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Former JCS Head Now Opposes DADT:

In an important op-ed in yesterday's New York Times, retired army general and chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff from 1993 to 1997, John Shalikashvili, concludes that the anti-gay "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" policy is unnecessary and should be phased out. Shalikashvili's stand is especially significant because he was among the most influential opponents of President Clinton's plan to lift the ban on gays in the military.

The basic reason Shalikashvili gives for his conversion is that the experience of the last 14 years has shown that allowing gays to serve openly would not undermine morale, harm recruitment, or hurt unit cohesion — long the main claims of those who have opposed allowing gay Americans to serve. He cites as evidence for his new view: (1) the experience of more than two dozen other countries (including the most effective militaries, Britain and Israel) that allow gays to serve openly, (2) recent polls showing that American military personnel serving in Iraq overwhelming say they would have no problem serving with gays, (3) the serious need of the armed forces for more personnel, and (4) his own interviews with gay Americans who have served openly, honorably, and bravely, often in combat, in Iraq.

Here's the key passage in the op-ed:

When I was chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, I supported the current policy because I believed that implementing a change in the rules at that time would have been too burdensome for our troops and commanders. I still believe that to have been true. The concern among many in the military was that given the longstanding view that homosexuality was incompatible with service, letting people who were openly gay serve would lower morale, harm recruitment and undermine unit cohesion.

In the early 1990s, large numbers of military personnel were opposed to letting openly gay men and lesbians serve. President Bill Clinton, who promised to lift the ban during his campaign, was overwhelmed by the strength of the opposition, which threatened to overturn any executive action he might take. The compromise that came to be known as "don't ask, don't tell" was thus a useful speed bump that allowed temperatures to cool for a period of time while the culture continued to evolve.

The question before us now is whether enough time has gone by to give this policy serious reconsideration. Much evidence suggests that it has.

Last year I held a number of meetings with gay soldiers and marines, including some with combat experience in Iraq, and an openly gay senior sailor who was serving effectively as a member of a nuclear submarine crew. These conversations showed me just how much the military has changed, and that gays and lesbians can be accepted by their peers.

This perception is supported by a new Zogby poll of more than 500 service members returning from Afghanistan and Iraq, three quarters of whom said they were comfortable interacting with gay people. And 24 foreign nations, including Israel, Britain and other allies in the fight against terrorism, let gays serve openly, with none reporting morale or recruitment problems.

I now believe that if gay men and lesbians served openly in the United States military, they would not undermine the efficacy of the armed forces. Our military has been stretched thin by our deployments in the Middle East, and we must welcome the service of any American who is willing and able to do the job.

Shalikashvili wants to proceed slowly with the change, not take it up as the first issue in the new Congress:

By taking a measured, prudent approach to change, political and military leaders can focus on solving the nation's most pressing problems while remaining genuinely open to the eventual and inevitable lifting of the ban. When that day comes, gay men and lesbians will no longer have to conceal who they are, and the military will no longer need to sacrifice those whose service it cannot afford to lose.

While I think the change could have been made effectively in 1993 or even before, and while DADT was in no sense a "compromise" that allowed gays to serve without fear of discovery and reprisal, I agree with Shalikashvili that the time has come for Congress to look seriously at lifting the ban. Other former military leaders and supporters of DADT have urged likewise. If Congress votes to lift the ban, the burden would then be on our compassionate conservative president to decide whether he will allow gay Americans to serve their country with honesty and integrity or will continue to force them to lie and hide in fear, wasting our money and their talent during wartime.

Related Posts (on one page):

  1. No news is good news:
  2. Bad Week for DADT:
  3. Former JCS Head Now Opposes DADT:
Jeek:
If a guy is willing to go to Iraq, and knows how to beat a confession out of a jihadi, who cares what he does in his spare time?
1.3.2007 3:11pm
SeaLawyer:

I now believe that if gay men and lesbians served openly in the United States military, they would not undermine the efficacy of the armed forces.

All this shows is how out of touch he is.

Does anyone trust a Zogby poll anymore?
1.3.2007 3:28pm
FC:
If Congress votes to lift the ban, the burden would then be on our compassionate conservative president to decide whether he will allow gay Americans to serve their country with honesty and integrity or will continue to force them to lie and hide in fear




That's a big 'if', and Prof. Carpenter deploys it in service of gratuitous Bush-bashing.



To state the obvious, no one is 'forced' to join the military and everyone knows the rules when they sign up.



DC: The reference to the president is not gratuitous. Bush's role is absolutely crucial in this, as would be any president's. Bush has said in the past that he opposes any change in DADT because it "works." If he announced that he had changed his mind -- citing experience, the crumbling support for the policy within the military and among military policy experts, and the desperate need for more personnel in wartime -- Congress would surely have the political cover to make the change. If Bush continues to oppose a change, despite the mounting evidence that the policy is useless and counterproductive, Congress would be much less likely to take up the issue for fear of being tarred as somehow "weak" on defense in 2008 election ads. And even if it did vote to repeal the policy despite Bush's stated opposition, Congress's action would face a veto it could not override.
1.3.2007 3:45pm
SeaLawyer:

While I think the change could have been made effectively in 1993


Dale what makes you think that this would have been possible, or even a good thing?
Have you served in the military?
1.3.2007 3:54pm
happylee:
I'm not sure citing British and Israeli army experiences is such a great idea considering the so-so performance of both in recent conflicts with natives. Perhaps the amyl nitrate weakened the soldiers morale; or perhaps the senior officers were substantially weakened by endless oral sex parties fueled by X. Who knows? Someone should appoint a committee to look into this.
1.3.2007 3:58pm
Randy R. (mail):
There are already quite a few gay men and women openly serving in the military. DADT is not followed everywhere, as many commanders just look the other way. There is no evidence that the presence of these openly gay people harm the military in any way.

Moreover, our troops are fighting in Irag and Afgahnistan along side Britain, Canada, Israel and other allies that DO allow gay people to serve openly. There have been no reports of our troops having problems working with any gay officers from Britain, for instance.

What DOES harm the military, though, is that they fire linguists who are skilled in Arabic at a time when we have a severe shortage of people who can translate emails and other such documents.

Furthermore, SeaLawyer, the Army Navy College did a study a few years ago assessing just this question, and they analyzed the effect of having openly gay men and women serve in the militaries of Israel, Britain, Canada, Australia and New Zealand (They were chosen because their militaries are the closest models to our own). The conclusion is that they found zero evidence that the presence of gays harmed the military in any fashion.

In light of the experiences of our close allies, and in light of the fact that there are plenty of openly gay men and women serving both in our own military and our allies, the burden shifts to you to prove that the military would be harmed by lifting the ban.
1.3.2007 4:05pm
Randy R. (mail):
FC: To state the obvious, no one is 'forced' to join the military and everyone knows the rules when they sign up.

But everyone should have the right to serve his or her own country, and come to it's defense in time of need.

Although everyone knows the rules when they sign up, many sign up while still a teenager. Although things have changed dramatically since the time I grew up, there are still many people who do not realize that they are gay until much later in life, or they are simply in denial about it, or they think that they can handle living in a closet. Then they get older, a bit more experienced and they realize that they are gay, they cannot no longer live by hiding the fact, and the closet becomes a tortured place to live. Why should anyone have to live like that? And so they find that their true self and their position as a military personnel becomes increasingly conflicted. How that helps anyone, I don't know, but it's not a good situation.

Bottomline: There is no good reason to ban gay people to serve openly in the military. If there is, provide it and give something other than pure speculation to back it up.
1.3.2007 4:10pm
SeaLawyer:
Randy have ever been in the Military?
1.3.2007 4:14pm
Thorley Winston (mail) (www):
Moreover, our troops are fighting in Irag and Afgahnistan along side Britain, Canada, Israel and other allies that DO allow gay people to serve openly.


How many Canadian and Israeli troops are serving in Iraq right now?
1.3.2007 4:14pm
SeaLawyer:
That should be: have you ever been in the Military?
1.3.2007 4:14pm
Nick W. (mail):
If it is good enough for Israel, it is good enough for the United States. Besides, I look forward to seeing the expression on Jerry Falwell's face when it does get passed. People who have been to Iraq already know that this policy is being openly ignored by most of the officers over there, so does it really matter anymore? Sorry folks, this is the 21st century and progress will happen. You can do it the easy way or we can drag you kicking and screaming into modernity, the choice is yours.
1.3.2007 4:16pm
Aaron:
Randy couldn't; they asked and he told.

Ludicrous appeal to personal experience.... Randy gave you a source--try coming back with a counter-source.
1.3.2007 4:17pm
Steve:
What's with all the ad hominem? Clearly Gen. Shalikashvili has been in the military.
1.3.2007 4:18pm
Aaron:
I was pointing out that Seabiscuit's challenge to Randy was an attempt to diminish Randy's argument (complete with factual sources) by stating "What do you know, YOU"VE never been in the military!"

SeaLawyer, please provide equivalent sources to back your position.
1.3.2007 4:21pm
Thorley Winston (mail) (www):
In an important op-ed in yesterday's New York Times, retired army general and chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff from 1993 to 1997, John Shalikashvili,

So that would make John Shalikashvili the chairman of the Joint Chiefs at precisely the time that Clinton was gutting our nation's military preparedness and running our servicemen and women's morale into the ground. The fact that he also served as John Kerry's military advisor in the 2004 campaign when he was calling for a timeline to cut and run from Iraq doesn't exactly inspire confidence in how well he's thought through the effects of his proposed policies.
1.3.2007 4:21pm
SeaLawyer:
The reason I have asked Dale and Randy if they have ever served is because civilians equate being in the military and the social dynamics with those of an office environment.
1.3.2007 4:22pm
Mike BUSL07 (mail):
Having served in the military in the late 90's, it was my experience that the infantry, at least, was categorically not prepared for gay servicemen. After an incident in basic training involving a sex act between two soldiers, the actors, when found out, immediately had to be separated from everyone else.

Most of their platoon did not want them in the same barracks, making the two guys immediately and unequivocally aware of that. At formation on the morning after, the 1st SGT came out and said, "Where are my two faggots?" Everyone had a good laugh and called them "faggots" a few more times. Within a few days the kids were out of the Army.
1.3.2007 4:25pm
Steve:
So that would make John Shalikashvili the chairman of the Joint Chiefs at precisely the time that Clinton was gutting our nation's military preparedness and running our servicemen and women's morale into the ground.

Right. Somehow, Bush amazingly fixed everything just in time for a successful invasion of Afghanistan.

Amazing how the former Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff becomes just another clueless flunky the moment you disagree with him. "He supported John Kerry, therefore I know more about military affairs than he does!" Good God. Agree or disagree as you choose, but drop the pretense that he's some unqualified hack.
1.3.2007 4:28pm
Aaron:
To quote Steve "Clearly Gen. Shalikashvili has been in the military." To extent that Dale is presenting the general's arguments, address those please. Otherwise, you seem to present the debating style I took issue with earlier.

Come on SeaLawyer, it's easy; "According to X study done by Y group, they reach the opposite conclusion..."


Again, please supply X and Y.
1.3.2007 4:29pm
Thorley Winston (mail) (www):
I now believe that if gay men and lesbians served openly in the United States military, they would not undermine the efficacy of the armed forces. Our military has been stretched thin by our deployments in the Middle East, and we must welcome the service of any American who is willing and able to do the job.

Regardless of whether one supports or opposes DADT, it seems rather odd to call for allowing people to openly serve as homosexuals in a region of the world where they're killed for being homosexual. It seems to me that when we're practically bending over backwards to make sure that we don't mishandle the Quoran and respect local customs as much as we are able, that this is the sort of policy that's just asking for trouble.
1.3.2007 4:31pm
Mike BUSL07 (mail):
just trying to fix the italics (hope it works)
1.3.2007 4:33pm
e:
Well, not that it matters as non-vets can validly comment on the changed public perception, but I was in the Navy, and finished my time with an exchange tour in Canada. Ten years ago, I may have bought the idea that there might have been a threat to good order and discipline (I honestly don't remember) but now I think any anti-homosexual or anti-openness policy is silly. Other rules keep people from wearing pink bowties and obnoxiously telling sexually explicit stories where that is unwelcome on ship or in a camp. People can do better than present their sexuality as a major character trait to the world, but even the few lisp affected Canadians I met did a solid job, did not encounter harrassment that I know of, and did not hinder the performance of others. Thinking that troops or sailors are hicks incapable of enlightened views sells them far too short.
1.3.2007 4:34pm
Caliban Darklock (www):
@ Randy R:

> there are still many people who do not realize
> that they are gay until much later in life, or
> they are simply in denial about it, or they
> think that they can handle living in a closet.

Several years later, not being the same person... they're saddled with this horrible responsibility.

WTF? Doesn't this happen to all of us?

Don't get me wrong; I understand that gay people have this thing at the core of their being that they may not realise until they're committed to an incompatible path. Then they have to choose between who they are and where they're going.

But honestly - don't we all do that? Isn't there that one day, usually in your late thirties, when you say "hey... I never wanted to do this"? The day when you say "even though I have an advanced degree in economics and a great job as a financial analyst, what I really want to do is play traditional Irish fiddle at the Renaissance festival"?

That's when the world splits into two kinds of people: the people who say "oh well, I'll stick with my commitments" and the people who say "screw commitment, I'll chase my dream". There are plenty of great success stories on both sides of that fence.

But there's nothing special about sexuality in that - it's just another thing you wake up one day and realise is important to you. My sexuality is certainly not the same today as it was twenty years ago. One day, I woke up, and I had to make decisions. What exactly is it that entitles homosexuals to special treatment on this account?
1.3.2007 4:38pm
ReVonna LaSchatze:
Having served in the military in the late 90's, it was my experience that the infantry, at least, was categorically not prepared for gay servicemen. After an incident in basic training involving a sex act between two soldiers, the actors, when found out, immediately had to be separated from everyone else.

Most of their platoon did not want them in the same barracks, making the two guys immediately and unequivocally aware of that. At formation on the morning after, the 1st SGT came out and said, "Where are my two faggots?" Everyone had a good laugh and called them "faggots" a few more times. Within a few days the kids were out of the Army.


I've never bought this argument Mike.
Soldiers learn to do as they are told. Period.

You enforce from the top down. There's no room for independence, liking or not. When the Army racially desegregated, you took orders. Period. Whether you liked it or not. Guess what? It went better than expected.

The key is discipline. Enforcing from the top down. The idea that soldiers have to be "ready" to accept something is a joke. Soldiers do as they are told. Period. Respect the rules or get out. Those "kids" you brag about laughing out were lucky to go if that is what passed for discipline and training at the time you served.
1.3.2007 4:44pm
Mike BUSL07 (mail):
ReVonna, I think you have a very fair point, except that the troops did not merely say, "OK, rules are rules, you guys are going home." They made profane and credible threats, going, so to speak, above and beyond.

Surely you are right that orders contrary to DADT would have had some effect, but the homophobia among the guys I served with was rampant, burning well enough of its own fuel.
1.3.2007 4:48pm
SeaLawyer:
I believe this is the Army War College study which Randy mentioned.


No Mass "Coming Out of the Closet"

In each of the four cases, most homosexual soldiers did not reveal their sexual orientation to their peers after the lifting of the gay ban. Before the lifting of the ban, some gay and lesbian soldiers already were known by their peers to be homosexual. Immediately after the policy change, more revealed their sexual orientation, yet the vast majority chose not to do so. As time passed, small numbers of gay and lesbian soldiers disclosed their sexual orientation; even so, most still refrain from acknowledging their homosexuality.

In Australia, for example, a 1996 report noted that three years after the lifting of the ban, only 33 homosexual soldiers were willing to identify themselves to the authors of the study.25 In Canada, the Department of National Defence received only 17 claims for medical, dental, and relocation benefits for homosexual partners in 1998, six years after Canada lifted its ban.26 Given the military's own estimate that 3.5 percent of its personnel are gay or lesbian, the low figure suggests that service members may hesitate to out themselves by requesting benefits. The nine gay and lesbian service members from Canada who were interviewed all described their professional personas as relatively private and discrete. While many confide in their close friends and invite their partners to military functions, they nonetheless do not feel the need to out themselves in any formal way. One lesbian soldier said that in the Canadian military, "Gay people have never screamed to be really, really out. They just want to be really safe from not being fired."27 That being said, most of the currently serving members we spoke with believe that at least some members of their units know of their status as sexual minorities.

In Britain, military experts have observed a similar phenomenon in the British armed services. Since the lifting of the ban, most gay and lesbian soldiers have refrained from acknowledging their sexual orientation, reflecting their keen awareness of appropriate behavior in the military. As Professor Christopher Dandeker, Chair of the War Department at King's College, observed, "Most expect gay personnel to continue to be extremely discreet until attitudes within the services change further."28



If the gay people still are not coming out of the closest even in countries that allow it, how can you really study the effects. Really the entire study basically says gay people are still not telling and we have not seen a change because of that.
1.3.2007 4:48pm
Ramza:
The 1992-1993 battle over whether to allow gays to serve in the military, and the compromise of Don't Ask Don't Tell is before my time. Does anybody have a good link of the history of the events that occured during the time. If I recall some limited info I read on this, Colin Powell, when he was the Joint Chief of Staff threatened to resign if Clinton implemented his plan. Collin Powell left in Sept 30,1993 (8 months in the Clinton Presidency) was replaced by David E. Jeremiah who served for 1 month, before John M. Shalikashvili who served till Sept 1997.
1.3.2007 4:53pm
Thorley Winston (mail) (www):
Amazing how the former Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff becomes just another clueless flunky the moment you disagree with him. "He supported John Kerry, therefore I know more about military affairs than he does!" Good God. Agree or disagree as you choose, but drop the pretense that he's some unqualified hack.



Actually his qualifications or rather his judgment is very much at issue since that's pretty much the reason why he's being touted by Carpenter and the NYT. The crux of his argument is that changing the policy wouldn't have a negative effect on the morale and efficiency of our armed forces. In which case we are perfectly entitled to look at what his record has been in supporting or implementing policies and their effects on the morale and efficiency of our armed forces. His support for Clinton's gutting of our military during the 1990's and his role as military advisor for a candidate who called for a deadline for cutting and running from Iraq both call his judgment into question.
1.3.2007 4:56pm
Nick W. (mail):
SeaLawyer: Your reasoning is specious. The military is under civilian control and it will do as it is told. Nevertheless, I do believe the General mentioned in this article has served (obviously), so what's your fucking point?

Dude, the culture wars are over and your side lost. The next generation (under 30) doesn't give a shit about the hot-button social issues. DADT is going away, it is just a matter of time.
1.3.2007 5:00pm
Ramza:
Re: Caliban Darklock

Randy never said that peoples opinions changed over night (though it happens with some people) but its often a gradual change. How you view the world is like that, often its over a gradual process, though it can happen over night after some event. How many twenty year old men or women say they never want kids only to change there mind 5, 10, 20 years later?

But why does there need to be a choice? What good does it do? Randy's opinion can be summed up with the last line (which you omit from the quote).

How that helps anyone, I don't know, but it's not a good situation.

I recongize theroetical complains/harms some people say about not gays serving in the military but open gays serving in the military. Straight submariners may be distracted by the thought of bunking next to a queer sailor that he accidently does harm to the sub due to this distraction. I recongize the possibility that these harms may exist. But so far the facts of the situation seem to illustrate that there are no harms.

Then again I am a civilian and aint qualified to make such observations "of the facts", I will let the military personal and the former military personal make those observations "of the facts." The former highest ranking military officer, is a good qualified man to make such observations, but then again there are other people like him making opposite observations (such as Colin Powell in 1997 Larry King interview.)
1.3.2007 5:05pm
nrein1 (mail):
SeaLawyer, your arguments are deeply flawed. You say that the war college study is not relevent because there has not been massed coming outs in the militaries that allow homsexuality, so therefore we don't really know the effects of allowing gays in. You of course conviently ignore the most obvious interpretation, there would be no mass coming outs in the US military either, and thus it likely would be as a minor an issue in the US military as in other countries.
1.3.2007 5:08pm
Steve:
If the gay people still are not coming out of the closest even in countries that allow it, how can you really study the effects.

Because it is likely to play out the exact same way in our own country. Many gay people will continue to believe it's none of anyone's business.
1.3.2007 5:11pm
PeterH:

One day, I woke up, and I had to make decisions. What exactly is it that entitles homosexuals to special treatment on this account?


What special treatment? Getting booted out for doing your job? And remember, under Don't Ask, Don't Tell, it isn't a matter of just being gay. They are not supposed to ask or pursue, and the policy clearly stated that doing things like going to a gay bar or marching in a Pride parade were not to be used as indications that someone is gay.

But it isn't enforced that way. Has anyone been kicked out, or even disciplined, for "asking?" (As big a violation as telling, but somehow never enforced.)

The law is a crock.

And yes, I am a Navy veteran.
1.3.2007 5:12pm
Steve:
Regardless of whether one supports or opposes DADT, it seems rather odd to call for allowing people to openly serve as homosexuals in a region of the world where they're killed for being homosexual.

Please tell me you didn't intend this argument seriously.
1.3.2007 5:14pm
Aaron:
To paraphrase Mike BUSL'07:

"Having served in the military in the late 40's, it was my experience that the infantry, at least, was categorically not prepared for black servicemen....
Most of their platoon did not want them in the same barracks, making the two guys immediately and unequivocally aware of that. At formation on the morning after, the 1st SGT came out and said, "Where are my two niggers?" Everyone had a good laugh and called them "niggers" a few more times. Within a few days the kids were out of the Army."

The point is, change causes dislocation. The fault here lies with the Top Sgt., who is supposed to instill in his recruits proper Army discipline, not try to make scapegoats. It took the Army some time to adjust to integration, and they are better off for it.
1.3.2007 5:17pm
Jared D (mail):
"Regardless of whether one supports or opposes DADT, it seems rather odd to call for allowing people to openly serve as Christians in a region of the world where they're killed for being non-Muslim."

Admittedly that is a bit of a stretch - I think it is safe to assume that homosexuals would be less desirable than mere "non-Muslims" - but one way or another, our enemies will find excuses to try to kill our soldiers. I'm not seeing how the inclusion of openly gay servicemen will have any substantial affect on that fact. Secondly, while we may be "bending over backwards" to respect their customs, I've not seen our efforts go so far as to contradict our own values. We're not allowing Iraqi's or Afghani's to round up and execute gays - and our soldiers certainly aren't participating in, or allowing that to happen out of "respect" for their customs.

-SeaLawyer
"If the gay people still are not coming out of the closest even in countries that allow it, how can you really study the effects. Really the entire study basically says gay people are still not telling and we have not seen a change because of that."

That kindof suggests that DADT is obsolete as it has no significant impact one way or another on morale, recruitment, and unit cohesion. Y'know, the things DADT was in place to preserve.

I 'spose the question becomes a matter of measurable benefit from keeping or removing the DADT policy. Would allowing openly gay people to serve add more capable soldiers to the pool than it would dissuade straight people from joining? I mean, that would be the bottom line, wouldn't it?
1.3.2007 5:23pm
Mike BUSL07 (mail):
Just to make it clear: I think DADT is idiotic, and whatever the case was in the past, we've by now had enough Will &Grace, and Queer Eye, and Omar Little to tolerate gays in the military - my comments on 1998 notwithstanding.

And Aaron, sure enough, integration worked when it did, but that doesn't mean that it was possible at any time before - and by the same token - integration of open gays was not always possible.

NOTE: By "possible," I mean in terms of cost/benefit. Sure, grunts can be ordered to lots of things, but the Army has to be efficient, rather than fair, blah blah blah, unit integrity and morale.
1.3.2007 5:29pm
Eric Anondson (mail):
I just completed Army Basic this past March 2006 at Fort Sill. I'm 34 and about 95% of the other soldiers in Basic were 17- 18- 19-years-old. I believe that the current generation of young soldiers would be more willing to accept fellow soldiers who are gay/lesbian that ever in the past. One thing getting rid of the prohibition would accomplish is to remove the singlemost used excuse used by soldiers desiring to wash-out from Army Basic. While I was there I know of at least two who claimed they were gay as soon as they realized Fort Sill was not to their liking...

One thing our Drill Sergeants drummed into us in our early classes was that the Army sex harrassment policy covers all genders and all orientations. It would still apply if open homosexuals were officially allowed. The Army culture has adjusted to women soldiers, and right now, I don't see it as a significant leap for Army culture to adjust to open homosexuals.
1.3.2007 5:29pm
Aaron:
Also, if sending gays to the Middle East concerns you, send them to, say, Korea, thereby freeing up servicepeople to transfer to the ME.
1.3.2007 5:30pm
ReVonna LaSchatze:
They made profane and credible threats, going, so to speak, above and beyond. Surely you are right that orders contrary to DADT would have had some effect, but the homophobia among the guys I served with was rampant, burning well enough of its own fuel.

The Army can quickly extinguish such fuel, I understand. You learn to follow the rules. Which is why I don't buy the argument that the followers, what they want, has anything to do with setting the rules. It's discipline and it comes from the top, not the bottom.
1.3.2007 5:31pm
Aaron:
Mike, while I see your point, the disclocation would always occur at some point; citing a loss of "efficiency" or "unit morale" is besides the point. These changes come because they are the right thing to do, because they serve American values.

Also, as a historical measure, we are far more ready to integrate openly gay service men and women now (and, I would submit in 1992-3) then the Army was integrating blacks in the 40's. America as a whole was far more intolerant of integration then than it is of anti-gay animus today.
1.3.2007 5:36pm
ReVonna LaSchatze:
And Aaron, sure enough, integration worked when it did, but that doesn't mean that it was possible at any time before - and by the same token - integration of open gays was not always possible.

Read a bit into it, Mike. There were dire predictions at the time which never came true, about how racial integration would destabilize the military, that things were moving too fast. Sometimes the fears -- worst case predictions -- are plain wrong.
1.3.2007 5:37pm
Russ (mail):
I am honestly sick and tired of people seeing this as such a black and white issue, so I will share with you my personal and practical experience with DADT.

I am an infantry officer and commanded two infantry companies in the 101st Airborne (AASLT). I had neither the time nor inclination to check into whether anyone was homosexual or not, nor did any of my fellow company commanders.

Virtually no one I know of is chaptered out under Chapter 15 unless they come forward and make a statement. And that statement must be an unequivocal "I am a homosexual." What the soldiers discovered, however, is that it is absolutely the easiest and quickest way out of the Army. In my experience, from the moment of the statement, someone was back in civilian life in less than 3 weeks.

I chaptered out 8 guys under Chapter 15, and of those 8, I honestly think only two were actually homosexual. Usually the statement would morph in a matter of a few days from "I am a homosexual" to "I am a bisexual." I think this happened b/c some felt there would be less stigma attached.

Once a guy made that statement, my hands were tied. I could do no investigation at all to see if he was telling the truth. If someone was willing to make that statement, since most folks in civilian life do not know what a Chapter 15 discharge is, and it is virtually always Honorable, the soldier will live with it for a couple of weeks.

One of the soldiers who told me this was married with a child. One was picked up on his final day by his girlfriend.

Why do they do this. Interestingly enough, the number of statements made usually coincided with either nonjudicial punishment that was coming up(Article 15), or a deployment. Has no one thought to check how many of these "gay" folks really just wanted to leave service after they finally realized how serious it was? They may make statements to the contrary in the press to avoid looking like cowards, but I don't buy about 75% of them.

Just like a number of female soldiers that suddenly get pregnant when deployments are announced, the number of "statements" that come up in the same circumstances is bewildering.

Yes, there has been some persecution. But let's not make it out to be the Army coming down on a few poor homosexual soldiers who just wanted to serve their country. Those are the exception. Experience tells me a different story.
1.3.2007 5:38pm
Russ (mail):
Revonna,

Have you ever been in service? The Army cannot quickly "extinguish such fuel." They are soldiers, yes, but they are also human beings. Military discipline can be harsh, but it is somewhat watered down due to the "civil liberties" we allow soldiers to have nowadays. This is not the 50s and 60s where a senior NCO could hit a junior soldier. At worst, I can impose a rank reduction, forfeiture of pay, and restriction to base for a couple of weeks. That's all since the offenses, while bad, do not merit a general court martial. And since soldiers live in barracks and eat at the dining facility(formerly known as the mess hall), the money and rank mean little, especially since they will likely get the rank back in a couple of months. Free time is all that a soldier values.

And let's remember that we're not talking about skin pigmentation. We are talking about the most basic and primal of human urges. We may let men and women serve in some outfits together, but they aren't sharing the same barracks. Would you separate gay soldiers? What would you do when there is, inevitably, a lawsuit due to that?
1.3.2007 5:44pm
PatHMV (mail) (www):
Dale, in your response to FC above, you shift your assertions regarding President Bush beyond what you said in the original post.



You initially said that "If Congress votes to lift the ban", then the burden would fall on the President to "decide whether he will allow gay Americans" to serve their country in the military. Your response to FC then shifts to discuss your view that the President's decision would give Congress political cover to vote to lift the ban.



As you know, it is Congress, not the President, who has the power "To make Rules for the Government and Regulation of the land and naval Forces." If Congress votes to lift the ban, then the only decision left to the President is to decide whether to enforce the law or not. He would have no discretion left, unless Congress tried to weasel its way out of it, by passing a law which left the final determination to the President's discretion.



DC: In our system of government, Congress does not make law unilaterally. The president plays a large role. So Congress may vote to repeal DADT, which has been federal policy by statute since 1993. If Congress voted to repeal the law, and also explicitly voted to allow gays to serve openly, President Bush would then have the choice whether to sign or veto that legislation. If Bush signed the legislation, it would become law and gays could serve openly. If he vetoed it, the legislation would not become law and DADT would remain federal law, unless Congress were able to override the veto, which requires a 2/3 vote in each house. I'm not sure there's a majority in Congress yet to repeal DADT -- especially given Bush's stated support for DADT -- but I am quite sure there is not a *supermajority* in Congress to get rid of the policy.



The other option for Congress would simply be to repeal DADT, which would restore the status quo ante 1993, when such policy was the prerogative of the DoD and ultimately of the president. The president could sign that legislation or veto it. If he signed it, he could then decide for himself what the policy regarding gays in the military should be.



Either way, the president's opinions on the subject will likely prove decisive, which is why my reference to him in the post was not "gratuitous."
1.3.2007 5:47pm
ReVonna LaSchatze:
Sorry Aaron. Cross posted.
You did a fine job responding by yourself.
1.3.2007 5:49pm
ReVonna LaSchatze:
Is it impolite to ask your age Russ, and how many years you are away from retiring?

Also, does the officer Dale Carpenter wrote about have a higher or lower rank than you?

Finally do you know any homosexuals personally who are able to control their "most basic and primal of human urges" ?
1.3.2007 5:52pm
Randy R. (mail):
Nope, never been in the military. But I have plenty of gay and striaght friends who have been. Your point? As a US citizen, I DO have a right to an opinion on how my military protects me.

I put forth a challenge, and so far no one has met it: Please show me ANY evidence that lifting that ban would harm the military in ANY fashion. You can use examples from other militaries that have done so. Or you can provide current examples from the Iraq or Afgahnistan wars where we have open gays serving in the British military alongside our men in women.

Any military that has lifted the ban made any request to reinstate it due to any the problems? I don't care what your experience was in the 90s, I don't care about what any general says today. The only relevant question is whether lifting the ban will make our military less ready, less able, less mobile, less accurate, less anything at all.

And I have yet to see a single one of you argue that booting the arab linguists because they are gay is anything but ridiculous. And worse, it makes the military look like a bunch of pansies who are too scared of gays men to work alongside them.

So forget the personal attacks, don't bother with bashing Clinton or this general or that sargeant. Many high ranking military officials have supported lifting the ban -- this is not the first.

Gays ask only to be treated as well as anyone else. What's the big problem?
1.3.2007 5:53pm
SeaLawyer:

As a US citizen, I DO have a right to an opinion on how my military protects me.


I never stated that you don't have a right to opinion on the matter. As to why I asked if you have ever been in the military I stated that above. However it appears to me that this isn't really about how the military protects you, it is about you pushing your social values upon the military.
1.3.2007 6:07pm
Russ (mail):
Revonna,

I have nearly 12 years in service, so, yes, General Shalli did outrank me. However, having worked for a fair number of GOs, they do tend to get full of themselves and away from what makes things really work. I can't recall the number of totally idiotic directives I have had to try and fix b/c a GO thought it would be a good idea.

As for the "most basic and primal of urges" comment, that was talking about both straight and gay soldiers. We are not talking about 35-40 year old men and women who have spent the past 3 to 4 decades knowing who they are and how to act in society. We are talking about mostly 19-22 year olds in the prime of both their sexual urges and their confusion about where they fit in in the world.

Would you have straight and gay soldiers in the same barracks? How many straight men do you know that would knowingly shower with a gay man? Or bunk with him? I agree that it would be great if we could magically overcome these barriers, but that just isn't the way the world works.

If we do not segregate, then you have to be prepared to deal with the fights that would occur when a homosexual soldier made an advance on a straight soldier, however innocuously. Once that kind of tension is created, the unit's cohesion is gone, and their fighting ability diminished. Maybe while at the Pentagon, General Shalli forgot how much in combat is dependent on unit cohesion. We are not a social experimentation force - we are an army that kills people and breaks things.

If we do segregate, how do you handle the inevitable lawsuits that result? Where do you get the money to build separate barracks? We can control male/female behavior to some extent now because they live separate. What do you do for gay soldiers who might possibly be attracted to one another and now live with each other? Or do we pretend that they will be able to ignore human nature and keep hands off of each other while in the baracks. Men and women can't do this in units, and they are housed separately.
1.3.2007 6:11pm
Ramza:

I never stated that you don't have a right to opinion on the matter. As to why I asked if you have ever been in the military I stated that above. However it appears to me that this isn't really about how the military protects you, it is about you pushing your social values upon the military.

Answer his question.

He and the whole entire US (and the world at whole) should want the most effective US military possible. He has demostrated harms with the current US policy, how we have a less effective military due to the "letting go" of certain people in the military due to there sexual orientation. These are people in high select fields with which we have a huge demand for.

Its opposing harms, its a balance test, if we lose efficency due to "letting go" these soliders we must show why it was better to have the policy of DADT instead of a policy where our military doesn't diminish and weaken by letting go Arabic Translators and other highly demand fields.

Politics has nothing to do with the opposing harms discussion, it may have to do with DADT but it shouldn't have anything with the rational behind it.
1.3.2007 6:23pm
Ramza:
I seem to recall in the last one or two Carpenter DADT threads there was a link to a study of which soliders were dismissed do to don't ask don't tell. It listed how many percent fell in the high demand areas and the time in service before being dismissed.

Anybody got a link to that study?
1.3.2007 6:25pm
Steve:
However it appears to me that this isn't really about how the military protects you, it is about you pushing your social values upon the military.

Given the results of Gen. Shalikashvili's personal meetings with soldiers, and the poll which shows that a full 3/4 of military personnel were comfortable interacting with gay people, it's very clear which side of the debate is trying to push its social values upon the military.
1.3.2007 6:30pm
r78:
A story in the SF Chronicle said that the military has discharged 20 Arabic and six Farsi translators because they are gay since 1998.

Seems like we could use those folks right about now.
1.3.2007 6:42pm
ReVonna LaSchatze:
We are talking about mostly 19-22 year olds in the prime of both their sexual urges and their confusion about where they fit in in the world.

Would you have straight and gay soldiers in the same barracks? How many straight men do you know that would knowingly shower with a gay man? Or bunk with him? I agree that it would be great if we could magically overcome these barriers, but that just isn't the way the world works. If we do segregate, how do you handle the inevitable lawsuits that result? Where do you get the money to build separate barracks?

If we do not segregate, then you have to be prepared to deal with the fights that would occur when a homosexual soldier made an advance on a straight soldier, however innocuously. Once that kind of tension is created, the unit's cohesion is gone, and their fighting ability diminished. Maybe while at the Pentagon, General Shalli forgot how much in combat is dependent on unit cohesion. We are not a social experimentation force - we are an army that kills people and breaks things.


And a fine job breaking and killing you are doing. :)
I call bullshit on your experience; you are likely an armchair warrior Russ.

No separate barracks. You just use a strong hand in molding those 19, 20 and 21 year olds. Just like is being done right now, even with the relaxed recruitment standards.

Soldiers do as they're told or face discipline. Period. It's not a place for the armchair warriors to practice their bigotry or social ordering at the expense of the country.
1.3.2007 6:56pm
Ramza:
The Center for the Study of Sexual Minorities in the Military, a think tank affiliated with the University of California, Santa Barbara has some information on the number of people that have been discharged that have "special skills" such as foreign language translators. While the Center has a certain policy goal with all this there documents are just copies of the own pentagon papers.

Link

This isn't the document I was talking about earlier about percent of people discharged with "special skills," the one I remember was far nicer due to how it was organized and presented.
1.3.2007 7:04pm
Eric Anondson (mail):
Russ: It's not a place for the armchair warriors to practice their bigotry or social ordering at the expense of the country.

Being so quick with the ad hominem calling him an armchair warrior, clearly you missed where he said: "I had neither the time nor inclination to check into whether anyone was homosexual or not, nor did any of my fellow company commanders."

Not exactly an armchair warrior imposing bigotry. So what's with imputing of motives?
1.3.2007 7:19pm
luagha:
A few points:
Directly after the forced black/white integration of the US Military in the 1950's, there were three years of heightened race-related incidents in the military. They were not devastating, they were dealt with, but they were present.
Now is a time of war. I say this as someone who would prefer a sexually integrated military and might have gone into the military after college were it not for my sexual orientation. But now is unfortunately not the time for it. Not when we are in theater in a time of war. President Bush and his commanders have already done part of the issue by discouraging/suspending Chapter 15 discharges during the conflict for personnell going into combat, but that doesn't include those translators. (Maybe Clinton's first years were too early, too, but that would have been the time to do it - to start the three year clock until everyone gets the message like they did in the fifties. Bush, on the other hand, would be blamed for every anti-homosexual incident.)

That being said, I recently heard about how, after the female bomber pilots blew up Fallujah, the US soldiers either had signs or used bullhorns, saying, "You just got bombed by a woman!" The only possible way to top it would be, "You just got beat up by a faggot!"

(So, if one american faggot can beat up a hundred jihadis... you finish the sentence. They don't have a chance.)
1.3.2007 7:20pm
Chimaxx (mail):
Russ:

How have Isreal, Great Britain and Canada avoided the litany of horrors you outline--the harrassment, the fraternization, the lawsuits? Are their soldiers better than ours? Do they have a stronger military culture, better able to withstand these assaults on unit cohesion?
1.3.2007 7:25pm
Ramza:
luagha:

Directly after the forced black/white integration of the US Military in the 1950's, there were three years of heightened race-related incidents in the military. They were not devastating, they were dealt with, but they were present.
Now is a time of war. I say this as someone who would prefer a sexually integrated military and might have gone into the military after college were it not for my sexual orientation...

I am a person who is for a change of DADT eventually not because of political reasons but because I want the military to be the most effective it can be.

Thing is you can turn your arguement on its head and argue the other possible way. You can argue that those years of integration were not during a time of war, and now that we are at a time of war we are less likely to have what some would call "silly arguements" for we have our perspective right. Or why are we dismissing foreign language translators or military medical personal during a time of war?

Just pointing out that you can argue the "time of war" both ways.
1.3.2007 7:34pm
Ramza:
I am just curious, is anybody arguing we shouldn't revoke DADT for at least part of the military, the non combat side? In my mind at least some of the harms of the current policy can be addressed, without the theroetical harms of the "Unit cohension" crowd. Does it matter if you know your military doctor who is treating critically wounded people is out or not? Can we seperate the support part of the military from the combat wing and revoke DADT for the support side?

Of course politically some people on both sides may not want this. The "political" repeal DADT crowd will see some of there arguements disapear about we need these people to fight the war on terror and thus may reduce the possible of a complete repealing of DADT in the future. "Political" people on the keep DADT crowd will see it as a major loss.
1.3.2007 7:39pm
Randy R. (mail):
"If we do not segregate, then you have to be prepared to deal with the fights that would occur when a homosexual soldier made an advance on a straight soldier, however innocuously. Once that kind of tension is created, the unit's cohesion is gone, and their fighting ability diminished."

WRONG! There is NO evidence in another other military that has lifted the ban that this in fact has happened. You are exhibiting what clinically called "homosexual panic." That is a condition where you think that every gay person is coming on to you, or might come on to you, and for some reason, you just have to fight the guy. The military has women in it -- do women fight every man they think --however inoccuously -- is flirting with them? Britain, Canada, NZ, Israel and Australia were prepared for those types of fights when they lifted the ban, and to their surprise it was virtually non-existent. In fact, when the British lifted the ban, they offered any servicemen the opportunity for a full honorable discharge if he believed he could not servie openly with gay men. They prepared for hundreds to leave, only three did.

Just this week, Britain's Royal Air Force has retained the services of a gay organization for help in advertising to the gay community for help in recruiting gay men and women. www.telegraph.co.uk/news/ (The Royal Air Force has called in a gay pressure group to help solve its recruitment crisis. The Service will take advice from Stonewall on how to make itself more attractive to homosexual and bisexual men and women, and is aiming to spend tens of thousands of pounds on advertising in the "pink" media.

As part of the initiative, the RAF will pay Stonewall an undisclosed sum to join its "Diversity Champions" programme, under which commanders have to demonstrate the Service's commitment to implementing a range of policies to promote "lesbian, gay and bisexual (LGB) equality in the workplace". The measures will include offering equal survivor pensions to same-sex couples, creating an LGB staff group and sponsoring events such as the annual Gay Pride festival.)

I guess Britain has no problem dealing with gays during a time of war, eh?
1.3.2007 7:45pm
Randy R. (mail):
Let us be clear about one thing about this ban: It is NOT about gay people serving in the military. The military itself says that gay people have and can serve honorably. They do not argue that gay people cannot restraing themselves in the presence of other servicemen of the same sex. The military has not argued that there is in fact ANY problem whatsoever with gay people.

The problem is all the OTHER servicemen. The problem, according to the military, is that all these heterosexual people will have a problem serving with openly gay people.

Well, that's their problem, not mine, or any other gay persons. So let me state something so clear everyone can understand it:

This is 2007. If you plan to join the military, and you have a problem serving with a homosexual, a black, a jew, a muslum, a christian, a democrat, a dog-lover, a vegetarian, then you are clearly NOT FIT to serve in today's army. Get out. You do not serve the values of America. If you are so weak as to think that you will 'catch gay' by serving with an openly gay person, or that you will get cooties, or your mandhood is so threatened by working with a homosexual, find another job.

That's is what this all comes down to. It has nothing to do with the behavior of gay people -- if it did, then why doesn't the military make that an issue? No -- it has everything to do with YOUR behavior.

Already, there are people who are gay, who are open about their orientation, and are NOT being discharged, particularly in the Navy. Why? Because they need them as doctors and surgeons. Now is not the time to lift the ban? Then pray tell, you think we should boot out these needed doctors and surgeons? And for the only reason that someone, somewhere, MIGHT be uncomfortable with assisting a doctor during emergency surgery?

Please. You people are the cowards. Grow up and be the men and women you profess to be and treat each person in the military with the respect and dignity that they deserve. Anyone willing to die for his country deserves nothing less.
1.3.2007 7:47pm
Randy R. (mail):
Caliban: But there's nothing special about sexuality in that - it's just another thing you wake up one day and realise is important to you.

Then why is it so important to you? And why is it so important to ban gay people? Why any prejudice against us at all, whether in the military or the greater society?

What exactly is it about gay people that makes so you so scared of us that you must ban us, prevent us from marrying, throw is in jail for having sex, keep us out of the churchs, or any of a hundred things that all you people try to do to us?

If this sounds like I'm playing the victim card, I hope not. Regardless, though, just what is it about gay men (much more so than lesbians) that makes heterosexual men puddle themselves at the mere thought of two men loving each other? I don't like to call people sissies, because I was called one all my life growing up, but I think the real sissies are not the ones who are gay, but the ones who are too scared to know a gay man.
1.3.2007 7:52pm
Ramza:
Randy your link didn't work about the British now using a gay recruitment group to increase recruitment numbers. Can you retry posting it.
1.3.2007 8:07pm
Fury:
Mike BUSL07 writes:

"After an incident in basic training involving a sex act between two soldiers..."

For folks who objected to the reaction of the platoon and the 1SGT, let's back up a bit.

Why are two recruits even engaging in sex? You want to talk about loss of good order and morale? There's a reason why a platoon size element is crammed into crowded barracks, participates in close-order drill, march to breakfast, lunch and dinner, participate in GI parties, etc, etc. It's so that recruits start to think - and act as a cohesive unit - putting the mission first and thinking of their fellow recruits first - and not in the way said recruits are reported to have done.

For a military recruit to not be able to control themselves during basic training male or female, would make me question if they were cut out for that profession. There's plenty of time after basic training to let it all hang out, so to speak. But there is a certain amount of discipline expected of folks in basic training - it's not too much to ask.

As far as DADT, those serving in harm's way need to have their opinions on this matter considered. Those who serve need to be queried in some fashion if openly gay military personnel will affect morale and completing the mission, etc. It should not be the last word, but their input will be an important dataset that should be considered.
1.3.2007 8:13pm
Dan Hamilton:
The big question is what happens after you get rid of DADT and say it is fine for Openly Gay people to be in the Military.

The Question is "How Openly Gay"?

Sister Boom-Boom when off duty? Think Gay Pride parade in SF. How Flamingly Gay is OK? Then what do you do when they are in nn-tolerant places and want to Flame off duty? Where do you draw the line? The Gays say "What Line?".

Enlisted Club Any Base USA. Guy talks up a girl he thinks everything is going fine until he finds out the girl is a Guy. Depending on what point he finds out several things could happen. You can fill in the rest. To the Gays the above is again "What problem?".

A few such problems could cause a big backlash. It is not the reasonable Gays it is the Gay activist, the Flaming Gay, the Gay that wants to rub the straights nose in it, the Gays that demand not just tolerance but that their whole lifestyle be treated as NORMAL, ACCEPTED, YOU BETTER NOT SAY ANYTHING AGAINST IT OR ELSE. It is the Gays Activiists that put the uppercase in the above.

Do I have a problem with them serving? No. Most people are tolerant and don't care as long as the Gays stay out of their faces. I have worked with Gays and had no problems. I don't fear them. I do fear Gay Activists in a setting where if I say something anti-Gay or anti-Gay agenda they try and charge me with a Hate Crime, send me to Sensitivity Traning or get me fired. In todays climate a that is possible.

Think about what a Gay Activist could do in a unit with NOTHING to hold her/him in check. No one says an anti-Gay word or does anything. Anybody want to take that unit into combat? Anybody wonder how long the Gay Activist would last in combat? How many others would die?

Normal Gay that just wants tolerance NO PROBLEM. Nobody cares.
Gay Activist who demands acceptance BIG PROBLEM.
1.3.2007 8:23pm
Ramza:
Subsitute Gay for Female, and gay activist for feminist.
1.3.2007 8:28pm
Mark Field (mail):

Directly after the forced black/white integration of the US Military in the 1950's, there were three years of heightened race-related incidents in the military.


Hmm. Let's check some quick dates here. Truman signed his Order on July 26, 1948. The last all-black unit was abolished on September 30, 1954. Cite.

The Korean War ran from June 25, 1950 to July 27, 1953. I guess that 3 year period must have included at least one full year of a war far more significant than Iraq.
1.3.2007 8:28pm
SeaLawyer:

"If we do not segregate, then you have to be prepared to deal with the fights that would occur when a homosexual soldier made an advance on a straight soldier, however innocuously. Once that kind of tension is created, the unit's cohesion is gone, and their fighting ability diminished."

WRONG! There is NO evidence in another other military that has lifted the ban that this in fact has happened. You are exhibiting what clinically called "homosexual panic."


Randy come on. Just because something does not show up in a report or study doesn't mean it didn't happen. I have read enough of your posts to know you are smarter than that.
1.3.2007 8:31pm
Princess Pinker Than Thou:
What the fuck is wrong with you people? Everybody loves lesbians!

http://tinyurl.com/yyrkw3

On second thought, maybe it would be best to keep them out of the military- they might distract the soldiers.

P.S. I might have messed up the URL, but you guys get the idea, right?
1.3.2007 8:32pm
Ramza:

Randy come on. Just because something does not show up in a report or study doesn't mean it didn't happen. I have read enough of your posts to know you are smarter than that.


If it isn't significant enough to come up in a report or study, maybe just maybe, it isn't that significant to "unit cohesion." The damage done by DADT is significant to come up in studies and such. How many arabic translators do we need to fight the war on terror. Oh lets just fire 50 or so, lets see if that reduces our militaries efficency.
1.3.2007 8:38pm
SeaLawyer:

If it isn't significant enough to come up in a report or study, maybe just maybe, it isn't that significant to "unit cohesion."


LOL
1.3.2007 8:41pm
ReVonna LaSchatze:
Randy come on. Just because something does not show up in a report or study doesn't mean it didn't happen.

So a couple fellow soldiers step up and protect their buddy being harassed in the shower for the wrong reasons. If discipline is properly enforced, this helps build unit morale. You know if somebody can do the job, queer or not. You want quality guys alongside you, not bullies. That's what the service offers. Doesn't matter who your dad is, or how rich or poor you were outside. It's who can do what for the unit.
1.3.2007 8:43pm
Ramza:

If it isn't significant enough to come up in a report or study, maybe just maybe, it isn't that significant to "unit cohesion."


I should have chosen a different word than "uni cohesion" some people may think of it in a cruder way.

I changed my mind and agree now with SeaLawyer, some things that occur are not directly reported in such studies. This is because they had long reach the commanding officers ears before the study was finalized. It is better to keep such unrefined and uncouth things on the "down low" *wink*
1.3.2007 8:46pm
Ramza:
Wait I did it again in my previous post, another phrase with multiple meaning that can be considered "crude." *wink*
1.3.2007 8:47pm
BobNSF (mail):

President Bush and his commanders have already done part of the issue by discouraging/suspending Chapter 15 discharges during the conflict for personnell going into combat, but that doesn't include those translators.


I assume you're referring to stop/loss orders. As I recall, those applied to almost all discharges except those of outed service members.
1.3.2007 9:06pm
Dan Hamilton:
Ramza:

Subsitute Gay for Female, and gay activist for feminist

Are you going to keep the Openly Gay out of Combat Units????
If not what is your point?

And Just as a Snark.
There is a difference between a Radical Feminist and a Gay Activist?
1.3.2007 9:14pm
scouser (mail):
Appeal to my own authority: Marine Corps infantry, 1985 - 1989. For a variety of reasons I think gays should be allowed to serve. My major concern, though, is that gays not become another grievance group similar to what congress, bureaucrats, advocacy organizations, and spineless career minded general officers have combined to achieve with women: demanding separate when it comes to some stuff (physical standards despite gear and equipment weighing the same for everyone, using career ending allegations of harassment as a sword) while expecting equal elsewhere (promotions, command, respect). Certainly not all of that will apply to gays, but the list isn't exclusive and if there's a way to find an advantage for "their" people, political actors will find it.
1.3.2007 9:21pm
ReVonna LaSchatze:
There is a difference between a Radical Feminist and a Gay Activist?

Dan:
Have you been watching my Bend Over Boyfriend tape again? Bad boy!
1.3.2007 9:24pm
Ramza:

There is a difference between a Radical Feminist and a Gay Activist?

Snark back: only when the lights are on, just closes your eyes and get it over with *wink*
1.3.2007 9:29pm
Ramza:

Are you going to keep the Openly Gay out of Combat Units????
If not what is your point?

My point is the current situation is not the opportune use of resources for the military. Right now I see squandering of resources. How the military fixes it is there business, just as long as its more effective that it is now, the Generals, Government Beauracrats, and Politicans get that burden not us armchair quarterbacks.

Yes I may be asking way too much of our Generals, Government Beauracrats, and Politicans *wink*
1.3.2007 9:33pm
libertarian soldier (mail):
"But everyone should have the right to serve his or her own country".
No they shouldn't, unless there is a draft. Otherwise, the military should have the right to pick and choose who it wants, to ensure the most efficient, effective military possible.
"When the Army racially desegregated, you took orders. Period. Whether you liked it or not. Guess what? It went better than expected." Except in the 70's, where either you belonged to a black gang, or a white gang, or carried a private weapon because you didn't believe in either supremacy, as my brother did in 1972. So, he spent 18 months in Germany carrying a .38.
"His support for Clinton's gutting of our military during the 1990's and his role as military advisor for a candidate who called for a deadline for cutting and running from Iraq both call his judgment into question." Exactly.
" If Congress votes to lift the ban, then the only decision left to the President is to decide whether to enforce the law or not."
Not if he vetos it before becoming law.
"You just use a strong hand in molding those 19, 20 and 21 year olds. Just like is being done right now, even with the relaxed recruitment standards. Soldiers do as they're told or face discipline. Period."
Are you really that clueless? Is that how you imagine things go on in the military? I have almost three decades of service and it never worked like that. It happened like that, and so you could see a company commander spending 20% of his time doing nothing but adjudicating ART 15's, which had a significant effect on his company's combat effectiveness (and not for the worse)OBTW, a "strong hand" is illegal now.
OABTW, I support letting soldiers who commit homosexual acts serve--the day after single sex barracks go away.
1.3.2007 10:12pm
libertarian soldier (mail):
And when I said single sex barracks going away, I meant single sex rooms, latrines, and showers giong away. After all, if 18 year old gay soldiers can be trusted not to make inappropriate comments or advances, so can 18 year old straight soldiers. And if 18 year old male soldiers can be trusted to be able to handle unwanted sexual advances, then so can 18 year old females.
1.3.2007 10:34pm
Chris Bell (mail):
Even if it does disrupt unit cohesion, at what point is it outweighed by the number of people who aren't allowed to serve or get kicked out of an overworked military.

How many have been kicked out under DADT? (I think it's in the thousands.) Lots of commanders are looking the other way. Is it because they have grown that much more tolerant, or they think its just not worth losing the men over it.
1.3.2007 10:50pm
ReVonna LaSchatze:
Lol @ "libertarian soldier"
30 years of service, eh?

Not exactly a winning attitude...
You part of that Army of One, guaranteed beret program? Sure sounds like we could do better.
1.3.2007 10:54pm
Perseus (mail):
Eliminating DADT would be one more thing that a future federal court decision would cite in requiring the federal government to recognize SSM.
1.3.2007 11:17pm
ReVonna LaSchatze:
That's a poor way to make decisions, Perseus.

Good thing you're not the Decider, eh ?
1.3.2007 11:46pm
Perseus (mail):
It's only a poor way to make the decision if one assumes that I intended it to be the most important--rather than merely one--consideration for the Decider.
1.4.2007 12:29am
Russ (mail):
I've been offline for a while taking care of my family and see that quite the hornet's nest has been stirred up.

Revonna, you can question me all you want. I commanded a rifle company during OIF-1 and fought at Kifl, Hillah, and Karbala. I have been in a staff position for a couple of years, but will likely be going back into the fray in about a year. Your questioning is irrelevent and an attempt to deflect anyway. Please enlighten me as to what it is YOU do for a living.

Serving in the military is a privilege, not a right. We remove gang members, overweight personnel, those too tall, those too short, those with asthma, and those who are deaf. Are we discriminatory there as well?

My original point, if anyone cared to go back and read it, was that a large number of people use DADT as a quick escape. There have been problems with some overzealous folks, but let's not try and paint all those discharged under Chapter 15 as angels, for most are not. I know that might come as a shock to those who have an agenda they honestly believe in, but from practical experience, that is the way it is.

Chris Bell, it's not that we are "looking the other way." Nor have we become "more tolerant." It is honestly a question of time. With all the requirements, both in garrison and in the field, we have no time to care whether someone is gay. I do not have the time, nor the authority, or even the inclination, to investigate whether someone is gay. I can better spend that time at PT, BRM(basic rifle marksmanship), or the countless taskings my company would get from higher HQ. And that's just in garrison. Deployment ups that time restriction considerably. Even if I wanted to do something, unless a soldier comes up to me and says, specifically, "Sir, I am a homosexual," I can't do anything. It takes written authorization from the Under-Secratary of the Army to initiate any kind of investigation. Not only have I never seen that authority given, I have never even seen it requested. I don't personally care - so keep it to yourself. I don't go around telling everyone I meet that I am straight.

"Soldiers do as they're told or face discipline. Period"
This is spoken laughingly like someone who has never served or been on the other end of a 2am phone call telling him or her that they need to come get one of their soldiers out of jail for the bar fight he just started. Soldiers are people, and - surprise, surprise, surprise - they will act as such. Yes, we do what we can and come down when it's necessary, but that doesn't make them automatans. Have you ever tried to get a group of 19-22 year olds to do something, especially when they're "off the clock" and on personal time? I hate to say this, but military discipline is very much reactive - in other words, we try to sort out the mess after it has occurred.

I agree in principle with libertarian soldier - another that Revonna tries to dismiss just b/c she doesn't care for his views - that if we allow this, then we pretty much HAVE TO go the Starship Troopers route - unisex barracks, latrines, and showers. After all, if we can allow gay soldiers to shower and bunk with those they could find attractive, then we should be able to do so with straight soldiers of the opposite sex, right? And if a woman is uncomfortable sharing a shower with a 200 lb man, then that's her problem for not being enlightened, right?

As for how other militaries deal with it, I neither know nor really care. Different cultures, different OPTEMPOs.

I find it amusing that those here suggesting that we soldiers just suck it up aren't going to be the ones dealing with the problems that will arise. You'll sit at home in front of your TVs, saying, "Yeah, strike one for our rights!" Then you'll go right back to watching 24. We're the ones who get to clean up the mess.
1.4.2007 1:15am
PatHMV (mail) (www):
Dale, thanks for the clarification. In my original reading of your post, I took your comment on the President to be referring to his powers as Commander-in-Chief, on his veto power. On reread, I see your point more clearly, and would generally agree. I'd be more than willing to place a significant bet that President Bush would sign such a law if presented to him, but I don't think he would ever take the lead in pushing for it.
1.4.2007 1:26am
Ramza:
Russ you effectively made two arguements.
1) Straight people currently abuse DADT to get out the military with an honorable discharge.

Well in my mind you just made an arguement on why you should get rid of DADT, close the loophole.
2) What about people that are attracted to the same sex, rooming in the same barracks of the same sex

Well since with the status quo we already allow gay soliders in the military, and these people are allowed to sleep in the same barracks we should be able to measure all the discipline problems due to people feeling uncomfortable about showering/sleeping with gays right now.

Oh wait we aren't having much problems with that right now.
1.4.2007 1:44am
Randy R. (mail):
So far, not a single person has answered my original question. Not one person has provided even a scintilla of evidence that the presense of openly gay people hurt unit cohesion or morale. Not a single person has provided a reasonable answer to why qualified Arab linguists who happen to be gay must be booted from the army. Not a single person has been any to provide any reason why Britain, Israel, Canada, NZ and Australia decision to lift the ban was a bad decision that should be reversed.

All anyone has done is say that gays don't have a right to serve in the military, or that somehow straight men can't deal with it.

Okay, let me offer you a short quiz, because I think this gets to the heart of the matter. You are a heterosexual male serving in the Army. An gay man makes a pass at you. Do you:

a) Go crying to your commanding officer to complain about the big bad homo who made a pass at you and demand that he be disciplined?

b) Pick up a bat and bash his head in?

c) Say, no thanks, you're not my type and go on with your business?

Only a deeply insecure person unsure of his masculinity wouldn't know the correct answer. Correct as in what the army actually demands in such a situation. Hey women! You know the proper answer don't you? You've had to deal with unwelcome advances from time to time. How do YOU handle it?

Pvt. Barry Winchell was a gay man who didn't tell anyone he was gay. But some other privates suspected, so one guy confonts Winchell and starts a fight. Winchell beats the crap out of him. The guy is really upset, since a 'fag' beat the crap out of him. Pretty humilating. So he gets a bunch of guys and that take a bat and bashed Winchell's head in. His own mother counldn't identify his body. Two of the men were convicted of killing him.

Three tragedies. Why? The Army stated that Pvt. Winchell was an exemplary soldier. They admited he did NOTHING wrong. He never even outed himself. The two thugs who killed him are serving long jail sentences. Wow -- they really proved to the world that they hate gays and they won't take a fag beating them up. What a price to pay for stupid bigotry.

So anyone arguing for the ban is saying that the Barry Winchells of this world should be booted out of the military for NO OTHER REASON than for the comfort of the thugs who killed him. This is the military that you are so proud of?

No. No, no, no, no, no! Stupid bigoted thugs should be expelled from the military. Good soldiers should be kept. Is this not common sense? Again, the problem, according to our own military, is not the gay soldiers, but the stupid bigots who hate them.

Russ: "We're the ones who get to clean up the mess."

Please identify what mess the Israeli, or any other integrated army, had to clean up when they lifted their bans on gay men from serving. Didn't you read that the RAF is actively recruiting gay people? So obviously, there is no problem with openly gay men serving. And they still have separate bathrooms for men and women.

Today, according to our own military policy, there is NO BAN on gay people serving. Only openly gay people. Again, I have asked people for something other than speculation, and you have provided nothing but fear. Does Britain require unisex bathrooms? No they do not. None of them do. So let's stop with the fearmongering, okay?

But the real mess is the cost of millions of dollars spend on training soldiers and then expelling them from the military for no other reason than that they are gay. I guess this waste of money isn't something you consider a problem, is it?

Russ: Serving in the military is a privilege, not a right. We remove gang members, overweight personnel, those too tall, those too short, those with asthma, and those who are deaf. Are we discriminatory there as well? "

And you should remove people who can't serve with blacks, muslims, or openly gay people. Bigots have no more right to serve in the military than gay people, so why must we cater to them?

Russ, get over yourself. Gay men and women are not sexual wolves just waiting to pounce on you. Gay men want separate bathrooms just like straight men do. Gay men want to serve their country honorably just like you do. Gay men DO serve with honor and distinction, just like others. The ONLY problem is people like you. And once you actually serve with a homosexual, as many of our men and women do today in the middle east, you will see there is no problem.
1.4.2007 2:14am
Jay Myers:
Randy R.:

The military has women in it -- do women fight every man they think --however inoccuously -- is flirting with them?

I hear that sex among the troops is widespread in Iraq and there have been several news stories about the large number of rapes and the effort to cover them up or downplay their frequency. That's what happens when your forces mix groups that find one another sexually appealing. That's why we used to keep women out of the regular military and why there is such resistance to allowing homosexuals to openly serve. Maybe they are individually capable of doing the job but putting people who want to have sex with one another into intimate contact in a highly stressful situation doesn't seem viable.

As for the example of racial integration, which has been thrown around alot on this thread, the DoD still has to go to a lot of effort to try and minimize racial friction. It has the Defence Equal Opportunity Management Institute to train equal opportunity instructors for all the services, recruits undergo sensitivity training in basic, and NCOs recieve training in race relations. Even with all of that infrastucture in place, incidents still happen. Some people mention the racial integration of the armed forces as if it was some magical occurrence leading to a happily ever after ending. It hasn't and skin color is a lot less explosive a problem in barracks than fraternization is.
1.4.2007 2:43am
Russ (mail):
Randy R.,

Several points here:

1. Yes, there are gays serving in the military. However, none I know of serve openly. They keep that orientation to themselves. There may be those who do serve with knowledge of others, but I am not aware of those. Those who can accept that - wonderful for them. I'm glad they can overcome what others can't accept. However that doesn't mean everyone, or even most.

2. I can't cite any studies, only my own experience. So, yes, you might have a point there. I can only speak to what I have seen.

3. Pvt. Barry Winchell was a gay man who didn't tell anyone he was gay. But some other privates suspected, so one guy confonts Winchell and starts a fight. Winchell beats the crap out of him. The guy is really upset, since a 'fag' beat the crap out of him. Pretty humilating. So he gets a bunch of guys and that take a bat and bashed Winchell's head in. His own mother counldn't identify his body. Two of the men were convicted of killing him.

I've been waiting for this one. Winchell WAS NOT GAY! I served with several people who knew Winchell personally. He was very effiminate, had gay friends, and was perceived as the classic wimp, but he himself was not gay. He was at a party and started getting picked on. After a few minutes, he went and beat the tar out of the bully, then left. The bully then started drinking and listening to comments all night like, "You gonna let that faggot do that to you?" He grabbed a bat and beat Winchell to death in his sleep. This one was totally misrepresented by the media as gay bashing, when it was nothing of the sort. Still, we all know that the media would never mislead people for their own purposes!

4. Russ, get over yourself. Gay men and women are not sexual wolves just waiting to pounce on you. Gay men want separate bathrooms just like straight men do. Gay men want to serve their country honorably just like you do. Gay men DO serve with honor and distinction, just like others. The ONLY problem is people like you. And once you actually serve with a homosexual, as many of our men and women do today in the middle east, you will see there is no problem.

Never said they were sexual wolves. I know several gay people myself, and am related to a gay man. I was pointing out that, whether we like it or not, most 19-22 year olds are not as mature as we might like, and much more prone to giving in to their baser instincts, whether making advances or violently rebuffing them. This is what causes the disruption, not the instincts themselves. I wish that we could accept everyone for each other and have no personal animus towards gays, as you like to suggest. However, I am also a realist who wants to look after the Army.

Your problem is that you can't seem to fathom that maybe, just maybe, there are some who have legitimate concerns for the sake of national security - instead, they must all be bigots. That's extremely dismissive and hurts your argument - when you can't accept that some have an opposing view, you name call. Believe it or not, I do understand that there are many gays who do wish to serve the nation and wish some could just get over themselves; I don't think they're evil for arguing such. You should probably extend that courtesy to your own opponents.

5. And you should remove people who can't serve with blacks, muslims, or openly gay people. Bigots have no more right to serve in the military than gay people, so why must we cater to them?

Um, we already do this. I have chaptered out two people for such bigoted acts(actually, they were caught with Aryan Brotherhood tattoos). But, once again, I also live in reality, where I know that people's attitudes do not shift overnight. Remember that I said military discipline is reactive. I can't ask people if they hold homophobic views before they join any more than I can ask someone if they are homosexual before they join.

6. But the real mess is the cost of millions of dollars spend on training soldiers and then expelling them from the military for no other reason than that they are gay. I guess this waste of money isn't something you consider a problem, is it?

Yes, I do consider it a problem. It is actually a two-fold problem. First, that some lie in order to leave service, and, second, that others can't seem to keep their mouths shut in the first place. You seem to keep missing how much effort someone has to go through in order to get chaptered out due to this.

I'm glad the RAF and Israel allow gays to serve. Again, different cultures and military missions.

On the crux of the matter, I think thatif DADT is lifted, homosexuals would likely be eventually accepted. However, my guess - and a guess is all that it is - is that it would be a mess for four to five years. Aside fom those in service who wouldn't accept it, you'd have a number of militants who would join just to try and prove a point(which would be just as disruptive as the "bigots" you refer to). This might be okay were we not involved in a war right now. We have enough distractions without a new one. If Clinton and Congress had any cajones at all in 1993, they would have done it then and the mess might all be done with. Now, however, is not the time.

We can gripe all we want about how it's unfair and wish it wasn't. While we're wishing, I'd kinda like to have a pony.
1.4.2007 2:47am
Ramza:

Yes, I do consider it a problem. It is actually a two-fold problem. First, that some lie in order to leave service, and, second, that others can't seem to keep their mouths shut in the first place. You seem to keep missing how much effort someone has to go through in order to get chaptered out due to this.


Why is this a two fold problem, why is the bolded part a problem?
1.4.2007 3:09am
ReVonna LaSchatze:
We remove gang members, overweight personnel, those too tall, those too short, those with asthma, and those who are deaf. Are we discriminatory there as well?

Russ,
They're accepting former gang members now. Also, you don't need to be a high school graduate, can be up to age 45 to enlist. Standards are dropping.

Thanks for your detailed response about how you personally would not be able to cope or observe proper discipline serving next to an out gay soldier.

Maybe you should start looking for a new line of work that would better accomodate your skill set? There's a reason we don't let soldiers do their thinking for themselves, and we weed out disciplinary problems who can only follow orders they like. I suspect that what you see now -- how the job is (or is not) getting done -- has a lot do with the expectations and quality of our current military, which the taxpayers continue to finance.

He was very effiminate, had gay friends, and was perceived as the classic wimp, but he himself was not gay.
His girlfriend was a tranny. Want to share more of your midnight expertise here, "Russ"?
1.4.2007 8:00am
ReVonna LaSchatze:
While we're wishing, I'd kinda like to have a pony.

Do you have any land?
Anyone capable of feeding and caring for a pony -- shoveling out the shit, breaking up the frozen water troughs, etc.

Keep working, and saving your $$.
If you really want something, and are willing to work and sacrifice for it, you can earn it yourself in this country.

Or else you can sit back and whine at what others have got for themselves. And write publically how you don't like the rules where you work, how you don't want to just shut up and do your job effectively, how you'd let down the team for the sake of hating on another playah.

You know what? Nevermind about that pony for yourself, Russ. Without someone there telling you, you probably wouldn't know how to properly care for it. Good luck on that new job search though. You can do it!
1.4.2007 8:05am
ReVonna LaSchatze:
And don't forget Allen Schindler, Jr., late of Chicago Heights Illinois. RIP.

On October 27, 1992, Petty Officer Allen R. Schindler, Jr., 22, was brutally beaten to death in a public restroom in Sasebo, Japan, by two of his shipmates, Terry Helvey and Charles Vins. They beat and stomped Schindler to death because Schindler was gay. Their attack was so vicious that they destroyed every organ in Schindler's body. Allen Schindler's mother, Mrs. Dorothy Hadjys-Holman, could identify her son only by the remains of the tattoos on his arms. The medical examiner compared Schindler's injuries to those sustained by victims of a fatal airplane crash or a high- speed automobile accident - all but two of Schindler's ribs had been broken, his penis bore cut marks and his liver contained holes that allowed the pathologist to see straight through it ...

Later Kennon F. Privette, a Navy investigator, told the jury of Helvey's admission to the slaying of Allen Schindler during interrogation the day after the murder.

"He said he hated homosexuals. He was disgusted by them," Privette said. On killing Schindler, Privette quoted Helvey as saying: "I don't regret it. I'd do it again. ... He deserved it."
1.4.2007 8:11am
ReVonna LaSchatze:
Always remember those who served their country with pride:

http://auschwitz.dk/Allen.htm
1.4.2007 8:13am
ReVonna LaSchatze:
Underneath this sheet, a mangled body,
His only testament and estate,
Bequeaths itself to autopsy. Howls farewell.
Around him, all stainless steel and white
Just like the bathroom at the park
Where red now stains the grout,
Where a shipmate, a kickboxer, beat him dead.
Soon latex hands will reassert the truth:
Died from repeated punches.
Grant him, Lord, eternal rest.

- Guy Terrell
Richmond, VA 1995
1.4.2007 8:15am
Fury:
ReVonna LaSchatze writes:


"They're accepting former gang members now. Also, you don't need to be a high school graduate, can be up to age 45 to enlist. Standards are dropping."



Concerning gang members, the operative word is former.

Concerning "...you don't need to be a high school graduate...", that information needs to be clarified. The Army's position on recruiting for those who have a GED is:

"The Army's figures show 6.5 percent of all enlisted soldiers held GED certificates at the end of 2004, the last year statistics were available. The Army plans to keep its limit on new soldiers with GEDs at 10 percent in any year. " - source

Concerning the age requirement to enlist, can you provide a reference to the age being raised to 45 ? I can find the age being raised to 42 here.

I'm not sure what part of your sentence specifically refers to standards dropping, but if you are referring to former gang members, or the age limit being raised, I'd say the assertion that standards are dropping is unwarranted. If you're 42 years of age or a former gang member, you still have to meet Army weight and PT standards - period. I don't believe that's evidence of standards being lowered. As far as more soldiers having GED's meaning lowered standards, that's a fair statement.
1.4.2007 9:07am
Mike BUSL07 (mail):
Revonna,

I gotta tell you, you are making some serious mistakes in your approach. YOu are dealing with people who largely agree with you that DADT is a bad idea. Yet, inexplicably, you are snarky and full of ad hominem. When you are not attacking other commenters' credentials, you are making the plainly ridiculous point that soldiers are somehow robots, capable of obeying blindly every command.

To piggy-back on Russ, (no pun intended), when I served, we had two boards in the CQ, one that said, "Days Since Last AWOL," and another saying, "Days Since Last DUI." Neither really ever went over 3 months. There were no boards for things like fights, arrests, failed drug tests, etc. So Revonna, please don't pretend to know the military.
1.4.2007 9:35am
Brian G (mail) (www):
Shalikashvili just misses all that attention he got during the 2004 campaign. This was an easy and cheap way to get some spotlight on him again.

For the record, I think the military is unnecessarily losing talent over the policy, and it should go away.
1.4.2007 12:54pm
Randy R. (mail):
Russ: just maybe, there are some who have legitimate concerns for the sake of national security -"

Name some. Remember, the military itself has NO problem with closeted gay people serving, just the openly gay ones, and it has never identified a security problem with openly gay men.

Under DADT, the military is not supposed to pursue. However, there are plenty of cases in which the military actively pursued gay servicemen even when, as you put it, they kept their mouth shut about it. The files at SDLN are filled with cases where the personnel did everything to keep it quiet, but the military began to investigate computer records, opened mail, and so on -- all the things that they are prohibited from doing under DADT, but did anyway. Was there a ton of paperwork? Lots of costs? Yes. This is why it's a stupid policy. Some COs want to root out any gays, closeted or not, and that is against military policy.

Winchell was dating a man who dressed and acted as a woman, transitioning to a woman medically. Usually dating a man, no matter what he wears, is considered at least not straight -- and mostly likely gay.

Great for you to just dismiss Israel, Britain, CAnada, NZ, Australia as such foreign cultures that their acceptance of gay people can't simply work in the US. But according to the Army Navy study done a few years ago, all the exact same objections to lifting the ban were made by US military officers today where made by their compatriots then. The exact same objections.

yet, once implemented, all armies were suprised to find that the officers, even the ones with the most objections, dutily implemented the new policy without incident. In other words, they acted as highly trained professionals they are expected to be.

So maybe, just maybe, allowing openly gay people to serve in the military will change nothing, and that your worst fears are unfounded. The evidence is clear that that is true. There is no evidence otherwise, and you have failed to cite any at all.
1.4.2007 1:19pm
ReVonna LaSchatze:
There were no boards for things like fights, arrests, failed drug tests, etc. So Revonna, please don't pretend to know the military.

Echoing Randy, "In other words, they acted as highly trained professionals they are expected to be."

Piddle about your "boards" or the details of enforcing discipline MikeBU. You sure backed off quickly from the original story you told here at 1625 yesterday.

Dare I say even with lowered enlistment qualifications, professional standards may be ... rising, from the time you and your buddies served and showed those "kids" a thing or two? Heh. Glory days/story days...
1.4.2007 1:42pm
Russ (mail):
This thread has deteriorated into name calling when the other side disagrees with you. I am not going to convince you, nor are you going to convince me, so there's no point in continuing.

I'm really glad that there are people here who know more about topics because they've read things, rather than those who've experienced them.
1.4.2007 2:26pm
Some Guy (mail):
Hey, I'm crossing my fingers that the new Democrat Congress makes this a priority. Nothing tells the American people how serious you are like making gays in the military a priority in a time of war!
1.4.2007 3:33pm
ReVonna LaSchatze:
Russ, Some Guy:

Quit worrying about the gays.

Get back to having the military do the job we're paying them for: protecting the country. Not babysitting Iraqis, nation rebuilding, or whatever mission of the month the fear mongers can scare up. And if we're too chicken to let our troops out past the "secured areas" in Iraq where the actual fighting and dying is taking place, bring em home. We're not paying to let some guys sit back and wait, pretending they're Rambos protecting us somehow. The adventure party patrol's gone on about long enough, and the job ain't getting done.

Can't have soldiers thinking they just because they can bust up some people and things that we have any respect at all for their brains. That goes for all the experience coming from the Bush/Cheney leadership too, and all the InstaLump's too. Put Glenn on the mission of protecting us from intergalactic terrorists who might invade from above -- surely that's more his speed.
1.4.2007 4:09pm
BobNSF (mail):
When the military was racially integrated, much of the discussion centered on the problems that introducing blacks into previously all-white ranks would cause. Looking back, with benefit of hindsight, we can see that the problem wasn't the black soldiers, it was racism.

No lesson there?
1.4.2007 4:13pm
Fury:
ReVonna LaSchatze writes:

"...We're not paying to let some guys sit back and wait, pretending they're Rambos protecting us somehow. The adventure party patrol's gone on about long enough and the job ain't getting done"

At first glance, and indeed after a second reading, this looks like comments directed in part at military personnel in Iraq, etc. If so, that's unfortunate, because there was a legitimate, interesting discussion on gays in the military in general, and DADT in specific - and that discussion has now flooded into other areas.
1.4.2007 4:49pm
jgshapiro (mail):
Why not allow gays to serve openly in any position (whether or not uniformed) in which women are permitted to serve? Seems to me that the arguments against allowing gays to serve mirror the arguments against allowing women to serve; yet, women are allowed to serve in many more military positions than gays.

If unit cohesion is the problem, why the different treatment as to non-combat posts?
1.4.2007 11:27pm
PeterH:
What's going to happen, when it happens, which it will eventually, one way or another, is that the inherent culture of the military is still going to stay the same. Adding openly gay men will change the culture far less than adding women.

What it doesn't seem to occur to people is that in the units most likely to be upset by the "flaming fags" that someone above was fluttering about, like the SEALS and other special forces elite groups, the openly gay people who make it in will be just as macho, just as physical, and just as testosterone based as those groups are today.

The groups that today have no issue with gay people, like the medical corps, the chaplains assistants, the administrative, intel, and technical groups, are going to get more or less the same people they do now.

My God, have none of you seen actual gay men lately? There are plenty of guys out there who could give the average SEAL a run for his money.

It isn't, as so many people seem to think, adding a whole new segment of the population into these units. We are allowing the people who are already serving under the current standards to tell the truth about something that in no way affects their job qualifications. There won't be any learning curve time or shakedown while "they" have to prove that "they" are as good as "us." "They" are ALREADY "us."

So, the testosterone-based units will stay that way, and they'll eventually settle into coming down harder on servicepeople who fraternize within the chain of command, but share the on-leave conquest stories with each other, because they're "buds." In short, most gay SEALS will be tops, and the ones that aren't are going to have to "prove their masculinity" just as women in the specialized forces do. But physically, they'll be in a better position to do so.

The rest of the service positions will have a mix.

And why, oh, why, is everyone convinced that the gay men are going to be hitting on the straight guys, and not the other way around? "Situational homosexuality" is extremely common in all-male groups, like prisons.There will certainly be cases of gay men being harassed for favors. Maybe not a lot, but it will happen.

Speaking from experience, the majority of gay men learned to keep our heads down, shower real fast, and get the hell out of there in high school, skills which worked well in the military. Why would that change?

Trust me, folks, the majority of you ARE quite resistable. And the vast majority of gay men are only interested in men who are interested in them. Most straight guys are perfectly safe. Yes, even the hot ones.
1.5.2007 4:30pm
pchappel (mail):
I guess I find it sort of amusing in a fairly cynical sort of way... When I was an NCO in the Army, most of us knew about more than a handful of gays in uniform. Likewise, we knew of a handful of men who smoked (insert substance here). Or drank at levels that most alcoholics would not dare to reach... As long as it did not interfere in their performance or cause problems (legal ones), pretty much everyone simply noted that and gave it no more notice than the soldier's hair color, are they right or left handed, etc... 'course, just my opinions as always, your mileage might vary...
1.5.2007 5:02pm
Randy R. (mail):

Russ: I'm really glad that there are people here who know more about topics because they've read things, rather than those who've experienced them.

Russ's sarcastic comment assumes that everyone who has experience in the army would be against lifting the ban. But of course, this whole thread started because a former JCS advocated lifting the ban, and ignores the manyh people who posted here who have been or are in the military who are in favor of lifting the ban. It further ignores that experiences of numerous other countries' militaries that have had no problems lifting the ban.

So Russ, everyone who has the experience that you claim to have but have a different opinion on the what matter, what about them?
1.5.2007 7:18pm
Chimaxx (mail):
Randy: I think you do a disservice to your purpose--and undercut a chance for real dialogue on this issue--by arguing with Russ as if he were an anti-gay ideologue. He's clearly not. He is raising what he believes are legitimate concerns, and they do not appear to emanate from a fundamental position that gay people are bad--or even that they are fundamentally unworthy to serve in the military.

Instead he seems to be saying: Our military is already burdened and struggling mightily to successfully fight two wars. Ius this the time to toss it one more challenge. And even if you think he overemphasizes the level of the challenge, even if some aspects of his argument seem fundamentally dishonest, you cannot deny that when it happens (and it really is a matter of when, not if, as even Russ admits), there WILL be some disruption--because change, even change for the good, ALWAYS causes some disruption.

On the other hand there are some holes and inconsistencies
in Russ's arguments that mark them as arguments concocted to support a conclusion already arrived at.

For instance, he too easily dismisses the experience of other militaries integrating gay soldiers without crippling problems by saying they are "different military cultures" and their experience doesn't apply, while simultaneously arguing that the core of the problem is the fundamental immaturity if 19-22-year-olds--as if those other militaries aren't also manned by 19-22-year-olds. Are other nations' 19-22-year-olds somehow more mature than ours? He avoids that question consistently.

He argues that many of the people dismissed under DADT are not actually gay, but sees no benefit to closing that loophole for rogues looking for an easy way out of the military. He admits that there are gay and lesbian soldiers serving honorably, is willing to believe that some few of them do so semi-openly with close peers and superiors, claims that he is too busy and involved with his job to know about the sexuality and private life of any of his soldiers, gay or straight, and yet thinks that if the stick of dismissal used to keep them in the closet were lifted, all gay soldiers would suddenly burst out of the closet and all hell would suddenly let loose.

Randy: Even though I fundamentally agree with your point of view, I was made uncomfortable by the excess (e.g., claiming that there would be no problems and no issues is dishonest: There clearly would be), by the piling on, by your immediate jump to arguing with Russ as if he were a mouth-foaming homophobe, when he clearly isn't. I'm saddened that a chance for real dialogue on this issue has been lost and that partisans on each side of the argument quickly fell to grandstanding.
1.6.2007 5:34pm
NRWO:
Chimaxx:

Would you please provide an example of a pattern of data that would convince you that retaining the status quo on DADT would be sensible and advisable?

There certainly are rational reasons to prefer the status quo: For example, strong sexual feelings toward another soldier could produce distractions, which in battle could increase the likelihood of death to fellow soldiers.

A problem is that such events would be difficult to prove post-hoc, after death to a fellow soldiers has occurred, A further problem is that a homosexual soldier who was so distracted (and whose distraction caused loss of life to a fellow solider) would never admit being so, and, since you cannot observe distractions in the mind of a soldier, you could not readily prove them with observable data.

Anyway: If you're still out there, I would like to hear your response to my question above.
1.6.2007 6:43pm
Chimaxx (mail):
I'm not sure what you're asking me for, NRWO.

The status quo doesn't prevent there from being gay soldiers. Everyone admits they are already there. Even if there were not, soldiers certainly develop other sorts of emotional bonds that can be just as distracting in a time of crisis ("he was like the little brother I never had"). And aren't there strong prohibitions--both regulatory and cultural--against getting sexually involved with people in your unit? Why would getting rid of Don't Ask Don't Tell change any of that?

What would it take:
Show me data showing why the soldier who got a "Dear John" letter from his boyfriend back home can be shown to be more dangerously distracted in battle than the one who got a "Dear John" letter from his girlfriend back home.

Show me that the Isreali or UK or Canadian armies have had serious, ongoing problems with unit cohesion since permitting gay soldiers to serve openly (i.e., not anecdotal reports of a couple of scraps in the first months after the change in policy).

Show me that units in those armies that have openly gay members consistently have greater fatality and/or casualty rates than the units that do not have openly gay members.

I understand that allowing soldiers to be open about their homosexual orientation will shift some of the psychological burden of having gay soldiers from them (having to lie, prevaricate, hide as opposed to merely sublimate their desire and worry about someone figuring it out, feel the stab every time they change the gender of their beloved in conversation in order to keep the secret) to others (those who feel uncomfortable being around those they know to be gay), but is there a net increase in burden for the unit or the army? That's one of those unmeasurables, I would suppose.
1.6.2007 8:45pm
NRWO:
Show me data showing why the soldier who got a "Dear John" letter from his boyfriend back home can be shown to be more dangerously distracted in battle than the one who got a "Dear John" letter from his girlfriend back home.

A better analogy (compared to your Dear John example) is a man who is sexually involved with a woman on the battlefield. My understanding is that women are barred from serving in combat positions with men (armor, infantry, and artillery). I suspect one reason for this (assuming I'm correct) is the presumption that the effects of sexual relationships between men and women would be impracticable to extinguish on the battlefield and that such relationships could lead to distractions, which in turn can increase the likelihood of mission failure and causalities.

Show me that units in those armies that have openly gay members consistently have greater fatality and/or casualty rates than the units that do not have openly gay members.
Now this is an interesting point: Assuming the "sexual attraction theory/distraction" theory is correct, you would expect greater fatality rates in military units that combine men and women, or ones that combine men and men. The former scenario (men and women units) is complicated by the fact that at that aggregate level, men are stronger than women and strength would appear to be related to the ability to kill effectively. (Of course, the straight men/gay men scenario would not be so complicated.)

So, I agree with your proposed analysis, but I have two points: First, if you think the "sexual attraction/distraction" theory is sensible, then it makes sense to place the burden on those who want a change in the status quo to show that there is no difference between the different military units. Second, and complicating your proposed analysis (and going back to my earlier comment), the base rates of such events are probably pretty low (which, again, does not mean they're insignificant) and would be difficult to ascertain. This would make the analysis difficult to conduct, but, IMO, it would still be worthwhile.

I assume that you would vote to retain the status quo on DADT if it could be shown that doing so would reduce fatality rates (relative to changing the status quo). I am correct?
1.7.2007 1:28pm
NRWO:
Whoops.

I meant:

"... that combine [gay] men and [straight] men.
1.7.2007 1:31pm
Chimaxx (mail):
Again, everyone assumes now that there are in fact gay soldiers in a most units. So the difference would not really be between gay/straight-mixed units and straight-only units, but between units with openly gay soldiers versus ones with closeted gay soldiers.

Given the real and observable cost of DADT--in terms of dollars and in terms of personnel with key talents (e.g., the high number of Arabic translators dismissed for being gay), the burden falls on those who wish to continue to maintain DADT to show that there would be a real cost to allowing gay soldiers to serve openly
1.7.2007 2:27pm
NRWO:
Chimaxx,

Again, everyone assumes now that there are in fact gay soldiers in a most units. So the difference would not really be between gay/straight-mixed units and straight-only units, but between units with openly gay soldiers versus ones with closeted gay soldiers.

I agree that openly gay versus closeted gay unit comparison would be a good idea, but, in the U.S. at least, no such analysis could be done: DADT is U.S. policy and openly gay soldiers would probably be discharged before battle so that the effects of being openly gay on the battlefield could not readily be ascertained.

I focus on U.S. operations for practical reasons: There is a possibility, albeit very slight, that I could obtain data to study the issue in the U.S.

A retrospective analysis of combat operations could be done: For example, under the assumption that gays have and are currently serving in combat positions (a certainty), then units with gays might have higher casualty or mission failure rates (according to the sexual relationship/distraction theory). So, if soldiers returning from battle were anonymously surveyed and queried about mission events (casualties, mission failures, ect.), one might predict that soldiers who served in mixed units (including straights who were or were not aware of this) would report higher rates of mission failures and/or casualties. Again, I suspect the base rates would be exceedingly low, making detection difficult, but, as they say, the question is an empirical one.

Given the real and observable cost of DADT--in terms of dollars and in terms of personnel with key talents (e.g., the high number of Arabic translators dismissed for being gay), the burden falls on those who wish to continue to maintain DADT to show that there would be a real cost to allowing gay soldiers to serve openly

I suspect some translator positions are non-combat (i.e., positions other than infantry, armor, artillery). I see no obvious reason to dismiss a gay soldier in a non-combat position. The argument against letting gays serve in combat positions (sexual relationship/distraction) would not readily apply to non-combat positions and so gays should be able to serve in such positions.

The benefit of allowing gays to serve openly in combat positions should be weighed against the possible cost of mission failures and/or causality rates. I suggest above a survey oriented technique that allows one to empirically study the issue.
1.7.2007 4:15pm
Randy R. (mail):
Chimaxx: Our military is already burdened and struggling mightily to successfully fight two wars. Ius this the time to toss it one more challenge.

Really? I argue just the opposite. First, no one, not even Russ, has yet presented to me exactly why it's so disruptive to allow openly gay Arab linguists to serve. The disruption is in the booting the out -- but we NEED those guys to fight our two wars!

Second, Russ himself stated that expelling openly gay soldiers is expensive, time consuming and a huge headache for him. So why don't we just eliminate all those problems. Yes, I agree there will be disruption in implementing a new policy, but the fallacy is in ignoring the obvious immediate benefits that will be gained.

Third, I was harsh on Russ, I agree. But I am damn sick and tired of people like him who make plainly speculative arguments to defend the policy. Like saying that gay men will infiltrate the military just to prove a point! Ridiculous.

Fourth, as I argued many times, our military is ALREADY fighting next to openly gay men in our two ways because our allies allow openly gay men and women already. It would be better and easier to fight with allies, rather than have opposing parties. The fact that our troops already fight with openly gay officers from Britain and other countries tells me that a change in policy isn't going to be difficult to implement -- certainly not on the front lines -- and would actually be helpful.

Okay, okay -- there will be problems. Like stupid bigots who just are too insecure to handle this. But there are ALWAYS problems with stupid idiots. What else is new?
1.7.2007 9:13pm
Randy R. (mail):
So the reason I have no patience for people who argue for DADT is that they simply refuse to state exactly what problems will be caused by lifting the ban. Sure, the chaplains will need some training, new rules and procedures have to be written, but the experience of all other militaries is that the process went much more smoothly than anyone anticipated.

And so they are reduced to mere speculation, and try to argue that if you aren't in the army, you don't know what you are talking about. Which is all Russ could offer in defense of DADT
1.7.2007 11:51pm