They'd Better Be Buying a Lot of "Morale"

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Last year, as we noted in a "Data" in our print edition, the Government Accountability Office pegged the cumulative cost of our military's ban on openly gay servicemembers at about $95 million over ten years, the estimated amount spent to replace discharged gay soldiers. A new study carried out by U.C. Santa Barbara's Center for the Study of Sexual Minorities in the Military comes up with a much higher figure: at least $368.8 million. At that price, we could've just bought a dozen or so F-16s and created an all-gay airborne unit, after the model of the highly successful Sacred Band of Thebes.

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  1. But what about the great institution of Marriage !

  2. Funny, cause when I saw my gay friend toss his boyfriend over the couch during the Super Bowl as a joke I thought, “hm, gay airborne unit.”

  3. Those airmen would be way light in their loafers.

  4. I’ve actually proposed the Thebian solution in discussions about this topic, but strangely enough, people on both sides of the argument don’t seem to care for it much. I love it. Nice to see Julian jump on board with it too.

  5. I’ve previously mentioned the Theban Band (the version of the name I was familiar with) also, here.

    I think all-gay unit of F-16 pilots would be the coolest thing, actually. “The Flaming Falcons.” But only if they realllllly gay it up, in over-the-top campy fashion. But at the same time were also absolutely bad-ass warriors.

    “Roger, my missile is armed.”

    “Stop bragging, or I’ll ‘roger’ you, you old thing!”

    “Pink Leader to Pink Five! You’ve got a Turkish bogey on your tail!”

    “And loving it!”

    “I’m flaming out!”

    “I’ll say!”

  6. I’m guessing that the Thebian solution does NOT require hooking up gay male soldiers with teenage boys? Otherwise, it sounds workable. Eventually the army would desegregate, much like it did back when there were all-black and all-white divisions.

  7. Looking only at the costs of something does nothing to reveal the value of something. Just saying.

  8. In the ancient tradition, every member of the Theban band hooks up with another gay warrior(or in the case of the F-16 pilots, I guess that would be “wingma”), in a monogamous relationship. So it’s like gay marriage into the bargain.

  9. I remember reading about them discharging a dozen soldiers who knew how to translate Arabic and other middle-eatern langauges. I’m not sure you can really put a price on that knowledge in recent years. I can say that it suggests the military considers gays to be a greater threat than terrorists.

  10. On the other hand, what does it say when the Army turns a blind eye to gay soldiers when they just happen to be members of units amount to be shipped out?

  11. turns a blind eye

    The sniggering, juvenile jokes just write themselves!

  12. as we noted in a “Data” in our print edition,

    Ahem, that would be ‘in a “datum”‘

  13. So an institute with the stated agenda of promoting gays in the military produces a study which says no, it costs nearly four times as much as you say to keep gays out.

    Am I the only one whose bullshit detector is going off?

    I had a brief read-though of their study and not only do they dismiss certain elements of the GAO’s report without explaining why (cf. estimated cost of training) but they also use an extremely simplistic formula for determining how much it costs the military in “lost service time” when they chuck out a gay soldier.

    This report is basically just a random guess based on some arbitrary assumptions. It’s also useless without some analysis of what the costs to the military might be without any sort of restriction on gay servicemembers (I don’t know what those might be. There may be none whatsoever. But no one’s looking at it.)

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