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Mental health for Iraq war vets? How about some mental health for the dumb assholes who sent them there?

Posted by Truely Beliver | April 15, 2007 12:38 PM

This report is getting lots of press, and a lot of people, myself included, have been tripped up by a subtlety therein.

The report is on the results of abstinence programs— not on the results of abstinence-only programs.

In particular, there has been some frantic spinning of the fact that kids who participated in the abstinence programs— in addition to comprehensive sex ed— used condoms just as often as kids who did not participate in abstinence programs.

When we look at the results of abstinence-only programs, things get even worse, thanks to the lack of safe-sex and/or birth-control information therein.

Posted by robotslave | April 15, 2007 1:36 PM

Well, at least they're consistent. Remember, this is the same White House that thinks if the war isn't going well, we'll just send in a handful more troops, and expect it to miraculously improve results.

Posted by SDA in SEA | April 15, 2007 1:45 PM

That $176M would be better spent on these, all things considered.

Posted by GSA Inspector | April 15, 2007 1:51 PM

In reference to an earlier discussion,
here is the link to the actual study (this will open a PDF file.) In case anybody wants to know what the actual study says, and not what's being said about it.

Posted by flamingbanjo | April 15, 2007 1:54 PM

Reminds me of D.A.R.E., which actually has the OPPOSITE result. Teens may be annoying, but they are not that stupid, they know and detest obvious didactic propaganda. Tell kids that sex is bad, evil, horrible, deadly, etc etc, when their sensitive parts, hormones, et al. are speaking otherwise. Brilliant, fucking brilliant. Why do we have Driver's Education programs? Just force teens to not drive, it's DANGEROUS.

When are we all gonna stop living that script that Margaret Atwood (Blame Canada!) wrote decades ago, "The Handmaid's Tale"?

Posted by walter mellon | April 15, 2007 2:16 PM

The working version of the link from @4:
Click Here!

Amazing what a few grand will buy these days.

Posted by Ausstieg Links | April 15, 2007 2:26 PM

Like the faith-based initiatives the White House has implemented, this is simply a case of influence-peddling and vote buying. The money is going to directly to the same religious folks who are illegally using their organizations for Christian Conservative voter registration drives and GOTV campaigns. They would prefer government funds (our tax money) go here rather than pay for legitimate programs that have a history of success. They're trying to drown government in the bathtup, remember?

Posted by Jim Demetre | April 15, 2007 5:25 PM

Thanks for the link, flamingbanjo - I've been wanting to see what the actual numbers looked like.

Posted by wench | April 15, 2007 5:47 PM

Another problem with the abstinence-only education is that once teens start having sex, they don't actually know how to protect against pregnancy, resulting in all sorts of other mayhem including a much higher rate of teen pregnancy which causes a whole other set of problems including higher crime rates. I suggest reading Steven Levitt's Freakonomics for futher details.

Posted by Michaela Hull | April 15, 2007 5:49 PM

Some forms of reinforcement might work - electro aversion therapy works for a few years. The trick of course with that is turning them abstinent with out turning them gay.
In fact here's a prime example of why war is so darned usefull. Halliburton can take some of it's experience with genital electrocutino techniques learend at Abu Ghraib and Gauntanomo and evelop a travelling absitinence trailer with the latest in genital electrocution equipment.

Posted by kinaidos | April 15, 2007 5:52 PM

They could always mutilate the genitals of Paul Wolfowitz. It's useless to even link to the little scandal he's involved with now. The Stranger news department could give two fucks about what's going on in Iraq. In essence, they love it. And no, elswinger, the pathetic and cowardly description you gave of Wolfowitz (he's got blood on his hands) does not fit at all.

Posted by Nancy | April 15, 2007 7:31 PM

I agree with Michael. I am a product of abstinence-only education and found myself pregnant a few years out of high school because I was too uncomfortable to ask my boyfriends to wear condoms or to seek out birth control. Regardless, I stopped that cycle...My kids (10 and 14) are very well informed.

Posted by maxine23 | April 15, 2007 8:12 PM

When I was growing up in Seattle, our education was abstinence-based, but not abstinence-only. Time and again, we were told 'Abstinence is the only way to be SURE of not getting an STD or pregnant. The next best way is monogamy with birth control. Here's how a number of birth control methods work'... and then the condom and the banana made their appearance.

These sorts of messages seem reasonable to me. But is this the kind of thing that is 'ineffective'? Should kids not even be told to lean towards abstinence?

I mean, obviously absinence-only messages are ridiculous for this particular universe, but what should kids be told, then? For a group of 15-year-olds, abstinence sounds like a pretty good place to start.

Posted by Rottin' in Denmark | April 16, 2007 4:41 AM

thanks for the stat about the average age of sexual activity: 14.9 yrs. good to know. and it bolsters the little quibble i have about sex ed. don't get me wrong; i'm all for it, and i want it to be comprehensive (including abstinance--i agree with rottin' @14), but why the fuck should it start at the tender age of 9?! that's almost 6 years before the onset of sexual activity. you know, the progressives could get further in their aims if they stood back to examine what possibly reasonable points the more conservative middle might have, and adjust accordingly.

Posted by ellarosa | April 16, 2007 1:57 PM

Ellarosa: They start talking about it at "the tender age of 9" because that's when girls are starting to menstruate.

I got my first period at age 10 - in 1976! Trust me, girls should know WHAT a period is and that it is OK long BEFORE their first period.

And really, once you start talking about conception, talking about contraception is a logical next step.

Posted by JenK | April 16, 2007 3:23 PM

ok, i started my period late (15), so maybe that's skewing my perspective a bit. but, c'mon, the vast majority of girls get some heads up from their moms about their periods--even the most hard core xtain conservative moms. the whole a-z of sex ed is not required for that. it can wait. i'm convinced of this, and i'm glad i stayed as innocent as i did for as long as i did. even if a girl has her period at nine, she's far from ready for sex, so it can wait, no? till 12 or so.

Posted by ellarosa | April 16, 2007 4:32 PM

and up jumped the swagman and sprang into the billabong while watching how his penis patches got wet at

Posted by penis patches | April 30, 2007 11:32 AM

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