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DADT: A Gay Servicemember’s Perspective. Part III: What Doesn’t Work

Posted by ColoradoPatriot at 9:38 am - February 24, 2006.
Filed under: Gays In Military

Blogger’s Note:
Sorry in advance for the huge post today. This is Part III in a series I’ve decided now will come in 6 parts. Link here for Part I and Part II. (If you’re jumping in right now, I’d suggest reading the others–and the comments, too!–before continuing. There’s been a bit of set-up so far.) Again, thanks in advance for not allowing this to get personal and keeping on topic with all your great feedback and comments.

The numerous insightful comments to Part II gave me many more ideas, and actually helped me develop a great argument for changing the policy. We’ll get to good reasons for changing the policy in Part IV, but today this one’s going to piss everybody off because I’m going to take the hard-line military perspective and explain why many arguments made against DADT don’t help the cause because they don’t sufficiently finish the thought I mentioned earlier, that being: “National Security will be enhanced through a stronger Armed Forces and America will be safer by allowing openly homosexual members to serve because…

By the way, please keep in mind, I’m doing a little Devil’s Advocate on most of this. We’re all on the same side here, I’m just trying to help prepare us for the battle. No good argument is going to be developed in a vacuum and we have to consider the other side of things if we’re ever to make any headway. So here goes:

Show me the money
I’ll only briefly touch on this because I already addressed this as a comment on a previous post. An analogy of the $360M spent over the past decade discharging gays under DADT is to suggest going into the CEO of a Fortune 5 company and telling him you can shave off 0.01% of his budget, and all he’d have to do is make a radical and sudden change to his entire HR department including new standards for recruiting new employees as well as what would be expected of them. Oh, not to mention, the lives and liberties of 300,000,000 people are directly effected by how well his company operates. Although he’d appreciate your concern for the bottom-line, it’s not likely he’d take such a risk for such a small gain.
*Another interesting concern here would be the cost involved in having to develop (and more importantly enforcing) new standards for “Conduct Unbecoming”. All would agree showing up at the unit in drag would be out of the question, but how far into the personal lives and actions of gay servicemembers would commanders have to go to enforce good order and discipline? Before you object to this train of thought, have you been to a gay bar recently? This is a huge can of worms.

What will we ever do without him?
In an attempt to appeal to the mission-oriented folks, one argument against DADT is that we’re losing precious resources in, to name just a couple in vogue, the medical and linguistic fields. This is a good argument in that it actually does pose a question about the mission: Since we’re so in need of these career fields, DADT is directly negatively impacting the mission. Unfortunately, similar to the preceding argument about money, the numbers aren’t really there to back up the rhetoric. For example, as a graduate of the Defense Language Institute myself, I can attest to the rigorous nature of the curriculum. I started in a class with two sections and a total of about 30 students. By the end of the course, we were down to one section, and a dozen graduates. Linguistics is a demanding field of study and a recent call I made to the registrar’s office confirmed what I had recalled from my time there: Far more students wash out of these courses due to poor academic performance than for DADT. In fact, the wash-out rate is upwards of 50% overall, even higher for Arabic linguists. DLI graduates several hundred Arabic linguists a year. Currently there are several thousand Arabic linguists in the Armed Forces and about the same number of civilians working for the DoD, FBI, CIA, and other government departments. The loss of 54 of them to this policy over the past decade is not likely to ruffle many feathers. Again, good point, thinking along the right lines. It’s simply not enough to take such a risk from the military perspective.

Well, Canada does it
One of the most often repeated arguments is that other militaries around the world allow gays to openly serve. This is certainly undeniable. The argument continues that there are no problems in these militaries relating to their respective policies. This has not been shown to me, but even if we accept that as true, what difference does it make? Surely we learn from other nations’ militaries, so a precedent in another country isn’t to be ignored. However, this argument really is only of use when it comes to, say, the implementation of a new policy (how would we do it?) rather than an argument for changing the policy. We don’t take cues on which policies to emulate as much as we view tactics and strategies and measure their applicability. This is because from a broader perspective (which is where the DoD views a policy such as DADT), sure, another military might do something well, or have a great technique we’d benefit from learning, but when was the last time one of these other nations’ militaries liberated anybody or convincingly led a coalition, let alone won a campaign on their own? They could be doing all sorts of great stuff in Canada, but, no offense to our neighbors, who really gives a flip?

The Citizen-Soldier
A surprisingly common argument is that the military should “reflect” the society it shelters. This, from a military perspective is preposterous. Sorry to be harsh, but take a look around you: there are handicapped people, old people, infirm people, weak and out-of-shape people, people addicted to drugs, criminals and people of questionable moral fortitude. This list of characteristics making individuals unfit for serving could go on and on. Not to (necessarily) compare gays to these other groups, but the suggestion that the military needs to be representative of the Nation as a whole is so full of obvious holes (from a mission perspective), it hardly needs but the example of its absurdity already shown herein. It’s not the military’s mission to “reflect” its sponsor (it never has been), and its ability to do so has nothing to do with its ability to win wars (its actual mission).

You Know You Want It
Polls these days show an increasing comfort among soldiers with gays and there have even been some internal studies done (.pdf link) showing a growing acceptance for serving alongside homosexuals among certain audiences (qualification needed here, as the cited study was very limited). This is actually a very good argument to counter the position taken by DADT defenders that a change to the policy would break down unit morale. Of course, simply countering that point won’t be enough. It’s good, but probably not conclusive enough (what with the soft-science nature of it and all).

That Whole Truman Thing
Desegregation of the military is often used as a model for changing the policy on homosexuality. Indeed, it should be, but the circumstances around that policy change are often misunderstood. When Truman changed the policy (and Eisenhower really did most of the implementation…President Eisenhower, that is, not General Eisenhower), there was a clear and pressing mission-oriented reason for it: Maintaining two separate militaries (albeit, one of them sorely underfunded) was simply not fiscally possible. In 1948, with the military in drawdown after WWII, the infrastructure requirements of two militaries were unreasonable, especially as the face of war and war-fighting was changing with the further expansion of the Soviet Bloc. The need for better flexibility and a new way of fighting demanded more funds than the policy of a segregated military could spare. Although Truman was a good guy and a forward-thinking leader, to suggest his reasons for desegregating the military were purely righteous (in 1948?!) is hardly telling the whole story. This, by the way, also puts the lie to the argument on the other side about “good order and discipline”…the reason it wasn’t really implemented until Ike was president was due to wrangling by the top brass. They saw their way fit to do it eventually, which just goes to show: If there’s a good solid mission-related reason for doing it, it’ll get done even if it pisses everybody off. That’s how the military works, after all.

Hang in there, gang, because in my next post, I’ll present an argument that I believe will show how DADT and barring gays hurts the mission of the US Armed Forces. Play nice in the meantime…

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34 Comments

  1. Kudos to you. We all need to understand that sometimes the other side has a valid point or two. We may disagree on the end result, but need to keep in mind the basic job of the military and the mindset that asks “how does this improve the mission?”

    Comment by john f — February 24, 2006 @ 11:02 am - February 24, 2006

  2. […] ColoradoPatriot over at Gay Patriot is posting his informed thoughts on the question of gays in the military and DADT. Part 1 and Part 2 are up and worth reading (including the comments). He just posted Part 3 – and he plans three more posts. One question he addresses (and pretty much dismisses) is “the whole Truman thing” argument about why gays should and could serve openly. And it provoked some thoughts on equating racially integrating the armed forces (begun under Truman and really implemented under Eisenhower) and the gay soldier issue: […]

    Pingback by Gay Orbit » DADT and the Theban Band™ — February 24, 2006 @ 12:53 pm - February 24, 2006

  3. You are doing a very thorough and thoughful job with this CP.

    Comment by Scott — February 24, 2006 @ 1:19 pm - February 24, 2006

  4. Your series is interesting, thus far and I’m looking forward to reading the next three columns. I’m going to add some perspective, I hope, by including text from an Ed Morissey of Captain’s Quarters blog. His post is titled “The Cost of Silliness.” and is in the blog’s archives the week of 2/18/06.
    Interestingly, the number of people drummed out of the service during the ten years under review, around ten thousand, is less than half of the number of those who leave due to pregnancy, and less than a third of those who can’t make weight. The commission that conducted the study use the data to argue for an end to the current policy and the rejection of homosexuals in the service, but I do notice that they do not use this same data to argue for an end to the induction of women. Nor do they mention any endorsement for tightening weight requirements for new recruits.
    Let’s end the hypocrisy and admit that gays have made good soldiers, sailors, and airmen in the past and present and could contribute to our national defense in the future.

    Addendum: I expect to get pilloried on this one, so feel free to fire away in the comments section.
    I provided the information to read his whole column on the subject, I hope it’s helpful.

    Comment by Jerry Klimas — February 24, 2006 @ 1:27 pm - February 24, 2006

  5. All would agree showing up at the unit in drag would be out of the question, but how far into the personal lives and actions of gay servicemembers would commanders have to go to enforce good order and discipline? Before you object to this train of thought, have you been to a gay bar recently? This is a huge can of worms.

    I really don’t think this is a big issue. The military already has plenty of regulations covering personal conduct and dress both in and out of uniform. And the Marines violate them every day. lol. And there really is not that much difference between the people in a gay bar or straight bar these days. Do not stereotype either gays and lesbians OR military people.

    And I also think that most gay or lesbian people in the military really have their identities based more around that fact than in actually being gay or lesbian. They are military first.

    The military does tend to be more conservative in nature than the average public. But remember that analysis also includes those gays and lesbians in the service today. They also tend to be more conservative than the average public. Unless they have been radicalized in some way, such as by running afoul of DADT.

    The same fraternization rules covering conduct would remain the same as well. If a gay officer has an inappropriate relationship with a subordinate, it is wrong regardless of the sexual orientation of the participants. And is there really that much difference between the above situations than that where an Officer gives a plum assignment to a subordinate who was also his best friend?

    My point here is that in a very real way, gays and lesbians are not asking for special “rights” of any kind in this matter. Indeed. Instead they are asking that they stop being treated differently than their fellow soldiers.

    Comment by Patrick (gryph) — February 24, 2006 @ 1:40 pm - February 24, 2006

  6. CP – I’ve enjoyed the series thus far, and look forward to the next few postings. However, I’d like to respond a little from a political, rather than military perspective – given the nature of DADT having to go through congress to be repealed, I think this is appropriate. While the arguments thus far listed may lack impact on the military infrastructure itself, when publicized they do impact the average congressional constituent. To a red state, tax-averse voter, $360 million wasted dollars sounds significant. When the blogs show thousands of pages of untranslated, potentially critical documents from Iraq, any loss of translators – particularly those who made it through such rigorous training – strikes a voter as disgusting. These arguments, while not sufficient to sway generals, can be used to sway a less mission-oriented public opinion, and picking up votes in Congress by telling members that polls show a supermajority of conservatives supporting repeal is pretty damned useful. You’re a military man – it’s a two-pronged strategy. As we look for the second prong of arguments, I don’t think we should necessarily abandon these – they should just be more effectively targeted.

    Comment by Casey — February 24, 2006 @ 1:47 pm - February 24, 2006

  7. Either a political stance is socially just or unjust, but ColoradoPatriot doesn’t want to see it in such stark terms. He’s blathering away about all sorts of ancillary issues to little avail.

    It’s not complicated. There’s no renovations or new facilities needed. Why it takes CP so many posts to swat a fly baffles me.

    Either equality in America applies to everyone, or only to heterosexuals. At one time, it only applied to whites. Any rational comparisons starting from there should yield obvious conclusions.

    Comment by Stephen — February 24, 2006 @ 3:05 pm - February 24, 2006

  8. #7) Stephen, are you even familiar with the term “devil’s advocate”? CP is trying to give us a look into the minds of people that think differently on the topic than us, and those are the people who have the power.

    I’m not convinced that just screaming louder or more angrily about equality is going to affect real change. Equality isn’t high priority in the military, as CP has already explained. The key is whether the factors they discriminate on are irrelevent or even harmful to the mission. The people in charge believe there is good reason for gay people to remain closeted. We need to show them why they’re wrong. You’re dealing in fantasy. CP is trying to deal in reality. We need information like this to get things done.

    Comment by Dale in L.A. — February 24, 2006 @ 4:14 pm - February 24, 2006

  9. Why do you point to Canada as the country which allows gays in the military? Maybe we shouldn’t care what our neighbors do, but considering how closely allied we are with Australia, the UK, and Israel, shouldn’t we care what they do? They have allowed openly gay service members for years.

    Comment by Carl — February 24, 2006 @ 4:48 pm - February 24, 2006

  10. Carl:
    Perhaps, but as I mention, we’re the leaders here. McDonald’s doesn’t look to Wendy’s to decide how to change its business. NBC doesn’t look to UPN.
    What would be a good position is: How do our troops interact with the gay troops in the Australian and UK militaries (woops, already tipping my hand for Monday’s post!)?

    Comment by ColoradoPatriot — February 24, 2006 @ 7:04 pm - February 24, 2006

  11. Colorado, I don’t know if I am anticipating your argument (who knows?), but it’s a chance to at least give you my continuation of “enhancing because….”

    The point is that gays are going to be in the military, one way or the other. That there is going to be friction at the level of the “straight” soldier is going to push this to a head. Crudely put, this is a question of what young men expect of their superiors while they’re in a testosterone fever. And when the straights and gays know each other and cannot distinguish between themselves fighting on the ground, they are going to be wondering, what the hell? National Security will be enhanced through a stronger Armed Forces and America will be safer by allowing openly homosexual members to serve because…the troops will want it.

    Comment by wfoster — February 24, 2006 @ 7:49 pm - February 24, 2006


  12. What would be a good position is: How do our troops interact with the gay troops in the Australian and UK militaries (woops, already tipping my hand for Monday’s post!)?-

    From what I’ve read, they have no problem with gay soldiers from other countries.

    Since President Bush has always presented these countries as our full allies in the war on terror, I’m not sure if we’re supposed to be seen as their leaders or not.

    Comment by Carl — February 25, 2006 @ 12:08 am - February 25, 2006

  13. Dale et al.

    I realize what GPC is trying to do, but the whole matter depends on one solitary issue: Equality.

    I’m not encouraging anyone to shout louder, but maybe in unison would be nice.

    At some point, if one deviates from the core issue, then “they” have you. There will always be some reason to explain DADT. The problem is that it doesn’t need explanation; it needs justification. There is NO justification. So getting involved in parallel universes and possible worlds to “explain away” DADT only puts “them” in control of the issue. There can always be an explanation concocted. Let’s just not go there.

    The more “off” topic one gets, the weaker the core message of equality. That’s why DADT survives. People get lost in the forest and can’t see a tree. DADT is a simple denial of equality due to someone’s conceptualization of what it takes to be in the military.

    The issue is Simple. Plain. Getting side-tracked with ancillary and convoluted issues may have its reward, but then “they” have succeeded in confusing and obfuscating the subject. I’ve read GPC’s “arguments.” Okay, so they give a different spin to different conceptualizations. The opponents simple respond: See! No I don’t. It’s not about THAT, it’s about EQUALITY. Do you have a problem with equality? Do you find treating people unequally American? On what grounds? Ergo: No conversation, because there is nothing to debate. They know you’ve scored, and they can’t respond. All this other chatter allows DADT pros to control the arguments, because they can find just as many spins as GPC irrelevant responses to them. I admire his fastidiousness, but alas it’s all for nought.

    Comment by Stephen — February 25, 2006 @ 1:10 am - February 25, 2006

  14. I forgot one key question: Does the 14th Amendment apply only to heterosexuals? How? Where? Says who? Sorry, but I don’t see it. When you can show THAT to me, then we might engage in YOUR argument, until then you haven’t answered mine.

    For additional interrogatory zest: Remember when the 14th Amendment had to be written in order for African-Americans to see evidence of equality? No? Well, it did!

    Remember it took the 14th Amendment to gain women’s suffrage? No? Well, it did?

    So tell me, why are GLBT next on the block? Haven’t we already decided THAT too? Why are we even having this conversation? Either you support America, the Constitution, the Declaration of Independence, and the 14th Amendment guaranteeing universal equality and due process or you don’t! It’s really THAT simple. Nothing else is at issue! So where do you stand?

    I’m deliberately being obstinate about a CORE value written in our Constitution. I can’t see any argument or situation that overrides the 14th Amendment. There’s nothing to quibble about. Either the 14th Amendment applies to everyone, or show me why it shouldn’t?

    Comment by Stephen — February 25, 2006 @ 1:25 am - February 25, 2006

  15. Stephen:
    I hear you. Believe me, we’ve all heard you. But the fact remains, it’s not ever going to make a difference. What’s happening here is that you’re not hearing the other side of the argument. And you can stomp all you want (so can I and everybody else), but it’s not going to change anything. The best thing we can do is to attack this situation from a different perspective. As long as you (and others like you) continue to deny this fact, we’re doomed to come off as shrill and be ignored.

    I’m not saying I agree with it. I’m saying these are the facts. A good friend of mine recently told me that you have a choice sometimes: You can be right, or you can get what you want. If you continue to insist that we’re right, that’s great…we’ll be right. But meanwhile, the entire game is being played on a completely different field and we’re being left behind.

    Be as right as you want, I’m saying. The rest of us are going to try to fix stuff. Come along, won’t you?

    Comment by ColoradoPatriot — February 25, 2006 @ 2:19 am - February 25, 2006

  16. And about the 14th Amendment, I addressed that in one of my points about “handicapped people, old people, infirm people, weak and out-of-shape people, people addicted to drugs, criminals and people of questionable moral fortitude”. Are you going to take up the flag for them as well? What will our military look like then?

    Daniel Patrick Moynahan once had a brilliant saying: “I can only explain it to you, I can’t understand it for you.”

    Comment by ColoradoPatriot — February 25, 2006 @ 2:21 am - February 25, 2006

  17. Stephen, I agree with everything you’ve said. Why five years into the 21st Century are we still debating whether the Constitution applies to all citizens?

    Unfortunately, the U. S. Supreme Court missed a chance to end the debate, as far as military service is concerned, when it failed to apply its decision in Lawrence vs Texas to the armed services. How can private, consenual behavior that the Court says states can’t ban is still grounds for dismissal from the armed services? Now that the Court has moved to the right, it’s doubtful the error will be corrected anytime soon.

    Only Congress can repeal DADT and allow openly gay men and women to serve in the military. And as I commented in response to Part II of CP’s essay, even if the military brass were to request the change Congress is unlikely to do it in my lifetime — unless you can figure out a way to silence the American Taliban.

    I look forward to the remaining installments of CP’s essay.

    Comment by Jack Allen — February 25, 2006 @ 2:25 am - February 25, 2006

  18. ColoradoPatriot, #16, I don’t believe Stephen, or anyone, is arguing that the equality issue (14th Amendment) applies to persons who are physically or mentally not capable of serving in the military.

    Comment by Jack Allen — February 25, 2006 @ 2:35 am - February 25, 2006

  19. I realize what GPC is trying to do, but the whole matter depends on one solitary issue: Equality.

    This, and the 14th Amendment, is irrelevant: There is no right to join the military.

    Comment by rightwingprof — February 25, 2006 @ 9:11 am - February 25, 2006

  20. Stephen I think you are missing the point. Just shouting “equality” isn’t going to convince those who are opposed that they are wrong.

    What CP is getting at, is that you have to frame your arguments in more than just that phrase, you have to show them why their position is wrong. I think this is what CP is leading up to in these various posts.

    But talking past the other side isn’t going to do much to convince anyone of the rightness of your position, you need to consider the arguments the other side is making, and counter each point with an argument of your own.

    For instance, the one on why disabled or old people are excluded-there are some very clear and reasonable arguments for why they shouldn’t be able to serve in the military, where the argument falls apart is applying it to homosexuals-especially given the fact that everyone knows there are homisexuals serving now in the military, and they are doing their jobs just fine. But just shouting “you’re wrong” isn’t going to make things better, you need to address why they are wrong.

    How can private, consenual behavior that the Court says states can’t ban is still grounds for dismissal from the armed services?

    Actually the military infringes on a lot of rights, and does have the right to infringe on private consensual behaviors (fraternization policies, adultery is also an offense that can get you dismissed from the service), the key is that these rules, many of which should be in the UCMJ, can easily be applied to homosexuals serving in the military, so that relationships outside of those perameters can be open.

    Comment by just me — February 25, 2006 @ 9:12 am - February 25, 2006

  21. #16. Your reply actually captures my point. No one would put someone with a clear disadvantage in an obviously harmful situation. It’s for THAT reason why some handicapped people are disqualified by the military. While it appears compassionate, it’s a policy with which I wholly disagree. Surely, there are a number of functions/roles in which handicapped people can serve their country without putting themselves or others in harm’s way. For example, I see no valid reason why those confined to wheelchairs cannot be part of the “secretarial class,” if that is the only way they can contribute to the safety of the nation. Categorically dismissing all people with handicaps is blatantly wrong. Worse, it’s gotten you off message and reset the playing field.

    I’m sure we all could come up with other examples, though, of people who are constitutionally ill-suited or unsuitable to any military service. But then they are ill-suited and unsuitable for ANY job. For example, a schizophrenic individual, paranoid delusional, or amnesiac (e.g., people with severe psychological issues) are a case in point. I can also imagine where some handicaps would make military service untenable, at the very least (such as quadrilateral amputees), but their disqualification for military purposes applies also to the civilian society, and both have to do with “function.” Inability to “function” is an obvious disqualification for any job, civilian or military.

    So can we agree that some individuals are ill-suited and unsuitable for military service for the very same reasons they are ill-suited and unsuitable for ANY work? But don’t you see how you’ve shifted a petard into a meaningless objection? No one is proposing that the impossible or absurd be done, but once you “go” there, and start responding to untenable situations, you’re totally subservient to “their” scheme! You’re off message, because you let them make a categorical mistake, and what’s worse, you bought into it!

    That’s my point. No one denies incapacity is a viable disqualification, but how does that insignificant fact apply to DADT? Denyng GLBT for being GLBT is not even in a parallel universe. GLBT is not a known handicap, either physically or mentally. Being GLBT, qua GLBT, does not in itself affect one’s ability to function (maybe in bed, but certainly nowhere else). So what does the one have to do with the other? Absolutely nothing. You’ve allowed a disposition vis-a-vis a function to be drawn in the same circle, but the one has nothing to do with the other.

    It’s one thing to concede that certain functions require certain abilities, such as a fireman being able to climb tall ladders. Whether one sucks cock or dines out on Thursdays has absolutely nothing to do with one’s ability to climb ladders. If the function is x, but y cannot do x, then I’ll concede denying y the opportunity to do x. But if y can or cannot do u, v, w, z, what relevance is that to x? Nothing.

    Having “gone there,” you’ve bought into their categorical mistake, and even though it’s an obvious non-sequituir, your already off message. What’s most annoying is that all of this is obvious, and yet some of us get sucked into these blind alleys. I know I sound like a broken record, but maybe repeating the obvious will sink in: The issue is equality, nothing else. Whatever dysfunction disqualifies A obviously disqualifies B, and if true in the military universe is likely true in the civilian one. But that isn’t even in question. Yet look how much space is devoted to an irrelevant consideration!

    The only question is, Why aren’t GLBT allowed to serve militarily openly? The only possible answer is some people detest GLBT (and certainly for no other reason). A disposition has absolutely nothing to do with a person’s ability to function. They are wholly distinct and different categories. So the only possible answer is a majority’s prejudice against a minority who express themselves sexually different. Nothing about function is involved. It’s simply about dispositions, We heterosexuals don’t like them queers! So what does that have to do with anything? Heterosexuals are the majority, and we’ve decided to exclude the minority. Oh, so don’t you subscribe to our Constitution’s guarantee of equality and due process? Well . . . . ?

    Yes, well indeed!

    Comment by Stephen — February 25, 2006 @ 12:24 pm - February 25, 2006

  22. Stephen:
    By your own admission, the 14th Amendment doesn’t apply to those with disabilities. Equal protection either means equal protection or it doesn’t (to paraphrase your earlier comment, not that I agreed with it then either).
    All of which is a moot point. You still are not even attempting to argue any of this from a military mission perspective, that being:

    National Security will be enhanced through a stronger Armed Forces and America will be safer by allowing openly homosexual members to serve because…
    I’ve been asking you to stick to the point I’m making, but as you yourself suggest, “I know I sound like a broken record, but maybe repeating the obvious will sink in:”…clearly it’s not working for you. The issue is absolutely not equality (a concept by your own words you’re not even dedicated to yourself). As long as we think it is, and try to gain ground from there, we’re going to lose.

    And to say things such as “The only possible answer is some people detest GLBT” is to completely abandon the first rule of having a fair and open discussion: An honest attempt to respect the other perspective. To suggest that the “only possible” way someone can be in disagreement with you is that they “detest” us will get you one thing: dismissed. How do we win an argument that way, Stephen?

    Comment by ColoradoPatriot — February 25, 2006 @ 1:55 pm - February 25, 2006

  23. Sorry in advance for the huge post today.

    That’s alright. I’m waiting for the mini-series anyway.

    Comment by ThatGayConservative — February 25, 2006 @ 2:01 pm - February 25, 2006

  24. For example, I see no valid reason why those confined to wheelchairs cannot be part of the “secretarial class,” if that is the only way they can contribute to the safety of the nation.

    Actually there is.

    You have X number of non combat area secretarial positions. You have Y number of combat secretarial positions (and keep in mind that the line between combat and non combat positions is blurring more and more with modern warfare).

    What ends up happening is that you would fill up all the X positions with people who are incapable of serving in the Y positions, so that those who are deployable to the Y ones, are unable to get positions that aren’t in combat, because they are filled with people who can’t serve in combat ever.

    This sort of happened years ago with the Navy, when women couldn’t serve on combat ships. At one point that trained women to be nukes (the nuclear power plants that make the ships go, not the bombs), but slated them as non combat. The problem was that all the sea duty ships were combat ships, so women could only fill shore positions. This made it difficult for the guys serving on ships to get shore duties, because the billets were filled with women.

    They opted to stop training women as nukes. Then this changed once again in the 90’s, when they decided to allow women to serve in some combat roles, and now women are nukes, and serve on both combat ships and shore duties like the men do.

    So, the reason disabled people are prohibited from serving is because they are limited to only one type of role, which means you have a large number of people who can’t be deployed to do the job the military is designed to do. A military is strongest when all members who do a specific job can be deployed everywhere.

    Not to mention, the idea of women (or anyone else) being safely tucked behind enemy lines no longer applies. In Iraq many of the people who are killed are people in “non combat” jobs.

    Comment by Just Me — February 25, 2006 @ 3:55 pm - February 25, 2006

  25. Nice job ColoPat; I’ve never read a moderate list of arguments against repeal –it seems all I hear is why it HAS TO, GOT TO, MUST BE repealed right now. Just like many of the commentators have impressed here.

    I didn’t sense those were, as you portrayed them to be, “hard lined military perspective” on why the US shouldn’t repeal DADTDH. They sound more like banter from a group of guys (military and ex-military) having a few beers at a poker game on Friday night –with all due respect. I think there are arguments you left off the list that are hard lined military and really would have pissed off the gay civil rights activists.

    I’m still smiling at the notion of gay rights activists trying to raise the banner of 14th A as a rationale for repeal –the 14th A has been so widely discredited in modern Constitutional scholarship that to argue its relevancy to this question is pure wasted breath.

    I’ll look forward to those arguments you think are valid in pressing for the repeal of DADTDH, but for me the best one to date was by Calarato in an earlier post: because it’s the morally correct thing to do. And I’d amend it with a predicate, that the military’s tradition of honor, duty, service is so rich that to continue DADTDH undercuts the tradition and, therefore, it’s morally imperiative to repeal.

    And this from a guy who doesn’t think DADTDH should be repealed.

    Comment by Michigan-Matt — February 25, 2006 @ 6:25 pm - February 25, 2006

  26. #22. Oh, YES the 14th Amendment DOES apply to the disabled. If you think otherwise, we’re in a sorrier hole than I thought. You completely failed to miss the CRITICAL distinction between “capacity or ability” and “disposition.” Did you read my post? Did you capture the point about “categorical mistake?”

    Some people may justifiably be disqualified for certain functions if they lack “capacity or ability.” NO ONE has made that claim about GLBT’s ability to function. Are you the first? The entire proDADT stems from “disposition.” It’s entirely a different category and order. Is “disposition” sufficient, let alone necessary, to disqualify GLBT from serving in the military? DADT pros say yes. The Constitution says, no. For heaven’s sake. You seem to have a grasp of other tangetial facets, but when it comes to the most basic conceptual aspects, I think you missed the point.

    Comment by Stephen — February 25, 2006 @ 9:50 pm - February 25, 2006

  27. If GPC cannot differentiate categorical mistakes, no wonder he appeals to every tangent under the sun. If GLBT can’t make the distinction, we’re lost before we begin. Folk: It REALLY is THAT simple. “Capacity/ability” is a wholly other category from “dispositon.” If we don’t understand such simple constructs, no wonder we resort to convoluted analyses. And if we can’t distinguish the obvious, no wonder Joe Q Public doesn’t get it either.

    One’s “disposition” does NOT disqualify one’s “ability,” not because of any answer GPC has given, but because to make such a statement is totally incoherent. It simply does not make any sense. It’s an abuse of language. It’s a categorical mistake. It’s beyond illogical, it’s incohate. It’s unintelligible. You can’t get there from there. “Dispositions” and “abilities” don’t cross each other’s path. Can I make it any more clear? Isn’t it patently obvious one has nothing to do with the other?

    And that is why GPC’s efforts, while valiant in extremis, are self-defeating. All his arguments “concede” the unintelligible, the incoherent, the senseless, the abuse of language, the categorical mistake. If we can’t make plain sense among ourselves, how in the hell will we we make sense to others. All his issues deal with capacity; DADT is strictly ad hoc “dispostion,” specifically GLBT disposition. GPC has unwittingly accepted “their” playing field, which “they” just love, because they know no one can ever win with a conflation of two, wholly distinct categories.

    Sometimes it’s really is better to speak in plain English and think intelligibly (yes, intelligently helps too). But the whole DADT works because it’s unintelligible. People whose fears need explanation are satisfied with such things. The last thing WE need to do is fall into the same hole. DADT works only because it is unintelligible and people will accept that if they need it. Don’t surrender coherence! Disposition and capability have absolutely nothing in common. DADT uses capability arguments to make the disposition incapatible. That doesn’t even begin to make any sense. Guess what, it seems to be working even here.

    Comment by Stephen — February 25, 2006 @ 10:12 pm - February 25, 2006

  28. Um. Okay, Stephen. Good luck with all that.

    Comment by ColoradoPatriot — February 25, 2006 @ 10:20 pm - February 25, 2006

  29. I just think it’s so hypocritcal when a person in the military is found to be gay, then brought up on charges, career – ruined. Yet, when men and women are fornicating, or commiting adultry, no one blinks an eye. It’s almost celebrated in fact. An unmarried female in the military can get pregnant, and suddenly she’s coddled, unable to fill her billet, and no one cares. It’s just wrong to me.

    Comment by Melanie — February 26, 2006 @ 11:06 am - February 26, 2006

  30. Melanie: Good point about pregnancy. I’ll admit my opinion about maternity and the military would be seen as pretty draconian, so I’ll not get into that right now.

    I would, however, like to clear something up that seems to be a common misconception about gays and the military: They’re not as you put it “brought up on charges, career – ruined”. It’s an administrative discharge and unless also tied to something else (fraternization, poor performance, crimes, drugs, etc.) rarely leaves a black mark. Which is not to say being discharged for homosexuality is a non-event, and I certainly don’t wish it upon even an enemy. But it’s hardly a life-destroying calamity.

    On the other hand, the examples you bring up of “fornicating, or commiting adultry” actually are punishable under the UCMJ, and it happens often.

    Comment by ColoradoPatriot — February 26, 2006 @ 11:18 am - February 26, 2006

  31. I knew that fornicating and adultry were punishable, I had no idea that anyone actually followed through. Of course, I’m only aware of a small facet of the military, and I’ve only seen people being outed as homosexual, and not just discharged, but, brought up on charges. If what I’ve seen is not the norm? Then good. I can’t stand the hypocricy.

    Comment by Melanie — February 27, 2006 @ 9:34 am - February 27, 2006

  32. Melanie: I don’t know the details of the situations you’ve seen, but if someone’s been “brought up on charges” since DADT, then the individual has done something other than (in addition to?) be gay. He or she has also committed a crime. Being gay is not (and has not been since DADT) grounds for being brought up on any charges.

    Comment by ColoradoPatriot — February 27, 2006 @ 9:55 am - February 27, 2006

  33. If we’re following “don’t ask don’t tell” no one knows, no one’s in trouble. But, in situations where someone is found to have committed certain acts that prove that they’re gay (know what I mean?) they’re busted for breaking a military law. This is why I think it’s hypocritical when people who fornicate or commit adultry aren’t charged. Which, as you’d previously pointed out, does happen. I just haven’t been privy to a case where that’s happened.

    Comment by Melanie — February 27, 2006 @ 10:54 am - February 27, 2006

  34. Actually, Melanie, you’re wrong. Rarely ever is it someone is charged with a crime for sodomy under UCMJ (I take it that’s what you’re getting at) unless it’s in conjunction with another violation. It’s similar to adultry. Your scenario is simply inaccurate.
    The charges of sodomy and adultry are more or less equally used; that being, tacked on to a long list of offenses for someone who’s actually done something really heinous. You simply won’t see someone’s barracks room get busted into by the cops and him brought up on charges for sodomy w/ his boyfriend. Doesn’t happen.

    Comment by ColoradoPatriot — March 6, 2006 @ 3:16 pm - March 6, 2006

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