pageok
pageok
pageok
Bad Week for DADT:

Two news items this week, one closely following the other, together shed some interesting light on the current state of "Don't Ask, Don't Tell." Under DADT, some 10,000 military personnel — including many with critical skills in which there's a shortage, like Arab linguists — have been expelled from service solely because it's learned they're gay.

First, on Monday, the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Marine Gen. Peter Pace, was asked by newspaper reporters to explain why he supports DADT. According to the Chicago Tribune, Pace defended the policy thus:

"I believe homosexual acts between two individuals are immoral and that we should not condone immoral acts," Pace said in a wide-ranging discussion with Tribune editors and reporters in Chicago. "I do not believe the United States is well served by a policy that says it is OK to be immoral in any way.

"As an individual, I would not want [acceptance of gay behavior] to be our policy, just like I would not want it to be our policy that if we were to find out that so-and-so was sleeping with somebody else's wife, that we would just look the other way, which we do not. We prosecute that kind of immoral behavior," Pace said.

The comments generated lots of criticism, including from the Secretary of Defense, who said that "personal opinion" about the morality of homosexuality had no place in the debate over the policy. Pace himself clarified that he was expressing only his personal views.

A significant and growing minority of Americans disagree with Pace that homosexual acts are immoral. These include not just Democrats like Barack Obama, but Republicans like conservative ex-military Sen. John Warner, who said this week that he "strongly disagreed" with Pace that homosexual acts are immoral. Most Americans also think gays should be able to serve in the military.

Even if one thought homosexual acts were immoral, it doesn't necessarily follow they should be disqualified from service. Lots of people do immoral things — lie, cheat, steal, commit adultery, commit crimes, take the Lord's name in vain, are gluttonous and lustful, worship idols — but are not automatically disqualified from service on that account.

Further, Pace's view that allowing gays to serve openly would send a message that we condone immorality is very questionable and oddly reductionist. We don't send a message that lying is OK by allowing liars to serve. And the predominant message of allowing gays to serve openly would not seem to be that we condone immorality but that we believe it is good and moral to serve one's country, especially in its hour of need. Why does Pace think that everything a gay person does is mainly about sex rather than, say, honorably serving one's country, as thousands have done in the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan?

On a smaller note we don't, pace Pace, "prosecute" people for homosexual acts (or even adultery) and haven't in most states for several decades. But in this era of recruitment shortages we increasingly do welcome into military service those who have actually been prosecuted and convicted of real crimes.

All that aside, I think Gen. Pace did us a service by frankly expressing his own moral perspective in defense of the policy. I suspect that a great many people, in and out of the military, share his idealistic perspective and would have answered in just the way he did. Though Pace and others would no doubt advance other reasons for excluding gays from service, it's revealing that the moral objections came first.

To see why Gen. Pace's honesty is so valuable, consider the second DADT event of the week. We learned on Wednesday that discharges for homosexuality dropped again in 2006, down to 612 from 1,227 in 2001. That's right, since the advent of the post 9/11 phase of the war on terror, when the country most needs the skills and bodies of its citizens on the front lines, expulsions for homosexuality have dropped by 50%.

The common and practical concerns about service by gay personnel expressed when President Clinton proposed lifting the ban in 1993 — that there would be problems of unit cohesion and morale, damage to enlistment and retention rates, invasion of soldiers' privacy — seem to have been subordinated to the intense need for the service of these people we've trained and invested in. When unit cohesion and morale are most important, in time of war, homosexuality is comparatively unimportant. The experience of other nations' militaries is that the presence of open homosexuals is not disruptive and that their service is more valuable than whatever small amount of unease it might cause a few straight soldiers.

Putting these two events together — the morality concerns expressed by Gen. Pace and the practical decline in DADT enforcement — yields an insight about how the respective views on the policy have flipped since 1993. Back then, advocates of gay military service were scolded that the military is an intensely practical venture whose mission is to deter and fight wars — not a forum for advancing idealistic social causes and abstractions (e.g., the egalitarian claims of homosexuals).

Now advocates of gay military service argue with considerable and growing empirical support that the military is an intensely practical venture whose mission to deter and fight wars is aided by allowing gays to serve without fear of reprisal and expulsion — not a forum for advancing idealistic social causes and abstractions (e.g., the idea that homosexuality is immoral). It is now opponents of gay military service who are left to advance a form of idealism that seems increasingly disconnected from, and unsupported by, considerations of military need. Unpersuasive in abstraction, opponents of DADT have increasingly shifted to the practical; shorn of a practical foundation, supporters of DADT must increasingly shift to the abstract.

anonVCfan:
Under DADT, some 10,000 military personnel — including many with critical skills in which there's a shortage, like Arab linguists — have been expelled from service solely because it's learned they're gay.

I've heard this several times, but I've never seen anyone say how many gay Arab linguists have been expelled or even point to a single gay Arab linguist who has either been expelled through DADT or who wants to join the Army but can't because of DADT. I'm curious about this, and would be interested if anyone's aware of support for this that goes beyond speculation.

DC: There's plenty about this on the Web. Just Google "discharge gay arab linguists."
3.16.2007 8:34pm
Kathy Hutchins (mail) (www):
On a smaller note we don't, pace Pace, "prosecute" people for homosexual acts (or even adultery) and haven't in most states for several decades

I am pretty sure General Pace was talking about the Uniform Code of Military Justice, under which both adultery and homosexual acts are prosecuted.

DC: Though sodomy remains an offense (of questionable constitutionality) under the UCMJ, military prosecutions for sodomy are very rare, especially when it comes to off-duty and -off-base personal conduct. (I'm not aware of any such prosecutions but I'm sure there have been some, especially if aggravating factors were present.) It's different when the conduct is between, say, two personnel in barracks -- and no supporter of allowing gays to serve openly would condone such conduct. Evidence of homosexuality is handled under DADT, and even that is becoming rarer. So if Pace was referring to the UCMJ, it was a very weak basis for defending DADT.
3.16.2007 8:39pm
Gomez Addams (mail):
The military pretty consistently prosecutes at least officers for adultery. I suspect they are more lenient on the enlisted and junior NCO's.
3.16.2007 8:41pm
Jacob (mail):

I've heard this several times, but I've never seen anyone say how many gay Arab linguists have been expelled or even point to a single gay Arab linguist who has either been expelled through DADT or who wants to join the Army but can't because of DADT. I'm curious about this, and would be interested if anyone's aware of support for this that goes beyond speculation.

Really? I see this all the time, though the number is always shifting based on the time period of expulsion (e.g. this year, since 9/11, since DADT) and whether to include Farsi and Korean translators (other important specialists singled out in these articles). I vaguely recall numbers ranging from 30 to 300.

The first article that popped up on Google for me was this one saying "322 linguists, including 54 Arabic specialists" since DADT.

I find it hard to believe anyone who reads more than short blurbs on the subject wouldn't come across them, as they are often pointed out. More often omitted, and probably relevant to most arguments, is how many total number of Arabic language specialists there are (so the reader may judge whether 54 is a significant loss). As for propective recruits who did not join because of DADT, that's obviously harder to measure.
3.16.2007 8:55pm
Jacob (mail):

The military pretty consistently prosecutes at least officers for adultery. I suspect they are more lenient on the enlisted and junior NCO's.

The military pretty consistently prosecutes officers for adultery when it creates greater conflict, like when it involves multiple servicemembers or is a distraction to the officer. But the military also consistently takes care of its own, and would rather officers work things out and go back to their spouses and continue to serve.

Although they're much more willing to hold the hands of the enlisted to get them through a problem, senior officers seem to consistently give more junior officers warnings and second chances regarding this conduct.
3.16.2007 9:07pm
mike (mail):
I wonder how many outed gays were really gay and not looking for a quick and easy way out of the military with an honorable discharge. I'll bet alot were not gay.
3.16.2007 9:26pm
dvorak:
Also on the point that "in this era of recruitment shortages we increasingly do welcome into military service those who have actually been prosecuted and convicted of real crimes" there is a difference of behavior before they have joined and the level of behavior they expect after.

But overall I agree the ban on homosexuals is rightfully on its way out and probably should be completely lifted now for those who work outside a combat zone.
3.16.2007 9:32pm
Andrew Hamilton (mail):
I suspect that if Pace had been asked, he would have replied that heterosexual activity outside marriage is immoral too, and can have deleterious discipline effects in some circumstances (e.g., between members of the same unit, or between members of different rank). That doesn't mean that the armed forces do not know it frequently occurs. They even take steps when they can to guard against soldiers getting venereal diseases. But, as with the case of "immoral" homosexual activity, they accept the incidence of immoral heterosexual behavior as long as it doesn't interfere with discipline. That is also a form of DADT.
3.16.2007 9:54pm
Gerg:
From about.com:

Some of you may remember the famous Lt. Kelly Flynn case of a few years back. Lt. Kelly Flynn was the Air Force's first female B-52 pilot. Unfortunately, Lt Flynn was an unmarried officer who was having an affair with a married civilian. Lt Flynn was advised by a First Sergeant, and later ordered by her Commander, to terminate the affair. She broke up with her "boyfriend," but later they got back together, and -- when asked about it -- Lt Flynn lied. Lt. Flynn was then charged with the offenses of adultery, giving a false official statement, conduct unbecoming an officer, and disobeying an order of a superior commissioned officer.
3.16.2007 9:59pm
Bob Van Burkleo (mail):

A significant and growing minority of Americans disagree with Pace that homosexual acts are immoral.
According to the Gallup poll of May 8-11, 2006 44% of American adults feel that homosexuality is morally acceptable, 54% think it is an acceptable alternative lifestyle. Guess some think its acceptable to be immoral ;)
3.16.2007 10:15pm
Caliban Darklock (www):
Bob, that's not the same question. Most people understand there is a difference between being a homosexual and committing homosexual activity. Being a homosexual is entirely out of your control; it's like saying it's morally unacceptable to be black, or Irish, or have blonde hair. But when you choose, as a consenting adult, to engage in homosexual activity - this is under your control. It is a different question. Nobody is asking whether that's moral or acceptable, because they know what most Americans think the answer is.
3.16.2007 10:20pm
Chris Bell (mail):

I wonder how many outed gays were really gay and not looking for a quick and easy way out of the military with an honorable discharge. I'll bet alot were not gay.

I personally know people that tried to do this, but I can't say how widespread it is. Even if it is widespread, it would then just be a dumb loophole for the armed services to have in a time of war and troop shortages.
3.16.2007 10:30pm
Erasmus (mail):
Where has Obama said Homosexuality is not immoral? I know Hillary "clarified" her non-answer on the topic, but I don't think Obama has. Does anyone have different information?

DC: See http://www.newsday.com/news/nationworld/nation/ny-ushill0316,0,7484037.story?coll=ny-leadnationalnews-headlines.
3.16.2007 11:21pm
Malvolio:
Lt. Kelly Flynn was the Air Force's first female B-52 pilot. Unfortunately, Lt Flynn was an unmarried officer who was having an affair with a married civilian.
Uh, kinda burying the lede there, aren't we, Gerg?

Flynn was an unmarried officer who was having an affair with a man married to one of Lt. Flynn's subordinates. This has been considered despicable behavior for quite some time.
when you choose, as a consenting adult, to engage in homosexual activity - this is under your control. ... Nobody is asking whether that's moral or acceptable, because they know what most Americans think the answer is.
They do? I don't.

You can do what you want, but you can't want what you want. I feel a certain amount of pity for people who, for reasons outside their control, harbor feelings or impulse I find unacceptable and disgusting: kleptomaniacs and pedophiles for example. Despite the conceded fact that they have no control over their desires, if they give in and indulge those desires, I have no hesitation in allowing them to be punished severely.

But with homosexuality, who really cares? Suppose someone did decide to be gay, to piss off their parents perhaps, or just to conform with prevailing attitudes in her dorm or prison block, or just for the hell of it. No skin off my nose. And I am somewhat surprised most Americans don't feel the same way.
3.16.2007 11:27pm
J. Mark English (mail) (www):
Talk about a lack of judgment on the behalf of General Pace.

http://www.americanlegends.blogspot.com
3.16.2007 11:30pm
DaSarge (mail):
Why is everyone talking around the real issue? The problem is not gay soldiers, the problem is sexual tension in military units.

Unit cohesion is the central problem in combat; it is source of all power in war. EVERYTHING comes after that. Sex, of any variety, in military units rapidly corrodes unit cohesion. Undermining unit cohesion is a form of suicide.

Unit cohesion, in turn, begins & ends with the individual at all times subordinating his own feelings to the needs of his fellow warriors. Some things just don't work, no matter how much one would like them to. Fighter pilots cannot be blind, no matter how unfair that may seem.

Think about this. You are a squad leader & you must order a fire team to advance in to danger & the fire team leader is your lover? You are a fighter squadron commander & you must order a flight in to a near certain death encounter -- and the woman leading the flight is your lover?

What we are hearing is the endless narcissism of people who think war will change to accomodate their feelings. War is not fair &it doesn't care about your feelings or desire for self-actualization. It just kills you & your friends when you get it wrong.

The ban on gays & women in combat (a Federal law, by the way) derive from the reality of war as it is -- not the fantasies of people who think of nothing but their own feelings & desires.
3.16.2007 11:43pm
Visitor Again:
It's a pity that people like Dale Carpenter have to spend time responding to buffoons like General Pace, whose judgment is so impaired he's unqualified for any level of command—for any position requiring leadership skills and/or the respect of others. One hopes fossils like Pace, with their self-righteous moral posturing, will soon fade away.

In publicly condemning the morality of so many for something that is not at all blameworthy, Pace has demonstrated not only his lack of judgment but his own immorality. He also has insulted a good part of the military population (as well as the civilian population), and he has acted in a manner that may well have undermined the morale of many troops. He should be forced into retirement, where he can put his prejudices on parade all he wants.
3.17.2007 12:34am
k:

You are a squad leader &you must order a fire team to advance in to danger &the fire team leader is your lover? You are a fighter squadron commander &you must order a flight in to a near certain death encounter -- and the woman leading the flight is your lover?


Removing the prohibition on gays serving in the military would not remove the prohibitions on fraternization, which really do affect unit cohesion.
3.17.2007 12:53am
Erasmus (mail):
DC, thanks. I had searched earlier and only found Clinton's denial. I guess Obama's came later in the day. Fairly sad that they could't say that when first asked.
3.17.2007 12:58am
Constantin:
Just as a point of procedure, I'm not sure John Warner is or ever has been "conservative". Supports abortion rights, only GOP senator to vote against Bork, voted for Brady Bill...He has an R next to his name and that's about it.
3.17.2007 1:26am
Kovarsky (mail):
DaSarge,

I don't understand your example about unit cohesion. What if the commander doesn't trust black people, and therefore won't order troups to take a target under the command of a black soldier?

We don't keep blacks out of the military? What's the limiting principle in your logic?

On a side note, unit cohesion theory has been so roundly disproven both based on evaluation of the attitudes of US miliatry personnel and observation of other miliatry regimes that allow openly gay men to enlist. It seems silly to shift the argument to the unit cohesion theory (1) when it has been debunked and (2) it's not even the subject of Pace's bizarre comments.
3.17.2007 1:42am
SimonD (www):
My take on DADT is pretty simple: if the military's uniformed leadership thinks DADT helps the military's mission, it should stay, and if the military's uniformed leadership thinks DADT hurts the military's mission, it should go. End of discussion. I don't much care about someone's feelings getting hurt; and if you're so needy and vulnerable that not asking and not telling hurts your idenity, I tend to think the military just ain't the place for you.
3.17.2007 1:54am
Perseus (mail):
Why does Pace think that everything a gay person does is mainly about sex rather than, say, honorably serving one's country, as thousands have done in the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan?

Maybe because so many homosexuals and especially activists (the personal is political and all that) define themselves by their sexuality?
3.17.2007 1:55am
Ken Arromdee:
More often omitted, and probably relevant to most arguments, is how many total number of Arabic language specialists there are (so the reader may judge whether 54 is a significant loss).

I find the Arabic language argument to be extremely silly.

It's like saying "The supermarket is short on apples. We need more left-handed Jewish apple growers to supply them". Or "vitamins are important, so buy One-a-Day chewable vitamins".

Unless gays are more likely to speak Middle Eastern languages than everyone else, saying "we need gays in the military so we can have more Middle Eastern language speakers" is as much a non-sequitur as going from "you need vitamins" to "you need One-a-Day vitamins".

I've also seen the argument made by people who don't, in fact, believe the US military should be in the Middle East at all, and therefore are claiming that gays would help fill a need that they don't even think is a need.
3.17.2007 1:56am
Enoch:
buffoons like General Pace, whose judgment is so impaired he's unqualified for any level of command—for any position requiring leadership skills and/or the respect of others.

What a buffoonish comment! Pace has clearly and repeatedly demonstrated his fitness for command, his leadership skills, and his ability to obtain the respect of others. He is a combat-proven leader and commander, and entirely qualified to be Chairman of the JCS.
3.17.2007 2:01am
Kovarsky (mail):
Perseus,

That's funny, I find that most heterosexuals define themselves by their sexuality too. Either that's true or I missed the point of puberty and porn, ages 14-25.
3.17.2007 2:29am
Brian K (mail):
DaSarge,

Are you also against allowing women in the military? Don't they cause sexual tension amongst heterosexual men?

What about blacks/asains/latinos? They cause racial tension among some white racists. Racial tension is just as damaging to unit cohesiveness. Should we only require white straight men to serve in the armed forces?

The very same arguments were made against letting blacks and women in the military, but there hasn't been any effect on unit cohesiveness.
3.17.2007 2:30am
Bill Poser (mail) (www):
I don't believe for a moment the claim that unit cohesion will be disrupted by having either gay men or women together with straight men. The armed forces of both Canada and Australia do not discriminate against gay men and do not have any problems. The Israel Defense Force, probably man-for-man the best in the world, has accepted gay men since 1983 and eliminated all restrictions in 1993. The very same argument was made against integrating black soldiers into the US forces. Integration of the military worked, and it worked BEFORE integration and the civil rights movement in civilian society.
3.17.2007 2:54am
Bill Poser (mail) (www):
Another problem with the unit cohesion argument is that even if true it applies only to forward combat units. Surely it has no bearing on the ability of gay men to work in intelligence positions. There are many roles for language specialists other than serving as interpreters in combat units.
3.17.2007 2:58am
Bill Poser (mail) (www):
The problem with Ken Arrondee's argument is that it presupposes that Arabic specialists are easily had. If specialists in a given area are scarce and not easily and rapidly produced, which is the case with Arabic specialists, then any policy that removes from the pool is harmful.
3.17.2007 3:02am
Eric Anondson (mail):
Demographically speaking, the military is a very young organization. As such it is helpful to weight polls on acceptance of homosexuals in the military according to age groups.

I'm 34 and I just finished Basic at Fort Sill the end of March last year, and I firmly believe that the new soldiers aged 17-21 are much more accepting of gays than previous generations. I would wager that were a representative poll taken of today's military there is a high likelihood a majority would be willing to accept open homosexuals in the services.

Frankly, the UCMJ plus more rigorous enforcement of the military's sexual harassment policies are more then enough. DADT would no longer be needed. I'd been in the corporate world for years prior to joining the National Guard and I had endured enough of corporate sexual harassment courses. However, prior to going to Basic the Guard had RSP weekends where we were had the Army sexual harassment courses. Its a whole other level from the corporate world I knew. If the Army enforced sexual harassment policy like it could, there would be no need of DADT.
3.17.2007 3:08am
Bill Poser (mail) (www):
One more point in response to Ken Arrondee. If discrimination against gays applied only at the point of selecting Arabic specialists for training, then assuming that people with the necessary aptitude are evenly distributed, the discriminatory policy would do no harm (to the military). However, the current policy has the effect of removing from the military people who have not only had their initial language training but often people with significant experience. Unless such experienced people are easily replaced, this is definitely harmful.
3.17.2007 3:11am
Jacob (mail):
I find the Arabic language argument to be extremely silly.
If the argument actually resembled how you framed it, you might have greater company. It's not about recruiting a certain segment of the population to fill a gap in needs. It's about displaying the costs of an exclusionary policy. As some of the comments show, there are people who believe the only downside to DADT is that "narcissists" suffer or people's feelings are hurt. In reality, that is not the case. One can debate how much the loss of 54 Arabic translators actually hurts the military, and one can conclude that such a loss is outweighed by the pros of DADT (if one buys the unit cohesion argument), but any proper cost-benefit analysis requires examining these factors. If recruiting 54 new Arabic translators or 10,000 new military personnel were easier, the cost would be lower. All the articles detailing the lowering of recruiting standards and enlistment of convicted felons tells me replacing so many new soldiers, sailors, and airmen will be tough.
I've also seen the argument made by people who don't, in fact, believe the US military should be in the Middle East at all, and therefore are claiming that gays would help fill a need that they don't even think is a need.
I would hazard to guess that most people who disagree with the war in Iraq, or even any continuous American presence in the Middle East at all, would still appreciate a military prepared for action in that region.
3.17.2007 3:15am
Perseus (mail):
Kovarsky,

All too many homosexuals seem to be stuck in the puberty and porn stage. Isn't that one of the reasons offered in favor of SSM? Gays should settle down and eventually get bored with their partners just like straight couples so that they can then focus their energies on doing something more productive with their time?

My point, of course, was that when you play the game of identity politics, don't be surprised when people think of you primarily in terms of the identity being asserted (and the characteristic behavior associated with that identity).
3.17.2007 3:50am
NicholasV (mail) (www):
Isn't DADT a policy mandated by Congress, not the US military itself? If so, how relevant is what Pace thinks about it?
3.17.2007 4:28am
Cornellian (mail):
All too many homosexuals seem to be stuck in the puberty and porn stage.

Whereas we all know that straight guys of prime military recruitment age (18-22) never look at porn or think about sex.
3.17.2007 4:30am
Anonymous Reader:
All,

The military consistently prosecutes those servicemen and women who commit adultery, regardless of rank. The charge is difficult to prove, but at a minimum, an investigation is made to determine the extent of the relationship.

Dale Carpenter, I don't know what military experience you may have, but there is no difference between off duty/off base and on duty/on base conduct. You are in the military 24/7. You can be court martialed for getting into a fight in a bar off base even if it's the weekend and you're 100 miles from your base.

And oh by the way, Congress can change the law right now if they had the courage to do so. It's cowardly and completely disengenous for Nancy Pelosi to say that the military should change it's policy. Maybe instead of wasting our dollars on nonbinding resolutions, how about making a change to the laws? Hell, maybe a nonbinding law about DADT?

Anonymous Reader
3.17.2007 5:37am
Aleks:
Re: My take on DADT is pretty simple: if the military's uniformed leadership thinks DADT helps the military's mission, it should stay, and if the military's uniformed leadership thinks DADT hurts the military's mission, it should go.

Would you have said this about racial segregation in 1949? Let's remember that the military ios ultimately subservient to civilian rule in this country. It is not some sovereign state-wthin-a-state that gets to make its own laws and rules without reference to the country it represents.

Re: All too many homosexuals seem to be stuck in the puberty and porn stage.

You haven't been around very many straight guys in a locker room, have you? Or visited a (straight) singles bar. And who do you think is keeping Larry Flynt and Hugh Heffner rolling in the dough? And who keeps all those "ladies of the evening" in their fishnet stocking?
3.17.2007 10:01am
PersonFromPorlock:
The thing to keep in mind is that the military doesn't have policies; it has generals who have opinions and enforce them as 'policy'. But change generals and 'policy' can change overnight.

And if that seems like a pretty trivial way to run a railroad, well, it is.
3.17.2007 10:03am
Public_Defender (mail):
Comments like Gen. Pace's make me doubt military claims about "unit cohesion." It looks like many military people just think gay sex is icky, and want to ban it. Then they make up military excuses to support their personal bigotry.

Given the DADT discharges for soldiers in critical needs areas (Arabic translators, for example), it looks like people on the right (not on the left) are harming military readiness to enforce their own preferred social policy.

Would a front line soldier really prefer to remain ignorant about enemy plans instead of having a gay person translate enemy communications?
3.17.2007 10:30am
Scipio_79:
if gays want the right to commit sodomy then they should have to fight the islamic radicals who want to kill them for their acts of sodomy just as I, as a christian, will fight them so that i can remain a christian and live my life with God-given freedom
3.17.2007 10:43am
Scipio_79:
by the way, visitor again, you should thank whoever it is you gives thanks to that men like Gen. Pace devote their lives to give lesser people like yourself the right and freedom to run your trap.
3.17.2007 10:46am
Randy R. (mail):
Let us bear in mind that currently 24 countries, including Britain, Canada, Australia, Israel, and most of the EU allow gays to serve openly in their military. When Britain integrated their military, they allowed anyone an honorable discharge who believed that would not be able to work with an openly gay person, and braced themselves for a mass exodus.

Exactly three people took the discharge. Since then, the amount of disruption caused by having gay people there has been virtually nil.

So let's not forget that our soldiers, as part of the coalition forces in Iraq and Afghanistan, are already serving with openly gay military without any problems at all, at least none that I have heard about.

But I agree -- it's up to Congress to change the policy, not the military. But on the other hand, Congress is much more likely to change the policy if the military requests it.

But the bigger problem is why the huge drop in gay people kicked out once war began? It's curious, to say the least.
3.17.2007 10:48am
PersonFromPorlock:

But the bigger problem is why the huge drop in gay people kicked out once war began? It's curious, to say the least.

I seem to recall a gay fighter pilot during Gulf War One or Two whose involuntary separation was suspended while he finished his combat tour. "Curious" isn't quite the word.
3.17.2007 11:17am
Anon. E. Mouse (mail):
PersonFromPorlock:

Is bi-curious the right word?

Sorry, I couldn't help myself.
3.17.2007 11:23am
Public_Defender (mail):
For those who favor keeping all gay people from serving in the military, what is your evidence in support of your unit cohesion story?

How can those of us on the outside decide whether your concerns are militarily justified, or whether they are just a reflection on your underlying beliefs about homosexuality?
3.17.2007 12:30pm
Ken Arromdee:
It's about displaying the costs of an exclusionary policy.

But the costs are being framed in a very strange way. The cost (per person) of getting rid of gay people in the military is exactly the same as the cost of getting rid of people in general. You could just as well say "you're getting rid of snipers" or "you're getting rid of airplane pilots" as "you're getting rid of Arabic speakers". The Arabic speaking is gratuitously specific, since there is no disproportionate effect on Arabic speakers compared to other positions; it's like saying "you need vitamins, so take One-a-Day vitamins".

I would hazard to guess that most people who disagree with the war in Iraq, or even any continuous American presence in the Middle East at all, would still appreciate a military prepared for action in that region.

People who don't think we should be in the Middle East might still think we should be prepared for Middle East conflict, but being prepared requires fewer speakers of a language than being actively involved. They believe we should solve the shortage of Arabic speakers by reducing the need rather than by increasing the supply.
3.17.2007 12:59pm
justanotherguy (mail):
Anonymous,

The military DOES NOT consistently prosecute adultery or sodomy UNLESS it affects the "good order and discipline" of a unit. This has pretty much been narrowed down to an affair with the significant other of someone in YOUR unit.

It is a commonplace occurrence at least in the Navy, which routinely deploys for six months or greater, to face affairs between the significant other on a member of one unit and someone from another unit (who was ashore while the first unit was at sea.) The Navy has consistently not done anything about these.

The standard I was taught at my Prospective Commanding Officer Course, before taking command of a submarine in the late 1990s, was that there is no difference between the Sailor picking up someone unrelated to the military at a bar and picking up someone from another unit.

Frazternazation is a different issue and each service has slightly different criteria to what counts as fraternatization. Obviously the Flynn case where the officer was having an affair with the significant other of someone in her unit affect the good order and discipline of the unit and was considered to fall under military discipline. The standard affair or one night stand with civilians or those from other units are ignored as a matter of policy.
3.17.2007 1:38pm
bigchris1313 (mail):

But the costs are being framed in a very strange way. The cost (per person) of getting rid of gay people in the military is exactly the same as the cost of getting rid of people in general. You could just as well say "you're getting rid of snipers" or "you're getting rid of airplane pilots" as "you're getting rid of Arabic speakers". The Arabic speaking is gratuitously specific, since there is no disproportionate effect on Arabic speakers compared to other positions; it's like saying "you need vitamins, so take One-a-Day vitamins".


You're correct: the loss of a gay soldier because of DADT does result in the loss of a fraction of countless possible military roles: sniper, pilot, or even Arabic translator. But there is a perception that there is a shortage of Arabic translators relative to many other military positions. If the aforementioned dearth of Arabic translators is true, you can see then how the loss of 1/85th of an Arabic translator is more costly than the loss of 1/85th of a pilot.
3.17.2007 1:40pm
justanotherguy (mail):
SimonD,

You say:
"if the military's uniformed leadership thinks DADT helps the military's mission, it should stay, and if the military's uniformed leadership thinks DADT hurts the military's mission, it should go. End of discussion."

It seems to me that it should be up to Congress to set such a policy, not the uniformed leadership. General Pace's comments is an excellent example of why. Can anyone honestly put forward the position that General Pace, the top leader in the military would have an objective or honest assessment on the effect of removing DADT in the military. With him at the helm, could anyone in the military who disagrees with any assessment he makes have a chance to argue a different position?

I think that General Pace, by showing that Marines tend to act before they think, has destroyed any credibility the military leadership has on the subject.

Does anyone think that after Pace's unthinking comment on morality that the next Democratic president will have any trouble reversing DADT? How will any military leader be able to separate any military argument from the moral elitism pronounced by the military leader of our country? Pace has done more to get rid of DADT than anyone since the policy began.

Doesn't Pace have a PR advisor?
3.17.2007 1:47pm
The Drill SGT (mail):

Does anyone think that after Pace's unthinking comment on morality that the next Democratic president will have any trouble reversing DADT?


Did I miss an election? The Democrats have a majority in both houses. The punative Sodomy Article of the UCMJ and DADT are both laws passed by Congress.

If there is a countrywide groundswell aginst both. Let Reid and Pelosi hold a press conference and start moving 2 bills through committee. If not, it's just more PR and bashing.

No need to wait till 2008 :) go for it.

On the other hand, Pace should be taking a position that he supports and defends the laws duly passed by Congress that regulate his people. Until the UCMJ and DADT are changed, he may have been caught off guard by a question, but his basic position is correct.
3.17.2007 2:03pm
justanotherguy (mail):
The Drill SGT,

While the Democrats could sponsor a bill now such action would face the President and the power of the pulpit as well as HIS military leadership campaigning against any change.

The situation becomes much different if in 2008 there is a democrat elected as President. Then in 2009, the Commander in Chief can announce for the policy or at least be neutral. It becomes much easier to get such a change passed.

In 1993 Clinton was vulnerable to a bashing by Powell over the issue. There was cover by democratic senator leadership for the fight. That senate cover does not exist anymore. The next democrat in the White House will not be as vulnerable.

More importantly, the Chairman of the CJS will be effectively silenced because of Pace's comments this week. Will anyone in Congress take serious any testimony from Pace on the issue? How could they? It would be easy to tar anyone else who supports the policy with Pace's comments...

General Pace has efectively ended the ability of the military to argue for keeping the policy. The only quesiton is when will the democrats cash in? This makes a great 2008 primary promise that is down-played in the general election.
3.17.2007 2:23pm
ed o:
does anyone have numbers on the military being improved by the inclusion of homosexuals. European and Israeli military examples might be useful to the extent that they somehow show combat capability or readiness being improved. I see nothing presented on these issues-instead, people go on and on about the social aspects without speaking to the real issue of the ability to fight a war.
3.17.2007 2:24pm
Cornellian (mail):
does anyone have numbers on the military being improved by the inclusion of homosexuals.

They're in the military now, the question is whether they should be expelled from the military if someone reveals that.
3.17.2007 3:06pm
NRWO:
Kovarsky et al.,

The "unit cohesion" theory should be renamed the "sexual distraction" theory:

P1: Sexual attraction to another solider causes distractions in combat.
P2: Such distractions increase the likelihood of mission failure and deaths.
C1: Eliminate the possibility of sexual attraction to the extent possible.

If you buy the premises and conclusion, it follows that:

1. Mixed sex combat units should be eliminated (with one qualification, see below), and
2. Homosexuals in same sex combat units should be eliminated.

It does not follow that:
1. The policy discriminates based on race, because the policy applies to all races.
2. The policy discriminates based on sex, because the policy applies to both sexes.

The policy discriminate against people in combat positions, who, because of their sexual orientation, could form (or are in) sexual relationships.

The policy also leads to an interesting question: Should a homosexual man be able to serve in a unit with females? I can't imagine that, at the aggregate, a combat unit solely or predominately of women would be effective relative to a unit comprised of men (ignoring other variables).
3.17.2007 3:25pm
Visitor Again:
Scipio_79:

by the way, visitor again, you should thank whoever it is you gives thanks to that men like Gen. Pace devote their lives to give lesser people like yourself the right and freedom to run your trap.


Truth and respect for my fellow human beings have their claims, and so, instead, I give thanks to the great universal spirit that buffoonish fossils like General Pace run their traps in public and reveal their immorality and incompetence for all to see.
3.17.2007 3:50pm
Enoch:
Let us bear in mind that currently 24 countries, including Britain, Canada, Australia, Israel, and most of the EU allow gays to serve openly in their military.

Let's keep in mind that none of these countries with the possible exception of Israel needs to take war or its military capabilities very seriously. They can afford to use their military as a lab for social experiments, because there is no threat to their national existence.

European and Israeli military examples might be useful to the extent that they somehow show combat capability or readiness being improved.

European militaries essentially have NO combat capability or combat readiness, so the issue of women or homosexuals degrading their combat capabilities is moot.

Recent history does not suggest that the Israeli military is better now than it was in 1982 or 1973. Whether or not this diminished combat effectiveness is due to the inclusion of women and homosexuals is difficult to say, but it's certainly a factor.
3.17.2007 3:53pm
justanotherguy (mail):
NRWO,

While I believe that the Army does not allow females in combat positions, the Navy and Air Force do. Males and females serve together on warships and in air squadrons.

Infanty, and in some cases any other units that are annotated as "in combat" have the females proscribed or stripped out before rotation into combat.

This difference between how the services treat mixing of the sexes takes the sting out of the unit cohesion argument you make.

Although one could argue that the Army combat forces need a different or more intense unit cohesion and would be more vulnerable to problems due to sexual relationships.

I think whether or not the DADT policy is kept has more to do with politics than some rational and suposedly objective evaluation of the effect on morale and unit effectiveness.

Since the scrutiny a court uses to evaluate DADT is a rational basis, it is relatively easy to maintain its constitutionality.

However, if the issue gets raised in Congress, I would think that political factors will predominate the legislation.

Again, after Pace's egregious remarks, I think thateven those in Congress who support the policy would have a hard time with showing that now support. Suporiting DADT for Congress now requires one to distance themselves from the "we think it is immoral" position.

There may be a few Congressional districts where a Congressman could get tagged with Pace's remarks and pronounce the activity immoral and be okay. However I can only think of a few Senators who can afford that position. The spatter that Pace has left anyone supporting DADT will hard to face for the next few years.
3.17.2007 3:56pm
Enoch:
The Israel Defense Force, probably man-for-man the best in the world, has accepted gay men since 1983 and eliminated all restrictions in 1993.

This simply indicates that they don't think there is a serious threat to their national existence any more. The outcome last summer certainly raises questions about whether the IDF is still the "best in the world" any more.
3.17.2007 3:56pm
The Drill SGT:

Infanty, and in some cases any other units that are annotated as "in combat" have the females proscribed or stripped out before rotation into combat.

This difference between how the services treat mixing of the sexes takes the sting out of the unit cohesion argument you make.


Women are not ever assigned to "combat units" (e.g. Infantry, Armor, cannon artillery, CBT Engr, Battalions and below) Women are assigned to combat support and combat service support units and BDE HQs and above. When those units go to war, their women go. period.

In Iraq, this has become a bit more murky in that there are no clear front lines. Women Military Police have served well.

Small unit leadership in combat is intense and complicated. Women and openly gay men integrated in units complicate an already difficult work environment.
3.17.2007 4:07pm
justanotherguy (mail):
Why does anyone care is XX force is the best or YY force isn't up to snuff anymore because of policy chosen decades ago?

The DADT policy has left the rational and objective barn iwth Pace's comment, if it ever was there.

I can think of no rational way to test the effect of the policy on our military that anyone is willing to use.

What may have been totally unthinkable 40 years ago, is quite different today.

Since the impact of the removing DADT today is more an issue on the acceptance of a lifestyle by the military affected than anything else, how does one tell this impact? What might have had an impact 15 years ago, will have a different impact on the next generation of soldiers.

The question if This generation is ready for eliminating DADT should be up to Congress. Congressemn have their fingers on the pulse of the people far more than a bunch of olod generals who haven't been outside of the E ring of the pentagon for 15 years.
3.17.2007 4:09pm
justanotherguy (mail):
Drill SGT,

I think you will find that there is a set of units involved in combat support that have females in the states but are supposed to lose them on certain deployments. At least this was the policy a few years ago. Something about the unit's deployment status becomes combat...so in Kuwait they aren't in combat, but they are in Iraq. Sometimes the Army has pulled the females out, sometimes they mix up and leave the females in...resulting in a set of female officers who have inadvertantly served in positions "reserved" for males in combat.

Talking to one such female officer describe the the run around the Army gave her about her eval in the position.. You couldn't have served in that position, it is a combat position" "But I did serve, I wasn't pulled out so I want credit for it?"

Army is finding itself unable to support the complex rules it developed for combat support and ending up with females in combat.
3.17.2007 4:15pm
Chris Bell (mail):
The critics still aren't explaining the incredible 50% drop in DADT dismissals. Could it be that in this time of crisis, when efficiency is more important than other times, that it is better to 'look the other way' than to dismiss a soldier who cost thousands of dollars and several months to train?
3.17.2007 4:24pm
Randy R. (mail):
Enoch: The outcome last summer certainly raises questions about whether the IDF is still the "best in the world" any more" and "Whether or not this diminished combat effectiveness is due to the inclusion of women and homosexuals is difficult to say, but it's certainly a factor."

And if you had ANY evidence to show that the IDF's effectiveness has been affected in any way because they allow openly gay people to serve, you might actually have an argument. And if you can show that Britain, Canada, and Australia and so on have just 'pretend' militaries that don't really need to be top notch, you might have an argument. Until then, you have nothing more than speculation.

Indeed, the SOLE reason for the militaries excuse for excluding open gays is that it will affect unit cohesion. It that were true, then there would be some evidence coming out of Iraq and Afghanistan that our troops, who serve along side all those 'pretend' militaries that you just disparaged, would have had troubles working with them.

But there hasn't been any.

And the fact is that we have plenty of stories now of gay people serving in the military, and everyone is aware of it, and no one cares.

I suppose now you will blame our quagmire in Iraq on the fact that we have so many gay people serving in the military, but of course you would have nothing but speculation.
3.17.2007 4:42pm
Randy R. (mail):
60% of Americans say that gays should serve openly in the military. It is the military that is out of step with America on this one.
3.17.2007 4:44pm
Randy R. (mail):
Scipio: if gays want the right to commit sodomy then they should have to fight the islamic radicals who want to kill them for their acts of sodomy just as I, as a christian, will fight them so that i can remain a christian and live my life with God-given freedom"

Well, I have to say, this one gets the award for most original argument for getting rid of DADT!
3.17.2007 4:49pm
bigchris1313 (mail):

60% of Americans say that gays should serve openly in the military. It is the military that is out of step with America on this one.


Yes, the military who promulgated the law while masquerading as the majorities of both houses who passed the law and the president who signed it.

Or is it perhaps Congressal law that is out of step with the American people?
3.17.2007 5:09pm
bigchris1313 (mail):
In retrospect, "Congressional law" seems redundant.

My kingdom for an edit button.
3.17.2007 5:10pm
Randy R. (mail):
Actually, it was Bill Clinton who signed into law DADT, and he did it as a compromise. His intention was to allow gays to serve openly, but his plan backfired as a result of poor planning and bad politics.

Sure, there is plenty of room for blame on who instituted this silly law. The question is, how do we change it now?
3.17.2007 5:29pm
Aleks:
Re: European militaries essentially have NO combat capability or combat read

What a remarkable thing to say about our chief ally in the War on Terror, both in Afghanistan and in Iraq. Your comment might be true of you were talking about Belgium or Denmark, but Britain and France both maintain fairly combat-capable armed forces and have put them to use in a number of places over the last several decades. You may wish to acquaint yourself with current and past events instead of getting your facts from some propagandidist Amerika Über Alles source.
3.17.2007 5:39pm
anonVCfan:
Thanks, Jacob
3.17.2007 5:59pm
Anonymous Reader:
Justanotherguy,

I can only speak of my experiences, but you may be right about the specific adultery charge. To make it stick requires it to meet all the elements, which I think the good order and discipline clause is an element. However, like I stated, they are still investigated and even if you couldn't make an adultery charge stick, there are other charges that would probably apply.

As for your comment that the standard affair is ignored as a matter of policy only reflects on the poor leadership practices of those officers in that command. If you know that adultery is being committed, it is your responsibility to stop it. And don't want to hear that the affairs were only the kissing and hugging variety.

As for your comments about Gen Pace's comments, since when would the military campaign about policy? If the Congress wants to change the laws, they have every right to do it and the military has no say in it, just like when they desegrated the military; a lot of people didn't like it, but orders are orders. The military does not campaign for anything. If it was that easy, members of the military would all receive pay comparable to the level of sacrifice we make for the country.

Anonymous Reader
3.17.2007 6:21pm
justanotherguy (mail):
Anonymous,

I can only speak to my experiences. If it is poor leadership not to prosecute any adultery, it would also be poor leadership to criminalize a behavior that is routinely ignored by the civilian world... Since when has anyone been sued for alienation of affection?

If a command tried to impose punishment on adultery, there would be problems from the soldiers and sailors. There is a view that what happens off-base, isn't illegal and doesn't affect the unit (hence the good order and discipline element) is not the business of the unit or military. Does anyone think that the military should attempt to enforce out-dated and out of step morality that is routinely not followed by the civilian populace and has no effect on the unit?

The real question is whether DADT falls into this category. Long ago the military leadership decided that adultery not directly affecting the unit fit into that category of behavior to be ignored.

Homosexual conduct that does not violate DADT does too (it is ignored)... so all that is left is DADT under the rubric that known or obvious behavior will affect the unit.

As to whether or not the military will campaign if the issue comes up.... The military certainly campaigned in 1993 over the issue....

Now I believe that General PAce has shut the door on the ability for the military leadership to have much effect campaigning against DADT for the next few years. Any leader would be smeared that they are just like the Chairman of the JCS... looking at individual moral reasons and not the good of the military as a whole.

I still do not understand how General Pace could be so blind to the public affiars fiasco that would follow his comments... Or is he realyy that out of step with life outside of the E-Ring? If he wanted to sabotage DADT, he couldn't have done a better job.
3.17.2007 7:09pm
Kovarsky (mail):
NRWO,

Kovarsky et al.,

The "unit cohesion" theory should be renamed the "sexual distraction" theory:

P1: Sexual attraction to another solider causes distractions in combat.
P2: Such distractions increase the likelihood of mission failure and deaths.
C1: Eliminate the possibility of sexual attraction to the extent possible.

If you buy the premises and conclusion, it follows that:

1. Mixed sex combat units should be eliminated (with one qualification, see below), and
2. Homosexuals in same sex combat units should be eliminated.


As a prefatory matter, it's always more pleasant to address carefully articulated arguments with logical premises and confusion. i am grateful for that.

i agree with both of your premises, with certain qualifications.

with respect to p1, i'm don't think that's supported by the data, but i'll concede it

with respect to p2, i'd restate the proposition as "any distraction increases the likelihood of mission failure." i'd agree with that phrasing, which i would guess is amenable to you.

i don't think c1 follows, even if i (perhaps counterfactually) assume your p1 is true, for two reasons. first, c1 would follow from p1 and p2 only if the presence of homosexuals constituted the only source of "distraction." second, to the extent that unit cohesion is an instrumental objective that is subordinated to mission success, even if p1 is true and the presence of homosexuals detracts from unit cohesion, it does not follow that it diminishes the expected payoff of the "mission" unless that cost outweighs counterveiling benefits to the "mission" objective, such as, say, more troops willing to enlist as a result of a rule chage, or a broader portfolio of soldier enabling more efficient specialization.

finally, you say:

It does not follow that:
1. The policy discriminates based on race, because the policy applies to all races.
2. The policy discriminates based on sex, because the policy applies to both sexes.


with respect to (1) i think you're misinterpreting my argument. i'm not saying DADT discriminates on the basis of race. i'm saying the logic of your syllogism "unit cohesion compromises success" could just as easily be applied to exclusion of certain minorities, yet we don't find that rationale persuasive in that context. and with respect to (2), i think you're misinterpreting my argument in much the same fashion.
3.17.2007 9:09pm
Kovarsky (mail):
"logical premises and conclusions."
3.17.2007 9:12pm
Victor Krueger (mail):
Aleks - The UK and Australia have combat ready forces. France has only the French Foreign Legion (which is by French law made up of NON-French enlisted men with French officers) as combat ready. French units made up of Frenchmen would have trouble fighting an angry Boy Scout with a pocketknife.
3.17.2007 10:49pm
SimonD (www):
justanotherguy:
SimonD, You say: "if the military's uniformed leadership thinks DADT helps the military's mission, it should stay, and if the military's uniformed leadership thinks DADT hurts the military's mission, it should go. End of discussion."

It seems to me that it should be up to Congress to set such a policy, not the uniformed leadership[.]
Perhaps I put the point too glibly; I was not meaning to suggest that Congress cede its decisionmaking position on such matters to the military, but that its decisions on questions of this nature should pay great deference to the views of the uniformed leadership. Of course, given a genuinely persuasive argument on a weighty issue that cuts against the leadership's position, Congress can and should set aside the leadership's position in making policy. If the military wanted to maintain racically-segregated units for example, Congress should not tolerate that.
3.18.2007 12:50am
Ramza:
Recent Polling on DADT
US citizens opinion on it

Zogby poll of the soliders currently serving in Iraq
Summary
Full Report, 27 pages (warning pdf, so right click and do save as)

Note all three links have detailed information and breakdowns of the information(Yay tables). I will allow other people to pull relevant info that supports their side from the polls. I am just posting the full info to help both sides of the debate.
3.18.2007 2:25am
Ramza:

Perhaps I put the point too glibly; I was not meaning to suggest that Congress cede its decisionmaking position on such matters to the military, but that its decisions on questions of this nature should pay great deference to the views of the uniformed leadership. Of course, given a genuinely persuasive argument on a weighty issue that cuts against the leadership's position, Congress can and should set aside the leadership's position in making policy. If the military wanted to maintain racically-segregated units for example, Congress should not tolerate that.


Based on how congress functions, and how they have several hundreds hours of hearings and testimony from "experts" to determine the factual areas of any legislation. These fears will be allayed. Several generals will be put on the stand and speak in front of Congress, they will argue their positions, voice their opinions and fears; followed by other people voicing their opinions and fears.
3.18.2007 2:30am
SimonD (www):
Several generals will be put on the stand and speak in front of Congress, they will argue their positions, voice their opinions and fears; followed by other people voicing their opinions and fears.
Right, and I'm saying that unless these other people are also uniformed members of the armed forces, their opinions should be accorded far less weight. So, y'know, you have someone who comes in, Randy R, maybe, to tell us that oodles of other countries don't have that policy, and they get along just fine. Even if one found that argument persuasive (and I'm not sure why it would be: it seems absolutely obvious to me that different people in different cultures react to the same stimuli in different ways), it just doesn't mean that much coming in the abstract from someone who isn't in the military, someone who actually serves and has to make this instrument of national policy work. It doesn't suffice to defeat the judgment of the people whose judgement we rely on in military matters.

I'm not arguing that we should keep DADT, and I'm not arguing that gays and lesbians shouldn't be allowed to serve in the military - I'm saying that IMO, this just isn't a subject of sufficient importance to justify departure from the views of the military, whatever that view is.
3.18.2007 11:27am
Public_Defender (mail):
I'm not arguing that we should keep DADT, and I'm not arguing that gays and lesbians shouldn't be allowed to serve in the military - I'm saying that IMO, this just isn't a subject of sufficient importance to justify departure from the views of the military, whatever that view is.

But General Pace's comments make it much harder to trust the military's judgment. He made it clear that the reason he opposed letting gay people serve was his personal anti-gay religious beliefs. While civilians frequently defer to generals about military matters, generals don't deserve deference on religious matters.

So I re-ask the questions I asked above, what evidence or arguments can DADT proponents provide that keeping openly gay people out of the military is really necessary for unit cohesion? How do we know that the policy is not just a reflection of the personal religious beliefs of its proponents?
3.18.2007 12:10pm
Scipio_79:
Randy,

if my comment gets the prize for most original, then that tells us alot about the commense sense of the commentators on this blog. it makes sense that all americans should have the duty and ability to fight for their country. we all love our liberty (I assume) and while we may disagree as to what liberty is and the best way to maintain it, we all love the gift of living as we please. that ability, that gift, isn't free. men (and women) have died, will die, and must die to preserve that liberty. as a caveat, the military must be able to make military policy, but there should be a presumption that all willing people can serve. military officials should have the burden to prove that individual A or group B will be disruptive to unit cohesion. from my experience with the marine corps, i personally beleive that women and gays should not be allowed to serve in combat units, especially marine units (you must know or be a marine to understand this commit) but, i will leave it to more able people than myself to defend DADT.
3.18.2007 1:30pm
Ramza:

Right, and I'm saying that unless these other people are also uniformed members of the armed forces, their opinions should be accorded far less weight. So, y'know, you have someone who comes in, Randy R, maybe, to tell us that oodles of other countries don't have that policy, and they get along just fine. Even if one found that argument persuasive (and I'm not sure why it would be: it seems absolutely obvious to me that different people in different cultures react to the same stimuli in different ways), it just doesn't mean that much coming in the abstract from someone who isn't in the military, someone who actually serves and has to make this instrument of national policy work. It doesn't suffice to defeat the judgment of the people whose judgement we rely on in military matters.

I'm not arguing that we should keep DADT, and I'm not arguing that gays and lesbians shouldn't be allowed to serve in the military - I'm saying that IMO, this just isn't a subject of sufficient importance to justify departure from the views of the military, whatever that view is.


I agree as long as the general's weight is only on military matters. Pace didn't do that, when ask his opinion on DADT, he didn't give a military answer (like he should) no he went straight to immorality which is mostly an area of religion. We should put great weight on the general's testimony as long as their points are military matters, instead of non military matters dressed up as military ones such as Pace did recently. Additionally we should also put weight on former military commentary, perhaps even more so for they have seen both worlds and are no longer emotionally invested on one side and thus perhaps less biased.
3.18.2007 1:36pm
Ramza:
The "unit cohesion" theory should be renamed the "sexual distraction" theory:

P1: Sexual attraction to another solider causes distractions in combat.
P2: Such distractions increase the likelihood of mission failure and deaths.
C1: Eliminate the possibility of sexual attraction to the extent possible.

If you buy the premises and conclusion, it follows that:

1. Mixed sex combat units should be eliminated (with one qualification, see below), and
2. Homosexuals in same sex combat units should be eliminated.

It does not follow that:
1. The policy discriminates based on race, because the policy applies to all races.
2. The policy discriminates based on sex, because the policy applies to both sexes.


Thing is under DADT gays are allowed in the military, and thus your sexual distraction theory already applies. It may even apply more with DADT instead of an open serving for people know there are gay members, they may notice the distraction, they are anxious, but they can't do anything about it.
3.18.2007 1:40pm
Randy R. (mail):
Scipio: " it makes sense that all americans should have the duty and ability to fight for their country. we all love our liberty (I assume) and while we may disagree as to what liberty is and the best way to maintain it, we all love the gift of living as we please. that ability, that gift, isn't free. men (and women) have died, will die, and must die to preserve that liberty."

Couldn't agree more! As a son of a man who volunteered in WWII, had an uncle who died there, a cousin who served in Vietnam and suffered for the rest of his life, I know about sacrifice, at least a little bit and our gift of liberty.

"as a caveat, the military must be able to make military policy, but there should be a presumption that all willing people can serve. military officials should have the burden to prove that individual A or group B will be disruptive to unit cohesion"

Couldn't agree more! .

"from my experience with the marine corps, i personally believe that women and gays should not be allowed to serve in combat units, especially marine units (you must know or be a marine to understand this commit)."'

Would like to know why you think that about gays? Accordingly to one study, there are about 65,000 gay people already serving in the military. The Marines have quite a few, and the very first man injured in the Iraq war was given a purple heart and recently said he was gay the whole time. Remember, the policy of DADT doesn't say that gay people can't serve, but only OPENLY gay people. If you remain quite about it, it's perfectly okay. Why is that? They military concedes that gay people are just as capable as soldiers as anyone else.
3.18.2007 3:02pm
Randy R. (mail):
Simond: So, y'know, you have someone who comes in, Randy R, maybe, to tell us that oodles of other countries don't have that policy, and they get along just fine. Even if one found that argument persuasive (and I'm not sure why it would be: it seems absolutely obvious to me that different people in different cultures react to the same stimuli in different ways), it just doesn't mean that much coming in the abstract from someone who isn't in the military, someone who actually serves and has to make this instrument of national policy work. It doesn't suffice to defeat the judgment of the people whose judgement we rely on in military matters. "

Well, I'm flattered to think that Simon thinks my opinion is important enough for congress to consider! However, Aaron Belkin has already responded to this exact issue before. You may see it at this link: www.carlisle.army.mil/usawc/Parameters/03summer/belkin.htm
3.18.2007 3:07pm
Randy R. (mail):
If you google a bit, you will find plenty of studies that show that today's military people, especially the younger generation, are fine with having gay people servie openly. Besides, all the arguments that are being made against gays are the exact same arguments that were made in Britain, Canada, Australia and so on, and yet they are perfectly fine once having implemented the new policy. In fact, the Army Navy War College did a comprehensive study on this a few years back and concluded that the only reason for excluding gays is pure prejudice, of the kind that General Pace has demonstrated.

The real question is the one we are not discussing here: What is it exactly about gay men that makes everyone so nervous to be around them, to the point that they can't concentrate on fighting the enemy?
3.18.2007 3:21pm
Scipio_79:
randy,
combat is very close quarters. sexual friction only makes a bad situation worse. DADT seems to be the best policy. why do gays feel the need to shout from the rooftops about their sexuality. i've never understood that. if someone wants to commit sodomy, that's a choice of their own free will. i beleive it immoral, but i will not discriminate against them in "normal" society. the military is not normal society. choices have serious and sometimes deadly consequences in the military. it is certainly not the place to make political statements or to take a political stand. i agree that gays are capable fighters, but that still doesn't justify getting rid of DADT.
finally, i'm would be willing to bet that Gen. Pace's reasoning is much deeper than you give him credit for
3.18.2007 4:59pm
Colin (mail):
why do gays feel the need to shout from the rooftops about their sexuality[?]

Having an open, consensual relationship is not the same thing as shouting from the rooftops. You're not asking homosexuals to not "shout from the rooftops," you're asking them to affirmatively hide their orientation.

[The military] is certainly not the place to make political statements or to take a political stand.

I agree - Gen. Pace's comments were reprehensible.
3.18.2007 5:25pm
Randy R. (mail):
Many of the people discharged under DADT have in fact not done anything to announce, or shout, as you put it, their sexuality. Sometimes they merely sent an email, and the army intercepted the email and started an investigation.

But that's beside the point. Gay people have every right to live their lives as much as straight people do in the military. Gays are not asking for any special rights; rather, they are merely asking for the same rights any straight person has. Even in the military, straight people are allowed to tell stories of their sexual conquests, they are allowed to rate the sexiness of Britney Spears vs. Angelina Jolie, they are allowed to talk about their girlfriends or wives. Why can't gay people have the same right? That isn't shouting about their sexuality -- it is merely getting to know the person you are sitting next to.

Again, how is that so frightening to military people?

You mention the sexual tensions. Why do you assume that there are any?

But the real heart of the problem, and no doubt the reason you support Pace, is revealed in this comment of yours: if someone wants to commit sodomy, that's a choice of their own free will.

A gay person does not decide to 'commit sodomy' any more than a straight person decides to commit vaginal sex. A gay is BY NATURE attracted to the person of the same sex. Just like you, who is attracted BY NATURE to a person of the opposite sex. It isn't a choice, and it certainly isn't a question of 'morality.' Two gay men in love isn't hurting anyone. And if they express that love through sex, it is the exact same thing when you express your love for your wife or girlfriend through sex. In other words, you and I are the mirror opposites, yet exactly alike in this respect.

Hopefully, someday you will understand that, and you will have a better undertstanding of what we go through.
3.18.2007 6:28pm
Scipio_79:
i'm afraid the strength of argument A defeats argument B. in other words, i could not, as a heterosexual male, function in a platoon of females. i would suffer for being in the unit and they would suffer by having me there. and combat is not the place for added distractions. thus, your very nature is the reason why you cannot serve openly in the military with a hetero male fighting unit (notice the conjuction i use in this sentence).

and i am not worried about being hit on by a gay. i have had many gay friends and gays do not "scare" me. beleive me when i say i understand what your saying. however, as respectfully as i can, i must disagree. you are free as a child of God to live your life the way you want. i just hope you see that having a gay male serve in a male heterosexual unit has the same problems associated with it as placing a female in that unit. warriors do not need the distraction, neither the gay nor the straight.

just because one does not agree with you or explain himself fully does not make him incompetent, immoral, bigoted, or any of the other adjectives being thrown around, especially at Gen. Pace. he may merely think it a unnecessary distraction as i.

by the way randy, when i "commit vaginal sex" with my wife i do so quite knowingly and and with aforethought. in otherwords, i decide to do it. i'm sure you did not mean exactly what you said in the second to last paragraph. a decision to commit sodomy is what separates being gay from acting gay. but as the jesuits say agere sequitor esse
3.18.2007 10:23pm
Scipio_79:
randy,
i did not mean to suggests that you were calling me or anyone else incompetent, immoral, bigoted. i just think Gen. Pace has gotten no benefit of the doubt here or in the opinion pages of newspapers. i saw one opinion peice by a writer with the miami hearld that was especially assinine. but i digress. may you have a pleasant evening and a good week.
3.18.2007 10:28pm
Scipio_79:
one more thing you folks may find interesting. when joining the marine corps, as of 2004, one must sign paperwork affirming that one is not homosexual. thus in the MC, I guess they could discharge you for a false statement, breaking a K, for being gay, or all the above.
3.18.2007 10:36pm
Soldats (mail):

why do gays feel the need to shout from the rooftops about their sexuality[?]


You do realize that a gay person who's married in Massachusetts to their partner would not be able to serve even if they were to keep "quiet" about their gayness because of the matter of public record of their marriage to a person of the same sex?

Or does being married automatically indicate that they have "shouted from the rooftops"? And if so, why are heterosexuals always shouting their sexuality from the rooftops?
3.18.2007 10:47pm
Public_Defender (mail):
one more thing you folks may find interesting. when joining the marine corps, as of 2004, one must sign paperwork affirming that one is not homosexual. thus in the MC, I guess they could discharge you for a false statement, breaking a K, for being gay, or all the above

What is your source for this? If true, it would appear to violate the DA part of DADT. If that's true, how can the Marine Corps insist that Marines follow orders when the Marine Corps itself acts lawlessly?
3.19.2007 6:25am
Shawn-non-anonymous:
I'm a gay veteran. USAF 1985-1989. I served first in Suwan AB Korea, then Nellis AFB NV (Las Vegas). I "came out" to myself in 1987 and chose not to re-enlist as a matter of integrity. This is pre-DADTDP.

We seem to forget that it's Don't Ask, Don't Tell, Don't Pursue.

A close friend of mine was discharged under DADT. The military had no evidence that he was gay (he is), but they found his name, and others, in the personal belongings of an officer who was discovered to be gay. They investigated all leads and discharged a number of individuals. He was a 13-year career NCO who loved his job and was highly respected.

Another friend of mine, a 16-year career military NCO working in intelligence (and directly related to the war in Iraq) chose to transition from active duty to contractor. He told me this weekend, when I asked why he'd give up a guaranteed retirement after 4 more years, that DADT was worse that the prior outright ban. This surprised me. His answer: under the old ban, gay servicemembers had their own "underground" community and support network--they had friends. Under DADT (the "new" ban), you had to be paranoid and avoid other gay servicemembers. He said that was too high a price to pay.

In my experience, where people suspected I was homosexual, my ability to do my job was not restricted in any way. I was a recognized high achiever that made rank early. The issue with sexual orientation appeared to live in the ranks of the higher-ranking officers.

And a final note on General Pace's morality comments: sex outside of marriage is also immoral. My year in Korea was an eye-opener. Military bases attract and support a large prostitution industry just outside their gates. STD's are a major health issue for bases in Korea (and likely elsewhere). I recall no prosecutions, no investigations, in fact no attempts at all to restrict this immoral behavior that a very large portion of the younger enlisted and officer ranks engaged in. Further, since Korea is considered a hardship assignment, your family may not travel there and live with you. If you are married, as many are, your family must wait out your one year assignment at another location. It was not uncommon to find married personnel in the brothels in Korea. And again, this was was not investigated or prosecuted.

I've always tried to hold myself to a higher standard, but I must admit astonishment at my government for also holding me to a higher standard.

---

As an aside... After leaving the USAF I returned to school and completed a degree in Management Information Systems. Clinton had just signed DADT and I thought this would mean I could re-join. I was fond of my 4 years in the service and wanted to return. I took the exams for OCS and passed, but had second thoughts. AOL had just opened the floodgates onto the internet and I had already been playing around with NCSA Mosaic and could see where this new tool could lead AFOSI investigators. I chose, instead, to join the regular workforce and pursue my Master's degree. 14 years later, I'd be a year or two from retiring had I gone back, but it would have been 14 years of paranoia, no long-term relationships, and really, just not worth it.
3.19.2007 11:16am
Mikeyes (mail):
Let's see, the fellow who said this:

"When you say "radical right" today, I think of these moneymaking ventures by fellows like Pat Robertson and others who are trying to take the Republican Party away from the Republican Party, and make a religious organization out of it. If that ever happens, kiss politics goodbye."

And this:

"Mark my word, if and when these preachers get control of the [Republican] party, and they're sure trying to do so, it's going to be a terrible damn problem. Frankly, these people frighten me. Politics and governing demand compromise. But these Christians believe they are acting in the name of God, so they can't and won't compromise. I know, I've tried to deal with them."

Also said this:

"You don't have to be straight to be in the military; you just have to be able to shoot straight."

And it wasn't John Warner.
3.19.2007 11:35am
Randy R. (mail):
Those quotes are from Barry Goldwater!

Yup, he lived long enough that although his positions never changed, he nontheless went from being one of the most conservative people in America, to being a liberal. Shows how much the Republican party has changed over the last few decades.

Scipio: "i'm sure you did not mean exactly what you said in the second to last paragraph. a decision to commit sodomy is what separates being gay from acting gay." This is true. Just as a decision to have vaginal sex with your wife separates you from being straight to acting straight. It's a decision on your part, and you are free to refrain from having sex with your wife at any time, am I correct?

And imagine if I said just that: that you cannot have sex with your wife, or any other woman, for the rest of your life, simply because I believe it is immoral. And yet, that is exactly what people like Gen Pace and other so-called religious people ask of gays. (and it was actually law in many states until recently). They ask that we never ever have sex with the person we love simply because HE thinks it immoral.

Now, you can say that a gay man could have sex with a woman, but then that would be meaningless sex, and that's immoral too, right? It would be as ridiculous as me saying that you can't have sex with a woman, but go right ahead and have sex with a man.

Sex is in an integral part of being a person, whether you are gay or straight, or bi sexual or whatever. Theoritcally, you can separate the two, for practicality requires that you cannot. For our military to ignore this basic fact is naive at best, and dangerous at worst.
3.19.2007 12:12pm
Hans Gruber:
"Yup, he lived long enough that although his positions never changed, he nontheless went from being one of the most conservative people in America, to being a liberal."

Actually, his positions did change. With respect to DADT, he had a gay grandson, and he admitted that it affected his position. Maybe that makes his position even stronger because of his experience with his grandson, or maybe it makes it weaker because his analysis was skewed toward the emotional. But his position did change, and it changed due to a personal experience rather than cold reflection on the soundness of the policy.

The same could be said of his stance on abortion (I'm not aware of any early position he took on the issue), as his daughter has publicly stated she had an abortion at the advice of her parents.
3.19.2007 1:42pm
Ramza:

Actually, his positions did change. With respect to DADT, he had a gay grandson, and he admitted that it affected his position. Maybe that makes his position even stronger because of his experience with his grandson, or maybe it makes it weaker because his analysis was skewed toward the emotional. But his position did change, and it changed due to a personal experience rather than cold reflection on the soundness of the policy.

The same could be said of his stance on abortion (I'm not aware of any early position he took on the issue), as his daughter has publicly stated she had an abortion at the advice of her parents.

Can't read Goldwater's mind. He knew about his grandson Ty Ross being gay when Ty Ross was 15 (Ty Ross is 31 as of Apr/May 1994 thus he came out to his grandfater in 1978, reason we know Ty Ross's age is 31 in 1994 is that year he did a nude photo in a HIV magazine as a fundraiser). It wasn't Ross who caused him to campaign against DADT though it was.


In June of 1993, Goldwater's famous editorial, "Ban on Gays is a Senseless Attempt to Stall the Inevitable," was published in both the Washington Post and the Los Angeles Times. With his trademark wit, he wrote: "You don't need to be 'straight' to fight and die for your country. You just need to shoot straight."

Goldwater then described the military's Don't Ask, Don't Tell policy as a "compromise that doesn't deal with the issue — it tries to hide it."

He continued: "The only remaining questions are how much muck we will all be dragged through, and how many brave Americans like Tom Paniccia and Margarethe Cammermeyer will have their lives and careers destroyed in a senseless attempt to stall the inevitable." It was Ross, Goldwater's grandson, who first introduced Paniccia to Goldwater. Paniccia had been discharged from his base near Tucson after revealing he was gay on national television.

Meeting Paniccia was key in Goldwater's decision to oppose the Don't Ask, Don't Tell policy. He felt it was his senatorial duty to help a local Arizona citizen voice a legitimate grievance against the military.

"It's time America realized that there was no gay exemption in the right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness in the Declaration of Independence" — B. Goldwater, 1994

Conservative Republican Barry Goldwater's Pro-gay Legacy

Do you have quotes of goldwater voicing anti gay remarks/positions prior to 1993? He also voiced similar comments about the religious right as soon as 1981, from the same link.


As early as 1981, Goldwater stated in a Senate speech: "The religious issues of these groups have little or nothing to do with conservative or liberal politics. The uncompromising position of these groups is a divisive element that could tear apart the very spirit of our representative system, if they gain sufficient strength."
3.19.2007 3:49pm
Richard Aubrey (mail):
This came around about ten years ago and I recall Colin Powell and Schwarzenegger talking about it. There was testimony in Congress.
One interesting item regarding the IDF came out. They accept gays. But not, then, to line units. I would guess the gays get service jobs where they don't live in barracks and do serve in offices and as analysts and so forth. Don't know if that's changed.
Powerline had a half hour of tape of an IDF assault into a village during the summer's unpleasantness. Three Hez snipers drove off an IDF regiment--whatever that is--, dying in the process. The IDF unit had three lightly wounded and one seriously wounded. The regimental commander had a bullhorn through which he told people to be calm, a corporal's job. He didn't know about his flanking units. At the first casualty, the guys in the HQ area started talking about breaking contact and exfil. The worst wound was suffered by a captain who was clearing rooms with another guy and nobody else around. They didn't have armor or heavy weapons to take out the house where the Hez guys were, not any of that snazzy smart artillery ammo.
Several professional officers reviewed the tape and said the IDF infantry is not ready for Broadway.
Gays? No way of knowing, although it's possible that the mindset that says reality has to bend to the rights of every complaining group has other unpleasant consequences, as well.

Problem with gays and disordering good order and discipline: If a legitimate case is brought, gay activists will be all over it like it was nothing but discrimination. No doubt they anticipate such a thing with the same feelings that Pat Schroeder felt when Tailhook hit the news. She had trouble remembering to wipe her chin.
3.20.2007 8:02pm
Colin (mail):
Am I reading that right? I'm not being snide, I'm honestly unsure if I understand your post, Richard. It looks like you're asserting that (A) about ten years ago the IDF was known to accept the military service of homosexuals, (B) Powerline had video of the IDF doing a bad job (I'm immediately dubious of Powerline material), with no indication whatsoever that there were any homosexuals in the unit or that their orientation was the slightest bit relevant to the action, and (C) it might have been the gays' fault anyway.

What am I not understanding? It looks like an ugly and incredibly illogical insinuation. How does the IDF bit fit in?
3.20.2007 9:51pm
Richard Aubrey (mail):
Colin.
The IDF, according to testimony, took in gays and was the best army on the planet. ( "How do you guys look so good?" Moshe Dayan answered, "Fight Arabs." ) So, the testimony went, no problem with combat effectiveness. Turned out that the advocate was screwing the pooch ever so slightly. There was no telling if combat effectiveness would be affected since gays were not in combat units. In other words, the IDF's lesson at the time was zero. Didn't tell us anything, pace the advocates.

You can be dubious of Powerline material. Makes it easier to dismiss stuff you don't like. The tape was a free-lance journo/photog who was allowed to go with the regimental HQ and shoot what he liked. But if that's inconvenient, just keep saying, "Powerline, Powerline."

I didn't say it was the gays' fault, directly or not. I am saying that the IDF infantry unit in question was not all that hot. A US rifle company with four wounded and no killed is just getting warmed up. But, in that situation, they'd have had nobody killed, since they'd have taken out the house, once it was identified, with heavy weapons. I don't know how big the "regiment" was supposed to be, but if it had a field grade commanding, there were probably at least a hundred guys. The last part showed the troops pulling back, walking down a road toward their rear positions being congratulated by the CO. Interesting.

Question: How come they stunk? The problem was training, doctrine, and attitude. Otherwise, just fine. Whence the training, doctrine and attitude? Possibly the mindset which says that reality is to bow to anybody and everybody's feelings. A US unit in training found itself in trouble when a female officer, finding the run too difficult, filed a complaint saying it demeaned her as a woman. The chain of command started to take her seriously, but I gather that ended after a bit. I hope so. Whether it did or not, that's the sort of thing that is damaging. Can't run too far. That's a problem with conditioning, mental toughness enduring physical pain. You see how that could spread out beyond the immediate situation.
The next officer in charge of training recalls his predecessor got a downcheck for doing something which interrupted his boss' lunch. Won't happen again.

When I was in, ordinary disciplinary issues which happened to involve blacks were used by the antiwar types, including pro bono lawyers, to "prove" racism and to damage discipline. The soldiers weren't important, except as vehicles for the anti-war folks.

You may recall the Tailhook scandal. Nothing happened of any note--if you like wild and sweaty parties. The only guy courtmartialed turned out to have been elsewhere. But Pat Schroeder &Co were most energetic to ruin the careers of senior officers who weren't involved. As a result, the first two women who graduated from F14 school were graduated with grades below passing. Nobody in the formerly brave Navy wanted to sit in front of Schroeder.
I'm sure nobody thinks the same thing would happen with regard to gays. Nope.
3.21.2007 12:01am
Colin (mail):
You can be dubious of Powerline material. Makes it easier to dismiss stuff you don't like. The tape was a free-lance journo/photog who was allowed to go with the regimental HQ and shoot what he liked. But if that's inconvenient, just keep saying, "Powerline, Powerline."

I will; you'll be taken more seriously if you can find a less biased, more trustworthy source. I have a bare minimum threshold for credibility - the Powerline guys crossed it a long time ago when they backed creationism. It's just my pet peeve, and I don't expect anyone else to give a damn, but as far as I'm concerned the blog demonstrated its inability to cope with variances between the real world and their preferred world. But let's be clear - I don't disregard your position because Powerline hosted the video. I disregard it because your analysis is utterly unsupported by the facts. You're just making things up and tying them to the video with sheer fantasy.

I didn't say it was the gays' fault, directly or not. I am saying that the IDF infantry unit in question was not all that hot. A US rifle company with four wounded and no killed is just getting warmed up. But, in that situation, they'd have had nobody killed, since they'd have taken out the house, once it was identified, with heavy weapons. I don't know how big the "regiment" was supposed to be, but if it had a field grade commanding, there were probably at least a hundred guys.

So we've established that there's a lot you don't know about the situation, and not much that you do. I've never been in a rifle company, but I'll bet that whether "four wounded and no killed" is "just getting warmed up" depends on the situation, which you don't know much about--the size of the unit, for example.

Question: How come they stunk?

Answer: You don't know. You don't even know that they did stink.

The problem was training, doctrine, and attitude. Otherwise, just fine. Whence the training, doctrine and attitude? Possibly the mindset which says that reality is to bow to anybody and everybody's feelings.

That is absolutely inane. You've decided that this combat unit did a bad job, and attribute that to their sensitivity to others' feelings? Do you have any support for that, or are you reading it all from the video? Are the soldiers giving the camera soulful looks, weeping copiously, and coming in for group hugs? Or are you just searching desperately for a way to discredit Israel's positive experience with homosexual soldiers?

I may be too quick to attribute hostility to equal service to sheer prejudice, but your argument here is uncommonly silly, and I simply can't find any other substance to your post. The idea that this video has anything at all to say about homosexuals (or women) serving in the IDF is a joke. You've reinforced my opinion of most DADT advocates as desperately searching for non-prejudicial pretexts for an unjustified policy.
3.21.2007 1:20pm
Richard Aubrey (mail):
Colin. Your prediliction for misrepresenting what others say is getting more and more obvious. As I have said before, I would expect you to misrepresent what I say to somebody who is not in a position to know what I said. But I am absolutely puzzled about what you expect to gain from misrepresenting what I said to me.
I did not say the troops were overrun with sensitivity. (Where do you get this crap?)
I said that the training, doctrine, and attitude of the IDF may have become overly concerned with not annoying the usual accredited victims' groups to the detriment of
training, doctrine, and attitude.
I gave three examples of such things in the US military, just for grins.

The op stunk because three snipers drove off an IDF regiment.
The IDF doctrine used to be that an officer did not call off an attack until he had 50% casualties, referring to what Marshall said in his WW I memoirs: the battle is won by the side which can be driven [something like that] to the fight the longest. By the time you've got 50% casualties, maybe the other guy is about to cave.
Now, with four wounded, they give up on their objective.
I was an Infantry officer several decades ago. The tape was reviewed by at least one guy with far more time and grade than I.
When a commander is asking where his flanking units are, it indicates he doesn't know where they are. Which is a major, major no-no. The guys on Powerline aren't smart enough to make that up. Or insert it into the tape.
If they have a captain, which they did, and a colonel, which they did, they had to have at least one hundred guys. The IDF has a more officer-heavy table of organization than we do, and a captain would be running a hundred guys or more in the US Army. So a colonel in our scheme would be in charge of five hundred or so. Cutting down the IDF forces by 80%--to be conservative--means he's got 100. With an artillery prep for starters.
It stunk, and if you don't believe me or the Powerline guys, the IDF is retiring a bunch of senior guys for its lousy performance. Maybe they know more than you. Possible, if unlikely.

Now. I personally have no problem with women or gays serving anywhere if the issue of combat effectiveness is maintained. My point is that it will not be--examples provided--and that, further, activists will use legitimate actions about combat effectiveness, and good order and discipline, to beat up on the military because...that's what they do.
The Navy used to have a requirement for boot camp. You and two other guys your size got a stretcher. One got on the stretcher and the other two carried it through simulated passageways as if in combat and suffering battle damage. Girls couldn't do it. So the standard is now four people carrying a stretcher. Interesting view, seeing a stretcher with two bearers on the front and two on the rear trying to get through the hatch of a waterproof door. But we don't want to get the feminists mad.

One of the advocates testifying in favor of gays serving ten years ago said that there may be a loss of combat effectiveness, but we're a powerful country and we can handle it. So there you are. Combat effectiveness is disposable in favor of whatever the current gripe is. "handle it" means we have replacements for the guys who died on account of reduced combat effectiveness. I found his attitude a bit insouciant.
3.21.2007 3:28pm
Colin (mail):
But I am absolutely puzzled about what you expect to gain from misrepresenting what I said to me. I did not say the troops were overrun with sensitivity. (Where do you get this crap?)

From your comment, "The problem was training, doctrine, and attitude. Otherwise, just fine. Whence the training, doctrine and attitude? Possibly the mindset which says that reality is to bow to anybody and everybody's feelings." If you failed to write what you actually meant ("the reality is to bow"?), then don't blame me. It's clear from what you wrote that (A) you see a problem with the IDF's performance, and (B) you place the blame for that problem on "the mindset which says that reality is to bow to anybody and everybody's feelings." Grammatical errors aside, you have no evidence, or even logic, to connect the two. Nor have you demonstrated that (A) or (B) are true; we don't know from the video that the IDF did a bad job in that instance or in any other instance, or that they are subject to a "reality" in which they "bow to anybody and everybody's feelings." Your argument is completely unsupported, and borderline gibberish.

The op stunk because three snipers drove off an IDF regiment.

Post a link to the video if you want me to believe that. Your analysis is paper-thin and full of holes.

The IDF doctrine used to be that an officer did not call off an attack until he had 50% casualties, referring to what Marshall said in his WW I memoirs: the battle is won by the side which can be driven [something like that] to the fight the longest. By the time you've got 50% casualties, maybe the other guy is about to cave. Now, with four wounded, they give up on their objective.

It is, again, completely inane to assume that it was reasonable for this unit, in these circumstances, to press on until they suffered 50% casualties. You don't know (A) the size of the unit, (B) the threat presented, (C) the position of off-camera troops and hostiles, (D) the other options available to the IDF, (E) what happened after the engagement... You're making sweeping, silly assumptions on the basis of next-to-no information. It looks like pretextual reasoning, to me--you have a conclusion, and you're not letting the total lack of evidence for that conclusion slow you down in the slightest.

I was an Infantry officer several decades ago. The tape was reviewed by at least one guy with far more time and grade than I.

I don't care how much experience the viewer had - admitting that I haven't seen the tape itself, you're asking me to believe that the IDF is subject to "the mindset which says that reality is to bow to anybody and everybody's feelings" because of a piece of one engagement caught on film. If you want me to believe that you, or anyone else, could get that much data from the tape, you're going to have to link it for me. Neither you nor Powerline have enough credibility with me to persuade me of your magical analytical powers.

If they have a captain, which they did, and a colonel, which they did, they had to have at least one hundred guys.

Onsite? Available to the scene? I doubt you know the answers to those questions, but I doubt even more that you'll let the lack of information slow down your suppositions.

It stunk, and if you don't believe me or the Powerline guys, the IDF is retiring a bunch of senior guys for its lousy performance.

Are those the guys responsible for propagating "the mindset which says that reality is to bow to anybody and everybody's feelings"?

Now. I personally have no problem with women or gays serving anywhere if the issue of combat effectiveness is maintained. My point is that it will not be--examples provided--and that, further, activists will use legitimate actions about combat effectiveness, and good order and discipline, to beat up on the military because...that's what they do.

If this is the quality of your "examples," then you effectively do have a problem with women and homosexuals serving. You're reaching far, far afield to find extremely tenuous evidence of problems that you promptly pin on women and homosexuals with no supporting evidence. Nothing you've said suggests that you're actually analyzing the effects of integration, as opposed to rooting around for a pretext to justify your existing opinion.

The Navy used to have a requirement for boot camp. You and two other guys your size got a stretcher. One got on the stretcher and the other two carried it through simulated passageways as if in combat and suffering battle damage. Girls couldn't do it. So the standard is now four people carrying a stretcher. Interesting view, seeing a stretcher with two bearers on the front and two on the rear trying to get through the hatch of a waterproof door. But we don't want to get the feminists mad.

I'm sorry, but your complaints are so brassy and empty that I'm just not taking you at your word. If you want me to believe this, you'll need to supply (A) some evidence that this is true, (B) some evidence that "feminists" are responsible for the change, and (C) at least some logical argument that the change is unnecessary or unwise. "But we don't want to get the feminists mad" isn't a serious argument.

One of the advocates testifying in favor of gays serving ten years ago said that there may be a loss of combat effectiveness, but we're a powerful country and we can handle it. So there you are. Combat effectiveness is disposable in favor of whatever the current gripe is.

Again, I'd like to see a citation. But it seems reasonable to me, as you've completely ignored the implicit qualification that the loss of capability is minor (and presumably temporary). If it was proven that racial integration had an impact on combat effectiveness I would still support mixed units. The military makes concessions to combat capability all the time. Segregating units should require not just a showing that any effectiveness is lost (which I dispute in this case), but that the loss is material. The experience of other countries' forces suggests that it is not—your opinion of the IDF as touchy-feely incompetents aside.
3.21.2007 4:12pm
Richard Aubrey (mail):
Colin. Your admission that you would swap lives for your pet project demonstrates that everything you said prior to that is irrelevant.
3.21.2007 5:15pm
Colin (mail):
There's some irony in your complaint that I misrepresented your complaints about the IDF, when compared to your last comment. Please read more carefully, and consider what a "material" loss of effectiveness might mean. If it helps you, I'll be more explicit: Racial integration of combat units probably degraded combat effectiveness as units adjusted to the reorganization and were forced to bury lingering animosity. Any such loss loss was minor, temporary, and worthwhile. You would have to demonstrate to me that any ineffeciencies from ending DADT would be more material. Again, you try very hard to justify your failure to present any logical or rational reason for your prejudices. It has not escaped my attention that you haven't done so.
3.21.2007 6:16pm