LGBT

Don't Ask, Don't Tell Doesn't Pass Legal Smell Test

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The military cannot automatically discharge people because they're gay, a federal appeals court ruled in the case of a decorated flight nurse who sued the Air Force over her dismissal.

The three judges from the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals did not strike down the military's "don't ask, don't tell" policy. But they reinstated Maj. Margaret Witt's lawsuit, saying the Air Force must prove that her dismissal furthered the military's goals of troop readiness and unit cohesion.

The "don't ask, don't tell, don't pursue, don't harass" policy prohibits the military from asking about the sexual orientation of service members but requires discharge of those who acknowledge being gay or engaging in homosexual activity.

More here. If the case goes forward, it'll be interesting to see what evidence the military puts forward in defense of the Clinton-era policy.

reason on the issue.

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  1. Good. That unit cohesion fig leap what what they hid racial segregation behind, too, and it was bullshit then as much as it is bullshit now. Half a dozen modern militaries are integrated with respect to sexual orientation and they function just fine.

    Sure there will be bigoted whiners for a little while, but it’ll settle out, just as it did then.

  2. fig *leaf*. I don’t know if they are ambulatory or not. 🙂

  3. If the case goes forward, it’ll be interesting to see what evidence the military puts forward in defense of the Clinton-era policy.

    I’m thinking “half-hearted.”

  4. Considering that “unit cohesion” is far more fucked up by the straights fucking and female soldiers getting pregnant at staggering rates (and having to be shipped home), I would think that gays would be better for cohesion–at least they won’t be getting knocked up when halfway through their tour they decide they want to go home.

  5. And, what could be scarier than a platoon of PMS bull-dykes with rifles coming over a sand dune after your insurgent ass?

  6. Someone educate me on something here –

    I thought DADT had been enshrined into law by the Congress, to prevent the DoD from backing out of the policy.

    Can’t they defend the policy by saying, “It’s in our appropriation”? Do they even really need a military justification anymore?

  7. And, what could be scarier than a platoon of PMS bull-dykes with rifles coming over a sand dune after your insurgent ass?

    Three hundred Spartan man-whores with spears.

  8. I’m still bemused by the number of Arabic translators we ditched from the Army for being gay, especially at a time when we don’t have enough translators. George Bush famously said “You’re either with us or you’re with the terrorists.” In which group would he place someone who thinks giving the terrorists a leg up over us is preferable to having a gay colleague?

  9. And, what could be scarier than a platoon of PMS bull-dykes with rifles coming over a sand dune after your insurgent ass?

    I squad of midget-Hillary Clinton clones with rifles coming over a sand dune.

    In tiny little pantsuits.

  10. And, what could be scarier than a platoon of PMS bull-dykes with rifles coming over a sand dune after your insurgent ass?

    One added advantage in desert warfare – They retain water as well.

    Please forgive me, for I have sinned.

  11. The good thing about ‘don’t ask, don’t tell’ was that, when we invade Iran and McCain reinstates the draft, I could just have some gay sex and thus wouldn’t die in the horrible post-nuclear hellhole Iran will become. Now, if it goes away, what will I do? I suppose I could rely on my many mental illnesses (they have to be good for something), or my physical ailments (already get me pity dates), but I’ve seen schizo’s with missing limbs serving on the news, and can only assume they’d be using me as cannon fodder. Looks like I may be going to Europe or Canada soon… bonne chose que je suis l’apprentissage du Francais.

  12. Elemenope,

    Three hundred Spartan man-whores with spears.

    Nah, they’d be easy to beat. They always slip into slow motion at some point. [bang, bang]

  13. J sub D,

    Ha ha! I dare you to post that over at feministing.

  14. what boneheaded commander felt the need to start an inquiry on her? AFAIK, most upper-level commanders are under such pressure to retain damn-near everybody that you could be caught on tape with Richard Simmons and your BC is just going to say “Insufficient Evidence to Warrant an Investigation”.

  15. Feministing asks the burning question: Why aren’t there more fat women in movies? (With bonus “women of size” action!)

  16. Femifisting?

  17. Femifisting?

    Completely different website, trust me.

  18. It’s strange, NutraSweet. When I read that link, all I can see is “why can’t I eat a gallon of ice cream whenever I want yet still have men treat me like Scarlett Johansen?”

  19. Actually nobody in my unit gave a damn if anybody was gay. All that mattered was they did their job well.

    OTOH, we had a tremendous problem with females getting pregnant, getting out because of it, and then immediately having abortions before the ink was dry on their discharge papers. They changed the policy that they couldn’t be let out until AFTER the birth.

  20. PMS bull-dykes…

    retaining water…

    *wipes tears* Oh, lordy, do you boys crack me up!

  21. Where’s my beer, Bronwyn? Don’t make me tell you again.

  22. To be fair, I did come up with the bull-dykes line in my tender youth, back during the first Gulf War…

    Epi- I agree. At this point there seems to be a very thin line between their brand of feminism and good old-fashion complaining. Trying to dictate what people find attractive in another person is a project destined to fail, and if pointed at feminists, gay men, or lesbians would be considered a foul form of discrimination. (Christian homosexual reform camps ring any bells?)

    Reversibility is always the true mark of fairness… would they argue that a man only sexual aroused by larger women is somehow wrong for not being equally aroused by the thin? Of course not.

  23. At this point there seems to be a very thin line between their brand of feminism and good old-fashion complaining.

    There never was a difference. Have they ever argued that women should find fat, farting, hairy pig guys attractive? Nope. They just literally want to have their cake and eat it too. Maybe a few cakes, at that, and some taffy and some Mars bars too.

  24. I think DADT was a dumb decision. If clinton had had the guts to just completley overturn the ban, the crying would have been over by now and homosexuality in the military would be a non-starter today.

    That said, the 9th circuit’s reliance on Lawrence for this decision is shaky at best.

  25. “We don’t need a weight-loss plan, we need a HATE-LOSS PLAN!”

    Warning! Link contains toxic levels of rationalization and self-delusion!

    (Disclaimer: I too am over-weight, but I don’t delude myself into thinking I’m attractive.)

  26. If clinton had had the guts to just completley overturn the ban, the crying would have been over by now and homosexuality in the military would be a non-starter today.

    Not to give Clinton too much credit, but that was a pretty bold position at the time.

    The Homosexual Rights movement has come a long way since then. I mean, they weren’t to far removed from the first pregnant woman on TV, and now being female and bisexual is chic…

  27. Nick,

    It is the 9th Circus, I mean circuit. For better or worse, the Supreme Court gives the military loads of deference. No way does this hold up. Regardless of the merit of the decision, the fact that it is the 9th makes it more of a dog an pony show than a real decision. Further, even if the Supreme Court doesn’t take the case up, the rest of the circuits are not bound by the decision and unlikly to follow it.

  28. I don’t get the obsession with Feministing.

    All of a sudden, on any given thread, out of nowhere, “Hey, look, I found something I can make look silly on an totally unrelated blog! Woo-hoo!”

  29. and now being female and bisexual is chic…

    Dude, that’s *always* been chic. It’s the “never doing men” part that tended to rankle the patriarchy.

  30. So is the gay military dating ad at the top of this post intentional or just a happy accident?

  31. I don’t get the obsession with Feministing.

    Cause if you glance really fast, it looks like “fisting”.

    And that’s *gross*. Not that there’s anything wrong with that!

  32. Actually, I think Clinton did okay with DADT. I served my entire military career under DADT and it seemed to work pretty well. There were people that I served with that were obviously gay but no one asked them about it or cared. It really never was an issue. The only issue it ever created is that it gave homesick privates an easy way out of basic training.

  33. (Disclaimer: I too am over-weight, but I don’t delude myself into thinking I’m attractive.)

    Work on that self-esteem, SF. I’m sure you too can get a Bikini Mind if you work at it.

  34. …the rest of the circuits are not bound by the decision and unlikely to follow it.

    The 1st and 2nd Circuits might. I wouldn’t hold out much hope for SCOTUS, though; you’re right about that.

  35. The military cannot automatically discharge people because they’re gay

    Regardless of what you think of the decision, that’s not the issue. It’s whether or not the military can automatically discharge somebody because they say they’re gay. That’s what the “don’t tell” in DADT is, after all.

    Personally, I’d like to see the government deal with the policy the same way they do most antitrust legislation anymore, and use a “rule of reason” approach… if there is an openly gay member of a unit where their presence is detrimental to unit morale, then move them to another unit where that isn’t an issue. If they can serve, give the opportunity to show that they can, rather than just give them the boot.

  36. There were people that I served with that were obviously gay but no one asked them about it or cared.

    Anecdotally that sounds great, but there have been many fairly well-documented cases of abuse of the policy (i.e. “We’ll ask, you TELL! And if you don’t, we’ll charge you with insubordination.”). If I may ask, where were you stationed?

  37. The gay ban can’t be overturned by the President because the president can’t legally repeal a law singlehandedly (yes, I know that George “I wanna be like Octavian Caesar” Bush is doing just that now).

    At the time Clinton was trying to come through on the promise to allow gays into the military, there was no way in hell Congress was going to amend the legal code governing the military (known as the UCMJ) to permit homosexuality.

    The DADT policy was an attempt to paper over the irreconcilable differences between the President and Congress.

    And, yes, given that the U.S. government has prioritized the War on Some Drugs over the War on Terra’ in Afghanistan, it does not suprise me that the U.S. military would be firing gay translators. After all, the people dying from the inability to promptly process intelligence are low ranking enlisted men. Having seen first-hand the type of sociopaths who tend to reach senior officer status it does not suprise me in the least that they are willing to send a stream of corporals home in body bags rather than to have their sensibilities offended by people who don’t fuck the way they like.

  38. I don’t get the obsession with Feministing.

    All of a sudden, on any given thread, out of nowhere, “Hey, look, I found something I can make look silly on an totally unrelated blog! Woo-hoo!”

    Example #247 of joe having no sense of humor. Or maybe he’s actually a fat chick?

  39. joe,

    It is because they act as our dark opposite. We barely agree on anything; they agree with everything. We tolerate the most offensive of trolls; they often ban anyone after the first contrarian opinion. Our moderators only step in to calm down insults or out-right lies; their moderators comment on almost every thread, often only to back up commenters already walking in lockstep. They are the echo chamber we are always accused of being. Their beliefs could find a home in Libertopia and ours would be utterly crushed in Femitopia. It’s a fascinating contrast.

  40. “Anecdotally that sounds great, but there have been many fairly well-documented cases of abuse of the policy (i.e. “We’ll ask, you TELL! And if you don’t, we’ll charge you with insubordination.”). If I may ask, where were you stationed?”

    Mostly Fort Hood, Texas. As far as the “cases of abuse”, there are 500,000 people in the active duty army. There are lots of documented cases of all kinds of abuse. I never saw any of it. Further, the cases I do know of, like the Fort Campbell case, the people responsible were prosecuted and recieved long jail sentences.

  41. Episiarch,

    Things actually have to be funny to relate to humor. Your obvious discomfort with women doesn’t quite rise to that level. At least, not in the way you intend. BTW, have you ever noticed I get a lot more laughs than you?

    SugarFree,

    I can see why you would find that interesting, but is there supposed to be some connection, or do you just like threadjacking?

  42. There are lots of documented cases of all kinds of abuse.

    True ’nuff. No institution is perfect.

  43. joe,

    If you aren’t interested in what I post, don’t read it. If you can get a moderator to smack me down for threadjacking, I’ll respect that.

    Or are you trying to make the whole thread about me?

  44. You know the guy at the party who interrupts conversations because he’s got this awesome joke he just has to tell?

    He doesn’t think anybody has a sense of humor, either.

    Don’t be that guy.

  45. Re feministing:

    Speaking for myself, I am hardly obsessed over them, but they are a great representation of an archetype of feminism that I loathe: the timorous feminists.

    Timorous feminists are scared of things. They are scared of men. They are scared of being unloved. They are scared of being embarrassed. They want the world to be a nice soft cushion that never upsets them.

    This is the type of feminism that conflates Domestic Violence with Violence Against Women. This is the type of feminism that spawns speech codes. This is the type of feminism that, in its extreme forms, celebrates purdah (and yes, my wife in her freshman year attended a seminar on gender roles where a few of the feminist authors raved about the peace and tranquility of man-free zones).

    I loathe this branch of feminism because, in effect, the members of it want to be eternal children. I don’t like them because they actually parrot many of the patronizing assumptions used to disenfranchise women in previous centuries.

    When people who should be accepting the mantle of adulthood put so much energy into demanding the protections of childhood, I feel a mixture of pity, revulsion and contempt.

    Thus, on occasion, I am moved to mock them. But, most of the time I ignore them. My daughter is in no danger of becoming one – as far as I can tell she fears nothing – and that’s good enough for me.

  46. More anecdotal experience. The issue with DADT is not support units where there are women. The problem DOD & DA faces is the all male combat arms units. Unless the mindset has changed drastically in the last 15 years, front line combat units are incredibly homophobic and misogynistic. Regardless of what policy may say, I think I’d have some serious reservations about coming out if I were in, say, the 82nd Airborne. Training accidents happen, and there’s lots of ways your fellow soldiers can fuck you up bad and walk away clean.

  47. “Don’t be that guy,” said pot to kettle…

  48. Joe,

    Have you noticed, though, that most people laugh when sugarfree drops in?

    After he posts one of his facepalm links, there is a flurry of posts bubbling gloriously with humor and derision.

    You may feel it is unfunny because you want to keep to the topic on hand, but it is a lost cause.

    I recommend you do what I do. I continue the discussion over at the LibertyPapers where a a much smaller handful of people read it, and mutter darkly into my beer about frivolous losers. 😉

  49. Episiarch, sorry, no beer for you. At least, none from me.

  50. Actually, I want the thread to be about the recent court case over Don’t Ask Don’t Tell.

    In 1992, the issue over gay servicemembers was a big point of contention in the elections. G.H.W. Bush and a lot of Republicans nationwide seized on it as a wedge issue against the “San Francisco Democrats.” And it worked, to an extent – the public was pretty strongly against allowing gay people to serve.

    A lot has happened in the gay rights arena in the past 16 years. I haven’t heard much noise about the California gay marriage ruling from the McCain camp, or from Congressional candidates – as opposed to just 4 years ago.

    And yet, painting the Democrats as radical left-wingers who don’t share “our” values is really the GOPers last stand this cycle. Has the issue really lost so much of its salience that even Republican candidates won’t pick it up? Are they narrow-casting the anti-gay message instead of broadcasting it, because they’ve determined it to be a loser in all but the reddest areas?

  51. Actually, I think Clinton did okay with DADT. I served my entire military career under DADT and it seemed to work pretty well. There were people that I served with that were obviously gay but no one asked them about it or cared. It really never was an issue. The only issue it ever created is that it gave homesick privates an easy way out of basic training.

    Nothing is wrong with that closet. Perfectly comfy in there. Don’t know why you’re complaining. Don’t know why anyone would want to live openly with their partner, either. Wish I’d never gotten married myself.

  52. joe,

    I think that they don’t have to beat the anti-gay drum anymore. It has to do with the hardening of the bases. That’s why anti-abortion foaming at the mouth never gets much above the Senatorial candidate level. The hard-right and the hard-left have gotten their prejudices firmly ingrained, it’s a waste of effort to convert anyone at this point. They mumble their code phrases and the masses nod.

  53. Unless the mindset has changed drastically in the last 15 years, front line combat units are incredibly homophobic and misogynistic.

    Last time I checked many of them were raging racists, too, and yet Black folk can serve. That’s my problem with the policy: all the reasons for it to be put into place were already tested and wrecked upon the rocks of racial integration.

  54. Are they narrow-casting the anti-gay message instead of broadcasting it, because they’ve determined it to be a loser in all but the reddest areas?

    Could be, but this is the problem with DADT. The reddest areas are where the guys in the combat arms units come from. In my 6 years in armor and airborne units, the combat arms branches of the army are overwhelmingly white boys from the South. You don’t get a whole lot of tolerance for faggots and queers out of these guys.

  55. Don’t be that guy.

    Oh, sweet, sweet irony.

  56. That’s a plausible answer, SF. It was always an effort at polarization, and the country is already pretty darn polarized at this point.

    Still, I think that answer acknowledges that the issue is no longer a lopsided victory for the right. The fact that they can’t use to pull people over from the other side, when once they could, is testimony to how far the gay rights/gay pride movement has come in such a short time.

  57. There were people that I served with that were obviously gay

    Did the Navy uniform give it away?

    Just kidding, just kidding.

  58. BTW, have you ever noticed I get a lot more laughs than you?

    O Rly? I wasn’t counting, but I’m glad that you were if it matters so much to you.

  59. Last time I checked many of them were raging racists, too, and yet Black folk can serve. That’s my problem with the policy: all the reasons for it to be put into place were already tested and wrecked upon the rocks of racial integration.

    True enough. I’m no longer in the Army, so I could care. Unfortunately, Congress enshrined the policy into law, so Congress is going to have to change it. If Clinton really had some stones, he’d have told DOD to suck it up, quit whining and do it, just like Ike did in the 50s.

  60. John, you’re been in the legal branch of the Army for years, correct?

    It’s beyond arguable that people are being discharged from somewhere. The Arabic translation units, for example, the numbers are just appalling.

    Could it be that the military’s lawyers are just more tolerant than other units?

  61. If Clinton really had some stones, he’d have told DOD to suck it up, quit whining and do it, just like Ike did in the 50s.

    Congress could have overturned Truman’s order, and could have overturned a theoretical Clinton order, any time they wanted to.

    Truman had a basically-friendly Congress when he desegregated it. Clinton had a much smaller majority, which became a minority when the Dixiecrats felt like siding with the Republicans. Not to mention, black soldiers had just finished serving and dying by the tens of thousands in WW2.

    It wasn’t just a matter of the presidents’ “stones.” Truman was dealing with a much more receptive political situation.

  62. John | May 22, 2008, 10:30am | #

    So is the gay military dating ad at the top of this post intentional or just a happy accident?

    Clearly intentional. The story talking about the Soviet Union and Stalin had an ad for Russian mail order brides, for example.

  63. Can’t the prez just shout “national security” and be done with it?

    BTW, I really don’t care about this issue either way. If the troops in general don’t have a problem with living in close quarters with, sharing sleeping space with, sharing showers with open homosexuals, then I don’t either.

  64. ever noticed I get a lot more laughs than you?

    How do you know this? Do you keep a tally on how many follow up post say “lolz joe”?

  65. Cop out.

    “The troops in general” weren’t so keen on serving alongside black men, either.

    Their feelings are not really the issue. I don’t imagine they like being woken up at 4 AM to crawl through cold mud, either.

  66. Joe,

    It really depends on the senior leadership.

    On my carrier the policies varied from department to department. In reactor dept we not only tolerated gay crewmen, but shielded them from outside prosecution (although it was embarrassing when one of our electrician’s mates was caught smoking a supply clerk on a sponson as we transitted along the channel into Jebel Ali – “I dropped my pen and was picking it up; the chief’s perspective made it look bad” was his weak excuse).

    I had a friend in another department who was sent to Captain’s Mast for Conduct Unbecoming when he was alleged to have been sucking face with another man in a gay bar in Seattle. I had long suspected my friend of being gay, but he was extreemely discreet and from his despairing denials it was clear to me that while he hadn’t actually done anything in public someone had figured out his number.

    That’s the problem with the UCMJ. There are all these archaic laws about adultery and sodomy that are just waiting in the wings to be used to prosecute someone whom a senior officer does not like.

    Incidentally, after the incident on the sponson, everytime I went on watch on the bridge, the conning officer from the previous section would throw a pen down on the floor and stare at me. He did this for six fucking months – the bastard – and no, I never picked it up. 🙂

  67. Last time I checked many of them were raging racists, too, and yet Black folk can serve. That’s my problem with the policy: all the reasons for it to be put into place were already tested and wrecked upon the rocks of racial integration.

    Well there are raging racists maybe, but I don’t know how many.

    But race and sex are not really the same thing. I think your identity as a sexual being runs a little deeper, and is a little harder to ignore no matter how ‘open minded’ you are, compared to your racial identity.

    Also, I don’t know how old most of you commenters are, but sexual identity is not the same for me now as it was when I was 19.

  68. Incidentally, after the incident on the sponson, everytime I went on watch on the bridge, the conning officer from the previous section would throw a pen down on the floor and stare at me.

    Did he do this because the “electrician’s mate” was actually you?

  69. is testimony to how far the gay rights/gay pride movement has come in such a short time

    Pop culture is always only a rough guide, but three of the gayest shows ever to be on primetime, Desperate Housewives, Ugly Betty, and Gray’s Anatomy are routinely in the top ten rating-wise. And the gay audience for American Idol is supposed to be large as well.

    The people who can resist the androgynous charms of Sanjaya are a lost cause for the anti-homophobic forces.

  70. “”Their feelings are not really the issue. I don’t imagine they like being woken up at 4 AM to crawl through cold mud, either.””

    At the time it happens they don’t. But it is really the reason many of them sign up, and they like it afterwards, and they like the fact that it sucks to an extent that makes it an exclusive club.

    I don’t think gay harassment, or being associated with being gay has the same allure.

  71. Pop culture is always only a rough guide, but three of the gayest shows ever to be on primetime, Desperate Housewives, Ugly Betty, and Gray’s Anatomy are routinely in the top ten rating-wise.

    Don’t forget the runs of Sex & the City or Will & Grace.

  72. At the time it happens they don’t. But it is really the reason many of them sign up, and they like it afterwards, and they like the fact that it sucks to an extent that makes it an exclusive club.

    Their retroactive enjoyment isn’t the reason soldiers are given a hard time in training. That’s not about their feelings, either.

    I don’t think gay harassment, or being associated with being gay has the same allure.

    So now having a gay person as a co-worker is “gay harassment.”

    Just their mere presence = an offense against your bodily integrity or dignity.

    Thanks, kwais. It’s always good to understand where the other guy is coming from.

  73. Incidentally if culture has changed that much, that the front line troops are totally ok with being gay, or that they will follow a policy that demands them to be, that is ok with me.

    And if allowing openly gay people to serve is more of a plus to national security than a detriment, then I am ok with that.

    But I am not convinced that it is.

    On the kicking out of the gay translators, I am not sure that allowing them to stay in would have been beneficial. Are y’all that convinced that they would have caused more benefit than trouble? I am not.

    I suppose the answer to this, is more privatization of the military. Let the market decide what works best.

  74. Their feelings are not really the issue.

    That’s a nice sentiment, but this is the military we’re talking about. They can do pretty much whatever the fuck they want without worrying about trampling on the rights that a few faggots are increasingly gaining in the “civilian” world.

  75. To be fair, I did come up with the bull-dykes line in my tender youth, back during the first Gulf War…

    Which is also where the retain water line originated. I take no credit for coinage, but will accept blame for reiterating the tasteless line.

  76. So now having a gay person as a co-worker is “gay harassment.”

    Not in your city planner office job it isn’t.

    But in a front line unit? Probably.

  77. That’s a nice sentiment, but this is the military we’re talking about. They can do pretty much whatever the fuck they want without worrying about trampling on the rights that a few faggots are increasingly gaining in the “civilian” world.

    Should joining the military be a right? Honestly, I don’t know.

    I think to a certain extent, given all the benefits, and given the taxpayer money spent on it, maybe it should be.

    Of course if it is, it shouldn’t be a right to be in certain front line units.

    And if objectively women or gay people do more harm than help to the mission, maybe they should not join.

    On the other hand, there would need to be units created with gays, and units created with women to compete, and re

  78. Are y’all that convinced that they would have caused more benefit than trouble?

    They were sought after as translators, not heterosexuals. I doubt they’d even be near the front lines where all the good old boys’ sensitivities need to be protected from the presence of gays.

    Anyway, even I am willing to admit that the military operates by different rules than the rest of society. Gays should know what they’re getting into, and I’m sure most of them do.

  79. President Obama should issue a statement that he is using his Commander in Chief power to override Congress’s law, and allowing gay people to serve openly.

    It would be fun to watch the executive power advocates retreat from everything they’ve been saying for the past six years, and good for the republic to boot.

  80. It would be fun to watch the executive power advocates retreat from everything they’ve been saying for the past six years, and good for the republic to boot.

    Except there are some (quite a few) conservatives who didn’t like it when Clinton used it and have just kept silent under Bush for the sake of being “team players”. I think bringing out the whole “use executive power to do things the legislature should” mess again would be too much of a distraction.

    On the plus side, the resulting hearings could tie Congress up for months, and they won’t get much of anything done. Works for me.

  81. There were people that I served with that were obviously gay

    Did the Navy uniform give it away?

    Just kidding, just kidding.

    ? In the navy
    Yes, you can sail the seven seas
    In the navy
    Yes, you can put your mind at ease
    In the navy
    Come on now, people, make a stand
    In the navy, in the navy
    Can’t you see we need a hand
    In the navy
    Come on, protect the motherland
    In the navy
    Come on and join your fellow man
    In the navy
    Come on people, and make a stand
    In the navy, in the navy, in the navy (in the navy)
    ?

    Speaking for myself (retired Master Chief Fire Controlman) only, I never gave a good goddam about the sexual preferences of other sailors. I argued for my entire career that being gay is a non-issue, being prejudiced against gays was the issue. In honest discussions with other sailors, I’d guess 2/3 agreed with me.

    As others have observed, pregnant women is a much bigger problem. Unplanned losses make it harder on everybody.

  82. Truman had a basically-friendly Congress when he desegregated it. Clinton had a much smaller majority, which became a minority when the Dixiecrats felt like siding with the Republicans. Not to mention, black soldiers had just finished serving and dying by the tens of thousands in WW2.

    It wasn’t just a matter of the presidents’ “stones.” Truman was dealing with a much more receptive political situation.

    Once it’s done, joe, it takes a while to undo. It all comes down to whether or not Clinton believed in the principles he espoused when he was running for office. There was nothing, either structurally or politically, that kept him from doing it and then forcing Congress into a fight over the issue. He obviously decided it wasn’t worth the effort, and came up with a lame ass compromise. There’s also nothing that stops a President for saying to DOD “You will not prosecute service members for violations of Art. 125 nor will you discharge them solely for homosexuality.” It’ll start a political catfight, but there is nothing anyone can do about a lawful order of the President.

  83. Dammit. < / i >

  84. Wow, I had no idea that kwais was such a raging bigot jerk.

    You learn something new every day, I guess.

    Here’s one thing to consider:

    Most people, especially young people, who are uncomfortable with gay people are that way because they don’t know any [that they know of] and don’t know what to expect.

    When placed in a situation where they actually are around your average gay person, they end up not having any problem with gay people, and often end up with a little confessional story that tell that goes something like, “You know, I grew up not liking gay people, but then I met ‘X’, and you know what? They’re all right!”

    I would say that 99% of antigay people who are otherwise sane and mentally sound go through this development when encountering gays.

    The 1%, however, who spend time around gay people and still hate and fear them, OTOH, are worthless psychos that we all can do without.

    So maybe the way to achieve unit cohesion while integrating gay people into the services is to just integrate them, and then discharge the handful of psycho losers who can’t adjust.

    Because if it comes down to choosing, say, gay translators who want to serve their country and fight alongside all Americans, and psycho losers whose hatred can’t be explained by narrow experience, I choose the translators.

  85. President Obama

    I haven’t been following HnR or Grill-Aides too much lately. Have you decided that is how it going to go, joe?

    btw, nice suggestion on the CinC power thingee.

  86. “It’s beyond arguable that people are being discharged from somewhere. The Arabic translation units, for example, the numbers are just appalling.”

    Joe,

    They are being discharged because they are translators and can make a fortune working for KBR and the like as contractors. What happens is you go in the military, get the training and then tell then you are gay and get an honorable discharge. Now, that is a good argument against don’t ask don’t tell but not because the Army hates gays. The argument is that we should stop letting people rip us off by taking the training and then not fulfilling your commitment. For a long time Gay rights groups were screaming about the huge numbers of discharges from Lackland AFB. The implication was that Lackland was a hot bed of homophobia. Well what they didn’t say was Lackland is where the Air Force does all of its basic training. What was happening was kids were going to basic and deciding the air force wasn’t for them and claiming to be gay in order to go home.

    I am only one person granted. But in my experience no one, especially in this day and age of manpower shortages, is looking to find out if someone is gay. What usually happens is the person claims to be gay because they want out of the military or engage in some misconduct like sleeping with a subordinate and it comes out.

  87. Wow, I had no idea that kwais was such a raging bigot jerk.

    It was obvious there was a screw loose when he wanted to deport poor people to Mexico. That was what 2005? 2006?

  88. Folks, Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell is not policy-it is the law.

    It was passed by a Democrat congress and signed into law by Clinton.

    Do any of you suggest that the military not folow the law?

  89. Wow. This is a hard subject for me to comment on. In the two-plus years I’ve been in the Army, I’ve known only about two guys who claimed to be bisexual. One did it to get out during Basic, the other was getting chaptered for boning/getting boned in the laundry room (the only gay 11B I ever knew. I was told he never would’ve got chaptered but somebody in his chain of command didn’t like him). The first dude I didn’t really know, but the second dude, though he was mostly alright to talk to, creeped me out a little. But this had to do with his own ‘boundary issues.’ He was the kind of guy who’d stand too close to you, and say some shit that really made you uncomfortable.
    Some openly gay people I’d be cool serving with (although if I shared a room or suite with him, it’d be an adjustment getting used to him bringing home dudes, but whatever). It really does depend on the person’s personality, whether I’d be OK with serving alongside an openly gay troop.

    It might be unfair, and it’s a definite “adjustment” for homosexuals to have to hide their orientation, but the military’s based on adapting oneself to difficult situations.

    I agree that this nurse being singled out was probably ‘political’, because the military is trying to hold onto qualified personnel, and I’ve seen a lot of cases like this get ‘glossed over’.

    From a personal standpoint, I don’t have a problem with ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’, but I guesss I’d have to ask some gay servicemembers (good luck) if it bothers them.

  90. Do any of you suggest that the military not folow the law?

    Does the law specifically mandate the military discharge homosexual service members?

  91. How about instead of “don’t ask, don’t tell” we simply have: “keep it in your fucking pants”.

  92. They are being discharged because they are translators and can make a fortune working for KBR and the like as contractors.

    Then why were some of them on TV making a case that they shouldn’t have been dismissed?? Could it be, John, that you’re generalizing again?

  93. “Then why were some of them on TV making a case that they shouldn’t have been dismissed?? Could it be, John, that you’re generalizing again?”

    Or could it be you are not getting the full story from the media? Of course they will come on TV and play victim. It is an added bonus. How did the fact that these guys were gay come out? I find it difficult to beleive that anyone is looking in their bedrooms at night. If they wanted to serve so bad, why didn’t they just follow the DADT rule? Lots of gay people do.

  94. How about instead of “don’t ask, don’t tell” we simply have: “keep it in your fucking pants”.

    A brilliant and sensible notion. Only problem is trying to get humans to refrain from fucking is like trying to stop a train by standing in front of it and pushing really hard.

    So on the one hand I agree with you that the issue is really *sexual* conduct, and not homosexual conduct per se, but the fact is people have sex because they are driven to do it and (generally) like it a whole lot, and this drive has been generally impervious to rules and authority regardless of their source.

  95. Of course they will come on TV and play victim…. How did the fact that these guys were gay come out?

    Well, since it’s not possible to keep it in one’s pants (see above), there are any number of ways. But let’s say you’re right – *some* of them perpetrated this atrocity against the American taxpayer. If that’s what it takes to get some folks on board with doing the right thing, so be it.

  96. Wow, I had no idea that kwais was such a raging bigot jerk.

    I suppose that is one of those charges that it is impossible to disprove.

    I don’t think I am. I try to give every human I meet a fair shake. I do prejudge from time to time, but I like to think it doesn’t have to do with race or sexual preference.

    Now is any of the stuff I said factually incorrect? Or do you just not like the tone?

    Maybe I should be more clear:
    I am not against women or gays in the military. Nor am I against them being in any specific unit, nor am I against them doing any specific job.

    I do think that at some point the mission should come before social or cultural engineering.

    Where am I going wrong Fluffy?

  97. Dave W. | May 22, 2008, 12:43pm | #
    Wow, I had no idea that kwais was such a raging bigot jerk.

    It was obvious there was a screw loose when he wanted to deport poor people to Mexico. That was what 2005? 2006?

    Funny that the Dr’s stalker is talking about other people having a screw loose.

  98. How about instead of “don’t ask, don’t tell” we simply have: “keep it in your fucking pants”.

    I don’t really see the difference. How else is it going to come out that someone’s gay if he’s keeping the proverbial “it” in his pants?

  99. I do think that at some point the mission should come before social or cultural engineering.

    How about “always”? I’m pretty good with the mission always coming first with social/cultural engineering being a distant second or tenth.

  100. T,

    Once it’s done, joe, it takes a while to undo. I hear you, and what I’m saying is, Congress would have gone right ahead and passed a law banning them. There would have been very little “fight over the issue.” In 1992, it would have sailed right through, with a considerable number of people who were friendly to gay rights or neutral voting for the ban to save their political skins. That’s just where the country was.

    Fluffy,

    When placed in a situation where they actually are around your average gay person, they end up not having any problem with gay people, and often end up with a little confessional story that tell that goes something like, “You know, I grew up not liking gay people, but then I met ‘X’, and you know what? They’re all right!”

    Gee, that sounds familiar. I grew up in Massachusetts – Massachusetts! – and it wasn’t until I went to college that I even realized homophobia was optional.

    Do any of you suggest that the military not folow the law?
    For starters, I’d like to see the military follow the “Don’t Ask” part a little more diligently.

  101. Chris Potter,

    One guy in the office doesn’t have a picture of his wife or girlfriend. One guy in the office never talks about girls, while every single other man there does. One guy in the office is evasive when asked what he did last weekend.

    And one other guy in the office starts sniffing around.

    “Don’t tell” means that a serviceman from California can’t even say he got married last weekend, can’t wear a wedding ring (because somebody might start asking perfectly innocent questions).

  102. How else is it going to come out that someone’s gay if he’s keeping the proverbial “it” in his pants?

    Lots of people can spot it without such direct evidence. And what if one is “obviously” gay but doesn’t actually say anything? Are you telling me I could sashay onto the front lines with a limp wrist and a “lisp” but as long as I kept my mouth shut nothing would happen?

  103. social/cultural engineering

    From the somewhat antiquated point of view of the military, it looks like engineering. To the rest of America, it looks like keeping up with the times.

  104. joe,

    I know how that works — that kind of process has made people think I myself was gay at various places I’ve been. There’s a fine line between homosexuality and celibacy in some people’s minds, I guess.

  105. I can only imagine what it must be like to have to discuss your celibacy with a bunch of people you aren’t particularly close to.

    Yikes.

  106. I know how that works

    Me too. I’m the first guy – and I’ve been “found out” several times despite keeping my mouth shut and not adhering to any of the stereotypes. It’s just human nature to speculate that way.

  107. I do think that at some point the mission should come before social or cultural engineering.

    Well, maybe I’m reading you wrong, and if so I’m sorry.

    But in your posts I thought I detected a decided sympathy for the servicemembers who would object to the presence of gays, and a desire to cater to their viewpoint.

    And I tend to think that “In order for the mission to succeed we have to cater to the feelings of psycho losers,” is a weak argument designed to protect the biases of certain members of the chain of command, and not to protect any mission at all.

    And I think you share those biases, because you admitted to joe that the mere knowledge that gays exist nearby would constitute “harassment” if you were a service member. And you also indicated that you thought that being “associated with gays” would have a “negative allure” to potential recruits.

    If the Army had recruits that were afraid of the water, they would force those fuckers to get in and learn to swim. They wouldn’t say, “Well, confronting the fear of water would harm the mission,” or “Joining up won’t have the same allure if recruits know they’ll have to learn to swim”.

  108. joe,

    Well, I just volunteered it here, so I guess it can’t be that bad. I have Isaac Newton on my side, who can be against?

  109. To the rest of America, it looks like keeping up with the times.

    Would that be the America where progressive, liberal states like California pass laws outlawing gay marriage or a different America? ‘Cause I’m pretty sure I live in that first one.

  110. T,

    Believe it or not, gay marriage and gay discrimination are two separate issues. Many states ban the type of discrimination that the military practices. I’m pretty sure *that’s* the America I live in.

  111. I detected a decided sympathy for the servicemembers who would object to the presence of gays, and a desire to cater to their viewpoint.

    Perhaps, “objecting to the presence of (male) gays” describes most of the people I work with. Maybe that would change with more forced integration. It is hard to tell. Or maybe the ‘objecting to gays’ is just part of trying to fit in.

    “In order for the mission to succeed we have to cater to the feelings of psycho losers,” is a weak argument

    To a certain extent “psycho” is what the military has to try to create to be effective. Not really, but maybe your definition of the word.

    I am not sure, but I think that aggression to some extent is a function of sexual-ness.

    And I think you share those biases, because you admitted to joe that the mere knowledge that gays exist nearby would constitute “harassment” if you were a service member.

    You misunderstand me.

    I think that there would actually BE harassment. If it is ok for a service member to be gay, with the level of interpersonal aggression, there would be a level of sexual domination. Kind of like what I understand to have been the case with the ancient greeks, and what is the case with many foreign armies.

    Kind of like what happens now in the Army mainly, with the sexual harassment of its women.

    It is wrong, and it needs to be met with disapproval at every level, but it will happen.

    And you also indicated that you thought that being “associated with gays” would have a “negative allure” to potential recruits.

    Do you not think this is the case? Right or wrong, I think this is clearly the case now.

  112. Right or wrong, I think this is clearly the case now.

    Silly me, I thought people joined the military to defend their country, not to get away from gays. Or is that just a side-benefit?

  113. If the Army had recruits that were afraid of the water, they would force those fuckers to get in and learn to swim.

    Ha, I wish. It is not even like that in the Marines, I wish it were.

    It is not even close in the Army.

    I take it you haven’t been to an army swim qual.

    Interesting comparison though. Comparing someones instinct to stay alive by staying out of deep water, and someones instinct to control their sexual identity.

    Rational behavior can be taught in both cases. But I am not so sure that force is the best way to go about either, both have to begin with the desire of the individual.

  114. Believe it or not, gay marriage and gay discrimination are two separate issues.

    No, not so much. When you’re enshrining one form of discrimination against a group into law, it’s a little odd to claim that other forms are verboten due to other laws so there’s no discrimination at all. Many states, by popular choice, are still treating gays as second class citizens. That’s discrimination.

    Many states ban the type of discrimination that the military practices.

    By extension, many states don’t. Which states should the military be keeping up with? The ones that are banning discrimination in some cases but codifying it in others? Or ones that don’t address discrimination in some cases but codify discrimination in others? Claiming a national consensus on homosexual rights that the military should adhere to when there is no such consensus is a wee bit disingenuous.

  115. As a former soldier who was kicked out of the Army for smoking cannabis on my own time, I’m getting a kick out of this thread.

    /270+ every APRT

    //Expert marksman

    ///Never, ever fell out of a run

    ////Always ready for duty with awards and letters to prove it.

  116. Silly me, I thought people joined the military to defend their country, not to get away from gays. Or is that just a side-benefit?

    There are a lot of reasons people join the military.

    But if to many people, many of the people where many of the best recruits come from, joining the military is associated with homosexuality, then they will find another way to fulfill those reasons.

    Joining the military is sold to many as part of becoming a man. If you add into that sales pitch that you will become gay man. You probably won’t get that many recruits even from the blue states.

    I might be wrong.

    Also, it is quite possible that the military could become very gay friendly, without becoming associated with gayness to the many recruits from where most the recruits come from.

  117. Chris Potter,

    I have Isaac Newton on my side

    Just don’t let him ’round the front or back, or you’ll have to find something new to call yourself.

  118. Zig Zag man,
    I had two friends that were kicked out for popping positive on the piss test for weed.

    One of them was a great all around Marine. You couldn’t hope for a better fighter, and a better buddy.

    We asked him ‘why’ he had to go and smoke some weed. He said, he was with these two girls, and that smoking the weed was what it was going to take to bed them both at the same time.

    We all cursed the piss test.

  119. someones instinct to control their sexual identity.

    You don’t actually catch gay from being around them, kwais. They certainly don’t catch straight from us. Your sexual identity will be just fine.

  120. Funny side note on Zig Zag man’s post.

    At one time I was on a small post, and I was the only guy that advocated legalizing drugs.

    And I came to find out later that I was the only guy not on steroids.

    I think I already posted this anecdote. Ok if so, its the last time I post it, I promise.

  121. I had two friends that were kicked out for popping positive on the piss test for weed.

    That’s why we all dropped acid instead. Nothing at all like sitting on top of a deadlined tank watching a CALFEX while tripping hard. Tracers rock.

  122. joe | May 22, 2008, 3:42pm | #
    someones instinct to control their sexual identity.

    You don’t actually catch gay from being around them, kwais. They certainly don’t catch straight from us. Your sexual identity will be just fine.

    That really wasn’t my point but,

    I don’t think you or anyone else knows exactly how one person becomes gay or straight, or pedophile, or whatever.

    Psychological understanding has a long way to come in this area.

    And it seems to me, from traveling in Afghanistan, and in Arab countries, (and maybe a little of watching shows about prisoners) that there is a lot of in between straight and gay.

    And cultural influences and peer influences and opportunity have a lot more sway over a human than people generally think.

  123. I don’t think you or anyone else knows exactly how one person becomes gay or straight, or pedophile, or whatever.

    True. What we do know, with scientific certainty, is that it does not happen through proximity to others.

    And cultural influences and peer influences and opportunity have a lot more sway over a human than people generally think.

    And in this case, the culture will remain “no fucking between squad-mates.”


  124. And in this case, the culture will remain “no fucking between squad-mates.”

    Those are the rules, but not necessarily the culture. It happens all the time between boys and girls.

  125. Anecdotal point here.

    Arab cultures are theoretically the most homophobic. I am not sure, but I think the punishment for homosexuality in Islam is death by stoning (not the weed stuff T and zig zag man wer talking about).

    Yet in Egypt my gay room mate had no problem at all pulling in a different guy every day. To the point where our promiscuous female was green with envy.

    Also, in Iraq, with the surveillance equipment we would see all kinds of stuff that we didn’t really want to see.

    Funny thing in both instances, when confronting the locals, they deny it.

    “No this isn’t like America, we don’t have gays here”. “No it is just our culture, we are more friendly, and not cold like Americans”

    So yeah, I like it in America, where gays can be open an honest. Where your sexuality is your business and no one elses. I think it is much healthier.

    And I would like that in the military too.

    I just think mission comes first.

  126. You’re right, kwais, that was glib.

    It’s about American society, not the military’s rules.

    In our society, even as gay people have been out of the closet and integrated, it’s just meant that they’ve become a minority that’s integrated with the majority.

    Unlike some other societies, we don’t have a society where it is not considered normal for men to go off with other men recreationally. If you have sex with people of the same sex, that makes you gay. Or bi.

    In, say, Rome or Afghanistan, the culture was different. There were different rules about that sort of thing.

    The integration of gay people into the larger society hasn’t changed that. Yes, it’s caused people to think about gay people differently, but it hasn’t changed the difference between straight and gay.

  127. I just think mission comes first.

    Fair enough. Unlike T, I think it’s fairly obvious which direction the country is moving in, and some day the military will reflect that. “Don’t ask, don’t tell” is clearly a compromise that gets us about half-way there.

    PS. Your bit about catching teh gay made me chuckle. I’ve known a few guys who didn’t catch it until their 20s or later – and in every case they were much happier for it.

  128. I’m pretty sure I put the wrong number of negatives in this: we don’t have a society where it is not considered norma

    I don’t hope I failed to not confuse you.

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