Laura Cannon, a 2001 West Point graduate, is — with apologies to Pat Benatar — arguing for love on the battlefield.
General Order No. 1 prohibits sex (and alcohol consumption) on an Army deployment. Typical deployments last approximately one year, so if West Point graduates follow the academy’s rules, then they abstain for all four of their college years, plus the year-long deployment. Five years of abstinence is enough to make anyone crazy.
I was a part of the Iraq invasion in 2003. At the time, I was a naive, 24-year-old lieutenant and still a virgin (because of my former Jesus obsession and aversion to cadet marching). I assumed General Order No. 1 would have no impact on my life. I was wrong.
I had no idea that a combat zone would be such a sexually charged environment. Blame it on amped-up testosterone pouring out of aggressive, athletic men. Or blame it on combat stripping even the strongest of men and women down to their core, raw emotions. Combine that with forming special bonds with comrades who promise to do whatever it takes to ensure your safe return home, including sacrificing their life for yours. What do you think happens?
While I can’t claim to be a combat expert of course, I’m going to go out on a limb and say this strikes me as a bad idea. Just because something does happen doesn’t mean it should be legitimized or encouraged.