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No news is good news:

In Britain, seven years after being forced by a European court to allow gays to serve openly, the policy is producing yawns:

Since the British military began allowing homosexuals to serve in the armed forces in 2000, none of its fears — about harassment, discord, blackmail, bullying or an erosion of unit cohesion or military effectiveness — have come to pass, according to the Ministry of Defense, current and former members of the services and academics specializing in the military. The biggest news about the policy, they say, is that there is no news. It has for the most part become a nonissue.

Read the whole story here. An interesting side note is that the British military is keeping mum about the success of integrating homosexuals so as to avoid embarrassing the United States, which still expels homosexuals based on fears that have proved unfounded for its closest ally. It's hard to escape the conclusion that America's policy of exclusion remains in place for reasons of domestic politics, not military need.

JosephSlater (mail):
The "but the U.S. military is really, really different such that we couldn't possibly tolerate gays and lesbians in OUR armed forces because of [X, Y, Z]" posts will begin in 10, 9, 8 . . .
5.21.2007 8:45pm
Erasmus (mail):
JosephSlater, given the large number of conservative Christians in the military who are bigots when it comes to sexual orientation, I assume the U.S. military is different than the British.
5.21.2007 8:48pm
Jmaie (mail):
And the smug, morally superior posts will begin in... oh wait, they already have.
5.21.2007 8:57pm
Annonymous Coward (mail):
It's certain that America's policy of exclusion remains in place for reasons of domestic politics, not military need. During periods of great need when such luxuries as bigotry went by the wayside so did the policy.

The politics may not be entirely domestic. Consider the accomodations made by the United States to support Saudi Arabia in keeping American women in uniform out of sight and out of mind.
5.21.2007 8:59pm
Mark F. (mail):
A theory that I have is that gay men are much more likely than straight to be either hyper-feminized or hyper-masculinized. The feminine guys are obvious to everyone, but the hypermasculinized guys pass under the radar of a lot of people. But many of these men are attracted to careers like the military. But most are very, very discreet or deceptive on duty for obvious reasons.
5.21.2007 9:03pm
CEB:

America's policy of exclusion remains in place for reasons of domestic politics, not military need.


Well, that's what happens when those pesky civilians in Congress have a say in military matters.
5.21.2007 9:14pm
Erasmus (mail):
Jmaie, I wasn't making a value judgment. Do you deny that my description is accurate?
5.21.2007 9:22pm
Carolina:
I was not aware a European court interfered in the running of the British armed forces.

This particular issue aside (gays in the military), I find it rather horrifying that an extranational court can order a sovereign state to change military personnel policy. I cannot think of many more critical issues to a nation-state than who serves in the military and in what capacity.

Glad we in the U.S. have not given in to such internationalism (yet).
5.21.2007 9:24pm
Hattio (mail):
Surely it's because of the long history of homosexuality in the British military. You know, rum, sodomy and the lash. Good thing OUR military has never had any such thing go on ever....
5.21.2007 9:32pm
RainerK:
Carolina,

Would it soothe your mortification to reflect on the fact that the members of the EU became members knowing that they were giving up certain aspects of their sovereignty? Perhaps they are lacking the capacity of informed consent, such as 4-year olds.
5.21.2007 9:42pm
Chris Bell (mail):
Carolina:

You sound like a drafter of the Virginia Resolution. The British people have either directly or through their representatives agreed to bind themselves to the decisions of a "foreign" court. You act like sovereignty is some absolute concept, but it isn't. You may find it horrifying, but the British disagreed and somehow manage to continue as if they still were a sovereign state.
5.21.2007 9:44pm
Richard Aubrey (mail):
I wouldn't accept that the situation produces yawns, or, more properly, that the yawns mean no problems. Decades ago, British comedians, including Dame Bea Lilly, used the issue as a staple of monologues or skits.
So this is not new, but, apparently the official position is.
However.
When I was in the Army, 69-71, there were far more racial issues than were made public.
Having a racial situation in your unit was bad for the Officer Efficiency Report. So either it was ignored, or the troops took care of it in barracks, or it was given some other label which did not have a racial overtone.
For example, on Memorial Day weekend when I was in Infantry Advanced Individual Training, we had too much spare time and too little supervision. So some of the blacks decided that one of the two staircases was the Soul staircase. They beat up one of the guys in my platoon. Due to a lack of NCOs, the Army at the time was taking the ugliest trainee in the platoon and making him--me--an acting NCO. So I got my entrenching tool and went up and down the Soul staircase, up and down, up and down. Got tired, eventually, but nobody messed with me. This shouldn't have been the responsibility of a trainee whose badge of rank was a shoeshine cloth with the chevrons sewn on. But we didn't give the Soul staircase over to the blacks on some kind of informal adverse possession.
Had command had something to do with it, though, no doubt the hippy lawyers waiting for some such evidence of oppression would have been all over it. So maybe the Army was waiting for somebody like me to take care of it under the radar.
Point is, lots and lots of this stuff happened, without making the papers. The overall picture was not a yawner, but it was not realistic, not by any stretch.
Which is to say that the picture of the Brits from the outside could very well be considerably more congenial than what the squaddies are having to deal with. In fact, I'd think the odds of there being a major difference, more trouble than advertised by a lot, are very close to certain.

DC: If commenters are aware of specific problems generated by the presence of a few open gays in the British military, I'm sure we'd be interested to hear about them. I know I would be.
5.21.2007 9:46pm
CatCube:
I also wonder how this is working for the Brits out of the public eye. I've not been to Iraq myself yet, but some of my NCOs were talking about males and females screwing like rabbits over there.

Over here in the training bases we've got issues with male/female trainees. TRADOC Reg 350-6 requires that female trainees have a "safe and secure" area with alarms, and that they're alarmed in after lights out. I can't wait to see how this is going to work when you have open homosexuals in the service.
5.21.2007 10:08pm
TMac (mail):
I's sure as soon as Justice Ginsburg hears of this foreign practice, "don't ask, don't tell" will be a thing of the past in our armed forces.
5.21.2007 10:35pm
Randy R. (mail):
"During periods of great need when such luxuries as bigotry went by the wayside so did the policy."

You mean having competent Arab translators is a luxury? I'd say it's a necessity.

" I can't wait to see how this is going to work when you have open homosexuals in the service." Probably not much different from having open gays in the british, Canadian, Australian, New Zealand, and Israeli armie, all of which allow openly gay people to serve. I guess they are all 'pansified' as well. At least not like the Russian army, which regularly beats their servicemen...
5.21.2007 10:42pm
Randy R. (mail):
Mark F: A theory that I have is that gay men are much more likely than straight to be either hyper-feminized or hyper-masculinized."

And your theory is, of course, wrong. But it is so funny, it really made my day. Thanks!
5.21.2007 10:45pm
Duncan Frissell (mail):
Only way to test the proposal is as with females in combat. Series of wargames all female vs all male units. All gay vs all straight units. See who wins. Actual test of military efficiency. Recent case of captured UK sailors not very good outcome. Much too wimpy. Have to emphasize male virtues for max killing ability. See how gays do.
5.21.2007 10:56pm
Norseman:
I still think the Capital One Visigoth soldiers make the Village People look authentic. Vikings? Don't ask.
5.21.2007 11:28pm
Owen Hutchins (mail):

Mark F: A theory that I have is that gay men are much more likely than straight to be either hyper-feminized or hyper-masculinized."

And your theory is, of course, wrong. But it is so funny, it really made my day. Thanks!



No, it just means he realizes that gays run the same gamut of behaviors as straights.
5.21.2007 11:33pm
Al Maviva (mail) (www):
Having served alongside our British allies extensively, I found them to have a much higher tolerance for a lot of things, including racial and ethnic slurs, which are frequently felt to be acceptable nicknames in a lot of instances - minor abuse and slagging off is generally reciprocated by the target, and stuff that would be deemed sexist and abusive in the U.S. military is more or less normal conversation for a good chunk of the British military, and typically shrugged off by the females, who in turn tend to give as good as they get. Hazing that would make 60 minutes over here is generally tolerated over there. On the whole I found it to be a coarser military culture than we have in the U.S. forces, and much less infected with political correctness. I was fine with the cultural differences and caught my own fair share of abuse, but I'm not sure our nation's delicate sensibilities would accept it, and unsure that direct comparisons are truly worthwhile. But then my status as a hyper-masculinized male (and probably one of them Christian bigots too, right?) makes my judgment suspect in a lot of respects, and the anecdotal nature of my experiences means that our law &gender critical theorists will claim greater validity for their viewpoints than I can claim for mine.
5.21.2007 11:51pm
Deagle (mail):
Erasmus, you're evaluation is no more valid than others with opposite views. When you start from the premise that those that disagree are bigots, it's hard to converse.

The simple fact is that if gays are forced upon the military, there will be problems period. Regardless of why, it will become a major problem. Do you really want to disrupt our military for a social experiment, especially at this point?
5.22.2007 12:31am
Richard Aubrey (mail):
Deagle.
Yeah. He does/they do want to disrupt the military.
It's not an unintended consequence. It's a goal.
5.22.2007 12:38am
Deagle (mail):
Richard,

I fear you are right!

And to the author of this article, I doubt that we would ever hear the actual results of British gays in the military - after all, it would be politically incorrect to say anything detrimental to the cause. Sooo... I would take anything they say with a large lump of salt.
5.22.2007 12:47am
Synova:
It's not more than a rumor but I'd heard that gays in other militaries (such as England or Israel) really aren't what we'd call "integrated" and are limited to, I suppose garrison might be the right term... support roles stationed in areas where living arrangements are less prescribed. I'd be interested to know if it's true.

I mean, we hear this all the time but without actual, um, operational details, it doesn't tell us much.
5.22.2007 12:53am
Richard Aubrey (mail):
Synova:

Some years ago, when this came around, there were Congressional hearings. That the Israelis had gays openly in the IDF was said to be indicative that it was just dan and finedy.
However, a following testifyer described the IDF's situation in more detail. The IDF didn't put open gays in line units. They got rear area--crap, um, non-standard...uh, support jobs where unit cohesion and communal living were not issues. Like, I suppose, working in intel analysis back in Tel Aviv or someplace and living on the economy, as many in the IDF do, off post.
But they were not, said the follow-up, in the line units. For some reason left unsaid. The point was that the IDF's experience didn't have much to do with what the activists were proposing for the US military. The reason for the doctrine was not stated.
5.22.2007 1:34am
Randy R. (mail):
Yes, of course, the entire goal of having openly gay soldiers is to just destroy our military.

And we are supposed to take your objections seriously. Sheesh.

First, let us be clear about a few things. One, the military has no problem with gay men and women serving the military, and has stated so repeatedly. The military has said that gay men and women have served just as well and admirably as any others. Two, the ONLY problem the military has is that if OPENLY gay men and women serve, the problem will be with the other men and women who are anti-gay and won't be able to work with them. So in other words, the military is acceding to the cowards and bigots, claiming that they are the ones who are be disruptive, not the gays. Three, we currently have many gay peopel serving in the military. Four, I personally know of many people who have served or currently are serving in the military in Iraq, and are doing so openly, and have no problem with either the other soldiers or their commanders. Today's army is quite different from even ten years ago, and most soldiers simply don't care whether someone is gay or not.

Furthermore, we are discharging gay translators of Arabic and other critical languages simply because these people are gay. Yet we have a critical shortage of translators. This is directly hampering our abilities to detect terrorism, and wins the hearts and minds of the Iraqis and Afghanis. It makes working and fighting in those countries extremely difficult.

And most translators are gay, and the military knows it. They are trained in Monterrey, CA, and so grads are called Monterrey Marys, since everyone knows that most are gay. If you truly believe that gays are so bad for the military, then you will have to fire most of them. How does that help us? And the final irony is that recently, many of those fired linguists are now hired for the US State Department, where at least they can do some work.
5.22.2007 1:47am
Randy R. (mail):
Al:"On the whole I found it to be a coarser military culture than we have in the U.S. forces, and much less infected with political correctness. I was fine with the cultural differences and caught my own fair share of abuse, but I'm not sure our nation's delicate sensibilities would accept it, and unsure that direct comparisons are truly worthwhile"

And what has this to do with gays in the military? Perhaps I missed your point.
5.22.2007 1:48am
CatCube:
Randy R.:

I think you're drawing too broad a conclusion from what I'm saying. I'm thinking about this down at the implementation level. Current U.S. Army policy in initial entry training (IET) units is that there is a separate, alarmed, area for females, ostensibly to protect them from the male Soldiers. Will this system be able to stand, given that parallels can be drawn to having heterosexual and homosexual Soldiers together?

Also, IET Soldiers are required to practice a "battle buddy" system where they may not be alone with a member of the opposite sex--or alone, period. There's no controversy within the Army that trainees getting their freak on with each other in the close-quarters training environment is detrimental. What systems will be necessary to overcome this? Is it possible? What effect will that have on the training base, and will the damage to training be worth (probably marginal) added value of open homosexual Soldiers?

I note that the translator issue is being dragged out again. I'm curious, how many translators were chaptered out for all causes? A lot of people get thrown out of the military for adultery, but that doesn't get attention since there's no adulterer's lobby. Relative to Chapter 15s, how many translators were shown the door because they were married, but not to each other? Dropping the "no adultery" rule is a very bad idea, so should there be a special "I'm a translator, so I can be an individual" clause within regulations?
5.22.2007 2:16am
CatCube:
Hmm. Ninja posted. I hadn't heard about the proportion of of homosexual translators. However, most of the cases I did hear about are people who were caught banging each other in the barracks, which can get you in trouble, gay or straight. I can't speak for the Army as a whole, but I know that in the few units that I've been in, we pretty actively avoided trying to figure out someone's sexual orientation. Like adultery, it becomes an issue when somebody does something that brings it to wider knowledge.

As to Al's comment about the difference between the British and U.S. Armies regarding cultural sensitivity: I think that the point he's trying to make is that what works for the Brits, or the Israelis, or Nigeria, or whoever may have very little to do with what will work for the U.S. Army. This is because the American Army is staffed by Americans, who may have vastly different ideas about what is appropriate discourse. My buddy is currently being trained by a British officer, and says that he's a really good guy and very competent, but he's politically incorrect and probably wouldn't survive in the U.S. Army.
5.22.2007 2:26am
Riccardo Schiaffino (mail) (www):
Randy:

"Most translators are gay"

And the proof of your statement is?

I've been a translator for over twenty years, I am active in translation organizations, and, yes, a few translators are gay... but at a ratio no greater than the general population is.
5.22.2007 2:27am
logicnazi (mail) (www):
Mark F, Owen Hutchins,

Neither of you are really correct. In some sense the RANGE of straight and gay behaviors are going to be the same because the range is always defined by the most extreme example you can find. What MarkF is talking about is presumably a statistical difference in behavior.

Now it does seem pretty clear that a few (small fraction) of my gay friends do go out of their way to be hyper-masculine. While this is hardly a representative survey I suspect the effect is real. After all many gay guys are attracted to hyper-masculinity so, just like the rest of us, will alter their behavior in ways that they think make them more desirable and attractive. Also I suspect the experience of growing up in a now welcoming environment tends to push gays either towards hyper-masculinity (trying to prove to themselves they are masculine) or to overreact to that once they come out by rejecting even more masculine trappings than they had adopted while in the closet.

However, it would be far to simplistic to just say that gay guys were more often hyper-masculine/feminine. Obviously even the hyper-masculine gay guys aren't masculine in every traditional sense of the term (they are gay and have sex with guys).
5.22.2007 2:30am
Randy R. (mail):
Catcube: You are making an assumption that gay men are attracted to any and all men, that gay men won't pass up any opportunity to have sex with another man and will make attempts to any other man when possible.

This simply is not true. Nor is it true that any straight man will try to have sex with all those female recruits. I have known plenty of people in the military, and yes, there are problems of discipline. Those problems occur in every military unit, always have, and there is a process for dealing with it already. but for the vast majority of military folks, the are mature and professional. To believe otherwise is to demean the character and quality of the people who defend us. The US Army is not some sort of sex romp!

If you believe otherwise, then you have to believe that all gay people should be denied any military service, whether openly gay or closeted. Obviously, even the military doesn't advocate this. And more interestingly, if it WAS a problem, then we should see greater numbers of discharges during an actual war. The truth is that the number of discharges DADT have decreased dramatically. In fact, there have been numerous cases of late where people wanted to get out of the military by claiming themselves gay, and the military refused!

So if your fears had any justifications, then the military would be acting on them. They are not.
5.22.2007 2:44am
Randy R. (mail):
From NBC: "Between 1998 and 2004, the military discharged 20 Arabic and six Farsi speakers, according to Department of Defense data obtained by the Center for the Study of Sexual Minorities in the Military under a Freedom of Information Act request.

he military previously confirmed that seven translators who specialized in Arabic had been discharged between 1998 and 2003 because they were gay. The military did not break down the discharges by year, but said some, but not all, of the additional 13 discharges of Arabic speakers occurred in 2004.

'Still have a language problem'
Aaron Belkin, the center's director, said he wants the public to see the real costs of "don't ask, don't tell."

"We had a language problem after 9/11, and we still have a language problem," Belkin said Wednesday.

The military's "don't ask, don't tell" policy allows gays and lesbians to serve in the military as long as they keep their sexual orientation private and do not engage in homosexual acts.

"The military is placing homophobia well ahead of national security," said Steve Ralls, spokesman for the Servicemembers Legal Defense Network, a nonprofit group that advocates for the rights of gay military members. "It's rather appalling that in the weeks leading up to 9/11 messages were coming in, waiting to be translated ... and at the same time they were firing people who could've done that job."

In the fiscal year ended Sept. 30, 543 Arabic linguists and 166 Farsi linguists graduated from their 63-week courses, according to a DLI spokesman. That was up from 377 and 139, respectively, in the previous year.

Experts have identified the shortage of Arabic linguists as contributing to the government's failure to thwart the Sept. 11 attacks. The independent Sept. 11 commission made similar conclusions.

' ... your life under scrutiny'
Ian Finkenbinder, an Army Arabic linguist who graduated from the Defense Language Institute in 2002, was discharged from the military last month after announcing to his superiors that he's gay. Finkenbinder, who said his close friends in the Army already knew he was gay, served eight months in Iraq and was about to return for a second tour when he made the revelation official.
5.22.2007 2:50am
Randy R. (mail):
Catcube: " I think that the point he's trying to make is that what works for the Brits, or the Israelis, or Nigeria, or whoever may have very little to do with what will work for the U.S. Army. This is because the American Army is staffed by Americans, who may have vastly different ideas about what is appropriate discourse. "

Well, this is rather funny. Now I am hearing that the US Army is so politically correct, unlike those mean and tough Brits who can speak their minds, that OUR sensibilities are so uptight that we simply cannot talk about things like gay people, or blacks, or asians, without running afoul of the speech MPs. It makes you wonder how we can do anything at all!

And so if the army's delicate sensibilities actually had to deal with openly gay men, these not-so-very-tough Marines would just fall to pieces, and they wouldn't be able to even shoot their guns straight.

Sheesh. You would think from the commentators here that our army is more concerned about the etiquette of tea parties than how to fight a war. and that somehow *gay men*, of all people, would disrupt this perfect little party.

As for stats on the Monterrey Marys, I have none. I can just say that I am active with the Serviceman's Legal Defense Network, and have many friends there. This is what they tell me. Perhaps they are wrong, but many have graduated from that very program. I am inclined to think that perhaps they exaggerate a bit, but generally they are true.
5.22.2007 2:58am
Randy R. (mail):
Speaking of tea parties, we were treated to Feydeay farce just this month. Here's the story:

The United States Navy has informed Petty Officer Second Class Jason Knight that it intends to fire him under the military's "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" law just weeks prior to completing his one-year commitment. Knight, an openly gay sailor, was recalled to active duty in June 2006 and recently completed a tour of duty in Kuwait, where he was open about his sexual orientation with his command and fellow sailors. Knight told his story last weekend in the newspaper Stars &Stripes
"Our nation should be embarrassed that our armed forces are forced to respond to Knight's selfless service with a government-sanctioned pink slip."
and was notified yesterday that he will be receiving an honorable discharge from the Navy based, in part, on his recent media interviews. Knight was scheduled to end his commitment on May 28, 2007, but will face early dismissal because he chose to go public about his experience.

"Jason Knight was an exemplary sailor who gladly returned to active duty when our country needed him," said Sharra E. Greer, director of law and policy for Servicemembers Legal Defense Network (SLDN). "Now, despite his dedication and service, and the praise of those he served alongside, the Navy has decided to fire him because he dared to tell his story and put a public face to the courage of lesbian and gay service personnel. Our nation should be embarrassed that our armed forces are forced to respond to Knight's selfless service with a government-sanctioned pink slip. 'Don't Ask, Don't Tell' silences lesbians and gays and attempts to make them invisible. Because Knight refused invisibility, he will now be fired."

Knight, a trained Hebrew linguist, was re-called to active duty and served with Naval Customs Battalion Romeo in Kuwait. He told Stars &Stripes that, having 'come out' to his command during his previous enlistment, he saw no reason to hide his sexual orientation. Many of his colleagues spoke to the newspaper in support of him. "The Navy tends to keep people who don't want to be here, but Jason does," Petty Officer 1st Class Tisha Hanson told the paper. "(I)t doesn't bother me."

"I have now spent five years in the Navy, and I have loved every minute of it," Knight said today. "It is unfortunate that in our country, which prides itself on being a beacon of liberty to the world, discrimination is still alive and well, even in our own government. I am proud to be among the one million gay veterans who have answered the call to duty, and I look forward to working alongside them to topple this un-American and counter-productive law."
5.22.2007 3:01am
Randy R. (mail):
Note that Jason was openly gay during his service. And yet he was recalled back into service! Now, if the Navy were really that concerned about openly gay servicemen, why would they recall him?

They decided to fire him only after he went public with this ridiculously, and the Navy was then forced to follow their own policy of firing him.

And who lost ultimately? The American people, because we already have a shortage of good, trained and experienced people ready to serve our country.
5.22.2007 3:05am
Synova:
It can very well be a PITA issue rather than a bigotry issue.

It's not *just* that people are worried that bigoted members of the military will react badly. In general terms the military just orders everyone not to be bigoted anymore, even if it doesn't stop them, and everyone pretends like they aren't, at least while watched. But there really aren't that many people who care about race, gender or orientation past a determination if a fellow soldier is reliable or not, will pull their weight or not.

The larger issue is the PITA issue. What is one more housing headache worth, one more interpersonal headache worth? (For this reason alone a whole lot of people would be happy if there were no women in uniform.) The military will deal with what it's ordered to deal with but deep down most would prefer to simplify rather than complicate the human element. At least, as it is, those in charge can pretend (in an officially pretending sort of way) that all they've got to deal with is het men and het women. Which is all ready a pain in the *ss, but at least it's an equation with only one variable.

I think that gays should be able to serve openly and in any capacity but I'm not foolish enough to think that it won't require changes or adjustment.
5.22.2007 4:12am
Synova:
And I think the "don't want to embarrass America" excuse not to talk about how the integration of gays into the British military has worked is beyond lame.

Because of it, the article basically says *nothing* and I'm left wondering if it wasn't a reluctance about embarrassing America but more of a reluctance about embarrassing themselves or giving a too detailed account of military life.
5.22.2007 4:18am
SPC Specialist (mail):
I'm a little surprised no one else has said it. My two cents are:

It's the money, stupid.

In the British military, a servicemember who declares he is gay can also declare his domestic partner for full spousal benefits. I am in the (american) Army, and I don't know if you guys are aware but there is a huge disparity between the take-home pay married soldiers and single soldiers get... this greatly incentivizes marriage to soldiers, so much so that "contract marriages" are a common occurence, not to mention many rather hasty and ill-thought-out "love matches" that last, oh, a matter of months. (Besides just the pay, for lower-ranking soldiers marriage enables living outside the barracks -- this is also key.) Given the current situation, which already resembles welfare fraud, I can only imagine the havoc institutionalizing homosexual partnerships would cause. Any soldier would then be able to declare their best friend their "domestic partner", shack up with said friend, give that friend valuable health insurance, and otherwise live a fun bachelor (or bachelorette) lifestyle outside of the supervision of the barracks -- all on the Army's dime, and all without actually being gay.

Y'all have probably seen articles mentioning how much it costs for the Army to maintain an active-duty soldier for a year -- it's an amount in the six figures. A lot of that money goes to health care provided for the civilian dependents soldiers have in tow. Making it much easier for soldiers to declare civilian dependents will just jack up the cost higher. That is what I think the Army is afraid of.

I personally have absolutely no problem serving with gay soldiers, and most members of the military do not either, according to a recent Army Times survey. It's just a money thing.
5.22.2007 6:09am
Richard Aubrey (mail):
Randy R. Some time back, I asserted that one theme behind SSM was to destroy conventional marriage. A commenter named Colin challenged me. The usual. We all know things we've read or seen but we don't catalogue them for future use. If challenged, and if we don't want to go to the trouble of digging up the cites, people like Colin will pretend that means we're making this stuff up.
However, while I was wondering about taking the time to dig it up, somebody else did. Didn't change Colin's views, of course. That isn't the intent of demanding cites. But it did quiet him down. Some benefit, eventually.

I'm not going to bother with your complaint that I'm making a foolish assertion by digging up cites. Because we all know of people who have said it. When I was in, civilian lawyers would fight for blacks courtmartialed for offenses against order and discipline. Not for whites. The reason was to promote racial discord and thus damage the military. Almost worked, too.
There was one twit in the DOD, a female assistant deputy secretary for something or other who said the Marines were excessively militaristic and that something should be done. She was dumped. Point was, she got there in the first place.
Anyway, Randy R. We both know it.
And I didn't say "all". You did. As I keep saying, how on earth do people expect misrepresenting what somebody says here is going to do them any good? Am I supposed to be confused about what I said?
5.22.2007 8:34am
CatCube:
Randy R:

Wow. Dude, take a deep breath and calm down.

"You are making an assumption that gay men are attracted to any and all men, that gay men won't pass up any opportunity to have sex with another man and will make attempts to any other man when possible.

This simply is not true. Nor is it true that any straight man will try to have sex with all those female recruits."

You need to work on reading comprehension. At no point did I claim that *all* men will do this. Only a very small fraction will. However, a small number of miscreants can have an effect on unit effectiveness and morale totally out of proportion to their number. Telling your female troops that only one or two of the 300 men that they're locked in a building with all night is a rapist is not all that comforting. However, that's neither here nor there, since I'm not claiming that homosexual *rape* will be a problem. I'm claiming that consensual sex will be a problem, and that it already is when even when we've got very clear criteria (do you have internal or external genitalia) for separating trainees.

"US Army is so politically correct, unlike those mean and tough Brits who can speak their minds"

What you can speak your mind about varies from military to military, based on the wider culture that they draw from. Making fun of someone's race could cause a meltdown if said to an American, because we are very sensitive to such things. Soldiers are civilians before they are Soldiers, and bring cultural baggage with them. A Brit may not mind having a racial slur used around him, because they don't see it as being as big a deal. I don't know what the limits are for British Soldiers, since I've never worked with any. However, I can attest that American Soldiers are as sensitive as American civilians about such things.

Usually commands don't seek out information about consensual sexual misconduct (adultery or sodomy) unless (a) the Soldier makes a pain in the ass of him- or herself (it becomes public somehow) or (b) they're caught in flagrante delecto or doing it in the barracks. The case of the Sailor you're describing above is an example. His command was going to pretend really hard that he wasn't in violation of the policy, until he made a big deal about it in public. What's laughable is the claim that he really, really wanted to be in the Navy, but the mean old Pentagon tossed him out against his will after he started screaming that he was violating the law from the rooftops. If he really wanted to be in the Navy, why did he leave in the first place? (he was called back--he finished his active-duty time, but got a letter saying that he'd have to come back or go to jail) This sounds a lot like the two or three cases a week I see of people who are trying to get themselves chaptered out of the Army. (Whether or not that's true for him--the story says he wants to stay in--isn't exactly a settled question for me. We hear all kinds of bizzare stories on a daily basis)

"Note that Jason was openly gay during his service. And yet he was recalled back into service!" Was that noted in his record? I don't see why it would be. I don't think that the same people who pulled his name into a list of people to bring back in necessarily had any information other than his personnel file. Also, when did he come out during his previous term? If it was close to his ETS date, it may have been easier to just let him go rather than try to Chapter 15 him. This story is very thin on a lot of the facts that would go into a Commander's decision-making process for personnel decisions. It does make a nice polemic, though.

Synova:
"I think that gays should be able to serve openly and in any capacity but I'm not foolish enough to think that it won't require changes or adjustment." Thank you! I disagree with you about allowing open gays in the military, but at least you're willing to grant my concern without trying to handwave it away.
5.22.2007 9:13am
rarango (mail):
Interesting comment thread! I agree with Richard Aubrey that racial issues in the service for a long time were the military's biggest internal problem, followed in the post Viet Nam 1970s with drug and alcohol use and not enough supervisory NCOs in the barracks. I enlisted in 1961 was subsequently commissioned and retired in 1986. In my entire career I never had an issue involving a gay soldier that I was aware of. I can't speak for all of my contemporaries, but homosexuality was almost never a problem I was aware of; I served primarily in armored cavalry. As an aside, back in the days of the Women's Army Corps (WACs) it was widely assumed that most of the WACs were gay. Other folks, of course, will have different experiences than mine, but that was my experience. Finally, I have absolutely no personal problem with a gay person of either gender in military service.
5.22.2007 9:22am
kmeister:
One interesting thing to note about the number of gays that are discharged. For females, once pregnant, they have the choice to leave the military without penalty. I was in the first gulf war. Some women used to go to sick call constantly to find out if they were pregnant. If so they got a ticket out.
For males, openly declaring yourself gay is a no questions asked ticket out of the military. The other choice is to get into trouble and get an other than honorable discharge. Not an optimal choice. DADT allows for an easy out. I wonder how many men who declared they were gay actually were.
5.22.2007 9:28am
CatCube:
"For males, openly declaring yourself gay is a no questions asked ticket out of the military. The other choice is to get into trouble and get an other than honorable discharge. Not an optimal choice. DADT allows for an easy out. I wonder how many men who declared they were gay actually were."

It's changed somewhat. It used to be no questions asked, but now we investigate more into people who claim they're gay. The Army is trying to keep its retention up.(I suspect that a significant fraction of people who claim they're homosexual are just trying to get out, but I have no proof)
5.22.2007 9:43am
ATRGeek:
This comment thread demonstrates it is quite easy to speculate about all sorts of problems which could arise from allowing openly gay people to serve in the US armed forces, and quite difficult to disprove such speculation without actually allowing it to happen, even with the evidence available from other armed forces (since it is always possible to speculate about distinctions).

This is not quite the deadlock it seems, however, because increasingly it is becoming apparent that openly gay people are in fact serving in the US armed forces, despite the official policy, and with little or no ill consequences. So, the evidence is accumulating and in my view it is just a matter of time until the speculation becomes untenable.
5.22.2007 9:43am
Happyshooter:
If the readers here will accept empirical evidence, I have some to offer.

I served as an enlisted Marine in the late 80s/early 90s. At the time, there had been a number of occasions of beatings, and one murder, in the Navy and Marine Corps for actual or suspected gay men. Merely being suspected of having gay traits was enough in several cases for a light beating.

I did serve in one unit where a Marine "came out" by getting drunk and attempting a sex act on another Marine. The unit had a very good Sergeant Major, by far the best I've ever seen, and that Marine was immediately transferred to the headquarters unit with a very high percentage of officers and senior NCO's, pending discharge (immediately=within hours). This probably saved him from a severe beating or killing.

Later, I got called up out of college while I was in the National Guard, and sent to patrol a United States Army community for a year as a military policeman.

This was the height of the Clinton "don't ask don't tell" and a number of times we had cases where soldiers would become drunk, and hit on or actually perform an act with a fellow soldier. These events were very messy when they came to military police attention. They were made up much worse by the fact that at least the initiator knew his military career was over.

Screaming, crying, violence, attempts at self harm, and threats against others were all fairly common.

This is why I am willing to accept the decision of military leadership that being gay is incompatible with good order and discipline.
5.22.2007 9:52am
CatCube:
"This is not quite the deadlock it seems, however, because increasingly it is becoming apparent that openly gay people are in fact serving in the US armed forces, despite the official policy, and with little or no ill consequences." With little or no *easily visible* ill consequences. I'm certainly not claiming that the entire military is going to come apart at the seams if we let open gays into the ranks, I think that the problems that they'll cause will outweigh the benefits, and it'll just make the military ride lower in the water.

I don't believe that the DoD is a jobs program or vehicle of social equality. Its purpose is to kill people and break things, and not get our people killed and stuff broken while doing it. Things that make this more difficult are to be avoided. I believe that open homosexuals serving is one of these things.
5.22.2007 9:57am
rarango (mail):
Happyshooter: I appreciate your sharing your experiences. You make an important point, I think: my experience is really generationally based. The military today, is a far different military than the one I experienced. Your evidence is undoubtedly far more relevant than was mine. Thanks for sharing it. I can only say that I am glad I served in an earlier environment.
5.22.2007 9:59am
Happyshooter:
There was one twit in the DOD, a female assistant deputy secretary for something or other who said the Marines were excessively militaristic and that something should be done. She was dumped. Point was, she got there in the first place.

Sara Lister.

I have her "challenge" coin on my wall right now with my other .mil stuff. When Clinton was invading Bosnia she came to our unit with a TV crew to explain the important things that the military mission would accomplish. She then asked if there were any questions.

I started asking about the history of the area, and inquired if we were going to use the iron fist, because impaling and torture chambers seem to be the only way to cause that region to mix religions peaceably. We had a debate on history, from the breakup of the Eastern Roman Empire on. She really got into it. Her chief of staff, some woman Colonel, started trying to punk me out. My National Guard unit was about one half real cops, and some saw that and decided to start asking questions about the timing of the invasion as opposed to Clinton's reelection campaign.

Lister was escorted from the room by her Chief of Staff. Our first sergeant, who was not normally a decent guy, wandered over to say that when Lister sent down orders to assign us scut work as a punishment he would cover it for us.

As it turned out, she used the names that her Chief of Staff wrote down to send coins to me and the loudest two cops.

It did not surprise me that Lister said what she said, because she was more than ready for a good debate with me.
5.22.2007 10:08am
Citizen Deux (www):
Interesting. I have served with several known (open) gay service members in the Navy. They were in various units from "line" units to repair units. As a unit CO, I am more concerned with good order and discipline rather than anyone's orientation. The impact of member differences among sexual preference, religion, ethnicity or socioeconomics can all contribute to problems in a unit. If a member adheres to the UCMJ, follows orders and contributes to the unit, they will be successful. Any deivation makes that individual ineligible to serve - period.
5.22.2007 10:44am
ed o:
has this social advancement improved Britain's ability to fight wars? has it improved Israel's? I would suspect not but, obviously, I have no more data to back it up than those who somehow argue it has no effect on anything.
5.22.2007 10:56am
Randy R. (mail):
"has this social advancement improved Britain's ability to fight wars? has it improved Israel's? I would suspect not."

Nor, I suspect, has it hurt. At least in the US, allowing gays in the military would certainly help, as it would not be discharging the Arabic (and other translators) that are so desparately needed. Nor would it discharge Navy surgeons who are needed. (Yup -- it has discharged several).

There is currently a recruiting shortage of men and women in the army. Many people here seem so concerned that if you allow gays in the military, it will cause problems. As we see from the story of Jason Knight, however, it often doesn't. And the more gays are integrated in the military, the less of a problem it will be. I have no doubt that blacks who served in the military in the 50s and 60s were more of a problem than they are today. Who, except an exceptionally hardened racist, would?

Today, we are recruiting from the bottom of the barrel. The information that I get is that the army is at the breaking point. Too many people are having to do longer tours. Yet the numbers of gays that have been discharged in the past ten years is several thousand, enough for an entire division! This is just madness, especially when other militaries, such as the Canadian, Israeli, NZ, Australian and Brits, not to mention the entire EU, allow gays.

I get that the military should primarily a place for our country's defense and not a social experiment. But when you fire needed personnel, that *hamperes*, not enhances, your ability to defend your country, right?

Aubrey: No, this is the first time that I have ever heard that anyone wants to destroy the military. As I said, I am active with SLDN, and you simply cannot find a more patriotic, pro-military bunch of people. They simply want to serve openly and honestly for their country.

Happyshooter: "I served as an enlisted Marine in the late 80s/early 90s."
Thanks for the info. HOwever, the military is really very different from even the 90s. Today, being gay is simply not the problem is was in the past.
5.22.2007 11:39am
Randy R. (mail):
Hey Catcube. Thanks for the chill note. The problem is that so often we gays have to hear stupid stereotypes, it's hard to separate out the serious arguments from the merely hateful ones. There is this assumption by some straight men (less and less as time goes on, thankfully), that gay men are these wild sexual predators who will hump anything that moves. (Some so-called religious groups like to promote that fiction). The fact is that most gay men are no more or less sexualized than your average hetero man. And most hetero are simply not that cute!

But I agree -- for some people it is a problem. And that's why I like Citizen Deux's solution -- treat everyone the same. Anyone who violates a disciplinary order is subject to discipline, plain and simple. What's so hard about that?
5.22.2007 11:44am
Richard Aubrey (mail):
Well, ed o, there was a film running near a half an hour of an Israeli regiment getting run out of a ville last summer by three snipers.
They had four wounded, one seriously.
The outfit was not ready for prime time, as several evaluators noted.
We had quite a discussion on this on another post where it was asserted that, since we didn't know how big a regiment was in the IDF, we didn't know if they'd been outnumbered. That was a desperate measure by a fool, of course, since the HQ element on the screen had four all by itself. But at the end, the film showed the colonel high-fiving the guys and telling them they did a fine job--choke--and, as they came down the road, there were at least a dozen of them. That didn't include the HQ element or the wounded. So there were at least twenty that we saw or knew of in the regiment (commanded by a light colonel), where the desperate fool kept saying we didn't know how many there were to judge the IDF's performance. How many we didn't see is another question, but you'd figure that twenty guys with artillery support could take out three guys. The usual ratio of attacking troops to defending is three to one to be considered equal or to be considered to have a chance at succeeding. This outfit was at least six to one--that we saw--plus artillery.
Did gays have anything to do with this? Hard to say, but the atmosphere where other considerations besides hard, raw military competence are important might have something to do with it.
5.22.2007 11:45am
Colin (mail):
Some time back, I asserted that one theme behind SSM was to destroy conventional marriage. A commenter named Colin challenged me. . . . However, while I was wondering about taking the time to dig it up, somebody else did. Didn't change Colin's views, of course. That isn't the intent of demanding cites. But it did quiet him down. Some benefit, eventually.

I recall that someone else bothered to take the time to find individual examples of individuals who fit the broad, inflammatory image you were attempting to apply to SSM advocates generally. Do you think that anyone can or will find such individuals matching your hysterical accusation here?

He does/they do want to disrupt the military.
It's not an unintended consequence. It's a goal.


One reason that opponents of military integration are often painted as bigots is that some few such opponents, in a manner similar to some few advocates of SSM, tar the rest. Your barking comments such as the one above are unpersuasive to anyone who doesn't already agree with you, except in that they make opponents of military integration look like ultra-radical lunatics with no care for the truth or for hard facts. In the long run, extremist ranting such as yours is a millstone around the neck of principled opponents of integration. Cheers to you for that, I suppose.
5.22.2007 11:46am
rarango (mail):
Randy: May I offer a few nitpicks on your 10:39: A brigade is several thousand—a division is in the 15-20K range depending on the type. Second, "bottom of the barrel" defined as? The caliber of soldier going in the Army is far higher than I was used to in my 25 years of service. I would be curious by what you mean bottom of the barrel. Finally: you may be looking at month by month recruiting "horror stories." You might want to look at the year end figures and by component (RA, NG, USAR). The NYT had a story last October that indicated the ground services met their goals.
5.22.2007 11:59am
aces:
Any soldier would then be able to declare their best friend their "domestic partner", shack up with said friend, give that friend valuable health insurance, and otherwise live a fun bachelor (or bachelorette) lifestyle outside of the supervision of the barracks -- all on the Army's dime, and all without actually being gay.

I thought the military didn't grant dependent status to unmarried "domestic partners," gay or straight--only married couples.
5.22.2007 12:09pm
Colin (mail):
Rarango, I think this is the article.

"One year after the Army failed to meet its annual recruiting goal by the widest margin in two decades, the Pentagon is to announce this week that the ground forces, and the rest of the military, all reached their targets for recruits in 2006."

The Army "rais[ed] the allowable age for recruits to 42, from 35" and "raised the limit on the percentage admitted into the service from the lower aptitude ranking, increasing the percentage to the Defense Department limit of 4 percent of recruits from 2 percent." "Some recruits also signed up after the Army waived criminal records that would have previously barred them." I assume these policy changes are what Randy R. meant by "bottom of the barrel."

According to the Army, no more than 500 recruits (out of 80,000) fell into the first category, and the deficiencies were only in the English language, not "mental aptitude." Criminal record waivers "would not be granted in cases of a pattern of offenses, as well as for people convicted of drug trafficking and sexual crimes." Assuming that the Army provides intensive English training for those who need it, and the criminal waivers were rational and appropriate, these seem like very reasonable and appropriate policies to me.

The article generally credits increased bonuses for the recruiting success. The forces met their goals by a slim margin, but the target numbers seemed pretty precise to me, suggesting that the planners had a fairly accurate and realistic idea going in how many they'd be able to sign up.
5.22.2007 12:14pm
Ron Mexico:

has this social advancement improved Britain's ability to fight wars? has it improved Israel's? I would suspect not but, obviously, I have no more data to back it up than those who somehow argue it has no effect on anything.


It has to have helped on at least a base level---they have more soldiers in uniform as a result. We're at a point where we need more soldiers. And translators. You call it "social advancement" but I call it getting bodies into uniforms who want to be there and want to serve. And more soldiers means getting my buddies home who have served admirably after multiple extensions. We're hurting for people, yet we allow prejudice to keep willing and able soldiers out of the service. I thought this whole Global War On Terror thing was supposed to be the fight of our generation, etc. But apparently it's more important to keep those pesky gays in their place than to improve national security.
5.22.2007 12:18pm
ed o:
bottom of the barrel-is that a fact or a convenient talking point. given the actual number of gays in society, there will be no net effect on recruitment unless urban homosexuals suddenly and as a matter of culture develope the same urge to join the military as the poor downtrodden hillbilly clans of Kentucky and Georgia hold dear. I didn't see any such signs the last time I saw any footage from the Gay Pride Parade in Chicago-somehow, I don't think it's a strong trend.
5.22.2007 12:19pm
rarango (mail):
That was the article, and I agree with your take--as an older guy myself, and former soldier, I do recognize that the army is young man's game, but I am personally happy that the age range has been extended :)

And--as one poster above mentioned: the money has a lot to do with it. my only point was that "bottom of the barrel" is a bit vague and denigrates those that do volunteer.
5.22.2007 12:19pm
ed o:
I would suspect there is more to a military than having warm bodies. Is troop morale higher? combat readiness? combat effectiveness? can you offer anything to show the British military's war fighting capabilities have gone up-the answer is no.
5.22.2007 12:21pm
Richard Aubrey (mail):
Colin, I figure the entire picture ought to be available.

Now, let's figure something else. Let's presume the proponents of SSM as a tool to destroy conventional marriage are right. For some complex of reasons we haven't spent time on, they're right. Why would it matter that there are only a few of them? The question is not their number, but the likelihood they're right. Now, if you want to take the next step and say, so what?, it would be more honest.

IMO, whatever the number, their views ought to be considered. Just in case they're right.

Ditto the issue with gays in the military: What if they're right, those who seek to use gays to ruin the military? Doesn't matter that there are only a few of them, that we know of.

There were only a few--so it is claimed--who were overtly saying they wanted to use racial discord to ruin the military in the late Sixties and early Seventies. But they damned near did it. Officers needed escorts to go into barracks, and were armed at times it had never been considered necessary before or since. Rogue MP units attacked married housing.
It has been referred to as the "hollow Army" and it was not a bug of the left's actions, it was a feature.
5.22.2007 12:26pm
Curmudgeonly Ex-Clerk (www):
Randy R.:

I cannot tell precisely what you mean re: the "Moneterry Mary" bit of this thread. Are you asserting that there are a high propoportion of homosexulas within a particular M.O.S. or language group at Defense Language Instititute? Or are you making that assertion about D.L.I. in general?

I would find the latter assertion incredible. Though even if limited to translators per se I find the gist of your comments somewhat difficult to believe. Having graduated from D.L.I. (the Russian program) in the early/mid-'90s, I never perceived the post as having a large or even statistically significant population of homosexual soldiers, at least not any larger than the population as a whole.

But, perhaps, I have misunderstood your comments. I also was an interrogator (97E) being trained with some other interrogators and a lot of signal intelligence folks, not a translator. So maybe the translators are a different breed. Off the top of my head though, I cannot imagine why that would be the case.
5.22.2007 12:42pm
ed o:
is there a huge groundswell of homosexuals wanting to get in the military that will take us over the top in recruitment figures? Perhaps if Britain could embarass us with their combat readiness figures, we would all be better off than Britain "embarassing" us with their social experimentation results. by the way, if you are an officer in the British military, would you report unit cohesion problems caused by the grand social experiment?
5.22.2007 1:10pm
Colin (mail):
is there a huge groundswell of homosexuals wanting to get in the military that will take us over the top in recruitment figures?

About eleven thousand service members over the past decade. I think that eleven thousand experienced service members is a significant number, especially when many of them would have contributed to the critical NCO and specialist strength (such as the translators) that has been so important to the American military's effectiveness.

Richard, I'm willing to hear your proof for your conspiracy theories, if you care to support your assertion that destroying the military is the purpose of racial and sexual-orientation integration. Until then, please, feel free to continue ripping gaping holes in your own credibility and that of your fellow travelers.
5.22.2007 1:32pm
ATRGeek:
Just as it is always possible to speculate about harms arising from things that have not yet happened, it is always possible to speculate about harms which are for some reason not "visible" or otherwise detectable.

I just personally doubt that such speculation about invisible harms is going to be enough to sustain this policy in the long run when gay people are visibly serving with distinction and there are no significant visible harms.
5.22.2007 1:41pm
Al Maviva (mail) (www):
And what has this to do with gays in the military? Perhaps I missed your point.

The other British servicemembers are pretty happy calling gays "pillow biters," "ass pirates," a sneering "queer" or "dyke", or other derogatory names, and the gays I knew of were pretty happy to return the compliment with "wog" or "boggy" or whatever derogatory nickname was at hand, often ethnically, racially or regionally based. LAMBDA and B-GLAD probably wouldn't agree with British-style integration and it would undo a lot of sensitivity training we've inflicted on the troops to this point. I never had a problem serving with gays because they were just other soldiers (and they tended to be superb wingmen, which was a plus) but it seems to me that the gays who serve, and the gays who are into the politics about gays who serve, tend to be two very different sorts of people.

BTW, Randy, I was also language qualified. While I served with a handful of gay soldiers who were language qualified, I never heard the term "Monterrey Mary." I guess maybe that's a term heterphobes use.
5.22.2007 1:41pm
ed o:
11,000 over the past decade-so, the answer is "no" in terms of the huge groundswell for the gay brigades.
5.22.2007 2:18pm
Richard Aubrey (mail):
Colin.

As before, you misrepresent what I said, presumably under the assumption I am incapable of scrolling up to double check.
I didn't say ruining the military was the goal of the integrationists. I said it was likely the goal of some of them. As ruining conventional marriage is the goal of some proponents of SSM, and as ruining the military was the goal of some who exacerbated the racial issues in the late Sixties and early Seventies. In the first case, wrt to marriage, another more energetic than I provided cites. In the latter case, we had the reality.

I have no reason to presume that every single proponent of gay integration has the best interests of gays, or of the military, at heart.

I recall the first female into a private military school. Possibly it was VMI. At the end, she said, surprised, that nobody had her interests in mind. She was a tool, the adults fighting their culture wars, putting the kids on point.

Too much of this stuff has happened for me to take the view that it can't possibly be the case in the matter of gay integration. Why should this be the first time?
5.22.2007 2:22pm
JosephSlater (mail):
Richard, assuming, arguendo, that you or somebody else could find a couple of quotes from "integrationists" saying the goal of integration was to destroy the U.S. army or something like that, so what? Would that have been a reason not to integrate the armed forces on the basis of race?

I will not assume, however, that there is any meaningful or significant part of integrationists (race, sexual orientation, or gender) in the U.S. who push for integration because they believe such integration will destroy the institution they wish to integrate.

It's odd about folks who make that sort of point (see, also, "the Democrats/liberals hate the troops and hope we lose!" Such folks are either intentionally lying to try to inflict political damage, or they must have a sincerely held view of the country that they must find pretty darn depressing: believing that their political opponents, at least half the country, are intentionally trying to destroy the country.
5.22.2007 3:02pm
ed o:
it is pretty darn depressing when leftists were salivating over the thought of having 10000 dead in New Orleans that they could try to pin on Bush and when they put the United States on the same level as Saddam Hussein or Pol Pot (think Ted Kennedy and Dick Durbin). then again, it must be pretty depressing to have those thoughts but lack the courage to just leave this evil country.
5.22.2007 3:21pm
Richard Aubrey (mail):
Joseph Slater.
The left's goal is to destroy the country. Others, such as democrats, have other goals and the consequences to the country are irrelevant.
I used to work with people who ranged from extreme libs to radicals. What we have now in this country was not acceptable to them.
They were smart enough to know they couldn't sell their vision as it was. So they labled their techniques for change as mom-and-apple-pie. I am under no moral requirement to believe people who have told me they lie.


When somebody says he wants some benign outcome and his actions point to another outcome, substantially different from the ostensible outcome, and when his responses to inquiries of why he's heading east when he claims the Baby Jesus wants him to go west are vague and internally inconsistent, I am entitled to think he's putting me on.

And, yeah, it's depressing.
5.22.2007 3:27pm
Randy R. (mail):
"Ditto the issue with gays in the military: What if they're right, those who seek to use gays to ruin the military? Doesn't matter that there are only a few of them, that we know of."

And yet, there were 11,000 gay people who were active in the military and who have been discharged in the past decade. Did ANY of them seek to destroy the military? Did any of them succeed?

I guess the bottomline to people like this and ed o is that they have a very tough time with the fact that gays are being accepted more and more in our society, and in the military in particular. They cannot accept the fact that at least some miltary men don't automatically beat up or kill another serviceman just because he is gay. In other words, they simply refuse to believe that there are people who are not as bigoted as they are when it comes to gays. And so they cannot accept the fact that having openly gays serve in the military is no big deal.

Apparently, ed o &co actually want soldiers to beat up on gays so that they can have the excuse that gays won't work in the military. If they didn't have that to hang their hat upon, what else could they give as a reason? Everyone else is speculation and conspiracy theory stuff -- ooh those foxy gays just hate the military so much they are willing to go through basic training and put up with all the basic abuse soldiers go through just on the hope that one gay man can bring down the entire military-industrial complex.

It's always the same -- the number of gays in this country are infinitely small, so we shouldn't be concerned with them, but their tiny numbers belie the fact that they have this awesome power to destroy marriage and the military.

If we had just a fraction of the power you guys think we did, we would have everything we want, and we would all be rich beyond our dreams. I guess that's too bad....
5.22.2007 3:38pm
Aleks:
Re: Any soldier would then be able to declare their best friend their "domestic partner", shack up with said friend, give that friend valuable health insurance, and otherwise live a fun bachelor (or bachelorette) lifestyle outside of the supervision of the barracks -- all on the Army's dime, and all without actually being gay.

I've heard variations of this fear applied to same sex unions in general. However, what's to stop people from contracting fraudulent opposite-sex unions right now? In fact, the poster notes that this does in fact happen. So why would same sex unions make the situation any worse than it is when anyone who is minded to pull such a fraud can already do so? Moreover I would imagine that the social stigma of being thought gay when one is not would limit that gambit considerably.


Re: can you offer anything to show the British military's war fighting capabilities have gone up-the answer is no.

So what? The onus is on your side to show that there is a solid and compelling reason to continue our discriminatory policy. Discrmination is something that has to be strongly justified, not accepted as the default position. For example, we can concede there is a good reason we do not accept 60 year old recruits in the military, but if someone proposed excluding Blacks we would rightly reject that idea.
5.22.2007 3:38pm
Ben-Hsv (mail):
I would argue that homosexuality being a "non-issue" in the British military is closely related to its increasing EUnuch-ization, as displayed in the recent Iranian hostage situation. That is, a military can much more easily accommodate open homosexuals once it has begun giving up on the idea of being an effective fighting force. Just look at the Dutch navy. It allows open homosexuals, as well, but American officials who have spent time with the Dutch navy are appalled by its lack of discipline and the fact that it has apparently doubles as a big gay pick-up scene. The Dutch actually openly recruit gays using sly references to how great it is to be on a ship full of men. Not something I want to see us emulate.
5.22.2007 3:40pm
Mark F. (mail):
And your theory is, of course, wrong. But it is so funny, it really made my day. Thanks!

Really, so you seee no correlation at all between being very feminine acting and being homosexual? I see it all the time. I'm also arguing that there is a correlation between being ~hyper-masculine~ and being homosexual.

Most gay men fall between the extremes, but I think gay men are more likely than straight guys to fall at either extreme of the spectrum.
5.22.2007 3:44pm
Ben-Hsv (mail):
Aleks,

Other than what I already wrote, here's another "compelling reason": Privacy. There's not much of it in the military, so why should we force straights to shower and change in front of open gays?

It's up to your side to show why, if open homosexuals are allowed in the military, we should not just abolish the separation between the sexes, as well. And not just in the military, but everywhere. If it's O.K. to make straight guys undress in front of gays, why not make the ladies change in front of the straight guys?
5.22.2007 3:46pm
JosephSlater (mail):
Richard Aubrey and Ed O.:

Assuming you're being sincere, it must indeed be depressing for you to believe all that stuff. As someone who is left of center and hangs around many like-minded folks, I would try to cheer you up by telling you honestly that you're wrong -- and going beyond self-parody to boot -- but I doubt I would convince you.

More to the point here, however, you didn't answer the particular question about integration, so I'll ask it again. Assuming, arguendo, somebody, somewhere once said that adding gays, women, blacks, or whoever to the military would hurt the military and that's a good thing, is that really a valid argument against, say, integrating the army by race?
5.22.2007 3:50pm
Richard Aubrey (mail):
Randy R. D.O. means Deliberately Obtuse. The 11,000 gays discharged--presuming they were actually gay and not claiming it in order to get out as some have said (had a case like that in my company in 1970)--are not the ones trying to ruin the military, or at least most were not.
The point is that what happens when many openly gay people are in the military may have deleterious effects. The proponents of SSM as a tool to ruin conventional marriage have no doubt thought it through. Maybe they're right. Maybe not. I haven't thought it through. But then, I'm not promoting it as a way to ruin conventional marriage. What if they're right?
Those who deliberately exacerbated racial issues in order to ruin the Army practically succeeded, or temporarily succeeded.
Why is the issue of gay integration immune from the same kind of dynamic? Got any guarantees that the sort of thing we've seen before is absolutely not at work now?
We have had examples noted hereabouts that gay-integrated militaries don't seem to work so well. Perhaps it's the gay integration that did it. Perhaps it's something else entirely unrelated. Perhaps it's the change in the view of the military where social considerations are given preeminence over combat powerm and gay integration is only one issue of many.
During the last go'round on gay integration, one proponent on the subject admitted to Congress that there may well be a reduction in military efficiency. But we're a powerful nation and we can pay that price. Effin' admitted it and that we would pay a price. And didn't care.

There are, as I see it, three categories of proponents.
One thinks it would make no difference.
One thinks it would ruin the military or reduce its efficiency and that's the goal.
One thinks it would reduce the efficiency but doesn't care. We pay the price.
You think every single proponent of gay integration is in the first category?
5.22.2007 3:53pm
JosephSlater (mail):
Richard:

(1) Substitute "racial integration" for "allowing gays and lesbians" in all of your arguments/posts and tell me what you think about them.

For example, let's assume there would be some resistance to openly gay soldiers by some folks in the armed services in the short term. That certainly happened with the integration of blacks -- my dad was in the army at the time and told me lots of stories about that. Was that a reason not to integrate on the basis of race?

(2) As to your list of types proponents, you're leaving the most important one out. Many folks (including me), believe that allowing gays and lesbians would IMPROVE military efficiency overall, just like allowing blacks in combat did, because it would create a larger pool of potentially good soldiers to choose from (see, e.g., the translators).
5.22.2007 3:59pm
Colin (mail):
I didn't say ruining the military was the goal of the integrationists. I said it was likely the goal of some of them.

You say lots of things. You seem to give up before proving any of them.

I have no reason to presume that every single proponent of gay integration has the best interests of gays, or of the military, at heart.

On the contrary, you have their assurances, and the basis of their arguments, which is that integration would not harm the military. You also have the evidence that integration does not, in fact, harm the military. Integrationists say we want what's best for civil society and the military. There is no empirical evidence of any harm that can be ascribed to keeping soldiers in uniform despite their orientations. Had the military successfully integrated years ago, we'd have more translators and other valuable personnel under arms in Iraq, greatly benefitting our war effort; how many generals would turn down 11,000 troops if they were offered today? What you have no reason to do is doubt the motives of integrationists. Your fervor to cast aspersions on them has more to do with your own preconceived conclusions than any effort of logic or reason, and you certainly haven't offered any serious evidence.

I recall the first female into a private military school...

Racial integrationists were a cover for those who wanted to destroy the military, then women were a cover for those who wanted to destroy the military, and now gays are a cover for those who want to destroy the military? How clearly you must see, to perceive this dastardly decades-long conspiracy! What about law professors, academics, judges, reporters, and James Comey? Are they in on the conspiracy against the military, or just the general plot to destroy America?

The left's goal is to destroy the country.

I'm intrigued by your dedication to this incredibly irrational and counterfactual belief. Why would "the left" want to destroy the country? Qui bono? Is it an organized conspiracy, or just a widespread tendency you ascribe to people who are different than you? Why is there no evidence of this conspiracy or tendency - is there a second, more subtle conspiracy to cover it up? Was it a wicked leftist on the grassy knoll, and was he then or had he ever been a homosexual? Inquiring minds want to know!
5.22.2007 4:04pm
CatCube:
"So what? The onus is on your side to show that there is a solid and compelling reason to continue our discriminatory policy."

The funny part is I see it exactly the other way around. *You* should need to show why adding turmoil to the system is worth the benefit of changing the status quo.
5.22.2007 4:14pm
JosephSlater (mail):
CatCube:

Why shouldn't the onus be on folks insisting that, in a time of war, we should exclude millions of potentially useful and valiant soldiers, based on one lone characteristic, to justify that policy? Why shouldn't they have to explain why that characteristic should be in all cases unambiguously disqualifying? Especially since we have evidence that (i) the fear of "turmoil" has likely been substantially overstated (see the experiences of other nations) and (ii) we know that the "status quo" has had real costs to our military efforts (e.g., the translators).
5.22.2007 4:22pm
ATRGeek:
Of course, for all the ordinary reasons the likely benefit to having otherwise qualified people serve in the armed forces is clear. Indeed, presumably that is why the armed forces recruit people to serve, pay them for serving, and so on.

Accordingly, that is why pointing to specific shortgages (eg, an unmet need for translators) may be illustrative, but is unnecessary. That is also why in the absence of a demonstrated harm--and one which would outweigh the ordinary benefits--it is obvious that any otherwise qualified people should be allowed, and indeed encouraged, to serve in the armed forces.
5.22.2007 4:31pm
Richard Aubrey (mail):
Slater. That somebody said something one time someplace is not a reason to forego an action. It is a reason to wonder if he had a point, if he has allies, if there is reason to believe he's right.

The integration of blacks into the military begun in 1948 did not damage the combat effectiveness of the Army according to the folks I knew who were in in 1948, or who have studied it. By removing the second-best label from all-black units, morale improved. During WW II, blacks who were mostly in service and supply units, especially lifers, took reductions in grade in order to fit into a combat arms unit. 1948 was not the beginning of blacks in the military. It was the beginning of integrated units. This is a different scenario than the issue of gays.

Why would the left want to destroy the country? Ask them. It was their idea. The left preceded the USSR, and the left survives the USSR.

I knew a perfectly normal seeming clergyman in a mid-level hierarchical position in a liberal protestant denomination. He said he yearned to see the cross of Christ triumphant over chaos. Unfortunately, he didn't mean spiritual chaos, of which we will not soon run out. He meant the material chaos our settled arrangements don't provide. He would be working for real chaos. Sort of like bringing the end time ahead of time. And he liked the virile revolutionary regimes in Central America in the Eighties. Elections were, I guess, boring. And I don't get around all that much. That I run into people like this in no'count midwestern towns can't be a matter of hitting the infinitesimal, over and over again.
There are a good many reasons, many different. See Rebecca West's musings on the subject in her "The New Meaning of Treason".

The left has tried in the past, there's no reason to think they've stopped.

The gal who was used to integrate females into VMI was not treated kindly by those supposed to be her supporters. She was a tool. That, by itself, ought to tell you something.

And did I hear somebody I have the assurances of some folks? Like that's conclusive?

Colin. Dammit. Haven't I told you I know what I said? What's the point in making yourself look foolish by misrepresenting it? Get a grip.
5.22.2007 4:38pm
ed o:
is it a fantasy of the knuckle dragging right that ANSWER is in the forefront of the "anti-war" movement? that leftists march with islamists in these peace marches? that an organization that calls itself "The Race" somehow has a say into immigration policy in this country? why do some members of the left hate this country-ask them, I would be more depressed if I were a member of the left.
5.22.2007 4:44pm
JosephSlater (mail):
Richard:

Well, we agree that just because somebody says something is their goal, that doesn't mean the effect will be what they wish. Beyond that. . . .

There was very significant resistance to integrating blacks into the military in some quarters of the military. Again, my father was there at the time, but it's not hard to find more extensive documented history on this. I presume you agree that putting blacks into the military was a good thing despite this. My point is that this fact should be considered when debating any possible tensions integrating gays and lesbians might cause -- along with the increasing evidence from other countries that such integration doesn't actually cause problems.

As to your fevered imaginings about "the left" in the U.S., I'll stop being polite and start being honest. To the extent you think you are describing even a significant sliver of left/liberals in the U.S. today (or of those pushing for integration of the army), what you are saying would be slanderous if it wasn't so obviously and even comically false. And it's fundamentally lazy: don't want to engage in the arguments of the other side? Just assume their incredible bad faith (without having to provide evidence of or reason for such bad faith), and I guess you don't need to.
5.22.2007 4:49pm
Richard Aubrey (mail):
No, ed. o. It's not a fantasy. The interesting thing is those hereabouts who know damn' well this is happening are pretending it does not.
So the question is, why are they pretending?
Ooooooo. Paranoid.
So, answer the question. Why pretend?
Lots of space here.
5.22.2007 4:50pm
Colin (mail):
*You* should need to show why adding turmoil to the system is worth the benefit of changing the status quo.

I think this is a reasonable proposition; as the faction advocating a change in policy, I don't think it's beyond the pale to expect us to carry the burden of persuasion. Of course, I also think that we've met and more than met this burden, by identifying an invidious policy, pointing out specific and serious harms caused by it, and making serious and factually-supported arguments that our desired policy would not cause harm in the balance. The burden should then shift to those who oppose gays in uniform.

There are serious arguments to be made under that burden, such as what the short-term instability would be and how the military would adapt in barracks and combat situations. Ideally, those concerns are answered by the practical examples of other nations. In practice, advocates of integration lump those arguments in with the hysterical "gays are the gullible tools of the left which wants to destroy America" garbage that attends this debate, and they tend to get ignored.

Speaking of which, Richard, you haven't answered my question. Is this an organized conspiracy to destroy America for no particular reason? Are the Masons in on it?
5.22.2007 4:54pm
Richard Aubrey (mail):
Slater. I am not particularly concerned about "turmoil" as such. But the example of the left exacerbating the racial issues in the Sixties went beyond turmoil. They attempted to create it. They did. A white guy caught stealing from somebody else went through the usual process. A black guy got Kunstler's wannabes howling about repression and racism. To think they were concerned about due process is juvenile. I watched commanders actually do the wrong thing--usually in personnel matters--for fear of attracting that kind of attention. It wasn't an accident.
So when the opportunity arises wrt gays and military life, I wouldn't be surprised to see the same thing. I would be surprised, to put it more accurately, not to see it.

So the left as I describe it is small. Fine. It's interesting how many not of their kidney have the same tactics, rhetoric, and goals. So the rest of the fellow travelers don't carry an ANSWER ID card. So? If you differentiated yourself from their actions and rhetoric, that would be more persuasive.

We have, as I noted before, seen once-proud militaries not looking so hot. Correlation--bringing in gays--does not equal causation. But it does require explanation. IMO, it's the entire process of putting social concerns ahead of combat effectiveness. Which, as I noted, at least one proponent cheerfully admitted would suffer wrt gays.
5.22.2007 4:59pm
Ben-Hsv (mail):
Comparing the integration of blacks into the military is fallacious in the extreme. Human sexuality does not equate to race in any shape or form, and inviting blacks into the military did not create sexual privacy concerns. Such comparisons are either facile analogies used by the ignorant, or red herrings intentionally employed by the dishonest as smear tactics. Either way, it's despicable.
5.22.2007 5:00pm
ed o:
I gave ANSWER as a concrete example of a proud organization of the left involved in the forefront of the anti-war movement-you don't consider that to be a significant part of the left when it is organizing and leading the marches? what dream world are you living in to block that from your thought process? do you somehow believe they are out there for this country and are not actively working against its interests?
5.22.2007 5:03pm
JosephSlater (mail):
Ben-Hsv:

In your zeal to add pointless insults, you miss the point of the analogy. Opponents of integrating gays and lesbians say, "but it will cause unrest in certain quarters of the military." There is no question that integrating blacks did exactly that, at least for a time (as opponents predicted it would). But, I think you would agree, that alone was not a sufficient reason to refuse to integrate the army on the basis of race. So, that alone is not a sufficient reason to refuse to integrate the army on the basis of sexual orientation.

That's not a smear tactic, facile, dishonest, that's a pretty tight comparison as far as it goes. You may believe that gays and lesbians are, in other ways, much different than blacks. But that wasn't the point.
5.22.2007 5:08pm
JosephSlater (mail):
Richard:

So I have to prove to you that I am not part and parcel of ANSWER? It is to laugh. Please prove to me you're not part of the KKK. Because, you know, a big chunk of the political right. . .

And there is no "correlation" to cause us to wonder about any possible "causation." That's the whole point of the original post.
5.22.2007 5:10pm
Richard Aubrey (mail):
ed. o

ANSWER is one part of the issue.

Another part would be, say, Pelosi's visit to Syria. Good for us???? How?
But, as James Lileks said, after the election, he'd be checking fares for the last helicopter off the embassy roof, were he an Iraqi who'd trusted the Americans. And Pelosi did what to allay those fears?
Beat Bush and hang the consequences.

As somebody noted, the capital city of the last country to trust us is Ho Chi Minh city. And the dems/left/libs think that was a hell of a good thing. And they're clearly trying like hell to make it happen again.
5.22.2007 5:10pm
Richard Aubrey (mail):
No, Slater, you don't have to prove anything. But if you want to look different from ANSWER, look different from ANSWER. Your choice.

There actually is a correlation. As has been pointed out several times. The question is causation.

BTW, Colin Powell said he got "testy" when the gay issue and the racial integration issue were equated. He didn't see it the same. Probably a member of the KKK.
5.22.2007 5:17pm
Ben-Hsv (mail):
Joseph,

But the key is WHY each event would cause unrest. Integration "caused unrest" because certain whites didn't want blacks to be treated as equals. Bringing homosexuals into the military will cause unrest for quite different reasons. Pretending that it's all just apples and apples is ridiculous, and yes, facile and a smear tactic. Sexuality is not race and race is not sexuality.
5.22.2007 5:27pm
Richard Aubrey (mail):
I wasn't in the Army in 1948-49, being barely born. But there could hardly have been more "turmoil" then than there was a couple of decades later when the race issue was used to damage the military.
At this point, I don't see the issue of gays in the military looking like a reprise of 48-49, but of 68-75. In neither case were the individuals, except in a few isolated instances, part of the problem except as tokens, symbols, or tools.
5.22.2007 5:33pm
ed o:
there aren't enough gays who want to be in the military to help or hurt our combat ability-however, will letting them serve openly assist our ability to fight a war or improve our military. saying that Britain and Israel have them without answering the question about the ability to fight remaining the same or improving answers and proves absolutely nothing. I am sure letting IV drug users into the military would help us reach target recruitment numbers-but would it help us win a war?
5.22.2007 5:42pm
ATRGeek:
Again, these speculative harms are subject to investigation.

For example, as I understand it, it turns out that after a very short period the overwhelming majority of straight people find out that they just don't care that they are doing things like showering next to an openly gay person. In fact, a typical American would have to be pretty dense not to realize they likely had already been nude around a gay person, and likely will be again if they ever use a lockerroom or a public bathroom. In general, nudity taboos are obviously almost entirely cultural artifacts, and in that sense I suspect it might work equally well to have unisex showers and the like.

But again, at least when it comes to gay people and straight people having to be as nude around each other as military life requires, we do not have to speculate--we can just look and see what has happened already.
5.22.2007 5:43pm
ATRGeek:
ed o,

But we likely have reason to believe that illegal drug users are less likely to be qualified for military service. To make your argument applicable, you either have to show what makes gay people less qualified (ala illegal drug users), or you have to consider an analogy based on something unrelated to qualifications.

For example, amber eyes are pretty rare in humans, so you might ask if it would be a good idea to exclude people with amber eyes from serving in the armed forces. And since people with amber eyes are pretty rare, such a policy may not be devastating to the armed forces, but on the other hand the marginal harm is clear: to the extent you exclude people from service for reasons unrelated to their qualifications for service, you may be unnecessarily reducing your recruiting pool.

So, you either have to show why gay people are less qualified, or show why there are good reasons to believe that the general benefits of allowing and encouraging qualified people to serve in the armed forces are somehow outweighed by other considerations when it comes to gay people.
5.22.2007 5:53pm
Ben-Hsv (mail):
ATRGeek,

But there is a huge difference between showering with someone whom you don't know is gay vs. showering with someone who is openly gay.

I will have to give you props, however, for having the honesty to admit that such a proposition opens the door to unisex showers, dressing rooms, etc. Most on your side of the debate avoid the subject because they know it's an argument killer for most people (especially women).
5.22.2007 5:55pm
CatCube:
"exclude millions of potentially useful and valiant soldiers, based on one lone characteristic, to justify that policy?"

We do that all the time with other "lone characteristic[s]." If you're in debt, do not have someone who can care for your child on a long-term basis (you can be discharged for this, too), have some types of previous felony convictions, etc. Now, obviously why *these* are disallowed is straightforward, and I'm not drawing a moral parallel between felons and homosexuals. But some of the people in these groups could be very good Soldiers and add value to the military. But *on balance* the problems that allowing them in will cause is not worth the value added. My objection was stated above by Synova at 0312:
"The military will deal with what it's ordered to deal with but deep down most would prefer to simplify rather than complicate the human element. At least, as it is, those in charge can pretend (in an officially pretending sort of way) that all they've got to deal with is het men and het women. Which is all ready a pain in the *ss, but at least it's an equation with only one variable."

Now, I'm a new officer, and I went from training to being permanent party XO in a training unit, so all of my experience is dealing with trainees. Therefore, that's what I've been confining my remarks to. To me, the idea that we'll just drop in open homosexuals into the training base and there won't be any adverse effects is daft. I don't think there'll be a rash of beatings or something, I think that there'll be a 6-month gap while things shake out, then the number of sexual misconduct nonjudicial punishments will go through the roof. It's a royal pain in the butt having males and females in the same barracks, and at least we can keep them in separate areas. I get a headache just thinking about what my schedule would look like if we have people who want to screw each other in the same damned room. It'll layer on another training distractor, and we're spending a lot of time dealing with ones we've got already. (Yes, I realize we have gays in the bays already. But the fact that it's illegal helps mitigate and keep it discreet. I've had about 300 Soldiers graduate from my training company since I've been here, and about 400 in residence right now. I can think of one time I've heard of a gay Soldier while I've been here, and that was such a roundabout rumor that neither me nor the commander ever learned the Soldier's name. I've spent more time thinking about homosexuality in uniform typing this comment than I have for the entire six months I've been in this job. That'll go away real quick with a policy change.)

I think that all other things being equal, allowing Soldiers who are openly homosexual will result in a reduction in the quality of training. Maybe Big Army can make up for it due to the difference in culture, but I don't think that they should have to.
5.22.2007 5:57pm
CatCube:
Gah. I type these long posts in between doing work. I started drafting my 1647 post after JosephSlater's 1522, and didn't check for ninja posts.
5.22.2007 6:06pm
ATRGeek:
Ben-Hsv,

Again, your speculation about the effects of knowing the person is gay is subject to investigation. For example, what do the straight people in the armed forces who in fact have served with people they know are gay say about this?

By the way, again my sense is that straight people in this situation typically find out that they don't care (which may well surprise a lot of them at first, insofar as they may have expected to care when they only imagined the situation). Again, though, if you think otherwise you can go look at the available evidence for confirmation of your speculation.

Of course, CatCube's "invisible" harm speculation is harder to test. For example, the speculation that even if people who are known to be gay are already serving together, somehow this policy is keeping the floodgates of sexual misconduct from opening, is extremely difficult to test without eliminating the policy. And obviously, there is no limit to the speculative and difficult-to-test harms a creative person could come up with. I just personally doubt that sort of ad hoc speculation is going to be enough to be persuasive in the long run.
5.22.2007 6:36pm
Ben-Hsv (mail):
ATRGeek,

I would say that "your sense" on these issues is also open to investigation. Most people do not want to be "checked out" in the shower, etc., particularly by someone they are not attracted to, and doubly particularly by someone whose sexual practices disgust them. It's a violation of human dignity and decency. For every claim that this whole issue "doesn't matter," the claimant has the responsibility to convincingly argue that it also doesn't matter in a mixed-gender setting. Only by ignoring this aspect can you hope to make your case.
5.22.2007 6:47pm
baldilocks (mail) (www):
Randy R. claims that
most translators are gay, and the military knows it. They are trained in Monterrey [sic], CA, and so grads are called Monterrey Marys [never heard this term], since everyone knows that most are gay.
Apparently thing have changed since I attended DLI--twice in the eighties, once in the early nineties.
Between 1998 and 2004, the military discharged 20 Arabic and six Farsi speakers, according to Department of Defense data obtained by the Center for the Study of Sexual Minorities in the Military under a Freedom of Information Act request.
This statistic doesn't exactly bear out your claim.

As I recall there were two "suspects" during one of my tours in Berlin (eighties). As I recall, no one ratted them out--don't ask, don't tell in practice (as it happens, one of them ratted out himself in order to gain an early discharge).

Later two more 'came out' after serving honorably and exiting the Air Force. Not exactly a majority among the thousands with whom I attended DLI and with whom I served as both a German and a Russian linguist in the AF.
5.22.2007 8:04pm
CatCube:
"CatCube's "invisible" harm speculation"

This is not wild speculation here. Let me give you an example. As mentioned above, we have (basically) a burgler alarm on the external doors and certain internal doors on our barracks. The external doors are to catch people trying to sneak out in the middle of the night, and the internal alarms are to divide the barracks into male and female sections.

One night, the power went out for a large section of post. The alarm system shut down (the Privates know that there's no backup system) and the barracks went pitch-black. The Drill Sergeants went upstairs. One caught a Private on his cell phone, receiving a text message from a female Private asking to meet. The DS seized the phone, and sent a message back asking her to meet him in the back stairwell. He went down there, caught the female and two more females trying to set up rendevous of their own. Now technically, it is speculation that when you have a number of openly-gay Privates sharing the same bathroom and sleeping areas, you're going to have a lot more of this type of issue, and it will be harder to control. But I think my example shows that it's pretty reasonable speculation. So I don't think that the harm will be "invisible," except to the civilians who don't have to deal with this crap on a daily basis.

The parts that are open to speculation are: (1) What will be the magnitude of the increase in trainee fraternization (2) How detrimental will this be to training and readiness and (3) Will the benefits that openly-gay Soldiers bring to the table outweigh the detriment. Note that this is a systemic problem, not one that you can wave away with specific examples about how this or that Soldier adds value and that they abide religiously by the fraternization policy, but got thrown out anyway. Does the value that they add outweigh the increase in fraternization violations, where each single instance will be minor by itself, and will therefore be "invisible" to outsiders?
5.22.2007 8:04pm
baldilocks (mail) (www):
(1) What will be the magnitude of the increase in trainee fraternization (2) How detrimental will this be to training and readiness and (3) Will the benefits that openly-gay Soldiers bring to the table outweigh the detriment.
These are the questions that military planners need to ask before implementing any policy, which, in my opinion they did not do when they decided to allow single females to remain on active duty after giving birth.

Example: contrary to Randy R's assertion that DLI was/is a hotbed (no pun intended) of homosexuality, the DLI of my experience was a hotbed of rampantly irresponsible heterosexuality. Single pregnant females were everywhere; so much so that when I became pregnant during my last technical training tour there, my first sergeant was actually surprised to discover that I was married (okay, he was an idiot, but that's not the point).

It seems to me that, for all too many individuals and institutions, *appearing* to do the right thing is more important than exploring whether a prospective action is, in reality, the correct one. Also, insufficiently explored are the ramifications--good and bad--of either action or inaction, along with the cost-benefit analyses of each. In one's personal life, this failure can be leathal; exponientially so for an armed force.
5.22.2007 8:25pm
JosephSlater (mail):
CatCube, Ben-HSV, and Aubrey:

Of course the initial post -- and other experiences with foreign nations -- is contrary evidence to what you claim about it being so obvious that gays will cause a big problem. But why worry about facts, when your prejudices will can substitute?

And Aubrey, re me distinguishing myself from ANSWER, you're going from ridiculous to pathetic.
5.22.2007 8:54pm
ATRGeek:
Ben-Hsv,

Again, I am fine with these issues being settled by investigation, rather than speculation. So, again, let's look to see if it actually bothers people in the armed forces.

CatCube,

Again, I would be fine with settling your issue by investigation. But if I understand you correctly, you are speculating that even if gay servicemembers are not currently causing a disproportionate number of sexual misconduct problems, they would if the policy was lifted.

If that is your argument, then we are indeed back to the deadlock problem. I just don't think that argument is going to be very persuasive in the long run.
5.22.2007 8:57pm
Richard Aubrey (mail):
Slater. I objected to the presumed validity of the original post for reasons which I explained in detail. There are situations where trouble is not reported and so....there's no trouble.
But there is.
My point, again, is that there is a possibility that this may reduce combat efficiency. One proponent when this was the subject of Congressional hearings admitted it would.
So I don't know why I'm supposed to go against my experience having to do with reporting.
And the doing-just-fine militaries are doing just fine says who?
Did the Brits captured by Iran look like, or act like, the iron men in wooden ships that Nelson commanded? Did their commanders act like fighting men or anxious bureaucrats?
There may or may not be a causative link. But there is a simultaneity which ought to be examined to see whether the doing-just-fine is an artifact of PC reporting or reality.

And you vs. ANSWER: I guess we'll wait until you and they have different goals.
5.22.2007 9:28pm
Randy R. (mail):
"There's not much of it in the military, so why should we force straights to shower and change in front of open gays? "

Oh please. Don't flatter yourself that you are just so cute that gay men can't stop looking at you. And for that matter, you already have straights showering and changing front of gays men. so what's the diff if they are open?

As for the rest of the arguments, they are confusing two points. People like Aubrey keep saying that if we let in gays, there is a possibility that the militaries will weaken somehow.

But: The military ALREADY has many gay men and women, and allows them to serve. Moreover, the military has stated repeatedly that gay men and women serve honorably and are just as good as any other soldier. The question isn't whether gays should be in the military -- they already ARE. The question is whether you might know about it. If they are open about their gayness, THEN they are kicked out, but not before.

So if the military is weakened because of gays, then it is already weak. If it isn't weakened by gays, then allowing them to serve openly certainly isnt' going to change that.

Mr. Aubrey: It's very striking that you rely completely upon speculation about the effect gays might have upon the military, and you say that is reason enough to keep them out.

Yet, in other parts of these boards, we have discussed the issue of global warming and climate change. You have stated that despite all the evidence in favor of climate change, you are unconvinced, and you are sure that it is a hoax. Why? Surely, if you rely on nothing but speculation, you should be *agreeing* with climate change, because, according to you, it is nothing more than speculation. Well, 'nothing more than speculation' is enough to prevent gays from serving in the military, but 'nothing more than speculation' is somehow not enough to convince you of climate change.

Therefore, one can only conclude that you simply believe what you what to believe, evidence be damned. You dont' care that other militaries have successfully integrated gays, you seem to be stuck upon this weird notion that gays want to destory the military, you can't offer any evidence of this, even among the 11,000 people discharged under DADT. You don't even seem to notice that if DADT was eliminated, those 11,000 would still be in the military, REGARDLESS of whether they really were gay when they were discharged.

The only reason, let me repeat this: The SOLE REASON the army has given for not allowing gays to OPENLY serve in the military is not because they will destroy it, feminize it, or weaken it, but because the homophobic bigots wouldn't be able to deal with it.

What this means, is that eventually, there will be fewer bigots as society learns to deal with gay people as they do blacks and other minorities. It already is happening. As that happens, the militaries own stated reason will weaken with time, and even you will eventually have agree that there is no reason to deny service to open gays.

Or, you will have to speculate on the harm that gays will have on the military. Given that there are already thousands of gays currently serving in the military, that will be a tough one for you to argue.
5.22.2007 10:47pm
Randy R. (mail):
Ben: "I am sure letting IV drug users into the military would help us reach target recruitment numbers-but would it help us win a war?"

Or better yet, I'm sure letting people in with criminal records, or a weak command of the language would help us reach the target numbers -- but would it help us win a war?
5.22.2007 10:51pm
Randy R. (mail):
I will say this, though, that having enough arabic translators WILL help us with a war, and also help us win a peace. Not one of you have made any arguments about why we are better off with a few dozen less translators simply because they are gay.

You mean to say our men in uniform are just too sensitive to work with a gay person? I'm openly gay, and I have worked with hundreds of people in my life, and not once has it been an issue. It certainly shouldn't be for translators. And by the way, they were hired by the State Dept, and they are working out just fine.
5.22.2007 10:54pm
Randy R. (mail):
Cat, you make some good arguments, and I respect them. No one wants COs having to do more work than is needed. Your argument seems to be one of fraternization. Isnt' that illegal? Then it should be prohibited for everyone, gays and straights alike.

Now, I can understand that you might think there will be an increase just because there are open gays in your midst. However, If, let's say, 5% of your recruits have trouble keeping the policy, on average, than that average will also include gays. There won't be a huge increase of fraternization, unless you believe that gay men are going to have more sex than hetero men. There isn't any proof of that (it's actually a myth).

So the bottomline is that if you increase the number of recruits, whether they are gay or straight, the actual number of problems will increase, but the percentage will likely stay the same, but it will increase REGARDLESS of the sexual orientation of the recruits.
If you have a steady number of recruits, but a higher percentage of gays, then you will still have the same actual number of problem cases. Likewise, if you bannish all gays totally, you will still have that same 5% problem cases.

In other words, I think your fears are unfounded. You will have problem cases whatever the situation (and I think that's a problem), but the actual number of problems? Unless you can give me evidence that gays are having more sex than the straights, then you simply won't have any greater number of problem cases.
5.22.2007 11:06pm
Randy R. (mail):
Cat: " Does the value that they add outweigh the increase in fraternization violations, where each single instance will be minor by itself, and will therefore be "invisible" to outsiders?"

The military HAS made a decision, and the decision is that they would prefer to have gays in the military than not. This is evidenced by the fact that the number of people discharged because of DADT has dropped significantly since the start of the Iraq war. Of course, if any of the fears that you had about gays in the military held water, then we should see a dramatic rise in discharges, so as to keep the military strong and so on.

The real test will be after the war is over, or when we finally pull out all the troops. If discharges climb at that point, then the military is saying that gays are fine for the military during wartime, but not during peacetime.
5.22.2007 11:10pm