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» Scarleteen Boards: 2000 - 2014 (Archive) » SCARLETEEN CENTRAL » Sexual Ethics and Politics » canadian troops in Iraq

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Author Topic: canadian troops in Iraq
pix
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i read an article recently that was talking about troops in Iraq and relations between soldiers/personnelle. some of the soldiers/personnelle, are working alongside spouses or significant others, however the canadian gov't has banned them essentially from contact with one another.

they have said that things even such as holding hands may result in fines, punishment, and will likely be returned back home. they hardly even have time to talk while they are there. even some of those who have partners back home have had more comtact with their SO.

they have also been separating partners while they are on breaks from service.

although i understand that too much romantisism during times like this in Iraq would cause a great disturbance, i don't really see how holding hands, or being able to take breaks with a SO, would be such a great problem.

if anyone has insight into this, or has more information to share on the issue i would love to hear your input!


Posts: 109 | From: canada | Registered: Jun 2003  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
cupcake
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Uhh... just for clarification?
We don't have soldiers in Iraq... the rule exists for troops currrently serving in Afghanistan.

I've been in our military....holding hands IS a problem (although not doing it took some getting used to!), and any sort of public displays are frowned upon HERE, let alone overseas.

I personally don't agree with the policy, but there's a reason it's there: they don't want soldiers getting into trouble with local customs and such.

If it keeps them safe, I don't think anybody is arguing.

There was an article in the Ottawa Citizen about it today, with comments from soldiers and such, I can post it if you want.


Posts: 433 | From: Canada | Registered: Jun 2001  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
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oops, my mistake... i was reading two different articles and i guess i got my facts mixed up. (next time will double check before posting)


Posts: 109 | From: canada | Registered: Jun 2003  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
BruinDan
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quote:
Originally posted by cupcake:
I've been in our military....holding hands IS a problem (although not doing it took some getting used to!), and any sort of public displays are frowned upon HERE, let alone overseas.

It's very true. I think you really need to be in the military, or at least have some exposure to it if you're going to have the tiniest bit of understanding of why they do what they do. Hell, you could be around it for years and not understand most things, but at least you'd have a basic idea.

Military customs are vastly different from those of regular life. How many times do you salute people of a "higher rank" while walking down the street? There are all sorts of rules and regs to follow (or foul...I once got tagged for bringing a date to an official function with a corsage on her hand), and some of them are archaic to say the least. Many, especially in older branches of service like the Navy, are passed down from hundreds and hundreds of years of historical custom. And while they're essentially useless now, the customs are kept in place for tradition's sake.

But the relationship deal is relatively new. In the days when women weren't in the armed forces, it was a different ballgame. Homosexual encounters were not things to be broadcast out in the open, so rules governing them either did not exist or were not known. Heterosexual encounters, being the more socially-acceptable type, began to be broadcast when the services were integrated. And this posed a problem. For example, when women were allowed aboard the US aircraft carrier Eisenhower for the first time, 24 of them wound up pregnant before the deployment was half over. It was even more fun on the USS Arcadia, which ended up with more than 10% of its sailors pregnant once the vessel came home from Operation Desert Storm.

The military knows it has one job to do, and it feels it cannot effectively do that job when it has to replace sailors, soldiers, or airborne personnel due to pregnancy. To them, it's all about "battle worthiness" (or "combat readiness" depending on what branch of service you're in), and it is hard to meet your set guideline when you're losing people to injuries or regular attrition...let alone something like pregnancy.

The other problem is how chain-of-command functions when spouses work together. It can be rather difficult to pull rank on your spouse...I know that if I tried that with mine, it would result in all sorts of problems come nightfall! It's hard enough working with a spouse in the private sector when one of you supervises the other...but it becomes downright impossible when you're in a structure as rigid as the military.

And so they impose limits. Do they seem harsh? Sure, if you've never been in it I'd imagine it would seem rather Draconian. But they have it for a reason, weird as it may seem. And since it seems to keep people out of trouble, I've got no major problems with it.

------------------
BruinDan, "Number Three," PHOM

Beware the naked man who offereth you his pants.


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Dzuunmod
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quote:
Originally posted by BruinDan:
It's very true. I think you really need to be in the military, or at least have some exposure to it if you're going to have the tiniest bit of understanding of why they do what they do. Hell, you could be around it for years and not understand most things, but at least you'd have a basic idea.

I dunno, Dan. Does that mean I can't criticize Saudi Arabia for not allowing women to drive (or to have certain other basic rights), because I haven't lived there? Or criticize the public school system in Quebec that I pay taxes to, even though I'm a product of the Ontario school system?

When you allow yourself (or an institution, law, whatever) to be open to criticism from people who don't have a lot of experience with you (the institution, the law, whatever), often you get hit over the head with great ideas. Ideas that you might not have thought of because of the very reason that your vision of anything gets skewed when you're on the inside, and immersed in it.

Anyone who pays taxes and votes deserves to have a say on the military's policies, I think.

------------------
"Like a bat out of hell, time has come for you!"
-Ballad of a Comeback Kid, The New Pornographers


Posts: 1515 | From: Montreal, Quebec, Canada | Registered: Jun 2000  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
cupcake
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"Anyone who pays taxes and votes deserves to have a say on the military's policies, I think."
And in our country, that would amount to less than 50% of the population. Out of the population eligible to vote, only 2/3 actually DO it! Or less! Argh!

But anyways.

There is SO many regs and procedures that I can never adequately explain to people now that I'm out. Some things, like the traditional stuff, the only LOGICAL reason for it to be kept around is because it builds MORE tradition and camaraderie. Sounds superficial...but in the military, that camaraderie can make you or break you. You can't just go home at the end of the night and shake off a bad day.

This fraternization rule actually makes a lot of sense to me. When I joined cadets, I was 13. And spent most of my teenage years knowing that if I stood too close to a guy, I could get a serious talking-to.
I had a very hard time understanding that rule. Who cares if you stand too close, or hug, or a peck on the cheek? It doesn't hurt anybody. Until I got to be in charge.

First of all. If you're busy doing those things, you aren't busy doing your job, or being vigilant. In a combat situation, or even just out in the field, that could kill you.

Secondly, in terms of PR it looks bad.

Thirdly, it just looks unprofessional. Would you go into a job interview kissing your boyfriend? "Underlings" are constantly being evaluated by their superiors. I mean, constantly. We carried notepads in our pockets for a reason. I've been called on things (good and bad) that I didn't even know anybody was around for!

And lastly, for this case: This rule was put in for the soldier's safety. Nobody up in DND (Department of National Defence) said Hmm I don't like married soldiers...Let's make life difficult! Yes!
Us Canadians are FAMOUS for sticking under the radar, for carefully evaluating our moves, for trying to please everybody. And it works! We're an appealing country with a GOOD worldwide reputation.
Canadian "uppers" ar elooking at the situations in both Afghanistan and Iraq, seeing what the casulaties from other countries are looking like. They don't want our soldiers to die (like any country does...duh). They are telling our soldiers "You know you aren't supposed to do it in uniform anyways-that's the rule here too. But if you do, it won't be an issue of a disapproving look, you could compromise our relations in the whole area."
Our soldiers are aware that "typical" Western behaviour may not be welcome whereever they are stationed, and that was something they knew when they were sent over there.

Liek I said before, if it keeps them and their fellow soldiers alive, I see no problem with it whatsoever.


Posts: 433 | From: Canada | Registered: Jun 2001  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
BruinDan
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quote:
Originally posted by Dzuunmod:
Does that mean I can't criticize Saudi Arabia for not allowing women to drive (or to have certain other basic rights), because I haven't lived there?

Absolutely not, Dzuun. And as I recall, we've had this discussion about a dozen times in other areas, but I'll repost my argument here so as not to be misconstrued.

Anyone has a right to comment on anything, that isn't what I'm saying. My point is that sometimes if you're not involved in something, you may or may not understand the reasoning behind it. It has nothing to do with whether you like or dislike those policies, it just has to do with the nature of the customs, traditions, and history behind it that you may not be familiar with. One is always free to make a claim or a statement, but sometimes being involved in something can allow you to more adequately understand (and explain) those policies than you'd be able to as an outsider.

I'm not turning this into a "who's got the right to make comments and who doesn't" issue, and neither should you or anyone else, I'd say.

------------------
BruinDan, "Number Three," PHOM

Beware the naked man who offereth you his pants.


Posts: 2727 | Registered: Mar 2001  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
   

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