Patterico's Pontifications

4/12/2005

Gays in the Military

Filed under: Current Events — Patterico @ 6:12 am



In the law, there is a saying: Hard cases make bad law. The idea is that changing the rules for everybody in response to a particularly sympathetic case is often a bad idea.

Still, I’d be surprised if this didn’t bother you:

WASHINGTON – An Army sergeant who was wounded in Iraq wants a chance to remain in the military as an openly gay soldier, a desire that’s bringing him into conflict with the Pentagon’s “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy.

Sgt. Robert Stout, 23, says he has not encountered trouble from fellow soldiers and would like to stay if not for the policy that permits gay men and women to serve only if they keep their sexual orientation a secret.

“I know a ton of gay men that would be more than willing to stay in the Army if they could just be open,” Stout said in an interview with The Associated Press. “But if we have to stay here and hide our lives all the time, it’s just not worth it.”

Stout, of Utica, Ohio, was awarded the Purple Heart after a grenade sent pieces of shrapnel into his arm, face and legs while he was operating a machine gun on an armored Humvee last May.

It seems bizarre to me that we would bar such a war hero from continuing to serve — which he wants to do — simply because he is openly gay.

I understand the arguments against homosexuals in the military: it could harm morale for people forced into close contact with one another. But the story says: “At least 24 countries, including Great Britain, Germany, France, Australia, Canada and Israel, allow gays to serve openly.” Israel seems to do pretty well with its military. I would think that, if Israel can handle openly gay people in its military, we should be able to handle them as well.

Polls still show that a majority of military personnel are opposed to gays serving openly. But I question the importance of excluding people who are willing to serve their country, and be wounded or killed if necessary, over an issue like this. Perhaps the poll numbers would change if the policy were to change.

I am particularly interested to hear what any current or former military people say about this.

(Thanks to the Al Rantel radio program, which brought this to my attention last night.)

109 Responses to “Gays in the Military”

  1. Something I wrote about on my site a month ago:

    Common sense can be a pesky thing.

    As a society, we value the concept of service to country. For most of us, the dark days of Vietnam – when military service, involuntary as much of it was, lost our collective respect – have passed, and today those among us who preserve, protect and defend occupy the honored place in our hearts and minds that they so richly deserve.

    This is not mindless patriotism; our laws establish the importance of military service as a cornerstone of our democracy:

    The Congress . . . declares that in a free society the obligations and privileges of serving in the armed forces and the reserve components thereof should be shared generally, in accordance with a system of selection which is fair and just, and which is consistent with the maintenance of an effective national economy.

    The emphasis is mine.

    Ane even though the draft, the bete noir of young men when I was one of them, is now no more than a distant memory, the Selective Service Act, from which this language is taken, is still very much on the scene.

    . . . [I]t shall be the duty of every male citizen of the United States, and every other male person residing in the United States, who, on the day or days fixed for the first or any subsequent registration, is between the ages of eighteen and twenty-six, to present himself for and submit to registration at such time or times and at such place or places, and in such manner, as shall be determined by proclamation of the President and by rules and regulations promulgated hereunder.

    By law, then, both the obligation and the privilege of service in our military is to be imposed upon, and made available to, all men of appropriate age.

    And even by the measure of Madison Avenue, those who would serve are seen to be achieving the most that they can of themselves:

    Be. All. That. You. Can. Be.

    The few. The proud. The Marines.

    What part of the foregoing does the Pentagon, and the political establishment of this country, not understand?

    It is long since time to let common sense – and for that matter, common decency – prevail, and to end the ban on participation in our military by those who are homosexual.

    So it’s not just a matter of opinion. It is – and should be – a matter of law to eliminate, once and for all, this kind of mindless discrimination.

    Everyman (a10622)

  2. I have a theory about anti-gay bigotry: gays somehow have “cooties” and you can catch cooties if you hang around them too much.

    This is NOT a reference to communicable disease. I’m talking about irrational, schoolyard cooties.

    So some people tend to be unable to think straight about it.

    Fortunately, this irrational reaction is less common than it was a couple of decades ago–or so it seems to me.

    Bostonian (a37519)

  3. As a veteran and relative of active military persons I know there are tons of ‘flamers’ in the military. I use the word ‘flamers’ because that is the way it was presented to me by my nephew.

    I recall my time in the military (over 20 years ago) and there were many, many gay people serving and serving honorably.

    I don’t really understand why there is a restriction there for gays.

    Monica-Philadelphia (bfa3a3)

  4. It isn’t a question of bigotry. I spent more than 20 years in the military and knew more than a few people I thought might be homosexual. As long as they did their jobs, nobody cared.

    What concerns people in the military is the wide-open sexuality the gay activists exhibit. There is no place in an environment where close encounters are the norm for that. Madonna would not be welcome, either.

    Gays do serve, and many serve well. The issue for the military is the in-your-face type who are disruptive no matter where they are (except maybe San Francisco or Key West). In the military, disruption can cost lives. Once gays are openly accepted, there will be problems.

    Mike (516ba1)

  5. Mike, that is an important distinction. When you’re trying to do your job, you don’t want someone flinging his or her sexuality in your face. It’s… distracting. We have an instinct to keep our sex lives private anyway–most of us follow that instinct.

    But wouldn’t it be possible to both allow gay people in the military (on the record) AND have regulations that allowed officers to toss out or reprimand disruptive people? I thought an officer had leeway to say to a guy, “Knock it off, you’re being an asshole.”

    Bostonian (a37519)

  6. As I understand the problem, the issue is fraternizing. Gays in combat unit would have the same problem as mixed gender combat units: Inapporpriate sexual tension. Imagine that you suspected that your LT or platoon sgt was sleeping with someone in your platoon. Everytime you had to run point would you think that some people’s lives were being risked so that the favored one’s would not.

    Tobias

    toby928 (99ba2b)

  7. You raise an intersting point Tobias: every comment made in favor of allowing gays to serve openly in the military (a policy I favor) also seems to apply to women in combat. They are willing to serve, they are willing to risk their lives, they can do the job- maybe its time to change that policy too?

    Mark Key (0ead32)

  8. “every comment made in favor of allowing gays to serve openly in the military … also seems to apply to women in combat”

    Exactly. Would it be possible (or legal) for gays to serve in non-combat roles? Would that promote good order and discipline while allowing patriotic gays to serve?

    Tobias

    toby928 (99ba2b)

  9. I’m former Navy; when I was in, I conducted an informal survey of my fellow officers that I’ll tell you about below.

    As I understand the problem, the issue is fraternizing. Gays in combat unit would have the same problem as mixed gender combat units: Inapporpriate sexual tension. Imagine that you suspected that your LT or platoon sgt was sleeping with someone in your platoon.

    Tobias, gay males account for about 2%-3% of the male population. I don’t think it’s a serious problem.

    As to the “morale” question… when you boil it down, this is nothing more than catering to the “ick” factor: that guy over there sleeps with other guys… eeeeuw! I don’t want him in my platoon — what if he were eyeballing me?

    This is, of course, exactly the argument used in the forties against integrating blacks and other non-whites throughout the armed forces, rather than keeping them in their own “negro” units. It was wrong then, it’s wrong now: we cannot allow soldiers to pick and choose who they will serve with, just as we cannot allow them to pick and choose which legal orders to obey. If you’re ordered to serve alongside an openly gay man or a woman, and if you refuse, then you are the problem — not the person you don’t like.

    You raise an intersting point Tobias: every comment made in favor of allowing gays to serve openly in the military (a policy I favor) also seems to apply to women in combat. They are willing to serve, they are willing to risk their lives, they can do the job- maybe its time to change that policy too?

    Why yes, Mark Key; why not? The problem is not women in the military; the threat is that we might lower standards in order to force a certain level of women in the military. But this is a danger of improper implementation, not a problem inherent in the principle itself. The same danger exists regarding blacks and other non-whites in the service: it’s always possible some black guy might be promoted over a white guy in order to artificially raise the percent of blacks of a certain rank. We need to be vigilant against compromising real standards (not phony standards whose only purpose is to tart up irrational bias); but surely that is no reason to bar blacks and whites from serving together!

    At the moment, as far as women are concerned, we have the worst of all worlds: we allow women to serve in combat roles (as flight-trainer pilots for combat pilots, e.g.), but not actually in combat; and we allow women to serve in combat, suffering all the dangers therein — but not in combat roles (nurses, truck drivers, &c). This is simply nuts.

    In the next post, I’ll talk about the survey I did when I was in the service.

    Dafydd

    Dafydd (df2f54)

  10. I have never served in the military but I have a son who is a recent grad of the naval academy and a daughter who is an ensign training to be a doctor. I have not discussed this issue with them but some of the concerns expressed in the comments are already addressed by the military. Public displays of affection are strongly disapproved between people in uniform and fraternization between officers and enlisted personnel is forbidden. Does it happen anyway? Yes but the military has a system for addressing these problems. Other problems may arise in the future that merit consideration. The military provides for dependents, medical care and housing. Are these benefits to be provided to gay cohabitants or spouses? I don’t know the answer but I think all the ramnifications should be considered.

    Roberta (6bd598)

  11. In the informal survey I conducted, I talked to various officers from ensign up to a vice admiral; I was working in the office of the Chief of Naval Education and Training at NAS Pensacola at the time (1986), waiting for my assignment to flight school.

    Maybe I had an unrepresentative sample, or maybe they were simply more willing to open up to a fellow naval officer than they are to civilian pollsters. But an overwhelming percent of the junior officers (O-1 through O-4) had no objection either to gays serving openly or to women in combat, provided actual standards were not lowered for anyone. (See note below.)

    I remember the breakdown was about 75% favoring allowing women in any combat role in combat and close to 90% supporting gays serving openly. One fellow ensign later (when I was on the flight line, long after my survey) summed it up perfectly: “as long as he keeps his hand on the stick and not on my butt, I don’t care who he sleeps with.”

    The mid-grade and flag officers I asked were split roughly 50-50, with more favoring gays serving openly than favoring women in combat. (They were also a lot older, of course.) I didn’t ask enough of these levels of officer to remember much more than the vague impression; but I’m not wrong about it. I was somewhat surprised at the level of support for both women and openly serving gays in the Navy… which would be worse, in a sense, than other services because of the lack of privacy aboard carriers and other ships (even officers live three to a single bed, swapping sleep shifts, on some ships).

    The junior officers who had already served their first sea tour especially thought the idea of rampant sexuality aboard ship was ludicrous. The workload is so incredible, they said, that nobody would have the time or the energy even to think about it. (I didn’t ask any enlisted, because I didn’t think it appropriate; but I kind of doubt they have a lot of idle time on their hands, either.)

    (As far as rampant sexuality ashore, well, that’s already a problem. I suppose some tiny number of gays might contract AIDS by indiscriminate sex in port, but that’s just as true of secret gays as it is of open gays, isn’t it?)

    Honestly, I think this is a non-issue: if Congress and the CinC ordered it, it would go about as smoothly as it went when Truman integrated the Army: some people would have a problem and refuse to do it; their commanding officers would decide the real problem was troops refusing to obey orders; some folks would lose their careers; but in a couple years, everyone would wonder why anybody was worried.

    And we would have a much more robust and expansive pool of potential recruits to tap to fill the service quotas. Refusing to accept people today because they’re gay or female is as stupid as it would be to refuse to accept people who are left-handed.

    Note: By “standards” I mean actual MOS-specific standards. You need a lot of upper-body strength to load artillery shells, and only women who actually have that much strength (think American Gladiators, if you recall that old show) should be allowed. But you don’t need to be able to do twenty-five pull-ups in order to pilot an F/A-18 in combat; women Hornet pilots participate in the same combat exercises as the men, and they do just as well; in fact, there is some data indicating they handle high-G stress better than males.

    Likewise, women (in other countries’ militaries) have proven themselves in combat to be excellent snipers; again, you don’t need massive upper-body strength to do that job. Nor do you need to be buff to be an artillery spotter.

    Standards should not be lowered just to admit more women; but unrelated standards should not be imposed just to exclude women, either.

    Dafydd

    Dafydd (df2f54)

  12. The military provides for dependents, medical care and housing. Are these benefits to be provided to gay cohabitants or spouses?

    Roberta, they’re not provided now to girlfriends or fiances… just to legal spouses. No reason to change that rule: if some state makes same-sex marriage legal, and if you are an official resident of that state and were married to your same-sex partner in that state, then your “spouse” gets the bennies. If not, then he doesn’t.

    Dafydd

    Dafydd (df2f54)

  13. Dafydd

    “Honestly, I think this is a non-issue: if Congress and the CinC ordered it, it would go about as smoothly as it went when Truman integrated the Army: some people would have a problem and refuse to do it; their commanding officers would decide the real problem was troops refusing to obey orders; some folks would lose their careers; but in a couple years, everyone would wonder why anybody was worried.”

    Or not 😉 I don’t know if I agree with your prognostication.

    Do you think that there are any intermediate steps that could be tried. How could this be phased in to check for bad effects? Should the CinC just hope for the best? I think (without knowing for a fact either) that there would be more hard feelings than you or I hope for.

    Tobias

    toby928 (99ba2b)

  14. Dafydd

    After rereading your post, I realize that you ignored (as is your right) the point of my comment. I see that your experience is based entirely on the navy not on the close combat arms. That makes you experience more understandable. I was refering more the the chance of being killed rather that receiving unwanted attention. That’s why I made my point about mixed gender units having the same problem.

    Tobias

    toby928 (99ba2b)

  15. I’m not going to comment on the issue itself, but I do find it interesting, Patterico, that you use the “other nations do it” argument to support allowing gays to serve openly.

    I suspect you found that argument wanting when it applied to capital punishment for persons under the age of 18.

    Funny how context changes everything, huh?

    antimedia (63d4b4)

  16. What is the priority for this though?

    Isn’t this a nice to have instead of a must have? Given that we are in combat operations, and likely to remain so, for some time, I’d figure that more men, equipment, and supplies are needed. It’s kind of like FDR ordering the services desegregated (a good thing) in response to Pearl Harbor. A good social policy but one unrelated to victory.

    Jim Rockford (e09923)

  17. What I find missing in this discussion is any sense of treating the military as anything more than a civilian job and the presumed right of willing employees to serve given their announced sexual preference. That attitude demonstrates a clear lack of understanding of the military and its role. In my view, gays main problem seem to be political. They consistently hammer on political objectives as though necessary to self or group acceptance. That of itself isn’t a bad thing. But the military has its own function and its own objectives, and its own commanders, one of which isn’t to be controlled by civilian individual viewpoints. The military has a mission and those who serve voluntarily are not the predicators of that mission. Individual think is not a commodity that military commanders use as essential to the mission whether one is gay, not gay, married, not married, citizen or not citizen.

    Every radio program, TV program I have ever heard relates to a civilian, usually erroneous point of view. i.e. somehow someone’s ox is getting gored because those guys (the military) aren’t understanding my or our totally justified point of view. Civilian protagonists as defenders of injustice toward gays in the military are always missing the point even though that point of view might be in the majority.

    Yes, I have eight years military. I don’t share the views of Dafydd, nor am I against gays in the military and nor do I see them as setting the agenda on their terms. That isn’t what the military is about—- yet.

    Nanuk (3c81d7)

  18. antimedia, how very disingenuous of you.

    The problem in the death-penalty issue was that the SCOTUS took it upon themselves to prefer international opinion so much as to effectively remove the entire question from the reach of American voters (barring the extraordinary action of another Amendment).

    The problem wasn’t international opinion in general. The problem was the five people who used that to overrule the voters of this nation.

    If any voter needs to consult international opinion, for himself, I say fine, go for it.

    Bostonian (a37519)

  19. Look, how harmful can it be for someone to keep personal feelings personal? Don’t ask, don’t tell is a pretty unburdensome requirement. After Clinton, the military is not even telling you “Don’t be gay”, they’re just saying keep it to yourself. Is that so much to ask? I think some folks just have to have attention, even if it’s negative.

    Trained Auditor (4d2256)

  20. #19–is that how it is? I was under the impression that if a serviceman admitted to being gay, he got tossed out.

    I could be wrong, but I thought that’s what this was about.

    Bostonian (a37519)

  21. antimedia,

    I thought about the “other nations do it” issue, but it is different.

    I object to our constitutional standards being changed based on the practices of other countries. I would strongly oppose any Supreme Court decision that reasoned that gays must be allowed to serve in the military under the Constitution, in part because other countries do it. But I do tentatively support changing the policy.

    Completely different issues.

    Also, even on the level of policy (as opposed to constitutional analysis), I am more convinced by the example of Israel than I am by that of the European nations. To me, if Israel is able to maintain its obviously impressive military while allowing gays to serve openly, then it makes little sense to argue that our military will fall apart with gays being allowed to serve.

    I still would support a ban on inappropriate behavior by any gender.

    Patterico (08c813)

  22. Antimedia, perhaps I can dispell the befuddlement that has shrouded your brain….

    Here are the two situations; you will see they are not congruent:

    1) We should change our death-penalty laws (said the Supreme Court) because other nations don’t execute murderers who were under the age of eighteen when they killed.

    2) We can conclude (said Patterico) that gays serving openly do not lead to the destruction of a military’s fighting ability because gays serving openly in other nations, including Israel and Great Britain, did not lead to such destruction.

    In case you’re still unclear, Patterico was asserting a fact: that such open service doesn’t cause serious problems. He was not saying “we should do it because Israel does it;” he was saying that the argument that it would cause terrible problems is unpersuasive because it didn’t cause such problems in other countries.

    The Supreme Court was declaring policy. It was not saying “banning such executions won’t lead to higher murder rates because it didn’t do so in the Netherlands;” it was saying we should ban such executions because the Dutch and the French ban them.

    I hope the distinction is now clear, and if it isn’t, there’s nothing more I can do.

    Dafydd

    Dafydd (df2f54)

  23. What I find missing in this discussion is any sense of treating the military as anything more than a civilian job and the presumed right of willing employees to serve given their announced sexual preference. That attitude demonstrates a clear lack of understanding of the military and its role.

    I guess my post was invisible to you, Nanuk.

    Dafydd

    Dafydd (df2f54)

  24. Wait… can’t be invisible — you made an oblique reference to it! But then, how can you imagine that all the arguments for gays and women in the military are from a “civilian… point of view?”

    Now I’m as confused as Antimedia. I was positive I argued purely from a military point of view: the more potential recruits in your pool, the greater the chance you will fill your quotas with the best possible people.

    Here’s a question that you can consider, Nanuk: suppose you have two candidates for the position of combat pilot. Both are straight males. One has 20-20 vision, excellent coordination and balance, has experience as a civilian pilot, and stands five foot six. The other has 20-40 vision, is reasonably well coordinated but not as good as the first guy, but stands six foot three and can bench press over 500 pounds.

    Which do you pick?

    (This isn’t an idle question; I’m going somewhere with this. Perhaps you can even beat me to it.)

    Dafydd

    Dafydd (df2f54)

  25. Introductory Remarks ‘n’ Junk
    Hi everyone. I’m Matt, former pseudononymous blogger at Ichiblog, and Lance has graciously allowed me to blog here on Perpwalk. Good times should be had by all.To start, an interesting story via Patterico on gays in the military. While polls…

    Perpwalk (b23a1b)

  26. “In case you’re still unclear, Patterico was asserting a fact: that such open service doesn’t cause serious problems.”

    My understanding is that Patterico was not asserting a fact but a political conclusion. His thesis is:

    “An Army sergeant was wounded in Iraq”…That action occurred because the wounded was a uniformed member of the US military and not because the wounded was “gay”.

    Next we are told wounded gay guy therefore merits the entire military command must openly support a policy of ‘open’ gays in the military.

    IMO that dog don’t hunt. It isn’t job qualification which I argue but command policy.

    Nanuk (0759a9)

  27. I agree with Nanuk here, the problem with gays serving openly in the military is the political baggage they bring to the table.

    Does anyone here honestly think the various LGBTA (Lesbian Gay Bisexual Transgendered Alliance) groups will just go, “Alright! Gays can now openly serve!” and leave it at that?

    Which is more likely, them leaving the military in peace once gays are openly accepted, or jumping all over the military for further perceived discrimination? I can see it now, an openly gay soldier has proven to be highly disruptive, negligent in duty, and belligerent with officers. The military naturally decides to reprimand him, and before they can finish filling out the paperwork in comes some activist group screaming to high heaven about discrimination.

    Now what would normally be a simple case for the military is a high tension political match where the branch of service in question is assumed to be guilty before they can get the facts out. Even when they later show good cause to reprimand/punish/discharge said soldier the damage has been done, much of it irreparable.

    Then there is the fact that many gay activist groups hold the same opinion of the military that many extreme leftist groups do; the military is the single evil in the world with its imperialistic designs for mankind. Imagine how they will react to seeing gays openly join such a horrible machine of oppression. It would be terribly demoralizing for any soldier who is openly gay to be singled out by other members of the gay community for being in the military. Right now if a gay is outed and then discharged they are a hero because they are a victim of discrimination, that changes when they become accepted fully and openly.

    It is a lose lose situation for the military. Either they tell those who are gay to keep their sexual orientation under wraps, taking all the flak associated with being behind the times and discriminatory, or they accept and encourage gays to join and take that whole can of political worms, and still get the discriminatory charge against gays for whatever obscure reason some movement decides exists.

    Chris (56e35c)

  28. Look. the problem isn’t an “ick” factor. It isn’t that gays and women can’t shoot straight. It’s that it’s guaranteed, with women and gays in our military, that favoritism will occur. They don’t let husbands and wives work together in combat units.

    When someone says, “Charge,” nobody’s going to move, because they’ll suspect that the guy who isn’t ordered to charge is being protected because of the affections of the commanding officer.

    Social justice must yield to military effectiveness. The “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy and the ban on homosexual activity prevent sexual alliances, and, therefore, percieved favoritism, which allows for a more effective fighting force.

    Mixing the genders produces the same bad effects. Will social engineering in the military make it more effective? I think not.

    CliveStaples (26c947)

  29. p.s. (it is really a post-script if it’s an entirely new post?)

    When the genders (or sexual orientations, I suppose) are mixed, there also arises the possibility of sexual coercion. “You don’t want to sleep with me? Okay, G.I. Jane, you get to lead the charge.”

    CliveStaples (26c947)

  30. It isn’t job qualification which I argue but command policy.

    Meaningless buzzwords, Nanuk. You didn’t answer the question… probably because you could see where it was leading.

    Dafydd

    Dafydd (df2f54)

  31. Social justice must yield to military effectiveness.

    But not to somebody’s fantasy of how “military effectiveness” will suffer — in his prediction.

    You ought to read some of the arguments that people made about all the calamities that would occur when “colored” troops were put side by side with white troops: whites won’t obey black officers; blacks will favor each other; whites will give blacks all the crap duties; racial bigotry will turn into open racial warfare. Military effectiveness will suffer! Discipline and order will collapse! Negroes will take over the country and marry your daughters!

    This is simply hysteria dressed up as concern; you haven’t a shred of evidence that “when someone says, “Charge,” nobody’s going to move,” or that “favoritism will occur” (I reckon we don’t have any of that now, do we?) It’s just something to say to try to stop changes that you fear are inevitable.

    I gave you a very good military reason for women serving in combat and gays openly serving: you will increase your pool of potential recruits by about 30%, which is huge. If recruitment runs at about the same rate per cap as it does now, that means all your quotas are met and you get a higher grade of soldier — since you’re picking the same number from a larger pool.

    In response, you wave your hands and warn of calamity. It’ll all end in tears.

    I’m not buying it. Bring some evidence, and we’ll talk.

    Dafydd

    Dafydd (df2f54)

  32. When the genders (or sexual orientations, I suppose) are mixed, there also arises the possibility of sexual coercion. “You don’t want to sleep with me? Okay, G.I. Jane, you get to lead the charge.”

    Sigh.

    Not only that, but we might have an epidemic of commanding officers raping their female subordinates. And Rangers might be assaulted in the showers. The girls might put frilly, pink curtains in their cockpit canopies, and they wouldn’t be able to see the bogie closing in on them. Somebody will launch Queer Eye For the Straight G.I., and Syria won’t take us seriously. Next thing you know, some woman doctor will develop parthenogenesis, so they won’t need men to make babies anymore.

    Better not make any changes. Things could go wrong.

    Dafydd

    Dafydd (df2f54)

  33. “Polls still show that a majority of military personnel are opposed to gays serving openly”

    The military is a hierarchy, not a democracy, and will do what they are ordered to do.

    actus (0f2616)

  34. There seems to be an advocate posting a lot on this subject. A lot of the living conditions in the military have changed since my time in the service. The big problem is the one described by Chris above. Openly serving gays will bring all the political baggage of the gay rights movement. It’s too bad and, with time, I think it will change. Right now the services fear another disruptive influence and with good reason. “Don’t ask, don’t tell” should solve the problem. The fact that it doesn’t suggests the consequences of open serving would be significant.

    Mike K (3359a9)

  35. I do wonder if “Openly serving gays will bring all the political baggage of the gay rights movement.”

    It could very well be that the gays that are most prominent are activists with political baggage. I would not assume all gays share that point of view.

    If all gays were able to admit to being gay, that could dampen down the activism.

    I’m not saying I know. I’m just saying it’s wrong to assume all gays share the same agenda and priorities.

    Bostonian (0198d8)

  36. The point that Patterico raised that I don’t see addressed by anyone supporting the status quo is “if Israel can handle openly gay people in its military, we should be able to handle them as well.”

    At least according to some cursory online research, the Israeli policy is not new, having initially been established in 1983, and further expanded in 1993 when the highest levels of security clearance were opened to gays. Gay political organizations appear to be at least as “out there” and vocal in Israel as they are here in the U.S., and since 1991 Israeli law has prohibited employment discrimination based on sexual orientation.

    As someone who has not served in the military, I wonder what is so different between the Israeli and U.S. militaries that what seems to work in the former will fail in the latter.

    Nels Nelson (e88b48)

  37. The military is a hierarchy, not a democracy, and will do what they are ordered to do.

    No doubt. However, you can’t order troops to have good morale, unit cohesion, etc., which are the concerns we usually hear the military types raising. Maybe after a year or two that won’t be a problem anymore, or maybe it will. We just don’t know. Not having served in the military myself, I’m not keen to guess.

    Xrlq (e2795d)

  38. “No doubt. However, you can’t order troops to have good morale, unit cohesion, etc., which are the concerns we usually hear the military types raising.”

    Its not like they’re gonna be ordered to go to a village people show.

    actus (ebc508)

  39. #38, at least not without hazard pay

    Bostonian (a37519)

  40. Right on Patterico, I agree completely. And what a great ensuing discussion. I’ve got nothing to add but this:

    There seems to be a lot of needless hand-wringing about which bad things may or may not come to pass if gay folks are allowed to serve openly. From fears of soap-opera-like love triangles to worries of getting nailed to the wall by the movement at large, there are lots of people whose arguments are largely defined by the dreaded “What If.”

    Look, the bottom line is this: Today, more than ever, we need as many good, patriotic and committed soldiers as want to serve. Why the hell are we wasting so much time, energy, and military resources on denying that a spade is, in fact, a spade? We’ve got better things to be worry about.

    I think we all know this is inevitable. We may as well just do it.

    Tom (fa1ec6)

  41. Tom @ #40

    I think that ‘What If’ is a plenty good reason to be cautious.

    Inevitability is largely seen by the proponents of a change not the skeptics. 😉

    Tobias

    toby928 (99ba2b)

  42. You ought to read some of the arguments that people made about all the calamities that would occur when “colored” troops were put side by side with white troops: whites won’t obey black officers; blacks will favor each other; whites will give blacks all the crap duties; racial bigotry will turn into open racial warfare. Military effectiveness will suffer! Discipline and order will collapse! Negroes will take over the country and marry your daughters!

    The problem isn’t that people HATE women or gays, as your continued objection to my argument suggests ad nauseum. The problem is fraternization, and all of the problems that ensue. I have no problem with women-only combat groups. But this isn’t about fearing gays or despising gays, it’s about eliminating problems that occur due to fraternization. If you only have straight men in a group, sexual favoritism is, I venture to guess, less likely to occcur than in a mixed-gender or (openly) homosexual-included group.

    This is simply hysteria dressed up as concern; you haven’t a shred of evidence that “when someone says, “Charge,” nobody’s going to move,” or that “favoritism will occur” (I reckon we don’t have any of that now, do we?) It’s just something to say to try to stop changes that you fear are inevitable.

    Yes, because I said that favoritism doesn’t occur. No, wait; your words, my mouth. Problems are going to occur in the military. I say that we minimize the likelihood of those problems occuring to the greatest degree possible.

    I gave you a very good military reason for women serving in combat and gays openly serving: you will increase your pool of potential recruits by about 30%, which is huge. If recruitment runs at about the same rate per cap as it does now, that means all your quotas are met and you get a higher grade of soldier – since you’re picking the same number from a larger pool.

    More gays and women = greater chance of problems arising due to fraternization. PLEASE keep making that argument.

    Not only that, but we might have an epidemic of commanding officers raping their female subordinates.

    The likelihood of rape increases if you put women in with the men, or gays in with the men. Are you claiming otherwise?

    The girls might put frilly, pink curtains in their cockpit canopies, and they wouldn’t be able to see the bogie closing in on them.

    The problem isn’t that women or gays can’t fight as well as straight men. What the hell is your argument, that *I* think that women are too fragile for the military? I guess ACTUALLY CLAIMING EXACTLY THE OPPOSITE isn’t enough to make you stop putting words in my mouth.

    Somebody will launch Queer Eye For the Straight G.I., and Syria won’t take us seriously. Next thing you know, some woman doctor will develop parthenogenesis, so they won’t need men to make babies anymore.

    My problem isn’t with women in the military, per se. It’s with mixed-gender groups. I don’t have a problem with effeminate men serving in the military. My problem is with situations that make fraternization MORE likely without a compelling enough “good” end.

    Better not make any changes. Things could go wrong.

    Better consider social equality before military effectiveness. “Fraternization is NOT more likely to occur in a mixed-gender group, nor in a gays-included unit. NOT POSSIBLE. IMPOSSIBLE.” Gotcha.

    clivestaples (26c947)

  43. Tobias,

    When have the “skeptics” ever been on the right side of history when it comes to civil rights? Honestly, I’m interested to know. Because looking back over the last 300 years, I see pro-women, pro-labor, pro-integration activists getting things done, literally trampling the change-stricken traditionalists over years of forward thinking. I think I can fairly say “inevitable” if history has any say whatsoever.

    -Tom

    Tom (fa1ec6)

  44. If you only have straight men in a group, sexual favoritism is, I venture to guess, less likely to occcur than in a mixed-gender or (openly) homosexual-included group.

    No duh, clivestables; but only because you restricted your interest to sexual favoritism. But there is now and always will be other types of favoritism: racial favoritism, home-town favoritism, hair-color favoritism, and the main culprit, friendship favoritism… you have a mission that is likely a one-way ticket; do you send your best friend — or the guy in the platoon you really dislike?

    The point was made eloquently above by Nels Nelson. You’re speculating that this or that calamity may occur if gays, now silent, are allowed to admit being gay… but we do not need to speculate, because we have actual hard data! We know what happens, because others have gone there and long ago; and we know that such “sexual favoritism” problems simply do not occur, or else are swamped by other forms of favoritism to the extent they cannot even be discovered.

    (And do you really think that other soldiers in a unit with some gay soldiers are completely unaware that those soldiers are gay? If they know, and if they already fight side by side with no problems, what exactly do you imagine will change when they not only know but know officially? This is just nutty fear.)

    Likewise with women in the military: you are glossing over the fact that the combat zone is already flooded with women… they just can’t (intentionally) enter it with the intent to kill. We have non-combat women soldiers in combat zones; and we even have numerous incidents now of women actually fighting in combat in combat zones… because they were ambushed and fought back.

    There is no greater level of screwups based on “sexual favoritism” (or any other failing attributable to women in combat) than in any other command. Sure, there are women whose sexual appetites cause problems: Lynddie England, for example. And two women were in that chain of command and failed to do their duties.

    But men were also in that chain of command; and the ringleader of the actual abuse was male (I forget his name), and he exerted his magical powers not only over his bedmate but also over other men. The worst you can say is that women are not completely immune to the same sorts of discipline and command problems that men suffer (again, no duh — people are people).

    But unless you can show that women in combat are uniquely prone to such problems, much more so than men, you have no argument by “military effectivenesss” available to you.

    To play the same sort of “internet deconstructionism” you played with my last post:

    Problems are going to occur in the military. I say that we minimize the likelihood of those problems occuring to the greatest degree possible.

    Explain why this argument of yours could not be used equally well to argue against racial integration of the troops.

    More gays and women = greater chance of problems arising due to fraternization.

    Sez you; actual real-life experience in real combat situations says the opposite. Who am I gonna believe, you, or my own lyin’ eyes?

    The likelihood of rape increases if you put women in with the men, or gays in with the men. Are you claiming otherwise?

    So a woman in a combat unit is more likely to be raped if she’s armed and fights alongside the men — than she would be if she were unarmed and served alongside them in a nonviolent capacity? Why, because rapists like to be shot? Because they get off on the danger of having someone they have raped “watching their back” in combat?

    Yeah. Sounds logical to me!

    Dafydd

    Dafydd (df2f54)

  45. clivestaples,

    For the sake of clarity, why don’t you list your sources which help explain this phenomena called “fraternization.” Evidence, please.

    Also, you write:

    My problem isn’t with women in the military, per se. It’s with mixed-gender groups. I don’t have a problem with effeminate men serving in the military. My problem is with situations that make fraternization MORE likely without a compelling enough “good” end.

    Really? Because it seems to me that you’re doing the exact opposite: ignoring the compelling need for good soldiers, instead fretting a la Slippery Slope about hypothetical potential problems, thereby resulting in perfectly qualified soldiers getting kicked out and/or opting out.

    You’d do well to read a bit about the actual cost of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.”

    Tom (fa1ec6)

  46. But unless you can show that women in combat are uniquely prone to such problems, much more so than men, you have no argument by “military effectivenesss” available to you.

    Hey, genius: it doesn’t matter if the women are less prone then the men. As you argued, men can neglect their duties when women are involved. I really don’t care what gender neglects their duty more often; the germane point is that a soldier’s duty is being neglected.

    Explain why this argument of yours could not be used equally well to argue against racial integration of the troops.

    Whereas RACIAL tensions arise out of LEARNED experience, SEXUAL tensions arise out of INSTINCT. You can’t make a straight man NOT find women sexually attractive; but it is possible for a white person to not hate a black person.

    To play the same sort of “internet deconstructionism” you played with my last post:

    “Internet deconstructionism”? Or, “fisking”.

    …but only because you restricted your interest to sexual favoritism.

    Yeah, because THAT’S WHAT WE’RE TALKING ABOUT. I guess staying on-topic is a no-no.

    But there is now and always will be other types of favoritism: racial favoritism, home-town favoritism, hair-color favoritism, and the main culprit, friendship favoritism… you have a mission that is likely a one-way ticket; do you send your best friend – or the guy in the platoon you really dislike?

    Racial favoritism arises out of a non-intrinsic response. Racism isn’t inevitable, whereas sexual attraction is.

    So a woman in a combat unit is more likely to be raped if she’s armed and fights alongside the men – than she would be if she were unarmed and served alongside them in a nonviolent capacity? Why, because rapists like to be shot? Because they get off on the danger of having someone they have raped “watching their back” in combat?

    You need to grow an imagination. A woman is MORE likely to be raped if she’s serving with men. A man is more likely to rape or to be raped if he’s serving with people that he finds (or who find him) sexually attractive.

    Sez you; actual real-life experience in real combat situations says the opposite. Who am I gonna believe, you, or my own lyin’ eyes?

    I take it that you mean that “real combat situations” say that problems do not occur more frequently in mixed-gender (or mixed-sexual orientation) units. But that’s not what I said. I said that problems are MORE LIKELY to occur, not that they do, in fact, occur more often. See, there’s a difference between “potential” and “actuality”.

    Likewise with women in the military: you are glossing over the fact that the combat zone is already flooded with women… they just can’t (intentionally) enter it with the intent to kill. We have non-combat women soldiers in combat zones; and we even have numerous incidents now of women actually fighting in combat in combat zones… because they were ambushed and fought back.

    How many times do I have to say this before you start listening? I DO NOT BELIEVE THAT WOMEN ARE INCAPABLE, OR EVEN LESS CAPABLE, THEN MEN IN COMBAT SITUATIONS. Whether or not they can fight is NOT at issue, in my opinion.

    CliveStaples (26c947)

  47. Tom @ 43

    “When have the “skeptics” ever been on the right side of history when it comes to civil rights?”

    Ah, I was not aware that this was as civil rights discussion. I thought it was about getting quality soldiers for the military. If you are viewing this as a civil rights issue, which I now see that you are, it doesn’t matter what the effect on the military is. You’re going to be in favor of it.

    I want as many people to choose to be in the military as possible, so that the nation can be selective and have the best soldiers under arms in the world. (which I believe that we have now) And thus I wish to ‘first, do no harm’. Thats why I ask if there are any half measure, trial efforts, or real metrics we could use to judge the effects of such a change.

    I am going to have to read about the Israeli army’s practice and experience since that IS a successful fighting force. (Not something that I will grant to EU armies, except GB).

    Tobias

    toby928 (99ba2b)

  48. I think clivestaples makes a good point when he says that racism is learned behavior whereas sexual attraction is instinctual. And the fact is we have had problems with rape when women are mixed in with men, even in combat situations. How much of a problem, I don’t know, I haven’t looked at the numbers, but it is a fact that women have been raped in the military in combat situations. (Remember, combat is not continuous, 24/7 activity. It’s hours and hours of boredom punctuated by seconds and minutes of sheer terror.)

    Mind you, I thought it was really cool when the female MP sergeant took out several terrorists by assaulting their position, and as the father of two wonderful and very capable girls, I’m certain that some women can do many of the things that military men can do. (It’s equally true that some men cannot do what our military men can do.)

    I’m not aware of any data that points to the same problem with homosexuals in the military. If someone knows of any, point it out. As far as I know homosexuals have served honorably, and my intuition tells me their rates of bad behavior are most likely similar to those of any other group (except criminals) that you want to point out.

    Now, I’ve been called “disingenous” for seeing a parallel between the argument that “other nations do it” being used for this issue as opposed to the SC using it for capital punishment.

    Personally, I think that is disingenous. The argument is the same – namely, the US should adopt some policy because other nations have already done it successfully.

    Only the circumstances have changed. If you think it was wrong for the SC to look to other nations for guidance on cp, then how can it not be equally wrong to look to other nations for guidance on this issue?

    To me, the argument that the SC was making policy, while “I’m” simply arguing for a change in policy is the worst kind of straw man – which hand is the pea in? Either we think it’s good to use other nations’ actions as guidance or it’s not. Whether or not it ever gets “forced on us” or we vote for it is a completely separate issue apart from the issue of whether or not the argument itself makes sense.

    antimedia (63d4b4)

  49. Tom @ 43

    As a postscript and in response to your ‘skeptics’ question, I think that the ‘Dictatorship of the Proletariate” turned out to not be a good idea even though most intelectuals where in favor of it. 😉

    Inevitable! is an assertion, not an argument. I maintain that my ascension to Eastern God Emperor is inevitable but some may disagree.

    Tob

    toby928 (99ba2b)

  50. Do any of you on this post have first hand experience? Has anyone served or serving now? Just a question.

    Tim (fdd68c)

  51. First hand experience with what? I served in the US Navy from 1968 to 1974. Is that what you’re looking for?

    If you mean, have I ever served in the military with gay persons, I haven’t a clue. I didn’t run around asking people what their “sexual orientation” was. I may be old fashioned, but I still think it’s nobody’s business what goes on in someone’s private life unless they are breaking the law (physically abusing a spouse or child, for example.)

    antimedia (54dfac)

  52. And I recall when it was rather assumed that WACs and WAVs were gay. Who really cares? I know some gay lawyers and judges too.

    Ruth (78907f)

  53. Hey, genius: it doesn’t matter if the women are less prone then the men. As you argued, men can neglect their duties when women are involved. I really don’t care what gender neglects their duty more often; the germane point is that a soldier’s duty is being neglected.

    I argued that? That must have been in a parallel universe. I recall writing that “there is no greater level of screwups based on “sexual favoritism” (or any other failing attributable to women in combat) than in any other command,” but maybe that’s just my memory going bad again.

    And thanks for recognizing my genius; usually, I have to tell everyone myself, which gets to be a chore.

    Yes, it is certainly possible that “men can neglect their duties when women are involved.” They can also neglect their duties when no women are within a hundred miles. In order to play the “military effectiveness” card, CliveStaples, you have to show that somebody, somewhere has been more neglectful of his or her duties due to the presence of female combat soldiers — rather than the current crop of female non-combat soldiers that already interact constantly with troops.

    This you have signally failed to do. You’ve even failed to allege it, though I’m sure you’ll do so now that I’ve pointed it out. All you have said so far is that you can imagine that people might become less dutiful if women were around.

    (I have visions of you sitting in front of the TV, watching a DVD of the 1958 production of South Pacific. My favorite martian, Ray Walson, is leading the chorus in a rousing rendition of “There Is Nothin’ Like a Dame,” and you’re pointing at the screen and shouting “yeah! yeah! that’s just what’s going to happen!”)

    Moi: Explain why this argument of yours could not be used equally well to argue against racial integration of the troops.

    Vous: Whereas RACIAL tensions arise out of LEARNED experience, SEXUAL tensions arise out of INSTINCT. You can’t make a straight man NOT find women sexually attractive; but it is possible for a white person to not hate a black person.

    Interesting idea; it could even be true. But we’re not talking about whether a male soldier finds a female soldier attractive — we’re talking about whether he will therefore neglect his duty to attend his cutie… and that, Mr. Lewis, is undeniably and unquestionably a learned response, not an instinctive one.

    If you don’t believe me, take a look at any Moslem or Asian culture: they have no history, no record, and no inkling of the idea of chivalry; they simply do not react to an attractive woman by dropping their duties to rush to the lady’s aid.

    The whole point of military training (which is very effective, as the both of us know) is to overcome all previous conditioning and to reprogram soldiers to react in a properly military way instead.

    And in any event, as I said (and as you already knew), we have quite a few instances now on record of women in combat, taking orders under fire, leading troops in combat, and everything else males do… and we do not have any evidence whatsoever that unit effectiveness fails in such circumstances. If we did, you would have brought it forth by now.

    So your hypothetical, once again, is just a castle in the dark and stormy clouds.

    Moi: …but only because you restricted your interest to sexual favoritism.

    Vous: Yeah, because THAT’S WHAT WE’RE TALKING ABOUT. I guess staying on-topic is a no-no.

    What is a “no no” is obsessing on a single pixel instead of seeing the whole picture. Look, if you restrict your attention to nothing but “racial favoritism,” then you can say that allowing black soliders to serve in the same units as white soldiers increases the “racial favoritism” within the unit.

    But what this analysis misses is that racial favoritism within a modern military unit is utterly miniscule, to the vanishing point, compared to other forms of favoritism. Thus, in the real world, the net favoritism quotient is not significantly affected by allowing black and white soldiers to serve together — and the positive effects far outweigh the insignificant negative effects.

    The same seems to be true today anent “sexual favoritism,” so far as our increasingly extensive experience teaches us: we have no examples of military units whose combat effectiveness was degraded when the women in the unit were forced into combat. Do you have any examples you can bring to the table? You’re the one making the extraordinary claim — that men will neglect their duties if the women alongside them in the unit are also fighting, rather than just driving trucks — so you should be the one to present some evidence for this peculiar prediction.

    You need to grow an imagination. A woman is MORE likely to be raped if she’s serving with men.

    But women are already serving with men! Are you proposing that all the women currently fulfilling non-combat roles in combat units should be kicked out? And replaced by whom? Male combat soldiers? What a great idea… take even more soldiers off the front line to have them drive trucks, refuel tanks, ferry aircraft, and repair and retrofit Humvees.

    A man is more likely to rape or to be raped if he’s serving with people that he finds (or who find him) sexually attractive.

    Oh, puh-leeze. So a man is more likely to be raped by an admitted, open gay than by a secret, hidden gay?

    You still refuse to admit reality: there are already gays serving in the military. There are already women fighting in combat and serving in harm’s way. You write as if we’re talking about introducing gays and women into the armed forces for the v-e-r-y… f-i-r-s-t… t-i-m-e. Can we at least sing from the same hymnal?

    I take it that you mean that “real combat situations” say that problems do not occur more frequently in mixed-gender (or mixed-sexual orientation) units. But that’s not what I said. I said that problems are MORE LIKELY to occur, not that they do, in fact, occur more often. See, there’s a difference between “potential” and “actuality”.

    I’m sorry, my paltry four years of undergraduate mathematics and three years of graduate math don’t equip me to understand this distinction. Perhaps you can explain to me how something can be “more likely” — sorry, “MORE LIKELY” — to happen, yet not actually happen any “more often” over the long run.

    Enquiring geniuses (genies?) want to know….

    Dafydd

    Dafydd (df2f54)

  54. If you think it was wrong for the SC to look to other nations for guidance on [capital punishment], then how can it not be equally wrong to look to other nations for guidance on this issue?

    Antimedia, perhaps I can explain it this way.

    Currently, there are no “bullet trains” in regular service in the United States. Suppose someone were to propose building a 200 mph train line from New York City to Washington D.C., and suppose people scoffed that this was impossible, no passenger train could go that fast.

    I would rise to point out that I have in fact ridden on just such a train… the “Nozomi” Shinkansen (Bullet Train) that Sachi and I rode from Osaka to Tokyo. Thus, looking to a foreign country (Japan), I can state with absolute certainty that such trains are possible, that they do not blow up, that the passengers aren’t blown out the back, and so forth.

    But if the Supreme Court were to rule that private gun ownership was unconstitutional, and their opinion was based upon the fact that Japan bans guns, that would be a completely different use of looking at a foreign country.

    It is not hypocrisy if I say that based upon Japan, a 200 mph passenger train is possible; but that I refuse to give up my guns just because the Japanese don’t have any.

    Do you understand now?

    Dafydd

    Dafydd (df2f54)

  55. Dafydd

    Please clear up something for me, are you advocating this gay integration for civil rights reaqsons (like Tom above) or for military efficacy? The arguments for and against depend on the purpose of the proposal.

    Is it just me or is this thread getting too repetitive and long?

    Tob

    toby928 (99ba2b)

  56. Tobias, you jackass,

    I refuse to be pigeon-holed that easily! Though I am a staunch supporter of equal rights for equally-talented gay people, I am certainly also capable of discerning whether or not the “skeptics” have a viable concern or are simply pulling worries out of their personal orifices. Having seen no evidence other than one guy’s paranoid ramblings, I’m afraid I’m gonna have to go with the latter…

    Second, did you forget that you’re the one who asked me to clarify the obviously non-logically-based abstract concept of inevitability? Yes you are. Why then did you feel the need to turn around and tell me it’s not an argument? In the words of a great intellectual, no shit, Sherlock! Thanks anyway!

    Finally, I agree with you that the “Dictatorship of the Proletariate” was not a good idea. But what does that have to do with civil rights advancements? Are you lumping the Proles in with the gays and women and people of color and under-aged workers? I don’t know if I’d buy that…

    -Tom

    [/snark]

    Tom (461269)

  57. Tob-

    How ’bout you let me represent my own perspective? That would be oh so classy. Thanks!

    -Tom

    Tom (461269)

  58. Yikes Tom! jackass?! me?! Insufferable know-it-all maybe. 😉

    If I could edit that post I would and remove your name. It is probably poor etiquette to mention another poster when not addressing them. My appologies.

    That said, 1) the proles thing was an attempt to point out that your argument was reductive in that basically you were saying “Show me a successful social movement that was not successful.” You have defined civil rights movements by what we, as a society have agreed on. 2) Inevitable you wrote,”I think we all know this is inevitable. We may as well just do it.” Perhaps I misread but that seem like an attempt at argument from inevitability to me.

    Anyway, I don’t know much about peoples’ orifices, (thank God) but it did seem that your argument WAS civil rights based. (rereading … yep, still seems that way to me but Lord knows that I have poor comprehension skills sometimes).

    So fine, neither you or the poster to whom my last post was addressed is arguing from CR. Fine. Some do so I’ll just have to put up my own straw man myself and knock him down thus: The problem that I have with the CR argument is that no one has a right to be in the military. My 39′ tall cousin can not join although he is as patriotic as any. (I could insert many more people not eligible to serve but I’m sure you get my meaning) If only 2-3% of the men are gay (the same poster posted that earlier but I don’t know it for a fact) then it does seem (at least to me) that that is not sufficient gain, however cruel and unfair the current system, to justify a wholesale change in military policy. It might work (I think it maybe/probably could be made to work) but there is enough risk to argue against change willy-nilly. That’s why I keep asking, (and I REALLY am asking for peoples ideas) is there not some half-measure or trial or something we can do to test/ease into this thing?

    Good night, see you guys in the morning.

    Tob

    toby928 (f59ae5)

  59. Most of the arguments have been made without any personal military experience to support them. I have to agree with Dafydd’s informal survey. I spent most of my life in the military, and my original comment still stands.

    Bostonian, I’ve seen nothing in my more than half a century living in this social experiment that would cause me to believe “If all gays were able to admit to being gay, that could dampen down the activism.” There is a key word in that sentence–could. Activists want to be activists. Could never becomes would because no problem is ever resolved to an activist’s satisfaction.

    I lived through at least two other social changes in the military, and they caused significant disruptions. They still do to some extent even after decades. Right now is not the time to impose yet another on our soldiers. Let the civilian world solve the problem first, then the military will follow suit as the folks in the military are simply a cross-section of our population.

    Ah, but that’s not how this game is played. Activists (once again) see the military as a tool for change. Government can force the military to do something it can’t force the general population to do. And that is a vehicle for change–as it was with integration.

    And that’s what all this concern about gays in the military is really all about.

    Bunker (92debd)

  60. Sorry for any confusion. Sometimes I sign as “Bunker”, and sometimes as “Mike”, my real name. The comment I cited is #4.

    Mike

    Bunker (92debd)

  61. Antimedia,

    I can’t say it any more plainly than I already did above. If you don’t see the distinction, then re-read my explanation. If that doesn’t convince you, we are doomed to see this issue differently.

    Patterico (756436)

  62. Dafydd, I’m not having any problems understanding your argument. I just think it’s flawed. For example, in your latest analogy, you set up a false dichotomy. On the one hand, you posit facts from Japan to justify the position that bullet trains are safe. On the other hand you state that if the Supreme Court ruled that gun ownership was unconstitutional and justified it by saying that Japan bans guns, that would be different.

    Of course it would. The former argument uses facts to prove that what Japan does is safe. The latter uses no facts at all. The analogy would be more apropo if the Supreme Court banned guns because Japan had banned them and the result have proven beneficial to society.

    However, the argument is fatally flawed because you conflate the resultant actions with the reasonings that compel them. Altering the Constitution is, of course, a more drastic action than simply deciding to employ bullet trains, but neither has anything to do with the reasoning behind the decision to take one action or the other other than the fact that the reasoning is the same – vis a vis – because a does b and it works well c should do the same.

    Mind you, I’m not advocating one position over another. I’m simply pointing out the irony that, when the context changed, the argument that was considered anathema in the former instance was welcomed with open arms in the latter.

    antimedia (be76bf)

  63. Antimedia, you seem to be arguing antipoint. There’s nothing wrong with lawmakers looking to the laws of other countries while debating what U.S. law should be. There’s plenty wrong with judges looking to the laws of other countries while ostensibly ruling on what U.S. law is.

    Xrlq (c51d0d)

  64. Please clear up something for me, are you advocating this gay integration for civil rights reaqsons (like Tom above) or for military efficacy? The arguments for and against depend on the purpose of the proposal.

    Excellent question, Tob!

    I advocate it because I want the biggest, most robust, and most talented pool of potential recruits from which we can staff our armed forces; and I also want new recruits shunted into the MOSes that they’re best suited to fulfill.

    Thus, let’s say we have 100 potential fighter pilots, of which 8 are women. We only have 40 slots… so we need to pick the best 40 potential flyers.

    If the best 40 are all men, so be it: no chicks this time!

    But if only the best 30 are men, then 4 of the next 10 best are women, then we should have 36 men and 4 women. I could not care less whether we have any sort of “parity” between women and men, nor would I sit still for a female quota. I want the 40 best potential aviators and flight officers, regardless of gender.

    (Oops, I just noticed you’re asking about gays, not women. But the same arguments apply; do a global search and replace.)

    Clear enough?

    In the question I asked CliveStaples, but which he declined to answer, I would note that of course you should select the 5’6″ guy with 20-20 eyesight and civilian aviation experience over the 6’3″ guy with bulging pecs, but whose eyesight is only 20-40 — that is, if you’re looking for aviators.

    (If you’re looking for SEALs, that’s a different story, of course.)

    I was then going to note (and of course, CliveStaples figured this much out) that the same decision would be correct even if that 5’6″ candidate was a girl, not a guy. She is the better candidate for that particular job.

    My friend, Raye Hollitt, who played “Zap” on American Gladiators, would have made a better Marine than a number of male Marines I knew in flyboy school. But of course, she was barred right off the bat from being a Marine Corps platoon leader (or Hornet pilot)… because she has two X chromosomes instead of one X and one Y.

    This is insane, and it damages our defensive capability… just as it did when the best man for the job was barred from the job because he had too much melanin pigment in his skin.

    I have a very low threshhold of stupidity. And I saw too much of it in the Navy to want to see any more.

    Dafydd

    Dafydd (df2f54)

  65. The problem that I have with the CR argument is that no one has a right to be in the military.

    Actually, Tob, I prefer the Robert Heinlein formulation: in his novel Starship Troopers, he posits a society where everybody does have the right to join the military… but once you sign the oath, you have no control over what you’re assigned to do, anything from ship’s mess officer to mobile infantryman.

    Oh, they try to match talent to position; but in the end, what counts is what the service needs at that moment.

    I actually do think that in a free society, every sane, non-criminal citizen has the right to defend his society. In this society, we mostly support that right by allowing private gun ownership, with the (unstated) proviso that all those gun owners are expected to become a citizens’ militia if we’re ever invaded. Of course, in the real world, this isn’t likely ever to be tested… but that’s the theory, at least!

    I think we should go farther, enacting a federal law (or better yet, a strong Supreme Court decision) creating a federal shall-issue CCW permit for every sane, non-criminal adult in the country who applies. A permit that would override any state or local ordinances against carrying a concealed weapon. Every citizen with such a CCW permit would be sort-of deputized… and would be expected (on pain of losing his permit) to intervene as prudent and necessary to maintain civil order — that is, to stop crimes they observe in progress.

    But that’s a kettle of worms of a different color.

    Dafydd

    Dafydd (df2f54)

  66. Dafydd

    “I have a very low threshhold of stupidity”

    Arguments in the blogspace requires a very high threshold for stupidity and the patience to just plain ignore some posters. (I’m sure many ignore me but as I also say about my advice: ‘Take it for what it cost ya’) But its better than in skin-space. More time to think and less chance of beating someone’s fist bloody with my face 😉

    Tob

    toby928 (f59ae5)

  67. Dafydd

    I like that citizens militia-CCW idea. Is that original to you?

    Tob

    toby928 (99ba2b)

  68. I have been following the comments and enjoying the discussions. I am still AD/USN and in the medical field, which seems to have a higher percentage of gays. Being stationed both with Marine ground units and in hospitals, I have never seen or heard of any bias or abuse of “normal” gays. The ones that get themselves in trouble, is the “in your face” gays. The Marines and Navy people that I have worked with and for could really care less if you are gay or not. When it becomes an issue is when any member/gay/woman/man is a lazy, incompetent or on their agenda’s soapbox.

    Tim (fdd68c)

  69. I like that citizens militia-CCW idea. Is that original to you?

    Tob, it’s original with me in the sense that I never heard anybody else suggest it. But it could easily be original with somebody else as well!

    Dafydd

    Dafydd (df2f54)

  70. Our town has what they call auxillary policemen, that is, private citizens who do ride alongs, direct traffic at football games, parades, etc. No pay is involved but there is some training and lots of free ammo to shoot at the range. Each one has to be background checked so they should all be able to get a CCW permit. If that program was expanded and made mandatory for a CCW that would kind of be what you are proposing. Hmmm, I’ll have to think about this some more.

    Tob

    toby928 (99ba2b)

  71. you have to show that somebody, somewhere has been more neglectful of his or her duties due to the presence of female combat soldiers – rather than the current crop of female non-combat soldiers that already interact constantly with troops.

    First: in order to satisfy your requirements, I’d have to have examples of American female combat units being ineffective. In order for that to happen, integrated units would have to be allowed. And, if I’m right, then we put a bunch of soldiers at additional risk for no good reason.

    Second: rape and coercion for sexual favors happen in non-combat units. I guess that such concerns mystically disappear in combat units.

    If you don’t believe me, take a look at any Moslem or Asian culture: they have no history, no record, and no inkling of the idea of chivalry; they simply do not react to an attractive woman by dropping their duties to rush to the lady’s aid.

    First: I wasn’t aware that we recruit soldiers from Asia or the Middle East. I just guessed that the majority of American soldiers are, in fact, American. My mistake.

    Second: “Rushing to her aide” isn’t the only deriliction of duty. Would a straight male soldier coerce another male soldier into doing sexual favors? Would a straight male soldier worry about his commanding officer showing favoritism to another soldier because they had a sexual relationship? Yeah, yeah. Similar arguments may have been made against racially diverse units. But when a soldier is tempted to discriminate against a soldier based on RACE, he does so because of a learned response. Yes, I know: chivalry is a Western concept. Is sex a Western concept, too?

    For the sake of clarity, why don’t you list your sources which help explain this phenomena called “fraternization.”

    You see, when two adults REALLY like each other, they give each other a “special hug”. (Funny that I call that “FRATERnization” when I don’t want gays in the military, huh?)

    Besides actually engaging in sexual activities, a soldier may disregard his duty because of his romantic feelings toward another soldier. That doesn’t happen if there’s no possibility of romance.

    That bit about South Pacific was funny. I can see you watching G.I. Jane with your boyfriend and eating some low-fat low-cal frozen yogurt and crying while squeaking out, “You go, girl. You go!”

    I was then going to note (and of course, CliveStaples figured this much out) that the same decision would be correct even if that 5′6″ candidate was a girl, not a guy. She is the better candidate for that particular job.

    My friend, Raye Hollitt, who played “Zap” on American Gladiators, would have made a better Marine than a number of male Marines I knew in flyboy school. But of course, she was barred right off the bat from being a Marine Corps platoon leader (or Hornet pilot)… because she has two X chromosomes instead of one X and one Y.

    Argh!

    I have NEVER claimed that women make ineffective warriors. I have only claimed that mixed-gender units are more likely to be less effective than sexually segregated units. If women make the standards for combat (and I definitely disapprove of a double standard here), then they should be allowed to fight. But men should be excluded from such units for exactly the same reasons that women should be excluded from the mens’ units (heh).

    CliveStaples (26c947)

  72. For entertainment reasons, I would sort of like to see what would happen if they lifted all these bans. You would end up with several very open, very gay tank battalions, Marine divisions etc. Some would become famous for being very open, very gay, very active; and the people into that would sort of coagulate in those places. The image of a gay rainbow flag on one of these Abrams A1… oh my.

    Ladainian (91b3b2)

  73. First: in order to satisfy your requirements, I’d have to have examples of American female combat units being ineffective. In order for that to happen, integrated units would have to be allowed. And, if I’m right, then we put a bunch of soldiers at additional risk for no good reason.

    We already have examples of American female commanding officers who have led troops in combat, CliveStaples. Why don’t you use those?

    Oh, wait — because they performed just as well under female command or with females also shooting alongside the boys as do all-male units. That’s why you don’t want to use those examples.

    First: I wasn’t aware that we recruit soldiers from Asia or the Middle East. I just guessed that the majority of American soldiers are, in fact, American. My mistake.

    This is a liberal Democratic technique known as “dropping context.”

    We were not talking about whether Americans had such responses. We were debating your contention that our chivalric response to women was encoded in our DNA, instinctive.

    I suppose that not even you will pretend that Asians and Arabs are actually a different species than Europeans and Americans, CliveStaples. Thus, if this response is not found in those cultures, that indicates it is a learned, cultural response, just as you admit racism is.

    And therefore, it can be UNLEARNED, just as nearly all Americans have unlearned racism. This is precisely the sort of learned response that basic training is excellent at overcoming. Heck, basic can even overcome such obviously instinctive responses as “running away from danger!”

    So after restoring the actual context of my comment, eschewing the faux context you sought to replace it with, we see that you no longer have a leg to stand on: the chivalric impulse to run protect the girls can be overcome by training just as easily as the xenophobic response to segregate by race.

    But when a soldier is tempted to discriminate against a soldier based on RACE, he does so because of a learned response. Yes, I know: chivalry is a Western concept. Is sex a Western concept, too?

    This obstinancy is beginning to segue into simple nitwittery. SEX is not the learned, cultural response; the way a person REACTS TO SEX is the learned, cultural response.

    Or do you grab every woman who attracts you, throw her down on the ground, and start humping her from behind?

    Oh, you don’t? You manage to maintain marital fidelity? Some cultures don’t believe in that. Guess what? Your personal response to attractive women, CliveStaples, is a learned behavior!

    It’s another song from South Pacific: “You Have to Be Carefully Taught.”

    That bit about South Pacific was funny. I can see you watching G.I. Jane with your boyfriend….

    My boyfriend? That’s what this is about? You think I’m gay? You figure the only reason anyone would advocate something positive for gays — or for women — would be if the person were one or the other?

    Good God, you really ARE a liberal, CliveStaples.

    Some of us on the right actually have the capacity to argue from principle. Some of us actually believe what we’re saying, even if it has nothing to do with us.

    For example, I have a lot of gay friends, since I grew up in Hollywood. Nevertheless, I completely oppose same-sex marriage. Nowadays, I have a lot of conservative friends, even though I’m not a conservative. Nevertheless again, I completely support the recent Lawrence v. Texas Supreme Court decision striking down laws against “sodomy.”

    Both of these are due to the very same principle: I believe in an actual right to privacy when conducting private affairs… and while getting married is NOT a private affair — it’s about as public as you can get and therefore subject to regulation by society — sleeping with someone (for a civilian) is absolutely a private affair, no pun meant. So I oppose the first but support the second, and rather than hypocrisy, this merely means I have a consistent principle I apply to both.

    Likewise, though I am neither gay nor female, nevertheless, I am capable of advocating changes that affect gays and women.

    If you can’t fathom that capacity, then this conversation has been a waste of time from the beginning.

    Dafydd

    Dafydd (df2f54)

  74. For entertainment reasons, I would sort of like to see what would happen if they lifted all these bans. You would end up with several very open, very gay tank battalions, Marine divisions etc.

    Ladanian, if you scooped up every homosexual in the Army, Navy, Air Force, and Marines and threw in the Coast Guard for good measure, you couldn’t form even a single division out of them all.

    Gay males constitute only about 2% of the general population, probably less of the military population; lesbians are an even smaller contingent, though they may be a larger component of the female military population than the female civilian population. You’d need about fifty to seventy-five divisions to get one division’s worth of gays.

    Gays serving openly (instead of covertly, as today) would simply not create any large problem… propriety and training aside, there just aren’t enough of them. By contrast, blacks compose more than 20% (one-fifth) of the military population, ten times the population of gays in the service.

    If you resegregated the troops, you’d have three entire divisions of black soldiers just in the Army alone.

    Dafydd

    Dafydd (df2f54)

  75. CliveStaples,

    You don’t have to be gay to think that the military could handle it if gays served openly. For you to assume that someone with that position is gay is ridiculous.

    Patterico (756436)

  76. “Title 10, US Code, Section, Subtitle A, Part II, Chapter 37, Sec. 654. –

    Policy concerning homosexuality in the armed forces: The law was enacted in the early years of the Clinton administration.

    Obedience to it is not optional for the armed services. In the language of the statute we discover that the US Congress found:

    The presence in the armed forces of persons who demonstrate a propensity or intent to engage in homosexual acts would create an unacceptable risk to the high standards of morale, good order and discipline, and unit cohesion that are the essence of military capability.

    Section 8 of article I of the Constitution of the United States commits exclusively to the Congress the powers to raise and support armies, provide and maintain a Navy, and make rules for the government and regulation of the land and naval forces.

    And that

    Pursuant to the powers conferred by section 8 of article I of the Constitution of the United States, it lies within the discretion of the Congress to establish qualifications for and conditions of service in the armed forces.

    Section 654 requires the services to discharge homosexuals as follows:

    A member of the armed forces shall be separated from the armed forces under regulations prescribed by the Secretary of Defense if one or more of the following findings is made and approved in accordance with procedures set forth in such regulations: That the member has engaged in, attempted to engage in, or solicited another to engage in a homosexual act or acts . . . .

    There is, however, an allowance that permits homosexuals to be retained on active duty if “separation of the member would not be in the best interest of the armed forces.”

    It is not a civil rights issue, because, says the Congress, there is no constitutional right to serve in the armed forces. ” Sourced material…

    Nanuk (42d667)

  77. Nanuk, you appear to be making the point that if the armed forces are to change their response to gay servicemen and servicewomen, it will have to come from Congress.

    All right. I think we all knew that, but it’s good to make things clear.

    Dafydd

    Dafydd (df2f54)

  78. You don’t have to be gay to think that the military could handle it if gays served openly. For you to assume that someone with that position is gay is ridiculous.

    It was a joke. First, my argument is that he’s more into social justice than an effective military. Who’s usually more interested in pushing social equality for gays: heteros or homos?

    But I don’t think that one must NECESSARILY be a homosexual to support gays in the military. I think that reasonable minds may differ. I was just trying to give a barb back to the guy who barbed me. That’s all. It wasn’t a blanket statement or generalization about people who support gays in the military.

    Or do you grab every woman who attracts you, throw her down on the ground, and start humping her from behind?

    No, but I want to. On the other hand, I do NOT want to curb-stomp every black person I come across.

    The point is that men will always want to have sex with women, no matter the context. Their learned social behavior can help to prevent the “throwing down and humping” scenario, but it doesn’t always. But the desire for sex is not learned. The desire to harm others because of their race IS learned. You are absolutely right that HOW someone responds to these urges IS conditioned by their upbringing.

    We already have examples of American female commanding officers who have led troops in combat, CliveStaples. Why don’t you use those?

    Because you always used examples of women functioning well in combat. I take no issue with women engaging in combat.

    Oh, wait – because they performed just as well under female command or with females also shooting alongside the boys as do all-male units. That’s why you don’t want to use those examples.

    I don’t think that just because a woman is shooting next to a man that all of a sudden he will be completely neutralized as a threat to the enemy. I think that a mixed-gender unit will be LESS EFFECTIVE THAN (not COMPLETELY INEFFECTIVE) a sexually segregated unit.

    CliveStaples (26c947)

  79. The central problem with homosexuals in the military is that this would be an assault against the dignity of those serving.

    Perhaps civilians will never understand this, but the Army (and other services) rips a good deal of the natural rights from the individual by necessity. It goes even further by than necessary by the fact that it is a bureacracy. Add to that the nature of the working conditions and this proposed influence spells doom for what pride of service and soldier-civilian trust that remains.

    The military is a coercive environment similiar to prison. There is no “personal space”.

    If you haven’t served in the infantry, you will likely not appreciate the facts on the ground. This is an untenable and ill-thought out proposal. Do we want a military that loathes us even more or one with no dignity?

    Paul Deignan (a8a5d9)

  80. So Dafydd,

    Is it correct that I can now assume that should I quote: Title 10, US Code, Section, Subtitle A, Part II, Chapter 37, Sec. 654. – that those words will not be treated as “Meaningless buzzwords” ?

    Nanuk (599d1f)

  81. The central problem with homosexuals in the military is that this would be an assault against the dignity of those serving.

    Perhaps civilians will never understand this, but the Army (and other services) rips a good deal of the natural rights from the individual by necessity. It goes even further by than necessary by the fact that it is a bureacracy. Add to that the nature of the working conditions and this proposed influence spells doom for what pride of service and soldier-civilian trust that remains.

    The military is a coercive environment similiar to prison. There is no “personal space”.

    If you haven’t served in the infantry, you will likely not appreciate the facts on the ground. This is an untenable and ill-thought out proposal. Do we want a military that loathes us even more or one with no dignity?

    How come Israel seems to do just fine?

    Patterico (756436)

  82. It was a joke.

    I didn’t get it.

    I was just trying to give a barb back to the guy who barbed me.

    I noticed a lot of that attitude in your comments. Your argument would be more compelling if you laid off the barbs and stuck to the logic and facts.

    Patterico (756436)

  83. How often do Israeli infantry spend time in the field outside of nice dorm-like barracks? What are the arrangements in the barracks?

    My impression is that they are an urban army of civilian-policemen.

    Perhaps someone who has been through their program can weigh in with details. I am also guessing that since it is a draftee army, that service is not nearly as coercive as the US military.

    Paul Deignan (a8a5d9)

  84. Is it correct that I can now assume that should I quote: Title 10, US Code, Section, Subtitle A, Part II, Chapter 37, Sec. 654. – that those words will not be treated as “Meaningless buzzwords” ?

    Nobody ever said that citing a U.S. law was a meaningless buzzword. It was the other, meaningless stuff you said.

    But it is redundant. I don’t think anybody here imagined that Congress would not have the ultimate say on gays — and women — in the military. So what is your point?

    Dafydd

    Dafydd (df2f54)

  85. How often do Israeli infantry spend time in the field outside of nice dorm-like barracks?

    Paul, the IDF is engaged nearly constantly with Palestinian terrorists. Every Israeli soldier is a veteran of many actual battles… typically at the platoon level, though it’s not uncommon for the Israelis to send in several tank brigades — say once or twice every year.

    And of course, the vast majority of Israelis are Jewish, and religious Jews are just as anti-homosexuality as evangelical Christians. Heck, the primary biblical verses on the subject are in Leviticus; Paul — not you, the other guy — relied upon them for his own discussions of it in the New Testament.

    So if the Israelis can still fight more effectively than any other force native to the Middle East, even with some openly gay soldiers among them, then I reckon we can somehow manage to do the same.

    Dafydd

    Dafydd (df2f54)

  86. I don’t think that just because a woman is shooting next to a man that all of a sudden he will be completely neutralized as a threat to the enemy. I think that a mixed-gender unit will be LESS EFFECTIVE THAN (not COMPLETELY INEFFECTIVE) a sexually segregated unit.

    But you admit you believe this based upon nothing!

    It’s evidently an article of almost religious faith with you. Even though you cannot find even a single example of any unit’s effectiveness being degraded by having women fight alongside men — despite many examples of women fighting alongside men — you still insist that, by golly, surely somewhere it’s going to happen.

    And the only reason you can offer why racists shouldn’t use exactly the same argument in favor of racially segregating the troops is that you, personally, are not a racist.

    Excellent. I’m glad you’re not a racist. (I almost wrote “that’s mighty white of you,” but I worried you might misunderstand my joke.) But the fact that you’re not a racist is not a principled argument against the specious argument that, because some folks think racial tensions degrade unit effectiveness, the army should be racially segregated.

    The proper answer is to look at the evidence and go where it leads you.

    In the case both of blacks and of women fighting alongside white males in combat, the evidence leads to the same place: there is no evidence at all, at all, that either form of “integration” degrades unit effectiveness… so to yield to the racial or sexual argument is equally irrational bigotry that has no place in military policy.

    Rational and effective military policy must be based upon what works, not on what frightens.

    Finally, you evidently still think I’m arguing from a theory of social justice rather than military effectiveness. You say so explicitly:

    My argument is that [Dafydd is] more into social justice than an effective military.

    So let me blow your mind.

    If the evidence indicated that gender integration, sexual-preference integration, or even racial integration reduced unit effectiveness, then I would argue in favor of segregation on the basis of gender, sexual preference, or, yes, race. I am a strict utilitarian about the military, though not about civilian issues (where social justice really is an important virtue).

    But it does not so lead, not in any of the three cases above. I tell you flatly, you are simply wrong about my motivation… and here is the proof. See, there is a class of people whom I think should rightly be, if not segregated, at least subject to extra scrutiny — within the military, that is.

    I’m talking about Moslems. This is about as anti-PC as one can get… am I saying that soldiers who have never evinced any sign of disloyalty should be surveilled and suspected just because of their religion?

    Yup. That’s just what I’m saying. But I would totally oppose exactly the same program in the civilian world. See, we have had a number of cases of Moslem soldiers deserting, disobeying orders, and even launching murderous assaults on their fellow soldiers, far more frequently per capita than Christian, Jewish, Buddhist, Druid, Wiccan, Scientologist, or Cthulhu-worshipping soldiers.

    In the civilian world, they have First-Amendment rights not to be discriminated against because of the free exercise of their religion. But in the service, they’re not operating under the Constitution… they’re under the UCMJ. They voluntarily raised their hands and took the same oath I did twenty years ago. And that makes all the difference in the world.

    So we should give them extra scrutiny and hold Moslem soldiers to a higher standard than anyone else.

    Utilitarian enough for you, CliveStaples?

    Dafydd

    Dafydd (df2f54)

  87. Dafydd,

    The US Army is the effective force for the battles that it fights which are fundamentally different than the policing operations staging from garrisons of the IDF.

    My objection goes to the root of the problem. You need to address it head on. The armies are very different. Our recruits are not all smiles when they meet their drill sergeants for the first time.

    Paul Deignan (8daede)

  88. Dafydd,

    So, just to be clear, when we say “field” we don’t mean urban checkpoints–we mean just the opposite (patrolling through undeveloped areas, manuevering through deserts, digging foxholes in fields, etc.) Now imagine what that entails. Military units like the infantry do not allow their members to just roam about as individuals. There is no “personal space”.

    Again, this is a cultural difference that some might need to experience to really appreciate. Even recruits don’t understand the situation well until they are immersed in it. (The most common refrain during Basic is “My recruiter lied to me”.)

    Paul Deignan (8daede)

  89. So, just to be clear, when we say “field” we don’t mean urban checkpoints–we mean just the opposite (patrolling through undeveloped areas, manuevering through deserts, digging foxholes in fields, etc.)

    Yeah, those effete Israeli dilletants never do that sort of thing. And they all have private rooms on the front lines. And bootblacks. And chauffeurs, masseuses, butlers, and private theaters to view gay porn.

    Jeez Al Pete, this line of inquiry is a complete non-starter. Have fun.

    Dafydd

    Dafydd (df2f54)

  90. Dafydd,

    You know, I’ve tried to look into what the living and working conditions of the IDF are like. All that I found tends to confirm my description as primarily a garrison force. We do not see the IDF pulling sustained operations such as Afghanistan or Iraq.

    I expect that they are trained well for urban operations. On the other hand, I doubt that they have much exposure to open bay barracks, 3-week FTXs, or drill sergeants.

    In terms of the US Infantry experience, think “Full Metal Jacket”. The training phase was about right. Also, “Biloxi Blues”.

    Paul Deignan (8daede)

  91. Me:

    It was a joke.

    Patterico:

    I didn’t get it.

    See, that other guy insulted my intelligence by implying that I relied on a scene from “South Pacific” for my position on gays/women in the military. Then *I* insulted him by implying that his desire to see gays/women in the military came from a personal desire to see gays/women in the military and not from a desire for a more effective military.

    Me:

    I was just trying to give a barb back to the guy who barbed me.

    Patterico:

    I noticed a lot of that attitude in your comments. Your argument would be more compelling if you laid off the barbs and stuck to the logic and facts.

    Thanks, coach.

    And the only reason you can offer why racists shouldn’t use exactly the same argument in favor of racially segregating the troops is that you, personally, are not a racist.

    Not really, no. The reason that I think the same argument doesn’t work with racism is that racial hatred is learned, whereas sexual attraction is not. Whether or not I’m a racist is rather irrelevant.

    Women were integrated into the military because of politics, not because of a desire for greater military effectiveness.

    If military effectiveness is your true goal, then I suppose that you would have no problem with ONE standard in the Army for both men AND women to meet.

    Standards have been lowered since women were accepted into the military. But “effectiveness” is still the goal, isn’t it?

    Fraternization is more likely to be a problem in integrated units than in non-integrated units. Why not eliminate this danger and have men-only and women-only combat groups? Why have them integrated? Are they MORE effective when integrated, as a trade off for the greater chance of problems due to fraternization? I doubt it.

    CliveStaples (26c947)

  92. If military effectiveness is your true goal, then I suppose that you would have no problem with ONE standard in the Army for both men AND women to meet.

    That’s correct, CliveStaples, provided the standard actually relates to the particular duties of that job and isn’t something concocted for the sole purpose of keeping women out… for example, if the Navy were suddenly to propound a “standard” for naval aviators and flight officers that they had to be able to bench-press 225 pounds.

    That might be perfectly appropriate for a job that actually required upper-body strength… loading artillery shells, for example. But it has nothing to do with flying a jet.

    The standard should be rationally related to the job at hand, and the standard should be identical for both men and women.

    Standards have been lowered since women were accepted into the military. But “effectiveness” is still the goal, isn’t it?

    It’s my goal; I never said it was being properly implemented by the military. In fact, I said repeatedly that the biggest danger of allowing women to serve in combat is that some do-gooder would decide that there had to be a quota of X% women in combat positions, and standards would be lowered to reach that quota.

    But that is a problem of implementation, not the principle itself.

    I have no intention of defending, explaining away, or apologizing for the bad implementation of good ideas by stupid bureaucrats. I will defend only my own ideas and how I, personally, would implement them.

    Why not eliminate this danger and have men-only and women-only combat groups? Why have them integrated? Are they MORE effective when integrated, as a trade off for the greater chance of problems due to fraternization? I doubt it.

    First, you haven’t demonstrated that there is any “greater chance of problems due to fraternization.” I have pointed this out again and again to you — and every time, you have done nothing more than wave your hands and insist that you know, in your heart of hearts, regardless of all the contrary evidence, that it’s a greater risk.

    Second, of course it would be less effective to segregate them, for the same reason it’s less effective to have white units and black units instead of integrated units: because you pick the best person for the job… not the best person who happens to be the right color, the right sexual preference, or the right gender.

    When you impose unnatural barriers unrelated to the job, then your pool of potential is smaller; therefore, your recruits are not as good in the aggregate. This ought to be self evident.

    Dafydd

    Dafydd (df2f54)

  93. CliveStaples, this conversation has become intensely redundant. In future, I will not response unless you come up with some new and different argument; if you simply recycle your same old points, I will note in passing that the issue has already been dealt with — but I will not repeat, yet again, my earlier answers.

    Dafydd

    Dafydd (df2f54)

  94. Sorry, “I will not response” should be “I will not write a response.”

    Dafydd

    Dafydd (df2f54)

  95. Please let me offer a little more insight into the problem being discussed.

    There is a tension in the military between blindly following orders/getting ahead in career progression/getting out of the system what you can and on the other hand, military virtue. Military virtue requires sacrifice for a principle good. It may be jumping on a grenade to save the lives of the remainder of a squad or in adhering to the regulatory good of the entire organization in the face of a superior that will sink you for it.

    People lose their lives and careers for the notion of military virtue. It has a high cost and no benefit other than some inherent moral consistency. This tension is constant in the authoritarian structure of the military. This is what differentiates Omar Bradleys from Mark Clarks, and Sgt Smiths from Sgt Fredericks.

    This same struggle is being played out here with the politicization of the military for external political ends. The military is an organization that will naturally reward competent individuals who contribute to the mission irregardless of gender, race, and I suspect sexual orientation. At the same time, these contributions are weighed against aggravating factors. The politicization of the military opens opportunities for individuals to ride to career promotions based on gender and race. Some are crass opportunists, others benefit passively at the expense of others and the organization at large. In either case, the true culprits are those that implement racist and sexist policies while suffering no harm themselves for the harm they inflict on the organization.

    These innovations all have a cost. Mai Lai was one such example. On one hand we had the pressures of expediency without consequence that manifested themselves in a person utterly devoid of military virtue: Lt. Calley and Cpt Medina. This was the result of political driven tinkering with the military that had no regard for its internal functions. In this case it was imposing a career oriented system for officer promotion and advancement on a draftee army that especially needed officers with commitment, honor, and competence. That oversight lost us the war and cost the lives of countless innocent people. It changed our country for the worse.

    So, as you ponder pressing the military even further, please consider that these are the people who will or will not take that particular action that may or may not stop the next terrorist attack. They are putting themselves at risk in trying to protect you. Meanwhile, some are considering increasing their risk avoidance potential. That is not a wise choice.

    Paul Deignan (0cbfa8)

  96. BTW, reading what is available on the IDF, it does not appear that the policy change in 1993 is the great success that some bill it as. In particular, it seems to have instituted a double standard in the ranks. Also, the elite combat units are still insulated from the change to a greater degree than the rest of the IDF. Finally, relatively few homosexuals of those serving are serving openly as homosexuals.

    Paul Deignan (0cbfa8)

  97. To clarify my example.

    Military virtue is aligned with the overall mission of the military, i.e. it is the propensity for the individual to contribute to mission success beyond their own self-interest.

    Since the organization is complex and the mission general, the success of the organization relies thoroughly on individual military virtue. This is the reason for the nice uniforms, marching, etc. People can be trained on how to respond, but they cannot be trained to get themselves killed (this is the reason why old line formations had the sergeants at the back with swords and also why the line formations were held onto long past their technological prime–the guys in front had no where to run but forward).

    Modern warfare does not permit us the luxury of lining everyone up with a bayonet to the back and shouting “Forward!”. If we did that, we sould make nice targets for bombs and machine guns and it would all be over shortly for those troops (we found this out the hard way in WWI).

    We need soldiers that will put the mission first and act upon it, not just in battle, also administratively. However, by punishing this tendency for military virtue, we get less of it. So, at critical times, the organization can freeze or act dysfunctionally. This problem is common to most large organizations.

    Civilians tend to imagine that the military is far simpler than it actually is. There was a reason for Abu Ghraib. There was also a reason for the great success in Afghanistan. Can anyone here speak intelligently to either situation? If not, you have little business tinkering with things you don’t understand.

    Paul Deignan (0cbfa8)

  98. I should emphasize this last point:

    Civilians tend to imagine that the military is far simpler than it actually is. There was a reason for Abu Ghraib. There was also a reason for the great success in Afghanistan. Can anyone here speak intelligently to either situation? If not, you have little business tinkering with things you don’t understand.

    Paul Deignan (0cbfa8)

  99. So, as you ponder pressing the military even further, please consider that these are the people who will or will not take that particular action that may or may not stop the next terrorist attack. They are putting themselves at risk in trying to protect you. Meanwhile, some are considering increasing their risk avoidance potential. That is not a wise choice.

    Paul, five comments later — and you still have not connected this theoretical consideration of military virtue with the topic at hand.

    I can only assume you believe that it violates the virtues of the military culture to allow women — who can already be shot at — to dare to shoot back, which really is all the change we’re talking about. I must also assume you believe it violates such virtues if gays, who currently serve honorably and bravely in their units and are known or suspected to be gay by virtually all of their comrades in arms, confirm that knowledge by openly admitting what they do when they’re on leave.

    I have to assume those two, because you don’t even try to argue them directly… yet if you don’t believe both of them — and also that these putative violations of military virtue will lead to disaffection and a loss of fighting will among straight, male servicemen — then your last five posts compose one very large non-sequitur.

    Yes or no, Paul: do you believe both of these two claims? And if so, what makes you believe them? Do you have some evidence for them? Or are they just deeply held religous views of yours? And what about the real-world evidence against both propositions and also against their supposed consequences?

    Dafydd

    Dafydd (df2f54)

  100. I can only assume you believe that it violates the virtues of the military culture to allow women – who can already be shot at – to dare to shoot back, which really is all the change we’re talking about. I must also assume you believe it violates such virtues if gays, who currently serve honorably and bravely in their units and are known or suspected to be gay by virtually all of their comrades in arms, confirm that knowledge by openly admitting what they do when they’re on leave.

    Dafydd,

    No, where do you get these ideas?

    I was pretty careful in writing those posts. I think if you free your mind of preconceived notions that you may be able to understand better what I am saying.

    On your first assumption: No–this is just nonsense.

    On the second assumption: If a soldier did this, he would be violating the agreement under which he enlisted to keep his anti-social sexual proclivities from becoming a disciple problem. That would have the effect of undermining those who volunteer to serve under the conditions that that soldier agreed to. By striping their service of some of its dignity, we should expect that these soldiers will not be so willing to stick their neck out for us or their fellow soldiers.

    When you treat people like cogs, they will act like cogs. An army of cogs will not protect you–they may well enslave you.

    Paul Deignan (85f319)

  101. Dafydd,

    BTW, sexual orientation is a state of mind. The way you express your sexual proclivities to others will always be a matter of just concern.

    Not being a lesser animal, you have free will and the facility for assessing your actions in light of this free will. Humans are morally responsible by nature. Not only that, they can control their actions. This is a vital, as those actions can decide the fate of nations when the actor is a member of the US military. Control, e.g. discipline, is a requirement of military service.

    Paul Deignan (85f319)

  102. The Constitution of the United States commits exclusively to Congress the powers, to raise and support armies, Navy, and make the rules.

    The law says: There is no constitutional right to serve in the armed forces.

    Congress will set the qualifications for and conditions of service,

    Success in combat requires military units that are characterized by high morale, good order and discipline, and unit cohesion.

    The most critical combat capability is unit cohesion. The bonds of trust among individual service members make the combat effectiveness of a military unit greater than the sum of the combat effectiveness of the individual unit members.

    Military life is fundamentally different from civilian life.

    The military community, while subject to civilian control, exists as a specialized society, characterized by its own laws, rules, customs, and traditions, including numerous restrictions on personal behavior that would not be acceptable in civilian society.

    That’s what: Title 10, US Code, Section, Subtitle A, Part II, Chapter 37, Sec. 654. –– says.

    In my view, any discussion of the issue of gays in the military ought include these Congressional findings rather than long winded commentary of bullet trains, Robert Heinlein, racial integration, women in combat, potential fighter pilots, dropping context, Israel, Japan etc. It is interesting that the Policy on Homosexuality in the Armed Forces is but 1533 words. One commenter is now close to 8000 thousand words of hypothetical meanderings and questions for challengers to his personal notions and his informal non-scientific personal poll as he seems to attempt to deconstruct any opposing points of view. Because of time constraints, I have not been able to participate in this discussion very much but I should think another discussion on this subject might include actually referring to the topical matter presented here:

    http://www.washingtonwatchdog.org/documents/usc/ttl10/subttlA/ptII/ch37/sec654.html

    My first three comments on this thread reflect my views on this topic. I would agree with Patterico that, “Perhaps the poll numbers would change if the policy were to change.” On the other hand I believe he has the cart in front of the horse.

    Nanuk (e71ea7)

  103. Its also worth noting that the preferential treatment that women and blacks especially are given in promotions and assignments is not helpful to mission effectiveness of the military.

    That’s not the fault of the individuals per se; it is the fault of the policy makers. I would not expect any other identity politics driven innovation to be any different.

    Once again, at this point, social experimentation with the military has been a failure. Race and gender preferences are the antithesis of equality. The truth is that proponents of these programs are not looking for equality or civil rights–they want preferences.

    Anyone otherwsie eligible may serve in the military as long as they respect the need for discipline. Here “serving openly” means de facto to have claim a preference.

    Paul Deignan (c368f6)

  104. In my view, any discussion of the issue of gays in the military ought include these Congressional findings rather than long winded commentary of bullet trains, Robert Heinlein, racial integration, women in combat, potential fighter pilots, dropping context, Israel, Japan etc.

    Nanuk, all those lofty precepts you quote are so general as to be completely irrelevant to this conversation.

    In fact, every contribution of yours has likewise been irrelevant… and that fact that all you got out of my series of arguments is the penumbra — all the skin and none of the meat — indicates to me that you are simply not serious enough to warrant further response.

    You do not understand logic; you do not understand the purpose of analogy (and God knows, you don’t even understand that analogy itself); you clutch those few general and irrelevant statements you found in US Code like a ragged security blanket. And like Linus, you simply drape this blanket over your head, so you don’t have to listen, respond, or heaven forbid, think about anything said by anyone you disagree with.

    Adios, muchacho.

    Dafydd

    Dafydd (df2f54)

  105. The truth is that proponents of these programs are not looking for equality or civil rights–they want preferences.

    I see. So Paul, given that I have flatly denied supporting any such preferences, should I conclude that you’re giving me the lie direct?

    Is that the only way you can argue? By calling me a liar, claiming that you know my own motivation better than I?

    I have a hell of a lot more history on the subject of preferences than you: I am in print going back twenty years on the subject. How about you? None of this matters, however, for you have decreed that I support racial and sexual preferences, and that I’ve just been merrily lying about it.

    Adios to you, too, then. Amazing how some folks simply cannot argue unless they get to write the script for both sides.

    Dafydd

    Dafydd (df2f54)

  106. The truth is that proponents of these programs are not looking for equality or civil rights–they want preferences.

    I see. So Paul, given that I have flatly denied supporting any such preferences, should I conclude that you’re giving me the lie direct?

    That’s pretty egocentric, Dafydd. What makes you think I am talking about you. (This is the second time you made that mistake.) This is a good point that I think ought to be registered. You said you were a pilot, right?

    Is that the only way you can argue? By calling me a liar, claiming that you know my own motivation better than I?

    Please, get a paper bag and breathe. Breathe. Alright?

    I have a hell of a lot more history on the subject of preferences than you: I am in print going back twenty years on the subject. How about you? None of this matters, however, for you have decreed that I support racial and sexual preferences, and that I’ve just been merrily lying about it.

    I guess not. OK, walk around a bit, deep breathing, think of the ocean, ….

    Adios to you, too, then. Amazing how some folks simply cannot argue unless they get to write the script for both sides.

    Bail, Bail. Punch out Maverick! She’s going down. Can’t get control, ……

    Dafydd becomes the first flight candidate to bail from a simulator.

    Paul Deignan (004dbd)

  107. “Nanuk, all those lofty precepts you quote are so general as to be completely irrelevant to this conversation.”

    Really ? Every sentence is directly mentioned is in the Code on Policy of homosexuality in the Armed Forces. It is stated right there in the law. Read the entire link. You need the review. You have previously conceded that the Code is not meaningless buzzwords. On that we can agree.

    Nanuk (732a5c)

  108. hi everyone.. i just want everyone to know that i am fully in favor for having gays in the military. they have the same equal rights as everyone else therefor they should be able to use them, including being the military, and being able to share that they are gay.

    amanda (f69785)


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