Re: [sixties-l] War and male bonding

From: William Mandel (
Date: Sun Jun 25 2000 - 17:54:10 CUT

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    I agree about the "being fully American" component of the
    motivation of some, perhaps many. But for the bulk it is a more
    secure livelihood, with a better pension and better opportunities
    for education, housing loans, and whatever, later on. I'm afraid
    one cannot escape the reality of the similarity to the poor Irish
    who were the backbone of the soldiery maintaining for England
    "the Empire on which the sun never sets" for a century and a
    half. Or the Iranian soldiers who, in Sandra Flowers own
    lifetime, kept the shah in power until the sentiment of their own
    people against him caused them to change sides. When here, in my
    Oakland, California, Mayor Jerry Brown (ex-governor,
    ex-presidential candidate, not at all ex-demagogue)fought
    unsuccessfuly (thus far: he's still trying) for a military public
    high school to give "opportunities" to ghetto kids, it was that
    kind of use of them that was/is his objective.
                                            William Mandel

    Sandra Hollin Flowers wrote:
    > On Sat, 24 Jun 2000, Jerry West wrote:
    > [snip]
    > > . . .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.
    > S. Flowers

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