06 January 2014

Explaining The Slight

I asked around a lot about Oleg's brainwashing thing.

The replies were interesting.

One group of replies bears mention.

The insult was NOT equivocating slavery with conscription; so carefully explaining that conscription in the US is different from Russia doesn't address the insult at all.

The insult was stating that American draftees had been brainwashed into not being too upset about their non-voluntary service.

I wondered if I was thinking of it wrong, but I looked it up.  "Brainwashing" has a common usage as an insult.
An example...
Woman are brainwashed into thinking that penetrative sex with a man is not rape.
Does that sound like a neutral statement?

The fact is that while American servicemen were indoctrinated into the military, volunteers and draftees got the same training, pay and benefits.  In fact, draftees get substantially greater benefits than veterans who volunteered once the Vietnam war ended.  Another factoid is that being a draftee actually made you less likely to be sent to Vietnam, it was hard to get a full year tour in with just the two years the Army or Marines had with them.  What draftees DID go are nearly universally people who were BRIBED not brainwashed, there were pretty substantial bonuses paid to extend their terms of enlistment (and technically they become volunteers at that point, don't they).

I simply don't care how conscripts in other nations have been treated.  The brainwashing reply was to my statement that draftees from US service were, as a whole, not very bitter about the experience.

I have dealt with several people who were genuinely brainwashed by religious cults and there's just not any similarity.

A related group dismissed the insult with, "Well Oleg is Russian."  OK, that explains why he's ignorant of how US conscripts are treated.  Does it make the insult OK?  What insult do I get to spew at will where my specific condition and upbringing excuse it?  Do I get to toss out racist insults because I grew up in nearly all white Iowa?  Do I get to expound on the joys of misogyny because I am a man?  Or do I get called on it and have the fact that I've insulted people explained to me and then have it be expected that I should apologize?

UPDATE: There's an interesting dividing line in the responses too.  Veterans who were officers are significantly more likely to not see the insult than enlisted.  No such thing as a drafted officer I suppose...

UPDATE 2: On the "should he apologize" front:  My great-grandmother on Dad's father's side honestly thought that 'CENSORED' simply meant 'black person'.  Not once was it presented to me that "well she's old so it's OK."

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