I'm constantly impressed by the numbers of freshly-minted, self-professed military and social historians who've sprung up during the past few years. This post elicited several emailed and posted comments along the lines of "world's oldest profession" and "has always happened during war, always will" and "it's two consenting adults behind closed doors" and "standard stuff in a war zone." Since it's standard stuff, these commenters should have no problem pointing me to a single episode from U.S. military history that has all of the following characteristics:
- Economic and social structures collapsed after and as a consequence of our pre-emptive invasion and occupation, creating a large underclass of people willing to do anything to survive.
- Most of the local population was essentially captive due to our highly restrictive emigration policy as well as economic hardship.
- U.S. troops and civilians in-country used a globally-available mass medium like the internet to discuss the effect of the local religion on personal hygiene and genital odor and to congratulate themselves on the sexual opportunities created by the population's desperation.
- Religion in the occupied country, and its implications for women's conduct, was an extremely important factor and a sensitive subject for the U.S.
- A large number of civilian contractors, highly paid and not subject to the same code of conduct or punishment as the regular military, represented the U.S. presence as much as the troops.
- Most people in the occupied country not only wanted the U.S. to leave but approved of attacks on its troops.