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Sunday, December 19. 2010
I care that some friends who are gay or defend gays, as I have at corporate career risk many times, have an opposite view of the immediate congressional repeal of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell (DADT). But, I care more about the immediate effect on the welfare of US combat troops and for US national security.
Yes, “national security” is a BIG term, and can be read as overexpansive. Yet, that is precisely what is stake, in immediate and longer-term consequences. Neither the US nor our military will fall off a cliff. However, the immediate repeal of DADT is another slip down the decline of a strong US foreign policy. Most liberals may see no problem or that as desirable. The majority of Americans and nations do not see the US policies of which this is part that way.
There is no reason to doubt, and to even applaud, that the majority of Americans and of military servicemembers do not have strong objections to, or favor, gays serving openly in the US military. It is a commendable affirmation of American fairness. Further out, a less rapid and more measured elimination of DADT may be more practical.
Some Western nations have openly gay military service, almost all in non-combat positions, but their militaries are weak and dependent upon US forces and umbrella, none of them taking the commitment and responsibility for the magnitude of the tasks the US does. Israel’s military is raised as an exception, but that ignores the different realities there which even official US reports recognize.
At the same time, it ignores or is a repudiation of the warriors who now serve in the front-lines, whose tight bonds with and complete trust and reliance upon the guy next to him determines his very survival, as the New York Times interviews of Marines makes clear. The majority of combat troops see the possible negative impacts, as clear in the Pentagon report, and some will pay with their careers or lives. The official Pentagon summary says 70% of the military see a positive or neutral effect, but that skews the actual poll result: 20% saw no and 19% positive impact, 30% negative, and 32% some of both. The majority of Marine and Army combat troops saw negative impacts. Nothing in the Pentagon report says there will be betterment of military effectiveness, which should be the key issue. Our military exists to accomplish combat missions, first and primary, above all. The major veterans organizations and the largest number of retired generals and admirals ever to publicly speak out on a military issue – 1167 – expressed their opposition to immediate repeal of DADT.
The immediate repeal of DADT is especially dangerous to the combat units and troops, already under severe stress. Further, both Admiral Mullens testified to Congress and General Petraeus’ Command Sergeant Major clearly stated that combat troops can either stifle or get out.
If you look at the Pentagon “implementation plan” attached to its survey of attitudes, focus on the supposedly guiding “Vignettes” appendix (p.69 fwd). The New York Times comments of the implementation plan, "The plan offers few specifics on the substance of the training to be provided." In almost every case, there is no real answer to how to deal with challenges to military order or living conditions. Instead, the Vignettes repeatedly just rely upon command judiciousness, which in effect will mostly mean accommodation or acquiescence, for the sake of their own careers. There can be little doubt, under the best of circumstances, that boundaries will be constantly disputed, will take up much time and resources, and thus distract from focus on military effectiveness issues. The limit on the military’s costs and troubles of accommodating gay marriage, the federal Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) only recognizing heterosexual legal unions, is under judicial challenge. Gay rights activists intend for DADT repeal to be the precursor to DOMA repeal. So, expect further turmoil in the ranks and defense budgets.
The actual repercussions will be less than the worst case in most cases. No one expects gay – or liberal or libertarian -- enlistments or service in combat units to surge or, even, increase by a tiny fraction of a percent. However, the efforts to accommodate that relatively tiny number will still consume much effort and resources, and will establish conditions that significantly affect the majority of combat troops. Similarly, no one expects newfound support from those opposed to our military’s missions or who ignore our troops’ safety. Meanwhile, a much larger number of those who do enlist will not or will not re-enlist or will be ushered out of the military.
Talk to combat troops and veterans, as I frequently do, and the resentment quickly comes out at the excesses of “political correctness” unrealistically imposed on them, especially when it puts their lives at increased risk. Most stay, but a great many do not. Military commands turn to alternatives, like targeted predator bombing instead of face-to-face killing. In both cases, of course, there is infrequent collateral damage (meaning of innocents or non-combatants), but predators are less personal so less protested by domestic liberals. Still, that alternative is less effective than on-the-ground eliminating or neutralizing foes and holding territory so that conditions can be created for more lasting civilian safety.
Support for our missions in Iraq and Afghanistan declined for many reasons, including the difficulties and potential futility of accomplishing even modest lasting objectives with too few troops committed and backed to do what’s necessary. Other countries see and retreat from supporting the US or from taking a stand against encroaching threats, whether from Islamist radicals or from other anti-Western states.
The world sees the Obama administration “incensed” at the UN removing explicit protection of gays from its official policy, and nowhere near this firmness in defense of US allies – or US troops -- who confront existential enemies.
I have two young sons, and like many others have serious doubts whether they should choose to follow me into military service.Major media coverage of the Congress vote to repeal DADT is laudatory, and often insulting to those (McCain a "villain"!) who opposed repeal. I won’t hold my breath for their sons or daughters enlistment.
OK, who didn't see this coming?
Well, unless you're a drama queen with access to gazillions of classified documents. Then the whole gay thing just might be a red flag worthy of some additional scrutiny. At least I hope it would, although it appears that political correctness means "Don't Ask" is still operative and it's only "Don't Tell" which has been superseded by "Shout It From The Rooftops".
Weblog: The WyBlog
Tracked: Dec 20, 12:23
Pyrrhic Victory: What’s Next For Gays After The DADT Repeal
My good friend Dan Blatt, of GayPatriot blog, has a worth reading column today at AOL, What's Next for Gays After the DADT Repeal? Though we disagree on the repeal of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell (DADT), Blatt neutrally links to and quotes from m
Weblog: Maggie's Farm
Tracked: Dec 21, 16:40
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The Left always gets what they want in increments.
My thinking is they want to transform the armed services into little more than a multi-culti jobs program. Fetching food and water for disaster victims and such.
Allowing gays to serve openly is just part of it. Warriors that kill people and break things will eventually find the environment so distasteful and stifling they will leave while competent potential new recruits reconsider.
Ultimately the military could be transformed to a progressive haven as the government bureaucracy, media and academia have become.
The military is the one branch of government service they don't have a lock on and I am sure they would like nothing better than to change that.
That's the way my crystal ball sees it.
I see the TSA is hiring Muslim airport screeners.Doug Ross has the Pic.
Hey, what could possibly go wrong?
Ultimately conservatives have abandoned government service and acadamia to the liberals. How sad.
"....rely upon command judiciousness, which in effect will mostly mean accommodation or acquiescence, for the sake of their own careers."
See Major Nidal Malik Hasan for confirmation of this.
I'm a firm believer in Complex Systems Failure Theory or Systemantics. Written and described by John Gall, a pediatrician, it is a spoof of Ludwig von Bertalanffy's very serious "General Systems Theory".
While Systemantics is a clever take off on "Murphy's Law", it does have some validity, primarily the Fundamental Theorem which states that new systems generate new unforseen problems.
In this case, we have a new social system being imposed on a section of society that is naturally resistant to change. As you noted the other day, while the rear echelon types are ambivilent to this, the tip of the spear where the killing people and breaking stuff is not and, in most part, opposed. That is going to be a problem and the entire system will fail not because of the natural tendency of complex systems to fail, but because there will be active resistance to the system itself from within.
While I don't have any real objection to openly gay men or women participating in our armed services, I do have an objection to implementing a socially imposed solution to a problem that should have been administrative or legislative in concept with due deliberation - in particular in a time of war - without proper discussion and thought. This is a case of pandering to a particular (and small section) group of our society - I hope it will end well, but I have my doubts.
I'm glad two of our three service members will be ending their military careers (one active, two reserve) soon. And like you, I'm not sure I could recommend the military to any sons or daughters of friends or neighbors as I have in the past.
Like she said; this was a trade/ good politics-bad design. The rich and the republicans got the tax breaks, the dems got the extension of unemployment, the republicans got to stop the DREAM act, but the dems got the big money generator--DADT.
Where is Apple Pie? Have not seen her on this site since she commented that being gay was not genetic.
Well reasoned article.
Wonder at what point in time did things change from a responsibility to be available for military service to a right to join the military? Seems that lots of men who were too fat, too tall, too skinny, and possessed any number of characteristics that potentially interfere with military effectiveness have been excused from service without anyone taking up the banner of injustice. Curious.
It is my hope that the military brass who caved in to political pressure figured they would find a way to implement the new reality without hurting combat effectiveness. For example, what is to prevent them from placing gays in the same category as women in terms of combat roles?
If I entertained a more cynical view, I'd say the repeal of DADT fits in with the overall liberal theme of changing the nature of the military and preventing us from engaging in the kind of war we now fight in Iraq and Afghanistan. We'll lose the capacity to fight certain kinds of wars because we'll be recruiting and staffing the services with career workers instead of patriots.
I have some insight into the issue, as I work in the Pentagon and smoke cigars in Center Court with a couple of very senior Army Sergeants Major and a few Marines.
BLUF: 1. I don't think this repeal is a good idea.
2. I think gay people have all the same rights we do.
The HQ people are very nervous about this. They fully understand that gay people serve, and serve well. They're nervous that young men in otherwise good-even distinguished-service will react badly.
I share their uncertainty.
I do not want any Marine, or soldier, ever to have less commitment to their mate in a fighting hole than they do today. That will get good people killed.
I also do not want some young Marine or soldier to get court-martialled for verbal or physical harassment of a gay fellow troop.
We've got to be extremely careful about implementing this.
And despite what they claim, numbers will be kept; and a new report will be demanded at all command levels.
"I also do not want some young Marine or soldier to get court-martialled for verbal or physical harassment of a gay fellow troop"
I'm far more worried about homosexual officers and senior NCOs demanding sexual favours from their subordinates.
In this PC society complaining or indeed refusing will be judged to be "homophobic" and a "hate crime" and get the subordinate in deep sh*t, acquiesce, and you open yourself to be raped.
The law has been passed. Let the lawsuits begin. If anyone thinks Afghanistan has been a hard slog, just wait until the legal battles start when implementation gets full underway. I see a lot of hand-to-hand legal combat ahead. It won't be pretty, it won't be fun. I can imagine a lot of otherwise dedicated service people saying the aggravation just isn't worth it. The worst.Congress.ever.
There is a world of difference between the chairborne rangers that idle away their days in the Pentagon and never deploy OCONUS and fighting troops that live in the field side by side wit their fellow soldiers in combat conditions. This military society has roots and traditions that go back thousands of years. The warrior troops almost universally did not want the repeal of DADT, but the elites don't really care about them.
This may be simplistic, but I still feel that a GLBT that really wants to serve would have respect for the traditions and could serve with honor, making a sacrifice to do so very similar to the sacrifice that every serving enlisted man and officer makes in that they are away from home and subject to a command authority.
The next phase, that they deliberately did not address in this repeal vote, is how a command structure survives when it contains special classes. It is only a matter of time (weeks probably) before the gay card gets played in a command structure. As someone noted above, the gay card in the service can work both upwards or downwards, but in either direction, it will be destructive to good order and discipline.
Of course, the senior CYA senior officers (like Casey on diversity and MAJ Hassan "it would be an even greater tragedy if our diversity becomes a casualty here") will be only too ready to embrace any PC demand, because the troops are pawns. God bless Marine Corps Commandant Gen. James Amos for speaking on behalf of the combat arms.
Since the libs are determine to (and appear to have) turned the US military into a multi-culti social experiment (that, in the next liberal wave of idiocy, will probably soon be under the control of the UN), I could not in good conscience recommend it to any of my descendants.
Should it become a problem in a Combat Zone, I'd not want to be the offensive Gay guy on point.
Not to be massively cutting edge about it all, but when everyone behind you is as heavily armed as everyone in front of you is, you better not be really crossways with anyone behind you.
"The immediate repeal of DADT is especially dangerous to the combat units and troops, already under severe stress. Further, both Admiral Mullens testified to Congress and General Petraeus’ Command Sergeant Major clearly stated that combat troops can either stifle or get out."
Clearly those who voted for repeal have no problem with option 2. I suspect many good men will find option 2 more palatable, and I also suspect that Command Staff is not prepared for that.
And how will the military deal with cross dressers? How about on base housing and BHQs? The devil is in the details, but if you loved the multiculture diversity sessions, or feminazi lectures wait till you undergo girlie-men sensitivity lectures. So what if your religious or personal beliefs are trampled on. Tarditional believes have no place in a progressive utopia.
I have never seen a single arugment on how this action will enhance our military. Having said that why can't the overweight, felons, pedophiles, those who are deviant also serve. I mean aren't they human too?
If your sons are to serve, it's probably best they do so soon. Military bases will soon be as Catholic seminaries were in '60s and '70s. Think of the stories new recruits will have in 20 years. And the lawsuits.
Best to do four-and-out before an officer's droit du seigneur over new recruits is affirmed by the courts.
I am opposed to university and diversity. I believe in the polyversity: the equality of all genders: polyamorists, masochists, pedophiles, rapists, homosexuals, voyeurs, bestialists, sadists, etc. Only feminists with their obsessions over rape remain opposed to gender equality.
During my time in the Marines and then the National Guard, I always tried to stay in combat units. The one support unit I served in was a nightmare of political correctness and bureaucracy. Even in the Infantry and Armor we had to watch the sexual harassment training films. Since we had no women, we just laughed at them and forgot about it once the REMF trainers scurried back to their comfortable offices. Now that DADT is gone, the combat units will be all PC’d up too – regardless of the effect on their combat readiness.
I hope we can do this right. That means gay relationships within a unit are absolutely forbidden – a Court Martial, Bad Conduct Discharge offense. Apparently Susan Collins and the rest know better than me – they just don’t have to live or die with it.
Apparently Susan Collins and the rest know better than me – they just don’t have to live or die with it.
Indeed - nicely said.
It is a sign of the times though.
Sexual predation has floated around the military for a long time. It is disgusting that any military member would use any form of favoritism or coercion to gain sexual favors. There are anecdotes of military superiors making homosexual advances to their subordinates from decades ago and similar anecdotes of subordinates willing to trade favors for advantages. Repeal of homosexual exclusion doesn't change this dynamic very much -- except the possibility that a subordinate would be harder to blackmail now.
I don't think that homosexual servicemembers should be a special class -- which is what they are now, a special class to be disposed of. There are already appropriate military policies and laws about favoritism and coercion.
The comments above continue a theme we've seen through the entire debate: there's nothing inherently disqualifying for military duty in being homosexual, or in homosexual activities, but our line troops are so prejudiced that they will reject a comrade they know to be gay. That's not what the survey responses indicated and it betrays a dreadful lack of faith in our soldiers. Some of our soldiers will reject comrades who are known to be homosexual -- and most of our commenters here are saying it's the homosexual soldier who is wrong? You wouldn't say that if the issue was religion or dietary choice or skin color. I think the vast majority of soldiers in combat arms are going to find this is really small potatoes and those are the ones I want to keep anyway.
Legitimate privacy issues remain. The fact is I used group showers a lot when I was an enlisted member and I'd have preferred privacy anyway, even though I had no particular concerns about homosexual men in the shower. I just didn't want to strip down for anyone for my shower.
As usual, well-stated Geoff, and my thanks for hanging in this discussion, and continuing it in its civil fashion.
I think you may be correct about coercion of lower ranks, but incorrect about favoritism issues that may occur more frequently.
And, yes, there's nothing "inherently" disqualifying about gay servicemembers. There is just too much on the combat troops plates now, as well as on the plates of the support troops and commands.
As to privacy, I see some's reasoning, but I laugh a bit too as I recall that when I was a boy at the Flatbush Boys Club we weren't allowed to wear bathing suits in the pool. I don't recall why, maybe sanitation from dirty bathing suits. Then I remember standing at long lines, naked or maybe in tidy-whities, for draft board physicals.
The comments above continue a theme we've seen through the entire debate: there's nothing inherently disqualifying for military duty in being homosexual, or in homosexual activities, but our line troops are so prejudiced that they will reject a comrade they know to be gay.
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No - that is the liberal dismissal of combat troops as "bitter clingers".
The best judge of future performance is past behavior - and the gay rights movement, like other "entitlement" movements, quickly abuses any power it achieves, quickly twists any hand extended to it. The talk about tolerance and "fairness" is just a screen until power is obtained.
(The case of the Christian wedding photographer who was sued for declining a lesbian couple encapsulates the quick turnaround from "pity me" to "obey me".)
THAT is what people in the ranks fear - that the repeal of DADT, and the bureaucratically-enforced PC regime that inevitably follows, will be used unfairly to impose, manipulate, and extract concessions.
That the culture of victimhood will undermine the lines of command and authority that are essential to an army.
Anyone with eyes in their heads knows that it will be impossible to really take action against gays who flout the rules - the military already has checkboxes for "supports the goal of diversity" in its evaluation forms.
What happens when the first "he said, he said" lawsuits come up - and the unholy alliance of "progressive" courts and media jump in to script events in the tropes of victimology politics?
Correct. It has nothing to do with prejudice and everything to do with keeping Political Correctness and the rot it brings far from our troops.
Paris Island was the most refreshingly non-PC place I ever studied. Senior DI: "Today you will learn to kill our enemies." Platoon: "Ho-RAH!!"
I've dealt with pleanty of homosexuals in the business world without incident. A gay relationship in my chain of command in a combat zone? That might get me or my troops killed? I may well react violently to that situation.
Howdy NJ Soldier
Any improper relationship in the chain of command -- sexual or not, gay or straight -- can endanger troops. That's why there are restrictions between officers and enlisted members in a unit regardless of sex, and restrictions between NCOs and junior enlisted members, also regardless of sex. I completely agree that sex activity in a combat area, regardless of who and whom, is too disruptive to permit.
Howdy Ben David
There's too much validity in your concern to dismiss it out of hand. Some of this kind of thing has happened with accusations of racial prejudice and gender discrimination. Like the privacy issue, it only comes with difficult answers. The key issue of fairness remains: you would exclude (and root out) the homosexuals who will do well in the military to prevent the hypothetical-but-only-too-possible disruptors. I acknowledge there is logic in your argument but I deny that it is enough to perpetuate injustice.
As for the "liberal" dismissal of our troops -- sorry, it's been the conservatives, not the libertarians and the liberals, who keep saying that members of combat units will refuse to accept comrades they know to be homosexual. That appears to be based on the fact that around 65% of members in such units predict trouble with openly accepting homosexual members. That's not the same thing as saying, "I won't accept them." It's saying "I know people who won't accept them."
Combat is stressful (duh). It is no excuse for injustice. If someone is eligible for service in the military, but is homosexual, I can't find a reason for excluding that person. The argument continues to run that we should exclude known homosexual servicemembers because we believe straight members will reject them. Sorry, that's letting the prejudice of some over-ride the right of others to serve. Plus I think it's largely mistaken anyway.
This with 20 years enlisted service, including brief stints in tents. I don't have the full combat arms experience but I do have a soldier's perspective.
I am not suggesting that gays be rooted out. But, the ball (no pun intended) is in their court. As unfair as it might be, they have to prove themselves able to conduct themselves properly if they choose to serve out in the open. The test begins now and it's bad timing given the treason of Bradley Manning.
Just like the Japanese-American and Black soldiers who had to prove themselves - also unfair but who said life is fair?
As for the "liberal" dismissal of our troops -- sorry, it's been the conservatives, not the libertarians and the liberals, who keep saying that members of combat units will refuse to accept comrades they know to be homosexual. That appears to be based on the fact that around 65% of members in such units predict trouble with openly accepting homosexual members. That's not the same thing as saying, "I won't accept them."
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It's also not the same thing as attributing their refusal to "prejudice" - a word from your original post that you've conveniently (and more accurately) left out here...
Having disposed of one straw man, let's address another one:
you would exclude (and root out) the homosexuals who will do well in the military to prevent the hypothetical-but-only-too-possible disruptors.
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But nothing in DADT excluded the homosexuals who "do well" in the military. It merely prevented the "only-too-possible" disruptions, at minor personal inconvenience to gays truly focused on loyal service.
In this way DADT - and its repeal - are completely different from other civil rights legislation. Gays win no privilege that was previously denied them.
The purpose of repeal is to further the PC agenda, into an arena where it will do real harm and undercut existing - and necessary - notions of command authority. Its net effect is to enable the "all too possible disruptions".
Ben David, ask the 13k individuals who have been discharged under DADT, or the probably hundred thousand before them under previous policies, if they were excluded.
Claritas, there's no room for sexual predators in a decent society. Not in the military, not in universities, not homosexual predators and not straight predators. All reasonable supporters of accepting servicemembers who happen to be homosexual will agree that the general rules about favoritism, discipline and professional conduct must remain. I think nearly all servicemembers will also agree to prohibiting sex, straight or homosexual, on ships and in bivouacs.
There is no evidence that people who are essentially straight will become homosexual. All the available evidence is that only people with at least some inclination will choose a homosexual or heterosexual lifestyle. If someone is living a homosexual life but finds it feels wrong, that person should almost certainly seek counseling because that person is probably living the wrong life.
"Ben David, ask the 13k individuals who have been discharged under DADT, or the probably hundred thousand before them under previous policies, if they were excluded."
Geoff, this data indicates that most very well may not even have been gay but seeking early-out via false self-outing:
Ha! My radio team was checking into an infantry battalion that was about to deploy in 1990. As we sat outside our new company commander's office waiting to meet him, we could hear an enlisted man inside telling the Major he was gay and should not be sent overseas (although he had been okay to get paid to train and collect education benefits).
The Major told him "I don't care if you blow the whole company, you're going."
We had tears of laughter on our faces when we were presented to the Major. At least that excuse is gone now.
I'm ready to believe that some servicemembers have lied about being homosexual to get a discharge. Obviously that would be a contemptible thing to do -- any lie to avoid service is contemptible. Of course, without the exclusion policies, these people would have to try something else.
I promise you that a lot of valuable servicemembers have been discharged against their wishes under the various exclusion policies. And against the best interests of the nation itself, I will add. I know because I watched some of them go -- valuable people that I would have shared a tent with and been proud to serve beside them.
Another straw man from Geoff:
There is no evidence that people who are essentially straight will become homosexual.
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Nobody said that. Could you please shake your condescending notion that those opposing this are prejudiced neanderthals? Can you address the real issues that have been raised?
A good start would be reading the article that Bruce has linked to - gays really interested in honorable service suffered only minor inconvenience under DADT.
" I have seen a few hetero females become lesbians after becoming fed up with men they have encountered." Claritas' remark is just below our little exchange and it's the reason I made my point.
As for gays suffering only minor inconvenience under DADT -- being discharged is more than a minor inconvenience. The fact that many units have been sheltering members who are known or believed to be homosexual is one sign that, in fact, the policy of excluding homosexuals is neither necessary nor right.
You exaggerate when you accuse me of accusing you of being a Neanderthal. If you follow my comments, I acknowledge that people may have a deeply-held belief that homosexuality is morally wrong. I don't share that belief but I acknowledge it and I respect it. Instead, I've held the position that senior brass have defended excluding homosexuals primarily by saying junior members would react badly to having them in their units. This is what the brass have been saying. I think the brass are wrong.
This has become quite a thread and each contributor's points may be hard to follow as the thread grows.
How soon before NJ Soldier and Ben David are also barred from speaking on this site--like Apple Pie?
55 years ago the CO of one of the service schools at Bainbridge, MD was found to be "gay" - what an ironic euphemism - and was dishonorably discharged after a nasty Court-Martial. He had pressured and seduced two students there. Closets can be useful places.
What will become of our fighting troops when more and more PC influence seeps into the already-constricting ROEs?
And I'll make a comment about lesbians: I have seen a few hetero females become lesbians after becoming fed up with men they have encountered. If that means I agree with Apple Pie, so be it.
I don't think apple pie is supportive of disillusioned women becoming lesbian--on the contrary!