Gelf Magazine - Looking over the overlooked

World

February 7, 2005

GIs Gone Wild -- Is That So Wrong?

A debaucherous military-camp party is far from a humanitarian catastrophe.

Gnuts

A few months ago, at the Camp Bucca Military Prison in Umm Qasr, Iraq, a party that included enlisted soldiers, officers, and civilians turned debaucherous as female guests started mud-wrestling in a kiddie pool. The New York Daily News, which broke the story, with pictures (here, with a follow-up here)
reports that many of the soldiers involved were finishing up their stints in Iraq, while some of the others had just arrived.

So some people got drunk at a going away/welcoming party, and there was some nudity and maybe even some sex going on? The horror. Assuming that the party-goers were off duty, and assuming that none of them were pressured into involvement, the only difference between what happened in Camp Bucca and what happens routinely at college campuses and bars around the country (not to mention Burboun Street) was the location.

Certainly, those engaging in the fun (and I'm sure it was fun at the time), were cavorting at their workplace, which is a no-no (at least to American sensibilities). And perhaps it doesn't square with the military's desired public image, as projected in the pre-Super Bowl military celebration and in that weird Anheiser-Busch ad. But where else were these soldiers supposed to go? It's not like the situation in Korea, where American soldiers can go to major cities to party. The men and women involved in this "scandal" are, for the most part, young people with nowhere else to go. If they are going to be condemned for this party, so should the rest of the youth of America.

Some people will try to tie the torture that occurred at Abu Ghraib to the wrestling at Camp Bucca, citing a lax military with no control over its charges. Certainly, neither would have occurred had the relevant authorities stopped them. But what happened at Abu Ghraib was a humanitarian catastrophe that will haunt the American military for years to come. What happened at Camp Bucca was a party.







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- World
- posted on Feb 10, 05
Rahime

Ain't no party like a Middle East party, cause a Middle East party don't stop.


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