Re: [sixties-l] War and male bonding >

From: Jeffrey Blankfort (
Date: Mon Jul 03 2000 - 04:19:01 CUT

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    I speak from my experience as a draftee in the US army in an infantry
    training battle group at Ft. Ord California between 1957 and 1959,
    during which I learned a great deal more than I did in the preceding 4
    1/2 years that I spent at UCLA. And I am not referring to learning that
    the two types of bayonet fighters are the "quick and the dead," and that
    the spirit of the bayonet is "to kill." And that there is "a right way,
    a wrong way, and the Army way."

    I have also experienced bonding in other situations, playing sports,
    certainly protesting, but these, in retrospect, seem confined to those
    moments, or to a particular period. And those activities were entered
    into by my choice which I believe makes a difference. Of the various
    groups you suggest that might have similar bonding experiences. fire
    fighters would seem to be the most alike, but, they do not go through a
    similar dehumanizing training experience. (Or do you think basic
    training is not dehumanizing, Joe?) But then, neither of us are
    firefighters. The other groups you mention will have things in common
    that enable them to relate, or bond with each other, but it is certainly
    of a different type.

    CATCH 22, which I read 34 years ago, is about quite a bit more than "the
    bonding of air crews in war," and more about the stupidity of war. A
    historical footnote. In 1970, there were still four US Army bases in
    Sardinia, which strangely, never appeared on those maps that would be
    printed in the newspapers and magazines showing the disposition of US
    troops world-wide. One of those bases was the SAC base where Yossarian
    was assigned. In 1970, sue to the enmity of many of the Sardinians, the
    troops were restricted to their bases.

    Finally, I do agree with you that "The best way to honor the dead is to
    work for peace on earth and do deliberate acts of kindness," but I do
    think there are causes worth dying for and I honor those who have done so.

    Jeff Blankfort
    USS 566 288 013

    Joe McDonald wrote:
    > Jeffrey Blankfort i am not sure but it feels like you did not serve in the
    > military by the tone of your statements. Some military veterans say "if
    > you aint been there you got nothing to say" but i do not say that. After
    > all this is America and we have feedom of speech.
    > The novel CATCH 22 is all about the bonding of air crews in war. Many air
    > crews are forced to sit and watch the film footage showing the results of
    > there bombing in order to plan better bombing missions in the future.
    > May groups in "other walks of life" bond: fire fighters, police, health
    > care workers, political workers, sports teams, mothers, children who have
    > been abused, fathers, the list is endless. This myth that "warriors" bond
    > together more than other groups of humans helps keep the war machine going.
    > As i have said before soldiers are just another group or working people no
    > better or worse than any other group of workers except for the fact that by
    > law of the land they have no rights.
    > People do not need to share a negative or violent experience to bond. But
    > men seem to lean towards this interpretation. For example: respect the
    > status quo gives to those who fought for their country and respect those
    > who dislike the status quo gives to those who fought against their
    > country's status quo. But PTSD and war wounds are all the same. Nothing
    > to be admired or respected but something to be feared.
    > This July 4 Americans should struggle with the truth that their is no
    > "honor" in dying. The best way to honor the dead is to work for peace on
    > earth and do deliberate acts of kindness.

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