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Rep Paul Broun's anti-"porn" Bill has caught some notice in ye olde blogosphere. We discussed it yesterday at MilBlogs (starting with Badger6's post from Iraq), and I think we've beat it damn near to death. (Or at least until it's rather limp and fading fast.) Still, watching the blog discussions, I'm struck that many well-intentioned folks are missing the real issues here.
1. This isn't about "our boys in Iraq" - they've never had porn available in the BX/PX over there. (It's too late to be outraged about that now - you missed the boat in 1990.) Here in the 21st century their porn supplies are limited to whatever meager amounts they can bring into country on the 1 TB external hard drives they plug into the personal laptop computers they also bring over, boosted by whatever "trading" they do with their comrades or obtain downtown. (All of which is a violation of General Order One, and I have no personal knowledge of any of our troops actually doing this and I'm sure the Army has employed several thousand inspectors to vigorously scan those personal computers not on the network for secret hidden password protected folders containing things that might make Congressman Broun blush with shame especially if it's gay porn with hot girl-on-girl action.) It's about bases in the good ol' USA - none of which are in Congressman Broun's district.
2. It's not about banning Playboy - it's about banning Maxim, FHM (which currently are available in the combat zones), and a host of other sources (the Victoria's Secret catalog, for instance) of pictures of smutty, perverted, disgusting filth such as "any part of the female breast below a horizontal line across the top of the areola with less than an opaque covering" - among other things defined by this bill as "nudity". R-rated movies (and some PG-13) would be right out. (Please read this post in which we examine the Bill instead of the media coverage of the Bill prior to arguing this point.) But bare in mind that if passed, "our boys" (and girls) won't be unable to obtain said items, they'd simply be forced to walk across the street and buy their copies of "Showgirls" with John Q Public at Best Buy - or order them online (even in Iraq).
3. Because taxpayer funds are not involved directly in the AAFES acquisition and distribution of this material, Broun's spokesman explained that the indirect use of taxpayer funds - in that taxpayers provide the salaries of the soldiers that might purchase said items - validates a congressional ban.
So, ignore the outrage over whether or not our brave GIs will be able to get at least one of their hands on this material - I suspect they'll manage. (And by the way, even though it has 16 cosponsors, I suspect this Bill is going to die in committee). Instead ask yourself if you're comfortable with the precedents set in items 2 and 3 above.
And ponder the comments from SFC SKI. Read carefully, he might be talking to you.
It’s good to know that those 16 backers have taken care of all the other problems the military faces and are now taking care of this issue.
Nothing builds up my morale like some know-nothing busybody congressman checking up on conditions at military bases and being able to see the lack of adequate and affordable housing, reduction in base services like affordable childcare, or the various pawn shops, strip bars, and “E-Z credit know money down payday loan” places lining both sides of the entry to a military post, and can see it’s nudie mags in the PX that is the big threat facing “our boys and girls” in uniform. Oh for the day when 18 is considered adulthood, and not some waypoint on the prolonged childhood the nannystaters want it to be.
It always scares me when legislators and bureaucrats think they know best about what we should or shouldn't buy. Of course, good order and discipline must be maintained, and we agreed to give up certain privileges for that, but these things just smack of ignorance.
I'm reminded of these 'Brokeback Mountain' DVD's that sat on the shelf out at the Camp Ramadi MCX for a few months back in 06. There was about 15 of them or so, and they just sat there for at least 3 months (but probably 6 months), with dirt and dust accumulating until one day they just disappeared. Maybe one was sold, but I always think that if so, it must've been a gag gift or something. To me, seeing them sit there and take up space just brought up more questions. What bureaucrat sitting back in Washington DC or somewhere CONUS thought- you know what those boys out there in Anbar really need to improve their morale? Let's be PC and give them a good old sensitive flick like Brokeback Mountain. Now wouldn't that be great? Haha....Posted by Sunguh at April 25, 2008 10:28 PM
It was 19.95 at the px - or $3.00 next door in the Haji shop. And the Haji version was on a disc with 5 other movies that had been nominated for Academy Awards that year. And if you really wanted to save cash, you could buy FOUR DVDs FOR 10 DOLLARS, or 48 MOVIES FOR THE PRICE OF ONE IN THE EXCHANGE. And by the way, the Haji DVDs were available THE DAY THE MOVIE OPENED IN THEATERS.
None of which is said to disparage the courage of the convoy drivers and security - and the route clearance crews and the aviators escorting them all - who risked their lives to bring Brokeback Mountain to Ramadi.
(Nor is my use of the term of affection "Haji" intended to insult my fine Iraqi friends who also very much risked their lives to sell us the latest DVDs.)Posted by Greyhawk at April 25, 2008 11:23 PM
Also, there's no truth to the rumor that the Brokeback DVDs were then shipped to Balad Air Base where they sold out overnight.Posted by Greyhawk at April 25, 2008 11:25 PM
"the indirect use of taxpayer funds - in that taxpayers provide the salaries of the soldiers that might purchase said items - validates a congressional ban."
So, can I start telling congressmen and senators what they can't buy? I'm pretty sure that they're paid with tax dollars, some of which comes from this non-drinker's salary.Posted by Half Canadian at April 26, 2008 01:44 AM
Also, there's no truth to the rumor that the Brokeback DVDs were then shipped to Balad Air Base where they sold out overnight.
By lunchtime, sure...Posted by richard mcenroe at April 26, 2008 03:56 AM
Isn't there a constitutionally-mandated minimum age for people to be elected to Congress? How did Broun and these other arrested-development adolescents make it? Idiocy is not an excuse, though in their case it may be a partial explanation.Posted by Curious at April 26, 2008 11:02 AM
Come to think of it, how come there hasn't been more about this nonsense in the MSM? After all, it's a REPUBLICAN Congressman making an idiot of himself...Posted by Curious at April 26, 2008 11:04 AM
Regarding the indirect use of taxpayer funds, Rep Broun misses the bigger picture. You're a taxpayer, right? If you buy porn with "your own" money, then you are actually paying for it with taxpayer funds.Posted by pwyll at April 26, 2008 05:10 PM
This is why Republicans have so much trouble attracting libertarians. Every single on of the bill's sponsors is a Republican. Even when they are in the minority they can't help but try and dictate what is moral and what isn't. This group of congressmen and woman might be more comfortable in Iran.Posted by libertex at April 27, 2008 03:13 AM Hide Comments | Show/Add Comments in Popup Window(9) | (Note: You must refresh main page to view newly posted comments here)