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RTA
Wordsmith
RTA
Posts: 920
Registered: ‎08-19-2008

Gays – The Real Threat to the U.S. military

Turns out the real threat to the U.S. military is not IEDs or suicide bombers or historically low recruiting standards.  Defense Secretary Robert Gates sent a letter to Congress warning it not to “tamper with the ban on gays serving in the military until he can come up with a plan for dealing with potential opposition in the ranks.”  I mean think about it, the gays have already ruined so many longstanding American traditions.  Paradesmarriagefamily, not to mention American football.  It's like they changed the very fabric of America.  We can’t let them at the military too.

 

The idea that openly gay service will disrupt “the ranks” is an empty position.  All the information and research shows otherwise; many democratic countries, including Great Britain and Israel, have integrated openly gay personnel without problems; and, not least, U.S. military gay men and women have successfully proven their worth in active combat service, with courage, valor and skill, only to be summarily dismissed when their active service has ended.

 

But that’s not the most galling from Gates’ letter.  He goes on to say that he doesn’t oppose the ban, he just needs to pass it by the rank and file to get their permission.  “Our military must be afforded the opportunity to inform us of their concerns, insights and suggestions…"  The concern is, if Congress finally ends the gay ban before Gates has the opportunity to “survey the troops,” "it would send a very damaging message to our men and women in uniform that in essence their views, concerns and perspectives do not matter."  The hope is the further delay will give troops the time “to adjust to the idea of serving with openly gay colleagues before they have to accept the change.”  [emphasis added]  I didn’t realize the U.S. military was in the business of coddling the sensitivities of its personnel.  (FYI, link is for adults only.)

 

Could Gates’ position be any more bankrupt?  I’m sure he, and his predecessors, have surveyed the troops on any number of key issues to make sure they have to time to “adjust.”  “What do you think of war with unclear strategies, goals and withdrawal timetables – on two fronts nonetheless.  One of which probably violates international law?”  “What do you think of the President invoking an executive power that essentially acts as a back-door draft, forcing you into service for beyond your voluntary term?”  Since when did the U.S. military turn to polling the troops regarding major policy decisions? 

 

It gets better though.  So Gates has ordered a study.  I guess someone should tell him that U.S. taxpayers have already paid $1.3 million for such a study, which the Secretary of Defense ordered some 17 years ago.  The Rand corporation has already determined, at the request of the Defense Department, that sexual orientation is not germane to determinations of who should serve in the military, or to questions of rank and pay grade.  The study also reported on “key elements” for an “implementation strategy.”  (So, uh, that plan for dealing with potential opposition in the ranks that Gates was talking about has existed for 17 years.) 

 

So the Defense Department’s response to professional studies when it doesn’t like the answer is to wait nearly two decades and order a new one, hoping for different results.  I mean I guess it’s possible that scientific inquiry has caught up with the homophobia evident in the military and those who continue to support the gay ban.  But I doubt it.

RTA
Wordsmith
RTA
Posts: 920
Registered: ‎08-19-2008

Re: Gays – The Real Threat to the U.S. military

Two recent articles from Nathaniel Frank (that lover of facts and data; slayer of all claims derived from the falsehood that openly gay service will be disruptive to the military).

 

The first article--in large part a response to Representative Joe Wilson’s comment in March that DADT discharges are “not a significant loss” for the military--looks at the consequences of DADT discharges for both the individuals and the military as a whole, emphasizing that such consequences will continue so long as the Obama administration delays on halting the discharges.  The second article focuses on the political motivation informing the mistaken claims that the military needs more time to study/research openly gay service.  Both articles are linked, with snippets of each appearing below them.  I heartily recommend a full reading of both, though.

 

While the Pentagon Studies, More Gays Fall

 

As the Pentagon begins its year-long study of the impact of ending "don't ask, don't tell," the unaffordable talent loss among gay troops continues to pile up. An Infantry company commander and West Point graduate who deployed three times to Iraq and Afghanistan and received three bronze stars for his service is right now facing discharge for allegations that he is gay. The officer, who commanded two 170-soldier companies, was called by his superiors "an exemplary commander" whose "desire to lead Soldiers enthusiastically and with uncompromising standards is un-matched by his peers." (He has asked for anonymity since his case is not yet resolved.) Word is also breaking over at Bilerico that a ROTC cadet is facing discharge because she refused to recant a statement about her sexual orientation, and may face a back pay demand of $80,000 for the cost of her tuition.

 

…an Air Force Major who was discharged after his private emails were searched based on an anonymous tip sent to his commander. Major Michael Almy was deployed to the Middle East four times with a unit that took daily mortar attacks, one of which he watched strike his own comrade. Almy, whose father was a West Point grad who flew helicopters in Vietnam, was named one of the top officers in his field for the entire Air Force. When his emails were found, he was immediately removed from his job where he commanded 180 men and women in Iraq, deprived of his security clearance, and was dragged into a sixteen-month legal battle, despite never making a statement or committing an act that violated the policy. Almy says he was replaced by a junior Captain who was less prepared for the job and far less respected by his troops.

 

So much for the West Point grad's 12 years of Army leadership, or Major Almy's thirteen years of selfless service in the Air Force, and the toll taken on their hundreds of soldiers and Airmen when they were yanked out of their leadership rolls. It wasn't his sexual orientation that disrupted the force, says Almy. "What had a far greater impact on my unit's cohesion was the disruption to the mission after I was fired, and my being replaced by a very junior officer, who was not adequately prepared for the job." Almy said he has no idea what Joe Wilson is talking about. "To say that this policy is working is to completely discredit my four deployments to the Middle East and my thirteen year career as a decorated officer. To say DADT is working is to completely discredit the service of the 13,500 patriotic Americans discharged under this law, the estimated 4,000 who choose each year not to re-enlist because they no longer want to live a lie, and the untold thousands who never choose to enlist because of DADT."  [emphasis added]

 

 

Pencils Down: ‘Don’t ask, don’t tell’ doesn’t need to be studied for another minute

 

But the endorsement of DADT’s repeal by the top military leadership--Defense Secretary Robert Gates has said he backs the plan, which President Obama has pledged to work with Congress to implement--was tempered by concerns that a quick timetable would be unwise. Gates said he wants a study period to “help inform the legislative process of some facts about the attitudes of our men and women in uniform, what they think about a change in the law, [and] what their families think.” He added, “The truth is, we don't have any facts.”

 

But is that true? While taking time to study the transition may seem reasonable at first blush, the reality is that the government, the military, and independent researchers have been studying this issue for decades. And all of their findings point to the same truth: Openly gay service does not impair military effectiveness. What's more, existing research already shows what steps should be taken to repeal DADT. It’s far from clear what good will come from another year of study--but it's easy to see obstructionists using the window to sow fear and doubt as a tactic to kill the plan for a repeal. [emphasis added]

 

Frank goes on to outline the mountain of information and research already available to the administration before concluding:

 

And yet, while research clearly shows that the process of allowing gays to serve openly would be straightforward, harmless, and most effective if done quickly and confidently, its opponents have continued to cast it as too fragile to tackle. Using an approach that might be called the “thorny questions” strategy, they have sought to fill the airwaves with unjustified doubts about whether and how quickly the ban could be lifted. It was a plan that worked in 1993. That January, Georgia Senator Sam Nunn, a Democrat who led the charge for DADT, said on the Senate floor, “Too many times, we in the political world send down edicts and don’t think about the implications of the things that have to follow.” Nunn then served up dozens of “thorny questions” in quick, and rather angry, succession…

 

Today, we are hearing the same argument. Representative Buck McKeon of California, a Republican, has said that changing the law in Congress before the Pentagon’s new Working Group conducts research would “[place] the cart before the horse.” (The research is due just after the Democrats are expected to lose seats in mid-term elections in November.) And, despite the evidence undercutting their concerns, naysayers are again employing the "thorny questions" strategy. Georgia Senator Saxby Chambliss, a Republican, said at the February 2 hearings that military life restricts many behaviors, including “alcohol use, adultery, fraternization, and body art.” He asked, “If we change this rule of ‘don’t ask, don't tell,’ what are we going to do with these other issues?” Another of the questioners’ favorite fear-mongering strategies is tying the repeal of DADT to the contentious issue of gay marriage. A worry tract penned by a retired colonel on a military news website asked, “Will gay couples be afforded all the rights and privileges of married couples when assigned to states where gay marriages are recognized?" But we already know the answer: The Defense of Marriage Act prevents the federal government, including the military, from recognizing any same-sex marriages performed in those few states that allow them. Indeed, there is little prospect that the military will grant special privileges to gay couples--much less lift the ban on full-sleeve tattoos. 

 

When the answers are so clear, anyone still asking “thorny questions” is willfully ignoring evidence--either because he doesn't want to believe it, or because he personally can't stand the ideas of gays in the military. Obama's top military leaders have asked for more time to research repealing DADT. But time won't reveal anything new--it will only threaten to derail the repeal of a discriminatory policy our country, and military, should not tolerate.  [emphasis added]

 

It’s not time for more study; it's time to just do it.

RTA
Wordsmith
RTA
Posts: 920
Registered: ‎08-19-2008
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Re: Gays – The Real Threat to the U.S. military

I’ve been short on time recently, so not really posting.  But I wanted to drop off a link to a relevant article, “‘Don’t ask, don’t tell’ puts lives at risk.”  It’s an accounting of one soldier’s personal experience with DADT.  I don’t normally recommend articles like this; however, this recounting poignantly echoed a discussion from Nathaniel Frank’s book, Unfriendly Fire, regarding the culture of distrust that DADT encourages. 

 

The author here notes that he successfully navigated his military career without any revelations about his homosexuality; he successfully completed tours in Kuwait and Iraq; he was honorably discharged at the end of his service; and he attended college with the GI Bill benefits.  He notes, “I should be the perfect example of DADT’s success.”  But he goes on to recount the total isolation and solitude resulting from the forced dishonesty demanded from the policy.  That he could never build any meaningful connections among the very people he was told were his “brothers”—people he should be able to trust with his life. 

 

Anyway, it’s a quick read, if interested.

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L_Monty
Posts: 900
Registered: ‎12-30-2008
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Re: Gays – The Real Threat to the U.S. military

That's a really good read.

 

There is a potential for good news here:

 

The House voted Thursday to let the Defense Department repeal the ban on gay and bisexual people from serving openly in the military, a major step toward dismantling the 1993 law widely known as “don’t ask, don’t tell.”

The provision would allow military commanders to repeal the ban. The repeal would permit gay men and lesbians to serve openly in the military for the first time.

The down side is that this relies on "more time" to "study" repealing DADT. In Washington speak, that usually means taking time to find out how to argue against something. There's also the problem, outlined in Frank's book, that all these studies have been conducted for almost 20 years and every year find more data to support them. This "study" sounds more like a conclusion in search of evidence, since the current evidence overwhelmingly weighs in on gay integration.

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GrouchoMarxist
Posts: 41
Registered: ‎04-11-2009
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Re: Gays – The Real Threat to the U.S. military

In American armed services, homosexuality is irrelevant to achieving objectives; therefore, it is a non-issue in terms of military matters. I strongly feel that being homosexual in the military is not the real issue; it is the desire to be recognized as being different from fellow soldiers. On that note, how, exactly, will the open knowledge of someone's sexual preferences improve battlefield situations in strategically relevant ways?

 


"Outside of a dog, a book is a man's best friend.
Inside of a dog, it's too dark to read."
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L_Monty
Posts: 900
Registered: ‎12-30-2008

Re: Gays – The Real Threat to the U.S. military

 

GrouchoMarxist wrote:

In American armed services, homosexuality is irrelevant to achieving objectives

Quite true. So, for that matter, is heterosexuality. And yet soldiers who express heterosexual interests, have heterosexual relationships, peruse heterosexual pornography or make heterosexual advances in front of, around or to other soldiers are not immediately discharged on the basis of violating laws of military conduct for being heterosexual. I agree with your observation, but it's like you've observed why an act of discrimination has no rational basis without then applying it to the act of discrimination.

 

 

therefore, it is a non-issue in terms of military matters.

All the more reason why it should be a non-issue to decriminalize being homosexual in the armed forces.

 

 

I strongly feel that being homosexual in the military is not the real issue

You're right. It's being drummed out of the military for:

• being homosexual
• looking at homosexual-positive websites or magazines or pornography
• being suspected and reported for being a homosexual or
• having a homosexual relationship with a civilian

despite homosexuality having no effect on operational effectiveness or task cohesion that is the issue.

 

 

it is the desire to be recognized as being different from fellow soldiers.

This is not borne out by the bulk of personal anecdotes of homosexual soldiers, the literature agitating for homosexual integration, a nearly 20-year-old Rand Corporation study commissioned by the US government, or studies of integrated militaries in Israel, Canada, England, Australia, etc. etc. 

 

 

On that note, how, exactly, will the open knowledge of someone's sexual preferences improve battlefield situations in strategically relevant ways?

How does it do so now, when heterosexuals have no inhibitions or prohibitions on expressing their sexual enthusiasms? If it can have no value, then why is it not equally criminalized? I mean, being yourself has no net benefit, right? Let's outlaw it across the board, then.

Frequent Contributor
Jon_B
Posts: 1,893
Registered: ‎07-15-2008

Re: Gays – The Real Threat to the U.S. military

 

GrouchoMarxist wrote:
 On that note, how, exactly, will the open knowledge of someone's sexual preferences improve battlefield situations in strategically relevant ways?

 

 

Specifically, it will prevent the loss of skilled and talented soldiers and commanders who would otherwise have been kicked out of the military for being homosexual.  I think the strategic benefits of retaining experienced soldiers like Lt. Col. Fehrenbach, for example, outweigh the benefits of kicking them out (which are what, exactly?).

 

 

 

 

 

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TiggerBear
Posts: 9,489
Registered: ‎02-12-2008

In case you been living under a rock.....

Obama plans to sign repeal of gay ban Wednesday

WASHINGTON — The White House says President Barack Obama plans to sign the repeal of the military's ban on openly gay service members on Wednesday, four days after the Senate voted to abolish the policy.

Obama's signature would end the Pentagon's 17-year, "don't-ask, don't tell" policy and fulfill a 2008 presidential campaign promise.

The policy has allowed gays and lesbians to serve, but only if they were silent about their sexual orientation.

Press secretary Robert Gibbs would not say how long it would take for the administration to implement the repeal. But he said he didn't expect it to be "overly burdensome."

Gibbs declined to offer advice to gays now serving, or to those who've been discharged and want to reapply, citing a review of those questions by lawyers.



RTA
Wordsmith
RTA
Posts: 920
Registered: ‎08-19-2008
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DADT repeal

I’m curious T.B.  You had before said that, despite a host of very credible research showing otherwise, repealing DADT and permitting openly gay service would be “disruptive” to the military, that there would be “a very initially chaotic reaction,” and that “problems will arise.”  So I’m wondering, what sort of chaos are you expecting in the wake of DADT repeal?  What sort of problems do you expect to see?  Also, are you concerned about the imminent disruption and chaos that you foretold, particularly considering the U.S.’s military involvement in Afghanistan and, less so, Iraq? 

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TiggerBear
Posts: 9,489
Registered: ‎02-12-2008
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Re: DADT repeal

 


RTA wrote:

I’m curious T.B.  You had before said that, despite a host of very credible research showing otherwise, repealing DADT and permitting openly gay service would be “disruptive” to the military, that there would be “a very initially chaotic reaction,” and that “problems will arise.”  So I’m wondering, what sort of chaos are you expecting in the wake of DADT repeal?  What sort of problems do you expect to see?  Also, are you concerned about the imminent disruption and chaos that you foretold, particularly considering the U.S.’s military involvement in Afghanistan and, less so, Iraq? 


 

(shaking head) Hmm perhaps you have mixed up several different discussions, or posts, or ...perhaps you didn't; we've been talking about the subject on this board literally for years now.

Because I have not idea exactly what you are talking about. There are 4 threads on this subject I could find easily alone.

 

I think this is a good thing, a great thing! I have said in the past I doubted it would happen within this decade prior. Is that what you are referring to?

 

I have stated I doubt that when it does happen it will be smooth. Adding women to the US military wasn't, nor was mixing white and black soldiers, so was any mixing of races within the military. Do I think the some of the old military officers might make it difficult, yes. Have I passed on the expectations of gay soldiers who expect to be put in extra danger, yes. Is that what you were referring to?

 

Or was is a entirely different post or?

 

 

 

RTA
Wordsmith
RTA
Posts: 920
Registered: ‎08-19-2008
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Re: DADT repeal

 


TiggerBear wrote:

 

(shaking head) Hmm perhaps you have mixed up several different discussions, or posts, or ...perhaps you didn't; we've been talking about the subject on this board literally for years now.

Because I have not idea exactly what you are talking about. There are 4 threads on this subject I could find easily alone.

 


 

I don’t think I’ve mixed anything up.  At the time, your position was both clear and direct.  There was a group talking about Nathaniel Frank’s book Unfriendly Fire.  You stated, regarding repeal of DADT and inclusion of openly gay service people in the military: “Yes, gays openly in the military would inicially [sic] be disruptive.”

 

I responded to inform you about Frank’s research that overwhelmingly showed otherwise: “T.B., actually Frank very clearly outlines that really no evidence has been offered demonstrating that openly gay service would be disruptive to the military.  It's largely an argument based on personal animus towards gays….Mostly, the argument that openly gay service would be disruptive to the military was born from largely Christian-inspired ideology that, essentially, esteems the moral integrity of the military beyond any level of reasonableness, while vilifying any sort of sexuality deemed deviant.”

 

You then said that Frank’s research was “hit and miss.”  And went on to argue: “Since America [sic] response towards homosexually is vastly mixed, we would have a very initially chaotic reaction. Or so long as bigotry over sexually [sic] orientation is prevalent among 20% or more of a populous [sic], problems will arise.” [emphasis added]

 

You then went on to argue over the course of more than a few days and more than a few posts that Frank’s position, and the overwhelming evidence he offered in support thereof, was wrong.  You maintained through that discussion that integration of openly gay service would be disruptive--evidently to the point of being “chaotic”--even though you were not able to offer any relevant support for your argument, nor were you able to refute Frank’s information, sourcing and evidence with any of your own.

 

So, now that the response to DADT repeal is imminent, I’m wondering what sort of “chaotic reaction” do you expect to see erupt?  And to what extent do you think this chaos, which you before argued would be the product of DADT repeal, will further endanger military personnel?  

 

RTA
Wordsmith
RTA
Posts: 920
Registered: ‎08-19-2008
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Re: DADT repeal

Tigger, I'm still curious what sort of chaotic reaction we should expect to see with the advent of openly gay service in the military.  

 

You stated, as though it were fact, that only you could know because only you were privy to secret information that we couldn't have.  But once openly gay service occurred, then your secret knowledge, which you were never able to demonstrate, would be validated with the chaotic and disruptive effects on the military.  So, I'm wondering, what should we expect?

 

Or was this just something else you made up, based on nothing but random thoughts that you thunked up?