Our wolves in uniform

By Suzy Hansen


Salon Staff
March 29, 2001 1:50AM (UTC)

Read the story.

Suzy Hansen's sloppy thinking somehow links opposition to the National Endowment for the Arts (which picks the pockets of dissenting taxpayers) to a passive endorsement of childhood prostitution overseas.

Tell me this -- aren't you liberals the ones whining over the legislation of sexual morality? Please note that in many of these countries, the age of consent is much lower than here in the puritanical USA.

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As a former Marine, I've witnessed the depravity of the "adult Disneyland" that was Subic Bay in the Philippines. I shook my head at the rampant prostitution and was ridiculed as a "Holy Joe" for my uptight morals. However, anyone who's ever been in a barracks with young G.I.s notices something interesting: Before the troops act out like little Clintons run amok with hookers, they feast steadily on pornography of the Hustler variety, which is ubiquitous among military units and does brisk business at every military PX [Post Exchange] I've visited.

Say, maybe you can try faulting the Christian right for slouching on opposing Larry Flynt??

-- Louis Coronado

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Well, it seems that Suzy Hansen and Robert Young do have one thing in common with the Christian right -- hypocrisy. She complains of its double standard on Young's book "One of the Guys" but is quick to completely take everything in his book at face value. From the description of his book in her article, one might believe that sailors are on a floating sex tour and drooling as they seek out children and befoul whatever port they visit.

Having served in the Navy, let me tell that on my wild sex tour, we spent nearly four months in the Persian Gulf and worked 18 hours a day; and out of a six-month cruise we got maybe two weeks of liberty -- wild, huh? Hansen is of coursed shocked, shocked by Young's claim that the Navy visits Thailand strictly for the R&R for its sailors. Good God! Let them have any relief ... no! In case you missed it, Thailand has been an R&R spot for the military since Vietnam. Of course, just paying for sex is rather a weak argument coming from the same side that supports legalizing drugs (which I agree with, by the way). So everyone a sailor might have sex with is an underage child. Strangely, not once does Hansen ever pause to consider that perhaps Young has an agenda. Instead she rails at the Christian right for missing the point. Well, it seems she also missed the point: that her biased anti-military rant is no better then an anti-porn lecture by Jerry Falwell.

-- Steve Mazzotta

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The Catholic Mission-MaryKnoll and Daughters of Sarah (a Christian-based feminist group) both wrote articles and have missions to the women and children in the Philippines, where the U.S. military base was.

I lived in Thailand in the '70s. I was 14 and my mother worked at the Hope Foundation collecting abandoned babies of underage prostitutes who'd given birth to mixed-blood babies. The orphanage was full of them, but Thai law doesn't allow foreign adoption, and mixed-race kids are treated like dirt in Thailand. Guess who the fathers of all these kids were?

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Say after me: U.S. Navy.

My mom (a white American) would go into those sex clubs to let the women know where they could abandon their babies safely (there were drop-off sites), and she told me about these places. That's why I was never allowed to talk to or go near the U.S. sailors.

There have been lots of articles on the tours of rich, white Germans and Americans to Thailand for sex with children. This is old news -- not much shock value here. And we wonder why we always hear about the rape of the 13-year-old girl in Japan or Kosovo. The boys in uniform have warped ideas about what is OK in the military, where they do frequent places with underage girls available for sex -- leaving them behind with mixed-raced babies who will grow up in racist cultures that will give them no choice but to follow in the profession of their mothers.

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-- Helen Saxon

Why is the Christian right more interested in trashing a book about sailors having sex with underage prostitutes than it is in eliminating the problem? One word: politics. The American Family Association is only interested in furthering right-wing ideology. It is not interested in doing anything that will actually help these children and their families (not to mention the children and families of the sailors who engage in this hideous and shameful behavior). It is also a lot easier to spread distortions and lies about a writer than it is to challenge the ugly reality that U.S. taxpayers are inadvertently supporting child prostitution.

-- Nancy Ott

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I read this story with some interest. Aside from the child-prostitution issue, which the story covered well, I was struck by this:

"In 1996, Young was awarded a $5,000 individual artist fellowship from the Ohio Arts Council, a small organization that received 7.7 percent of its funding from the NEA that year."

Doing the arithmetic, this means that the AFA is getting its shorts in a knot over a measly $385 of NEA money!

-- Larry Kessler

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