Friday, May 28, 2010

Our Gay Army: Repealing Don't Ask, Don't Tell

By Alan Caruba

I suspect there were always gay soldiers in any army throughout history. I also suspect most of them kept their “sexual orientation” to themselves. Armies are composed primarily of men and they still do the real fighting.

One can reach back to World War Two to recall women’s units that served our nation well. In Israel, women are an integral part of its defense forces because it has always been a tiny nation under siege and must perforce include them.

On Thursday, the Senate Armed Services Committee voted 16-12 to approve an amendment to the Defense authorization bill that would repeal “don’t ask, don’t tell”, a policy initiated by the Clinton administration as a sop to its liberal base. It was not the most auspicious start to his two terms. An amendment by Rep. Patrick Murphy (D-PA) passed the House on a 234-194 vote. It would repeal the policy that prohibits homosexuals from serving in the military.

Rep. Murphy is an Iraq war veteran and former West Point professor. At least he served. Rep. Steve Rothman (D-NJ), a member of the House Appropriations Defense Subcommittee who has no military experience released a statement saying, “By sending home more than 13,500 qualified patriotic service members willing and fit to serve this country since 1994, ‘don’t ask, don’t tell’ has not helped keep us or our families safe.” Rep. Rothman deemed the policy “unjust.”

More damage has been done to America in the name of “social justice” than can be enumerated here.

I served in the U.S. Army in the early 1960s, most of the time at Fort Benning, Georgia. There were one or two gays in my unit. I assume some of the men with whom I served knew it and none to my knowledge expressed any concern because it did not personally affect them. One would think, based on this, I would favor gays in the military. I don’t.

I have never met an officer who thought it was a good idea. A lot of them think mixing young men and women with raging hormones is a bad idea. I do not have the statistics on how many of the women get pregnant on duty, but I suspect it may well equal the number of gays sent home.

What we are witnessing is one more example of how the mentality spawned in the 1960s regarding social and sexual issues has reached its culmination. Those were the years when women’s rights and gay rights began in earnest and, of course, when the civil rights movement gripped the nation.

These movements transformed the nation is much the same way President Obama entered office promising “transformation.” Change is not always a good thing, but no one would argue that, a century after the end of the Civil War, the nation had to finally grant full equality to Afro-Americans. The other two movements, however, have proven problematic.

To begin with, women are different from men. And gays and lesbians are different from heterosexual men and women. Women entered the work force in great numbers, often putting off marriage and babies. The divorce rated doubled. When they had babies, they often turned them over to nannies or daycare services.

A lot of children have grown up without fulltime nurturing, taking their cues about life from television, movies, teachers, and their clueless contemporaries. That half constitutes the nation’s liberals. The other half grew up in traditional families with traditional values. They are politically conservative and many have joined the Tea Party movement.

Gays (I will use the term to include lesbians) grow up with a whole set of problems heterosexuals rarely glimpse. They are, by definition, different from the majority of the population and this is cause for a great deal of emotional anguish. The gay movement has primarily been on a quest for self-esteem and, secondarily, an end to the legal hurdles they encounter.

The push for gay marriage is wrong on many levels for a society, but there is little harm in removing some of the legal obstacles they face when they choose a life partner. Even gays mimic heterosexuals when they divorce.

Letting gays serve in the military, however, is an extraordinarily bad idea.

There are distinctly male values that have real value for society. Those values are integral to military service where large groups of men serve in close quarters. Add gays and women into the mix and it creates problems for everyone. Women are still prohibited from serving in combat.

You have to be there to understand this. The fact that we have a volunteer military has deprived a large segment of our population, a younger generation, from the experience, the duty, and the honor of serving their nation under arms. Most professional military, however, believe we have a superior military because of it. We have a very "politically correct" military with all the problems attendant to that.

Those who volunteer to serve in our military are owed a debt of gratitude. However, expecting men and women to serve with gays undermines a core element of a successful military, the morale and esprit de corps vital to a fighting unit.

Removing “don’t ask, don’t tell” is just one more way to reduce the effectiveness of our serving military. It is a distinctly liberal idea, a notion of “equality” that does not reflect reality.

© Alan Caruba, 2010


Ronbo said...


On the other hand...

This may not be such a bad thing for the military.

In ancient Sparta as part of a citizen's military training the young trainee was teamed up with an older soldier and they shared everything - including sex.

The Spartan military was the most feared warriors in the ancient world. Often a Spartan ally would request military aid and they would sent one Spartan soldier who quickly trained up the allied military establishment to Spartan standards.

Of course, we all know the valor of the "300" who stopped for three days the advance of a 300,000 Persian army bent on the conquest of Greece.

I could go on...My point is that even if homosexuals become the norm for the U.S. military (highly unlikely) it does not follow that our warriors will become less effective.

Alan Caruba said...

That was then. This is now.

Anybody heard from Sparta lately?

And, yes, gays can be good soldiers, but the impact on unit cohesion should not be ignored.

Mark said...

...and since cohesion as a unit in the heat of battle is often the ONLY factor in how many survive, it CAN NOT be ignored. How wishy-washy appeasers ever rose to the highest echelons of our military only to be the catalysts for the changes pushed through by red diaper doper babies is beyond me.

Another poignant article, Mr. Caruba. And, thank you for your service to our country.

Craig S. Miller said...

In Iraq we had a couple in our unit. Everyone knew. They even had hook up sites on the internet for gay soldiers deployed in the war zone. The problem I see is now their sexuality is empowered rather than having to hide it, so I hope they will be punished for promiscuity as heterosexual soldiers would be under UCMJ. I personally don't have anything against gays, but a lot of "good ole boys" may not feel the same way. I hope training accidents do not increase. I really feel this administration is setting us up for a spectacular failure intentionally.

Frank said...

Almost all other military forces on the planet allow openly gay members. Even Israel.

Research study after study show that men in situations like: serving in war, and serving sentences in prison, adopt homosexual behavior. This is behavior they might not exhibit under normal circumstances. When groups that are mostly men spend extended time together...without many woman around...they start engaging in homosexual sexual acts. These are normally "straight" men that turn to homosexual behavior.

Should we throw these men out? Who determines when a man is gay? Are they gay if they have homosexual sex acts or are they gay only if they profess they are gay and are gay in normal society?

Gays are going to be in the military, no matter whether your prejudice likes them or not. Do you want them to continue to lie to their fellow soldier? Why continue to institute a culture of lying????

I have heard many generals saying they favor allowing gays to openly serve. They think it does more harm to continue an institutional policy of forcing soldiers to lie seriously undermines the military. If they are trained to kill, I'm sure they can deal with feeling uncomfortable about someone's sexuality...a much easier thing to do than kill another human being.

I think the attention should be on sexual and straight in the military.

Rape against women in the military is at very high levels if you compare it to the rape levels in the US.

If you don't like gays, that is cool, but if they do not bother you, what is the problem? Sure, if they want to rape you or something, then they should be thrown in jail, just as they should be (and are not) for raping women.

bostmaguy said...

While I normally agree with 90% of the commentary you write, I must respectfully disagree. The fact that the other major democratic nations allow gays in the military without the decline in unit cohesion is telling. I know gay men who have served in the military and wouldn't know they weren't straight if they slapped me upside the head. Booting a Farsi to English translator from the military because he was seen coming out of gay bar is silly and ignorant.

This is what I would call a non-issue. Just as relationships between men and women serving in the military are discouraged and even punished, the same should hold true to anyone behaving inappropriately.

I'm a little disappointed, Mr. Caruba, that for such a well-spoken, intelligent writer you would fall on the wrong side of history with this one.

Alan Caruba said...

I do not expect everyone to agree with me all the time. A 90% rate is a pretty good one in my book.

I am not "anti-gay" and never have been. I just don't think military service is a place where social engineering should be exercised and, as I make clear, I am not that thrilled with all of the changes that have occurred in our society since the 60s.

As I said, not all change is good.

Seems to me that a lot of Americans have reached the same conclusion about Obama.

Rich Kozlovich said...

Well Alan, this almost got as much response as did DDT.

Values that disrupt the basic unit of society, the family, are detrimental to society.

This isn't a new issue, it is as old as humanity, and at times there were societies that practiced these things openly and in point of fact there were religious rites involving male prostitutes.

There were even ancient cities that bemoaned the fact that they didn't have enough "sacred" prostitutes for the temples. But whenever a society accepts the idea that a family can be constituted as something other than a man as a father, a woman as them mother and children, then society doesn't function as programmed.

It might be noted that one the problems Sparta always faced was population. Spartan men didn't live with women even after marriage and historians have noted that this did create problems between the sexes. They had difficulty generating the numbers needed to sustain the hegemony they exercised over Greece for a time, and the more they went to war the more they suffered as a society because they weren’t replenishing their numbers at the needed rate.

They even needed hordes of slaves to do the farming to feed their families. All Spartans were soldiers and therefore had to guard the slaves and fight the wars. This became unsustainable.

I do agree that there are those genetically predisposed toward different sexual attitudes. That doesn’t make them acceptable. People are genetically predisposed to many attitudes that society finds equally unacceptable.

Citing the idea that people resort to actions that would be unacceptable under normal circumstances isn’t justification for those actions.

Citing the fact that those actions are acceptable to other peoples, doesn’t make it any more correct.

However, let’s face it, none of what has been posted here is of any real consequence because the real issue hasn’t been addressed.

The real issue is this. We find these things unacceptable because this is a nation whose laws, principles and values are based on Judaic Christian principles.

That is the real issue under attack. It is not about fairness or equal rights. Those are red herrings.

Chief said...

I really don't care if servicemen and servicewomen are gay. I served with gay sailors and as long as the job is done, whatever.

However, the UCMJ clearly states that sodomy is an offense that is punishable. Here is what Article 125 states:

(a) Any person subject to this chapter who engages in unnatural carnal copulation with another person of the same or opposite sex or with an animal is guilty of sodomy. Penetration, however slight, is sufficient
to complete the offense.

(b) Any person found guilty of sodomy shall by punished as a court-martial may direct.

I think that the gay community in the military still has a problem.