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The Army Is Dumb
November 13, 2002 1:47 PM   Subscribe

Don't Ask, Don't Tell, Don't Matter If You Are Fluent In Arabic, Despite Our Serious Need For That.... This story hits very close to home. This is a friend from college (Emory) who was just thrown out of the army when they discovered he had a boyfriend. Particularly ridiculous is the fact that he had just achieved fluency in Arabic and would have been (among other gay soldiers) extremely useful to the cause at present. Apparently, heterosexual couples discovered coupled in their rooms at the same inspection were given 10 days restriction and extra duty.
posted by adrober (66 comments total)

 
The fact that he is fluent in Arabic is totally irrelevant.
posted by blogRot at 1:54 PM on November 13, 2002


I especially appreciated this passage:

Gamble likened the military's ban on homosexuals to racial segregation in the 1940s and 1950s, when military officials argued that racial integration would threaten moral cohesion and white soldiers would be uncomfortable serving with blacks. He said whether a soldier can perform his duties is much more important than whether others agree with his lifestyle.

That is an excellent example and seriously questions the military's position concerning homosexuals.
posted by BlueTrain at 2:01 PM on November 13, 2002


Unfortunately, the soldier in question must have been fully aware of the ramifications of the 'don't ask, don't tell' policy. Indeed, his fluency in any language is completely irrelevant. The military must suffer the consequences of its own choices ... just as the Boy Scouts of America are suffering the consequences of their choices.
posted by WolfDaddy at 2:16 PM on November 13, 2002


The fact that he is fluent in Arabic is totally irrelevant.

Don't you think fluency in Arabic might be especially useful to the U.S. military at this point in time?
posted by Ty Webb at 2:22 PM on November 13, 2002


It's still another example of government waste. We hear military types make excuses for their lack of middle east intelligence by saying they have few personnel fluent in arabic. Then we hear of them throwing away trained personnel because they happen to be gay. The military owes it to the taxpayers to use every single resource available to them in uncertain times like these. Their failure to do so highlights the military's preference for feeding their own misguided fear over national security.
posted by answergrape at 2:28 PM on November 13, 2002


Under the current policies, yes, his fluency in arabic is completely irrelevant.

However, the example serves quite well to point out that his sexuality should also be entirely irrelevant for an organization such as the military machine that has more important priorities which could well be served by a soldier fluent in arabic.
posted by theRegent at 2:29 PM on November 13, 2002


There is, of course, the argument made by one poster to the article that a true patriot would subvert his or her personal interests to the needs of the country. It's this sort of argument, though, that evinces a need for more education about homosexuality in our schools - it's not like one's sexual orientation is a personal interest on the level of, say, nose-picking or eating roadkill. It's integral to someone's self; the policy not only discriminates against homosexual soldiers (that is, straight soldiers don't have to hide their sexuality), but it also forces them to actively repress a central part of who they are. Gay soldiers can't "not be gay" and more than black soldiers can "not be black." Seems the country is asking a whole lot of those soldiers, more so than of anyone else.
posted by risenc at 2:31 PM on November 13, 2002


Don't you think fluency in Arabic might be especially useful to the U.S. military at this point in time?

Not any more so than his marksmanship skills with a rifle. The policy, whether you agree with it or not, is well know to all members of the service. If you want to debate if this policy is correct or not, is another topic, but under the current guidelines, he should not have been caught with his boyfriend.
posted by Steve_at_Linnwood at 2:32 PM on November 13, 2002


Don't you think fluency in Arabic might be especially useful to the U.S. military at this point in time?

Perhaps...but unless he had more clout than simply being a linguist, his discharge was SOP.

This journalist probably realized that writing an article simply condemning the military's position on homosexuality would have been overlooked by most readers. So the addition of "protecting national security, etc" was the kicker to create the shock value. But the true crime here, IMHO, is the simple expulsion of Gamble. His abilities, although rare and useful, have no place here.
posted by BlueTrain at 2:37 PM on November 13, 2002


Gay soldiers can't "not be gay" and more than black soldiers can "not be black."

Not the best analogy. Had his boyfriend not been sleeping over that night, there would not have been an issue. Short of tracking down yet undiscovered genes or yet undetermined brain differences, homosexuality expresses itself behaviorally and mentally, rather than physically.

A better analogy would be that a gay soldier can't "not sleep with his boyfriend while in training" no more than a Latino soldier can "not listen to music in Spanish while in training".

That is not to say that it is fair. It is wholly unfair to discharge him while only mildly reprimanding fellow heterosexual soldiers in the same situations. That is unacceptable.

But it is still not as if they are asking anyone to will himself into another ethnicity.
posted by 4easypayments at 2:45 PM on November 13, 2002


Don't you think fluency in Arabic might be especially useful to the U.S. military at this point in time?

Not any more so than his marksmanship skills with a rifle.


No, at this point his Arabic fluency is much more useful to the military. There is no shortage in the military of marksmen, but there is a shortage of fluent Arabic and other Middle-East language speakers. It is true that the soldier broke the rules by being gay (how ridiculous is that statement?), but the fact remains that our military is now less equipped, however slightly, to deal with the terrorist threat because of an absurd policy motivated and sustained purely by bigotry.

But the true crime here, IMHO, is the simple expulsion of Gamble. His abilities, although rare and useful, have no place here.

I think it does well to underscore the inevitably self-defeating nature of the policy.
posted by Ty Webb at 2:45 PM on November 13, 2002


So, extending the hypocracy, will he be expected to pay the military for his linguistics training?
posted by yonderboy at 2:47 PM on November 13, 2002


It is true that the soldier broke the rules by being gay

No, he broke the rules by being openly gay. Important distinction. It doesn't make it fair, to be sure, but, again, the soldier knew the policy when he enlisted, and if he wasn't prepared to pay the consequences of his choices, he shouldn't have had his boyfriend to sleep over.

Instead he appears to have blithely ignored a strictly-enforced policy, one that's been in place for more than ten years, that comes from the highest ranks of the military and has been supported in multiple instances by the Supreme Court. I'm not sure I want someone--gay or straight--serving in the military that feels they can ignore orders that they don't personally like. They've got to have a much better reason to be insubordinate, if you ask me.

Yes, the policy is sheer hypocrisy. Yes, it is self-defeating. It's still a standing regulation. Do not pass go, do not collect $200.
posted by WolfDaddy at 2:57 PM on November 13, 2002


Apparently, heterosexual couples discovered coupled in their rooms at the same inspection were given 10 days restriction and extra duty.

I want to believe this, adrober, but it is not mentioned in the article. Do you have any source or is this word of mouth?
posted by zekinskia at 3:01 PM on November 13, 2002


It's pretty obvious that he was discharged not for sleeping with someone, but for being gay - catching him in the act was just the damning evidence. He would have been discharged just as quickly if he had come out of the closet to his CO, but otherwise never been seen engaging in homosexual activity. That's why the analogy to black soldiers is very apt - he's gay one way or another; the only thing keeping him in the army is his willingness and ability to lie about it.
posted by risenc at 3:05 PM on November 13, 2002


zekinskia: Check out the postings at the bottom of the article; Gamble himself wrote it in response to a previous post.
posted by risenc at 3:05 PM on November 13, 2002


the soldier knew the policy when he enlisted, and if he wasn't prepared to pay the consequences of his choices, he shouldn't have had his boyfriend to sleep over.

Yes, good point. It's also possible that Gamble felt somehow emboldened to flout the policy because of his much-valued abilities.
posted by Ty Webb at 3:12 PM on November 13, 2002


the only thing keeping him in the army is his willingness and ability to lie about it.

Which he obviously did when enlisting. He lied. Let me say that again: he lied.

Why does everyone seem to have a problem with this? Gamble chose to enlist. He also chose to lie about his sexuality, and now seems to think it's unfair the treatment he's receiving now that the lie has come to light.

The best way to defeat the policy is for gays to stop volunteering for the armed forces. But they don't, as is obvious. On their own heads be it. Seems to me many gay people think the benefits of joining the armed forces *gasp* outweigh the drawbacks of DADT.
posted by WolfDaddy at 3:18 PM on November 13, 2002


What makes the training relevant is that the military often looks the other way, bends rules or sweeps infractions aside for offenses far more serious than this. Real shocker there, I know, but it's true.

That the Army couldn't see the value of doing so in this case is ridiculous. That the punishment for hetero couples is much less than that for homo couples is disgusting. That's where the discussion should focus.
posted by mediareport at 3:22 PM on November 13, 2002


WolfDaddy,

Gamble chose to enlist because he's always aspired to be in the army---it was one of his dreams. Why should he be prevented because he's gay?

And if his punishment is, according to you, appropriate for his being "insubordinate," why was it a greater punishment than the heterosexuals who were equally insubordinate? They all broke the same rule.
posted by adrober at 3:26 PM on November 13, 2002


Gamble chose to enlist. He also chose to lie about his sexuality, and now seems to think it's unfair the treatment he's receiving now that the lie has come to light.

Wow, Wolfdaddy, you're really going all out judgmental on this one, aren't you? Sorry, hon, but please tell me where it says Gamble "chose to lie about his sexuality." I thought the whole point of DADT was that the Army couldn't ask. So how could he have lied?

Hate to break it to you, but g/l/b/t people have every right to join the armed forces. The more of them that do and speak up, the better chance we have of getting rid of DADT once and for all. That you're attacking Gamble as a liar instead of defending his right to serve openly is bizarre.
posted by mediareport at 3:28 PM on November 13, 2002


I thought the whole point of DADT was that the Army couldn't ask.

They can't ask, but they do inform you of the consequences of you "telling" them that you are gay (it is two part deal: don't ask & don't tell), before you swear in...

Basically it is your last chance to back out, before you commit. No one can say they didn't know what they were getting in to. You can be gay all you want under the current policy, just not in public.
posted by Steve_at_Linnwood at 3:37 PM on November 13, 2002


You can be gay all you want under the current policy, just not in public.

Encouraging deceit. I love the military we trust our lives too ...

(For what its worth, I do find this policy to be a Clinton failure.)
posted by Wulfgar! at 3:43 PM on November 13, 2002


Wulfgar, please don't take it that I agree with the policy... I have no problem with a homosexual serving with me, and I would not report it if I found out.

But that is the policy and it has to be obeyed, as you pointed out.
posted by Steve_at_Linnwood at 3:46 PM on November 13, 2002


Did he enlist, or was he was commissioned? Being a college graduate one could assume he was an officer. Officers are held to different standards that the rank and file.

adrober: They all broke the same rule.
No they did not. Perhaps you missed the part where it mentioned he was gay?
(I want to say 'caught being gay', but it just sounds so damn wrong.)
posted by blogRot at 3:47 PM on November 13, 2002


Also, we're not discussing being gay in public, but being gay under military scrutiny with pop-inspection. How is breaking the rules with a gay lover any different than breaking the rules with a straight lover? Don't ask, don't tell? Bullshit. Don't ask, but don't fucking let anybody find out; that's the policy.
posted by Wulfgar! at 3:47 PM on November 13, 2002


(For what its worth, I do find this policy to be a Clinton failure.)

Failure? He ended up with a compromise policy, true, but it's one thats every application (such as this one) reveals the stark, shameful absurdity of the ban on gays in the military. When Clinton took on the issue, the military was completely against gays in the service, period. Now they're strenuously defending DADT. His compromise was not perfect, but it was progress and it was a significant step toward overturning the ban.
posted by Ty Webb at 4:04 PM on November 13, 2002


On preview: what S_a_L said in a far more succinct manner.

Gamble knew the consequences of DADT, and still chose to enlist. The fact that he got caught on a surprise inspection in bed with his boyfriend either makes him a liar or, if that's too strong a word for you mediareport, a subversive.

I'm sorry, but the armed forces shouldn't be about being a liar or a subversive, and if their hypocritical policies would require me to be one or the other, I'd do the honorable thing for myself and not enlist, knowing that I couldn't live any kind of rational existence otherwise. If Gamble felt differently, thought he could live that kind of life ... well, then, he shouldn't have gotten caught now should he? He should have stayed in that closet he knew he was entering or failing that, chosen not to whine once he suffered the consequences of his own actions.
posted by WolfDaddy at 4:05 PM on November 13, 2002


Don't ask to ride on the front of the bus

Don't tell 'em that you are...
posted by dash_slot- at 4:08 PM on November 13, 2002


But that is the policy and it has to be obeyed, as you pointed out.

How very heartening to know there are those who still willingly join and swear allegiance to organizations where "virtues" like "obedience" to discriminatory policies are so prized.

No doubt sister organizations like Al Qaeda value such "virtues" just as highly.

One can only hope that the soldier in question (and all soldiers) eventually somehow grow out of adolescence, and learn that handing over your conscience and becoming an obedient automaton is absolutely as low as one can go in life.
posted by fold_and_mutilate at 4:16 PM on November 13, 2002


Comparing sexuality to race is specious. We are often asked to suppress behaviors which we can control. I don't hump the hottie bus driver when I board the bus, but it's my choice not to do so, and if I do choose to do so, then I'd better be full well prepared to accept the consequences of my actions. I cannot choose to change the color of my skin when boarding the bus. Different methods are and must be required to attain equality here.
posted by WolfDaddy at 4:16 PM on November 13, 2002


The don't ask stuff came out of Clinton gang. If I knew Arabic, I would not go into the army but rather into some intel outfit that could use those skills. Or, better, work as civilian for the military and make better money.

And the girls? can they shack up even if they do not speak Arabic?
posted by Postroad at 4:38 PM on November 13, 2002


Just like Bill Hicks said on the subject of gays in the military:

"Gays in the military . . . here's how I feel about it, alright? Anyone . . . DUMB enough . . . to want to be in the military, should be allowed in. End of fucking story. That should be the only requirement."

I miss that man. He has a great point. Many of my family members served in the so-called 'good war', but they were drafted. War is a mess no one should participate in. I don't plan to. Let the Pentagon get attacked. Who would miss it besides the leeches that suck our tax dollars away to the tune of 350 billion a year.
posted by letterneversent at 4:41 PM on November 13, 2002


I say this guy make some lemonade and join the C.I.A.
posted by clavdivs at 4:45 PM on November 13, 2002


how do we define homosexuality (possibly written by a dislexic), anyway?
posted by asok at 4:59 PM on November 13, 2002


Doesn't this open a nice little window for draft dodgers (hypothetically)? And would saying "I am homosexual" to a draft officer get you conscientious objector status?
posted by Yelling At Nothing at 4:59 PM on November 13, 2002


First: The article said he was just finishing his second semester of language training. He was not exactly a "doctor of Arabic." Would anybody care if someone was fired after two semesters of janitor training?

Second: This may be a little off-topic, but it strikes me as odd that people declare themselves gay after being kicked out of the military for being gay. You'd think there would be a few stories about people who "just did it a couple of times" or "were only joking" and whatnot.

What is the military policy on "experimentation," or even group sex? What if a soldier is stationed in Thailand and has sex with a transsexual prostitute ... and is it still gay if it is a post-operative transsexual?
posted by son_of_minya at 5:11 PM on November 13, 2002


Postroad: And the girls? can they shack up even if they do not speak Arabic?

I do think there's a double-standard there. One of my ex-girlfriends was asked by the Marine recruiter if she was a lesbian. The guy didn't give a damn, just told her not to admit it again. (I can attest from personal observation that she was not actually a lesbian, but the "bisexual" question is tricky.)

On the other hand: I told this same Marine recruiter that I "am a total pussy. I don't want to be anywhere near gunfire, or even just regular fire. I'll kill people, but only if they don't fight back." He wrote "FAG!" next to my name on the list.
posted by son_of_minya at 5:17 PM on November 13, 2002


That's not the point, son_of_minya. We just don't want our soldiers distracted while they're trying to kill brown people. The only group sex that could take place in battle would probably be homosexual sex anyway.
posted by letterneversent at 5:21 PM on November 13, 2002


One can only hope that the soldier in question (and all soldiers) eventually somehow grow out of adolescence, and learn that handing over your conscience and becoming an obedient automaton is absolutely as low as one can go in life.

Yeah, thanks f&m, I love your searing look into my character.
posted by Lord Chancellor at 5:31 PM on November 13, 2002


The military must suffer the consequences of its own choices ... just as the Boy Scouts of America are suffering the consequences of their choices.

Actually, no... all Americans must suffer the consequences. Thats why people are bitching about it. I was in the Boy Scouts when I was a kid, and I dropped out due to their position on religion. I'm fine with that. It's a private recreational organization.

The military, on the other hand, is a public service organization. If it is creating rules that do a disservice to the public [and this article is a great example, and this is why his skills ARE relevant], that matters to EVERYONE in America, not just the military. It's NOT a matter of the military being able to just do whatever it wants. They are not a private organization and are accountable to the public.

There are two issues here: (1) whether gay soldiers should be allowed to serve [civil rights issue], and (2) whether it is in the best interests of the military to allow gay soldiers to serve [political/policy issue].

I think the current policy is disgraceful, encourages deceit, and weakens the military. Whether or not one agrees with me, I hope everyone agrees that military policy is NOT just an issue for the military, but for the public they SERVE.
posted by wildcrdj at 6:57 PM on November 13, 2002


And would saying "I am homosexual" to a draft officer get you conscientious objector status?

I had a theater prof in college who told me during the Vietnam War she and other acting students held training sessions for people to "learn to act gay." I don't know if this was a widespread phenomenon, or just local to wherever she went (Yale, I think)...
posted by CommaTheWaterseller at 9:37 PM on November 13, 2002


You want real hypocrisy? How about this: the military routinely refuses to discharge some soldiers who declare their homo-/bisexuality and ask to be transferred or discharged - Note: the supervising officers *acknowledge* the soldiers' orientation as they refuse the request. Read that one again. Here's SLDN's take:

...the military cannot have it both ways. Military officials hunt down gay sailors and ruin their military aspirations on one hand, while attempting to force other openly gay personnel to continue serving. The Navy has no legal authority to retain these service members and to continue subjecting them to a hostile, dangerous environment.

How the military decides which queers to kick out and which to keep is beyond me. If the military itself isn't following its own rules, on what exactly is the judgmental, completely unsympathetic "HE KNEW THE RULES AND BROKE THEM" stuff in this thread being based on? Talk about ridiculously heartless.

Comparing sexuality to race is specious.

No, it's not; the similarities in the military's rationale for segregating on the basis of both couldn't be more clear. While comparing fucking a buddy afterhours to race may be specious, when it comes to individuals and their civil rights the comparison is *very* apt. I can no more deny the homosexuality that's part of who I am than a black person can deny that their skin is darker than a caucasian's.
posted by mediareport at 10:12 PM on November 13, 2002


I can no more deny the homosexuality that's part of who I am than a black person can deny that their skin is darker than a caucasian's.

You can't deny it, but it's hardly as immediately obvious (in the vast majority of cases, I'm hardly speaking about drag queens or someone intentionally femming/camping it up) as race. If you walked down the sidewalk and a black man walked down the sidewalk, I'd wager that 100% of passersby would recognize the black man as black while far fewer would, without prompting, be able to make an identfication of your sexuality.

In any case, the simple fact of the matter is that any hardcore bigots (with regard to race) have come to learn that the military is not the place for them, seeing as how the military community has a much higher concentration of minorities than the public at large. But the idea that homosexuality is -- at the very least -- something "icky" and not a trait one would want from their barracksmates is a far more common and accepted point of view.

Without more open, everyday exposure to gays those ideas aren't likely to go away any time soon, but because those ideas are so entrenched, it makes it difficult to move toward an environment where the "ooh, it's icky" types can have that educational exposure. It's a perfect catch-22.

Anyone who can figure out a way fix this -- especially since it's largely linked to the lack of openly gay people in society as a whole which is linked to the continued discrimination and, in some cases, outright danger of being out -- should be a Nobel Prize winner.
posted by Dreama at 11:39 PM on November 13, 2002


But the idea that homosexuality is -- at the very least -- something "icky" and not a trait one would want from their barracksmates is a far more common and accepted point of view.

This was the exact same argument used in the fifties against the integration of the armed forces. I remember when bus depots and restaurants had three restrooms -- men, women and colored. Coloreds using a white restroom was considered "icky." Public drinking fountains came in pairs, one for colored water to keep "icky" blacks from touching the white's water. Blacks were not allowed to try on shoes in the shoe store but instead had to trace their foot on a piece of paper for fitting to prevent "icky" cross contamination. The idea of whites sharing barracks with blacks was "commonly accepted" as abhorrent.

Truman didn't get a Nobel Prize for integrating the army. It simply required the leadership and courage to stand up and say this discrimination cannot continue. The armed forces survived change before and they can again.
posted by JackFlash at 11:44 AM on November 14, 2002


The difference is that I can walk up to a "heterosexuals only" drinking fountain, so to speak, and no one will know, unless I so choose, that I am a homosexual.

I simply cannot make a statement by the mere act of walking up to that fountain and drinking from it.

The fact that non-heterosexuals can be invisible at will and at choice is a major distinction from many other minorities, and one that introduces a different set of problems to solve when it comes to issues like this.
posted by WolfDaddy at 12:09 PM on November 14, 2002


mediareport: You want real hypocrisy?...

"I'm Gay! Kick me out!" is used as an excuse for those that can't take the military life and who indeed want to get out. While I don't want to get into a generalization, in my six years on a submarine I've seen about a dozen non-quals (the FNGs) try to go that route. The only time I've seen action taken on 'being gay' was for a salty E-5 who had "deviant tastes" that sometimes included males, who happened to be witnessed by an FNG officer at a bar.
posted by blogRot at 12:49 PM on November 14, 2002


oh... and the "individuals and their civil rights the comparison is *very* apt." part you are mistaken.
The military takes away your civil rights upon entering bootcamp and slowly returns a few of them as 'rewards'. And they are not fond of Individuals, either.
posted by blogRot at 12:56 PM on November 14, 2002


blogRot, I'm well aware that some non-gay folks try to use the "I'm gay" route to get out of their commitment. It's wrong, but that wasn't the issue in either of the two cases in the SLDN link above. Both men feel directly threatened by the hostile environment created by their fellow soldiers and/or the officers above them. The military knows about the threat, is doing nothing about it *and* refuses to discharge the men under its own rules. That's hypocrisy - dangerous hypocrisy, given past murderous episodes against gay soldiers.

The military takes away your civil rights upon entering bootcamp and slowly returns a few of them as 'rewards'.

That's a pretty gross oversimplification. Even in bootcamp, soldiers retain basic civil rights, although the lattitude given to the military is admittedly wide. But it was Constitutional protections of freedom of worship that drove Lt. Col. Martha McSally's lawsuit against the military, for instance. Those protections are hardly the military's to offer only as a 'reward.' And I'm pretty sure the Uniform Code defines a "lawful order" (in part, at least) as one that isn't contrary to the Constitution. Civilian control of the military is the American way, blogRot.

WolfDaddy: The fact that non-heterosexuals can be invisible at will and at choice is a major distinction from many other minorities, and one that introduces a different set of problems to solve when it comes to issues like this.


Yeah, but that distinction doesn't mean it's not an overstatement to call the obvious parallels "specious." And you know that some people are more able to hide their sexual orientation than others, WolfDaddy. And you're begging the question of why anyone should have to. Don't forget, too, about those folks who may be straight, but show obvious characteristics traditionally associated with another gender. They get fag- or dyke-bashed, too, and ending the climate that validates that violence and discrimination is a worthwhile goal. Encouraging gutsy gay or bi soldiers to come out while still in the military is one of the best possible ways I can think of to make sure that happens.

In fact, I can't think of a better way.
posted by mediareport at 1:54 PM on November 14, 2002


That's a pretty gross oversimplification. Even in bootcamp, soldiers retain basic civil rights, although the lattitude given to the military is admittedly wide.

Have you ever been to boot camp? I have, and I can say you are wrong. blogRot is accurate to describe Basic Training in those terms. You might want to note that the Lieutenant Colonel was not in Basic, when she lodged her complaint, so your example is irrelevant. When you sign up, and ship off to BCT you voluntarly suspend your rights. For example, you can be fined and punished for "talking back" to a NCO. That would infringe on your 1st Amendment rights, but that doesn't mean squat in the service. Furthermore, new rules from the USMJ, like laws against Adultery, apply to you when you are not on duty. As I have tried to explain here before, being a member of the military has different responsibilities and requirements than civilian life, and that means living by the rules of the military you volunteered to serve.
posted by Steve_at_Linnwood at 2:19 PM on November 14, 2002


Have you ever been to boot camp?

No, but my father and some of my friends have. I know what boot camp is about, thanks, even if I chose to avoid that path in my own life (on my father's advice, interestingly enough). I already admitted there's wide latitude on legal protections in boot camp, Steve; I don't know how you could have possibly missed it the first time. But *basic* civil rights - the right not to be murdered, the right not to be raped, e.g. - those are never given up.

My point was that blogRot's take was grossly overstated and simplistic. I stand by that point.
posted by mediareport at 10:54 PM on November 14, 2002


mediareport going off on the tangent of rape and murder is not relevant. Complying with standards of not engaging in homosexual activity or not being able to speak your mind are no where on the same level as rape and murder. That is my point, and I am sure you understood that.
posted by Steve_at_Linnwood at 12:00 PM on November 15, 2002


mediareport: you're missing the larger issue.

For Gamble, his desire to join the military quite obviously trumped his sexuality. He chose to be invisible to avoid discrimination. He chose to be invisible for personal gain. How can you possibly claim him as any kind of 'victim' of anything other than his own personal interest?

The struggle non-heterosexuals face springs from the fact that we can be invisible even to each other. Unlike racial minorities we can, and do at nearly every possible turn, turn invisible to avoid discrimination, hatred, and death. I've done it, every non-heterosexual I've ever known has done it, I'm sure you've done it. We find it easier to turn invisible than take the kind of risks nearly every other minority has had to take in order to attain equality. We must start to take responsibility for our actions in this regard.

Yes, there's parallels between this struggle and those of racial minorities. However, we have an advantage over those minorities we don't even want to acknowledge as having. We have our cake, and we get to eat it too. That's a selfish, individualistic thing to do ... not that there's anything wrong with that, but for you and people like you to expect people with whom the only thing you have in common is sexuality to unite behind some kind of common front is just naive. Something will always come along that will trump an individual's need to express his or her sexuality. To believe otherwise is dangerous folly.
posted by WolfDaddy at 1:39 PM on November 15, 2002


WolfDaddy---Everything about your post upset me, and I'm not sure how to respond intelligently. It just seems that your ideal world for gays in the military involves a life of shame and fear and an acknowledgment that The Powers That Be should rightfully dictate how we live our lives, even if that conflicts with everything we are as individuals.

Meanwhile, Andrew Sullivan linked the story on his site today under "The Military's Gift To Terrorists."
posted by adrober at 2:17 PM on November 15, 2002


He chose to be invisible to avoid discrimination. He chose to be invisible for personal gain. How can you possibly claim him as any kind of 'victim' of anything other than his own personal interest?

WolfDaddy, you don't have a freaking clue if Gamble had come out to himself before he joined the military. That horribly judgmental assumption you just made is *exactly* what's wrong with every one of your posts in this thread.
posted by mediareport at 3:47 PM on November 15, 2002


Bullshit, mediareport, I don't think even you believe Gamble was closeted when enlisting and if you do then this paragraph should put that notion to rest:

In April, he was finishing his second semester of Arabic study when a checker, doing a normal round of surprise inspections, found Gamble asleep in his bed with his boyfriend, also a language specialist. The inspectors searched the room and found photographs showing affectionate behavior between the two soldiers and cards expressing romantic feelings.

Based on the facts related in the article, for Gamble to be closeted upon enlistment yet still have the time and fortitude with which to both come out of the closet after enlisting and then to further pursue a gay relationship that had time to blossom to the point where sleepovers, pictures, and romantic cards were being exchanged between the parties seems extremely unlikely, given Gamble's age (based upon his graduation date of 2000), the timeframe involved, and the alleged overwhelming repression Gamble's claiming to have experienced.

But hey, we don't know everything here. Leap to your conclusions, I'll leap to mine.
posted by WolfDaddy at 4:09 PM on November 15, 2002


Leap to your conclusions, I'll leap to mine.

I'd rather stick to the facts, hon, thanks. The specifics of the Ramirez case are also instructive:

The DLI command originally informed Ramirez in writing that, despite her sexual orientation, she was being retained in the Army and should continue to report for duty.

Within weeks of that announcement, however, SLDN learned that DLI officials had apparently reopened Ramirez's case and were illegally questioning service members on base to obtain information about homosexual conduct. Additional service members at DLI were reportedly threatened with disciplinary action if they did not cooperate with the command's renewed investigation of Ramirez.

Shortly thereafter, Ramirez was informed that, despite DLI's earlier promises to allow her career to continue, she was being fired...

posted by mediareport at 4:49 PM on November 15, 2002


That is my point, and I am sure you understood that.

I was addressing blogRot, Steve, before you stepped in and pulled rank about boot camp. blogRot wrote, "The military takes away your civil rights upon entering bootcamp and slowly returns a few of them as 'rewards'." That was an overstatement, and I called him on it. Whether or not I've been to boot camp has nothing to do with the fact that the military most decidedly does *not* take away a soldier's civil rights and then slowly return "a few of them" as rewards. There are some civil rights that the soldier never loses, and that was my point.
posted by mediareport at 4:59 PM on November 15, 2002


First of all mediareport, I'll thank you to desist in your use of terms of endearment when speaking to me, whether their use be catty or otherwise. It presumes a familiarity with me you're not entitled to, and is in fact illustrative of the idea that you believe that you know the way I (should? must?) think simply because I've said I'm gay. Well, you're gay too! so that must mean you can call me "hon" as that term must be part of our common gay vernacular and bond ... we're "sistahs"! Disavow yourself of that notion, and maybe you'll be able to start considering a different point of view. I note you often took this tack with evanizer when the two of you disagreed and he didn't take too kindly to it either.

Secondly, your introduction of quotes from the case of Ramirez did nothing to disprove my own conclusions that Gamble was not closeted upon enlistment, and did nothing to rebut the facts as presented in the original linked article. Your entire position in this thread seems to me, at least, that you advocate that non-heterosexuals practice deceit and hypocrisy for no other reason than the military, in many DADT cases, has been deceitful and hypocritical. Two wrongs don't make a right, and you, nor anyone else, will get me to believe that stooping to the level of hypocrisy that DADT represents in order to fight the hypocrisy of DADT will ever be successful.
posted by WolfDaddy at 5:44 PM on November 15, 2002


stop the catfight, girls! ; > (no, really!)

Wolf, don't assume that all gay and lesbian people can pass as straight at will...i wouldn't expect you to reduce any group to that kind of simplification.
posted by amberglow at 6:40 PM on November 15, 2002


...and since I knew Alistair in college, I can attest that he wasn't out at all until he joined the army. Though I don't know the details, I think he met his partner once enlisted.

I actually sent him the link to this discussion, so maybe he'll reply.
posted by adrober at 9:27 PM on November 15, 2002


First of all mediareport, I'll thank you to desist in your use of terms of endearment when speaking to me, whether their use be catty or otherwise.

Er, I've been using "hon" with straight people for years, WolfDaddy. It has nothing to do with thinking all gay people have to have the same opinions - an idea that, frankly, disgusts me. But it's a bad move when debate heats up; you're right about that. I apologize. (You can stop spanking now, amberglow.)

You're free to judge Gamble as sharply as you like, WolfDaddy. I just don't see the evidence for your aggressively judgmental leaps yet, and wonder where the rush to attack him, rather than the policy, comes from. Two wrongs certainly don't make a right, but I do admire the courage of anyone who says "fuck it" and challenges the military's nonrational, inconsistently applied and completely bigoted policy from within. It seems obvious to me that institutional hypocrisy that affects millions is far more serious than any individual's flouting of rules we know the Army applies haphazardly, at best.
posted by mediareport at 10:42 PM on November 15, 2002


but i like spanking, media... ; p
posted by amberglow at 8:25 AM on November 16, 2002


I guess it was a gross oversimplification, but I was trying to allude that when you volunteer for the Armed Services, you are bound by the UCMJ. There is a code with it that pretty much dictates how you live your life while wearing the uniform. Officers have more obligations under military rules.

Would this FPP be noteworthy if Gamble and crew had been dischared (with his mostfor UCMJ Art. 123a "MAKING, DRAWING, OR UTTERING CHECK, DRAFT, OR ORDER WITHOUT SUFFICIENT FUNDS" because they bounced a check? No. This acticle was posted because they were gay/lesbian, which is counter to military law and, however injust as it may appear, given an honorable discharge.

mediareport: I agree with you on some points. However, I don't believe the best way to correct this issue is from the inside-out, but outside-in.

There *is* hypocracy reguarding gays in the military. Regaurding the "deviant" submariner I mentioned previously, most of the boat knew he was involved with things that would not be dealt with lightly should it have been exposed. But most of the enlisted didn't give a rats ass. He reported for duty on time, was a hard worker, and did everything that a 'good submariner' should. He just did some really weird shit at times that was above and beyond the call of the really weird shit that most sailors do on shore leave in say, Tijuana. The point I'm trying to make here is that the senior non-coms *knew* about it, but took no action because he was a valued crew member.

Re: Capt Donovan, I think that issue is about petty payback. They won't let him resign until he incriminates himself, and when he does, they slap him with the UCMJ and possibly an OTH discharge, taking away some of his servicemember entitlements. They'll keep him in for as long as they can and might even transfer him to some shithole like Diego Garcia. The military is very adept at fucking people over when they put their mind to it.
posted by blogRot at 10:51 AM on November 16, 2002


Actually, they let Donovan resign last month.
posted by mediareport at 6:23 PM on November 16, 2002


but I do admire the courage of anyone who says "fuck it"

But Gamble didn't say "fuck it", did he? He got caught and subsequently discharged. This is why I'm being so "aggressively judgmental", mediareport: Gamble can be hung both ways on the hypocrisy of DADT through nothing other than his own choices, yet the gay rights gang is holding him up as a victim. That his discharge is being couched in terms of being detrimental to national security is sheer rhetoric, and foolish rhetoric at that. Everyone can see right through it.

Oh, and apology accepted :-) I apologize for putting words in your mouth.

amberglow: you're kinky.

adrober: if Gamble plans any sort of litigation in this matter, it'd probably be advisable not to post his response here, unless, as in the discussion under the article you posted, he contains himself to the facts of the case itself. I'd definitely be interested to hear his thoughts, but even sharing them privately via e-mail to interested parties could be a risk to any suit he might wish to bring.
posted by WolfDaddy at 12:13 PM on November 17, 2002


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