just chasing that orgasmic whump

NYT promotes a woman’s right to annihilate millions
David Walsh, WSWS, May 18 2019

“You’re talking about mass murder!” – “I know we’ll get our hair mussed, but no more than 10-20 million dead, tops, depending on the breaks … women sense my power, and they seek the life essence. I do not avoid women … but I do deny them my essence.”
– Gen Jack D Ripper in Dr Strangelove or How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb (1964)

In a May 15 opinion piece, Carol Giacomo, a member of the NYT editorial board and the CFR and a long-time media figure on the diplomatic intelligence beat, sets out to promote what the paper entitles “The Nuclear Weapons Sisterhood,” writing as follows:

Women are particularly under-represented in senior positions dealing with nuclear issues. For women, people of color and trans-gender people, sexism, discrimination and harassment are often barriers to being hired, promoted or taken seriously in the national security bureaucracy, overseas and at home. Women hold only 20% of senior civilian jobs at the Pentagon. Women are particularly under-represented in senior positions dealing with nuclear issues. Government policies involving the building, deployment, targeting and use of nuclear weapons have long been the province of an insular, innovation-averse group of men.

The NYT journalist took pains to disabuse any readers under the impression that she was advocating a stronger female presence because of old-fashioned views of women as more pacific creatures. Giacomo observed:

There is little evidence women are inherently more peaceful than men, and a forthcoming paper goes so far as to argue that in certain parliamentary democracies, women leaders may be more likely to initiate conflict than their male peers, feeling a need to prove their strength.

Does the author of the paper have Hillary Clinton in mind? Lest the reader think the column was written tongue in cheek, as a parody of feminism, the reader should think again. Giacomo is deadly serious. Her argument represents the ultimate logic of feminism, which accepts the capitalist order and the exploitation of the working class, merely insisting that bourgeois women have an equal share in operating and benefiting from the profit system. Concretely, the demand for more women with the ability to drop nuclear bombs occurs within the context of the #MeToo sexual witch-hunt ferociously backed by the NYT and the general drive for more women in positions of corporate and political authority. Giacomo was apparently inspired to write her piece by a study conducted by New America liberal think tank entitled “The ‘Consensual Straitjacket:’ Four Decades of Women in Nuclear Security,” based on interviews with 23 women who held top government positions. That study too pointed out:

Many of the interviewees were quick to push back on the essentialist notion that women are inherently more peaceful and therefore likely to tip the scale to disarmament or ‘softer’ outcomes. As one respondent bluntly put it: ‘We don’t soften policy by adding estrogen.’ Another interviewee explained: ‘I do not think women are more peaceful, and that kind of line of thinking irritates me no end, in part because just in a very practical way I think it undercuts us being taken seriously by the hard security side of the house, which has mainly been lived in by men.’

The NYT columnist and the New America authors promote a particularly foul brand of “women’s rights imperialism,” mixing feminist phraseology and criticisms with a full acceptance of the overall role of the Pentagon and CIA as defenders of Pindo capitalism’s national interests. “The ‘Consensual Straitjacket,’” for example, reported that the nuclear field’s “jargon is infamous for being not only dense but sexualized,” and continued:

The feminist scholar Carol Cohn recalls thinking that the classic ‘missile envy’ posited by feminist theorists and disarmament advocates was ‘uncomfortably reductionist.’ One summer in the field convinced her otherwise: ‘Lectures were filled with discussion of vertical erector launchers, thrust-to-weight ratios, soft lay-downs, deep penetration and the comparative advantages of protracted versus spasm attacks, which one military adviser to the NSC called ‘releasing 70% to 80% of our megatonnage in one orgasmic whump.’

That the Pindo military is full to the brim of male officials comfortably in the tradition of Dr Strangelove’s psychotic Gen Jack D Ripper will not come as a surprise to anyone with eyes in his or her head. However, replacing these maniacs with females will not lessen the danger that the Pindo armed forces represent to the world’s population by one iota. Along the same lines as Giacomo’s column, Julianne Smith, former deputy national security adviser (DNSA) to Vice Pres Biden now at the Center for a New American Security, published an opinion piece in the NYT in Aug 2017 entitled “Send the Breast Pump With the Defense Attaché,”in which she sadly reported:

Only 20% of senior Pentagon staff positions and 30% of senior State Dept positions are held by women. Within the intelligence community, women account for about 38 percent of the total work force, but hold only 28% of senior positions and make up 18% of people hired at senior pay levels. At the FBI, women hold just 12% of the bureau’s 220 senior agent positions. On the positive side, 100 years since the first woman entered the Foreign Service, women now hold 54 of 169 currently occupied chief of mission positions. At the CIA, the percentage of women has grown to 46% in 2012, on the most recent data available.

No doubt a section of liberal and left feminists will defend greater female representation among military and intelligence decision-makers as “a step forward.” After all, retired CIA operations officer Karen deLacy was not alone, at the time of torturer Gina Haspel’s nomination to head the CIA, in arguing in the WaPo:

much like #MeToo and #TimesUp, Haspel’s nomination provides an opportunity to get gender equality right in the field of espionage. an inclusion crisis exists in the clandestine cadre of the CIA: fewer women applying to be operations officers, few women in important leadership positions, and continuing harassment of and discrimination against women.

Nor should we omit in this regard the Nov 28 2017 “#Metoonatsec Open Letter” signed by 223 women in the military intelligence apparatus, who complained collectively that they too were “survivors of sexual harassment, assault, and abuse or know others who are.” A sampling of those on the list includes the following:

  • Wendy R Anderson, deputy chief of staff to the Sec Def;
  • Alexandra Kahan, NSC and State;
  • Courtney La Bau, senior advisor, DHS;
  • Liliana Ayalde, former ambassador to Brazil and currently civilian deputy to the commander and foreign policy advisor for SOUTHCOM;
  • Kelly Magsamen, principal Deputy Asst Sec Def (DASD); and
  • Laura Holgate, special asst to the president for terrorism.

How many monstrous crimes and conspiracies have this sordid collection of former ambassadors, military officers, CIA agents, State Dept boxtops and academics proposed, planned or overseen in their careers? Last year, the NYT protested the relative dearth of female billionaires and promoted “women who aggressively seek money and power.” Now, in the form of Giacomo’s column, the newspaper urges that women be more fully represented among those with the power to unleash mass annihilation and the destruction of life on the planet. No doubt, concrete social interests and aspirations find expression in the deeply reactionary effort exemplified by Giacomo’s article. The women in the national security apparatus are pressing for bigger incomes and more privileges, if necessary at the expense of their male colleagues, just as their counterparts in Hollywood, on college campuses and in the media are doing. Beyond that, in this blood-curdling campaign the NYT as always is pursuing a definite ideological and political agenda. The newspaper’s editors know full well that to remain in power in the next period, the Pindo ruling elite will need to carry out the most horrific crimes at home and abroad, crimes for which there is no precedent in Pindo history, violent as it is. Since 9/11 and the subsequent measures and actions taken, using the terrorist attacks as an opportunity, including military invasions, the practice of torture, the legitimization of universal spying on the population, drone assassinations, etcetera, layers of the middle class have been encouraged to accept the most barbaric policies in the name of “homeland security” and to view them as the “new normal.” In columns such as Giacomo’s, the NYT is attempting to inure these layers to mass violence and overcome inevitable squeamishness (among women in this instance) about the horrors of large-scale human destruction, up to and including the consequences of nuclear war. This is a sinister business.

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