Saturday, August 2, 2008

Beastly Behaviour?

Well, despite having soldiered around the globe and spent a great deal of time among my continental brethren, I must admit that even I had to do a little research into the term beasting, which has a variety of connotations according to the Urban Dictionary, and which is described in more detail in this BBC report, which mentions running and push-ups while wearing gas masks and chemical resistant suits (a miserable experience, to be sure) running with rifles held overhead, and doing calisthenics while holding a log.

Harsh? Perhaps... But consider this course of punishment; the Royal Marine Commando Course. Many of the physical challenges that are simply a part of training could certainly be considered beastly, but the difference is, they represent obstacles that must be overcome to achieve a goal.

Beasting in and of itself is simply the use of intense exercise to condition a young, recalcitrant person not to behave in certain manners, such as performing poorly during normal training, smarting off to his superiors, etc.

This soldier didn't die because he was beasted; he died of heat stroke (among other things, because he had Ecstasy in his system - something he probably hadn't mentioned to his superiors.) He also may simply have had a low tolerance for heat stress; (some people do) I have personally seen several otherwise fit individuals laid low while making a standard march or run due to that fact. He would probably have suffered the same effect had he been undergoing any other intensive exercise under the same condition.

In the final analysis, this case, like previous instances of hazing and hard training in the U.S. will result in the Brits seeing more administrative punishment (restricted liberty, reduced pay), a softer and less disciplined soldier, and senior staff reminiscent for the bad old days.

Floggings? Well, at least with the lash, we did have the rum ration... Now it's a cyclic dose of Ambien and amphetamines, but only for pilots.

1 comment:

Diodotus said...

Go-pills, eh? Scary... one step away from legitimizing the control of soldiers' behavior in other contexts using other kinds of drugs.

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