pageok
pageok
pageok
Barr on DADT:

In today's Wall Street Journal (available online only to subscribers), Bob Barr comes out against "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" and lambastes the Republican presidential field for timidity on the issue:

As a conservative Republican member of Congress from 1995 to 2003, I was hardly a card-carrying member of the gay-rights lobby. I opposed then, and continue to oppose, same-sex marriage, or the designation of gays as a constitutionally protected minority class. Service in the armed forces is another matter. The bottom line here is that, with nearly a decade and a half of the hybrid "don't ask, don't tell" policy to guide us, I have become deeply impressed with the growing weight of credible military opinion which concludes that allowing gays to serve openly in the military does not pose insurmountable problems for the good order and discipline of the services.

Asked about reconsideration of the don't ask, don't tell policy in favor of a more open and honest approach, the simplistic responses by several Republican presidential candidates left me -- and I suspect many others -- questioning whether those candidates really even understood the issue, or were simply pandering to the perceived "conservative base." The fact is, equal treatment of gay and lesbian service members is about as conservative a position as one cares to articulate.

Barr gives several reasons for his change of mind on the issue -- unnecessary invasion of privacy through intrusive investigations, the drain on personnel in a time of war, the wasted tax money, and the fact that attitudes toward gays have softened both within and outside the military since 1993. The arguments are not new ones; the piece is noteworthy chiefly for its author and the place of publication.

Hoosier:
Real wisdom from Bob Barr. Wow! (And I'm a conservative, so this isn't gratuitous GOP-bashing.)

I don't know what percentage of our sevice personnel are gay. But there clearly are quite a few, and none of my firends in the Army (I only know Army guys) have ever mentioned this as a problem. Her Majesty's Navy lets gays serve openly, I believe. So I think our navy might look to the British example to see if it might work for us as well.

I'm not sure that the issue is completely obvious. But the weight of evidence certainly falls with the tolerance-argument. Good for Barr.

Now lose the moustache.
6.13.2007 4:15pm
e:
This may just be a repeat of other threads, but:

1. The military need not perfectly represent the population.

2. I used to buy what the leadership claimed about potential discipline problems.

3. Since then I've grown up and served an exchange tour in the Canadian forces (which is admittedly structured much different from the US military).

4. I still don't appreciate anyone wearing sexuality on his sleave.

5. DADT will be trashed, the sooner the better. And I agree that it need not be tied to any marriage issue, though benefits will certainly be made an issue since military pay is based on marital status (used to kill me as a single, especially when both spouses were in the military, and one got extra housing allowance).
6.13.2007 4:29pm
Hans Bader (mail):
A blanket ban on gays makes little sense.

It makes little sense to kick translators and linguists out of the military, after spending thousands of dollars on their training, because they are privately gay.

We have extreme shortages of translators in Arabic, Pashto, Urdu, Farsi, and other Middle Eastern languages.

Yet people with those skills get kicked out because they tell one or two people that they are gay.

I can see the argument for taking sexual orientation into account in contexts where privacy concerns are at their zenith (like among people serving in close quarters for months on end with little privacy on a nuclear submarine). Thus, I am not taking a position on a blanket ban on discrimination based on sexual orientation in all contexts, either.

But what is the logic of a rigid ban on gays? Being gay won't make someone crash a jet.

Moreover, as social attitudes towards homosexuality shift, it gets harder and harder to argue that letting gays in would harm recruiting.
6.13.2007 4:37pm
J_A:
e said:

I still don't appreciate anyone wearing sexuality on his sleave

My question is: do straight people wear their sexuality on their sleeves when they talk about their husand/wife, have their wedding picture in their desk, talk about the repairs they are doing to the house where they live as a family or what they got/gave as anniversaty present? Do they do so when they bring their husband/wife to the office Christmas party?

As a gay person, if I do the same thing, talk about my partner, put in my desk the picture of our commitment ceremony, discuss the repairs in our house or what he gave me in our anniversary, or bring my partner to the Christmas party, am I wearing my sexuality in my sleave?

I understand and appreciate that e. is trying to be supportive of gays, but even supportive people would rather that we just became invisible, that we just sat there and said nothing that would actually remind people that we are homosexual.

I question now, where is the line between having a normal middle class partnered/married life and wearing my sexuality in my sleeve, and whether is there any difference between a straight and a gay person, expressing him/herself?

What if Don't Ask, Don't Tell forbade everybody about doing or saying anything that revealed whether they were gay or straight? would that be OK?

best regards to all
6.13.2007 4:44pm
Joel:

What if Don't Ask, Don't Tell forbade everybody about doing or saying anything that revealed whether they were gay or straight? would that be OK?


Yes, because then the lonely shy wouldn't be oppressed by the coupled...
6.13.2007 4:50pm
J_A:
I guess that's Joel's way of not answering serious questions....
6.13.2007 4:54pm
Joel:
I'm serious. Unless one's a porn star, sexuality has got nothing to do with one's work or service, and should be checked at the door on the way in.
6.13.2007 4:58pm
happylee:
At the risk of upsetting some folks, let me recast the operative question. Is homosexuality a weakness, illness or abnormality that affects a man's ability to operate in conditions of ascetic discipline? If yes, we probably don't want them in uniform. If not, let's drop them in uniform.

I am about 10% into a book about homosexuality and the priesthood and it boldly suggests that research confirms that the average homosexual man is addicted to sexual stimulation and immediate gratification. I can't speak to the numbers because I know some homosexuals who don't fit this definition (and plenty who do). But that brings us back to the operative question. Are we rejecting the act of being homosexual or the fact that being homosexual likely means you are not cut out for service?

Peronally, I think the movie "300" captures nicely what a real soldier should be. That said, most of our armed forces are support troops who exist only to fill gas tanks, bellies and so on. Perhaps the rule should be no homosexuals in infantry units ("real soldiers") but pink liberation otherwise?

Idle thoughts.
6.13.2007 5:05pm
Erasmus (mail):
I am about 10% into a book about homosexuality and the priesthood and it boldly suggests that research confirms that the average homosexual man is addicted to sexual stimulation and immediate gratification.

Weird. I was reading a book that "boldly suggests that research confirms that the average [] man is addicted to sexual stimulation and immediate gratification." I wonder if those two thesis are somehow related.
6.13.2007 5:12pm
e:
J_A

No, I wasn't actually trying to be supportive. Just trying to say the policy is stupid. Partly because society has changed, as someone else pointed out.

By wearing sexuality on ones sleeve, I wasn't really thinking of all references to a romantic life, but rather the obnoxious affectations of some gays, and obnoxious "last night I was banging this chick" stories of some straights (or poseurs).
6.13.2007 5:16pm
JosephSlater (mail):
Am I the only one who sees irony in HappyLee questioning whether gays are fit, and then citing "The 300" for support of what real, manly soldiers are like?
6.13.2007 5:27pm
Pol Mordreth (mail):
Hans Bader:

Yet people with those skills get kicked out because they tell one or two people that they are gay.


I was in the Navy (submarine duty) for 7 years under DADT. there were several openly gay service members at each command I was stationed at. no one really cared, and the command was careful to 'not notice' whenever possible. I watched 3 people get discharged under DADT, and this was only after they made it an issue in order to get out. A fellow instructor in the Nuclear Power training unit decided that she didn't want to go to sea, so she invited the whole command to her marriage to her partner. That was done intentionally to get out. So, due to my own personal experience with the way DADT is utilized, I very highly doubt that 'telling one or two people' results in their discharge. In practice, the only way that happens is if those people happen to be either the Commmanding Officer (and he has to act in accordance with the rules if he cannot maintain deniability of knowing) or a reporter. the whole 'don't display' part of it. Have some officers been less likely to look the other way? its possible, but really unlikely. Usually if a gung-ho Junior Officer goes to the skipper with a tale of the mean, unwashed 'Enlisted Scum' doing something against the rules, the skipper will take him aside and quietly explain the difference between the rules and the reality.

Maybe the Navy is much more likely to look the other way than the army, but I personally doubt it. Most officers just want unit efficiency. Get the job done, don't break the rules flagrantly in public, and what you do out of uniform really won't matter.

On the whole, though, DADT should go away. All it really does is provide a pat way out of the military for someone who took advantage of the training but wants to shirk their follow on duty. At least, that has been my personal experience with it.

Respectfully,
Pol
6.13.2007 5:29pm
Jon Rowe (mail) (www):

I am about 10% into a book about homosexuality and the priesthood and it boldly suggests that research confirms that the average homosexual man is addicted to sexual stimulation and immediate gratification.


I have to agree with Erasmus; there is not a shred of convincing evidence that homosexual men are any more "addicted" to sexual stimulation than heterosexual men.

And any book which thinks that the homosexually oriented men in the preisthood are representative of homosexual men in general simply isn't worth reading.
6.13.2007 5:42pm
happylee:
Well, if Erasmus and Rowe are right, I guess it's good that the Pentagon turned down the chance to build the gay bomb.
6.13.2007 5:50pm
Waldensian (mail):

Weird. I was reading a book that "boldly suggests that research confirms that the average [] man is addicted to sexual stimulation and immediate gratification." I wonder if those two thesis are somehow related.

Dude, you totally beat me to that one. I am, it turns out, an average [] man.
6.13.2007 6:02pm
Randy R. (mail):
"Are we rejecting the act of being homosexual or the fact that being homosexual likely means you are not cut out for service? "

Neither, actually. The military specifically has stated that gays make perfectly fine servicemen, and that there is nothing about gays that make them inherently unfit for service. You may even recall that the first serviceman decorated with a purple heart is gay.

The military says gays can in fact serve, but that they must keep it a secret. The rational is that if straight men find out, they will be uncomfortable around gays that "unit cohesion and moral" will crack apart, making the unit not as good as it can be. This is the SOLE rational for DADT.

As many people have noted above, this is baloney. And since it's the only official reason for keeping openly gay people out of the military, the whole policy falls apart. And it certainly doesn't justify kicking out linguists who can translate Arabic.
6.13.2007 6:05pm
JB:
Joel: I think being forbidden to discuss one's personal life, even in passing, would be worse for morale than any aspect of having gays in the military.
6.13.2007 6:07pm
Proud to be a liberal :
And let's now forget that the military is in such need of people who are willing to serve that individuals who have committed felonies &are older &less well educated are being allowed to serve. Why should a law abiding gay person be excluded from the opportunity to serve his/her country when a felon is allowed to serve? Is being gay worse than committing a felony?

The leadership should be grateful that these individuals want to serve their country.
6.13.2007 6:12pm
Thorley Winston (mail) (www):
I was in the Navy (submarine duty) for 7 years under DADT. there were several openly gay service members at each command I was stationed at. no one really cared, and the command was careful to 'not notice' whenever possible. I watched 3 people get discharged under DADT, and this was only after they made it an issue in order to get out.


Interesting, one wonders how many of the "arabic-speaking linguists" who we keep hearing about ad nausea that were supposedly discharged under DADT pulled the same thing. An honorable discharge seems a relatively light penalty compared to all of the other reasons you could get yourself booted out of the military.
6.13.2007 6:21pm
JosephSlater (mail):
Thorley:

Interesting use of "supposedly" in front of discharged -- do you doubt they were discharged under DADT? And does your use of quotation marks around "arabic-speaking linguists" imply that you believe, somehow, that they weren't really Arabic speaking linguists?

At risk of provoking your "nausea" further, you might read the NYT op-ed one of them wrote. Or you could trust me to give you the bottom line: these folks wanted to serve our country in a time of war; they had valuable skills; but sadly, they got kicked out.
6.13.2007 6:27pm
ejo:
will someone please point to something to prove that it would increase our ability to fight wars? As a general matter, homosexuals are a tiny percentage of the population and, if there were a recruitment office at the intersection of Halsted and Belmont in Chicago, I suspect it would see as much business as the Maytag repairman. Other than the gay rights issue from folks who could care less about the ability to fight wars, why should it be a topic of any interest?
6.13.2007 6:36pm
Jon Rowe (mail) (www):

As a general matter, homosexuals are a tiny percentage of the population and, if there were a recruitment office at the intersection of Halsted and Belmont in Chicago, I suspect it would see as much business as the Maytag repairman. Other than the gay rights issue from folks who could care less about the ability to fight wars, why should it be a topic of any interest?


It's true that gays probably aren't very high % of the population -- 3 to 4%. However, look at the astonishingly high number of gay linguists who have been discharged. There's evidence of your harm right there.

For whatever reasons that we just don't know about, gay men, like Jews, seem to be far more concentrated among those with high verbal intelligence and levels of artistic creativity. Indeed gays, again like Jews, seem to have disproportionately built the Western Canon. (Which also means that gays are the very opposite of the crude antigay stereotype -- "destroyers" of Civilization. No gays disproportionately built it.)
6.13.2007 6:46pm
Pol Mordreth (mail):
JosephSlater:

Do you know any of them personally? If not, why should I trust you to 'give me the bottom line'? In my military experience, the only people who got kicked out under DADT took steps to ensure that they would be. The commands actively looked the other way because if you got through the hardest training in the military they didn't want to waste that very expensive and valuable resource.
The people I knew wanted out and used DADT as a tool to get out. Those openly gay sailors I served with who didn't want out were not discharged. As long as the CO has plausible deniability he will not recommend you for discharge under DADT.


This attitude isn't limited to gay service members either. There are all manner of things in your personal life that are against the rules that will only get you a 'keep it under wraps' warning from the chief as long as you are doing your duty to the best of your ability. If they make the papers, you are going to be screwed.

Look, bottom line is I have a hard time believing that these people didn't do it on purpose so as to not go into a combat zone. Can I blame them? not so much. I joined the navy instead of the army to ensure that my chances of being shot at were relatively low. Farsi language school is 18 months IIRC. thats a lot of time to think, I really don't want to be shot at. And, it's human nature to put the best spin on it you can.

Respectfully,
Pol
6.13.2007 6:46pm
c.gray (mail):

Why should a law abiding gay person be excluded from the opportunity to serve his/her country


Because under federal law as currently written, it is impossible to be a "law abiding gay person" and to be in uniform at the same time.

Technically, the _legal_ reason for keeping gay people out of the military is that actual homosexual activity necessarily violates UCMJ Article 125. Admission of homosexual activity while serving in the armed services is thus an admission to committing a serious federal crime punishable by extensive prison time. Unfortunately, only Congress can change the UCMJ, and it has repeatedly declined to consider repealing the infamous Article 125.

This was hardly a surprise while the Republicans controlled both branches. But it really ought to be a scandal that no Democrat in either branch has brought the matter up for consideration since the last election, and none apparently has any serious plans to do so. Everyone appears to hope that the federal courts will eventually cite Lawrence and strike it down, sparing everyone any political pain over the issue.

They are probably in for a long wait. And as long as UCMJ 125 stands "Don't-Ask-Don't-Tell" probably will too.
6.13.2007 6:50pm
Pol Mordreth (mail):
c. grey

Very good analysis. I had never thought of it in that light. All I ever considered is that DADT got rid of prosecution under articles 83 and 84.

Respectfully,
Pol
6.13.2007 6:58pm
ejo:
well, the crude stereotype is supported by a lot of observations-when one sees gay rights groups marching with jihadists in "anti-war" marches, you start to thinking that maybe those folks just aren't as supportive of the West as the ancients would have been. that is the here and now, not antiquity. hell, the most visible homosexual voice on the issue of our armed forces is Rosie O'Donnell-has she been burned in effigy in any of the gay districts anywhere? the answer to the question of making us better able to fight wars remains unanswered and, thus, I suspect the answer on the part of activists is "who cares"
6.13.2007 6:59pm
c.gray (mail):
Oh...and another thing. While it's great that Barr can come forward and admit he was wrong in 1993, it would have been even nicer if he had spoken up on the right side of the issue while he still had a voice in setting the policy. I can't help but wonder how many Congressmen will hear Barr's words over the next few days and privately agree with them.

The operative word being "privately". Because the truth is, any member of Congress who agrees with Barr, but fails to act tomorrow to take the first steps to get UCMJ 125 repealed is a political coward, and really doesn't deserve to be a local animal control officer, let alone a Congressman.

And I bet they are all cowards.
6.13.2007 7:00pm
VincentPaul (mail):
I oppose any policy which keeps gays or lesbians from serving in the military simply because of their sexual orientation. In my case, I was denied admission to Marine PLC because of supination of my right forearm (because of an athletic injury) and later was rejected as 4F in the draft -- at the height of the Vietnam war. Military doctors took the time to explain to me that my restricted forearm movement might endanger not only myself but others as well. I fully understood their reasoning. Yet to this day, I feel cheated for having been denied the opportunity to serve in the United States Armed Forces and of receiving the benefits of having done so.
6.13.2007 7:25pm
Waldo (mail):
The impact of allowing homosexuals to serve openly in the military will depend on how the policy is implemented. If it simply allows homosexual servicemembers to say that they are gay, and enforces sexual harassment policies for gay-straight contact as stringently as they are for male-female contact, the impact will likely be minimal. Of note, the Royal Navy allows heterosexual sailors who object to homosexuals to shower privately, and RN commanders have somewhat wider latitute to judge acceptable behavior than their American counterparts.

However, if the policy considers sexual orientation the equivalent of race, the impact will be more severe. Unlike the UK, religious expression, and the right thereof, motivates people in the US (think Navy chaplain). In today's military, it is illegal to belong to an organization that discriminates by race. Equating sexual orientation to race could thus bar Catholic/conservative Protestant chaplains from service, and require religious servicemembers to disavow their beliefs. The relevant precedent is the restriction preventing the Catholic Church from providing adoption services in Mass. In that case, I think the number of religious people who decline to serve will outweigh the number of homosexuals who will.

Another thing bothers me as well. Were DADT to be repealed, I am not convinced that discipline will not become politicized. After Kelly Flynn and the Duke rape case, it is "not proven" that harassment and rape laws will be applied equally. Not when commanders are ordered to "make it work" and careers are on the line. If those regulations are not applied equally, the impact to the military will be catastrophic.

For these reasons, I find DADT an unwieldy compromise but the best we can do. Homosexuals do serve in the military, and where that service is not disruptive, it's de facto open. But the burden of proof remains on them.
6.13.2007 7:38pm
whackjobbbb:

This was hardly a surprise while the Republicans controlled both branches. But it really ought to be a scandal that no Democrat in either branch has brought the matter up for consideration since the last election, and none apparently has any serious plans to do so.


c. gray, if you recall, this DADT policy came about in the aftermath of Clinton's election in 1992, and his own buddies were in control of both houses of Congress as I recall. He crastically overreached, sorta like the gay marriage zealots today, got slapped down by his OWN buddies (and the senior military, who as we know he "loathed"), and in the aftermath, we wound up with a codification of the DADT policy. The impatient do-gooders retarded the process, in other words.

The moral of the story is, take measured steps that advance a process, and don't be shrill about it, and you'll make progress and have guys like Pol on your side, with real world experience. Let time be your ally, avoid any temporary but foolish alliances with the black-robed fascists, and you can make real progress.
6.13.2007 7:48pm
JosephSlater (mail):
Pol:

My first suggestion to Thorley was that he actually read the op ed that one of the discharged Arab linguists wrote in the NYT. Alternatively, he could trust me to give him the bottom line, but that was only a semi-serious "plan B" suggestion.

FWIW, I don't doubt that some people in the armed forces have made an issue of their sexual orientation in hopes to get discharged. That type of behavior -- trying to do something to get out of fighting in a war, even if it means a less-than-honorable discharge -- is not unknown among heterosexuals either. But I don't see any evidence that this was the case with the linguists.
6.13.2007 10:02pm
Mike Rentner (mail) (www):
I'm sorry but I refuse to join the bandwagon in welcoming homosexuals into the military. I notice that most of the people on that bandwagon are not going to be saddled with the resultant problems.

Yes, DADT should be abandoned and we should return to the previous policy of completely excluding homosexuals from service.

Allowing homosexuals to openly serve in the military would be disastrous. Recruitment of soldiers, sailors and Marines is based primarily on challenging young men to prove their masculinity. Wishing otherwise doesn't make this untrue. If homosexuals, by definition the perceived opposite of masculinity, are allowed in the military openly, this recruitment draw disappears. You can't unwill the persistent culture based on hundreds or thousands of years.

Ivory towers and politicians might wish that this weren't true, but it is.

I know this isn't popularly agreed to, but truth doesn't require consensus. The current political climate virtually forbids open discussion of this topic unless it is one-sided.
6.13.2007 10:37pm
Hattio (mail):
ejo writes;


when one sees gay rights groups marching with jihadists in "anti-war" marches, you start to thinking that maybe those folks just aren't as supportive of the West as the ancients would have been.


So, just where can I see that? Got any links? Didn't think so.
6.13.2007 10:53pm
Aleks:
Re: the average homosexual man is addicted to sexual stimulation and immediate gratification.

And that pretty much describes most heterosexual men too. Who do you think keeps all the porn shops in business and all those Ladies of the Evening in fishnet stockings? Besides which, anyone who thinks soldiers and sailors are in any way are like priests or monks is clueless about one vocation or the other or both. Military men are trained to be killers, not saints. Let's not conflate those two roles.

Re: As a general matter, homosexuals are a tiny percentage of the population

So what? Jewish people are probably a smaller fraction of the population than gays. Should we blackball them too?

Re: Because under federal law as currently written, it is impossible to be a "law abiding gay person"

Um, sodomy laws bit the dust back in 2003.

Re: Allowing homosexuals to openly serve in the military would be disastrous.

No other nation has found this to be so.

Re: Recruitment of soldiers, sailors and Marines is based primarily on challenging young men to prove their masculinity.

You need to meet some leathermen and "bears". Gay men are not all lisping drag queens. Good grief.
6.13.2007 11:13pm
Randy R. (mail):
"the answer to the question of making us better able to fight wars remains unanswered and, thus, I suspect the answer on the part of activists is "who cares"

The answer to the question is that we WILL be better able to fight wars, as numerous newspaper editorials have stated. So far, there have been dozens of linguists who have been discharged simply because they are gay. (I'm not sure why a linguist would have to be 'masculine' to be a good translator, but perhaps others can make that argument). There is a serious need for Arab linguists, and if we had them in the military, we most certainly would be able to fight this war better.

Furthermore, the British, the Israeli, New Zealand, Australian and Canadian armies, along with all EU countries, allow gays to serve openly today. There has been no evidence to show that their fighting forces have been hampered in any way. Therefore, the burden falls upon you to show that the military would be lessened in any way by allowing gays to serve openly.

Mike: "Recruitment of soldiers, sailors and Marines is based primarily on challenging young men to prove their masculinity.''

No, it isn't. It's based primarily upon serving your country, and also enjoying an adventure. Also learning skills and getting and education. We also recruit women -- are you saying that they must 'prove their masculinity' first?
6.13.2007 11:50pm
Randy R. (mail):
Mike: "Allowing homosexuals to openly serve in the military would be disastrous."

Apparently, you didn't bother to read the statements made by several people on this thread who actually served in the military and stated that openly gay people served without incident in their units.

So, before you start predicting disaster, perhaps you should take into account the actual experiences of our men in uniform before you come to any conclusions about what they think.
6.13.2007 11:56pm
Mike Rentner (mail) (www):
Randy R.

I am in the military. Are you? I've been in a Marine infantry battalion in combat. Have you? Now that we've eliminated the need for bona fides on the topic, perhaps you can explain why young men join the military. There are many reasons, of course, but one of the big ones that the mlitary relies on is the rite of passage theme. This should not be underestimated for its power in motivating young men.

I never said anything about lisping or drag queens. Being homosexual, no matter the behavior otherwise, is sufficient to bar from military service. A few anecdotes about rare exceptions to the rules do not disprove the rule set by generations of experience.

I don't think very highly of many other militaries, and I don't think we need follow their examples. For instance, although the Canadians do a lot of things well, their foray into having a unified service was a complete disaster. Anecdotes about serving homosexuals have got to look successful compared to that. And again all we have are anecdotes that come from a very intolerant political climate that discourages dissenting views.

I know of no openly homosexual Marines that served without incident, or without being discharged as the law requires. I can't speak for the other services and their possible failure to follow the law.
6.14.2007 1:03am
Randy R. (mail):
Mike: "I am in the military. Are you? I've been in a Marine infantry battalion in combat. Have you?"

Nope. But I have quite a few gay friends who have served quite honorably in all branches of the military without incident. There was no 'disaster' for the military, nor for themselves.

" There are many reasons, of course, but one of the big ones that the mlitary relies on is the rite of passage theme. This should not be underestimated for its power in motivating young men."

Baloney. The purpose of the military is to protect our country. It is not a place for men to work out their issues of manhood. Perhaps many nonetheless do, but that certainly is not the purpose of the military. And this certainly does not explain the role of women in the military, which I notice you keep ignoring.

If you know of no gays in the Marines, you are not looking very hard. As an active member of SLDN, I know quite a few, and they inform me that there are numerous gay Marines.

I never brougt up lisping gays or queens. You did. But apparently you believe that no gay man can be masculine. Sorry, but you don't know a damn thing about gay men, who I can assure you are no less masculine than you are. Probably more.

And you certainly don't need to be a John Wayne to translate Arabic texts. But perhaps you believe otherwise.

If you really think open gays would be disastrous, then you have to provide something more than mere speculation. What exactly would the 'disaster' be? The fact that quite a few servicement have shown that it isn't a disaster cuts against whatever arguments you have made.
6.14.2007 1:14am
Mike Rentner (mail) (www):
Randy R.,

You're correct that you didn't mention lisping, another person did and I didn't give proper mention of that person.

I've ignored the issue of women in the military because women are not allowed in combat, and no one suggests allowing homosexuals to serve openly but to not allow them in combat. Yes, we know that the army puts women in the infantry by calling them military police, but that's the law despite their sleight of hand. And despite the press releases, the sleight of hand is not successful.

I have not addressed translators because I have no expertise or interest in that subject. Personally, I have no problem with translators or anyone else working with or near the military being homosexual, purple, alien, martian or anything else. By virtue of not being in the military it just doesn't matter.

I find it interesting that you feel a need to attack my masculinity. It's a common tactic for those without a good argument.

Your homosexual friends that served in "all" branches of the services did not serve openly in the Marine Corps, and most likely not openly in the other services either.
6.14.2007 2:00am
c.gray (mail):

c. gray, if you recall, this DADT policy came about in the aftermath of Clinton's election in 1992, and his own buddies were in control of both houses of Congress as I recall. He crastically overreached, sorta like the gay marriage zealots today,


Clinton promised to change the policy during the '92 election and managed to win the election by a wide margin despite reiterating this promise repeatedly.

After the election, during which he had secured the enthusiastic political support of homosexuals with this particular promise, Clinton switched gears in response to political polling on the issue by Dick Morris. He not only reneged on his promise to take a lead on the issue, he actively opposed congressional action to change the policy.

His behavior was contemptible. It's one thing to back out of a campaign promise. It's quite another to stab your supporters in the back by sabotaging them. And it pretty much set the tone for his entire presidency on every substantive issue but abortion.

As for being shrill, I stand by what I said in a subsequent post. Congress is full of people who know UCMJ 125 and DADT are both idiotic. Most of them appear to be unwilling to stand up and say so. And the reason is sheer cowardice.

/shrug

I'm not gay. I vote Republican over 90% of the time. I consider myself to be both a small "c" and big "c" conservative. And I've still got big reservations about same-sex marriage. But even back when I was attending Federalist Society lectures it was obvious that DADT was barking-at-the-moon nonsense that had nothing to do with actual military requirements.

Nobody has been "overreaching" on this issue. Every actual study conducted by the military on this issue since the Crittenden Report over 50 years ago has indicated allowing homosexuals to serve in the military would have no appreciable effect on military performance. The reason the policy does not change is that most politicians are afraid of upsetting the ever decreasing minority of voters who believe things like "the average homosexual man is addicted to sexual stimulation and immediate gratification."

Apparently the pompously ignorant form a critical set of swing voters.
6.14.2007 2:54am
Randy R. (mail):
Mike: "I've ignored the issue of women in the military because women are not allowed in combat." Then why do women join the military? To develop their femininity?

"Personally, I have no problem with translators or anyone else working with or near the military being homosexual, purple, alien, martian or anything else. By virtue of not being in the military it just doesn't matter."

But they ARE in the military. That is precisely why they are kicked out under DADT.

"I find it interesting that you feel a need to attack my masculinity. It's a common tactic for those without a good argument."

Really? And yet you have no problem attacking the masculinity of gay men in general. Yes, I agree it's a common tactic for those without a good argument -- that's why I urge you to find another.

Or perhaps it didn't occur to you that gay men join the military to develop their masculinity as well? If that's your argument, then you need to be at least consistent about it.

"Your homosexual friends that served in "all" branches of the services did not serve openly in the Marine Corps, and most likely not openly in the other services either."

Yes, they served in all branches of the services, not 'all.' At our most recent annual gala dinner to raise funds for SLDN, you could see every branch of the military by the dress uniforms they wore. And they are all gay. And just like many of the people who noted above, many gay people serve openly as gay in the military, although I admit the open gays in the Marines is very few. But they nonetheless served proudly and distinction -- why wouldn't the military want this men to defend our country?

I personally know of a Navy surgeon who is gay, and quite open about it. There are no problems, because no soldier who was going into surgery to save his life ever asked whether the surgeon is gay or not. They simply don't care.

Again, you have to provide more than mere speculation to support your contention that gays serving openly would be a 'disaster.' It hasn't been anything near that is any other military.
6.14.2007 3:27am
Mike Rentner (mail) (www):
Um, masculinity is definied in our culture as not being homosexual. There need not be a value associated with that definition as to whether it is good or bad, but by that common definition to be homosexual precludes being masculine. You don't have to like that definition, but that is how most people in this country see it.

Note that I did not question anyone's valor, patriotism, or fidelity. I am only being a reporter of what is honestly believed by a lot of people in this country.

If the translators were in the military then they were right to be kicked out. They are welcome to provide translator services as civilians.

Attendance at some gala dinner does not imply one is homosexual. I'll bet your navy surgeon buddy is not as open to his military superiors as you might think he is. Telling you and telling the admiral are two different things.
6.14.2007 5:14am
ATRGeek:
This really is a classic public choice problem. At this point the vast majority of the American public supports an end to this policy. But because the minority (the Rentners of the world) are typically much more passionate about the issue than the majority (with the exception of gay people, but they make up only a small part of the majority), the minority gets its way.
6.14.2007 6:39am
David M. Nieporent (www):
Um, masculinity is definied in our culture as not being homosexual.
You confuse a stereotype with a definition. Of course there are effeminate gays, but there are effeminate straight men as well. And masculine gay men.
6.14.2007 8:06am
Pol Mordreth (mail):
JosephSlater:

I apologise for the tone of my post, looking back it seems overly agressive. Do you have a link to that op-ed? I can't get through the times select wall to search for it.

I have known het sailors use the rules to disgracefully get out as well, and then usually they spin it into 'it wasn't my fault'. One individual I knew, during his divorce, got his ex to sign over the kids to him so he could have a hardship discharge. so, yes, lots of people do it. my primary arguement is that these people either actively sought it or were so stupid that they did something like wear their uniform to a gay pride rally and get photographed. Everyone in the mil knows that if you do something against the rules in uniform or are able to be linked by the public to the military doing something against the rules then you will get busted. Without being able to read these individual's minds, and knowing that regulations prohibit the command from talking about the specifics of the discharge, there is no way to know exactly how this came to the attention of the command. However, once it was in the CO's face he had to act.

Aleks,

Um, sodomy laws bit the dust back in 2003


Um, actually no. IIRC Lawrence only held that sodomy laws that specifically targeted gays were unconstitutional. Art. 125 is a broad brush ban, and I have seen het sailors prosecuted under it.

Respectfully,
Pol
6.14.2007 9:28am
JosephSlater (mail):
Pol:

No worries, I've done worse on the internet myself.

I'm going to try to get the link function to work. I've had mixed success with that in the past; let's see. . . .
6.14.2007 11:52am
Pol Mordreth (mail):
JosephSlater:

Thank you very much. The link worked.

As I said above, I don't agree with the policy. I don't agree with many of the military policies. However, it really looks to me like this individual was pretty stupid. He knew to keep a low profile on base, yet used a monitored system to communicate? You don't get to be a 2nd class without knowing how the system works. To me there was a reasonable expectation that the IG would review the message logs and bust you. It's like the idiot women servicemembers who pose for skin mags and then get upset at their court-martial. Or the sailors or marines who have an affair with another members spouse and then wonder why they're getting a pay cut and 30 days in the hole.

I have no sympathy for someone who goes in knowing that they can't stay if their particular disqualifying condition is found out, and then does something stupid and gets found out. (polyamory is a biggie - and more common than you think on post)

Also, while I don't mean to impugn the character of someone I have never met, in my experience people will spin things to make themselves seem better. IOW, he has presented his side, and I take it with a grain of salt. The command is prohibited from making any comment or statement, so we cannot see the other side of how it came to the attention of his CO to the point that he couldn't look the other way. But, even if I take him at his word, well, stupidity should be painful. (only semi - kidding).

Thank you for the discussion. As always, I have learned things here.

Respectfully,
Pol
6.14.2007 12:23pm
JosephSlater (mail):
Pol:

Maybe we could both agree with this formulation:

(1) It's a dumb rule; but
(2) It is the rule, so individuals discharged under it shouldn't necessarily be shocked if/when they are found out and discharged.

Having said that, I wonder what a patriotic translator -- somebody who has valuable skills and wants to serve his/her country -- who happens to be gay, should do?
6.14.2007 12:31pm
ejo:
still nothing about improving our ability to fight wars-who cares about that afterthought when discussing our armed forces when there are trendy social issues to be hashed out.
6.14.2007 12:39pm
whackjobbbb:

Clinton promised to change the policy during the '92 election and managed to win the election by a wide margin despite reiterating this promise repeatedly.


Correct, he pandered to this special interest group, and had a Congress united under his political party, putting him in the most favorable position possible to carry it out, assuming it had support, which it didn't as we know.


After the election, during which he had secured the enthusiastic political support of homosexuals with this particular promise, Clinton switched gears in response to political polling on the issue by Dick Morris.


Agreed, he pandered to a special interest group, and then had to bow to political realities within his own party.


His behavior was contemptible.


You can say THAT again... over a variety of issues. But in reality, Clinton's attempt to ram gays into the military was similar to his attempt to ream Hillarycare into everything else... it was a clear overreach and he was rightly slapped down. A more moderate approach would have precluded this DADT policy, but moderation is not the usual course for the shrill overreachers.



As for being shrill, I stand by what I said in a subsequent post. Congress is full of people who know UCMJ 125 and DADT are both idiotic. Most of them appear to be unwilling to stand up and say so. And the reason is sheer cowardice.


You think they're "idiotic", but unfortunately (or more precisely... fortunately), this is a political decision, and can't be brought on just because you and a few elitists see the true path and would like to ram it down our throat... like Hillarycare. Unless you can convince the black-robed fascists to intervene, which is always possible I suppose.



I vote Republican over 90% of the time.


That's a baaaaaad sign, my friend!


And I've still got big reservations about same-sex marriage.


As do many others, but why then would you wish to suddenly ram this one policy of gays in the military into practice, bypassing a more moderate approach, given that the shrill approach that you're advocating has proven to fail on both these issues, and has in fact setback those efforts?


Nobody has been "overreaching" on this issue.


Yes they have... clearly. That's why they're getting slapped down and even set back... they overreached. And if you ask them and they're honest, they'll tell you. Clear thinkers BEGGED the gay marriage zealots to hold off... but they didn't... and now we see the outcome... a clear setback... due to the zealots' overreach. Gays in the military 15 years ago... gay marriage today... same methods... same outcome. Setbacks.


Every actual study conducted by the military on this issue since the Crittenden Report over 50 years ago has indicated allowing homosexuals to serve in the military would have no appreciable effect on military performance.


This may be true... and now you'll have to go out into the marketplace of ideas and sell this truth. Unfortunately, that hasn't happened... we've just heard shrill voices... such as yours.


Apparently the pompously ignorant form a critical set of swing voters.


Thank you for the honesty of this statement, demonstrating your disdain for our system. We can now with good conscience dismiss you as a participant in that system... as will these politicians you're decrying here.

Your actions result in the EXACT OPPOSITE of what you're working for, pity that you don't see that.
6.14.2007 12:41pm
JosephSlater (mail):
Ejo:

As several people have already said and/or implied, Arabic translators being a relatively rare and precious resource, given the wars we are currently fighting, and thus kicking a number of them out impedes our war effort.

Also, there's the obvious argument that generally, when you ban a classification of people for no good reason, you diminish the pool of willing and able soldiers, thus hurting the war effort. So, if we barred all left-handed people (or people who publically admitted they were left-handed), that would obviously hurt the war effort.

Now, some folks disagree as to whether there is really "no good reason" to ban gays. But the people opposing DADT believe there is no good reason, and therefore it's hurting the military.

Bottom line: it's false to claim folks opposing DADT don't care about the ability to fight wars.
6.14.2007 12:51pm
Aleks:
Re: Now that we've eliminated the need for bona fides on the topic, perhaps you can explain why young men join the military.

A) Because they may be old-fashioned enough to regard doing so as a patriotic act.
B) Because of family tradition
C) Because they haven't figured out what else to do with themselves after high school and have some sense that the disciplined lifestyle may be beneficial to them
D) Because they desire the economic benefits that successful military service confers

None of those would preclude gays from serving in the military. Your suggestion that some sort of "masculine mysticism" plays a role does not either, since, as I pointed out, there are many gays who are quite "butch" looking and acting (and, no, they are not rare). And for goodness sake, if masculinity is all there is to it, why arenlt you calling for every last woman to be expelled from the armed services?
6.14.2007 1:56pm
davod (mail):
How can don't ask don't tell be intrusive. On its face it is unintrusive.

Barr is a libertarian. Government should not do anything.
6.14.2007 2:16pm
Jon Rowe (mail) (www):

Um, masculinity is definied in our culture as not being homosexual. There need not be a value associated with that definition as to whether it is good or bad, but by that common definition to be homosexual precludes being masculine. You don't have to like that definition, but that is how most people in this country see it.


Some people may define masculinity that way, I wonder though if such definition is "up for grabs."

Cross-culturally -- the way it used to be in the West and still is in many non-Western cultures -- there was nothing inconsistent with "manliness" and homosexual acts as long as one played the role of the "man" in the sexual act.

Though only 3-4% of any given population are constitutively homosexuality, a much larger % of the population has some kind of bisexual capacity, with many heterosexually oriented men being able to perform homosexually as long as they play the "manly" role.

Now, in this society, because we tend to associate all homosexual acts with a "gay" or "bi" identity, and a gay identity with lack of maniless, far fewer heterosexual men are willing to openly experiment with homosexual behavior as they used to be able to in Western culture (and still do in non-Western cultures).

(Or when they do secretly experiment with it, they get a serious head trip about it. They wouldn't have such a head trip if they realized that a huge % of straight men can and have enjoyed homosexual sex without sacrificing their "normal" "hetero" identity, just as a huge % of gay men who feel comfortable only with a "gay" and not a "bi" identity have slept with women.)

But what we've seen is a definition change. It used to be that a "man" could do another man and still be a "man" as long as he played the "manly" role. Now, any homosexual behavior means you are "gay" or "bi," and hence less than a "man."

Likewise, socially constructed definitions could further change so that folks stop associating homosexuality with being less than manly. In short, if a guy is "gay" but masculine, and not a lisping queen (as are virtually all of the gay men who want to join the military) I see no good reason to regard him as anything less than fully man.
6.14.2007 2:24pm