Circumcision and the Military - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 40 Old 11-05-2007, 01:53 AM - Thread Starter
 
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This weekend, my family and I were having a discussion on how my DS' Dr pulled back DS' foreskin, : and it led to all things circ. My uncle who is a vietnam war vet talked of how they almost required circumsicion for admittance into the military because of all the problems/infections etc that intact men were having and not being able to keep 'em clean during combat. Of course we were interupted by who knows what and I never got a chance to discuss this with him in detail. Anyone care to discuss this or have any thoughts on this?
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#2 of 40 Old 11-05-2007, 02:06 AM
 
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Amazing how all those Europeans where intact is normal managed to still keep all their parts in wartime. Did all of Europe come home minus their foreskins? I think not.

Bottom line is that circ was/is the norm in the US and that is the only reason it was pushed on GIs
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#3 of 40 Old 11-05-2007, 02:11 AM
 
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I've met unCirc'ed Military Men - even before DH

I certainly see from the Military Wife standpoint that the Military Hospitals are teaching hospitals and the teachers are, old school. You have to be ready to fight (at some, not every) at these hospitals for what would be a medium standard of care elsewhere (no merc in vaxs, etc.) so I could see lots of Moms who went with the flow as parents never even being asked, just assumed, that the kids would be circed.

And phoey to the idea that a healthy intact human body would be more prone to infection at war. Phoey on them.

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#4 of 40 Old 11-05-2007, 02:19 AM
 
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My FIL was in the Army during WW2 and he says that a lot of men were made to get circ'd then. He is Jewish so was already circ'd. My father is intact and was a merchant marine - never heard of "forced circs" or the inspections that were required (can't remember what this was called - anyone else??). When I did the radio interview with George Denniston a caller (older gentleman) talked about how the Army made men get circ'd. Another opinion I heard on this is about the "terrible infections" men were coming home with after WW2, fighting in the trenches, etc. and that is a reason infant circ was pushed. I believe it was a bit of extreme nationalism myself - the "dirty enemy" in WW2 - Japanese, German - were all intact and a "good, clean American man" would be circ'd. Just my analysis (and simplified at that). But what happened to the European soldiers? Did they get infections? Were they all circ'd? I suppose all the Eurpopean countries adopted RIC??Hmmm...makes one suspect that the motivation behind the push for circ wasn't based on good health.
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#5 of 40 Old 11-05-2007, 02:43 AM
 
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My DH is former military, and when we were first pregnant and asked a nurse at the (military) OB clinic about circumcision, we were fed the BS about the military formerly requiring it because it was so unclean during combat. I'm actually really pissed about the propaganda that she spread to parents who were looking for the truth. (Thank goodness, we didn't stop asking and reading after that!)
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#6 of 40 Old 11-05-2007, 03:20 AM
 
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My father was 18-19 and in the Navy during WWII. He got some sort of infection (from riding around in the back of a garbage truck, he says) and they circ'ed him. I have never asked a lot of questions -- but my mother insinuated that this was a good reason to circ my boys. : :
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#7 of 40 Old 11-05-2007, 06:50 AM
 
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Uh huh - wonder how we Europeans manage to fight intact?

Not to mention those Asians and South Americans in those hot jungles.
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#8 of 40 Old 11-05-2007, 02:02 PM
 
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My dad and his three brothers were intact and all were in the military. They were in the military from WWII through the Vietnam War collectively. None ever were given a problem about their being intact.
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#9 of 40 Old 11-07-2007, 12:36 AM
 
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Former Navy officer here from the 70's. Still intact. Absolutely no comment ever made by anyone in the Navy. Saw intact men of all ages, one of whom served in the 1930's. Perhaps individual commanders somewhere pushed circ, but I certainly never saw any evidence of it. A number of men volunteered for it, usually because of pressure from their wives, but I never ever heard it encouraged. I know a former Navy urologist who says that phimosis was disabling for enlistment, but that circ itself was never a requirement.
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#10 of 40 Old 11-07-2007, 12:57 AM
 
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One of my parents friends were very supportive of me leaving ds intact. It was great, and I'm sure it shut my mom up quicker than otherwise, although I ahve no doubt she would have quickly come on board. Turns out the husband is intact and they left their boys intact.

He did mention to me that when he was in the Navy circumcisoiin was offered up and he knew a lot of men that took it. He refused and had no problems/regrets actually. He's probably 53/55.

As for how men can deal with combat situations... this has come up before. The suggested ration/conserve water care for intact penises is to build up pressure in the foreskin while peeing and then release-- using the urine to flush the system out and minimizing the need for water.

And if you think about it, women would be at a more severe disadvantage in this type of situation (water shortage).

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#11 of 40 Old 11-07-2007, 02:00 AM
 
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I have heard some insinuation that the "uncleanliness infections" were STD's and the circ's were sort of a punishment. : I think it's a different story depending on who you ask.
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#12 of 40 Old 11-07-2007, 02:00 AM
 
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Originally Posted by mamasophy View Post
My father is intact and was a merchant marine - never heard of "forced circs" or the inspections that were required (can't remember what this was called - anyone else??).
I am a retired military officer, and endured a few of these inspections myself.
They were called "short arm" inspections, and consisted of a medical corpsman inspecting the genitals of all the men, and retracting the foreskin of those not circumcised. The purpose was to check for STD's. If you know the military, you can imagine the comments/conversations that took place during these events
Everyone got one on induction into the military services, and at other times (a short period after shore leaves or liberties) when the men might have been exposed to STD's . Circumcisions were offered the intact men, and some chose to get them on the false belief that circumcision would reduce the chances of getting a STD. I don't know of any military man who was required to get circumcised however.
My son was born in a military hospital in the late '60's, and was routinely circumcised, without me or my wife being consulted.
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#13 of 40 Old 11-07-2007, 03:24 PM
 
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I am a retired military officer, and endured a few of these inspections myself.
They were called "short arm" inspections, and consisted of a medical corpsman inspecting the genitals of all the men, and retracting the foreskin of those not circumcised. The purpose was to check for STD's. If you know the military, you can imagine the comments/conversations that took place during these events
Everyone got one on induction into the military services, and at other times (a short period after shore leaves or liberties) when the men might have been exposed to STD's . Circumcisions were offered the intact men, and some chose to get them on the false belief that circumcision would reduce the chances of getting a STD. I don't know of any military man who was required to get circumcised however.
My son was born in a military hospital in the late '60's, and was routinely circumcised, without me or my wife being consulted.
Thanks! Maybe the Merchant Marine was different than the other branches of the military during WW2? I only know that my 82 year old father wouldn't have given up his intact state for any reason - and he was 16 when he ran away from home, lied about his age and joined up. And about your son's circ - as you said, you weren't given the choice. Even if by some chance he had been left intact, the trend then was for overzealous retraction and "cleaning" so he might have become a case of "HAD to get circ'd later" kwim? You're a good dad and your son is lucky to have you with him on this path in life!
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#14 of 40 Old 11-07-2007, 03:31 PM
 
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Originally Posted by 4chunut1 View Post
I am a retired military officer, and endured a few of these inspections myself.
They were called "short arm" inspections, and consisted of a medical corpsman inspecting the genitals of all the men, and retracting the foreskin of those not circumcised. The purpose was to check for STD's. If you know the military, you can imagine the comments/conversations that took place during these events
Everyone got one on induction into the military services, and at other times (a short period after shore leaves or liberties) when the men might have been exposed to STD's . Circumcisions were offered the intact men, and some chose to get them on the false belief that circumcision would reduce the chances of getting a STD. I don't know of any military man who was required to get circumcised however.
My son was born in a military hospital in the late '60's, and was routinely circumcised, without me or my wife being consulted.
Ugh. I can't believe it's not illegal what the military hospital did to your son. I'm sorry for him and for you. : You must've been stunned.
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#15 of 40 Old 11-07-2007, 04:20 PM
 
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Ugh. I can't believe it's not illegal what the military hospital did to your son. I'm sorry for him and for you. : You must've been stunned.
In the '60s it was done in civilian hospitals too.

My dad was in the airforce during the Korean war. They offered he declined. One of the others took them up on the offer of a free circ, and was very unhappy afterwards.

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#16 of 40 Old 11-07-2007, 05:05 PM
 
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My son was born in a military hospital in the late '60's, and was routinely circumcised, without me or my wife being consulted.
This is what happened to my DH. His father was intact, and in the military. DH was born in a military hospital. But his mother didn't speak English very well. They just came and took the baby and brought him back circ'ed. :
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I have wondered about this. Trying to find out where the 'tradition' to circ in my family started, I once asked my uncle if my grandfather had been circumcised. His answer was "Well, he was in the military". This was around 1900 as he fought in both the Boer War and WW1. I was a bit embarrassed asking, and to my regret now, I never asked what he meant. I can only assume that the British also pushed for their soldiers to be circumcised. I did read somewhere once , that this started during the British occupation of India , where some soldiers were captured and circ'd by force. I seem to recall that they were called "clipped cocks" , or something like that.
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#18 of 40 Old 11-07-2007, 05:59 PM
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I have to wonder how much the push for "cleanliness" to avoid STDs had to do with this. It may have been based on how bad the STD infection rate was in a particular area, and if it was high, then it may have been a blanket order.

I know my stepdad wasn't circumcised (because that played a big part in my mom's decision not to circ my brother), and I have no idea about his father (and I'm not going to ask ). Either his father was, during the war, and that played a part in his decision not to circ my stepdad, or he wasn't, and they didn't see the point and told the doctors no...

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#19 of 40 Old 11-07-2007, 06:32 PM
 
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My sister who circ'd her only son and I were talking about this last night (I don't know how it came up) -- I told her that we were still planning on an intact son if we ever have a boy, and the conversation went from there.

Her ds is circ'd because "his dad is," but mostly because although she (an RN) knew at the time that the research didn't show benefits of circ, she had an RN coworker who'd been at Desert Storm who told her about "all the adult circumcisions that they had to do, and how awful they were," so they circ'd their son.

I told her I hadn't run across that in my research, but had run across some references to how upset some of the men who'd been circ'd were about the sexual results for them afterwards; and that I figure, if I have a son I hope that he can keep himself clean and doesn't go to war. I don't want to plan his life assuming that he will go to war (even assuming the 'war' argument is correct, which I don't think it is).

Anyway it was a good conversation - she said, "We didn't know as much then as we do now," and I told her, "I know, it's a journey isn't it?" I think if they had another son, they wouldn't circ (based on our conversation). Which is GOOD, because although that's not going to happen for them, that means that hopefully she can advocate with me on the anti-circ front with other siblings who are expecting (we are from a large family).

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#20 of 40 Old 11-08-2007, 02:00 PM
 
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I have heard some insinuation that the "uncleanliness infections" were STD's and the circ's were sort of a punishment. : I think it's a different story depending on who you ask.
This is what my dad (retired military) told me and he is intact. He said "saying that it was required" is just an excuse. They don't want anyone to really know WHY they were circ'd!
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#21 of 40 Old 11-16-2007, 09:28 AM
 
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Her ds is circ'd because "his dad is," but mostly because although she (an RN) knew at the time that the research didn't show benefits of circ, she had an RN coworker who'd been at Desert Storm who told her about "all the adult circumcisions that they had to do, and how awful they were," so they circ'd their son.
Lol, right. I wasn't in healthcare during Desert Storm, I was just a regular soldier, but there was never mention of it to anyone in our unit. And we sure didn't see a bunch of guys walking around looking like they'd just been cut. Rofl.

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#22 of 40 Old 11-18-2007, 10:02 AM
 
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Great I finally can add some 'real' info to a thread! Yay!
Here's the article I am referring to:
http://www.cirp.org/news/morganhilltimes06-14-05/

Quote:
Most circumcisions in the United States after WWII were recommended for hygienic reasons.

Soldiers from allied forces had experienced b[a]lanitis, an infection between the foreskin and penile shaft caused by a buildup of urine or foreign material, in “epidemic proportions” during actions in sandy North Africa, according to an article by Dr. J. M. Hudson published in the June 2004 issue of the Journal of Medical Ethics.

It would be easier to circumcise infant males, who are less likely to experience serious side effects from the procedure, than treat blanitis later in life military physicians concluded, and this logic worked its way into medical practice back home as doctors who had been serving in the war transitioned back into civilian practice, he wrote.
That's just a little snippet out of that article. It's pretty interesting, you might want to read the whole thing...
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#23 of 40 Old 11-18-2007, 12:46 PM
 
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Great I finally can add some 'real' info to a thread! Yay!
Here's the article I am referring to:
http://www.cirp.org/news/morganhilltimes06-14-05/



That's just a little snippet out of that article. It's pretty interesting, you might want to read the whole thing...
Funny though, that it only appears to have been American men that had to be treated like this, and it's only American babies that need to have it removed at birth, just in case they end up in a war zone?

Exactly what were those military doctors thinking? And why do they assume that Americans are always going to be sending their young men to war?
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#24 of 40 Old 11-19-2007, 03:57 PM
 
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My husband was in the U.S. Navy as a submariner in the mid-late 90's and into 00's. He was told when he chose submarine service that if he wasn't circumcised, he would'nt be eligible for submarine service. Basically, that if he wanted to join that particular branch, circumcision was mandatory. The main reason he was told, was that there can be conditions where they can be deployed for months at a time without ever docking anywhere, and in certain conditions, there was a possibility that fresh water would be conserved and wouldn't necessarily be available to use for personal cleaning issues. Combine that with such close quarters and many guys actually double bunking...where there was only one bunk and one guy had it when he was off duty and the other guy took it when the first guy went on duty, and you get the pic. about why there might be cleanliness issues with no water available....

I'm not sure why they didn't work towards fixing the problem all together though. I wonder if it was a JIC thing? Because DH said that in the years he was in, they never actually ran out of water for cleaning themselves, though they did frequently run out of toilet paper.
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#25 of 40 Old 11-19-2007, 07:42 PM
 
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My husband was in the U.S. Navy as a submariner in the mid-late 90's and into 00's. He was told when he chose submarine service that if he wasn't circumcised, he would'nt be eligible for submarine service. Basically, that if he wanted to join that particular branch, circumcision was mandatory. The main reason he was told, was that there can be conditions where they can be deployed for months at a time without ever docking anywhere, and in certain conditions, there was a possibility that fresh water would be conserved and wouldn't necessarily be available to use for personal cleaning issues. Combine that with such close quarters and many guys actually double bunking...where there was only one bunk and one guy had it when he was off duty and the other guy took it when the first guy went on duty, and you get the pic. about why there might be cleanliness issues with no water available....

I'm not sure why they didn't work towards fixing the problem all together though. I wonder if it was a JIC thing? Because DH said that in the years he was in, they never actually ran out of water for cleaning themselves, though they did frequently run out of toilet paper.
Not that I don't believe you, but that sounds absolutely ridiculous. With the few men in that generation that might have been intact, and the myriad ways/uses that water can be wasted, to try and fend off a fictional potential water shortage by denying a few guys wet wipes to clean their genitals.....it just goes beyond the realm of any good logic. :
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#26 of 40 Old 11-20-2007, 01:12 AM
 
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BIL is in the Army; deployed right now. He knew someone who fought WWII. This guy told him NOT to circ any sons he would ever have because he was forced to be circumcised while in the war. This man told BIL that sex with a foreskin is like 'Color TV' vs sex w/ out a foreskin is 'Black and White'.

For this reason alone he decided against it. BIL tells me being intact is not an issue if you want to be in the Military. Nowadays, that is.

Just so you know, the Modern Military find ways to keep up with basic hygiene. I remember seeing in the news about US war supporters sending baby wipes for the solders because water was low. So, being intact is a non-issue for the Military.

kaylee6734, I suspect your DH ran into a prejudice Naval officer who is very misinformed about the intact male body. I do not discount your story. I find it rather suspicious re: the Naval Officer knowing what I know about the Military. BTW, to MDC!
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#27 of 40 Old 11-20-2007, 02:10 PM
 
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kaylee6734, I suspect your DH ran into a prejudice Naval officer who is very misinformed about the intact male body. I do not discount your story. I find it rather suspicious re: the Naval Officer knowing what I know about the Military. BTW, to MDC!
Nope, I don't think that was necessarily the case. Evidently DH was asked if he was circ'd (and he IS) but when DH asked him why it mattered, what was stated above was the reasoning around it. He was also told that it was specific for the submarine service and not the rest of the navy. DH found out it was a pretty common thing to be told . Now it might not be an official rule, but I can totally see it being something that is told to guys when they choose to enter the submarine service. I'm not condoning it, but I can see some old Navy docs thinking its still important, just because of the long time periods submariners can actually be deployed and under water....they can be submerged for more than 60 days at a time. Combine that with the possibility of clean water shortage if something goes wrong and no toilet paper because they ran out...and I can see why they'd still suggest it....doesn't make it right, but I can see where it would be a pretty common thought among the older navy guys. Sad...but that's what was commonly thought amongst the guys(at least in that command), that you needed to be circ'd.
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#28 of 40 Old 11-20-2007, 02:33 PM
 
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Nope, I don't think that was necessarily the case. Evidently DH was asked if he was circ'd (and he IS) but when DH asked him why it mattered, what was stated above was the reasoning around it. He was also told that it was specific for the submarine service and not the rest of the navy. DH found out it was a pretty common thing to be told . Now it might not be an official rule, but I can totally see it being something that is told to guys when they choose to enter the submarine service. I'm not condoning it, but I can see some old Navy docs thinking its still important, just because of the long time periods submariners can actually be deployed and under water....they can be submerged for more than 60 days at a time. Combine that with the possibility of clean water shortage if something goes wrong and no toilet paper because they ran out...and I can see why they'd still suggest it....doesn't make it right, but I can see where it would be a pretty common thought among the older navy guys. Sad...but that's what was commonly thought amongst the guys(at least in that command), that you needed to be circ'd.

If that's the case, then does that mean women cannot serve in the submarine service? Because surely with menstrual cycles and other vaginal discharge, having no access to water would be a bad thing.
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#29 of 40 Old 11-20-2007, 02:48 PM
 
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: That reasoning for circ is so prepostrous!

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#30 of 40 Old 11-20-2007, 02:50 PM
 
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My brother wasn't even asked about the state of his penis when he was in the Air Force. They took him with his intact penis....no problems or questions asked. That was in the 90's.
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