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The Big Question:

Posted by ColoradoPatriot at 9:51 pm - January 24, 2006.
Filed under: Gays In Military

Prelude: There’ll be plenty of opportunities to discuss DADT in the future, and in fact I’ve engaged here many times previously as a commenter on other posts. Undoubtedly many will turn what follows into a debate over the policy, but my goal here simply is to help the reader understand from where I come when that discussion does occur. With that disclaimer, please indulge me in a common situation in which I again recently found myself:

I was talking with a business associate yesterday who, when the topic arose, inquired, “You joined the military? Why’d you do that? You know, as a gay man?” This may seem like a sensible question, and believe me, I’ve heard it countless times during my career. In spite of the frequency with which I am presented this catechism, I’m still surprised by the presumptuous nature of it. How could anybody bring himself to that? they seem to be asking. What gay man would ever do such a thing?

For the longest time my response to this question had historically been a truthful and reflective, “Well, I didn’t know I was when I joined.” However, as time went on and I passed up more and more opportunities to get out of the service (and in fact as a result of certain career choices, I incurred more years of commitment), I came to realize this wasn’t the whole story.

In fact, what I realized was that I love the service and the fact that I am a gay man has no bearing on it whatsoever. When I look at all the sacrifices I’ve made (and I’m not trying to martyr myself to tell you there have been many) to continue my service, I’d have to say that being in the closet (at work, that is), has hardly been the most cumbersome. For some that is asking too much. For others, not smoking pot is asking too much. For some, even having to wear a uniform and have a particular haircut is asking too much. Regardless, the truth is that military service isn’t for everybody, and it’s not simply a career choice, but a calling. It’s a thankless job and what’s equally frustrating is those who don’t understand it who are trying to “advocate” for you and those who don’t understand it who are adversarial to you for having made the commitment in the first place.

Over the years as I reflected more on what the military means to me and what my fellow soldiers, airmen, sailors, and Marines mean to me, it became much more clear to me what the more accurate answer is to my friend’s question. For the sake of letting you know a little bit more about me, I’ll share with you what my answer is nowadays:

“I love my country and want to serve in her defense.”
And as an old mentor of mine used to say, There’s a period at the end of that statement.

Cheers, All.

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59 Comments

  1. What’s inconceivable to the typical Leftist – gay or straight – the type who would ask the question “You joined the military? Why’d you do that? You know, as a gay man?” – is that anything could come before being gay, in a person’s life.

    In their mentality, sexuality is first. It comes before country. It comes before personal ideals/values (other than being gay). It comes before family. It comes before career. At least in theory, it comes before gender. For most of them, it comes before Reason or logic.

    For them to meet someone who knows he’s gay and is truly not ashamed of it, BUT who nonetheless puts his gayness second or third or fourth or fifth in his identity or scale of values, not being obsessed with it (as they would be in his place) – that’s mind-blowing.

    Comment by Calarato — January 24, 2006 @ 10:24 pm - January 24, 2006

  2. Thank you.

    Comment by wfoster — January 24, 2006 @ 10:27 pm - January 24, 2006

  3. CP, as a former officer and a gay man, I know exactly what you are saying and thank you for your service. I do wish the day would come when gay men and women could serve openly in the U.S. Armed Forces. In the meantime, we all do what we must to serve.

    Comment by Scott — January 24, 2006 @ 10:48 pm - January 24, 2006

  4. “I love my country and want to serve in her defense.”

    Thank you for the service.

    Comment by jdavenport — January 24, 2006 @ 11:00 pm - January 24, 2006

  5. Seems pretty straightforward to me! Soldiering is one of the things that men have done since forever. Gay men are men, ergo, some of us will want to be soldiers. And thank God for that.

    Comment by EssEm — January 24, 2006 @ 11:45 pm - January 24, 2006

  6. To those who serve…
    My sexuality doesnt rule my life. I’m ex Army. Gay. Conservative. Same with gay marriage. I dont wait around for any government to make any changes that will determine my happiness. You want to fix something soldier, move your ass. Not a bad philosophy I learned quite a few years ago in the US Army. And it changed my life.
    God Bless all you soldiers and airmen.

    Comment by Gene — January 25, 2006 @ 12:08 am - January 25, 2006

  7. I always have very-mixed feelings about not joining the Service, I come from a family with much military tradition. But part of the tradition is “Honor”…the first part of “Honor, Duty, Country”. When I was of military-age, as they used to call it, they actually asked in-writing if you were a homosexual. If you said “yes”, you were barred, and that stayed on your permenant record if you ever applied for a Federal job. If you were gay and said “no”, you were a perjurer. Subsequent discovery meant a “dishonorable discharge” which made you both a Felon and unhirable in many industries. My own family’s company barred “dishonorables” and felons from employment, and the company’s union rejected anyone with a dishonorable discharge from membership. My own profession still ethically-bars them from entry.

    And then there is Honor. How could you be “an officer and gentleman” is you committed perjury just to join. Where was your “honor”? If they didn’t ask, I might have volunteered; but I’ll not be damned by lying about it. And since this could not be openly discussed in the family in those days, this was a simmering, festering issue for years. Friends of the family would ask about my going ROTC, or offer “…to make a few phone calls’, and I would have to squim and evade the issue. That it corresponded with the US military’s low-point in the Carter-malaise provided a much-used cover…and a gripe that hold against “my government” to this day.

    Comment by Ted B. (Charging Rhino) — January 25, 2006 @ 12:13 am - January 25, 2006

  8. Gay men are men,

    Well some of them are.

    Thanks for y’all’s service to our country.

    Comment by ThatGayConservative — January 25, 2006 @ 12:27 am - January 25, 2006

  9. #7 Charging Rhino nailed it. So sad you cant be yourself. It’s a damn shame. I think it will take a Republican to change the policy of allowing gays to serve. I think W could be that man, if it were 2008 or 2112…when we didnt have such a hot war taking so much of his time. I think Bush 43 as a conservative and a Christian changing the policy, would be like Nixon going to China. And I was a cook and baker and a damn good one…being gay helped!

    Comment by Gene — January 25, 2006 @ 12:37 am - January 25, 2006

  10. Well put. Thank you.

    Comment by Average Gay Joe — January 25, 2006 @ 1:34 am - January 25, 2006

  11. When I look at all the sacrifices I’ve made (and I’m not trying to martyr myself to tell you there have been many) to continue my service, I’d have to say that being in the closet (at work, that is), has hardly been the most cumbersome.

    The problems is that your sacrifices are irelevant to whether or not you will be kicked out if discovered. You have already violated the policy by identifiying yourself as both gay and active miltary on this website. As such, at any time in your career you can be kicked out, right up to 5 minutes before you retire. It’s happened and it will happen again until the policy goes.

    This is not question of being “discrete”. You are not protected by this as much as you are by pure luck. Enforcement of the policy seems to be like many things in the military, very duty station dependent. You have been lucky so far. But what happens if someones suspects you are gay and starts harrassing you? Are you in an envirnment that would support you if you had to go to your command about the matter? Maybe you are, but how many are not? The majority of gays and lesbians who are separated under DADT come forward of their own will. But in nearly every case harrasment was a part of the picture. Harassment that was either ignored or encouraged by the chain of command. Maybe you think you can tough it out. But be very careful because thats what Barry Winchel thought too before a fellow soldier beat his head in with a baseball bat.

    I respect and thank you for your service, but I think you are making this all sound a lot more easy and risk-free than it actually is.

    Comment by Patrick (Gryph) — January 25, 2006 @ 3:22 am - January 25, 2006

  12. Nicely put, CP. And, of course, thank you for your service.

    Comment by V the K — January 25, 2006 @ 5:39 am - January 25, 2006

  13. #11

    Read: SCREW YOU AND YOUR MILITARY SERVICE!!

    I respect and thank you for your service,

    CYA, eh Patty?

    Now it’s about time for Raj to come in and blow hard a few posts about the Fatherland.

    Comment by ThatGayConservative — January 25, 2006 @ 6:36 am - January 25, 2006

  14. #11 ThatGayConservative — January 25, 2006 @ 6:36 am – January 25, 2006

    Now it’s about time for Raj to come in and blow hard a few posts about the Fatherland.

    What does this have to do with Germany?

    I will make a couple of comments, though. It was quite clear during the Vietnam War era in the 1960s and the Gulf War I era in 1991 or so, that, if the military wants your body, they will pretty much ignore the prohibition of homosexuals–or perceived homosexuals–from serving in the military.

    A young (heterosexual) friend of ours, who served in a special forces unit in the early-to-mid 1990s recounted a story, in which it was clear that more than a few people in the unit were homosexual. According to him, nobody in the unit cared. During the downsizing of the US military, however, the gays are among the first to go. I haven’t paid much attention, but I wonder the extent to which the mercenary operations–also known as “contractors”– have acquired the services of servicepeople who where discharged because they were perceived to be gay.

    /sarcasm

    Comment by raj — January 25, 2006 @ 7:41 am - January 25, 2006

  15. #7, Ted:
    I appreciate your concerns, and thanks for demonstrating what I meant when I wrote how frustrating it is for me to listen to those who suggest they’re trying to support me.

    As much as you may see your comments as supportive, think about it from a veteran’s perspective. What we hear is this: You know that sacrifice you made? How you languished in suffering silence? How you had to, for the sake of the service you love, for years keep to yourself just so you could have the satisfaction of devoting yourself to your country? You remember that? Well that was “dishonorable”.

    Tell you what, I’ll take the military that supposedly hates me over that sort of “support” anyday.

    I think when people who are trying to “help” gays in the military begin to understand what is important to us (i.e., Service Above Self), we’ll be able to move the dialog along. Insulting us is no way to garner gratitude.

    Comment by ColoradoPatriot — January 25, 2006 @ 9:25 am - January 25, 2006

  16. REPUBLICANS — and these are the guys SENDING PEOPLE TO WAR:

    * Dick Cheney: did not serve. Several deferments, the last by marriage.

    * Dennis Hastert: did not serve.

    * Tom Delay: did not serve.

    * Roy Blunt: did not serve.

    * Bill Frist: did not serve.

    * Mitch McConnell: did not serve.

    * Rick Santorum: did not serve.

    * Trent Lott: did not serve.

    * John Ashcroft: did not serve. Seven deferments to teach business.

    * Jeb Bush: did not serve.

    * Karl Rove: did not serve. (Bush’s Machiavelli)

    * Saxby Chambliss: did not serve. “Bad knee.” The man who attacked Max
    Cleland’s patriotism. (You know what should be done to him!)

    * Paul Wolfowitz: did not serve. Neocon warhawk

    * Vin Weber: did not serve.

    * Richard Perle: did not serve. Neocon warhawk

    * Douglas Feith: did not serve.

    * Eliot Abrams: did not serve.

    * Richard Shelby: did not serve.

    * Jon Kyl: did not serve.

    * Tim Hutchison: did not serve.

    * Christopher Cox: did not serve.

    * Newt Gingrich: did not serve.

    * Don Rumsfeld: served in Navy (1954-57) as flight instructor.

    * George W. Bush: failed to complete his six-year National Guard; got
    assigned to Alabama so he could campaign for family friend running for
    U.S. Senate; failed
    to show up for required medical exam, disappeared from duty.

    * Ronald Reagan: due to poor eyesight, served in a non- combat role
    making movies.

    * B-1 Bob Dornan: Consciously enlisted after fighting was over in Korea.

    * Phil Gramm: did not serve.

    * John McCain: Vietnam POW, Silver Star, Bronze Star, Legion of Merit,
    Purple Heart and Distinguished Flying Cross. Remember how the Bush
    campaign trashed
    him in the Republican primaries in 2000?

    * Dana Rohrabacher: did not serve.

    * John M. McHugh: did not serve.

    * JC Watts: did not serve.

    * Jack Kemp: did not serve. “Knee problem, ” although continued in NFL
    for 8 years as quarterback. (Win one for the Gipper!!)

    * Dan Quayle: Journalism unit of the Indiana National Guard.

    * Rudy Giuliani: did not serve.

    * George Pataki: did not serve.

    * Spencer Abraham: did not serve.

    * John Engler: did not serve.

    * Lindsey Graham: National Guard lawyer.

    * Arnold Schwarzenegger: AWOL from Austrian army base. (Our gift from
    Austria)

    Pundits & Preachers

    * Sean Hannity: did not serve.

    * Rush Limbaugh: did not serve (4-F with a ‘pilonidal cyst.’)

    * Bill O’Reilly: did not serve.

    * Michael Savage: did not serve.

    * George Will: did not serve.

    * Chris Matthews: did not serve.

    * Paul Gigot: did not serve.

    * Bill Bennett: did not serve.

    * Pat Buchanan: did not serve.

    * John Wayne: did not serve.

    * Bill Kristol: did not serve.

    * Kenneth Starr: did not serve.

    * Antonin Scalia: did not serve.

    * Clarence Thomas: did not serve.

    * Ralph Reed: did not serve.

    * Michael Medved: did not serve.

    * Charlie Daniels: did not serve.

    Comment by hank — January 25, 2006 @ 10:08 am - January 25, 2006

  17. DEMOCRATS:

    * Richard Gephardt: Air National Guard, 1965-71.

    * David Bonior: Staff Sgt., Air Force 1968-72.

    * Tom Daschle: 1st Lt., Air Force SAC 1969-72.

    * Al Gore: enlisted Aug. 1969; sent to Vietnam Jan. 1971 as an army
    journalist in 20th Engineer Brigade.

    * Bob Kerrey: Lt. j.g. Navy 1966-69; Medal of Honor, Vietnam.

    * Daniel Inouye: Army 1943-47; Medal of Honor, WWII.

    * John Kerry: Lt., Navy 1966-70; Silver Star, Bronze Star with Combat V,
    Purple Hearts.

    * Charles Rangel: Staff Sgt., Army 1948-52; Bronze Star, Korea.

    * Max Cleland: Captain, Army 1965-68; Silver Star & Bronze Star,
    Vietnam. Paraplegic from war injuries. Served in Congress.

    * Ted Kennedy: Army, 1951-53.

    * Tom Harkin: Lt., Navy, 1962-67; Naval Reserve, 1968-74.

    * Jack Reed: Army Ranger, 1971-1979; Captain, Army Reserve 1979-91.

    * Fritz Hollings: Army officer in WWII; Bronze Star and seven campaign
    ribbons.

    * Leonard Boswell: Lt. Col., Army 1956-76; Vietnam, DFCs, Bronze Stars,
    and Soldier’s Medal.

    * Pete Peterson: Air Force Captain, POW. Purple Heart, Silver Star and
    Legion of Merit.

    * Mike Thompson: Staff sergeant, 173rd Airborne, Purple Heart.

    * Bill McBride: Candidate for Fla. Governor. Marine in Vietnam; Bronze
    Star with Combat V.

    * Gray Davis: Army Captain in Vietnam, Bronze Star.

    * Pete Stark: Air Force 1955-57

    * Chuck Robb: Vietnam

    * Howell Heflin: Silver Star

    * George McGovern: Silver Star & DFC during WWII.

    * Bill Clinton: Did not serve. Student deferments. Entered draft but
    received #311.

    * Jimmy Carter: Seven years in the Navy.

    * Walter Mondale: Army 1951-1953

    * John Glenn: WWII and Korea; six DFCs and AirMedal with 18 Clusters.

    * Tom Lantos: Served in Hungarian underground in WWII. Saved by Raoul
    Wallenberg.

    Comment by hank — January 25, 2006 @ 10:12 am - January 25, 2006

  18. Does this upset anyone else?

    Comment by hank — January 25, 2006 @ 10:13 am - January 25, 2006

  19. Does this upset anyone else?

    Nah, we’re used to dishonest left-wing propaganda.

    Comment by V the K — January 25, 2006 @ 10:20 am - January 25, 2006

  20. hank:

    Yes, as a veteran it upsets me that you’d abuse the service of our public servants (and others) for your political goals. Your list is disgraceful.

    Comment by ColoradoPatriot — January 25, 2006 @ 10:22 am - January 25, 2006

  21. It’s not my list.

    Comment by hank — January 25, 2006 @ 10:55 am - January 25, 2006

  22. ColoradoPatriot — January 25, 2006 @ 10:22 am – January 25, 2006

    Yes, as a veteran it upsets me that you’d abuse the service of our public servants (and others) for your political goals. Your list is disgraceful.

    The activities of the ChickenHawks on his list in #16 are what is disgraceful. You don’t like having them be thrown into your face? Tough. BTW, I was eligible for the draft during the first lottery in 1971. I pulled a 359. I did not support Eisenhower’s, Kennedy’s, LBJ’s and Nixon’s war on Vietnam.

    Quite frankly, I give little substance to your “as a veteran” rhetoric. It does nothing to denigrate from the fact that many of the people in his list are ChickenHawks. Do you really believe that your views on the subject should be given special attention merely because you served in the military?

    Comment by raj — January 25, 2006 @ 11:03 am - January 25, 2006

  23. * hank: did not serve

    (yet presumes to try to judge people, as if one must be a policeman to want more/better policing, a nurse to want more/better nursing, etc….and as if the Republicans aren’t replete with people who served, whom hank leaves out for his twisted purposes)

    Comment by Calarato — January 25, 2006 @ 11:14 am - January 25, 2006

  24. I expected more of you Calarato. It is not my list. The editorials are not mine. And I assure you , I have no “twisted” purpose.
    I’m sure that there are many Republicans who served. They just don’t seem to be in this administration.

    Comment by hank — January 25, 2006 @ 11:30 am - January 25, 2006

  25. A cherry-picked list of Democrats who served and Republicans who didn’t, coupled with blatant lies (Bush did complete his National Guard Service, in fact, he accumulate more than twice the number of service points he required, and he did not attack John McCain’s military record or engage in ‘dirty tricks’ in South Carolina) proves nothing except some lefty with no productive employment has time to Google.

    Comment by V the K — January 25, 2006 @ 11:43 am - January 25, 2006

  26. Okay then, hank. In the spirit of being fair:

    What the hell is your point in putting these lists that aren’t yours up here? You ask “Does this upset anyone else?“, just what do you mean then? Clearly it upsets you, and by such, you’re taking some sort of possession of this list.

    Just what are you saying? Rather than insinuating and leaving it up to us to interpret what you mean by wasting space with this non-sequitur, why don’t you share with us what you are trying to say. Don’t mince words, have some fortitude and say what you mean.

    We’re waiting…

    Comment by ColoradoPatriot — January 25, 2006 @ 11:57 am - January 25, 2006

  27. It’s been floating around for quite asome time. If this isn’t true, lets refute it. It does upset me.
    And yet again I AM NOT A LEFTY! GET IT?

    Comment by hank — January 25, 2006 @ 12:02 pm - January 25, 2006

  28. Um, hank. We get it. List not yours, you’re not a “lefty”. Whatever.

    Would you please answer my question? What’s your point?
    That you’re upset? Why? Please engage in the conversation or kindly go away.

    Comment by ColoradoPatriot — January 25, 2006 @ 12:22 pm - January 25, 2006

  29. More to the point….

    I have this to say about serving in an organization that both discriminates against you and tolerates open bigotry towards you. Since that organization ensures the survival of a nation and a society, which despite all its obvious moral flaws, beginning but not ending with the Religious Rights, still provides the most solid defense in the world for individuals and their right to live as they see fit, whether gay, fundamentalist or just mental mental, it makes self-serving sense to serve in it. I know that some Western European countries at present often protect gay citizens rights better than is the case in a lot of the US, but in general those protections are not principled or organic to those countries’ political ethos, but are just fashionable gestures that can easily be reversed. Example – the killing of Theo van Gogh by a Morrocan kid and the ensuing legal and political confusion and paralysis.

    Second is the activist argument. However valid your argument may be, it changes society only, only, only if people listen to it and receive it. If you opposition to DADT goes no further than waving rainbow flags at a demonstration and pointing out the obvious immorality of this discrimination, then you are no more effective than that over-dressed bachelor uncle that the rest of the family tolerates when it must and ignores when it can. If on the other hand you rack up cred by the one activity that rightly or wrongly is the gold standard of citizenship and selflessness in this country, then you are like the black servicemen who served all through WWII and the Korean War when they often could not even buy a hamburger in their home towns. Jim Crow had always been evil and wrong and people had always said so, but nothing changed in public opinion and among people with the power to change anything until black people could point to this particular contradiction. Things changed not because the message was suddenly true but because the hearers suddenly started listening. Something like this is starting to happen with DADT. People are starting to wonder where the sense is in putting out gay linguists, trained at huge cost, when the lack of linguists is a strategic weak spot for us. Other cases are having the same effect – slow but irreversible. So these gay service members are doing more to get DADT abolished than all the pressure groups combined.

    I might add that it also makes no sense to let the Religious Right monopolize the weapons skills and the organizational skills that the military offers, unless you want to trust that same Religious Right not ever to misuse those skills. Shunning and avoiding people you don’t approve of may be the way things are done in social settings, or it may be in line with someone’s moral system, but it is not the way things are done in the world of power politics.

    A final word – the chickenhawk argument. The argument is dangerous because of where it leads – “Are you a civilian or a citizen?” It is a short jump from denying non-military a say on military matters to denying them a say on other political matters. This is the ancient feudal divison of labor – civilians and peasants are livestock to be protected and nurtured – and milked, not equals who have an equal stake in guiding society.

    Comment by Jim — January 25, 2006 @ 1:36 pm - January 25, 2006

  30. This statement from the article Andrew Sullivan referenced this morning is telling:

    “These discharges comprise a very small percentage of the total and should be viewed in that context,” said Lt. Col. Ellen Krenke, a Pentagon spokeswoman. She added that troops discharged under the law can continue to serve their country by becoming a private military contractor or working for other federal agencies.

    In other words, the military itself admits that gays are fully capable of doing the job. That being gay is no handicap.

    It’s seems very stupid to me that you can kick out a SF soldier for being gay on the rationale that if gays are working with soldiers it might harm troop morale. So said former SF soldier goes and becomes a military contracter in Iraq and ends up working with our soldiers. Only difference is that now the government just pays him a lot more money.

    Comment by Patrick (Gryph) — January 25, 2006 @ 2:34 pm - January 25, 2006

  31. “In other words, the military itself admits that gays are fully capable of doing the job. That being gay is no handicap.”

    Exactly. And if you are pointing out that the policy is absurd, that is beginning to register with the general public. You may say that they are coming around very slowly, imperceptibly slowly, and you would be right. But people worry about their big worries first, and this isn’t one of them for most people. But one day and it won’t be long, something will push people over the edge on this issue. Unfair discharges have been in the news for years and people have been edging to the tipping point. Even in America things take time, longer than a news cycle.

    It’s not like they can have any moral objection; they have been letting heretics and unbelievers serve for years at all levels.

    Speaking of which, there’s a “church” out here in the Seattle area agitating agianst a civil rights bill for gays, and getting a lot of negative press for it. Well, that’s Seattle, you say. Well, they may well lose their tax-free status. That’ll register all the way to Falls Church.

    Comment by Jim — January 25, 2006 @ 4:59 pm - January 25, 2006

  32. #24 – Hank – As others have pointed out – if you are not a lefty, then what conceivable purpose could be served in your serving as a re-broadcast workstation for warped propaganda of the Left? My comment about your “twisted” (i.e., convoluted) purpose now applies doubly!

    Comment by Calarato — January 25, 2006 @ 5:02 pm - January 25, 2006

  33. P.S. If your purpose was/is to know how to answer the warped / cherry-picked list: you (and all of us) would have been better served by posting a LINK to the item, followed by a short sentence or two, “How do you answer this?”

    Comment by Calarato — January 25, 2006 @ 5:14 pm - January 25, 2006

  34. If it isn’t true, and as you say, just a piece of “propaganda”, then why are you screeching like a bunch of hysterical banshees?

    Obviously, you can’t “answer this”. No surprise.

    Comment by hank — January 25, 2006 @ 5:49 pm - January 25, 2006

  35. And no big surprise that you’re a leftie having posted it, hank.

    Actually, clues / pieces of the answer have been scattered throughout various people’s comments. But you don’t want to hear them.

    Nor do you want to ask nicely (because you have not done so yet) for someone to simply lay it out nicely for you.

    So hank, we know what you’re about.

    Comment by Calarato — January 25, 2006 @ 7:08 pm - January 25, 2006

  36. sure you do

    Comment by hank — January 25, 2006 @ 7:14 pm - January 25, 2006

  37. Still not asking (in any kind of decent way) for someone to explain to you what the answer to all that rubbish you posted is……

    Comment by Calarato — January 25, 2006 @ 7:16 pm - January 25, 2006

  38. And by the way – I do need to walk away now. (Have a class, plus I value my time.)

    And you know from past encounters that, unlike you, when I actually say it, I will do it. So, you will have to continue with others.

    Comment by Calarato — January 25, 2006 @ 7:19 pm - January 25, 2006

  39. Do you really believe that your views on the subject should be given special attention merely because you served in the military?

    Actually it does to the liberals, at least when they’re pretending to give a damn about military service. Why else were we told over and over that Kerry served in Vietnam.

    Don’t get me wrong. I agree with that statement. There’s a lot of vets that are complete assholes. That they served our country, I thank them. However, I don’t believe that makes them military experts or foreign policy experts.

    Comment by ThatGayConservative — January 25, 2006 @ 7:22 pm - January 25, 2006

  40. #34

    Why don’t you answer Calarato’s questions instead of being a little bitch?

    Comment by ThatGayConservative — January 25, 2006 @ 7:23 pm - January 25, 2006

  41. lol

    Comment by hank — January 25, 2006 @ 8:10 pm - January 25, 2006

  42. Hmm… I wonder if the following are also “chickenhawks”:

    Thomas Jefferson
    James Madison
    Abraham Lincoln
    Franklin Delano Roosevelt
    Harry S. Truman
    Ronald Reagan
    William Clinton

    None of these men served in the military, all of them sent troops into harm’s way, and all of them usually rate high in polls of past presidents and almost all in American history.

    Comment by Average Gay Joe — January 25, 2006 @ 8:43 pm - January 25, 2006

  43. #41

    Why don’t you answer Calarato’s questions instead of being a little bitch?

    Comment by ThatGayConservative — January 26, 2006 @ 2:29 am - January 26, 2006

  44. #39 ThatGayConservative — January 25, 2006 @ 7:22 pm – January 25, 2006

    Actually it does to the liberals, at least when they’re pretending to give a damn about military service. Why else were we told over and over that Kerry served in Vietnam.

    Maybe it’s because the ChickenHawks have been bashing Democrats (not liberals, Democrats) as being unpatriotic. I found that aspect of Kerry’s campaign lacking as well.

    To the point, I don’t have much truck with “patriot” or “patriotism.” I largely agree with Ambrose Bierce from his “The Devil’s Dictionary”:

    “PATRIOT, n.

    One to whom the interests of a part seem superior to those of the whole. The dupe of statesmen and the tool of conquerors.

    PATRIOTISM, n.
    Combustible rubbish read to the torch of any one ambitious to illuminate his name.

    In Dr. Johnson’s famous dictionary patriotism is defined as the last resort of a scoundrel. With all due respect to an enlightened but inferior lexicographer I beg to submit that it is the first. ”

    (It would take a bit of parsing to understand what he is saying)

    That doesn’t mean that sometimes one has to go into battle, as in the case of WWII. But I sincerely doubt that anything since then (including Iraq’s invasion of Kuwait) would justify a dispatch of the American military.

    Comment by raj — January 26, 2006 @ 10:08 am - January 26, 2006

  45. From #30 Patrick (Gryph) — January 25, 2006 @ 2:34 pm – January 25, 2006

    excerpt from Andrew Sullivan:

    “These discharges comprise a very small percentage of the total and should be viewed in that context,” said Lt. Col. Ellen Krenke, a Pentagon spokeswoman. She added that troops discharged under the law can continue to serve their country by becoming a private military contractor

    Oh my. I hope you understand what that means. That means that the gay people who are discharged from the official US military because they are gay, are welcome to become mercenaries (so-called “contractors”) who largely work side by side with the official US military. Other than the fact that contractors are (probably) not eligible for VA benefits, and that the mercenaries are paid much higher than regular military, what does this mean in regards DADT? Not much, as far as I can tell, other than the fact that their deaths are not included in the official US gov’t military death count.

    Comment by raj — January 26, 2006 @ 10:25 am - January 26, 2006

  46. Lost in a lot of steam and venom here are a couple good comments from Jim (#s 29 and 31). I can’t say as I agree with them necessarily, but his perspective certainly seems reasonable and respectful (unlike some others here). I hope that when I do bring up DADT as a topic, he’ll join the debate.

    Comment by ColoradoPatriot — January 26, 2006 @ 10:27 am - January 26, 2006

  47. GayPatriot kills me. Military service is a “thankless” job? C’mon. You can’t swing a dead cat without hitting some commentator, politician, celebrity, etc. thanking the troops. Virtually everyone is in awe of and respectful towards individual members of the military. They occupy a special place in our consciousness and are uniquely held up as heroes whether they’ve saved a village or spent one weekend a month peeling potatoes during their National Guard obligation.

    One only needs to look as far as the current discharge figures to understand the real reason behind the ban on openly gay servicemembers. Those discharges have dropped precipitously during the Iraq war, and men and women who come out are told “tough luck…we’ll deal with you when your tour is up.” So, at precisely the moment the military would have us believe it is MOST unsetting to be forced to live with an openly gay comrade, they’re forcing straight soldiers to do just that. Later, when it’s not so critical, they’ll go about kicking the gays out. Priceless. It’s all about politics and bigotry then, and bowing to the least common denominator. The military is supposed to be better than that.

    Comment by GayWriter — January 26, 2006 @ 11:41 am - January 26, 2006

  48. GayWriter:

    Really?

    Comment by ColoradoPatriot — January 26, 2006 @ 4:05 pm - January 26, 2006

  49. #29 says:

    So these gay service members are doing more to get DADT abolished than all the pressure groups combined.

    Well I do want to point out that a lot of the “pressure groups” such as SLDN and AVER have a very large number of veterans serving in them. They are not the same as HRC.

    Comment by Patrick (Gryph) — January 26, 2006 @ 4:28 pm - January 26, 2006

  50. “Lost in a lot of steam and venom here are a couple good comments from Jim (#s 29 and 31). I can’t say as I agree with them necessarily,..”

    Since you are going to say nice things about my comments, I might just ask you what parts you disagree with. I may find on second look that I don’t agree with them either.

    “It’s all about politics and bigotry then, and bowing to the least common denominator. The military is supposed to be better than that. ”

    Uh, no, not in a democracy. If you are going to give power to the common people, what else are you going to get than bigotry and the lowest common denominator? As for the military being better than that, when that happens, the military becomes and aristocracy, and the democracy becomes feudalism – which I for one think is much worse, for all its supposedly “better than” than rule by the common people with all their/our bigotries and stupidities. What you disdain as “politics” is the process by which we vile peasants come to these decisions. It si so much more refined ot do it over port after dinner among the better sort of people, I am sure, but the quality of the decisions is more less.

    Comment by Jim — January 26, 2006 @ 10:07 pm - January 26, 2006

  51. “It’s all about politics and bigotry then, and bowing to the least common denominator. The military is supposed to be better than that. ”

    I don’t know where this came from, but how can the military be “better than that” when, as has been reported, they are inducting high school dropouts to meet their recruitment quotas?

    Comment by raj — January 27, 2006 @ 6:17 am - January 27, 2006

  52. As a fellow service member, I agree with you completely. I knew who and what I was long before I decided to join. But joining was still an easy choice for me. It was a calling and I answered it. True I’m not staying to retirement. There are many reasons I’m getting out, but I feel I have fufilled my commitment to my country, she who has granted me the life and liberty to express myself openly as a gay man, if not within my own job. A sacrifice yes, but everyone sacrifices for thier country, those who serve.
    Incidently I’m toying with the idea of writing a book about my time in Iraq, as a gay man. To show the struggle, common among all Soldier, Sailors, Marines and Airmen, regaurdless of sexuallity, but from my own unique perspective. Hopefully I find a publisher soon.
    Thanks for your service.
    Hooah!

    Comment by Red — January 27, 2006 @ 9:44 am - January 27, 2006

  53. Godspeed, Red. Thank you for your service, and please let me know (you can email me) when you go to press so I can pick up a copy.

    Comment by ColoradoPatriot — January 27, 2006 @ 9:52 am - January 27, 2006

  54. “I don’t know where this came from, but how can the military be “better than that” when, as has been reported, they are inducting high school dropouts to meet their recruitment quotas? ”

    It’s too bad but this kind of comment, so ignorantly contemptuous of common folk, what I would expect from someone who screen names himself after a notorious colonial regime. For him apparently a high school diploma is a magic talisman because it serves as a clear distinction between respectable peole like himslef and “that sort of people”. It also is a cheap little debating point because he ignores the realities of decision-making and the role of the military in a democracy – DADT is a policy that was a civilian decision. Clinton cooked it up with Congress. It was forced on the military, like Truman’s integration order. They didn’t like either policy, but too bad. That’s how it works in our country, Raj; get used to it or not, all your priggish disapproval won’t change it.

    Comment by Jim — January 27, 2006 @ 11:44 am - January 27, 2006

  55. Jim — January 27, 2006 @ 11:44 am – January 27, 2006

    Ah, so you don’t disagree with my point.

    Regarding DADT, the policy was thought up by a professor of sociology at Northwestern University, Charles Moskos. He opined that allowing openly gay people to serve in the military would be counter-productive to “unit coherence.” That was in 1992-93.

    A few years ago, he opined that, if a draft were to be re-introduced, openly gay people should also be drafted. So, that proves that the “unit coherence” issue regarding DADT was a fraud.

    Comment by raj — January 29, 2006 @ 8:50 am - January 29, 2006

  56. I served over 20 years with the US Army, 3 of those in Vietnam. I knew many, many gay and lesbian soldiers, of all ranks up to and including a Major General, all of who served honorably. Some of those new I was gay as well. As I, recall, your sexual orientation, just as your alcohol or drug use, did not matter as long as you did your job and did not cause trouble.

    Richard P. Hoffman
    SFC, U.S. Army, Retired

    Comment by Ric Hoffman — January 29, 2006 @ 2:45 pm - January 29, 2006

  57. Raj – “Ah, so you don’t disagree with my point.”It depeneds on what oyur poit is. if oyur point is that the miltary is morally defective in its policy decisions because it is recruiting people without high school diplomas, whom you appear to consider inferior in some way, who will certainly have no part in forming those decisions, then no, I think your point is vile and wrong and incoherent.

    If on the other hand your point is that the military’s DADT policy is incoherent, dishonest, inconsistent in application and panders to superstition and bigotry, in accordance with the nature of decision-making in a democracy, then I agree with that point.

    Comment by Jim — January 29, 2006 @ 3:08 pm - January 29, 2006

  58. #57 Jim — January 29, 2006 @ 3:08 pm – January 29, 2006

    Apparently you are unable to understand. It is clear that the US military is lowering its recruitment standards to permit induction of high-school dropouts to meet its recruiting goals. We could go into an extended discussion of the deficiencies of the US k-12 education system, but that would require me to compare the US system with European–primarily German (since that is what I know best)–systems.

    Question: do you really want a high-school dropout to be controlling high tech weaponry? Or do you merely want them for cannon-fodder?

    Regarding DADT, the architect of the “compromise” essentially admitted that it–based on “unit cohesion”–was a fraud. What more need be said?

    And the idea that DADT was “forced” on the military is preposterous in the extreme. I was actually a sentient being in 1992-93 and saw what went on.

    Going up a bit, someone criticized my use of “raj” as my handle

    what I would expect from someone who screen names himself after a notorious colonial regime

    sorry, but I have used “raj” as my handle on various message boards for a decade, and will continue to do so. Why? Because they are my initials. Richard Allen Jordan. And I will continue to do so, regardless of your complaint.

    Your complaint reminds me of an idiotic comment on a now defunct message board IntellectualCapital.com, who wanted to send me back to India. As if I had ever been there.

    Comment by raj — January 30, 2006 @ 11:06 am - January 30, 2006

  59. Good Day I found your blogg on google while looking around for information on Special Forces gas used in military watches, not what I was after but hello anyway 🙂

    Comment by G10BH — March 13, 2006 @ 8:30 am - March 13, 2006

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