The Army Times reported today that the Naval Criminal Investigative Service in Afghanistan are "tracking" combat soldiers who use Craigslist to hook up with other men. Army protocol prohibits sexual relations between unmarried partners in combat zones.
But of course the fact that soldiers fuck overseas or in combat zones is not news. It shouldn't be, at least. The Army Times itself writes, "Sexual activities in a war zone are as old as wars themselves, but with the advent of Internet personal ads and social media sites, arranging a sexual encounter can become brazen, public and risky." Risky being the operative word.
Though trolling Craigslist technically doesn't break any military codes, "posting pornographic images on a public web or social media site is a chargeable offense," said International Security Assistance Force press officer Erin Stattel. But violations are evaluated on a case-by-case basis, meaning commanding officers hold the power here. And they're clearly wielding it, often dubiously.
According to The Army Times, one Marine lance corporal responded to a hook-up ad and encountered an undercover agent. He lost $1,600 in pay, was demoted, and had 45 days of extra duties. In other words, he was punished for trying to have sex. Was it entrapment? And what about straight soldiers? Are they not looking for tricks online, or are they sexual luddites?
We can only expect this story to grow, and to get uglier, especially since it's been picked up by TheDaily Mail, a reliably conservative vehicle. Joe.My.God notes that right-wingers at Free Republic are already letting loose. "All sane conservative knew from the beginning of the DADT 'repeal' that this would be the outcome," wrote one commenter, Irenic. "I just didn't think it would be realized so quickly." Another took a lower road: "The damn lifestyle is all about having sex WHENEVER THEY WANT, WITH WHOEVER THEY WANT, WHEREVER THEY WANT. It's the whole point about being a damn faggot. They define themselves by their genitalia and what they do with it."
And there, friends, is how a news story about questionable and vaguely homophobic stings turns into undeniably homophobic slut-shaming wrapping in faux patriotism.