updated 2/5/2004 5:03:41 PM ET 2004-02-05T22:03:41

Military officials in South Korea have asked that South Korean government officials step in to ban what the military calls “client-focused exotic dancing,” citing a negative effect on troop discipline.  According to, and we confirmed it, the military intends to request local officials near bases worldwide do the same sort of thing. 

For the record, a lap dance involves a scantly dressed or even undressed woman dancing suggestively on or near a fully clothed man's lap.  It is offered primarily at gentleman's clubs, otherwise known as strip joints.  Now I know the morality police are going to hate me for this one, but I'm picturing our fighting men, in particularly this case, living thousands of miles from home, serving their country lonely and board and off duty.  Why step in to make their lives just a little more unpleasant?  How does going to a strip club in their free time really affect troop discipline? 

I would think this sort of paternalism would negatively affect morale more than it would assist in maintaining discipline.  And I should tell you, all the military experts with whom I‘ve spoken agree.  I know many of the wives of servicemen are going to want my head for this one, but it all seems pretty harmless to me.

I'm not condoning or endorsing lap dancing, but what's next?  Banning liquor?  I'd assume that has a far more insidious impact on troop discipline than a lap dance.  Our troops are already being asked to spend many more hours, days, months, and years away from home in remote lands.  To take measures now to further restrict their ability to do something they could freely do at home seems entirely unnecessary and unfair. 

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