Patriarchialism, the American Family, and what we learned from Civilians

drieux, just drieux (drieux@WETWARE.COM)
Sun, 20 Jul 97 11:04:36 -0800

--- On Wed, 16 Jul 1997 14:18:18 -0700 Joe McDonald <> wrote:
> Drieuxs' take on the family as a military brat is so interesting!
> By the way the MINERA (women in/and the military) list is at this
> moment talking about the experience of growing up in a military family
> as a child and as a significant civilian other.

Allow me to complicate this dialog a little. I am a G.I.Brat, and a
Vet. My Children are G.I.Brats, and their Mother is a Vet. But as the
mother of my children pointed out in a phone call recently, my son
faces the small social unpleasantry that his Custodial Parent is a
Female Vet who lives up to both ends of that proposition. Hopefully
this will be useful for my daughter, as I rather fear for the young
boys who will attempt to impress her by 'being just like her mother.'
So for all the PopPsychoBabblers out there, stay tuned, there is
enough material in this little process to screw over a lot of Nice
Neatly bundled theories about how things should Work Out.

Given that the mother of my children is starting to look at the
complications of her desire to march to the sound of battle, whereas
those she has been involved with have stepped back from that position,
seeking to return CONUS and to find a peaceful hamlet to return to and
start a life over again. I fear I am not in the position to be able to
support the simplistic model that this is mere Patriarchialism, old or
new. Unless of course it is the thesis that women in the military are
a Patriarchy and that their concern to take care of their children
derives from the Patriarchialism.

I will concede, apriori, that much of the work on how children of the
military have dealt with the world around them, to date, rests upon
material derived from the sixties, and therein suffers the sampling
error we have seen in much of the original freudian work. If all one
is sampling are Neurotic Suburban Victorian Women, it would not be
surprising to develop a model of femininity that is, to be polite, a

Just so that we all start from the same page. I will be writing on
this topic from an Advocacy Position, since I do NOT wish to allow the
Civilian Community and it's commentators to seek any advantage from my
work. My loyalty set remains first to my own struggle, then to the
Mother of My Children who remains in the Command and Control Billet as
the Custodial Parent, then to my Children who are the Core of the
Mission Statement, and from there to the rest of My Tribe. Beyond that
lays the vast wasteland of civilians. This may not be a Nice way to
present the data, but it is at least an honest brokering of the
problem as I both percieve it, and feel it in my bones. So to start
out with, I begin my odessy from the position of being a member of
tripler army psyche ward, class of 1967, as a ten year old secured on
the vet ward. My father, trying to do the right thing, parked me
there, with the order, 'to hold until relieved'. The brothers on the
ward would take me in as family and would do the best that they could
to provide what PsychoBabblers like to refer to as, 'the primary peer
group'. They would also offer me a simple quest,

There is a Real World Out there Kid
If you will only find it.

My father would attempt to do the reasonable thing by removing from my
medical records any reference to my time up on the ward, so that it
would not 'follow me around' - and this would facilitate my ability to
live in the duality between the life that I lived and the
documentation that I can offer up to validate it in the white man's
world. Not like many of the civilians would accept that those of us
who have walked on foreign lands and lived in foreign worlds could
actually have been to any place beyond Main Stream USA.

It of course does not help matters that My father would 'brief' me on
the fact that a ten year old vietnamese boy had taken out an american
target in saigon with a shoe shine box full of dynamite. I can
appreciate that this will complicated the debate for some, since on
the one hand it clearly points out that the worries about 'child
abuse' can start spinning wildly out of control here. Clearly anyone
who would use 10 year olds as Soldiers are, well, different. But then
again, there were people during the vietnam era who would not think
about that when they were proudly supporting the NLF operations in
vietnam. Time and again in my interviews with the brothers I kept
running into this same basic problem. Namely how to discribe to others
the feeling of looking at a kid with a grenade about to throw it at
you. This was not something that their nice civilian world had trained
them to be prepared for. Unfortunately it was a lesson I clearly
understood by the time I was TEN. So yes, there are some small
cultural distinctions between the nice suburban parlour room rhetoric
about what the armed revolutionary struggle Should be, and the less
than pleasant reality of what it becomes when the round gets locked
into the chamber.

My brother is still dealing with this distinction between his life,
and mine. A few years back he read a posting of mine to some UseNet
news group and wrote me asking me what the HELL I was talking
about. And I had to point out to him that while he was up in chankai
heights watching the smoke come up from down town, I was down town
watching it go... He would recently send me the small comedy of it all
from an email exchange that he had with others. It seems he had learn
to laugh at my ongoig joke about those times. True to Military Life,
the rules of the house were that if one was not going to be home, feet
under the dinner table at 1730, one briefed in on the situation NLT
1700. I of course was out trying to do what young boys of my age were
suppose to do when they noticed a cute girl, and wanted to chat her up
by walking her home and carrying her books. Well needless to say, the
return route happened to be through the Target Zone of the Opening
Rounds of the Jordanian-Palestian War. So after father did the best
one can do, folks are directed to note that there was no literature at
the time addressing Parental Obligations and Methods for dealing with
Interanational Terrorist Operations. Clearly Had Dr. Spock thought a
bit more he clearly would have included this in his section about
'bringing up baby in the Post Nuclear Environment' - but should we
really be critical of the cultural myopia of civilians and their
inability to deal with the larger world and the slightly more complex
problems of what occurs outside of their little world? Any way, after
doing what he could about sorting out the situation, and the damage
containment, father fell back to the basic briefing, "Young Man, Had
you been home on time, none of this would have happened." Great
Material, Really! So I have been laughing the last decade about being
the cause of the Jordanian Palestinian War. And when my brother raised
this minor point, one of his email correspondents noted that he was
down town when that bombing went off. Turns out that true to form,
this civilian was talking about the bombing in D.C. in 1980, not the
one in Ankara in 1970. Minor Detail, but I guess when Civilians live
only inside of the USA, they can be confused like that. What can I
say, although it makes good comedy, I am not interested in forming a
new Victims Group, the Down Range Collateral Damage of the Jordanian
Palestinian Wars. Nor for that matter am I at ALL interested in being
sucked into One More Collection of People who need to be Taken Care of
by those with LiberalWhiteGuilt. Screw that Noise. Some will recall
the debates from the Civil Rights Movement about who should be
involved, and who should be doing what to WHOM. I'll take the side bar
here that I still find it comical that folks rant on at times about
the White Flight from the Urban Center as having been some EVIL - and
yet who wishes to raise the question publically about the black flight
of the middle class from the Urbane Center. But I will leave those
issues to the Civilians to Fight Out. It remains their Problem, not
Mine.In the military there was no such luxury. One was a brat, and we
were all soft targets overseas, and from where we sat, the locals were
not going to shoot at one group because of race but rather because of
Uniform and paper work.

I can talk about the Fun Of Nice White Liberal Guilt up in places like
the suburbs of Boston, where I got a chance to do a Civilian
School. For reasons that do not make any sense to me at this point The
Nice Little White Boys were learning to box by the Marquis of
Queensbury Rules, and this was suppose to teach me something that
would be useful. I mean How HIGH were these DOPERS? There was no
discussion about where the various Kill Points were. No Discussion
about ripping out the larynx, no disucssion about breaking the solar
plexus, or cracking the sternum and forcing it back into the lungs. No
discussion about breaking the temple. Let alone any discussion about
knife work at point blank range. These Ignorant Fools for some STOOPID
reason felt that teaching me to Dance to some Antiquted Western Form
of Boxing was something that was going to be Useful for me! So excuse
me folks while I do not always laugh at the ButchMachoDebates about
the DoJo Ballarena when the kiddies finally got a chance to become
devout fans of 'chop saki flicks' and all that Bruce Lee DicscoDucking
since I learned my art the old way from those who came home alive. And
once again father rode in to the rescue. He pointed out to me that
this might not be the place to take a stand and fight it out. The
Mission was merely to graduate and get on to the next school in the
game. So Fine. I put on the Pretty Boxing Gloves, played the Game, and
beat the Snot out of some Fool for no good Reason. I guess that the
learning skills of Civilians are a little limited, since there were
those who were confused about GenderPreferenceIdentification issues
and the ability to KILL. I got a nice chance to meet some of the Local
Heroes, who clearly did not understand that KILLING is what the US
Military Is All About. We do not do it as some sort of Compensation
for having small DICKS. So when they became confused about why I was
NOT at all impressed with the Cultural Myopia of Fighting by the
Maquis of Queensbury Rules, we got the chance to address whether or
not this made me a Faggot. I tried to point out to them that I do not
fight for fun. And after walking away thrice, I pointed out that I do
not wish them to confuse my graciousness with a call to be hit. And
decked the little fuck, the old fashion way with a simple punt where
it would leave a firm impression on the little head driving the

Gee Drieux, but what does this Have to do with the Sixties. This is
merely the reportage of what it was like to grow up and be a G.I.Brat
in the Sixties.

Ok, so my baseline recommendations remain that we give little boys a
chance to learn the important things in life. How to Hump a 50Lb Ruck,
make a defensive perimeter in the dark at the end of a forced march,
and then to break camp in the middle of the Night while retaining
Light Security. After that we go through the fundamentals of doing
basic Combat Medicine, so that they can patch up that which they will
break, before we teach them how pathetically weak the human body is as
a weapon system. Then why you DON'T start a fight with merely hands,
irregardless of how Butch this may look in the Movies. Which of course
leads to the discussion about Crew Serviced weaponry like HMG's and
Mortars as being the core of a Perimeter Defense, as well as your
friend the Claymore and the various classes of Grenades. All of which
will take real precedence over all that WackoBullShit NRA learning to
shoot small arms, and forget this noise about handguns, they are
merely a means by which you either get a weapon, or kill your wounded
and move on. Who Knows, after learning this Stuff, maybe they will
want to get on with that other shit, like learning to brush their
teeth every day, and how to say nice things to girls about emotions
and feelings and what is REALLY WORTH putting your BALLS in the VICE

Oh yes, while we are down this way, might as well point out the small
differences in the cultural melieu. But I have probably already bored
folks with the facts of life in the G.I.Brat world. There was the time
that I found the OTHER G.I.Brat, male, one each, in the new school. It
turned out that he was 'black' - and that this for some reason caused
some socio-kultural angst amongst the nice White Folks in the Burbs
outside of Boston. But as Brats, we started out with the baseline,
'where you coming in from?' that immortal starting point of the
'quaker questions' that we use, since we do not have that foolish
vision of the world where we waste time with 'where were you born' -
since that is clearly IRRELEVENT. The only thing that matters is the
telemetry from there to here. It will provide a baseline of what the
basic SocioKultural Ballistics look like. WE need to know whether we
are talking to one who has been OutUS, or merely CONUS, and what
combat time, and what interesting common ground we may have, any sites
we share in common - and if so, did you know, oh god, what was his

We don't really carry any trivia around. We brief in, we key in, we
get the local mission statement, and the triage of who is alive, who
is dead, and who is worth trying to keep going. Then 30-90 days from
DEROS we start shutting down the system and closing down the
comm-links, backing out of the operations. At PCS we all meet at the
airport, smile, say pleasantries, and move on.

So yes, I am majorly concerned that my son will most likely come of
age in one more socially twisted context, where he will always equate
the US Military with stuff that Girls Do. Good God! The Thought Just
Scares Me Shitless, yeah right. I mean, he's gonna run into all of
those Nice Butch Civilian Boys and their BullShitAttitude and say, 'so
you want to be a girl?'

As we said,

Payback is a MotherFucker

at least I did my part to make sure that the civilian
community would have to DEAL with the unpleasantries
by giving my kids everything I did not get...

Who knows, maybe they will finally learn

Don't Wag your Dick
Unless you're willing to bet your Balls

and from there, maybe they will seriously think about
what it really means to 'send in the marines'. Who Knows
maybe they will even reconsider the questions about what
they really want in an 'all volunteer mercenary force of
Strangers' that they can send abroad to do the dirty deeds
and feel safe about NOT having sent off any Civilians in the process.


Date: 07/20/97
Time: 11:04:36