On Sat, 24 Jun 2000, Jerry West wrote:
> . . .I would like to point out that although war may be
> dominated by men historically, women have also played a role and in some
> societies like with the NLF were active combatants.
Clearly, Jerry's right about this. I would agree, too, that shared
combat would be as strong a bonding agent among women as it is among
men and that conceivably, as in the relationship between Orual the
warrior-queen and her captain, Bardia, in C.S. Lewis' novel Till We
Have Faces, that such a bond would cross gender lines.
As soon as I sent my original post, I realized that I had left the
"war is a man thing" incomplete. What I should have added is that men
are the ones who control the power and resources needed to wage war
and that, consequently, the decision to lead a nation into war is a
decision made by men, not by women. Even here in the United States
where we're not supposed to go to war unless Congress so determines,
is war really a decision of the people, i.e., _all_ the people?
The other thing I don't think I made clear in my original post is that
part of my resolving my conflict about black men and military service
is my capitulation to the reality that nations need militaries. I
think it's because of our need for militaries--and because not
everybody is willing to undertake that kind of service--that societies
will always have a need for monuments to those who serve in the
militaries of the world, whether the regimes served are evil, good,
or, as is usually the case, somewhere in between.
Another part of the resolution I came to has often been expressed by
African American ideologues (some of whom have been labeled apologists
for assimilation because they made such claims) that, by and large,
those black Americans who have not psychically and intellectually
separated from the United States want to participate fully in the
nation they helped build. By extension, full participation would
include the protection and defense of that nation. On that basis, I
would add to others' observations about what draws ethnic minorities
to military service the reality that some people--men and women
both--do, in fact, see it as part of being fully American.
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