Ivo Shandor Was Right

Ivo Shandor

Shot:

So when she heard last fall that a student group had organized a debate about campus sexual assault between Jessica Valenti, the founder of feministing.com, and Wendy McElroy, a libertarian, and that Ms. McElroy was likely to criticize the term “rape culture,” Ms. Byron was alarmed. … Student volunteers put up posters advertising that a “safe space” would be available for anyone who found the debate too upsetting.

The safe space, Ms. Byron explained, was intended to give people who might find comments “troubling” or “triggering,” a place to recuperate. The room was equipped with cookies, coloring books, bubbles, Play-Doh, calming music, pillows, blankets and a video of frolicking puppies, as well as students and staff members trained to deal with trauma.

In College and Hiding From Scary Ideas,” March 21, 2015. The New York Times.

On the Outrage-o-Sphere

mob pitchforks

It is worth noting, briefly, that the outrage brigades do not exist solely on the left. Yes, they’re more vocal. Yes, they’re more easily riled. Yes, they seem to have an unending stream of things to be aggrieved about. But they’re not alone.

Consider the treatment of Liz Mair, who was recently hired by the Scott Walker campaign to provide some online outreach. (Full disclosure: I’ve met Liz a couple of times and I believe we are Facebook friends, though we do not follow each other on Twitter and I have yet to have her out to my villa in the Italian countryside.*) Turns out that Liz is a bit of a squish on immigration and the dread social issues. But, more damningly, she thinks it’s foolish to have the Iowa caucuses serve as the first event on the presidential primary calendar. And people in Iowa aren’t happy about this because people in Iowa love it that politicians have to suck up to them and their asinine policy preferences.

Task Force Violent

Afghan officials inspect the wreckage of suicide bomber's car that targeted Marines in Bati Kot, March 4, 2007 / AP

There is no journalist covering the military I’d rather be reading right now than Andrew deGrandpre. In a five-part series being published this month at Military Times, deGrandpre is re-reporting the story of the infamous “Task Force Violent.” That was the nickname the members of the Marine Corps’ first special operations company to deploy overseas (to Afghanistan, in 2007) gave themselves. The deployment ended with the unit being accused of war crimes, brought home early from Afghanistan, and subjected to an official Court of Inquiry.

Anyone who was reading the Military Times in 2008 remembers this unit, because story after lurid story (“MELTDOWN AT ‘TASK FORCE VIOLENCE’: Uncovered—the hidden story of the MarSOC Marines who shamed the Corps” was characteristic) painted them as a trigger-happy band of cowboys who overreacted to an ambush and negligently killed Afghan civilian bystanders. The sources for these stories were often members of the unit’s own special operations chain of command in Afghanistan, speaking on background to Military Times reporters. At a time of peak counterinsurgency theory enthusiasm in the military, these disgraced Marines were held up as Exhibit A in a demonstration of How Not to Fight a War.

60 Minutes Takes on Women in Combat

Female Marine recruits spar in Parris Island, SC / AP

This past Sunday 60 Minutes aired a piece on the integration of women in U.S. combat units, and specifically into the Marine Corps infantry. They got tremendous access to the Marine Corps’ secretive Infantry Officer Course, or ‘IOC’ (to my knowledge, what can be seen in this segment is the most detail about IOC ever to be revealed to journalists, let alone to a television camera crew), spoke to the course director on the record, profiled a tough young female lieutenant trying to make it through the training, and visited the enlisted infantry course in Camp Lejeune, which has also been opened to women on a trial basis.

It was a thorough and interesting story.