They Can Handle War, But Not Magazines

Not atheism related.

It just pisses me off.

Congressman Peter Roskam (R-IL) is one of the supporters of a bill that would “close loopholes in the prohibition on the sale or rental of sexually explicit material on military installations.”

In other words, he wants to legislate what our troops are allowed to read.

No nudity would be allowed. Specifically:

The term ‘nudity’ means human genitals, pubic area, anus, anal cleft, or any part of the female breast below a horizontal line across the top of the areola with less than an opaque covering but does not include the exposure of the cleavage of the female breast exhibited by a dress, blouse, bathing suit, or other apparel.

That’s porntastically specific… and anal cleft = coin slot. I did not know that…

Anyway, this bill — the “Military Honor and Decency Act” — is being opposed by Roskam’s Democratic opponent, Jill Morgenthaler. Morgenthaler has actually served in the military, which should count for something in this case:

“I find it offensive, having served with the young men and women in Iraq, said Morgenthaler, a retired colonel in the U.S. Army Reserves. “Every day we trust them to make decisions. This bill says we don’t trust them to choose their own magazines or movies.”

I’m not in Roskam’s district but if this is the $#!& he spends his time worrying about, his opponent’s looking pretty good. Then again, his 2006 opponent Tammy Duckworth was a stronger candidate as well but lost a heartbreakingly close vote. Maybe Barack Obama’s name on the ballot will bring out more Democrats to the voting booth this time around and get this guy out of office.

(via Chicagoist)

  • Travis McDermott

    “close loopholes in the prohibition on the sale or rental of sexually explicit material on military installations.”

    Yep, that loophole is called the First Amendment to the Constitution.

  • Ron in Houston

    I don’t blame you. Hypocrisy pissed me off too.

  • Josh Spinks

    Some schools of feminism would argue that pornography makes rape more likely. I suppose, most of them would argue that, at least, some forms of pornography do potentially increase the propensity to rape. And, it is no secret that rape is used as a weapon of war. I don’t know whether or not there is any real link between rape, the military, and porn, but it’s at least plausible. What if there were a link? Would it still be unacceptable, on principle, to ban porn from military installations? It does infringe on their freedom, but then there are issues of the military being their job/a government entity.

  • I like tea

    The term ‘nudity’ means human genitals, pubic area, anus, anal cleft, or any part of the female breast below a horizontal line across the top of the areola with less than an opaque covering but does not include the exposure of the cleavage of the female breast exhibited by a dress, blouse, bathing suit, or other apparel.

    Oh man, I got aroused just reading that.

  • Darryl

    Some schools of feminism would argue that pornography makes rape more likely. I suppose, most of them would argue that, at least, some forms of pornography do potentially increase the propensity to rape. And, it is no secret that rape is used as a weapon of war. I don’t know whether or not there is any real link between rape, the military, and porn, but it’s at least plausible. What if there were a link? Would it still be unacceptable, on principle, to ban porn from military installations? It does infringe on their freedom, but then there are issues of the military being their job/a government entity.

    Well, Josh, here’s how I see it: “Some schools of feminism would argue” doesn’t mean squat to me. Ideologues tend not to make much sense. Rape, as anyone knows who’s been paying attention, is occurring in Iraq–even among military personal, and while we don’t make it a policy of war (as far as I know), war brings out the worst in a people and corrupts everything it touches, and rape is just one of many evils this war has brought upon all involved.

    What galls me is that we have no problem sending young, horny people to war, to risk life and limb, and have their psyches tortured for years, doing permanent damage to their families–ALL FOR NOTHING!!!–but we object to girlie magazines!

    What moral idiots these Republicans be!

    P.S. I have a suspicion that you’re one of those moralists that uses the rape argument as a smokescreen for your moralizing because you know that you have no real argument, only one based on an archaic moral code.

  • Josh Spinks

    No. I don’t object to porn per se, or support this effort, since I don’t, at present, have any reason to think that porn in the military is causing any problems. My question is, do you think we should object to banning porn in military on principal? If it did make soldiers more likely to commit rape, then could it be banned, at least in war zones (I don’t think this is applicable to bases in the US)? Hemant seemed to me (I could be mistaken) to be suggesting that it would not acceptable under any circumstances to disallow porn in the military. I’m of the mind that there are conceivable scenarios where it would be appropriate.

  • http://atheists.meetup.com/531 benjdm

    Semi-related: is anyone running against Monique Davis?

  • Lauren

    Living on a military base in a very Muslim country, this definitely pisses me off. Where am I supposed to get my nudie magazines if I can’t find them at the BX?

    I’m sorry, but when you have lots of single men and very few single women living in a very religious country (making access to local single women also extremely limited) and they can’t even afford to have the internet because there’s only one company allowed on base by that country’s government and they charge and arm and a leg… Well, you can see how access to paper pictures of naked girls is pretty much a necessity, right? You take that away and morale is going to go way, way, waaaaay down.

    Just my opinion.

  • Desert Son

    Josh Spinks said:

    If it did make soldiers more likely to commit rape, then could it be banned, at least in war zones (I don’t think this is applicable to bases in the US)? Hemant seemed to me (I could be mistaken) to be suggesting that it would not acceptable under any circumstances to disallow porn in the military. I’m of the mind that there are conceivable scenarios where it would be appropriate.

    If there are potentially conceivable scenarios where pornography might make soldiers more likely to commit rape, shouldn’t we also ban printed and video media containing content related to peace and peaceful activity, especially in war zones, since it’s conceivable that peace-related media might make soldiers less likely to fight hard when called upon to do so?

    Similarly, perhaps there are situations in which humorous media should be kept from military personnel, again in war zones, as lighthearted content runs the risk of making soldiers more likely not to take their duties very seriously. I would think a film such as Stripes would be particularly suspect in this case.

    Evidently Congressman Roskam doesn’t trust the military, whose members must, by law, have reached their majority by the time of enlistment, to behave as though they are individuals who have reached their majority. There’s a related question I have heard posed: why are soldiers at eighteen, nineteen, and twenty years of age old enough to vote, and old enough to die for their country, but not old enough to buy a beer? If Congressman Roskam doesn’t trust our soldiers to make correct moral decisions about rape, and fear that, by extension, our soldiers aren’t to be trusted to make correct moral decisions based on the media to which they have access, then why does he trust them to serve in a military capacity to begin with?

    A few posts previously, Hemant noted the advertisement in support of the hijab, and how the text of the message suggests that men simply can’t control themselves: they’re doomed to be all over women not wearing head scarves, so cover up, ladies, just like Allah wants you to! It’s sort of the same thing, isn’t it, this legislation proposal? I was planning on seeing the movie Hellboy: The Golden Army next week, but perhaps they better not show the movie to our men and women serving in the military, especially in combat zones. I understand that there’s a character in the film with the power of pyrokinesis, and if they’re not careful, as Congressman Roskam suggests, they might try to perform the same supernatural feat, perhaps with disastrous consequences. Come to think of it, better scratch Iron Man off the list, too. Wouldn’t want our soldiers to run the risk of thinking there’s a suit of armor out there that grants the power of flight.

    No kings,

    Robert

  • Bill

    I’ve often wondered why “conservatives” are so hung-up about sex.

    Two Missouri politicians, Sarah Steelman and Peter Kinder,
    are in a tight Republican primary race for governor.
    Steelman accused Kinder of voting to allow Medicaid
    money to be used for Viagra. Kinder quickly responded,
    in essence, “You, too – and you did it first.”

    LOL!

  • Josh Spinks

    I’m not suggesting something be banned because it’s conceivable that it could cause a problem; I’m saying it is conceivable, and if it were true, would it still be unacceptable to ban it in the military? I would say that even if porn made people more inclined to rape (I’m not saying this is the case; I don’t have any data on it), it would still not be acceptable to ban it in society in general. But, being on military duty carries special responsibilities – you can’t do everything you would do if you were not on duty – would it be unacceptable to ban porn on principal? I’m talking about hypotheticals, not this specific case, which is just a jumping off point.

  • http://agersomnia.blogspot.com Agersomnia

    Thank Spaguetti Monster I don’t live in the USA.

  • Desert Son

    Josh Spinks,

    By your own admission this is a discussion of the hypothetical, and in the realm of the hypothetical, I submitted two counter examples of conditions that, as you indicate, are “conceivable and if [they] were true.” Would saidr examples also warrant protecting soldiers from themselves: comedy and it’s potential to undermine morale, and media conveying or including messages of peace, and the subsequent same potential?

    You suggest that the special condition of being on duty merits consideration in the possible justification of the legislation proposed. I submit that such stipulations already exist, and are enforced by military command. Soldiers on duty, for example, are expected not to drink alcohol, though alcohol itself may be available at base when they are off duty. Since it is conceivable, and if it were true, that soldiers with access to alcohol on base might, while on duty, drink, would that necessitate a discussion of legislation banning alcohol on military bases?

    Or would it be sufficient that the UCMJ, already in place, makes provisions for command to monitor its soldiers and regulate, within the confines of the statutes in place, the conduct of those soldiers? A soldier drinking on duty may be processed and punished according to the extant UCMJ; similarly, a soldier who commits rape. So why the need for legislation?

    Incidentally, according to the definition of prohibited materials in Roskam’s proposal, items depicting, for example, da Vinci’s Vitruvian Man would be verboten for viewing by soldiers. I would guess—granted, only the purest speculation—but I would guess that there are a fair number of soldiers bearing tattoos depicting some form of human nudity prohibited by Roskam’s proposal. If it’s “conceivable and if it is true,” as you indicate, that exposure to such an image on his own forearm might induce a soldier to commit sexual violence upon a woman, shouldn’t the legislation extend to mandatory laser tattoo removal for those soldiers bearing body art images of, for example, large breasted mermaids? Perhaps with a provision that, once no longer on duty, they may have the tattoo reinstated, only to be removed by laser once more upon resumption of duties? Furthermore, since such would need to take place in official capacity as sanctioned military conduct, the cost of such removals would fall to the United States taxpayer, correct?

    No kings,

    Robert

  • Jason

    I am currently active-duty military in an undermanned career field. If this bill passes, I will not reenlist. Simple as that.

  • http://www.religiouscomics.net Jeff

    Our solders should be relieving their daily stress (or boredom) by wanking off to pictures of our sweet Lord Jesus Christ. What better form of worship could there be? Or perhaps for a little variety, a picture of the Pope or the Virgin Mary. Perhaps Christendom could come up with a list of appropriate Christian visual materials for this purpose. All Christendom wants is complete control in your life to help guide you to everlasting life. I’m surprised they haven’t developed a policy on this yet.

  • Lenny

    The Republican – Peter Roskam – is simply setting up his opponent, so that he can run “Jill Morgenthaler is PRO PORN – next she’ll want are troops to merry donkeys!” [all sic] ads a few weeks before the election.

    In other words, Republican Politics-as-Usual. Nothing to see here .. everyone please return to your homes.

  • Zachary B.

    Saying porn increases the likelihood of rape is one of the most ridiculous statements I’ve heard on the subject. Porn is a substitute and offers relief for many young Marines on deployment. So it would be more likely to prevent rapes than not. The fact that this is even a debate shows how prudish and mixed up our government and many of our people are, much like the debate over gay rights. I actually talked to a woman once and she said she was “scared” of what Obama might do for gay rights if he was elected… WTF?

    Oh and by the way, I’m in Iraq and the internet in my “can” that I pay for blocks any website with nudity or more – not just the internet cafes and such that are free.

    Sigh… luckily, I have a small collection to last my time here.


CLOSE | X

HIDE | X