Tuesday, March 15, 2005

News and stuff...

Oxford discrimnates against private schools and women...
Military Discipline?
I was discussing the question of military discipline with someone recently, so I'll link to this report in the Telegraph about bullying in the British Army. The Editoral gives a decent take on the situation:
In other areas, the Services are distinctly unlike civilian organisations and therefore should be treated differently. There is an absolute need for a hierarchical structure (condemned by the committee yesterday) where orders are sacrosanct. There is a need, too, for a rigour and robustness that instils uniformity and the ability to respond swiftly and readily to the call to kill or to die.
That rigour and robustness cannot sit alongside the professional counsellors that the committee demanded yesterday. But those qualities can and must coexist alongside the decent treatment by superior of inferior.
This opinion piece very strongly argues the need for a certain (but not unmitigated) brutality in the training of soldiers.
To my mind the main questions that arise are:
Where is the line drawn between rigour in training and bullying? (To my mind the question of the arbitrary treatment of recruits is a key issue - being uniformly tough in compliance with regulations is something no recruit should complain about... Arbitrary mistreatment is another manner.)
What influence does the manner in which soldiers are trained have on their ability to exercise authority? (Can some of the prisoner-abuse carried out by [a few] British and American soldiers be attributable to a mistaken understanding of how authority is justly exercised?)
The listing of the (alleged) victims and how they died makes for grim reading...

There seem to be developments in a very important British case about the right to life.
An elephant.
Bruce Springsteen and Bono - I wonder if the latter got that rosary from the Pope?
Is the Vatican planning a formal response to the DaVinci Code?

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