children's Crusade, they might inform a serious historian only about the Sabine Women and the Children's Crusade. To connect thousands of years of human history, across virtually numberless and different cultures, epochs, religions, social, economic and political organizations, and to tie these to the Iraqi War reveals an intellectual sloppiness eminently suitable for a college bull session but less impressive among a group of serious readers.

Lorraine Paul - 3/18/2006


It is Saturday night/Sunday morning here and I have been out for the evening. I have bookmarked the site for Hidden Wounds and will listen to it tomorrow.

Lorraine Paul - 3/18/2006

Dear Mr Feuerbach, upon reading your above comments it occurred to me to ask if you knew of anyone who had made a study of the illnesses both physical, spiritual and mental with which soldiers have returned from 20thC wars. There is plenty of evidence regarding this phenomenon. After the Great War there was, what was then called, Shell Shock. In Australia there was a condition suffered by those fighting in the tropics; it was called "going troppo". Can we call the Korean War a war? Most of the historians I know refer to it, in a sarcastic or ironical way as, a police action. We need not go into the tragedy of those who returned from the Vietnam War. Next, I think, was the Gulf War Syndrome.

The best I have come to closely studying Freud was that I possess The Beginners' Guide to Freud, however, don't sneer as it is a handy little book and I found it excellent for a quick overall view. I also had the Beginners' Guide to Lacan and found his mirror thingy very useful when doing Cinema Studies. Although it did stretch my few brain cells to their utmost.

Getting back to the stress of soldiering there would appear to be a wide and rich vein to be studied. I would even go so far as to say that there is a rich vein evident in some of the remarks made in this thread.

Thank you for your ongoing courtesy and considered replies.

Lorraine Paul - 3/18/2006

Mr Clarke, thank you for the backhanded compliment. Actually, in contributing to this thread I have often felt as though my back was to the wall and I was holding off some very fierce 'lions'! Fortunately, this is not the first time I have found myself in this situation. It has never been my way to follow the crowd.

Lorraine Paul - 3/18/2006

Again I don't understand your references, this time to "kool aid". If you are going to use slang and colloquialisms you are going to lose me half the time. Is this some reference to your President and his battle with substance abuse?

So Mr Miller, you give no credence to Ms Chew's assertions. Then how can we converse? You are right, preaching to the choir achieves nothing and as you are sitting in the 'other' choir it would achieve even less. It bodes no good for an exchange when your views are so entrenched into your psyche: either by your military training or by inclinition.

It is also obvious to me that the closed-mindedness shown by some of the commenters in this thread could perhaps be put down to the dearth of information available to those in the US. This dearth was mentioned several times throughout. It has highlighted the need for someone such as Ms Chew to open the discourse. I hope this thread continues indefinitely as the need is dire.

Thank you for your positive comments regarding Aussie soldiers. They are a credit to those of us at home. We are all very proud of them, even though we may condemn the situation they find themselves in. My statement was in praise of their modesty in not having to announce as often as possible to all and sundry their love of their country. We are quiet achievers not given to blowing our own trumpet. We are usually embarrassed, even repulsed, by the 'skite' or braggart. We seem to also have ingested, with our mother's milk, as one of your historical figures stated..that patriotism is the last refuge of the scoundrel. Australian males can be delightful company - that is if they can get over their tendency to regale one with their drinking prowess. But I'm telling you nothing you don't already know. It may surprise you to know that I have been called 'good company' on more than one occasion. However, I am also not given to blowing my own trumpet, and I have digressed.

Now then, war is sexist. The evidence for this statement comes from the time of the Sabine women, or earlier, to the Children's Crusade, to the present day. Whether you agree with the article and referencing supplied by Ms Chew or not, surely you can't argue with the core of her argument.

Richard F. Miller - 3/18/2006

You certainly do not need "God" in a conventional sense to enjoy drinking the Kool Aid. Quite the contrary. Most "believers" I've met whose passion exceeds any earthly evidence are typically drawn from the left of center. "Water carrier," by the way, is an expression for "yessers" who, out of stupidity, blind loyalty, or simple dullness, will carry others' burdens. In your case, a review of your prior postings might be summarized in one word: Yes. Not a qualified yes, or even a thoughtful yes, but simply, an elongated "yes" to Ms. Chew's expatiations. Having forfeited any view independent of Ms. Chew, you are simply surrogate fodder for those of us who question her arguments.

As for the notion that I find her argument to be no more than constructed narrative, I believe you credit her with too much. Argument, even a good construction, requires evidence, and her endnotes are largely self-referencing, often citing websites and books that are simply vehicles for left-wing advocacy. In short, that, coupled with her turgid prose suggests that she's writing not to persuade but affirm, persuasions already held by her presumptive readers. Thus, to use an expression, she preaches to choir, even if the preacher and the choir are atheist.

As for Aussies, I have spent time with a good many over here; as a rule I have yet to see violated, they are an absolute pleasure to break bread with. Your connection between "glorious nation" and Aussies in Iraq is hollow because you've failed to explain it. So I'll have to guess: Were you referring to Gallipoli? "Breaker" Morant? Or some other historical debacle that in your view began some permanent estrangement between Australian soldiers and a love of their country? If this is indeed your position, then I will be happy to tell you first hand that you're wrong, at least among the Diggers I've met over here. Indeed, they stand out as among the most vibrant, refreshing troops I've had the pleasure to meet.

However, back to business. You have failed to address my original point--Ms. Chew seems obsessed with (American) military misogyny (insofar as she has any first hand understanding of it, if it exists, beyond her internet web searches) yet ignores what is indisuptably, genuinely and authentically a fear, hatred, and objectification of women--the Islamist ideology. As long as you're carrying Chew's water, why not spill a little in that direction, eh?

Jason KEuter - 3/18/2006


J. Feuerbach - 3/17/2006

Lorraine, I'm sorry... Ms. Paul.

This is just an introductory line to reflect on a casual observation: the formal way (Mr. or Ms.) historians or history aficionados refer to each other, at least in this forum. Many times this greeting is followed by a polite and indirect suggestion that the recipient of our response should have sex with himself/herself. But we do this without losing our cool. While on this topic, try this at home. Whenever I call my phone company, the rep asks me the same question at the start of our conversation. "Mr. Feuerbach, may I call you Julian? My answer is always the same: "No, you may not." After a 10 to 15 second awkward pause, the rep says, "So Mr. Feuerbach, how can I help you today?"

Returning to more substantive issues, Ms. Paul, you ask, "I see the need to utilise aggression but can it always be turned off when not needed?" I must confess that I don't have answers to your question. When I ran out of explanations, I resort to psychoanalysis. Here's an interesting theory put together by a psychodynamic-minded individual that could provide an answer to your question.

"Devastated by the brutalities of the first World War, Freud created the theory of Eros and Thanatos to explain the extremities of destruction. Within this theory he discovers that the individual in society will always contain the polarity of Eros and Thanatos, the life instinct wanting to share and achieve unity, the death instinct wanting to revolt and preserve the self. How extreme these two instincts are depend on the individual, and sometimes the battle of Eros and Thanatos can be so conflicting as to cause destruction to the self and the external world. Radical examples of these tragic phenomenons are history's crusades, wars, holocausts, and the modern serial murderer. Much like the vampire, the people involved in the latter man-made disasters fought their own internal war between Eros and Thanatos where the life instinct suffered defeat, and the death instinct celebrated victory by spreading destruction. Needless to say, Freud's theory of Eros and Thanatos explains the vampire within ourselves."

Most of the times I'm unable to discern the intricacies of psychoanalysis (especially Lacan) but I think the guy who wrote the above article is saying that we are screwed... Sorry I don't have better news.

Ah, if you have some time to spare, listen to the story entitled "Hidden Wounds" aired today in NPR (National Palestine Radio). It's about the documentary "Hidden Wounds" that profiles three Massachusetts veterans of the Iraq war, and examines the struggles they faced when they returned home with post-traumatic stress disorder, or PTSD.


Lorraine Paul - 3/17/2006

Mr Willis,

Don't forget to check under your bed tonight! I could be hiding there.

Lorraine Paul - 3/17/2006

One last point...when I attempted to turn the debate back to its original premise, that is, treatment of women by soldiers, my attempt was in vain.

It would appear that Ms Chew has touched a very real nerve, and I, in my innocence, blundered into it.

Lorraine Paul - 3/17/2006

As I am an atheist (gasp!) your metaphor of a church is inappropriate in my case. Beliefs, both ethical, moral and political, do not need to be mediated through a book. Especially one whose very existence was brought about by vested interests. Life experience, reading and being open to new ideas, including those of the major religions, has sufficed for many.

I have not invented the "devils of sexism, militarism etc" they were around long before my birth. However, thank you for your confidence in my powers.

I did not say Ms Chew's article was beyond argument! How quickly you interpret my words to suit your argument. If you read back you will find that just about everything has been argued except Ms Chew's article, including the political views attributed to me by some crystal-ball gazing or perhaps it was profiling or even stereotyping.

My statements raised such ire among the gentlemen who responded to them, and this seems to include yourself, that even I was amazed! Why was this?

Are you dismissing Ms Chew's article as a construct existing only in her own mind? If you are, then we have no common ground. I would further add that Ms Chew's credentials seem perfectly credible to me.

What raised my ire in the first place was mis-interpreting Mr Fueurbach's remarks, and I have freely admitted to this in my response to him. From then on it turned into a free-for-all with the only thing left for the responders to accuse me of was the big "L" word, however, give it time!

I dispute that any of my comments contained bile. Sarcasm, taunts, snickers, opinionated...yes!

By the way, I haven't a clue what you mean by 'water carrier" so, assuming it is an insult, it has missed the mark.

You must have met several Aussie soldiers by now so you would know that 'glorious nation' would only earn you a side-long look or a request to cut the bs.

Lorraine Paul - 3/17/2006

Yeeeees! I did notice that! However, it was ungracious of me to point it out. I can say nothing in my defence.

Gonzalo Rodriguez - 3/17/2006

Well noted, Mr. Keuter. Although I think the current article is an extreme example, it is nonetheless a fundamental feature of today's academy: I write a book in which I approvingly cite my buddies' work, and then they give it favorable reviews in their own publications. Later, when it is their turn to write, they cite me and I review it favorably. They invite me to speak at their conference, and I return the favor later on.

One big, esoteric, elitist, and intellectually incestuous party!

(And they can't understand why "public intellectuals" have lost influence in recent years.)

Rob Willis - 3/17/2006

And I meant tenets. Spelling has never been my long suit;-)


Rob Willis - 3/17/2006

Why don't you read up on it and report back, O.K.?

One of them is asking someone else to do your work for you...

R. Willis

Richard F. Miller - 3/17/2006

Dear Patrick: Thanks for your comments on my article. That John Burns, and many other very fine (and considerably more experienced) reporters might contradict my findings is understandable given the complexities of this country. Violence, cohesion (or the lack thereof) will vary province by province, and town by town. If the analysis of Iraq proves anything, it is the poet Saxe's famous account of the six blind men from Indostan.

In replying to argument (you are a frequent poster and I hope will sympathize with the following) it is almost impossible to be fully responsive to arguments with which I disagree as well as to evaluate comments that purport to agree with me for aspects about which I disagree with them! Thus, I must leave it to others to make their arguments and cannot assume responsibility for the full content of another's brief, even if "filed" in support of my own. However, since you raised the issue of "crusade," let me state that I do not believe this war is a Crusade. Only the Crusade was the Crusade. Another word--and none occurs to me immediately--will have to be found to describe this part hot, part cold, part conventional, part unconventional, part religious, part political, part you-name-it struggle.

Any suggestions? HNN should have a contest--"Name that War."

Richard F. Miller - 3/17/2006

Ah, yes, then in referring to you as this author's water carrier, I ought to lose even more credibility. And indeed, your sensitivity to every criticism directed at this screed suggests an attachment born of faith and not reason. The sum total of your comments (as well as the bile motivating so much of Ms. Chew's prose which in turn is supported by her ideologically self-referencing footnotes) is really a matter of theology, not history. You have invented your devils (sexism, militarism, etc.) and and your angels (yourselves, actually), and constructed a narrative pitting the two against one another. Fair enough. Freedom of religion is guaranteed in this glorious nation. But your comments are inappropriate for a website deovted to history--you are peddling theodicy, not history, which is fair enough.

If Ms. Chew and those of her ilk construct arguments which you believe are beyond argument, then by all means, read your New-New Testament and find a church that suits you. I have no doubt that it will preach a gospel that exempts having to confront others' arguments on their own terms--like mine about Islamic culture--as it raises hosannahs to its Chew-de-jours.

Bear in mind that this website is not a church.

Lorraine Paul - 3/17/2006

You have me confused Mr Willis. What are the 'identifiable tenents (sic) of communism'?

Jason KEuter - 3/17/2006

I love these radical left essays that attempt to dress their rants in the garb of intellectual legitimacy by footnoting "sources" that are generally other radical left ranters.

Lorraine Paul - 3/16/2006

Dear Mr Feuerbach,
I admit to leaping to defend the article when it was being dismissed along racist, gender and sectarian lines. I am not a strident feminist, although, by stating this, I am not accusing Ms Chew of being such. However, I felt that article made sense, especially to one who is anti-war and anti-military, as I am.

Mr Chamberlain did make a very interesting point and after much hubbub and hyperbole it would be a good idea to return to the article and, in particular, the point made.

Using the Second World War as an example, many men, like my father, were put in a position which they would never have encountered in 'civvie street'! That is, killing/maiming/detaining a fellow human being. I don't know the answer to Mr Chamberlain's question. According to my mother my father returned from war a different man. Many women have experienced this transformation and have found that their men are incapable of returning to true warmth and human contact between their loved ones.

I see the need to utilise aggression but can it always be turned off when not needed?

I do have more to say on this but am eager to hear your opinions first.

Lorraine Paul - 3/16/2006

I particularly detest the phrase "your (sic) welcome" therefore, I will accept your insincere comment in the spirit in which it was meant!

I'm not living in North Korea but happily surviving in Australia where we take a more objective and expansive view of history than you do. Thank goodness!

Lorraine Paul - 3/16/2006

Mr Ebbitt,
Yesterday when I read your remarks to Mr Thomas I felt that you had had the last word on a distressing aside to the original topic. Sadly, being abashed at one's own bad behaviour is beyond some people. More power to your keyboard, mate!

Mr Thomas,
I am puzzled as to spelling of Welsh as "Welch". Is "Welch" an archaic word for the more common spelling? Is this word still in use in certain quarters? I would not be surprised considering its source. An unwillingness to throw off the dross of an imagined glorious past is usually the hallmark of the racist!

Mr Miller,
I, too, sat up straight at the phrase 'glorious nation', however, my first inclination was to giggle at such hyperbole. It was only after stopping that I became a little alarmed. Such phrases do not sit well with clear-thinking and progressive people. The world has suffered enough from 'glorious nation's'. Mr Thomas' Mongols being a good example and Mr Ebbitt's Herr Schicklegrubber being an even more abject lesson.

By your use of the above phrase you have lost all credibility.

J. Feuerbach - 3/16/2006

Mr Miller,

You state,

"One last point--some posters use the word "hegemonic" as if it were synonymous with "demonic." Think again. Given the nature, values characterizing our competitors for world and regional "hegemony," U.S. hegemony suits me fine.

Maybe others do, but I don't equate "hegemonic" with "demonic." My point is two-fold: (1)Political, economic, militar power isn't distributed equally among countries. I'm not saying it's good or bad. It's just a fact. (2)Powerful countries can abuse their power with lethal consequences to others and themselves. In Lord Acton's words, "Power tends to corrupt; absolute power corrupts absolutely."

Henry J. Hyde, a Republican Congressman from Illinois and a WW II veteran conveys this same idea in his recent discussion of the perils of the Golden Theory. I consider this short address the most powerful and articulate attack on Bush's grandiose dream (or nightmare come true) to spread democracy worldwide. I extracted a couple of paragraphs along with the link to his entire speech. I hope we heed Hyde's worries and fears.

"Lying at the heart of America’s relationship with the world is a paradox. We have a global reach, voluntarily assuming responsibility for preserving peace and order in much of the world and for the bless-ed charge of bettering the lives of its inhabitants. And yet we are
simultaneously very distant from that world, stubbornly uninstructed by its ancient cynicism and
preaching a confidence in the future that defies the constraints of the present. This paradox – to
massively engage the world while living on an autonomous island in the global sea – is made
possible by our unprecedented power.
It is a truism that power breeds arrogance. A far greater danger, however, stems from the
self-delusion that is the more certain companion. For individuals and countries alike, power
inevitably distorts perceptions of the world by insulating them in a soothing cocoon that is
impervious to what scientists term 'disconfirming evidence.'"


"The life of preeminence, as with all life on this planet, has a mortal end. To allow our
enormous power to delude us into seeing the world as a passive thing waiting for us to recreate it
in an image of our choosing will hasten the day when we have little freedom to choose anything
at all."


Frederick Thomas - 3/16/2006

What country am I from? Like most of us, as an American I was born here.

Taking the longer view, as a European-American my ancestors are originally from the Caucasus region. Most of my ancestors entered Western Europe proper, between 1200-700 BC, through present Moravia and Bohemia, across Bavaria, into France, then Spain, then by boat to Southern England, leaving a genetic trail along the way. You understand that there were no countries per se in those days, though there was plenty of terra incognita.

They became Welch by being pressured into Wales by more numerous Saxons, then were forced to migrate to Southern Scotland by the Normans who had defeated the Saxons. They assimilated there, until forced to migrate to Northern Ireland in the 1600's, from which most emigrated to America, becoming America's most numerous ethnic group. This was until the revolution. Afterwards went to Australia instead. On both sides of the family, the story is much the same. Amazing how demographic DNA analysis can confirm old family traditions, is it not?

Now, obviously my reference to "our Crusaders" referred to Welch and Scots who "came to the cross" ("crux ade") when asked, and who are in my line of descent. The "our" word referred to my European heritage, which presumably you share.

Am I going too fast for you? Mr Ebbitt, you make this too easy. I think you understood exactly what I meant by "our," but just wanted to posture a bit. Ne c'est pas?

Rob Willis - 3/16/2006

And Atlas Shrugged...

Why stear away from calling a spade a spade? If an author or contributor espouses or defends the identifiable tenants of communism, it is safe to assume that they are a communist. If that has negative emotions attached to it, maybe it is because there are very good reasons.

Name it and live up to it. Too many hide behind PC screens, sensativity training, "tolerance", and outright false fronts.

Be honest, it dosen't hurt that badly...


Rob Willis - 3/16/2006

Yes, McCarthy, that great boogie-man. It may disturb you a bit, but I have no problem being accused of anti-communist zealotry because I am proud to hold that view, at least as far as institutions are concerned. I am intolerant of you and anyone like you trying to form the policies by which I explore my world and live my life, because eventually you will point a gun at me.

Fair enough?

So, I have been honest about my view, why don't you share your vision of things with us. And while you are at it, why don't you openly admit what you are? And then, please defend by hitorical evidence why you think that your policies have any credibility at all. SHOW ME THE SUCCESSES.

R. Willis

Richard F. Miller - 3/16/2006

Sir: In our glorious nation now edging towards a population of 300 million, I long ago concluded that you will find at least a handful of people in support of anything. The existence of such people--racists who may view the Arabs as untermenschen, does not concern me. After all, the function of a healthy democracy is in part to keep such pathologies permanently sidelined. And by and large, it has worked. For that reason, we have no need (let alone a legal basis) to criminalize speech, such as Holocaust Denial.

And of course, our author may sya what she pleases. Like so many lefties (Shawcross made the same argument about the brutality of Pol Pot--that it was our fault because Nixon's 1970 interdiction was so brutal as to create the Khmer Rouge) our author uses the same logic--that somehow, U.S. imperialism is responsible for exacerbating the oppression of women in the Middle East. She has a highly refined, nuanced understanding of Islam that I'd say is the result of at least 10 minutes of diligent study.

One last point--some posters use the word "hegemonic" as if it were synonymous with "demonic." Think again. Given the nature, values characterizing our competitors for world and regional "hegemony," U.S. hegemony suits me fine. In truth, it also suits most of our posters just fine, too--they have certain moral, intellecutal material luxuries not likely to endure in those societies competing with the United States for power--and I don't simply refer to the Islamists and their fantasy of Caliphate.

J. Feuerbach - 3/15/2006

Ms. Paul,

Thank you for reading my response without wearing the above referenced glasses. You are very gracious.

My concern is that we are drifting away from the original subject and task: to respond to Ms. Chew's piece. My first take on the article hasn't changed.

First, to characterize war as sexist is a stretch. Out of the seven reasons Ms. Chew puts forth to explain “why the war must be understood as sexist” only one is applicable and could be used as her main thesis: “The US military is a misogynist, homophobic institution that relies on patriarchal ideologies and relations to function –with effect on larger society, as well as the countries we occupy or station bases.” The other 6 ones are just consequences of utilizing a sexist institution like the military to make war. (1) Soldiers are not the only casualties of war. Most casualties are unarmed civilians. (2) War can exacerbate the evils of patriarchal social institutions. (3) War can exacerbate the sexual commodification of women. However, men have also been subjected to sexual assaults. Have we forgotten the pics from Abu Ghraib, the US run prison in Iraq? (5) War decreases women’s control over their reproduction. (6) War results in restriction of public space for women.

In the light of these reflections, I suggest a new title to the article: “Why militarism is sexist.” If Ms. Chew would agree to such change, we would both be describing militarism as a sound expression of sexism rooted in patriarchal values.

But Mr. Chamberlain, in the first response to Ms. Chew’s piece, posed a good question. “You argue, correctly, that agressive masculinity is on all sides of this conflict and shapes its parameters in many ways. Still, sometmes a people or a nation needs to defend itself. How in this world can one defend oneself against that agressive masculinity without utilizing it?”

Mr. Chamberlain is right on the money. Countries need to defend themselves if other countries or groups decide to attack them. Some countries even decide to invade other nations in order to, allegedly, defend themselves. The invasion of Iraq by the US comes to mind. In order to normalize the action of killing, the armed forces coach recruits into splitting the so-called masculine and feminine traits we all carry emphasizing the former at the expense of the latter. Otherwise, it would be difficult for a soldier (1) to kill, (2) to justify that his/her vocation/job is just like any other, and (3) to remain more or less sane. Jung believed that every person is a duality, that every man has a feminine side, every woman a masculine side. Soldiering represses the anima (Jung), the feminine side of the male. (Disclaimer: Jung’s theories have no scientific basis whatsoever. However, they are delightfully intuitive and appealing.)

Bottom line? The military might be a sexist institution with deep roots in patriarchy but we need soldiers to protect us. Soldiering’s main victim is the androgynous wholeness, a balance development between the complementary and equally valuable aspects of our full humanity as women or men. I commend our soldiers and their families for sacrificing so many things. But just like in life, the military and their civilian bosses need to pick their battles carefully. I hope they agree that Iraq, an ugly expression of militarism, was a huge f*cking mistake and that they are willing to get the hell out of there ASAP.

Gonzalo Rodriguez - 3/15/2006

Mr. Feuerbach, I'm inclined to agree with you. I'm somewhat ashamed of the present comment thread, and even a bit more than I allowed myself to be drawn into it childishly. Geez, we're not even talking about the article anymore.

Thanks for your sanity.

Gonzalo Rodriguez - 3/15/2006

Your welcome. Who can forget an unapologetic Stalin sympathizer? It was like discovering a live dodo bird: I thought they were either all extinct (or at least living in North Korea). I'm happy to be of service. Cheers!

Lorraine Paul - 3/15/2006

Mr Feuerbach, The other night I told a friend of your witty rebuke to me regarding the wearing of glasses. We both had a good laugh even though it was at my expense.

I view this forum as an extension of a tutorial, and who wants a boring tute? A 'little' liveliness never hurt, especially if one is prepared to admit one's mistakes...

Lorraine Paul - 3/15/2006

Bloody Hell! Gonzalo, do you keep copies? I wouldn't have a clue where to go to search out that quote! However, I'm flattered no end by the fact that you not only remembered me after, hmmm! months!, but kept a copy my modest scribblings.

Lorraine Paul - 3/15/2006

Au contraire!

As an Australian whose father fought in New Guinea I deeply resent your ignorance of WWII. My father was NOT a "Brit". He was a dinky di Aussie.

Lorraine Paul - 3/15/2006

Ah! devilish unfair of them not to show their true colours - on the other hand given this secretiveness - I can only admire your cleverness in sniffing them out.

It is so comforting for me to know that the 'brave' efforts of such as yourself have not allowed the memory of Senator Joseph McCarthy to die out!

Lorraine Paul - 3/15/2006

Thank you, Mr Chamberlain. Unlike Mr Gonzalez you immediately understood the point I was making, and you didn't even have access to the context.

By the way, the insurgents aren't the only ones firing into villages. The Coalition of the Willing are doing a good job of that as well as torturing and killing.

Oh! by the way, gentlemen, in the context of the 'original' discussion please read the following =

"After Saddam, Iraqi women used as sex objects: "We've studied reports from local NGOs on women's rights in the past three years, including violence, kidnappings, forced prostitution and honor killings," WFO [After Saddam, Iraqi women are used as sex objects] President Senar Mohammad told Reuters. "And the extent to which women have lost their rights in Iraq is shocking."

Is anyone truly surprised by the above?

J. Feuerbach - 3/15/2006

This thread is a good example of why people should refrain from using the world imperialism. "Oh, so you are accusing me of being an imperialist? Well, you know what? You are a bloody communist!"

In these kind of situations people start using the name-calling technique. "The name-calling technique links a person, or idea, to a negative symbol. The propagandist who uses this technique hopes that the audience will reject the person or the idea on the basis of the negative symbol, instead of looking at the available evidence." http://www.whale.to/vaccine/propaganda3.html

Association is a similar technique and also very effective. "Associate opponents with unpopular titles such as 'kooks', 'right-wing', 'liberal', 'left-wing', 'terrorists', 'conspiracy buffs', 'radicals', 'militia', 'racists', 'religious fanatics', 'sexual deviates', and so forth. This makes others shrink from support out of fear of gaining the same label, and you avoid dealing with issues."

Imperialism and communism are emotionally-charged negative symbols. As stated above, propagandists use them in debates hoping that the audience will reject the person or the idea on the basis of the negative symbol, instead of looking at the available evidence.

If our preferred debating style draws upon the limbic system at the expense of the frontal lobes of the brain, I must acknowledge that the above techniques work like a charm!

Frederick Thomas - 3/15/2006

...and keep your head down.

The great majority of Americans, if not the hapless Ms. Chew, are behind you 100%, including this elder member of Vietnam, class of 69.

Over the years, I have come to attribute the strange customs of some of our Arabic bretheren to the fact that the Mongols went through them like s*** through a sluice, in 1250.

Almost all of the Arab soldiers (the educated) were killed, and the Mongol soldiers did what they always did to the women-not a happy way to start a family.

Before 1250, the arabs had fought well against our Crusaders, invented Algebra, had the world's greatest poetry and advanced science, fed themselves easily from desolate lands, and put up a good account of themselves as a civilization. There was little of that afterward.

If you want to hear something really gruesome, Google up what the Mongols did to the "old man of the mountain" when he had one of them assassinated. Ouch.

Anyway, keep your head down and let us all know what is going on out there. There is a real dearth of information back in the world.

Frederick Thomas - 3/15/2006

Ms. Paul:

I guess I do not see your point here.

US Declaration: 12/41
End war Europe: 4/45

Length US war Europe: 3 yr 8 mo.

The war in France took only 6 months, and only 6 weeks of actual combat, until the Vichy peace was signed.

The Soviets skated under the non-aggression pact until 6/42, so they were in it less than 3 years, the least of all major combatants, unless you want to count their stupid attack on Finland, which they lost.

Only the Brits had a longer war than did we, 9/39-4/45, foolishly declaring war after the Polish invasion, much before they were ready, then attacking civilian targets in the Ruhr by air, which invited the blitz.

"Most of our allies" were in it less than we were. Touche, ne cest pas?

Frederick Thomas - 3/15/2006

Ms. Paul

Thank you for your comments. Sorry if I discombobble you from time to time.

The tone of this article precisely matches that of the 1930s, 40s, and 50s commie agitprop types, which I believe you truly do appreciate, but will not bring yourself to admit.

Slaves of both sexes were spoils of war, with men being slightly more valuable, at least in Rome, Turkey and the mideast, because of their greater potential for hard work, and potential use as auxiliary soldiers.

The Ottomans loved to capture young males, whom they could train as fearsome Janissary soldiers on a regimen of meat diet, daily weapons training and unlimited sex with slave girls. How do you judge this one, Ms. Paul?

This writer, Ms Chew, is truly an anachronism. She probably does not even realize that big Gloria Steinem, whom Camille Paglia once referred to as "Stalin," has given up and taken a male life partner. For shame!

Richard F. Miller - 3/15/2006

I'll readily concede that the following is a bit of tu quoque, but sitting here at FOB Anaconda, after just having spent the day in Aldijail, Iraq, it occurred to me that while this author expatiates relentlessly on the inherent sexism of war (ah, but chiefly American war), there is another sexism about which she is curiously silent.

I refer to the sexism represented by the culture of our enemies. The misogyny represented by this culture is so repellent that critics such as our author cannot bear to look it in the face. How much easier to criticize the values of the Marine Corps! Approximately one-half of the population of any religiously inclined Muslim country (e.g., Saudi Arabia), is virtually enslaved. Living under what amounts to as house arrest, often forced to marry as teenagers, trapped in polygamous marriages, degraded in legal rights, they are forced to walk about clad head-to-toe in black abayas, spectral images in a summer heat that will easily exceed 120 degrees. Varients of this culture will engage in clitoral circumcision, while even "advanced" Muslim societies such as Jordan, Palestine and even Europe, honor killings are all the rage. Yet it is the chants of "Airborne!" from the Rakkusans that draws the author's ire.

"Torture the evidence long enough and it will confess!" is how one of my graduate school professors termed our author's kind of argument. By what she chooses to omit she reveals more than by what she chooses to excoriate.

And what might that be? In a world of genuine pain, she goes for the low-hanging fruit. But what she won't "transgress"--that which would surely earn her the ire of her left-wing colleagues--is to apply her values and judgmentality to places that are for more in need of them than anything Made in America. That would take real courage, admittedly of the sexist variety that she finds so objectionable.

Rob Willis - 3/15/2006

You are correct, many of the muslims who are mortering and exploding one another are not communists, but they are first cousins.

And yes, most of the Marxists I have come across call themselves everything but what they are. It is imposible for them to be honest about what they want and who they are, because it is a defective product, as 80 million graves (and counting) proves.

R. Willis

Oscar Chamberlain - 3/15/2006

It is quite possible to recognize the intelligence of an immoral but effective act. That's part of what a historian has to do. We have to note intelligent actions regardless of the ends they serve.

I do not know the context of the quote from Lorraine Paul, but there is nothing in this quote that suggests an admiration for Stalin's regime.

Gonzalo Rodriguez - 3/15/2006

Ms. Paul,

Normally I don't engage in "red-baiting" and hunting for "commies," but in this case it's perfectly justified. I remember you apologizing for the Hitler-Stalin pact a few weeks ago like this:

"However, I have long viewed Stalin's pact with Hitler as a brilliant strategic move on the part of Stalin. As there was never any doubt that Hitler would eventually attack the USSR this pact allowed the European section of this vast country a breathing space. A breathing space which enabled Stalin to move into Poland and part of Finland to create a buffer zone with Germany."


So you are correct that communists are not "firing the latest technological weapons into villages containing women and children." (By the way, are there any villages in the world that DON'T contain women and children?) But please don't act like communists are somehow immune from violence and atrocities. Indeed, even if we accept the worst possible statistics on the current war in Iraq, it still pales besides the lesser crimes of communism over the past 100 years. Just ask the Poles, who had to suffer Stalin's "brilliant strategy" that you swoon over (not to mention the Czechs, the Ukrainians, the Lithuanians, the Latvians, the Estonians, the Mongols, the Afghans, the Hungarians...). I would say that, yes, the communists are afraid to admit it.

Lorraine Paul - 3/14/2006

Mr Feuerbach, you have well and truly put me back in my place, just as I deserved.

Best wishes.

Lorraine Paul - 3/14/2006

Mr Willis, it appears to me that arguing about communism would be rather passe when it isn't communists who are firing the latest technological weapons into villages containing women and children. I would probably say that to most people, as it is to me, that disseminating death is the gravest threat to human existence let alone liberty!

I don't know any communists who are afraid to admit it. Do you?

Rob Willis - 3/14/2006

Are the educated and knowledgable suggesting that communism has disappeared from the list of gravest threats to human liberty? Gosh, that's news.

Why are communists so afraid of admitting who they are?

R. Willis

J. Feuerbach - 3/14/2006

Ms. Paul,

As a matter of fact I occasionally wear glasses but they are only designed to catch asinine comments. Let me take them off so I can respond to the rest of your post.

If you read my post again, you’ll realize that I'm suggesting we replace the word imperialist with hegemonic. That's all. I’m making a couple of points. (1) There's a power differential among countries and/or blocks of countries. (2) The most powerful ones use is, misuse it and abuse it. Denying the existence of both realities amounts to abject conscious denial (Sorry followers of Anna Freud!). The notion of free market economy is half true and half mythic. Even though international trade isn't an even field, poor and underdeveloped countries are asked to play according to the rules of the major leagues.

I think Americans need to see life from the perspective of the Third World. Let's forget for a moment about the illegal invasion of a sovereign country (Iraq) and focus on international trade.

In the last Summit of the Americas held in Argentina, its president had something interesting to share that the US didn’t appreciate. US officials indicated that they were taken aback by Kirchner’s speech. Those reactions always capture my interest and imagination because they could indicate that someone might be telling the truth. I did some research. Here’s a short paragraph of Argentina president’s speech.

“In analyzing the current international trade system with its farm subsidies and tariffs barriers one should take into account the existence of asymmetries and different levels of development. Equality is a valuable and necessary concept but only applicable to those who are equal. Equal treatment to the different or equal treatment between powerful countries and weak countries or equal treatment between highly developed economies and emerging economies is not only a lie but also a mortal trap. A trap that first traps and affects the weak but then, one way or another, ends up affecting the powerful.”

Bush thought he could come to this summit and shovel the FTAA (Free Trade Area of the Americas) down people’s throats. Apparently he wasn’t prepared for a solid and sensible response by a Latin American president.

Lorraine Paul - 3/14/2006

One more point Mr Thomas. McCarthy used the same tactics - "A real true-believer commie". Come now, are you serious, that sort of discourse between the educated and knowledgeable went out at the same time as did running boards on cars!!!

Lorraine Paul - 3/14/2006

Hmmm! "3.1/2 years of WWII".

It was six years of fighting for most of the other allies!

Lorraine Paul - 3/14/2006

Mr Feuerbach, are you sure Mr Bush knew what he meant by 'hegemonic'?

Unhappily, if you do not see the US as an imperial state, then you must need glasses!!

It has military bases on every continent, demands that its currency is used for international transactions, bullies/cajoles other countries into agreements which benefit only itself, styles itself as the greatest people ever to exist on earth. Without even going into the technical terminology of what constitutes an empire, my surface analysis just about covers it.

Lorraine Paul - 3/14/2006

Mr Thomas, did you not read the list of references?

Further, for millenia women and children have long been classed as one of the more desirable 'spoils of war'. War does have a more deletorious effect on the female gender. As pointed out, this does not depend on which side you are on.

By the way, does your country have equal pay for equal work between the sexes?

J. Feuerbach - 3/13/2006

I always welcome new readings of the war in Iraq. Ms. Chew applies a gender analysis to this particular war. She is interested in discussing the connections between war and patriarchy in the US.

I would make some changes to her article by taking things out and rearranging material. The first notion I would eliminate is “imperialism.” On the one hand, she doesn’t define it. I think she uses it as a synonym to militarism but I'm not sure. On the other hand, it’s a cliché and it's passé. I would recommend the use of the word hegemony. I think it conveys the same idea of abusing military, economic and political power. Even Bush reacted to it when Argentinean President Kirchner used it last year to describe America’s overbearing behavior in the international arena. Here's the link.

Bush faced criticisms privately as well, including some in his meeting with Kirchner, who referred to his guest as "president of a hegemonic country," according to an Argentine government official.

"That's a very harsh word," the official quoted Bush as saying.


The strongest section of Ms. Chew's article is by far the bullet “Militarization helps perpetuate sexual violence, domestic violence, and violence against women – both in the U.S. and Iraq.” Her reflections don’t cover new territory or exude originality but are very well put. She argues, “Even though women serve as soldiers, the U.S. military is a misogynist, homophobic institution that relies on patriarchal ideologies and relations to function – with effects on larger society, as well as the countries we occupy or station bases.” The other 6 reasons “why the war must be understood as sexist” illustrate the second half of the above quote –the consequences of using a sexist institution as the military.

Bottom line?

First, Ms. Chew fails to acknowledge that all military in all countries “imperialistic” or not, use the same training strategy Ms. Chew eloquently describes.

Second, war isn’t sexist as she argues. War isn't racist, classist, ageist either. War is PC: it doesn't discriminate against anyone. Even modern intelligent weapons continue to hit its targets indiscriminately. They just kill regardless of people's race, gender, sexual orientation, ethnicity, religion, etc. What's true, however, is that war uses a particularly sexist institution as the military to carry its objectives.

Steve Broce - 3/13/2006

“For example, during World War II, U.S. industrial workers were more likely than U.S. soldiers to die or be injured.”

Is it really the author’s claim that during the 3 ½ years of WWII MORE industrial workers died and were injured than US soldiers?

On its face, this appears to be preposterous. I would like to see some factual basis for this assertion. Over 400,000 servicemen were killed and approximately 650,000 were wounded. It is very difficult to believe that more industrial workers died during WWII.

It does make one wonder if she is fudging on these statistics, what else she might be fudging on.

Frederick Thomas - 3/13/2006

This piece features an apparent recent immigrant from Communist China, which drips blood from every talon, having murdered 40 million of its own people (of both sexes) and overrun parts of Korea and Vietnam and all of Tibet, posting copies of essentially the same article we read here onto as many blogs as she can, including the ever-popular "Lenin's Tomb," as her personal version of 1960s Komintern agitprop. Creepy stuff indeed.

Then one looks at the complete lack of ANY references to any of the atrocities which she cites, the quotes she alleges to "a US soldier", etc. One gets the feeling that she made up every one of them to meet the needs of her propaganda - a real true-believer commie.

What is the focus of her odd diatribe? Why, it's the same hysterical male-bashing formerly preached 35 years ago by Gloria Steinem before she got in bed with the enemy, quite literally. This stuff is extinct everywhere but with this author.

Should HNN accept a propaganda article which has been posted substantially unchanged on dozens of blogs, has no source references, and which is so very questionable as to who or what is behind it, and why? Does the merchandise ever get so outdated, hackneyed and shopworn that it is no longer acceptable?

Apparently not.

I would love to see the author try to promote this garbage in the Forbidden City. She'd have the half-life of a puff of smoke.

Oscar Chamberlain - 3/13/2006

This is an interesting essay, and quite honestly I am still absorbing elements of it. I do have a question or two.

You argue, correctly, that agressive masculinity is on all sides of this conflict and shapes its parameters in many ways. Still, sometmes a people or a nation needs to defend itself. How in this world can one defend oneself against that agressive masculinity without utilizing it?