"Don't Ask, Don't Tell" and The Obama Administration

I would like to think that I rarely, if ever, use my privileges here to get on a “soapbox” or as a means to be politically partisan and issue an attack on any person or group. Similarly I hope the subject that I am undertaking reflects my commitment. I would like to admit in regard to the subject that I am terribly biased and I don’t think I am wrong about the matter. I am no source of infallibility, obviously; everyone is free to contradict me. I will passionately disagree, but will respect everyone’s right to intellectual freedom presupposing the same respect.

My self-identification as a Democrat is no secret. After President Obama was elected last November, I was hopeful, that despite his horrific position on life issues, a Democratic Administration and Congress would be able to go, in what I deem, a positive direction on many issues. One of these issues, I hoped, would be repealing “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.”

President Obama on the campaign trail reiterated how he supported “equality” for gay and lesbian Americans. While his definition of “equality” is incompatible with my Catholic faith, I find the matter of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” one in which good Catholics may disagree on and it is one I thought the President and I agreed. Let me clarify: I do not march in GLBT parades or belong to any of their advocacy groups.

Just yesterday I learned that allegedly, 619 individuals were discharged last year from the military under the “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy. I won’t address those 619 discharges because I do not know any of the details to cast any sensible judgments.

However, it so happens that just yesterday a White House official indicated that there were no plans in the foreseeable future to repeal “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.” (cf. Barack Obama campaign promises).

So, why does this bother me so much?

It began with the story of a gay man in the military: Lieutenant Colonel Victor J. Fehrenbach, a fighter weapons systems officer, has been flying the F-15E Strike Eagle since 1998. He has flown numerous missions against Taliban and al-Qaida targets, including the longest combat mission in his squadron’s history. On that infamous September 11, 2001, Lt. Col. Fehrenbach was handpicked to fly sorties above the nation’s capital. Later he flew combat missions in Iraq and Afghanistan. He has received at nearly 30 awards and decorations including nine air medals, one of them for heroism, as well as campaign medals for Kosovo, Afghanistan, and Iraq. Most recently, he was a flight instructor in Idaho, where he has taught more than 300 future Navy, Marine Corps, and Air Force weapons systems officers.

Since 1987, when Fehrenbach entered Notre Dame on a full Air Force ROTC scholarship, the government has invested twenty-five million dollars in training and equipping him to serve his country, which he has done with what anyone would agree was great distinction. He comes from a military family. His father was a retired Air Force lieutenant colonel, his mother an Air Force nurse and captain. Lt. Col. Fehrenbach has honored that tradition.

After all this investment by the American military in this one man and after all the service this man – an 18 year veteran, picked to be part of the initial alert crew following 9/11, deployed to Kuwait where he flew combat missions attacking Taliban and al Qaeda targets, deployed to Iraq, honored for heroism, having flown 88 combat missions logging over 400 combat hours, and having indicated that he is ready and willing to be deployed again for his country – has given to his country, what is the end result?

The military is firing him just two years shy of being able to retire with full military pension. Why? He was discovered to be gay. No, he didn’t make advances anyone. No, he wasn’t discovered having sex with another man. He simply has an internal desire for other men – and this desire is allegedly grounds enough to expel him from the military.

This man is one of the 619 discharges made last year. He is not just a number to me anymore; he is a person with a real story and I think this is outrageous and unjust. Just recently, a military linguist, fluent in Arabic, was fired on the basis of being gay. First, I believe it is an injustice. Second, is this a time to fire military professionals fluent in Arabic?

I don’t buy the arguments in favor of the policy. I’m not saying there should be no policy. However, the current policy is, in my view, effectively ridiculous and requires – for the sake of comfort and “morale” – that homosexuals live in a world that I described in a previous post about homosexuality. That is, live in a world of self-deception, live in “two worlds,” exist so that those around you know you and at the same time, don’t know you, smile and laugh during crude jokes about the opposite sex and don’t let anyone get the slightest idea that you don’t understand or aren’t attracted to that sex, and live so deeply in this false reality that it becomes second nature. I think requiring someone to live this way is deplorable.

If the policy were no sexual acts or something different, it would be a different story. DADT has established as federal law that anyone found to be gay or lesbian – having the orientation – to be fired. Yet, as far as I know, there is nothing in the law requiring the military to make such a finding. Why does the military dedicate itself to fervently investigating its service members’ sexuality, unless it were something vitally critical to national security?

I pray for the DADT is rolled back and I will count this amongst my list of grievances when I cast my vote against President Obama in 2012.

142 Responses to "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" and The Obama Administration

  • Eric,

    before we begin, let’s be agreed that heterosexual inclination is normal and healthy, and homosexual inclination is disordered.

    “He simply has an internal desire for other men – and this desire is allegedly grounds enough to expel him from the military.”

    Clearly this is not ALL that happened. That desire must have manifested itself to military authorities or it would not have even been known. The very definitition of “Don’t ask, don’t tell”. Now, if military authorities went on a witch hunt and discovered the activity it is a violation of the policy and so indicts the individuals involved who overstepped their bounds, not the policy itself.

    for the sake of comfort and “morale”

    it’s easy for you, or I to parenthesize morale, sitting comfortably on our sofa’s or office chairs, with the A/C on, and all the other creature comforts, with no rounds zipping overhead, and no suicide vest wearing fanatics trying to blow us up. On the other hand, when you are on the frontlines 24×7 for months at a time, “morale” is a life and death matter as it deeply affects small unit cohesion.

    There are several key reasons why morale is affected by having openly homosexual members:

    The military often lives in close quarters, having female personnel has caused a huge enough problem (something which was and remains a serious mistake on a number of levels). Men and women are entitled to the degree of privacy that they need not be seen undressed by the opposite sex, clearly this would extend to homosexual members of the same sex. Not only privacy but propriety dictates that the sexes be separated to avoid temptation and scandal, again the only way to work this with homosexuals would be completely private quarters, something impossible in many military situations.

    Another issue is there is still among many people a stigma attached to homosexuality (particularly active homosexuality). By forcing soldiers to work close together with those who make them deeply uncomfortable you damage morale and unit cohesion profoundly. Now, in a private business where life is not on the line, it is one thing to force the integration to protect human rights, in the military it is another thing altogether. We depend on many of these people, flawed as they might be, to put their lives on the lines for us. Right or wrong, we need them to be effective.

    Even in the issue of racial segregation some accomodation was, I believe, morally acceptable, if it was absolutely necessary to preserve the effectiveness of the force. If the army is unable to do it’s job in times of emergency, then it is of no use whatsoever. Now, after WWII, during peacetime it was a moral imperative to deseggregate the military. This is not the same issue as homosexuals in the military because being black is not a disorder, it’s completely normal, and therefore morally unnacceptable to “stigmatize” being openly black.

    The fundamental purpose of the military is to protect democracy, not to practice it, many personal liberties are curtailed as a condition of membership, this must be one of them until such time as the above issues are resolved. Neither you, or I are in a position judge that these issues are resolved, that is the place of the military’s leadership.

    Why does the military dedicate itself to fervently investigating its service members’ sexuality

    If it does, then it’s violating the policy. See above.

  • Eric,

    I agree with you that “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” should be repealed. As a general matter, I am against discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation in the workplace and unnecessary limitations on free speech. While there are unique concerns in the armed forces context, it seems to me that both the conduct prohibited (communication that one is homosexual) and the penalty (discharge) are completely disproportionate to the ‘harm’ addressed (discomfiture of other members of the armed forces). “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” places a significant psychological burden on some members of the armed forces not to discuss one of the most significant aspects of their humanity (i.e. sexuality), on penalty of dismissal, and likely causes them to live in fear to an unhealthy extent. And, of course, it results in the type of (in my view) unjust dismissals you discuss in the post. It does not appear to me that this rather severe burden is outweighed by any commensurate benefits to other members of the armed services.

  • I have to disagree. I served in the Army and having an “out” homosexual in a military unit, especially a combat unit, most of the men in their early twenties, makes as little sense as having a co-ed unit where the men and women shower and sleep together. Sexual tension and combat make a poor combination.

  • I served in the Army and having an “out” homosexual in a military unit, especially a combat unit, most of the men in their early twenties, makes as little sense as having a co-ed unit where the men and women shower and sleep together.

    I suspect that the attitudes of your average twenty year old in this regard have changed considerably since you were in the service.

  • When it comes to matters of sex Blackadder, I doubt if the attitudes of twenty year olds have changed much since the time of the Garden of Eden.

  • it seems to me that both the conduct prohibited (communication that one is homosexual) and the penalty (discharge) are completely disproportionate to the ‘harm’ addressed (discomfiture of other members of the armed forces)

    I think you misread my post, I’m proposing that the harm is death due to a breakdown of morale and unit cohesion resulting in reduced effectiveness in combat. Are you suggesting that having an open homosexual in a small unit (5-10 soldiers) is not going to cause morale and cohesion problems, or that morale and cohesion problems will not reduce effectiveness in combat, or that reduced effectiveness in combat doesn’t result in death?

    “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” places a significant psychological burden on some members of the armed forces not to discuss one of the most significant aspects of their humanity (i.e. sexuality), on penalty of dismissal, and likely causes them to live in fear to an unhealthy extent. And, of course, it results in the type of (in my view) unjust dismissals you discuss in the post. It does not appear to me that this rather severe burden is outweighed by any commensurate benefits to other members of the armed services.

    Well then maybe their better off just not serving? The army isn’t for everyone really.

    I suspect that the attitudes of your average twenty year old in this regard have changed considerably since you were in the service.

    In addition to Donald’s comment, I suspect that the average twenty year old is not serving in the armed forces, furthermore, it’s not just the personal preference of the soldiers that is at question but the logical results of this kind of contact. Most young soldiers would have no objection to sharing a shower room with an attractive woman, but we all know that this would NOT be a good thing.

    Let me ask you this. If for every 1 openly gay soldier in the army, 3 heterosexual soldiers chose to leave due to discomfort, would that be acceptable? I wonder if perhaps this is what has happened in the priesthood in the US? There are so many openly gay priests that many heterosexual men are too repulsed to be priests, resulting in a drastic drop in vocations and a higher than the general population concentration of homosexuality in the priesthood. I’m curious too, to the objectors on this, do you oppose the Church’s law on homosexuals in the priesthood as well?

    Have a look at the rate of all sorts of physical and psychological problems for active homosexuals, the army has a big enough problem with physical and psychological problems without accepting those who are predisposed to them.

    Another rather ugly but valid point, is the safety of gay soldiers. The reality is that there are a substantial number of men who are so repulsed by homosexuality that they could be considered “homophobic”. In the civilian world, these feelings can be controlled easily by making personal choices, like not going to gay bars, etc. put these men in close quarters, especially where privacy is impossible, with an openly gay soldier and you will increase the likelihood of this feeling being manifested in aggressive, or even violent behavior. Would anybody disagree that these types of men may be found disproportionately in the military?

    I will say again, the army (and the navy, air force, marines and coast guard) are here to protect democracy not to practice it. All manner of behavior and speech which is perfectly acceptable in civilian life is a serious problem in the military. Adultery is a crime in the military for example.

    It is for the leadership of the military to understand what types of behavior and speech will damage the effectiveness of the armed forces, unless and until there is a call by the leadership supported by a consensus of the rank and file to overturning this policy it must be retained for the good of the nation.

  • Patterns of 20 year olds do not change. Why they are recruited into gangs; football teams; other groups demanding comradeship, cohesion, and maximum discipline. An Army unit is not a social experimentation project. Funny about the records showing women serving on Naval aircraft carriers for long periods returning to shore- as we said back in the day- ‘in a family way.’ That our fine men and women in uniform have adjusted to these mandates from Washington is a tribute to them and them alone. Meanwhile, a 20 year old is a bundle of testosterone on wheels. Twas ever thus.

  • I remember my early days in the military. There were few ships that allowed women to serve on board. Those that did were non-combat, support ships. Everytime the U.S.S. Gompers came into port the clinic was swamped with STD’s and the occasional pregnancy. Nope, 20 year olds have not changed. Nor have most of those 20 year olds’ attitudes to being in close quarters with openly gay service members. It is not a great policy but it is better than allowing members to be open in their sexual preferences.

  • I served on active duty from 1980 to 1985, with an additional year in the reserves. The bulk of my service was doing signals intelligence work as a Russian linguist and analyst in West Berlin, before the Berlin Wall came down.

    Lt. Col. Fehrenbach, by your account, entered ROTC in 1987, prior to the Clinton-era innovation of the “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy. He would probably have been commissioned in 1991, still prior to that policy.

    The policy prior to “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” was an outright ban on homosexuals serving in the military. Fehrenbach, at the time of his entry into ROTC, and at the time of his commissioning, was ineligible for service, and probably falsified his application for a security clearance.

    There are and ought to be penalties for misrepresenting oneself in order to be admitted to service.

    Too, sodomy is a crime under the Uniform Code of Military Justice, despite the fact that Lawrence v. Texas made it a right. I don’t care what his record is or how many medals he has; if he committed a crime, he should get the penalty.

  • Somethings fishy with case. There is nothing in any press report that one could consider reasonably balanced. All the information is his own self-serving statements on Rachel Maddow.

    How did his homosexual behavior/inclination surface? Until we know the answer to that, we can not know the merits of his case.

  • Matt,

    Agree. I remember while I was in the service a pilot was having an affair (punishable under the UCMJ.) He was given an order not to see the woman and disobeyed. Was court martialed for disobeying a lawful order AND adultery. Spent the last two years of his 20 years in the service in jail. Of course he had a dishonorable discharge after 18 years of non-incarcerated service as a pilot and didn’t get his pension. It was hard on his wife and two teenage daughters also. The military is a tough place.

  • I just have to shake my head at the likes of people who would never dream of going anywhere near the military as a vocation “pooh-poohing” and “tsk-tsking” over morale being a sufficient justification for this policy.

    We’re talking about a life-or-death job here, and your personal political hobby-horses do not outweigh the measured judgment of our military as to the best means of protecting the lives of people who give far more of themselves than a bunch of people commenting on a blog post ever will.

  • I apologize for the tone of my previous comment. My wife’s cousin is in Iraq right now (for the 3rd time), and that fact probably caused me to overreact. I don’t like seeing the word “morale” in scare quotes, and I don’t like people putting their political preferences ahead of what our military leadership sees as necessary for the protection of the lives of those who put their lives on the line every day.

  • Actually I like your first post Jay.

  • Unlike a few of my colleagues, I can’t speak from any prior military experience — I suppose I could inquire with my younger brother who is in the Navy, bound for Afghanistan.

    I will say that I find this article troubling:

    Between 2006 and 2007, the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee recently revealed, convicted felons accepted by the Marine Corps rose 68 percent, from 208 to 350. Equivalent Army admissions rocketed 105 percent, from 249 to 511. Between 2003 and 2006, U.C. Santa Barbara’s Michael D. Palm Center calculates, “106,768 individuals with serious criminal histories were admitted” to the armed forces.

    Conversely, expelled military personnel include Arabic linguists and intelligence specialists who help crush America’s foes in the War on Terror. “Don’t Ask” has ousted at least 58 soldiers who speak Arabic, 50 Korean, 42 Russian, 20 Chinese, nine Farsi, and eight Serbo-Croatian — all trained at the prestigious Defense Language Institute. Al-Qaeda intercepts need translation, and Uncle Sam may need people who can walk around Tehran with open ears. Yet these dedicated gay citizens now are ex-GIs.

    Under “Don’t Ask,” the Pentagon reported in February 2005, only 1 percent of gays were sacked for pursuing or achieving same-sex marriage. Just 16 percent were dismissed for seeking or performing gay sex. Fully 83 percent of those fired between 1994 and 2003 merely stated their gay or bisexual status.

    The article goes on to provide some situations which on their face appear unjust — I have read numerous other accounts of distinguished servicemen with exceptional records of service, and no discernible sign of discomfort among the ranks of which they were a part, simply being thrown out on account of their sexual orientation.

  • My experience with those who were kicked out for stating their gay status, stated their gay status to get out of orders they did not want.

  • Christopher,

    given the “serious” need to have these gays remain in the military to translate documents, and yet their ouster anyway, we must have some serious gay-hating bigots running our military, maybe we should fire all those guys instead, right?

    I think we should apply the same rule to gay and married priests, don’t you? I mean, there is a “serious” priest shortage, why not let those people serve if they have a calling?

  • ps. the sources being cited here are all completely biased. Leftist new outlets and a “think-tank” dedicated to getting gays into the military… good grief. You guys are falling for this hook, line and sinker.

  • I don’t see this ultimately as being unjust. Those servicemen knew the rules, they knowingly violated those rules, they got kicked out. Usually their fellow shipmates were angry because they used the system. No sorrow from me.

  • Let me clarify that I have no problem with SSA men and women serving their country and, in fact, applaud them for doing so. It is an honorable thing.

    What I object to is people second-guessing those charged with keeping our military men and women as safe as possible given the nature of the job that places them in harm’s way on a daily basis. I object to those who take the attitude that there can’t possibly be any rational basis for the policy that is in place (and I especially object to the notion that “morale” is an irrational basis for the policy), and that the policy must, therefore, be based purely on bigotry.

    I don’t know if the “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy is right or wrong. I find it unfortunate that willing and able-bodied SSA men and women may find themselves unable to serve. But neither am I willing to second-guess those charged with making the policy on the grounds that “morale” is an insufficient and irrational basis for the policy. The cost of being wrong is too high.

  • One thing that no one seems to take into account is that the current DADT policy keeps things quiet so that a person with SSA can serve in the military. However, if it becomes acceptable (or a “right”) to serve as an open, practicing homosexual then the military could well face the same problem of many seminaries. That is, that straight young men will be turned off and turned away by an increasingly gay culture that leers and fawns over their fellow servicemen. Gay men might then be targeted and so might straight men who resist. I am sorry, but SSA is a disorder and whenever the gay culture runs rampant, you see an increasing inability to function in a way that does not involve sexual innuendo, advances, etc.

    This is a problem you just don’t have in a closely tied unit of straight men which forms a fraternity of brotherhood without the undercurrent of sexuality. (as mentioned above, we are talking about young men here) And fraternity and brotherhood are increasingly being denied our young men. And then we wonder why they don’t ‘man up’.

  • I suspect the characteristics of military life (the ascetical, hierarchical, collectivistic aspects of it) will tend to constrict the proportion of homosexuals in the recruitment pool in a way that is not the case with the clergy. (I also suspect there are details to this man’s exposure that your poster does not report).

  • Art,

    I suspect the characteristics of military life (the ascetical, hierarchical, collectivistic aspects of it) will tend to constrict the proportion of homosexuals in the recruitment pool in a way that is not the case with the clergy

    sadly those characteristics which should be part of the clergy did not constrict them from entering the priesthood…

  • In terms of morale, there are plenty of countries that allow gays to serve openly. Israel does it, for example, as does the UK. If there’s any evidence that the morale in the armed forces has suffered as a result of these policies, or that allowing gays to serve openly has led to a loss of life, I’m not aware of it.

  • blackadder,

    those are completely different societies from the US, there really is no comparison to be made there.

  • I would want to see the the policy repealed. For all the talk of discomfort and sexual tension presumes that individuals are not mature enough to control themselves, pure and simple.

    Policies should be based upon conduct, pure and simple. Sexual relations between brothers in arms, sisters in arms or brothers and sisters in arms should not be permitted. The sexual inclinations behind it are rather irrelevant, IMHO. Why wouldn’t gay citizens be allowed to contribute to the defense of their country? We’re talking about the state and its policies, not the church or its moral teachings.

    Plus, has anyone considered the possibility that SSA individuals might actually be helped by establishing ordered relationships with members of their gender?

    As much as I agree with the church on marriage and sexuality, I don’t feel obligated to favor policies that will push productive people to the fringes of American life. Shouldn’t our tact as Americans and Catholics be to persuade and include rather than lecture and exclude?

  • If there’s any evidence that the morale in the armed forces has suffered as a result of these policies, or that allowing gays to serve openly has led to a loss of life, I’m not aware of it.

    So let’s try it, and see if it will? That’s not an acceptable standard. We need to do that which will maximize good order, discipline, and unit cohesion, not simply allow anything that doesn’t lead to death.

    Is same-sex attraction “intrinsically disordered, or isn’t it? If the military finds admission of homosexuals to be contrary to good order, why dispute it?

    It seems to me that the military in “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell,” asks of homosexuals just what the Church asks of them: that they lead a life of chastity.

    Now, if homosexual attraction and homosexual conduct are morally neutral, or if they are positive goods like heterosexual conduct within marriage, then the military hasn’t a leg to stand on.

    But my faith, my reason, and my experience all tell me that this is not the case.

  • Matt,

    What is it about American society, do you think, that would make getting rid of don’t ask don’t tell a problem here, but not in any other country?

  • The Israeli military has hardly been problem free in having open homosexuals in its ranks.

    http://www.qrd.org/qrd/world/middle_east/israel/israel.military

  • Paul,

    It isn’t a matter of saying “let’s try it and see.” Other countries have already tried it, and the problems people on this thread are saying will happen if we repeal the policy do not seem to have occurred.

    If someone says “we can’t adopt policy X, because if we do Y will happen,” the fact that other countries have adopted policy X without Y happening is certainly relevant to evaluating the argument.

  • blackadderiv,

    What is it about American society, do you think, that would make getting rid of don’t ask don’t tell a problem here, but not in any other country?

    I didn’t assert this.

    You mention Great Britain, on of the most amoral nations in the world as an example? Good heavens.

    See my post above on why gays serving in the military is a problem. The discomfort most American young men feel towards homosexuals is not as common in some places, also the concern for sexual morality is not the same in some places (although perhaps it should be).

  • Perhaps it would have been better if I kept the matter to myself. In fact, it would probably be better that I not engage this matter. Maybe I am not qualified to make such a judgment about our military. However, I firmly believe (rightly or wrongly) that the “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy is unjust and I will continue to pray for, and applaud on, the day the Democrats roll it back.

    I wasn’t aware that I was entertaining a “hobby-horse” trying to advocate for “gay rights” and being a revolutionary liberal trying to re-write society. I think the argument is bogus and I’m going to disagree. The matter, in my view, is simply a question of unjust discrimination that I think the reasoning for is not convincing.

    As a homosexual, who has not always been Catholic, let me say, it is quite a presumption on the character of homosexual people that living in close quarters their main priority and concern would be to objectify and seek those around them. The temptation is there; that is not a question. But considering the ratio of heterosexuals to homosexuals, I am skeptical of the argument. Moreover, the argument makes heterosexuals out to be potential victims, or at best, uncomfortable — which is possible. Yet it seems that a homosexual is already the person with the most discomfort and is more likely, if outted, to be a victim of anything, including violence.

    It would seem that homosexuals shouldn’t be allowed to live with heterosexual males in university housing, or should not be allowed to join sports teams.

    Really, I’m sure my “coming out” made a lot of people uncomfortable. I’m sure they also had to get over it. They had no choice. I can’t change it. I don’t want to be “healed.” I am content being who I am. This is my vocation; God has delivered me to it and I’ll deal with it. I’m actually a Knight of Columbus and not one person in my council has trouble embracing me or making me feel included. No, we aren’t the military, but I don’t buy the idea that the issue is not something that can be overcome nor do I think that discomfort over homosexual military personnel will drive down numbers, have people leaving the military, and is proportionate enough a reason to discriminate against homosexuals themselves.

    It personally irks me — like nothing else in this world — that the simple reality of a homosexual orientation is used as a presumption that a homosexual might be interested and seek any man that they encounter. That simply isn’t true. And I’m not saying anyone explicitly argued this.

    Not every homosexual in the world lives up to the lurid stories one might here about the grossly generalized and overapplied concept of “gay culture.” As an atheist, I absolutely in no way conformed to such a stereotype. Neither did, nor do, the majority of my gay friends.

    Perhaps this is simply me, but I think it is telling of the personal integrity and honor of a man willing to leave the military simply over the basis that one of his comrades has a homosexual orientation. I’m obviously biased, so let them leave.

    I obviously don’t believe that there should not be a policy. There could be a strong, decisive language against homosexual sex in the military, or rather, against any non-marital sex — might as well oppose all immoralities. It could be strongly, strongly advised that homosexuals seek to prudentially not make their orientation a “banner” and that sharing it be discouraged. However, if pressed to the question, for any reason, any “yes,” should not be grounds alone to discharge them from the military.

    I’m certainly not advocating that the military embrace any sort of cultural relativism. Anyone that knows anything about me would obviously know that not to be the case.

    I would imagine I have nothing else to say on the matter because I don’t think engaging something, of which, I am so emotionally-involved, at this time, would be healthy for my spiritual life. All I can ask, charitably, is that when talking about homosexuals, that one not throw around generalizations or unkind words.

  • “The Israeli military reflects Israeli society,
    and in Israeli society, no one usually stands up and says he’s gay,”

    there’s the rub.

  • “It seems to me that the military in “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell,” asks of homosexuals just what the Church asks of them: that they lead a life of chastity.”

    Chastity and silence aren’t the same thing. I’ve never advocated that the military allow gays, or anyone, be allowed to have sex — I deem that to be conduct. I don’t deem an orientation, or anyone, finding out under circumstances that doesn’t include sexual activity or sexual advances as reason enough to discharge someone.

    It presupposes, as Anthony said, that military personnel aren’t mature enough to control themselves.

  • Public pronouncements — I deem that to be conduct.

  • Matt,

    I mentioned Great Britain and Israel just as two examples. They are hardly the only countries that have this policy.

    I didn’t realize that you consider Britain to be one of the most immoral nations on earth. If I had I wouldn’t have mentioned them. Presumably you don’t think Israel is one of the most immoral nations on earth (or do you?) What reason is there to think that America would be different than Israel in this regard?

  • If I’m running about screaming it and sharing it with everyone. I’m inclined to agree; do something about it. If a person puts it to me in the form a question and I say, “Yes.” You wouldn’t have my agreement.

  • blackadder,

    It wasn’t a typo. I consider British culture to be amoral:

    Amorality and Immorality

    Amorality is distinct from immorality, although in common use the terms are often conflated. An Amoral person denies the existence of morality, whereas an immoral person believes in the existence of morality but chooses not to comply with it. An immoral person who violates a certain moral code may still believe in the underlying truth of that moral code. For example, a thief may not deny that stealing is immoral, but may attempt to deflect the blame or offer excuses in order to justify his or her actions.

    Israel apparently may have some of the same issues that the US does (see the article Donald linked), I’m not really going to spend all my time studying the sociological differences that YOU are well aware exist between various societies.

    I didn’t suggest that other countries don’t allow gays in their militaries and perhaps don’t have a lot of difficulty, but I suggest that the US is not the only one that does NOT allow it, and I suggest that if you’re really interested you would find many that DO have problems.

  • Eric,

    If a person puts it to me in the form a question and I say, “Yes.” You wouldn’t have my agreement.

    and that is precisely the current policy.

  • A public pronouncement is certainly conduct and a matter easily left to the disposition of military authorities. For what other reason would there be to make a press release about your sexuality other than place attention on yourself or an agenda? Obviously the military is not a soapbox for individuals to make any kind of political or personal demonstration.

    However, if as Eric says, we’re discussing an individual who positively conducts himself in the armed forces his sexuality has no relevance.

  • Eric Brown,

    Please forgive me in advance if I might sound insensitive; however, do you at least concur that folks should keep themselves from immediate occasions of sin?

    For example, even if I were myself to be kept in close quarters with women, amongst whom were of the more seductive variety; no doubt, temptation would arise.

    Though, that’s not to say I would indulge in these temptations; however, there have been many instances of military women who themselves suffered unfortunate incidents of rape and so forth.

    Yet, I can’t imagine this not being the same for homosexuals and while there is yet to be any sort of data on how often and several are homosexual incidents in kind; I would hardly doubt that there are certain, let’s just say, pink palaces that have manifested themselves in certain quarters of the establishment just as there are in certain seminaries, too (unfortunately).

  • This is a most difficult topic. An aspect not often considered is the authority of a homoerotic officer.

  • Israel apparently may have some of the same issues that the US does (see the article Donald linked)

    The article linked to says that solders in Israel face discrimination and may be denied promotions on account of the fact. That hardly seems a reason to say that they shouldn’t be allowed to serve at all (I am glad, however, that you acknowledge the experience of other countries like Israel is relevant to the issue).

    I didn’t suggest that other countries don’t allow gays in their militaries and perhaps don’t have a lot of difficulty, but I suggest that the US is not the only one that does NOT allow it, and I suggest that if you’re really interested you would find many that DO have problems.

    Are there countries other than the U.S. that don’t allow gays in the military? Sure. Cuba, for example, doesn’t let gays serve. But that’s really beside the point. The argument being made here is that getting rid of don’t ask don’t tell would harm morale. It seems to me that, given other countries do allow gays to serve openly, a good way to see whether this argument holds water is to look at the experiences of these other countries. If repealing the ban on gays serving led to a loss of morale in these countries, that would tend to suggest that the argument was right; if it didn’t, that would suggest that the argument was wrong.

    So far as I know, none of the bad things people say will happen if the U.S. gets rid of don’t ask don’t tell have happened in other countries that have gotten rid of similar policies. Maybe that’s just because I’m ill informed. If so, the thing to do would be to produce the evidence showing the harm that’s come to other countries from dropping the ban. Simply asserting that this harm has occurred, or that if it hasn’t it doesn’t matter because those are other countries, is not very compelling.

  • given the “serious” need to have these gays remain in the military to translate documents, and yet their ouster anyway, we must have some serious gay-hating bigots running our military, maybe we should fire all those guys instead, right?

    Matt,

    You’ll find I’m much more inclined to engage you in discussion if you’re not behaving like an ass.

    I think the article raises a legitimate question that the military seems to have some abysmally low standards for acceptance of applicants so long as they are ‘straight’, while we are discharging those who are by all appearances good men because of their orientation.

    Q: Can you point to me any present examples about how the morale of a company disintegrated when it was revealed that one of their own happened to be gay?

    Where the fact that one was gay made all the difference in trusting that man with your life under fire from an enemy?

    I’m genuinely curious.

  • How about all of the guys here who have not served in the military and think we should force our young men to share close quarters with open homosexuals, go down to the local gay steam bath and spend some time in the shower there. See how comfortable YOU are with being in such close quarters.

  • Christopher,

    You’ll find I’m much more inclined to engage you in discussion if you’re not behaving like an ass.

    You might find that to be true about yourself. I’ve witnessed plenty of ASSININE statements coming out of your posts here and elsewhere.

    morale of a company

    Stop being an ASS Christopher, we’re not talking about morale in the civilian world because in the civilian world people do not live in such close quarters and do not depend so deeply on comradery as a matter of LIFE AND DEATH.

  • Well, when I was in the Navy just a few years ago, there were folks you knew were homosexual. It takes something big to get you kicked out– in boot camp, two guys in my division set it up so they’d be caught, um, in the act in a laundry room by a petty officer, so they could get out. That level of “big.” (this was roughly two weeks before 9/11)

    Due to don’t ask, don’t tell, they didn’t hit on their shipmates, or drone on about their sexuality. Well, the male ones didn’t– takes a bloody act of congress to get rid of even a predator female homosexual…but that’s a separate rant.

    To quote my husband: “Everybody knew, but if everybody’s quiet about it, we can ignore it.”

    The basic conversation if a friend mentioned that they’re homosexual would boil down to “That’s cool, dude– you hit on me, I’m going to kill you; don’t do that and nothing’s different.” (well, with many more curses– they don’t say someone cusses like a sailor for nothing….)

    That’s on a fairly large ship, though–LHD. I don’t want to imagine the result on a sub, or even a DDG.

    (On the side: after seeing from the inside, our sex integration is major league jacked up– it needs work, because right not it depends on NOBODY being willing to use their body for advantage. Fat F*ing chance.)

  • Christopher, did you know that you’re my favorite? :)

  • “How about all of the guys here who have not served in the military and think we should force our young men to share close quarters with open homosexuals, go down to the local gay steam bath and spend some time in the shower there. See how comfortable YOU are with being in such close quarters.”

    This presupposes that gays who enter the military are flamboyant and “queens” who are the epitome of “gay culture.”

    Yet, again, you never answered the question…what’s an example? I’m curious too.

  • Foxfier:

    Concerning the latter, is it really as awful as the current media suppose and, as it seems to be the case, even in your own immediate experience?

    Although, this goes without saying even in non-military outfits such as certain corporations as well well steeped in bureaucracy.

  • Well I assume that the views of the troops who actually are wearing the uniforms might have some relevance if the concern is unit cohesion. The polls I have seen consistenly show majorities of the troops favoring retention of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.
    http://cmrlink.org/HMilitary.asp?docID=342

  • Eric Brown,
    “How about all of the guys here who have not served in the military and think we should force our young men to share close quarters with open homosexuals, go down to the local gay steam bath and spend some time in the shower there. See how comfortable YOU are with being in such close quarters.”

    This presupposes that gays who enter the military are flamboyant and “queens” who are the epitome of “gay culture.”

    Not in the slightest, though I don’t expect you to understand the feeling of queasiness in the stomach of just about every heterosexual man on even considering the idea of such an outing.

    Yet, again, you never answered the question…what’s an example? I’m curious too.

    I answered this non sequitor, already.

    I said:
    we’re not talking about morale in the civilian world because in the civilian world people do not live in such close quarters and do not depend so deeply on comradery as a matter of LIFE AND DEATH.

  • Matt, those aspects should be part of clerical life and Fr. Paul Shaughnessy has suggested that a renewed emphasis on ascetical discipline should be the principal component of an effort to clean up the clergy.

    The thing is, the physical demands on the soldier have scant counterpart in the life of priests; priests work alone or (perhaps) in small groups, not in teams and not under fire; they are generally only lightly supervised by their ordinaries; their attire is more loosely regulated and sometimes flamboyant; they are, often on a weekly basis, the center of attention and are expected to offer their thoughts; they spend a disproportionate quantum of their time in the company of women in late middle age; they are in the helping professions, expected to tenderly minister to people, and so forth. You are never going to make clerical life resemble the soldier’s life.

  • Art,

    You are never going to make clerical life resemble the soldier’s life.

    totally agreed, I was just noting that characteristics you mentioned were ones that should be in common, though not manifested in the same ways.

  • I think the article raises a legitimate question that the military seems to have some abysmally low standards for acceptance of applicants so long as they are ’straight’, while we are discharging those who are by all appearances good men because of their orientation.

    I can’t think of a response to this that *isn’t* obscene.

    How, exactly, are we so abysmally low?

    Is it our above average education? 98% high school grads, as opposed to 75% in the general population; maybe it’s that nearly every officer ends up with multiple degrees, with 92% having BAs or higher, and about 15% having advanced degrees?

    That they allow a maximum of 4% of those who score *below average* on the ASVAB to be recruited, with a waiver– a maximum they’re still not hitting?

    Is it because over 40% are country kids? Horrors, some of us grew up where you couldn’t ride the bus to McDonald’s!

    Is it because there are waivers available for those who have criminal backgrounds–including speeding tickets? Because the military allows those who admit to drug use– including drinking before you’re 21– to have a waiver and join, if there’s no other warning signs?

  • Donald,

    If something is a matter of just versus unjust discrimination, I respectfully don’t think opinion polls will suffice finding an answer.

    Matt,

    If a heterosexual person discovers that one of his comrades is homosexual and all that he can focus on is the discomfort and uneasiness, then, you’re right I wouldn’t want to be that person or even seek to understand that perspective.

    Why? It doesn’t consider the life struggle or even the possible discomfort that person is now feeling because they have been exposed, the uncertainty of what may happen to them because of the current policy, and how the very reality will damage friendships with people who had no idea.

    Rather it focuses on the discomfort of self as the immediate and in some sense, only concern. The response, instead of lack of judgment of the orientation and necessary policies that discourages homosexual sexual behavior, seems to be against the person and the reality itself, not on conduct.

  • Look, however fanatically demented & insensitive Matt’s comments may appear to be to the otherwise open-minded;

    Let’s at least candidly acknowledge the fact that by simple virtue of the fact that the person bunking nearly intimately adjacent to us is homosexual would make any one of us remarkably uncomfortable, to say the least, and would inevitably (I would imagine) cause some level of friction especially in regards to team dynamics.

  • ERic,

    you’re being disingenuous by ignoring my whole answer, instead you pull it out of context.

    we’re not talking about morale in the civilian world because in the civilian world people do not live in such close quarters and do not depend so deeply on comradery as a matter of LIFE AND DEATH.

    furthermore, as has been repeatedly explained to you and ignored by you. The type of close quarters encountered in the military are completely different from ANYTHING in civilian life. Until you address that, don’t expect to make progress at understanding the other side if that is what you are trying to do.

  • Matt,

    That line of argument is ridiculous.

    For one, the military serves at the pleasure of the citizenry through their elected representatives as per the Constitution. So while the policy preferences of military officers are certainly welcome to be heard, they are secondary to the commander-in-chief, the congress and the citizens. This is a Constitutional Republic, not a police state or a military dictatorship.

    Second, considering I just took a piss at a urinal next to a gay creative director (and my boss) who didn’t harass me or jump my bones or check me out… I’m pretty sure adults can survive in close quarters.

    And third Matt, you’re still working off the presumption that all gay individuals a.) just can’t help shouting about being gay b.) can’t control themselves or conduct themselves in a non-lewd manner and c.) like steam baths.

    Different people of different convictions don’t always get along. But in the military all individuals are there with the express purpose of protecting and defending the Constitution and its citizens. So everyone in the military needs to either get on board with that, get over their biases (just or unjust) or not be in the military.

    I greatly appreciate those men and women who sacrifice their lives and livelihoods for the material protection of the United States. But so far, their essential argument is “the gays creep us out”.

  • Second, considering I just took a piss at a urinal next to a gay creative director (and my boss) who didn’t harass me or jump my bones or check me out… I’m pretty sure adults can survive in close quarters.

    Would you want your adult daughter to be forced to share room and shower with guys?

    If not, why are you willing to force other folks’ kids to be forced to share room and shower with folks who want to jump their bones?

    I greatly appreciate those men and women who sacrifice their lives and livelihoods for the material protection of the United States. But so far, their essential argument is “the gays creep us out”.

    It can’t be basic human dignity is offended by enforced close quarters with someone who views your sex as an object of sexual desire….

    Can anyone offer an argument FOR open homosexuals serving in the armed forces that wouldn’t also apply to sex-integrated berthings and showers?

  • “If something is a matter of just versus unjust discrimination, I respectfully don’t think opinion polls will suffice finding an answer.”

    I am much more concerned about an effective military Eric than I am with whether it is just or unjust in an abstract sense to require that Gays in the military keep quiet about it. The military is not an object for social experimentation. It is to win wars. If allowing open Gays to serve in the military impairs the prime function of the military by lowering unit cohesion then it makes absolutely no sense to proceed forward with it. In judging the effect on unit cohesion the views of the troops are absolutely crucial. The military is not some sort of mere government job’s program. The individuals in it routinely put their lives on the line, and the life of the nation is dependent upon their success in winning on the battlefield.

  • Matt,

    You are working from a presumption that the presence of gay people *must* create some sort of anxiety and discomfort because gay people cannot conduct themselves in any form or fashion that is respectable and that is not flamboyant and showy and in pursuit of people of the same-sex.

    I think that’s bogus. Military morale might be different than that in the civilian world. However, I’m arguing that the policy itself is unjust. There can be some other policy. However, the policy, as is, I disagree with.

    Evidently, I don’t think the close quarters is the problem. I think the problem is an unnecessary view of gay people — ultimately, we’re reduced to our sexual orientation as people and that very reality established any military personnel manifesting such a condition as a problem. Despite the fact that race is not accidental, in Aristotelian terms, it is like not embracing a person simply because of the reality that they are black. A person might not prefer to interact with someone who is, say, Muslim, or with any other identifying mark.

    If this kills morale and/or unit cohesion, then everyone will have to learn to see past this. I don’t think this is insurmountable. If the sole purpose of the military is to be effective and to carry out missions, then perhaps your argument has something to it — and any thing in the way of morale and unit cohesion should be removed. However, I think that is secondary or a by-product of what should be the ultimate goal: to make men and women of all stripes into soldiers of good character, respect, and integrity despite their difference serving their country and sharing in a fraternity of humanity.

    If this is not the case, then, I suppose I don’t support our military.

  • Well I assume that the views of the troops who actually are wearing the uniforms might have some relevance if the concern is unit cohesion.

    I would agree with this. However the evidence on this score is mixed. According to a 2006 Zogby poll (referenced in the article Donald links to) 72% of respondents who had experience with gays or lesbians in their unit said that the presence of gay or lesbian unit members had either no impact or a positive impact on their personal morale, while 67% said as much for overall unit morale. Of those respondents uncertain whether they had served with gay or lesbian personnel, only 51% thought that such unit members would have a neutral or positive effect on personal morale, while 58% thought that they would have a negative effect on unit morale.

    I don’t expect you to understand the feeling of queasiness in the stomach of just about every heterosexual man on even considering the idea of such an outing.

    I think experience suggests that the sort of queasiness you speak of here is mainly true for people who lack much personal experience with gays and lesbians (the military polling cited above would also seem to bear that out). The truth is that the queasiness goes away pretty quickly.

  • Anthony,
    That line of argument is ridiculous.

    perhaps because you haven’t the foggiest idea what the line of argument is based on your non sequitor responses.

    For one, the military serves at the pleasure of the citizenry through their elected representatives as per the Constitution. So while the policy preferences of military officers are certainly welcome to be heard, they are secondary to the commander-in-chief, the congress and the citizens. This is a Constitutional Republic, not a police state or a military dictatorship.

    Actually, they don’t serve at the pleasure of the citizenry, this is a republic not a direct democracy (as evidenced by the deep unpopularity of many democrat policies). Of course they do serve at the direction of the president and congress. If the congress and/or executive should act to remove the policy the military will execute it to the best of their abilities, consequences be damned.

    Second, considering I just took a piss at a urinal next to a gay creative director (and my boss) who didn’t harass me or jump my bones or check me out… I’m pretty sure adults can survive in close quarters.

    You clearly have not been an infantry soldier to not understand that that a public bathroom is far less intimate and “close quarters” than living in the field or barracks. Why don’t you go with him to a “steam bath” and see how comfortable you are then?

    And third Matt, you’re still working off the presumption that all gay individuals a.) just can’t help shouting about being gay b.) can’t control themselves or conduct themselves in a non-lewd manner and c.) like steam baths.

    Not at all. I don’t believe any of those to be true, although I suspect they are more prevelant than among the general population.

    Different people of different convictions don’t always get along. But in the military all individuals are there with the express purpose of protecting and defending the Constitution and its citizens. So everyone in the military needs to either get on board with that, get over their biases (just or unjust) or not be in the military.

    Again, the military is not

    I greatly appreciate those men and women who sacrifice their lives and livelihoods for the material protection of the United States. But so far, their essential argument is “the gays creep us out”.

  • “If not, why are you willing to force other folks’ kids to be forced to share room and shower with folks who want to jump their bones?”

    The simple fact that you have a homosexual orientation does NOT mean that you are literally attracted to every single man and are so sexually unrestrained that you want to “jump the bones” of any and every man you see. I think that’s absurd and quite offensive.

    Do you want to jump the bones of every woman, you see?

    Do you think a man, living in close quarters, attracted to another man, nevermind the presence of other comrades would just go after another man? Really?

  • “I am much more concerned about an effective military Eric than I am with whether it is just or unjust in an abstract sense to require that Gays in the military keep quiet about it.”

    Then that’s where we disagree. Nothing that is in itself unjust, no matter how effective or beneficial it may be, is in any objective sense, morally good. Therefore, the effectiveness is irrelevant. If it is just discrimination; no problem. If it is unjust discrimination, then it is a contradiction of moral truth to say that it is irrelevant.

  • One quarter thought there was a negative impact upon morale. Sorry, for a military unit, that’s too much. A different culture. Even if that is a 21st Century American military culture.

  • Foxfier,

    Honest question, not a loaded one: Given your recent experience in the Navy, would you say the crewmates that you dealt with who were known to be gay caused more tension/trouble with their presence than the general issue of mixed sex ships?

    Generally,

    I could potentailly see backing of the DADT policy as working if we successfully enforced non-fraternization/non-harrassment rules in the military. However, at least according to the current Army and Air Force guys that I know — it sounds like there’s already a fair amount of low level trouble on deployment with women intregrated into many units.

    So my question would be: if we already have a problem with sexual chaos in some areas of our military, would we really want to add more complexity to it.

    That said, it sounds like the status who (due to the “don’t ask” part of the current policy) generally lets people slip by fine so long as they aren’t doing any thing crazy — but it does leave an area where if someone really doesn’t like you they have a way to get rid of you.

  • Eric,

    I don’t believe the reaction is necessarily contingent on whether or not said homosexual has an attraction to the straight man but that the straight man will nevertheless feel greatly uncomfortable by the homosexual’s presence.

    It is as Foxfier had tried to express.

  • “Would you want your adult daughter to be forced to share room and shower with guys?”

    My daughter would be an adult who can make her own decisions. My feelings are irrelevant and between me and my daughter.

    I have no clue as to how the military currently handles the co-ed situation. Perhaps it differs through the various divisions. I’m not a huge fan of women in the armed forces, but it is a natural consequence of the “women’s lib” movement. Its a separate debate all together.

    “If not, why are you willing to force other folks’ kids to be forced to share room and shower with folks who want to jump their bones?”

    A.) They aren’t kids B.) There would be no bone jumping and C.) If there was, participants should be duly reprimanded because their conduct has broken the discipline.

    Oh, and they are volunteers.

    “It can’t be basic human dignity is offended by enforced close quarters with someone who views your sex as an object of sexual desire….”

    Its also basic human dignity to keep it in your pants, which everyone here has agreed is necessary in military service. Respect for others is also a basic part of human dignity. You’re basically saying that your dignity is somehow damaged by the closed-quarters presence of an individual whose existence you find offensive.

    Note that I said “existence” not “conduct”… conduct is the rule here.

  • Eric Brown,

    “If not, why are you willing to force other folks’ kids to be forced to share room and shower with folks who want to jump their bones?”

    The simple fact that you have a homosexual orientation does NOT mean that you are literally attracted to every single man and are so sexually unrestrained that you want to “jump the bones” of any and every man you see. I think that’s absurd and quite offensive.

    Do you want to jump the bones of every woman, you see?

    Do you think a man, living in close quarters, attracted to another man, nevermind the presence of other comrades would just go after another man? Really?

    So you’re saying the active homosexuals have some sort of special exemption from human nature?

    I know that I would NEVER want my daughter to be share a room and shower with a marine, no matter how virtuous I hope the marine to be. Is it really so different for gay men?

    Furthermore, it’s not just about the possibility of the homosexual acting out, it is about the right of the individual to avoid such situations of impropriety. For the very same reason, as Foxfier and others point out and YOU ALL have ignored, it is for the very same reasons that women and men are provided separate facilities.

  • Blackadder the poll you cite was of course a Zogby poll which makes it suspect in my eyes based on Zogby’s erratic track record and was commissioned by an advocacy group for gays in the military. Of course the best way to do this would be to conduct a secret ballot of all troops to get their opion on this issue, and such a procedure should be implemented prior to any change in this policy in my opinion.

  • basic human dignity is offended by enforced close quarters with someone who views your sex as an object of sexual desire

    this is precisely what the issue comes down to on a moral level, and the end result of violating it on all parties concerned is a breakdown in morale and cohesion which is bad enough with women in the military.

  • Beyond all that, I do not believe there is a moral right to being in the military. People are routinely excluded for a variety of reasons. Excluding for one’s sexual orientation’s impact on morale is a valid one.

  • FWIW, I would tend to disagree with Eric on the intrinsic injustice of not allowing gays to serve openly in the military. If it could be shown that this really would have a significant impact on morale and/or would lessen the overall combat effectiveness of the unit, then I would favor keeping the current policy As an analogy, I support the current ban on women serving in combat (and would probably like to see it strengthened) because the evidence seems to be that allowing women to serve in such roles really does have a negative impact on unit cohesion and effectiveness (this is why, for example, places like Israel have moved away from full integration of women into the armed forces). The problem with don’t ask don’t tell is that there doesn’t seem to be any comparable evidence that having gays in the military causes problems. You can find lots of examples of people confidently speculating as to the chaos that would ensue if the ban was lifted, but in places where the ban has in fact been lifted it does not seem to have been much of a problem.

  • Matt,

    It is not that anyone is exempt from human nature — I’m saying that even a homosexual who disagrees with the Church will act in accord to the ridiculous hyperbole about how they will act and behave in close living quarters.

    I made no statement about the daughter situation.

  • I’m NOT advocating that gays serve openly in the military. My only position is that if asked, for whatever reason, privately or by their military superiors — and if that person is a soldier in good standing, not running around screaming that they are homosexual, and not actively through words or deeds creating tension because of their sexual orientation — should not be discharged on the grounds of saying ‘yes’ to such a question.

  • The simple fact that you have a homosexual orientation does NOT mean that you are literally attracted to every single man and are so sexually unrestrained that you want to “jump the bones” of any and every man you see. I think that’s absurd and quite offensive.

    I think it’s offensive that you’re apparently willing to either offend straight men, by accepting the notion that they’re going to be attracted to every single female, or that you view the discomfort of a woman forced to shower with those who could logically view her as an object of sexual desire as somehow more important than the same discomfort in a man.

    Nobody said a thing about homosexual men being attracted to every man they meet– that has no more relevance than the old, cruel joke that some women couldn’t have been raped, because they’re not pretty enough.

  • Foxfier,

    I didn’t say that straight men are attracted to every woman they encounter. I posed the question, to show that’s false in the case of homosexuals.

    Secondly, I wasn’t even addressing the issue of women being in the same quarters as men.

  • Eric,

    I’m NOT advocating that gays serve openly in the military. My only position is that if asked, for whatever reason, privately or by their military superiors

    Wouldn’t the question be a violation of the policy??? If you’re suggesting the policy is being violated then that should be resolved, but the solution is not to eliminate the policy.

  • Foxfier,

    Thank you for the straw men. Notice the article I posted said nothing about speeding tickets or drug use (the former I wouldn’t, and the latter not necessarily consider, evidence of a “serious criminal history”) — much less “country kids.”

    I’m from a small town in North Carolina myself, and my youngest brother is in the military. I couldn’t be more proud of his service.

    I am curious, however, why our military would give moral waivers to “five rape/sexual-assault convicts, two felony child molesters, two manslaughter convicts, and two felons condemned for “terrorist threats including bomb threats.” This, I think, might cause one to register concerns about low standards of admission.

    I concur with Blackadder’s comments 5/29/09 2:42PM and Eric 2:46pm.

  • Matt,

    My understanding of DADT is that the question can arise if someone is even remotely suspicious that one might have a homosexual orientation, whatever their reasons or evidence. I’m arguing is that if there is no homosexual acts or pursuit of anyone of the same-sex that is known, then the private answer of “yes” should have not allow a person to be discharged.

    I have repeatedly said that I don’t think there should be an absence of any policy and an anything-goes. If it were reformed or changed, then I’d probably be on board. Currently, no.

  • Eric,

    “five rape/sexual-assault convicts, two felony child molesters, two manslaughter convicts, and two felons condemned for “terrorist threats including bomb threats.” This, I think, might cause one to register concerns about low standards of admission

    I don’t know what the story is on these cases, but on their face these seem to be serious errors in being granted waivers. But that’s really not really related to this.

  • “If it is just discrimination; no problem. If it is unjust discrimination, then it is a contradiction of moral truth to say that it is irrelevant.”

    Hardly. The military discriminates all the time to be effective and for a vast range of reasons: physical prowess, sex, intelligence, criminal records, age (alas I am too old for the Green Machine now!), nationality, and simply based on the needs of the military (Reduction in force-thanks for your service-scram, Uncle Sam doesn’t love you anymore!). I do think it is hard for people who have never served to truly understand just what a different type of institution the military is. You serve purely for the benefit of the military. You go where you are sent and you do what you are told. It is not a life for everyone, because it often requires great sacrifice, and sometimes the ultimate sacrifice. Talk of a right to serve is totally contrary to what the military is all about. Argue with me if you wish that the presence of open Gays in the military will not hurt the effectiveness of the military and I will be happy to debate the subject. However I will never agree that the question of discrimination in this area has a larger moral claim on us than the successful defense of the US.

  • You might mean Chris, Matt.

  • Foxfier,

    I tried to express similar thoughts in an earlier comment of mine in the thread; however, you do it greater justice, not only with much better articulation but also with your immediate experience in the matter.

    Hopefully, Eric will take heed.

  • ERic,

    maybe we’ve been talking past each other here. I would certainly expect that a superior should not be asking about sexual orientation for no reason whatsoever, that was my understanding of the policy, and if it’s not than you have my agreement that it should be changed.

    Why do you think that homosexuals should not be allowed to serve openly in the military, as many of the other posters here are proposing?

  • “Furthermore, it’s not just about the possibility of the homosexual acting out, it is about the right of the individual to avoid such situations of impropriety. For the very same reason, as Foxfier and others point out and YOU ALL have ignored, it is for the very same reasons that women and men are provided separate facilities.”

    So then what is the solution?

    If the straight soldier has an individual right to avoid even the possibility of a socially awkward incident, what of the right of the gay soldier to mind his own business and quietly pursue his career? Or to offer what talents and skill he has in the service of the nation?

    Is he to be properly shuffled off to whatever job heterosexual men deem appropriate?

    There seems to be an undercurrent here that a homosexual man is in essence a woman. But a SSA doesn’t negate your own gender. It bugs me that we just work off the idea that sexual attractions are so powerful that the human person is labeled as a potentially damaging threat. Are we really that childish?

  • It is somewhat interesting that those who have served in the military concur with the policy while those who have not don’t. That doesn’t make us right or the others wrong. Just interesting.

  • Author: DarwinCatholic
    Comment:
    Foxfier,

    Honest question, not a loaded one: Given your recent experience in the Navy, would you say the crewmates that you dealt with who were known to be gay caused more tension/trouble with their presence than the general issue of mixed sex ships?

    Depends on the pressures of the job they’re in; all of the homosexual men I knew were in fairly low stress jobs– admin and two radio techs. In those situations, there was a very low level of tension from either the (not telling) homosexuals or the women who were just doing their job; tensions went up when you got a woman who wanted to use her body or sex to advantage. (for example, I had a room mate that accused her entire shop of sexual harassment– she’d have gotten away with it if she hadn’t accused the fiancé of the lone other female in the shop of sexual assault, at a time when he had been doing a demo in another state in front of a lot of brass)

    In the jobs with the highest stress, there weren’t any homosexuals that you could ID, and there were very few women.
    None of the engineering guys, none of the guys up on flight deck, not even just the MAs, although *one* of the guys in medical *might* have possibly been inclined. (this is a very limited sample, I know.)

    There were very few women in the high stress jobs, either– for engineering, they did cause a lot of trouble, to the point that when they got assigned a female officer was fairly well known that they’d either write up the entire shop or sleep with a large number. (She didn’t end up writing them up.) For the deck, there were girls who’d sleep with the guy in charge and get out of work; that caused a LOT of conflict. (In both of these cases, the women involved were either fairly open or flat-out bragged about it.)

    The rules about not sleeping with shipmates weren’t every well enforced– for example, in many foreign ports I wasn’t allowed to check out, during the day, with male shipmates (we called ourselves the “Geek group”– sex wasn’t on our minds, updating our games with the newest patch and getting a decent steak was) but it was an open secret that the Protestant chaplain spent most of her nights in the XO’s stateroom.

  • Eric,

    apologies, yes, of course I was addressing Chris.

  • “Hardly. The military discriminates all the time to be effective and for a vast range of reasons: physical prowess, sex, intelligence, criminal records, age (alas I am too old for the Green Machine now!), nationality, and simply based on the needs of the military (Reduction in force-thanks for your service-scram, Uncle Sam doesn’t love you anymore!). I do think it is hard for people who have never served to truly understand just what a different type of institution the military is. You serve purely for the benefit of the military. You go where you are sent and you do what you are told. It is not a life for everyone, because it often requires great sacrifice, and sometimes the ultimate sacrifice. Talk of a right to serve is totally contrary to what the military is all about. Argue with me if you wish that the presence of open Gays in the military will not hurt the effectiveness of the military and I will be happy to debate the subject. However I will never agree that the question of discrimination in this area has a larger moral claim on us than the successful defense of the US.”

    Donald, then, we will disagree. I don’t believe in such institution exists in this world that is exempt from the realm of justice and ethics. I’m not arguing that people have a “right” to serve in the military. I’m not arguing that we make the standard of the military “equality” and “diversity.”

    I’m arguing that if a gay is “outted” — not gays serving openly — their continued presence in the military will not constitute such a problem that it would be contrary to the goals of the military. Therefore, the consequences demanded by DADT are unnecessary.

    I’m arguing that the military is just as effective without the specific policy, but with another different one in its place.

    However, I’m very weary of any human activity that begs neutrality or exemptions from moral claims.

  • Can we define “openly” homosexual for the sake of this conversation?

  • Oh and can we agree that allowing felons in the armed services is a bad idea? :)

  • Author: Eric Brown
    Comment:

    I’m NOT advocating that gays serve openly in the military. My only position is that if asked, for whatever reason, privately or by their military superiors — and if that person is a soldier in good standing, not running around screaming that they are homosexual, and not actively through words or deeds creating tension because of their sexual orientation — should not be discharged on the grounds of saying ‘yes’ to such a question.

    Miliary agrees– thus the “don’t ask.”

    It’s not a perfect solution, by any means, but it gets as close as I can see being reasonable to a silk purse from the pig’s ear that it starts with.

    A better, if unworkable, solution? 100% private bed and bath for every service member, 100% enforcement for all sexual harassment, 100% enforcement for screwing co-workers…I’m sure there’s a few more points that’d be needed to avoid the problem, maybe a high level of mobility for folks who feel attraction growing between themselves and a co-worker?

  • Eric,

    I’m arguing is that if there is no homosexual acts or pursuit of anyone of the same-sex that is known, then the private answer of “yes” should have not allow a person to be discharged.

    I think that just about everyone would agree with that. I guess the thing is, I’d understood it to be the case that that was the way the current policy was supposed to work. If that’s not how it’s working, I’d absolutely have no problem with moving to what you describe.

    It is not that anyone is exempt from human nature — I’m saying that even a homosexual who disagrees with the Church will act in accord to the ridiculous hyperbole about how they will act and behave in close living quarters.

    I don’t know if this is the place to get into a general question of this sort, but I think that often for those of us who are straight, we try to understand how the reactions of a gay person would be by thinking of gender reversal. I don’t necessarily consider myself an unusually randy guy, and I certainly don’t go around hitting on women other than my wife all the time, but if I had to share a group shower (not uncommon at boot camp and such) with a bunch of women, it would, shall we say, get my attention. A lot. And while that doesn’t mean I’d be jumping anyone, it would be pretty much impossible for me not to be checking them out.

    I think the tendency is for men to assume that a gay man being put in that situation with other men would be much the same as a staight man with a bunch of women. Perhaps it’s not that simple, but I’m thinking that’s probably where people are coming from.

    Some levels of sharing space work fine. I lived in a mixed house off campus with a several other students in college, and since everyone had their own room and we used the bathroom one at a time, distance and modesty were never a problem. But in much closer confines, and with everyone under a lot of stress, I could see it becoming so.

  • Eric, I agree we will have to agree to disagree. I think the successful defense of this nation also has a moral claim on us that is greater in my view than adopting a nondiscrimination policy in this area. I find it interesting that in this thread those who have served in the military tend to be on one side and those who have not tend to be on the opposing side. However, I do not doubt the good will of those who do not agree with me. Having made my views clear, and seeing no need to prolong my participation in this debate, this will be my final comment on this thread.

  • “Why do you think that homosexuals should not be allowed to serve openly in the military, as many of the other posters here are proposing?”

    I’m not per se opposed to gays serving openly in the military; it depends.

    If there were a strongly worded policy in place that the military prohibiting non-marital relations, including homosexual acts obviously, then the whole reality of what should be foremost prohibited is covered.

    I don’t find a problem with the request that people don’t go parading about sharing with everyone their sexual orientation and drawing attention to themselves. Though, I do imagine that soldiers will get to know each other and I do imagine that certain things about a person, no matter how hard they try, might give rise to a suspicion that they may in fact be gay. Some people won’t ask and will just leave it alone. Some may. My only concern is that if anyone is ever put to the question, whether or not the person doing so is violating policy, the homosexual shouldn’t be forced to lie. If the answer is, in fact, “yes,” and they have done nothing — no homosexual acts, no advances — but are an upstanding soldier, but by that admission is “open,” then, I’d say, let them serve. Don’t discharge them. But don’t let it get out of hand, as it were, and become a focal point.

    From the only gay I know serving in the military; it is hardly a focal point. Yes, some people that work with him knows — no one cares. According to him, they never spoke about it beyond a one-time sincere inquiry.

    But, say, one of them slipped the fact and it came to the attention of one of the officer’s by no fault of the said person. I don’t think he should be discharged. He is “open,” to some extent. So I think the problem here is what constitutes being “open.”

    Most people who know me, know I’m gay. I hardly ever say it or talk about it in daily discourse. There’s people who have found out from other people and never had the slightest idea.

    If this is the standard, I have no problems with gays serving in the military, even if someone else happens to learn of their sexual orientation for whatever reason in a manner that is not disorderly conduct — disorderly conduct including a parade telling everyone for the sake of telling them. If it happens to come up, it comes up.

  • I have a two questions for Eric.

    What do you believe the purpose of the American military to be?

    And, if that purpose cannot be carried out in a manner that includes “justice” to your satisfaction, do you feel that purpose should simply be sacrificed to your conception of justice?

  • Paul,

    To serve the United States of America and its defense.

    I don’t think they’re mutually exclusive.

  • I don’t think they’re mutually exclusive.

    But if it were demonstrated that the two conflicted, which would you choose to sacrifice?

  • Donald,

    I think we’re making the same point. There is a cultural divide between those who have served and those who have not. Its not exclusive obviously but it is interesting.

  • Paul,

    If you wish to know, which is my priority, simply ask it.

    I’d support the ultimate goal of the U.S. military in protecting the American people over a specific policy in regard to the status of homosexuals in the military. Obviously, the latter can’t even be dealt with, if there’s no American people (due to a lack of defense) for their to be gays in the military.

  • Phillip:

    It is somewhat interesting that those who have served in the military concur with the policy while those who have not don’t. That doesn’t make us right or the others wrong. Just interesting.

    More than 100 retired generals and admirals have called for a repeal of the DADT. Apparently those in service can disagree on this issue as well.

    Matt,

    Thank you kindly for your concern; I was responding to the straw man Foxfier raised @ 2:04pm in response to the National Review editorial.

    Donald,

    I might have to ‘agree to disagree’ here as well (and bow out), but the charity of your comments have been an example. Thank you.

  • If you wish to know, which is my priority, simply ask it.

    I thought I had, twice.

  • Well, it didn’t seem quite so clear. My apologies, then.

  • Christopher,

    That’s why I said its not an exclusive divide. That 100 retired generals and admirals want to have a repeal of the don’t ask don’t tell is to be expected and consistent with what I said.

  • I find it interesting that in this thread those who have served in the military tend to be on one side and those who have not tend to be on the opposing side.

    My guess (though I don’t know this for a fact) is that there would also be a difference between the average age of the two groups.

  • To some degree though I think that would be a less powerful factor than having served.

  • blackadderiv:

    As far as I know, Foxfier herself is fairly young; or is that what you were ultimately referring to?

  • Christopher,

    As a rough estimate there are 4700 retired flag officers. As we might say in the Navy, 100 means squat.

  • As a rough estimate there are 4700 retired flag officers. As we might say in the Navy, 100 means squat.

    if estimates of rate of homosexuality can be believed, then nowhere near all of the actual homosexual retired flag officers are opposed to the policy, at least not enough to sign a petition.

  • That’s true Matt. Should have been at least 470.

  • Is there any idea how many expellees under the DADT policy were frauds who just wanted to get out of the military?

    The focus here on individual gay soldiers, however meritorious their service, can be misleading. What happens when they aggregate?

    Having witnessed a clique of rich gay activists take over the Democratic Party in my home state, and having witnessed meetings of the LGBT caucus at the Democratic National Convention, I am coming to the conclusion that homosexuals have a competitive advantage over the family-minded.

    They have far more time and money to spend in politics, and those who are promiscuous have emotional connections far different from those of normal society or even of adulterous men.

    In politics gays have become effective in defining social agendas in bizarre ways which ignore the problems facing most people.

    In academia and the arts they can more easily risk poor pay and a meager career, resulting in homosexuals becoming more numerous in fields too insecure for the family-minded.

    In any hierarchical structure based on merit or dedication, all things being equal, the gay man and perhaps the lesbian woman will have better chances at career progress than the man who must split his time with, and shape his career around, a wife and children.

    This gay advantage risks a cliqueish homosexuality forming among parts of the military leadership, a risk I don’t think we can afford to take.

    While many gays and lesbians are living praiseworthy lives alongside their desires, so many are part of a political movement that is effectively demonizing those who oppose it. These people won’t be as magnanimous as those of us pondering the justice of DADT.

    To invoke the slippery slope, it is also clear that DADT reversal is only a short-term goal of the LGBT movement. What else will they be after next? If they succeed with DADT, will they force even more sensitivity training and reeducation upon American troops?

    Justice is not merely about the rights of the individual, but also about the right ordering of society. This is an issue where we can’t let individual cases distract us from the big picture.

  • Kevin Jones:

    Nicely said — although I hope the general truth of it doesn’t offend Christopher, Eric & Matt.

    Not that those who happen to be homosexual are necessarily “evil”; just that there is the right ordering of society that must be attended to less we descend into even greater disorder (not only morally & spiritually but also as regards even lex naturalis), as the one we are unfortunately currently engaged.

  • Regarding the issue of how Israel deals with gays in the military: while they do have a much different culture than the U.S., the fact is, Israelis don’t mess around when it comes to military readiness. They’ve been at war with their neighbors from the first moment of the nation’s existence. They are surrounded by much larger countries bent on their destruction. They don’t have the luxury of using their military as a vehicle for social experimentation; security needs have to come first.

    Since the Israeli army accepts women in combat, as well as gays, I’d like to know how and why they do it, what their policies are, and whether they have had to change or adjust them over time. It could simply be that because Israel is such a small country, they can’t afford to exclude ANY able-bodied person who can shoot a gun from military service. Even so, I would think that if women or gays created a serious enough morale problem they would be excluded.

  • Here’s another take on “don’t ask, don’t tell” but on a different matter. A male relative of mine, and a friend of his, both attempted to enlist in the Air Force back in the mid-1980s. One of the questions they were asked was whether they had ever ingested marijuana or other illegal drugs. Both of them had smoked pot in high school. My relative answered the question honestly, and was denied entry into the Air Force. His friend lied and said he had never done any drugs, got in and served a full four years without incident. In essence, my relative was punished for telling the truth while his friend was rewarded for having lied.

    I think the problem Eric and others have with “don’t ask, don’t tell” is that it has a similar effect with regard to homosexual orientation — not at the time of enlistment (because the question isn’t asked) but potentially later on.

  • Isn’t Israel’s military mandatory service?

    So it’d make sense to *not* have a policy against homosexuals serving, or folks would just say they’re homosexual to avoid military service…wasn’t there some big boxer who did the same sort of thing to avoid ‘Nam? I think his name was C. Clay, and he converted to something else to get conscientious objector status…sorry, no good with sports, google-fu isn’t helping.

    CIA’s World factbook:
    18 years of age for compulsory (Jews, Druzes) and voluntary (Christians, Muslims, Circassians) military service; both sexes are obligated to military service; conscript service obligation – 36 months for enlisted men, 21 months for enlisted women, 48 months for officers; reserve obligation to age 41-51 (men), 24 (women) (2008)

    Additionally, Israel’s military is a *lot* different than ours; not sure what their deployment demands are, or any of many other factors.

    Can’t find anything on the actual meat of their policies, except that one source says 83% of military positions allow for women. (No mention if that includes ground combat units or not–just that women are allowed to volunteer for combat jobs, including subs.)

  • Here’s another take on “don’t ask, don’t tell” but on a different matter. A male relative of mine, and a friend of his, both attempted to enlist in the Air Force back in the mid-1980s. One of the questions they were asked was whether they had ever ingested marijuana or other illegal drugs. Both of them had smoked pot in high school. My relative answered the question honestly, and was denied entry into the Air Force. His friend lied and said he had never done any drugs, got in and served a full four years without incident. In essence, my relative was punished for telling the truth while his friend was rewarded for having lied.

    If they’d ever found out that his buddy had lied, he’d have been charged– and if he got a signing bonus, he’d have to pay it back, with interest.

    There are waiver programs for drug use– I mentioned it up higher in the thread.

    (In response to the follow on question “can’t we all agree to keep felons out of the military”– no, for this sort of reason. Some examples of felonies: having 8 oz or more of MJ in your possession– which can include being dumb enough to have a buddy willing to leave it in the car and let you take the fall and varies by state; providing land or resources to illegal para-military groups; shoplifting; aggravated assault… not great things, but there can be understandable explanations, if they can talk someone into risking it on recruiting them. They’d most likely kill any security clearance, though.)

  • I think the problem Eric and others have with “don’t ask, don’t tell” is that it has a similar effect with regard to homosexual orientation — not at the time of enlistment (because the question isn’t asked) but potentially later on.

    Policy doesn’t change; still can’t ask “are you homosexual?” after the person has joined.

    Better analogy would be if two folks had done drugs before they joined, nobody asked, and one of them popped on a whiz quiz.
    (this is another route the desperate take to get out of the military at times– squadron next to my first assignment lost some 20 folks in a single test; dumber one, since if you get kicked out for frenching someone of the same sex in uniform it’s an honorable discharge, while mj is usually a general and harder drugs like coke is usually dishonorable)

  • I don’t understand why so many of you are willing to disregard the natural modesty we should all have regarding our bodies. Sharing quarters with the opposite gender/SSA person is a violation of the dignity we are all entitled to by not having to expose our bodies to people that find us (in the particular or in a suspected general way) an object for sexual gratification. It becomes an occasion to sin for the one an violation of inherent dignity for the other.

    And really, close quarters on a ship is nothing like a civilian living arrangement, no matter how cozy.

  • Foxfier, I can see where Israel would not want to hand anyone a ready made excuse for evading their military draft. But, is Israel such a tolerant society that people who AREN’T gay would claim they were just to get out of military service, and not worry about the consequences?

    I wasn’t around for most of the era when the U.S. had a military draft (I was only in 3rd grade when the Vietnam War ended). Obviously the ban on gays was in place throughout this time. Did large numbers of people who were not gay claim to be gay solely to avoid the draft? Or, was the stigma associated with homosexuality still strong enough, even in the 60s and 70s, to discourage most men from using it as a draft-dodging tactic?

  • Foxfier, I can see where Israel would not want to hand anyone a ready made excuse for evading their military draft. But, is Israel such a tolerant society that people who AREN’T gay would claim they were just to get out of military service, and not worry about the consequences?

    We have folks *here* willing to be caught in the act with someone they’re not even interested in to get out of the military– and they weren’t going to end up facing the kind of stuff that the IDF does.

    Did large numbers of people who were not gay claim to be gay solely to avoid the draft?

    Simpler to claim a religious exemption, like the boxer who’s name I can’t remember.

  • You don’t remember Muhammad Ali? At one time, he was one of the most recognized figures in the entire world. You were either not alive during the 1970s, or if you were, you must have been living on Mars :)

  • You don’t remember Muhammad Ali?

    THAT’S his name!

    And no, I wasn’t– if I had been, I’ve have been a little old to be in boot camp in 2001. ^.^

    (Modoc county is kinda like Mars, though….)

  • Eric: As far as Obama goes, well, it’s a case of cold-eyed political calculation. Obama can more easily afford to alienate gays than he can straights. Gays are a reliably Democratic bloc and at the most, will stay home in 2012 rather than vote for the “Christianist” right. His lack of support for school vouchers surely angered and upset some black Democrats in DC – and so what? It won’t hurt his standing with most blacks and pays off debts to the teacher’s unions. In both cases, he figures he can spend a little political capital to gain a much greater advantage.

    I find this question terribly difficult. Permitting women to serve in combat roles always seemed to me to be a spectacularly foolish idea, primarily because it’s a denial of basic biological realities. The average 20 year old woman, however fit she may be, does not possess the upper body strength of a male.
    Very few women are able to pick up a wounded 175 pound man and drag or carry him to safety, something a soldier might have to do in the course of his duties. That is not to say that women cannot serve honorably and well in non-combat roles. I wanted very badly to sign up after 9/11. However, the military does not accept 43 year old enlistees, no matter what their gender or sexual orientation is.

    But gay men who can make it through boot camp are no different physically from their straight counterparts. Let’s be clear here: a gay man who is inclined to join the Marines and can make it through Parris Island is not going to fit the stereotype of the swishy, lisping queen. The population of the Castro district of San Francisco will not stampede to the nearest Army recruiting office if the ban is lifted. Why on earth would a flamingly gay and sex-obsessed man join the military? He doesn’t have to if his goal is to be surrounded by men. All he has to do is move to the “gay ghettoes” that exist in every large city and hang out at the bars. Much easier than doing a zillion pushups, sleeping in foxholes and dodging bullets. I think the ones who do sign up do so for exactly the same reasons as straight men – they love their country and wish to serve.

    So I can certainly sympathize with Eric’s POV. At the same time, I am a civilian and as such, a bit leery of telling people in the military what they should and should not accept and feel comfortable with. The fact that many of the people who strongly support ending the ban do not show any great regard for our military in other circumstances has not escaped me. So I haven’t made up my mind on this one. As has been pointed out, the military is not a democracy and serving is a privilege, not a right. People are excluded for all kinds of reasons and can be punished for things like adultery. Many people don’t understand that it isn’t a “job” in the normal sense of the word. If I show up late for work, I can be fired. If a serviceman or woman turns up late, they can be put in the brig. But is it right to exclude someone who fits the requirements in all ways, but who has SSA? On the other hand, don’t “hard cases make bad law?” I apologize for my rambling – I’m thinking as I’m writing and I think people on both sides have made very valid points.

  • Why on earth would a flamingly gay and sex-obsessed man join the military?

    Well, while I was doing the checking in to bootcamp, I met up with several women (other recruits) who assumed that I was entering the Navy to subvert it from within and make it more “women friendly.”

    They got really pissy when I said I just wanted to serve honorably.

    I don’t know if they made it through boot camp or not– they weren’t in my division.

    But is it right to exclude someone who fits the requirements in all ways, but who has SSA?

    Right now, they can serve– under about the same restraints we ask Catholics with SSA to live under.
    (on a side note, some of the comments here are blowin’ my husband’s mind– he’s said something to the effect that “but you Catholics don’t even like sex with birth control– why are all these guys arguing for promoting gay sex?” a couple of times)

    I apologize for my rambling – I’m thinking as I’m writing and I think people on both sides have made very valid points.

    Please! Ramble! It’s nice to see someone who hasn’t made up their mind!

    I hope my responses help you– if you can think of any questions, I’m seldom short on words.

    Your comment that you wanted to join up after 9/11 reminded me of an AO(airplane bomb handler) I roomed with in A school– she was an artist, 34 years old, whose husband is a 50-something year old brain surgeon in New York.
    Her studio had a very good view of the towers.
    If I remember correctly, she was very much against women in combat roles– based on her experience with who thugs and muggers go for. Bad guys will assume the woman is weaker, and even if she *isn’t*, she’s going to go down if they all aim for her.

  • Thanks for your service, foxfier!

    Those women who joined up to subvert the Navy – I assume this was before 9/11? Because I would imagine that feminist ideology would take a back seat to actually putting yourself in harm’s way during wartime. During peacetime, I’m sure people sign up for various reasons and for some of them, patriotism might not make first, second, third or fourth on the list. I recall reading about people who deserted rather than go to Iraq and then whined that they had joined only for the educational benefits, and how dare they be sent someplace to, you know, fight. But still, it seems pretty pointless for a gay man to embark on a regimented and spartan and possibly hazardous profession just so he can experience the delights of bunking and showering with men – 99.9% of whom have no interest in him sexually and indeed, would probably respond rather forcefully if another man made a pass at them. Game hardly seems worth the candle.

    About the Israelis: I recall reading that they do not, in fact, assign women combat roles. But the situation there is obviously very different than ours and that muddies the waters. In a sense, the whole country is a combat zone, in that attacks can and have occurred anywhere. IDF women soldiers, for instance, serve as guards in airports. They have to search suspicious females – and since female suicide bombers are fairly common, it must be pretty nerve-racking duty.

  • Would someone mind enlightening me as to the relevance of one’s age to this discussion? When normally thoughtful commenters introduce this particular element into the conversation in more than one comment, at least one of which is directed to the more “seasoned” of the contributors to this blog, I begin to think that maybe I am among the “out of touch”, because I sincerely don’t get the relevance.

    What is the purpose of focusing on an alleged generational divide on this topic, other than to subtly suggest that those on one side are, perhaps, old-fashioned-stuck-in-their-ways-fuddy-duddy old farts who aren’t as enlighted and open-minded as all the youngsters with all their cool gay friends?

    There also appears to be a “You’ll soon be dead and our enlightened views will then be ascendant” aspect to the generational focus. I certainly hope that is not the case, but I would appreciate some guidance as to what the interlocutors taking this particular tack think its relevance may be to the discussion at hand.

  • Jay, I’ve often noticed an attitude among people seeking to advance normalization of homosexual relationships that seemed to suggest that disapproval of homosexual conduct, political goals, relationships, culture or attraction was, at best, outdated or more often, bigoted, reactionary, hateful, and evil.

    Witness [Obama appointee] Harry Knox’s comments about the Knights of Columbus as “stormtroopers of an outdated ideology” for their opposition to prop 8 in CA.

    That’s the vibe I’m getting when people point out that it’s the older folks on this thread who oppose gays serving openly.

    I don’t support DADT; I want to go back to the prior outright ban on gays in the military. I believe that’s what’s best for the country and the military.

    I’m seeing a number of unspoken assumptions here that I don’t like, and embrace of them by Catholics would certainly be useful in the long term to the gay agenda of gaining acceptance of homosexual practice as being morally equal (if not superior) to Christian marriage.

  • Elaine,

    There may be more to the story of your relative’s friend being denied enlistment in the service. When I joined in the mid 80′s I admitted to marijuana use in college (once and I inhaled.) I signed a pledge understanding the military’s policy on drugs after watching a video on said policy. Wasn’t kept out. Perhaps your relative’s friend wasn’t completely honest.

  • Jay & Paul,

    It’s Black Adder’s attempt to marginalize comments that makes him feel threatened that you might be able to counter with a better and more cogent argument. Basically a non-sequitor.

  • Jay,

    I agree, but I think the divide really is on those who know the military and those who don’t.

    I notice a lot of the examples being trotted out are officers, especially in the Air Force. I suspect a reasonable argument could be made that gay pilots would not pose a serious risk to morale and unit cohesion. The bottom line is that most people in the military are not pilots. The army and marines comprise a much larger number than the navy and air force, and the majority of them will be required to live in much closer quarters in combat situations, the type of unit cohesion required is much greater as well. Even the operational elements of the navy have to sustain a closer environment than the Air Force, generally.

  • Since we’re talking about the policy, it may be helpful to actually read the policy:

    § 654. Policy concerning homosexuality in the armed forces
    (a) Findings.— Congress makes the following findings:
    (1) 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.
    (2) There is no constitutional right to serve in the armed forces.
    (3) 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.
    (4) The primary purpose of the armed forces is to prepare for and to prevail in combat should the need arise.
    (5) The conduct of military operations requires members of the armed forces to make extraordinary sacrifices, including the ultimate sacrifice, in order to provide for the common defense.
    (6) Success in combat requires military units that are characterized by high morale, good order and discipline, and unit cohesion.
    (7) One of the most critical elements in combat capability is unit cohesion, that is, the bonds of trust among individual service members that make the combat effectiveness of a military unit greater than the sum of the combat effectiveness of the individual unit members.

    (8) Military life is fundamentally different from civilian life in that—
    (A) the extraordinary responsibilities of the armed forces, the unique conditions of military service, and the critical role of unit cohesion, require that the military community, while subject to civilian control, exist as a specialized society; and
    (B) the military society is characterized by its own laws, rules, customs, and traditions, including numerous restrictions on personal behavior, that would not be acceptable in civilian society.
    (9) The standards of conduct for members of the armed forces regulate a member’s life for 24 hours each day beginning at the moment the member enters military status and not ending until that person is discharged or otherwise separated from the armed forces.
    (10) Those standards of conduct, including the Uniform Code of Military Justice, apply to a member of the armed forces at all times that the member has a military status, whether the member is on base or off base, and whether the member is on duty or off duty.
    (11) The pervasive application of the standards of conduct is necessary because members of the armed forces must be ready at all times for worldwide deployment to a combat environment.
    (12) The worldwide deployment of United States military forces, the international responsibilities of the United States, and the potential for involvement of the armed forces in actual combat routinely make it necessary for members of the armed forces involuntarily to accept living conditions and working conditions that are often spartan, primitive, and characterized by forced intimacy with little or no privacy.
    (13) The prohibition against homosexual conduct is a longstanding element of military law that continues to be necessary in the unique circumstances of military service.
    (14) The armed forces must maintain personnel policies that exclude persons whose presence in the armed forces would create an unacceptable risk to the armed forces’ high standards of morale, good order and discipline, and unit cohesion that are the essence of military capability.
    (15) 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.
    (b) Policy.— 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:
    (1) That the member has engaged in, attempted to engage in, or solicited another to engage in a homosexual act or acts unless there are further findings, made and approved in accordance with procedures set forth in such regulations, that the member has demonstrated that—
    (A) such conduct is a departure from the member’s usual and customary behavior;
    (B) such conduct, under all the circumstances, is unlikely to recur;
    (C) such conduct was not accomplished by use of force, coercion, or intimidation;
    (D) under the particular circumstances of the case, the member’s continued presence in the armed forces is consistent with the interests of the armed forces in proper discipline, good order, and morale; and
    (E) the member does not have a propensity or intent to engage in homosexual acts.
    (2) That the member has stated that he or she is a homosexual or bisexual, or words to that effect, unless there is a further finding, made and approved in accordance with procedures set forth in the regulations, that the member has demonstrated that he or she is not a person who engages in, attempts to engage in, has a propensity to engage in, or intends to engage in homosexual acts.
    (3) That the member has married or attempted to marry a person known to be of the same biological sex.

    (c) Entry Standards and Documents.—
    (1) The Secretary of Defense shall ensure that the standards for enlistment and appointment of members of the armed forces reflect the policies set forth in subsection (b).
    (2) The documents used to effectuate the enlistment or appointment of a person as a member of the armed forces shall set forth the provisions of subsection (b).
    (d) Required Briefings.— The briefings that members of the armed forces receive upon entry into the armed forces and periodically thereafter under section 937 of this title (article 137 of the Uniform Code of Military Justice) shall include a detailed explanation of the applicable laws and regulations governing sexual conduct by members of the armed forces, including the policies prescribed under subsection (b).
    (e) Rule of Construction.— Nothing in subsection (b) shall be construed to require that a member of the armed forces be processed for separation from the armed forces when a determination is made in accordance with regulations prescribed by the Secretary of Defense that—
    (1) the member engaged in conduct or made statements for the purpose of avoiding or terminating military service; and
    (2) separation of the member would not be in the best interest of the armed forces.
    (f) Definitions.— In this section:
    (1) The term “homosexual” means a person, regardless of sex, who engages in, attempts to engage in, has a propensity to engage in, or intends to engage in homosexual acts, and includes the terms “gay” and “lesbian”.
    (2) The term “bisexual” means a person who engages in, attempts to engage in, has a propensity to engage in, or intends to engage in homosexual and heterosexual acts.
    (3) The term “homosexual act” means—
    (A) any bodily contact, actively undertaken or passively permitted, between members of the same sex for the purpose of satisfying sexual desires; and
    (B) any bodily contact which a reasonable person would understand to demonstrate a propensity or intent to engage in an act described in subparagraph (A).

  • Jay,

    Younger people tend to have different attitudes towards homosexuality than older people. That’s just a fact. Might be a good thing; might be a bad thing; but it’s still the truth.

    It’s relevant to the discussion because solders serving in close quarters tend to be fairly young, and so are more likely to view the fact that someone in their unit could be gay as no big deal, whereas this might not be as true for someone who served ten or twenty years ago.

  • blackadderiv,


    It’s relevant to the discussion because solders serving in close quarters tend to be fairly young, and so are more likely to view the fact that someone in their unit could be gay as no big deal, whereas this might not be as true for someone who served ten or twenty years ago.

    Except in surveys of those involved they don’t.

    Once again you’re minimizing what it means to be in close contact. It’s one thing to be on the same division as a known homosexual, it’s another thing altogether to be in the next bunk, common shower, or huddled together for warmth in a cold foxhole.

    What part of this statement do you disagree with:
    basic human dignity is offended by enforced close quarters with someone who views your sex as an object of sexual desire

  • No, he didn’t make advances anyone. No, he wasn’t discovered having sex with another man. He simply has an internal desire for other men – and this desire is allegedly grounds enough to expel him from the military.

    How was he discovered? Does the military employ mind readers now?

  • *raises hand* Don’t forget my unofficial survey of folks who’ve served since 9/11, focusing on fairly young geeks…. Which doesn’t support the notion that the youngsters don’t like DADT.

    Oh, I suppose I should mention that the sweetheart I knew up in admin that’s gay liked don’t ask, don’t tell? (I never really got to know most of the other guys that well, and he brought the subject up.)

    When folks talk about what kids these days believe, you have to keep in mind we’ve grown up knowing that if we dare say we don’t agree with anything homosexual activists want, we’ll be treated like that beauty show lady.

    You dare say “I don’t think homosexuality is a good thing, sorry, that’s my religion” and you’ll be called every insult in the book.

  • However, I firmly believe (rightly or wrongly) that the “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy is unjust and I will continue to pray for, and applaud on, the day the Democrats roll it back.

    Frankly, I don’t give a crap whether it’s “unjust” or not. There is no constitutional right to be in the military. Prospective soldiers are rejected for many reasons such as having flat feet, bad eyesight, being grossly overweight and now for being openly homosexual.

    I’m concerned with having the best, strongest and most able military on the planet. I think it boils down to what is the best for a strong, able military. Not what is best for a random individual who wants to serve but can’t keep his orientation under wraps until he retires.

  • “If a person puts it to me in the form a question and I say, “Yes.” You wouldn’t have my agreement.”

    Half of don’t ask / don’t tell is don’t ask. Someone who asks ought to be discharged also.

  • The simple fact that you have a homosexual orientation does NOT mean that you are literally attracted to every single man and are so sexually unrestrained that you want to “jump the bones” of any and every man you see. I think that’s absurd and quite offensive.

    I submit that the intention of the gay man is not an issue. The perceived intention of the gay man by the straight man forced to disrobe in front of him is the issue.

    Do you want to jump the bones of every woman, you see?

    Due to my fallen nature, should I encounter a naked woman in a communal shower, my thoughts might turn to “what if” scenarios. This is why I stay out of communal showers (were there such a thing).

    Do you think a man, living in close quarters, attracted to another man, nevermind the presence of other comrades would just go after another man? Really?

    It doesn’t much matter if he would “go after” another man. The possibility of that man looking upon me as a sex object would make me profoundly uncomfortable.

    When Adam and Eve were in the garden, they were naked and happy. When they disobeyed God and fell, one of the first things they did was cover themselves because they were naked. They did this because if the feelings they had for the other which they imagined were aimed at themselves.

    I am a man. I am a fallen man. I sometimes objectify women (though through prayer and practice I’m getting better at it).

    I can’t imagine an openly gay man would be better at controlling his objectifying impulses in a communal shower than I would showing with a bunch of naked women.

    Claiming that this isn’t the case infuses gay men with a sort of “sainthood” which, I’m sorry, I just don’t buy.

    And in this case, my perception is where the problem is.

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