Friday, February 5, 2010

Don't Ask, Don't Tell...Don't Stop Talking...

"Don't Ask, Don't Tell"....For a policy thats name implies silence, alot of words are currently being devoted to it. Senate hearings, t.v. spots, newspapers, talk radio, and the blogs have all been endlessly churning the issue till theres little doubt left where the line in the sand has been drawn...and who stands on either side. No matter which side you find yourself on, its not difficult to acknowledge that we find ourselves awash in a world of opinion about the subject.

Some of the most influential testimony on the subject has been from Chairman of the Joint Chief's of Staff, Mike Mullen......and oddly enough...He blogged about the subject.. Who knew Admirals where that in touch with modern trends?...or more likely, that they employed staffers who are. Here are his thoughts on the matter:

"While the Chiefs and I have not developed our advice, we believe that any implementation plan for a policy permitting homosexuals to serve openly in the armed forces must be carefully derived, sufficiently thorough, and thoughtfully executed. The review group to be headed by Mr. Jeh Johnson and General Carter Ham will no doubt give us that time and an even deeper level of understanding.

As carefully weighed as the decision to go to war based on faulty intellegence from discredited sources? Hmmm....I have no doubt that the same level of care and thourough study will be pursued....If only because it means putting off addressing the issue. This Gentleman has been an officer for a long and destinguished career. I have little doubt that during that time, he has had the opportunity to come across a gay serviceman or two.  I believe that he already knows exactly what the impact of a repeal of DADT would be....little to no impact. Studies are an irrelevant excuse and have always been so.

My personal belief is that allowing homosexuals to serve openly would be the right thing to do. I cannot escape being troubled by the fact that we have in place a policy which forces young men and women to lie about who they are in order to defend their fellow citizens. For me, it comes down to integrity -- theirs as individuals and ours as an institution.

Thank you sir....for all the John McCain's out there who claim that top military brass unanimously oppose a repeal....Heres proof that its not so. Top military echalons may very well be stocked with very religious men with very long career lifespans, but not all of them. Many of them make no bones that this is a religious issue for them, even Mullen....that have had plenty of opportunity to see the character and courage of gay men and women already serving in the military.

“I also believe the great young men and women of our military can and would accommodate such a change, but I do not know this for a fact. I will not deny that during a time of two wars, such a major policy change will cause some disruption in the force. It also seems plausible that there will be legal, social, and perhaps even infrastructure changes to be made. These are some of the issues our review will address.

Yet...the great young men and women of the military have already been living with the daily reality of gay fellow this Youtube commentor illustrates

"my brother is 41 years old and is currently serving in the army. he tells me that there are tons of gay men and women serving openly in the army with him. he says its a nonissue to people in the army. the only ones that take issue with it are certian members of the government."
We are already in the military...I can't beat that drum enough. Studies that purport to address infrastructure and legal or social changes is pure smokescreen. Its like calling a doctor to run tests to prove to yourself that the lump on your face is actually your nose.
“But we would do well to remember that this is not an issue for the military leadership to decide. The current law and policy came from the American people through their elected officials. We will continue to obey that law, and we will obey whatever legislative and executive decisions come out of this debate.

“With Afghanistan, Iraq, and significant security commitments around the globe, our plate is very full. While I believe this is an important issue, I also believe we need to be mindful as we move forward of other pressing needs in the military. What our young men and women and their families want, what they deserve, is that we listen to them and act in their best interests.

“Balance and thoughtfulness is required. It’s what the President has promised us, and it’s what we ask of Congress as this debate moves forward.”
On the point about soldiers we agree...we need to be thinking about soldiers who complete their tours of duty and then get called back again and again. They go and do their duty, but would they have to if we were not kicking out qualified soldiers on the basis of their sexuality? Is it really considering the soldiers best interest to ask some to serve multiple tours of duty while telling others who are just as qualified that they are unfit for duty? Not from my perspective.

Jay picked up this topic yesterday because, as a vet, it is an issue near and dear to him...

And finally.....In closing, I would like to share a couple of comments that really resonated with me, from a great guest post on Pam's House Blend, written by Geoff Guth, and discussing the affects of DADT on gay servicemen. Guth, now out of the military and out in in his personal life talks about 9/11 and the desire to reenlist:

But to have a bar to reenlistment on your record, especially in the wake of 9/11, was a very depressing thing. At a time when many Americans wanted to do their part to serve the country, I was forbidden to join my friends. It made me fell as if my contributions were worthless and as if I'd abandoned my friends on the battlefield.

And offered his take on what it means to be a gay soldier:
But one thing is clear: in American culture, there has long been a group of men (typified by Kristol and O'Hanlon) who equate toughness and masculinity with fighting wars, yet who also know that they lack the courage of their own convictions, and thus confine themselves to cheerleading for wars from afar and sending others off to fight but never fighting those wars themselves (Digby wrote the seminal post on that sorry faction back in 2005). It seems that individuals plagued by that affliction are eager to avoid having it rubbed in their faces that there are large numbers of homosexual warriors who possess the courage (the "testosterone-laden tough-guyness") which the O'Hanlons and Kristols, deep down, know they lack. Banning gay people from serving openly in the military as warriors is an excellent way of being able to deny that reality to themselves.

Warriors indeed...try reading up on the "Sacred Band of Thebes" sometime...until next time dear readers....keep talking..


  1. Isn't John McCain showing himself to be a proper tit head recently.

  2. I think it's been more of a continuing trend, orangegoblin. A bit like David "oh I love the gays (but I'm going to make life hell for queer teens)" Cameron.

  3. Man...what is wrong with the blog editor...I double check everything before I publish...then I hit the button and it chops it to bits and puts it where ever it wants to....grrrrr

  4. o.k...lets hope this stays fixed this time

  5. @ Bryan

    I sometimes have the same problem with the editor. It rarely shows you what the page is actually going to look like after it is posted.


    I'm not about to actually defend McCain, am I? Ok - maybe I am. I think that McCain is very interested in gay rights in the United States, even when he is fabricating some information. I seem to recall only weeks ago that people were suggesting that McCain would've done more than Obama has done on behalf of homosexuals - homosexuals were beginning to question whether or not they had voted for the right party. That may have even been on this blog - and, though in partial jest, really points to the disaffection between homosexuals and Obama until the State of the Union.

    Regarding Jay's video - loved it. Thought it was very, very interesting... I appreciate Jay's experience in the military, and the unique story he is able to offer as a result.

    I'm not going to lie, I'm uncomfortable with any kind of war conflict (I've considered joining the army as a translator, though) - but I find the argument that those who are prepared to fight for the country should be permitted the proud opportunity to be themselves. It is a shame that this is not the reality in the US.

  6. Bryan, it's probably because of their new editor.
    I've noticed it yesterday.
    But I didn't know there are problems with posting.

    Have you tried to return to the old one?
    Somewhere in settings they have that option.

  7. I may have to consider that as an option...this one is glitchy

  8. @tavdy

    Are you referring to that interview in the guardian/attitude?

    You do have to wonder if his message is so pro gay on the surface because it is socially unacceptable to be otherwise. Maybe if he was in the USA running for President instead of Prime Minister he would be spouting the same shit McCain does.

    Personally I don't think he is actually homophobic, I just don't think he cares that much. I am against faith schools because I think they cause segregation and I doubt he has considered the increased homophobic bullying likely to come from them.

  9. My mom always said she had no idea there were so many lesbians in existence until she joined the Navy. Everybody knew that there were plenty of homosexuals in the military twenty years ago, never mind in VALLEY FORGE.

    According to this site, there were known, excepted gays storming the beaches of Normandy on D-Day as well.

    This site gives pretty good evidence that if the military were to actually kick all the sexual deviants out, There wouldn't be much of a functioning military left. It makes sense, when you think about it. Who is more likely to join the military than young, underprivileged people desperate to get out of their home towns and seek a broader world-view?


    express yalls feelings there

  11. @ orangegoblin:

    I was talking about Johann Hari's article in The Independent - which from comments in the article is probably a shortened version of the Attitude interview, which I've not yet had an opportunity to read. You hit the nail on the head though - he doesn't really care about gay rights. I thought this particular bit of Hari's article was telling:

    He says he doesn't understand why homophobia would be worse in faith schools. But I ask: Is it so odd? Some of these religious groups – not all – believe homosexuality is a sin. For the only time in the interview, Cameron looks irritated. "That's so wrong," he snaps, his brow furrowed. "My daughter goes to a church school and it's not like that." He angrily says, "A lot of what you've read in the newspapers is actually a lot of tosh." With a firm glare, he says he will put in place "ground rules" to make sure new religious schools "teach equality", and that's that.

    No mention of any statistics, just a throwaway comment about the school of his daughter, who's not much older than Selena Leffew. Cameron apparently believes homophobia in her primary school is going to be comparable to that found in high schools! It seems to me that either he's actively trying to downplay the significance of religion in feeding homophobia in faith schools because it would mean unsettling the Tories reactionary wing, or he's out of touch with the issues facing gay Brits – very likely given his aristocratic background – and is trying to avoid dealing with a difficult topic. I think Pulp described that kind of situation pretty well:

    "But still you'll never get it right,
    cos when you're laid in bed at night,
    watching roaches climb the wall,
    if you call your Dad he could stop it all."

    Either way, neither wilful indifference nor being out of touch are encouraging characteristics in a man likely to be the next British Prime Minister, and it's possible both are true. It's evident he's interested in our votes, but couldn't give two figs for the issues we deal with day-to-day.

    Cameron was the key player behind the Tories' electoral success in 1992, and his somewhat meteoric rise to power (he was only elected in 2001) shows he's very skilled at making people believe what he wants them to believe. But everything he's said & done over the last few years strikes me as being more of the same extremely slick salemanship - and not really much else. The last thing the UK needs just now is a snake-oil salesman.

  12. I wish the Repulicans would be more "republican." Republican used to mean less government involvement in citizen's lives. Instead they have embraced the evangelical nuts and insist on getting into my life and telling me who I can and cannot marry.
    They would get a lot more votes if they were more "republican" and more inclusive.