I am not sure what the actual Geneva convention mandates are regarding the shaving of body hair, but it seems to me that it is a whole heck of a lot of fuss about not much. Sure the cable news channels are blazing headlines, some protests are happening in the UK, and the UN has piped up with their usual helpful stance (hint- the US sucks), but it seems to me that the main problem is a simple misunderstanding in how the military operates.
I thought about this on the drive home, sitting in traffic, watching all the drivers voluntarily doing what they were supposed to do- staying in the correct lane, stopping at red lights, yielding when appropriate, etc. To someone who does not know the rules of the road, it would seem utterly chaotic. But in fact, it is a monument to self-regulated order (sure there are police- but cops are focussing on the 5-10% of people who do not vuluntarily comply- the majority do). For those of you who have never spent a day in or near the military, the chief reason for its success is compliance to calls for order and discipline. It is simply how it functions. It may not seem orderly, and there is always that one quote (that I can never verify or track down) from the German General who said (and I paraphrase) “The reason the Americans are succesful in war is because war is chaos, and the American military practices chaos on a daily basis,” but by and large the military is EXCEPTIONALLY ordered.
Prior to joining the army, this was not clear, and many times in the army, it was unclear. But when you sit back and look, the necessity of order is abundantly evident. Sure, at time, I did not know why my platoon was told to do a specific act, but I did not have the complete picture, and could not witness from my vantage point the large symphony of coordinated action. The success of the mission depended on everyone doing what they were told to do, being where they were supposed to be, adhering to a sense of ORDER.
So when you read that they are shaving the heads of muslim POW’s, do not immediately assume that it is some politically incorrect slight attempted to humiliate them. That may be a pleasant by-product of the action, but I would take them at their word. They were acting on orders, to maintain and create some order out of a chaotic situation, and to alleviate the spread of lice. Good hygiene, pride in appearance are the very basic aspects of MILITARY ORDER. That is why they send young men away for three months, shave their heads, give them all the same color uniforms, and teach them ‘close order drill’ so that they can march in unison. Order, folks, the backbone of the military, the way our guys operate and function, the reason they are able to have such huge success under horrible circumstances (like being shot at when you have been awake for 4 days and are cold and hungry and in a country whose name you can notspell) is why the Army says they shaved their heads. And I, for one, believe them.