In 2002, Sulaiman Abu Ghaith, then Osama bin Laden’s spokesman, gave an interview to an Algerian newspaper in which he mocked the American campaign to dismantle al-Qaida, calling it a “Hollywood script.”
Back then, OBL and his aides had quite a bit to snicker about. The massive welfare-warfare machine that is the American military was preoccupied with a weighty, waste-management matter: incontinence and urinary-tract infections among its women. The (malodorous) matter made news headlines across the U.S.
Our ascetic enemies are not encumbered by feminine plumbing problems. Al-Qaida
maintains esprit de corps among its men by confining the role the ladies perform in their outfit: Wahhabi women may combust for the cause, but they do not get to disable the ranks with feminine and feminist special pleading – OB/GYN and urinary-tract requirements, sexual-harassment lawsuits, out-of–wedlock pregnancies and welfarism.
As if to confirm al-Qaida’s expressed contempt for the Empire’s army and soft recruits, the military proceeded, back then, to launch a Hollywood-like production proper. The Pentagon, no less, endorsed a VH1 series titled “Military Diaries,” a bit of “militarytainment” that made Abu Ghaith’s reference to a “Hollywood script” impossible to dispute.
“Military Diaries” was touted as a “powerful firsthand look at our heroes, their stories and the music that gets them through.” The viewer was treated to the thrusting pelvis and swaying breasts of a recruit by the name of Charlie, followed by Laurie, Danielle, Paul and Jimmie, among others. These poster-girlie GIs wanted America to know that their “real duty was to provide humanitarian aid to the Afghans.” They shared with us their dreams of being “self-help authors.” And they imparted the joys of manning posts like “diversity-awareness officers” or “drug and alcohol counselors.”
The production sure put a “human face” on our coed men and women of the armed forces. But it was a face that exuded mush, not mettle. And it was seen and savored by an enemy, to whom the “Promised Land” is a military victory, not a spot on Oprah Winfrey’s concave couch (due to that lady’s mighty keister).
Cut to 2010. A politically powerful faction of the military-media-industrial-congressional complex is cobbling together another production to motivate OBL and his men. It features a pathetic pop tartlet called Lady Gaga, whose iconic status, in the absence of any artistic merit, tells you all you need to know about her fans.
Gaga, a celebration of all things kitsch, has recently been eviscerated by pop-culture commentator Camille Paglia, a scrappy Democrat who is adored by conservatives. Paglia described this pretentious, middle-class American “singer,” born Stefani Joanne Angelina Germanotta, as “calculated and artificial,” a “manufactured personality,” “pallid flesh in the fetish-bondage garb of urban prostitution.”
That’s all well and good (and welcome), until you discover that Paglia is terribly cross only because the God-awful Gaga – a facilely recycled idiot – is not as fine as Madonna, and may in fact be borrowing the antics of that slightly less icky, more antique character.
Indeed, in the realm of art and culture, Paglia routinely substitutes symbolism for substantive assessment. And what Paglia knows about music is dangerous. Camille has conceptualized of Madonna – who is unable to sing or compose a warble worth hearing – as “an authentic, creative artist.”
For our purposes what you need to know is that the grotesque Gaga is leading the charge to repeal the rather reasonable policy of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.” DADT does not ban gays from serving in the military; it simply prohibits gay, lesbian and bisexual service members from “serving openly.”
As I see it, in order to return the American military to an earlier formation – that of a disciplined band of men united in common purpose – one would need to purge it of women. Since that is impossible, leveling the promiscuous playground that is the military lies in reintroducing the proverbial closet as a symbol of discretion, not oppression.
Indiscriminate discretion ought to be the rule for homos, heteros and the sexually indeterminate. All should rut in private and off base.
A legal-advocacy group – the Servicemembers Legal Defense Network – disagrees. The network is backing Gaga in seeking to add the gay parade to the list of services enjoyed by America’s military women (those with the Y chromosome included). An entourage of gay men and women, on active military duty, flanks the gaudy exhibitionist on her outing extravaganzas. They are not the least bit embarrassed to be associated with the Gaga melodrama.
The specter of Gaga draped in meat – insubordinate service members, who doggedly follow her to rallies, and have cameoed at the 2010 MTV Video Music Awards in Los Angeles – tells the enemy a lot about trends infecting America’s Army.
Gaga advocates a new re-education program that “targets straight soldiers who are ‘uncomfortable’ with gay soldiers in their midst.” “Our new law is called ‘If you don’t like it, go home!’” she squealed, raising her porcelain-doll-like arm at a rally in Maine on Monday.
“It is unjust for goodhearted gay soldiers to be booted from military service while straight soldiers who harbor hatred toward gays are allowed to fight for their country,” Gaga cooed.
Somewhere, someplace, Sulaiman Abu Ghaith must be having a good giggle.