January 02, 2007
The Closet Is No Place For A Gay Soldier

That's what retired Army general and former Joint Chiefs Of Staff chairman John Shalikashvili says, writing from Steilacoom, Pierce County, in the New York Times. The new Democratic Congress may hold hearings and soon push legislation to revamp the Clinton-era "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" compromise. President Bush wants a larger military, and a recent Zogby poll of military members returning from Iraq and Afghanistan showed support for openly gay service members, Shalikashvili notes. However - perhaps taking a cue from opinion leaders at The Decatur (Alabama) Daily who also support the eventual change - he adds it's too early to legislate the policy revision now because of more pressing matters facing Congress, such as Iraq.

The concern among many in the military was that given the longstanding view that homosexuality was incompatible with service, letting people who were openly gay serve would lower morale, harm recruitment and undermine unit cohesion....The compromise that came to be known as "don't ask, don't tell" was thus a useful speed bump that allowed temperatures to cool for a period of time while the culture continued to evolve.

The question before us now is whether enough time has gone by to give this policy serious reconsideration. Much evidence suggests that it has. Last year I held a number of meetings with gay soldiers and marines, including some with combat experience in Iraq, and an openly gay senior sailor who was serving effectively as a member of a nuclear submarine crew. These conversations showed me just how much the military has changed, and that gays and lesbians can be accepted by their peers....24 foreign nations, including Israel, Britain and other allies in the fight against terrorism, let gays serve openly, with none reporting morale or recruitment problems.

I now believe that if gay men and lesbians served openly in the United States military, they would not undermine the efficacy of the armed forces. Our military has been stretched thin by our deployments in the Middle East, and we must welcome the service of any American who is willing and able to do the job.

Anyone who would argue that loosening "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" is a ploy to lower resistance to gay marriage would have to be taking a very, very long view. Currently, gay marriage is not allowed in 48 states, up recently from 44.

(As always, comments are welcome; however please keep 'em civil and pertinent, or they'll be deleted).

Posted by Matt Rosenberg at January 02, 2007 08:50 PM | Email This
Comments
1. "The Closet Is No Place For A Gay Soldier"

And neither is the military.

"The question before us now is whether enough time has gone by to give this policy serious reconsideration."

It has... and the time has come to end the failed policy of "don't ask, don't tell" and go back to the standard the way it was before Clinton started his social engineering experiment.

If the goal is a larger military, this isn't the way to get it. And if the d's attempt to force this issue... what happened to the R's in this election will look like a fender-bender in comparison to the backlash against the d's.

Nothing... NOTHING will fire up the conservative base more then a short-sighted policy like the one Shalikashvili (Is there some reason you left out the fact that he was a Clinton appointee, Matt?) advocates.

Posted by: Hinton on January 2, 2007 10:25 PM
2. Do guys in the service REALLY want to see two fellow guy soldiers over in the corner making out? I doubt it.

Posted by: Michele on January 2, 2007 10:25 PM
3. I'm not sure what military Michele is thinking of that allows people of any gender to make out on duty, but it's not the one I served in. Like other gays in the military, I was too busy doing my job to hold wild barracks orgies.

Posted by: SGT Bitchslap on January 2, 2007 10:51 PM
4. There are serious issues remaining to be resolved concerning logistics before full inclusion can be done and only one far solution which will never happen. Submitted for you consideration: Many branches sleep in close quarters where privacy is almost erased. Is it fair to force straight men to cohabitate in that envorinment with gay men?

before you answer that change the premise to straight men and straight women. Would you force women to cohabitate in open bay barracks with men? Would not many of the women feel unconfortable, if not down right threatened?

Why is it different with gay men? Gay men by definition find men attractive, and they cannot tell from first glance if that man is gay or not.

But if you segregate the gay men, you makwe the situation even worse.

If someone can offer a reasonable alternative to show how in an open bay or field environment you can offer up a reasonable level of privacy then I will endorse the idea wholeheartedly.

Until then the DADT policy at least allows them to serve as long as they do not make their sexuality an issue. It's imperfect, but its a start.

I hope someone can, because I think they should have equal opportunity to serve their country.

Of course I think women should also have the same full access includng eligibiity for the draft, but that's another issue isn't it.

Posted by: LSU on January 2, 2007 10:58 PM
5. Having served on submarines in the Navy I have met a couple of gay sailors and there was never a problem with them on the ship. You don't get any tighter living and changing quarters than submarine berthing, but nobody seemed to care. This was because these gay sailors were professionals doing their jobs.

From what I have seen in the Navy, the majority of people who openly claim that they are gay are just people who want to get out of an enlistment. The Navy now requires gays to prove they are gay before discharge and no longer goes on wasteful witchhunts. And what I have also seen from my experience in the Navy is that the majority of people who oppose gays in the services have never actually served. If you haven't served in the military I suggest that you be quiet during this discussion because you probably don't have any idea what you are talking about when you complain about gay servicemembers. To someone who has served with decent and very honorable gay sailors I get the impression that some people think these people are rapists and child molesters instead of the guardians of our freedom.

Posted by: DP on January 3, 2007 03:17 AM
6. Gen Shalikashvili needs to let the Generals on active duty determine whether the military is ready for openly gay soldiers. He has been retired for almost 10 years and holding a few meetings with soldiers doesn't qualify you as an expert on the "state of the military today." He is a very active player on the Democrat political scene. Unfortunately, Armchair Generals usually are just bored with their retirements, instead of having their fingers on the pulse of the military.

It hasn't been that long since a suspected gay soldier was brutally beaten to death at Fort Campbell, KY. In July 1999, PFC Barry Winchell was beaten to death as he slept with a baseball bat after enduring months of harassment.

Everyone who has ever served in the military knows gay soldiers. There are gay soldiers serving in every service at all levels. There has even been a gay Joint Chief of Staff, Shalikashvili's old job.

There are still many men in the military who don't accept women in the military very well. There are still some Army units where racial discrimination is alive and well. Gays can do very well in some units and in others, they are harassed endlessly.

Recent studies show that nothing much has changed in the military culture since Winchell's death with over 80% reporting that they had heard or received harassing comments about gays.

Posted by: sgmmac on January 3, 2007 05:20 AM
7. good points on both sides, but i never liked it (the open gay acceptance) for many reasons stated above as my own below:

chipping away at team's cohesiveness, basic morale issues, catering to govt social engineering, added legal & practical distractions from the military's basic mission, p.c. nightmares, softening image to enemies, weakened moral values, added costs to govt of compliance and "family" issues like kids and "couples;" trying to force all institutions to look & act like society at large, regardless of their missions or goals.

i also agree with the frequent trend & distasteful emergence of long-lost generals (and "experts") getting more & more involved (i.e. interfering) with current events. too many cooks.

their opinion expressions are a right, but seem to get a lot of attention these days in the MSM. always pushed to the front of the spotlight. is it because of their opposition to the current administration or policies? will the same spokesmen come foreward in such numbers in another (D) administration? let's watch.

Posted by: jimmie-howya-doin on January 3, 2007 06:24 AM
8. Matt, did you actually read the Zogby poll that you so kindly linked to? Shalikashvili didn't link to it, and I suspect that's because he didn't want readers to see that the entire poll in its full context actually supports an entirely different conclusion.

In sharp contrast to the other questions on the subject, the one and only question cited by Shalikashvili as support for his proposal (# 24) makes no mention of any military context, and asks only, "Personally, how comfortable are you in the presence of gays and lesbians?" Variations of "comfortable" beat variations of "uncomfortable" by 73% to 19%, although the majority of the "comfortable" answers were "somewhat," not "very."

Questions which put the issue in a specifically military context came out very differently:

13. Do you agree or disagree with allowing gays and lesbians to serve openly in the military?
Strongly agree 9%
Agree 17%
Neutral 32%
Disagree 16%
Strongly disagree 21%
Not sure 5%

Agree 26% / Disagree 37%

20. How does [did] the presence of gays or lesbians in your [last] unit impact your personal morale?
21. How does [did] the presence of gays or lesbians in your [last] unit impact your unit's overall morale?
Personal Unit
Very negative impact 8% 8%
Somewhat negative impact 20% 19%
No impact 66% 64%
Somewhat positive impact 1% 1%
Very positive impact 4% 2%
Not sure 1% 6%

Negative 28 / 27% / Positive 6% / 3%

27. Would you still have joined the military if gays and lesbians were allowed to serve openly?
Definitely yes 42%
Probably yes 35%
Probably not 7%
Definitely not 3%
Not sure 13%

Yes 78% / No 10%

Shalikashvili bases his argument on 1) newfound acceptance and support of gays and lesbians within the military and 2) increased demand for additional personnel. While I don't for one minute think these are his real reasons, let's take him at his word just for the sake of argument. This poll shows a lot of neutrality, but more resistance than actual support for the idea of opening up the closet door -- so much for the argument that the troops are all really just fine with it. On the second argument, how much sense does it make to more attentively court 2% of the population at large in hopes of getting more of them to enlist when you have polling data that shows you will lose 3 - 10% of your other recruits as a result? It is unknown how accurate this polling data really is, but to the extent that it is accurate, the arithmetic is extremely straightforward.

Poking holes in Shalikashvili's arguments is easy enough -- look who appointed him, after all, and birds of a feather flock together. The more important arguments, however, are more nuanced, and often difficult to appreciate fully for those who have always been on the civilian side looking in.

Discipline, morale, and unit cohesion are the components of the glue that holds any military unit together. The importance of these simply cannot be overemphasized. Degrade these, and people will die; that sounds hyperbolic, but it is very literally true. Nothing which adversely affects discipline, morale and unit cohesion is likely to be worth the American blood it will cost, no matter how laudable the motives. Tolerance is laudable. Inclusion is laudable. But we don't put paraplegics in the infantry, and we don't put epileptics into F-22 cockpits not because we're judging what kind of people they are, and not because they're any less American, and not because we don't want to allow them every opportunity to participate and serve their country, but because mission requirements simply trump everything else in a deadly business.

All three policy alternatives have their issues. The first alternative, excluding gays and lesbians altogether, means that any who lie their way in are ipso facto in the closet, including the ones with security clearances. Think closet gays with security clearances aren't a problem? Ask the CIA, whose station chief in Switzerland during the Cold War fit that description. Since it's the first thing any competent foreign intelligence service checks for, the KGB quickly flipped him, and although his paychecks kept coming from Washington DC, he did his most effective work for Moscow, and gave away the whole store. The second alternative, "Don't Ask, Don't Tell," has the same drawback as the first -- but makes it mandatory instead of officially prohibited -- along with much awkwardness, suspicion and an inability to discuss anything openly. The third alternative gets rid of much of the security vulnerability (not all, as some will stay in the closet anyway), but would be an open invitation to bring politically correct "protected classes" into the military -- not necessarily by the gays and lesbians in uniform (as a whole) themselves, but certainly by the liberal idealogues with an agenda that has nothing to do with the well-being of the military (and never has).

Posted by: TB on January 3, 2007 06:24 AM
9. Having served in the military, I believe I can speak with authority. As an 18 year old direct from the farm (I never knew a homosexual before the service), it surprised the hell out of me to wake up with some guy's hand reaching under my blanket! Of course I let out a yell, the night watch flipped on the light and the guy was nabbed. Afterwards it was found out he had tried to do this with several other troops and those (that admited this) had told him to get lost without making a noise. Of course the molester (his defense was that he was homosexual) was gone that day.

I never became queer because of that, but the negative bias I harbor the last 30 years of my life over gays, started with that incident.

Immorality is only tolorated through the numbing down of society with the use of "surveys", gay teachers, and "polls" making it unpopular to speak out against A practice described in the Holy Bible and every other religion's written word as "Unholy".

This numbing down or anti-moral behavior extends to where we can not cut a tree or eat beef or fish, but it is ok to murder a million plus human babies every year.

Gays/Abortion/drugs/crime/socialism I would be one to say "Definately NOT".

Posted by: Old Sgt on January 3, 2007 08:01 AM
10. Personally, I could care less if their are gays/lesbians serving in the military. The only reason I do not like the idea of openly gays/lesbians serving is that you will get some (not all) that will decide they have to be flamboyant about it. That is only a distraction.

TB#8 you talked about the "protected classes" well it is already here for gays/lesbians in the military. When I was in (got medically discharged last March) we would have annual sensitivity training on gays/lesbians right along with our training on sexual harrasment.

Posted by: TrueSoldier on January 3, 2007 08:04 AM
11. I wish gay iraqis would serve in their military.

That said- the don't ask don't tell should stay.

Please let us not waste another year discussing the agenda of 0.1% of Americans.


Posted by: Andy on January 3, 2007 08:08 AM
12. I was in submarine school when "don't ask, don't tell" became policy. An old Senior Chief said something that pretty much sums up the issue for me, "When I joined the Navy being gay was forbidden, now it's permitted, I'm getting out before it becomes mandatory."

You can't expect the military to become politically correct because a politically correct soldier would never be able to face his enemy and kill him. Whether it's PC or not, gays generally aren't lean, mean, killing machines. Lets leave that job to the boys who won't misinterpret the statement, "I'm going in, cover my rear."

Service in the military is an honor, but it has never been a right.

Posted by: Dustin on January 3, 2007 08:35 AM
13. TB...thanks for sharing those polling numbers, because contrary to your analysis, I think they do support the former General's position.

On question 13, 58% of the respondents either support or don't care about gays serving openly. On questions 20/21, 71/67% claimed that the presence of gays had either no impact or positive impact on their personal/unit morale. That's an overwhelming number. And, as you pointed out, on question 27, 77% would have still joined if openly gay members were allowed. These numbers back the General's assertion that the landscape of military opinion has shifted dramatically.

For those of you siting "social engineering" in your statements against gays, you have it exactly backwards. Gays are a natural phenomenon, existing in all of human history, and present in all aspects of our lives now. Social engineering is what the conservative/religious movement has attempted to do in trying to socially stigmatize homosexuality out of existence. It hasn't worked, it won't work. Small government? Again, so-called social conservatives would use government to socially engineer a society more to their liking.

Posted by: Timothy on January 3, 2007 09:09 AM
14. Jimmie, you list a bunch of words ("chipping away at team's cohesiveness, basic morale issues, catering to govt social engineering, added legal & practical distractions from the military's basic mission, p.c. nightmares, softening image to enemies, weakened moral values, added costs to govt of compliance and "family" issues like kids and "couples;" trying to force all institutions to look & act like society at large, regardless of their missions or goals") but fail to say what they have to do with the issue at hand. In most cases that's because the answer is "nothing". You're worried about kids? Then shouldn't we ban heterosexuals?

Posted by: Bruce on January 3, 2007 09:32 AM
15. "citing" rather than "siting" :-) I wish we could edit these posts!

Posted by: Timothy on January 3, 2007 09:46 AM
16. Bruce--
the same-sex distractions and extra issues i note add (i think) to more problems, complications & eat more resources than they comparatively offset (value added).

Do they make a better, more effective military that is feared & respected? My point is that they have everything to do with the issue. It's a morale & disclipline issue, not a comfort issue for the servicemembers. You want comfort, stay out of this (voluntary) institution.

Dustin 12 hit it--service a privilege, not right. I don't want the govt to force/instill its rainbow exact percentages and "representative demographics" on all phases/institutions of life.

Military is not college or society at large. Its mission is not to look like a society, but protect us--its main objective--not to make every member/interest group feel good or accepted. It's about skills in tactics, killing and force, not in diversity & societal "get along" skills.

Posted by: jimmie-howya-doin on January 3, 2007 10:27 AM
17. Obviously, soldiers can't be allowed to molest other soldiers. But gay servicemembers who do their jobs and keep their private lives elsewhere? I fail to understand why their sexual orientation should prevent them from serving. I think the most important part of Shalikhashvili's statement is this:
Our military has been stretched thin by our deployments in the Middle East, and we must welcome the service of any American who is willing and able to do the job.

Posted by: Stefan Sharkansky on January 3, 2007 10:27 AM
18. As a retired Navy man, my problem with having gay persons serving in the military is this. What is the service's stand on mixing male and female personnel in the same living quarters? How different is it having a gay male in with other males or a gay female in with other females. I appreciate that there are many circumstances in the service where being gay doesn't have any effect on the service being performed, but as the former skipper of as ship, responsible for the well being of my crew, considering the close quartering of sailors abord a ship for often long periods, I find such a concept difficult to accept. On shore where living accommodations can be varied, fine. But the Navy spends a lot of time at sea. Not so fine. Sorry

Posted by: Bob B. on January 3, 2007 10:27 AM
19. Bob B...read the # 5 posting from DP. He answers your concern directly.

Posted by: Timothy on January 3, 2007 11:07 AM
20. Jimmy-howyadoin...then you should make the threshold the ability to do the job, and not focus on extraneous issues such as sexuality. Let's make the entry requirement to the military entirely focused on ability.

Posted by: Timothy on January 3, 2007 11:10 AM
21. The military discriminates against all kinds of people. The most discriminated against are those with physical disabilities. The Army has for years raised and lowered their physical and mental standards depending upon their need for soldiers.

One of the basic reasons for the WAC (Woman's Army Corps) expansion in the very early 70's was a need for soldiers and a dwindling pool of available male soldier candidates.

There are several well documented cases of gay soldiers being drafted and allowed to later reenlist. Specifically during the TET offensive in Vietnam, males were going into draft boards and stating they were gay and they were told to prove it or their butts were getting on the boat to Vietnam!

Posted by: sgmmac on January 3, 2007 11:10 AM
22. Stefan, DADT allows gays to serve. They serve now.

Changing the policy now will not result in larger force, it will cause as much confusion as anything as the issues of privacy become more rampant.

I hear the argument made the gays can live in close proximity with other men and will not make passes at the straight ones, but that wasnt true in my civilian job where I saw an openly gay coworker harass a straight man.

As I have said before, when men and women can cohabitate in the military in close proximity, sharing showers and bunks, then incorporate the gays as well.

If you force inclusion you have include all.

Posted by: LSU on January 3, 2007 11:11 AM
23. The general public would not support openly gay soldiers. As a result, the military would lose more potential straight recruits than gain gay one's making it a net loss in recruits. I agree with one of the comments above that issue of who showers with whom in the close living environment of a military barracks is not one that can easily be solved. Do you have four sets of showers, one for each gender-specific gay and straight types? Do you just have private showers that can be locked and no group shower facilities? Is that cost effective or even possible in the field? And what about the negative effects of friendly fire accidents involving gays suddenly being viewed as possible hate crimes? If the democrats want to whack that bee hive with a stick, I say let them try. As I said before on this blog, I want the democrats to give us the full meal deal. Show us what you are all about on every issue and let's decide if that's where the country should go.

Posted by: Scott C on January 3, 2007 11:33 AM
24. I'm gay. I served in the Marines proudly for four years. I know at least ten gay marines as well. We all served with pride. no one "acts flamboyant" or "makes out in the corners" or "provides distractions" or "recruits the recruits". Pure, absolute, unadulterated BS. Anyone who thinks gays shouldn't be able to serve in the military either a) hasn't seved in the military and buys into the anti-gay industry's message on the "evil gays" ( I call it an industry because of the billion dollar annual investments into it, but that's a different story) or b) are just plain stupid.

The military ISN'T sexual at all, it isn't straight, it isn't gay, it's about protecting our country and protecting freedom.

Posted by: DavidK on January 3, 2007 11:54 AM
25. I was an NCO in the Army during the entirety of the Clinton administration. There were soldiers I knew were gay. I didn't care. But I was thankful for the don't ask don't tell policy, because it prevented them being a protected class. They couldn't say that I was punishing them for being gay if I told them to clean the latrine. I didn't know they were gay, how could I, wink wink?

Posted by: Michael on January 3, 2007 11:57 AM
26. "Having served on submarines in the Navy I have met a couple of gay sailors and there was never a problem with them on the ship"

Sorry... but that's quite irrelevant.

"I served... and never had a problem with gays" is meaningless, because of the conditions within which the gays were serving.

That is, any homosexual activity becoming known to a commander would have been grounds for immediate dismissal. Chances are, "you" never had a problem because the gays in question knew what would have happened if they'd have tried anything.

Now, what Shalikashvili advocates (For a military wherein HE will neither be responsible for, nor have to deal with, the fall-out) would take the cuffs off... and, effectively, sanction homosexual conduct.

We cannot sanction what amounts to unrestricted conduct today based on restricted conduct of the past... since one has nothing to do with the other.

>Contrary to the position of some here, there is no "right" to serve. And the result of this particular experiment may result in people dead. And that is something I do not want to risk.

Posted by: Hinton on January 3, 2007 11:57 AM
27. It's nice to raise all of these theoretical "issues" about gays serving openly, folks, but that's not really reality, is it? That's just your own hompohobia showing through.

If it's such a problem, why aren't we hearing about all of these problems in the 24 nations that ALREADY allow gays to serve openly?

And close living quarters is certainly a concern, but look at the quarters of some militaries like Israel, where men and women regularly fight together and live in extremely close quarters.

Posted by: Mickymse on January 3, 2007 12:11 PM
28. The problem here is putting a social-engineering agenda ahead of ensuring our military is the best that it can be.

I served aboard a Cold-war boomer submarine which was stocked with a percentage of gays. At least two of them were constantly pathologically whipping out their schlong for all to marvel, always making others VERY uncomfortable (which is probably why they did it).

Some gays may perform their jobs well, but in my experience, there was always a ‘drama queen’ undercurrent on board just below the surface – always gnawing away at military cohesion.

Why is it so important for gays to trumpet their gayness from the hilltops – how does this encourage a cohesive military which seeks the highest levels of excellence??

And, as someone here suggested, how the heck does one PROVE their gayness, pray tell?

Let’s keep Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell – because it works.

Posted by: Jefferson Paine on January 3, 2007 12:21 PM
29. This issue is very similar to inclusion of females on ships and even at some shore facilities. The place I work at has been guarded by an all male marine company since its inception. Recently, navy master-at-arms have been integrated into the guard force. The guard force now has a make up of about 1/3 females sailor and 2/3 male sailors/marines. Within 2 months of their arrival there was a herpes outbreak within the company and one of the female sailors had to be reassigned because the marines nick-named her "The Clearing Barrel" because so many people were unloading their weapons there. Gay or straight, sexual tension creates problems that siphon time and resources (administrative/disciplinary hearings, STD training, etc...) away from the mission and is not a welcomed addition to close living/working quarters or combat arenas.

Posted by: Dustin on January 3, 2007 12:23 PM
30. Heh. So our all volunteer military is not only smarter and better educated than some would have us believe, but also more tolerant.

I think treating gays as if being gay is some kind of disability is ridiculous and demeaning -- and not only to gays.

Posted by: starboardhelm on January 3, 2007 12:26 PM
31. Jefferson...you're right; this is about social engineering. It is the social-conservatives trying to socially engineer a world where gays don't exist. Let's just be clear about who is and is not using politically correct language and social engineering.

Is it possible that some gay men and women will not be discreet about their sexuality? Certainly. But I'll bet you the relative percentage is miniscule compared to the heterosexual men who are not discreet about their sexuality. Should we ban all men who are heterosexual because heterosexual men have been sexually aggressive?

Of course not. Each case should be handled on its merits, and admission to the military should be singularly based on ability to perform the duties assigned. Anything beyond that is bias and misinformation.

Posted by: Timothy on January 3, 2007 12:32 PM
32. Timothy,

Sorry - your rationale couldn't be more wrong. Don't Ask, Don't Tell ALLOWS gays in the military. Directly contrary to your loony claims that gays are "banned" or that they are somehow being engineered "out of existence". This completely marginalizes your agenda right out of the gate.

The current policy, which works quite well, prohibits the flaunting, advertising, cat-fighting, prancing, etc. which undermines military cohesiveness - while allowing gays to serve professionally.

Posted by: Jefferson Paine on January 3, 2007 12:42 PM
33. The pro-homosexual lobby would LOVE to see the military accept openly gay personnel. It would certainly buttress their arguements for gay marriage. Within 24 hours of the military changing its policy the gay lobby would loudly connect that decision to the debate over gay marriage.

It would take a very, very shortsighted view to think that the gay lobby would not IMMEDIATELY take every advantage of a change in military policy to leverage that governmental decision in their fight for gay marriage.

Shali's personal opinion is worth no more than any other military person's opinion. It is just an opinion.

Posted by: VMR on January 3, 2007 01:01 PM
34. VMR...so? Why should government be involved in telling gay individuals who they can or cannot spend their life with? Or, are you one of those proponents of big government trying to socially-engineer your view of the world onto everyone else?

Posted by: Timothy on January 3, 2007 01:19 PM
35. Anyone who thinks gays shouldn't be able to serve in the military either a) hasn't seved (sic) in the military and buys into the anti-gay industry's message on the "evil gays" ( I call it an industry because of the billion dollar annual investments into it, but that's a different story) or b) are just plain stupid.

1. I served.
2. I don't buy into any 'anti-gay' or 'evil gay' message any more than I buy into your pro-gay, heterophobic (to flip a term) message.
3. I don't consider myself 'just plain stupid' but am obviously much, much less smart than someone such as yourself ... according to you.

Ever think it boils down to not wanting to shower with men who find you attractive?

Ever think some people aren't comfortable standing 'heel to toe' with a gay man in front or behind of them?

Could it possibly cross your mind some of us are fed up with the constant promotion of the gay agenda and wish the same 'live and let live' mantra could be equally applied to heterosexuals, too?

Seems to me you and those you knew had very few problems serving as gays in the military. So, why does it need to be changed now? Couldn't be there's an agenda to push, could it?

Posted by: jimg on January 3, 2007 01:25 PM
36. What's with these retired generals that live in Steilacoom and Fox Island? They retire and then come out mouths ablazing. No wonder Rummie had a hard time getting rid of the Clinton culture.

Posted by: swatter on January 3, 2007 01:30 PM
37. The Zogby poll is entitled "Opinions of Military Personnel on Gays in the Military". Its findings would be of value if most military personnel had had experience with gays in the military, but this is not the case.

On Page 5, the text states that 45% suspect a member of their unit is gay, and that 31% do not suspect a member of their unit. That leaves, at most, 24% who know a gay in their unit. The text also states that 23% are definitely aware of a gay in their unit. The next part is unclear, stating that 75% know 2 or less gays within their unit. Is that 75% of the 23% (it would seem necessary that "knowing" would require "being aware of"), or 75% of those polled?

Either way, drawing solid conclusions seems untenable, as only a fraction of those polled have actual experience on which to base their answers. And even for those with some experience, their answers are based on extrapolation from a maximum of two data points.

Also, what little experience with gays in the military is possessed by the fraction of those polled who have any experience at all, is with gays serving under DADT. To the extent that this imposes constraints on their behavior, a situation where gays serve openly would be even further removed from what the typical individual has experienced.

Posted by: ewaggin on January 3, 2007 01:35 PM
38. Jimg, and that's what it really comes down to, right? You just don't like them and don't want to serve with them. Sounds like the same story we heard with blacks and with women.

Essentially, what you are saying, is that it is YOU who would be unable to do your job in the presence of people different than you. If that is the case, then perhaps it is you who should not serve in a military whose mission is to protect a country committed to the ideals of equality and pluralism.

Again, the only standard should be ability to do the job; and if you are unable to do your job based upon your own biases, then that seems to be your problem.

Posted by: Timothy on January 3, 2007 01:45 PM
39. Timothy, you can continue to stamp your widdle footsie all you like by belittling those who disagree with you, but the ONLY question concerning personnel policy should be this: Will the Armed Forces of the United State be better off or worse off if a "gay-OK" policy is put into place?

Neither you nor anyone else has offered anything to show where the military would be better off; many have offered reasons as to why it would not be better off.

Does it suck if you're gay to be disqualified from serving in the military? Yup. Just like it sucks if you're too short, too tall, too fat, diabetic, asthmatic, color blind, a high school drop out, anorexic or any of the other dozens of physical or mental traits that disqualifies one from serving. But clearly, there is much, much more to serving in the military then there is "the ability to do the job."

But then, you knew that, right?

Busted for domestic violence? You're out. Busted for drugs? Out. Busted for DUI? Out, either immediately or through QMP.

Life is not always fair. And the good General is no longer serving.

Posted by: Hinton on January 3, 2007 02:40 PM
40. Jimmie@16, isn't the Israeli army "feared and respected"? It allows gays to serve openly.

I think the US military should worry about other things if it wants respect ... but I digress.

And this isn't about the govt forcing "percentages and representative demographics" -- it's about banning a big group of people, in fact the only group to be banned for a reason not directly related to performance.

The ban is going away; it's just a question of how long aginb homophobes can delay it.

Posted by: Bruce on January 3, 2007 03:02 PM
41. Hinton@39, there is a clear reason why the military would be better off to drop its ban: it would enlarge the pool of potential recruits, enabling it to choose the best-qualified rather than worrying about irrelevant criteria. Even those who support the ban have to admit that this would strengthen the military.

The burden is on you to show why sexual orientation should count more than ability.

Posted by: Bruce on January 3, 2007 03:09 PM
42. Jimg writes, "Some of us are fed up with the constant promotion of the gay agenda and wish the same 'live and let live' mantra could be equally applied to heterosexuals, too."

Jimg, are you saying that gays are asking to do anything that heterosexuals can't do?

Funny, I'm a fully-out heterosexual and I've never run into the heterosexual discrimination that you seem so troubled by.

Posted by: Bruce on January 3, 2007 03:14 PM
43. Come on you lying leftist clowns. Current policies ALLOW gays to serve in the military.

And no one is stopping you from pounding your buddy in the backside. We just don't want to hear you BRAGGING about it!

Why do you keep lying about the policy - or is there some other deficiency preventing your understanding??

Posted by: Jefferson Paine on January 3, 2007 03:22 PM
44. I say let them serve out of the closet. But there will be no "investigations" against ANY "gay bashing" by anybody.

If you want to serve, and you choose to oogle another in the shower, you get what you deserve.

Take your chances just like everyone else does. But don't play the discrimanation card every time some ones feelings are hurt, or when you get the sheet beat out of ya for oogling another.

Another point: Straight men are more homophobic than women. I wonder how many straight men will choose NOT to enlist because they could have a oogler in the ranks. Just a question...

Posted by: Chris on January 3, 2007 04:09 PM
45. Bruce--
i agree in part with Timothy--ability is needed. good people are needed--especially PATRIOTIC ones. ok-then serve. i'm for hiring the best people--volunteers--so there is no question about choice. you got in and accepted the rules.

now--be quiet and discreet. stop waving your agenda in every fabric of our culture. we know. we understand. nose-rubs & nookies by agenda-forcers get old.

please--stop with the forced social experimentation recognition and "quasi rights" for every stripe of every human taste. different people/backgrounds are accepted more readily when they blend in and do not force their cause.

this is an army. not a campus. not a locale. not a library board. you are not there to "express your pride" nor "revel in your diversity." you are there to serve your country and kill the enemy without flinhcing if needed. that's it.

what's next--recognition of a rainbow flag flying next to the country's flag in battle? on our ships?

my argument is not anti-gay. it's anti-cohesiveness. a blender blends. it does not let layers separate. you want a collidal suspension military with micro-rights for all. i want a blend that's unified against enemies.

Posted by: jimmie-howa-doin on January 3, 2007 04:51 PM
46. Jimmie, I hear you, really I do. But, let me ask you. Can a heterosexual man hang a poster of a sexy woman in his foot locker? Is that waving the heterosexual agenda about? Can a homosexual post a sexy picture of a man in his footlocker?

Posted by: Timothy on January 3, 2007 05:17 PM
47. Tim

Why are you looking at what other display in their footlockers.

Better yet, why do you care?

Posted by: Chris on January 3, 2007 05:53 PM
48.

Out of all the posts....25 and 32 nail it.

WE DON'T NEED ANYMORE PROTECTED CLASSES OF CITIZENS- ESPECIALLY IN THE MILITARY.

Note - the military also will kick you out for having an extramarital affair. Should we force them to change that policy because it discriminates against swingers? NO!

I want the military focusing on protecting the country, not fretting over the sexual preferences of soldiers.

Posted by: Andy on January 3, 2007 06:15 PM
49. Tim 46--thanks for input--

my basic point is that this issue--like most government programs or changes--grow & extend WAAYYY beyond their original intent and mission (like soc. security) to try to encompass ALL needs, wants & feelings.

military. fighting. period. it's not a corporate diversity seminar for civilians. it's not about hugs & kisses and exclusion and inclusion.

it's about a team willing to give their lives for each other and us. the gay issue and its pro-openess arguments further distract from the mission.

shoot, kill & protect me. forget your personal selfish comfy zone/needs for a moment and think of the team, mission and your country.

want to be a social reformer? great--do it in civvy life, not in an army. dont use the military as your vehicle for social change. use it to defend whatever social changes you strive for legally as a civilian.

like many religions, the military should not change/bend at every trendy social whim and whiff of the current wind. just my opin. as a non-vet.

Posted by: jimmie-howya-doin on January 3, 2007 09:02 PM
50. Timothy @46 -

Your comparison isn't valid, for a couple of reasons. For starters, the use of "heterosexual man" is sexist. A better term would be gay soldier, as appears in the title of this post.

More critically, the heterosexual soldier doesn't (in the barracks) take showers, and use the same restroom, with others of the same sex as the subject of the picture. And to be clear on this point, it's a privacy issue, and has nothing whatsoever to do with the professionalism of the gay soldier.

Posted by: ewaggin on January 4, 2007 12:58 PM
51. jimmie-howya-doin...

Again, then, we set the bar at performance, plain and simple. It is you, it would seem to me, who wants to engineer the military to be something other than a lean fighting machine. I want the best soldiers, no matter the contexts of who they are.

ewaggin...I was responding to the notion that gays will prance around and flaunt their sexuality. If by flaunt the previous posters mean "doing what everyone else does" then that is simply bias, and nothing to base a policy on.

Posted by: Timothy on January 5, 2007 11:55 AM
52. Some of the problems on letting open homosexuals and lesbian to serve are as follows: 1. The health care cost of homosexual is staggering. The high incidence of HIV/AID and other SDS's will strain the miltary health care budget to the nth degree. 2. VA costs...medical disabilty will bankrupt the VA health care system along with cost if disability pay. 3. Dependents..there will be a hue and cry to include homosexual/lesbian partners to be listed as dependents. Cost will require a higher defense budget at the cost of equipment, r&d, etc. 4. Homosexual/lesbian preditors-child molesters will cause potential great trauma to the children of heteral sexual couples. Law suits will happen frequently will cost DOD a large sum of operating cash. 5. SSN: The cost of having "partners" of homsexual/lesbian soldiers will put further un-needed strain on the system. So, all things being equal...there is no up-side to allow open homosexuals/lesbians in the military. There is no constitional right to serve in the militsry...in fact, the constition give congress the right to set standrads for the military...not the courts and not the presidency...congress. Lets not forget that. Keep out homosexuals/lesbians and we'll continue to have the best military in the world. Change it and we'll be like the French where they have a one page rule of engagement regulation...SURRENDER....ps: I lived in France for a year so I know the attitude of the french quite well.

Posted by: Allan Rothlisberg on January 5, 2007 02:38 PM
53. Bruce @ 41, nothing could be further from the truth.

For the many reasons already provided, including those I have stated, the current gay policy IS a failure.

But the answer is not to "expand the pool of potential recruits," as you put it, when the result would be problems with retention, unit cohesion issues and a variety of other concerns that make no difference to those with a pro-gay agenda.

I repeat: the answer is to outlaw homosexuality in the military, period.

THERE IS NO RIGHT TO SERVE. You get that? None. The courts have ruled on this issue repeatedly.

If the only important thing was to "expand the pool of potential recruits," that could be done by, say, dropping the minimum height a couple of inches, raising the maximum height a could of inches; doing the same with weight, vision and hearing... and a variety of other discriminating and disqualifying requirements.

There is much, much more to serving then what you believe, and what you would have us believe. And at the end of the day, the burden is NOT on me... it's on you.

The problems of allowing homosexual activity within the military are well known: everything from increased health care costs thru the impacts on unit readiness and unit capability. That you would sacrifice those negative impacts in the name of your agenda is really, well, rather revealing.

Posted by: Hinton on January 7, 2007 12:37 AM
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