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Don’t ask, don't tell - gays in the US military
July 14, 2008 7:29 PM   Subscribe

[G]ays do not belong in the U.S. military because American troops need to be hardened warriors. "We aren't the Brits. We're not the Europeans. We're not the Swedes," says Republican Congressman Duncan Hunter, who is the ranking member of the House Armed Services Committee. The choicest quote from the 16 Dec 2007 60 Minutes investigation into gays in the military (recently updated).

All the law you need to know.
Some personal stories.
Mild disagreement between the presidential candidates.
posted by wilful (109 comments total) 2 users marked this as a favorite

 
I was under the impression that right-wingers wanted us to believe that if you got a bunch of gay soldiers together, you'd get a group of very hardened warriors.
posted by Mikey-San at 7:33 PM on July 14, 2008 [16 favorites]


But nobody is harder than a gay soldier. I once saw this documentary.
posted by Mr. President Dr. Steve Elvis America at 7:33 PM on July 14, 2008 [5 favorites]


"...American troops need to be hardened warriors."

Sometimes the jokes write themselves.
posted by mr_crash_davis at 7:33 PM on July 14, 2008 [4 favorites]


That's the choicest quote? I thought this was pretty good:

"You read about the Spartans, they were all homosexuals, the whole lot of them," West says. "And I don't think anyone would suggest for a second that the 500 Spartans fighting against the Persian Army were not pretty macho."
posted by tkolar at 7:37 PM on July 14, 2008


Because apparently the US military is so undisciplined that they can't handle serving with openly gay people.
posted by lullaby at 7:39 PM on July 14, 2008 [2 favorites]


By the way, "West" there is Admiral Sir Alan West, retired of the British Navy.
posted by tkolar at 7:39 PM on July 14, 2008


Also: Study Released on Military Gays (time)

"Evidence shows that allowing gays and lesbians to serve openly is unlikely to pose any significant risk to morale, good order, discipline or cohesion," the officers states.
posted by lullaby at 7:41 PM on July 14, 2008 [2 favorites]


[G]ays do not belong in the U.S. military because American troops need to be hardened warriors.

Hehe. Ahaaaahhhahaa.

Sorry.
posted by Durn Bronzefist at 7:41 PM on July 14, 2008


"You read about the Spartans, they were all homosexuals, the whole lot of them," West says.

First of all, who the hell is West? They don't introduce him before just using his last name. Secondly, while I think I agree with the point he's trying to make, he doesn't seem to realize the distinction between homosexuality and homoerotism. The Spartans were not all gay, they just had no problem with men having sex with men - not the same thing.
posted by Dasein at 7:42 PM on July 14, 2008 [1 favorite]


I think that should have been eroticism. You know what I mean.
posted by Dasein at 7:43 PM on July 14, 2008


First of all, who the hell is West? They don't introduce him before just using his last name.

The link goes to the third page of the article.
posted by tkolar at 7:45 PM on July 14, 2008


The Spartans were not all gay

They were too, you boys. I installed mirrors in each one of their houses so that they could watch their friends have sex.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 7:48 PM on July 14, 2008 [10 favorites]


You know what I think? I think if a man or woman wants to go against every ingrained and institutionalized prejudice in our armed forces, fighting for respect from each member of their platoon personally, having to proove themselves doubly of their valor and skill amongst ridicule which has nothing to do with their combat skills, all the while fighting their own government just to have the opportunity to fight and die for that same government, well then, that deserves a -

Wait a minute, we're talking about gays and lesbians?

Well of course they can't fight! How will we know they've got the bravery, or determination, or thick-enough skins? Certainly they can't be the very model of what we'd hope for in a soldier!
posted by Navelgazer at 7:48 PM on July 14, 2008 [5 favorites]


the 500 Spartans fighting against the Persian Army

500?
posted by adamdschneider at 7:50 PM on July 14, 2008


Here's what I never understood about this argument: Israel allows gays to serve openly in their military with no restrictions or hush-ups or anything. And yet the Israeli military is just about the most kickass fighting force in the Middle East, something I'm sure the vast majority of conservatives would agree with.

So what's the problem? Are they saying that America's current soldiers are just too pansy to deal with homosexuals in their ranks?

And as for the "too much sexual tension" argument, well, the United States has had mixed-gender combat units in service for quite awhile, right?
posted by Rhaomi at 7:51 PM on July 14, 2008 [1 favorite]


Rum, a tolerance for different lifestyles, and the lash!
posted by kuujjuarapik at 7:56 PM on July 14, 2008 [21 favorites]


So what's the problem?

The problem is that the U.S. military is conservative Christian organization.
posted by tkolar at 7:56 PM on July 14, 2008 [18 favorites]


the 500 Spartans fighting against the Persian Army

500?


Inflation, you know.
posted by Justinian at 7:59 PM on July 14, 2008 [1 favorite]


Why waste America's homosexuals on the military?
posted by Optimus Chyme at 8:01 PM on July 14, 2008 [10 favorites]


If only these gays would stop taunting us pureblood heterosexuals with their enormous, juicy cocks we could get on with the business of empire!!
posted by basicchannel at 8:05 PM on July 14, 2008 [25 favorites]


What could possibly be more terrifying for a fundamentalist terror cell than to see a couple hundred leather bears roaring in their direction over the desert on Harley choppers?
posted by The Straightener at 8:09 PM on July 14, 2008 [7 favorites]


So what's the problem?

Isn't it obvious from the article? Military men need to be tough, and something something something gays can't serve in the military.
posted by Adam_S at 8:12 PM on July 14, 2008 [3 favorites]


Let's see some precision drilling.
posted by never used baby shoes at 8:12 PM on July 14, 2008 [2 favorites]


...We aren't the Brits. We're not the Europeans. We're not the Swedes...

um, he is aware that Great Britain and Sweden are part of Europe? Geography is so, like, gay.
posted by ornate insect at 8:13 PM on July 14, 2008 [2 favorites]


"... And yet the Israeli military is just about the most kickass fighting force in the Middle East, something I'm sure the vast majority of conservatives would agree with. ..."
posted by Rhaomi at 10:51 PM on July 14

Eh, they may have a reputation in comparison to other Middle Eastern military organizations, but across the board, not so much. Some units in the IDF are quite capable. But I've seen 18 and 19 year old Israeli soldiers of both sexes cry and tremble in uniform, and even throw up in fear, on several different occasions. Sometimes, in confrontation with Arabs, or in preparation for such confrontations. Not every IDF uniform is filled with great courage or capability - often, the uniform is just dressing a frightened 18 year old girl, holding an AR-15, and told to stand somewhere and keep cars from parking too near a security barrier, while people she doesn't like call her names.

"... And as for the "too much sexual tension" argument, well, the United States has had mixed-gender combat units in service for quite awhile, right?"

Along with no-fraternization policies, and a long history of disciplining those who engage in sexual activity in violation of those policies.
posted by paulsc at 8:13 PM on July 14, 2008


This just may end well.
posted by humannaire at 8:17 PM on July 14, 2008


I know some butch leather daddies who could totally kick this guy's ass.
posted by availablelight at 8:20 PM on July 14, 2008


But I've seen 18 and 19 year old Israeli soldiers of both sexes cry and tremble in uniform, and even throw up in fear, on several different occasions.

So... similar to 18 and 19 year old soldiers in most armies?
posted by lullaby at 8:22 PM on July 14, 2008 [1 favorite]


paulsc: "Eh, they may have a reputation in comparison to other Middle Eastern military organizations, but across the board, not so much. Some units in the IDF are quite capable. But I've seen 18 and 19 year old Israeli soldiers of both sexes cry and tremble in uniform, and even throw up in fear, on several different occasions. Sometimes, in confrontation with Arabs, or in preparation for such confrontations. Not every IDF uniform is filled with great courage or capability - often, the uniform is just dressing a frightened 18 year old girl, holding an AR-15, and told to stand somewhere and keep cars from parking too near a security barrier, while people she doesn't like call her names."

Ah, but this is conservative punditry we're talking about, where perception is far more important than fact! And I'd wager that, in the minds of most conservatives, every Israeli soldier is a spec-ops ninja, able to clear an entire hectare of ululating jihadists without breaking a sweat.
posted by Rhaomi at 8:25 PM on July 14, 2008


I say let gays in the military. Do it. But don't make a big deal out of it. Don't let anybody know you're doing it. Maybe even let the fact spread by word of mouth in the gay community. Don't make a fuss. By the time it comes out, it will be done, and nobody will think much of it. But you announce the fact to the world?

WE'RE GOING TO HAVE TO DEAL WITH YEARS OF ROBIN WILLIAMS DOING HIS FAUX GAY ACCENT AND MAKING JOKES ABOUT HOMOSEXUALS REDECORATING FOXHOLES.

Nobody wants that. The American military, God bless it, would crumble.
posted by Astro Zombie at 8:38 PM on July 14, 2008 [9 favorites]


I can think of many, many ways Duncan Hunter is a complete and total tool. I don't need any more, thanks.
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 8:38 PM on July 14, 2008


You know the men in my family were all "hardened warriors." My old man did three tours in Vietnam. I'm pretty sure he never thought about if his buddies were queer or not.

"So. It was night. We got dropped in this clearing. We made our way, crawling, over a hill and into this clearing. Suddenly I look up and find my self in the middle of the of this NVA bivouac. Slit trenches and sand bags hidden by the tall grass. I saw a sentry nodding asleep cross legged on the ground and leaning against his AK. I whisper over to Connely that we were in big trouble and get ready with suppressing fire. And what does he do? He tells me I have a magnificent ass and asks would I like to pop an Amyl nitrite and have anal sex right there becuase he is so turned on! God damn it, Connely! You and your dangerously inappropriate homosexual tendencies! It's why we lost the war!"
posted by tkchrist at 8:42 PM on July 14, 2008 [5 favorites]


um, he is aware that Great Britain [is] part of Europe?

Careful there. You're likely to get your ass kicked by a poofter.
posted by tkolar at 8:46 PM on July 14, 2008 [1 favorite]


"You read about the Spartans..."

This is not Sparta!
Sorry...
posted by Opposite George at 8:53 PM on July 14, 2008


So... we can turn productive, well adjusted members of society into a being that will kill upon command without thought, yet if you introduce the gay it all goes wobbly?

yeah, ok.

Hunter is a wanker
posted by edgeways at 8:56 PM on July 14, 2008


WE'RE GOING TO HAVE TO DEAL WITH YEARS OF ROBIN WILLIAMS DOING HIS FAUX GAY ACCENT AND MAKING JOKES ABOUT HOMOSEXUALS REDECORATING FOXHOLES.

God, does he still do that kind of thing? I thought he went all-coke-manic-all-the-time awhile back, now.
posted by Durn Bronzefist at 9:02 PM on July 14, 2008 [1 favorite]


worst thing from this thread was that I learnt too much about that Duncan Hunter fellow. Nice to see his son is replacing him in your lower house.
posted by wilful at 9:05 PM on July 14, 2008


They were too, you boys. I installed mirrors in each one of their houses so that they could watch their friends have sex.

That doesn't mean they were homos, ROU_Xenophobe. A lot of straight guys like to watch their buddies fuck. I know I do.

Don't you?
posted by The Great Big Mulp at 9:15 PM on July 14, 2008 [2 favorites]


It wasn't the Spartans who were "all homosexuals" - it was the Sacred Band, an elite Theban strike force. "Plutarch reports that the Sacred Band consisted of homosexual couples...lovers would fight more fiercely and more cohesively at each other's sides than would strangers with no ardent bonds." The 300(!) deadly lovers crushed larger Spartan forces on several occasions.
posted by Iridic at 9:16 PM on July 14, 2008 [3 favorites]


Clinton backing down on fixing this in his first term is reason #2 why he got absolutely no support from me (other than my grudging vote) for his second term.
----------
I sometimes ponder a military divided strictly by gender - gay guys with gay guys, queer women with queer women, straight men with straight men, het ladies with het ladies...you get the drift.

Maybe that would be more palatable to the chickens who are worried about someone liking their butt enough to protect it from enemy fire. Maybe it would cut down on sexual assault in the military. Maybe it would allow our military to have plenty of people to serve.

I dunno.

All I know is, it makes no sense to limit your potential for willing and capable enlistees just because you can't trust every person in your org to be mature.

In fact, that just sounds dumb.

"I don't care if you speak A HUNDRED languages and can bench press BUSES! No homos in my troops!"

It's okay to have been a sex offender, drug dealer, or "former" gang member, though. Gotta have your priorities.

Definitely one of the reasons people continue to haul out the "military intelligence = oxymoron" thing.
posted by batmonkey at 9:16 PM on July 14, 2008


ululating jihadists

Is that legal?
posted by binturong at 9:19 PM on July 14, 2008


Plate o' shrimp.
posted by telstar at 9:22 PM on July 14, 2008 [1 favorite]


Incidently... is the the same Hunter as in the Lou Reed song?
posted by edgeways at 9:22 PM on July 14, 2008


It's okay to have been a sex offender, drug dealer, or "former" gang member, though. Gotta have your priorities.

They're the ones with the right experience for the job, apparently. You're not supposed to love your fellow man, you're supposed to terrify, intimidate, beat, and kill them.

Bob Goldthwaite, I believe, said it better than I probably could, though.
posted by FormlessOne at 9:30 PM on July 14, 2008


If you want to learn more. Or, just search Youtube for "gay marines". Lotsa dancing!
posted by longsleeves at 9:32 PM on July 14, 2008


Israel allows gays to serve openly in their military with no restrictions or hush-ups or anything.

Ironically, their ban on Jews continues.
posted by drjimmy11 at 9:32 PM on July 14, 2008 [2 favorites]


From what I've heard, it's not always difficult to get some Real Manly Lovin' in and around American military bases. I think there are probably more gay or bi troops (or sailors, or airmen) than most conservatives would like to let on.
posted by Avenger at 9:35 PM on July 14, 2008


So what's the problem?

The problem is that the U.S. military is conservative Christian organization.


This. It isn't about fighting efficacy. This is about the military as symbol.

Thus, reality does not enter into it.
posted by Durn Bronzefist at 9:36 PM on July 14, 2008 [1 favorite]


I've always thought that Don't Ask Don't Tell was the most astonishing piece of institutionalized hypocrisy, wrapped in a glittering mantle of successful compromise. We know gay people are in the military -- always have been, always will be -- but we just don't want to talk about it. The same mentality that doesn't want sex education in schools. Yeay America -- preserving the tradition of ignorance and fear.
posted by binturong at 9:39 PM on July 14, 2008


I've always thought that Don't Ask Don't Tell was the most astonishing piece of institutionalized hypocrisy,

I suppose, but it allowed a large number of gay people to serve without directly contravening the Uniform Code of Military Justice. I know that doesn't mean a lot to civilians, but I've met at least one homosexual who -- despite remaining closeted in the military -- was grateful to no longer be violating military law just by serving.
posted by tkolar at 9:45 PM on July 14, 2008 [1 favorite]


the 500 Spartans fighting against the Persian Army

We! Are! Springfield!
posted by dirigibleman at 9:47 PM on July 14, 2008


You do a lot of acid Xenophobe, back in the hippie days?
posted by stinkycheese at 9:54 PM on July 14, 2008


wrapped in a glittering mantle of successful compromise

I doubt this. Glittering mantle does not go with successful compromise.

Snark aside, it's always cute to watch the right's homophobia show itself. So, I wonder what the line is on Hunter being caught with a wide stance in a capitol rest room? You'd probably have to take the side of him not being found Craiging to get a bookie to even take the bet.
posted by maxwelton at 10:05 PM on July 14, 2008


Ironically, their ban on Jews continues.

Just so you know, I "lol'd" at this, for real.
posted by Avenger at 10:10 PM on July 14, 2008


Along with no-fraternization policies, and a long history of disciplining those who engage in sexual activity in violation of those policies.

Well, if there's a policy.

These policies and this discipline are at best moderately successful, and the enforcement can be quite selective, depending upon how smart or stupid the involved individuals are about the matter. Anyway, fraternization policies could continue, just without reference to gender.
posted by desuetude at 10:18 PM on July 14, 2008


Anyone want to lay odds that this Republican homophobe is a closet homosexual?

What, no takers? C'mon — surely at least one of the Republican homophobes isn't actually gay! They can't all be wide-stance man-whoring self-haters!
posted by five fresh fish at 10:19 PM on July 14, 2008 [1 favorite]


"We aren't the Brits. We're not the Europeans. We're not the Swedes," says Republican Congressman Duncan Hunter.

No one call him a twat then.
posted by Artw at 10:21 PM on July 14, 2008 [3 favorites]


The life of a congressman is always intense.
posted by ctmf at 10:27 PM on July 14, 2008 [1 favorite]


Study Released on Military Gays (time)...

Time Magazine link that works.
"A study by the Palm Center at UC Santa Barbara has concluded that gays serving openly in the military are unlikely to undermine its effectiveness:
'The study was conducted by four retired military officers, including the three-star Air Force lieutenant general who in early 1993 was tasked with implementing President Clinton's policy that the military stop questioning recruits on their sexual orientation. "Evidence shows that allowing gays and lesbians to serve openly is unlikely to pose any significant risk to morale, good order, discipline or cohesion," the officers states.'
The study was conducted by a bipartisan panel — 'Army Lt. Gen. Robert Gard, who supports Barack Obama, and Marine Corps Gen. Hugh Aitken, who backed Clinton in 1996' as well as 'Air Force Lt. Gen. Robert Minter Alexander, a Republican,' and 'Navy Vice Adm. Jack Shanahan...a self-described Republican who opposes the Bush administration's handling of the Iraq war.'

According to the AP's report, 'Shanahan said he was struck by the loss of personal integrity required by individuals to carry out 'don't ask, don't tell.' He said: 'Everyone was living a big lie — the homosexuals were trying to hide their sexual orientation and the commanders were looking the other way because they didn't want to disrupt operations by trying to enforce the law.'"
July 8, 2008: Study: Gays in Military Would Not Be Disruptive
"A bipartisan panel of retired military commanders has concluded that Congress should repeal 'don’t ask, don’t tell' and allow gays to serve openly in the military. One commander helped Bill Clinton implement the current policy in 1993 but says it’s flawed by an assumption of disruption when no evidence exists for it. The study [PDF], commissioned by UC Santa Barbara, found no evidence that gays serving openly would affect morale, unit cohesion or readiness."
June 3, 2008: Sam Nunn Reconsiders DADT: ‘Times Change,’ May Be ‘Appropriate’ To Lift The Ban On Gays In The Military
"As chairman of the powerful Armed Forces Committee in the 1990s, then-Sen. Sam Nunn (D-GA) led a series of hearings that helped undermine President Clinton’s attempt to lift the ban on gays and bisexuals serving openly in the military....Speaking in Atlanta, GA today, however, Nunn indicated a shift in his views, saying that it may now be time to repeal Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell (DADT)."
May 6, 2008: Chairman of the Joint Chiefs Tells Cadets Military Ready to Accept Gay Service Members
"Speaking at West Point on Sunday, Admiral Mike Mullen, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, told graduating
cadets that Congress, and not the military, is responsible for the 'Don't Ask,
Don't Tell' law banning openly lesbian, gay and bisexual Americans from
military service. Admiral Mullen's answer came in response to a cadet's
question asking what would happen if the next administration were supportive
of legislation allowing gays to serve openly."
Gays in the Military: Military Service Members Okay with Gay Soldiers
"Banning gays in the military because they were thought to be a threat to security is an argument that is holding less and less weight. One argument that is often cited is that US soldiers will not feel safe with gays in their ranks. This argument is no longer true. A poll of military personnel in December 2006 shows that a whopping 73% would accept openly gay and lesbian military members. This is a huge jump from 1993, when 'Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell' was instituted. Then only 13% of soldiers favored the right of gays and lesbians to serve openly in the armed forces."
posted by ericb at 10:31 PM on July 14, 2008 [7 favorites]


Criminals are being used to meet recruitment policies, so we don't need the gays anymore.
posted by benzenedream at 10:40 PM on July 14, 2008


[G]ays do not belong in the U.S. military because American troops need to be hardened warriors.

That's an odd opening sentence. If the OP was quoting someone, that would be understandable, but apparently (especially considering the following sentence), he/she was not. Wouldn't this be one of those GYOB type of things?

Some people have a problem with anything other than hetero-man-on-top sexuality. Yeah, we get it.
posted by sluglicker at 11:29 PM on July 14, 2008


Careful there. You're likely to get your ass kicked by a poofter.
Arse.
posted by nowonmai at 11:48 PM on July 14, 2008


So everyone's seen Generation Kill, right? Those guys are pretty goddamn fucking hot right there.
posted by WolfDaddy at 12:25 AM on July 15, 2008


The whole fucking US army from the top down needs to be sent to classes where they learn how to deal with humans as humans, not as targets.

And someone in the army has to show some solid data on why gay soldiers are not as good as straight soldiers. If they can show that, the argument is finished. But if they can't show that, they need to just shut up about it.
posted by pracowity at 12:31 AM on July 15, 2008


Sluglicker, I don't think you understand the meaning of 'GYOB'. That wasn't me extemporising about what I think about gays in the US Military, this was an interesting TV show and article, I chose an interesting excerpt to start it off.
posted by wilful at 12:50 AM on July 15, 2008


The whole fucking US army from the top down needs to be sent to classes where they learn how to deal with humans as humans, not as targets.

Actually, that could potentially impair its effectiveness. In most prior wars, many drafted soldiers simply refused to shoot the enemy, firing uselessly into the air over their heads. The armed forces have very heavy conditioning programs now to teach them to actually shoot the enemy instead of just pretending. Empathy classes might interfere with that conditioning.
posted by Malor at 1:06 AM on July 15, 2008 [1 favorite]


Years ago I watched a doco on, IIRC, History Channel which was about, well, gays in the millitary. It appeared to be British, because it had some idiot senior Admiralty type huffing and puffing about how gays in the millitary would screw things up, as it were.

Then it had interviews. With gay soldiers. From WW II. They were all old men, but in their youth they had manned the ships of the line, fought in Egypt, in Italy, Greece, up through France and into Germany. They flew in the Battle of Britain, they had been in every theatre, successful and unsuccessful. The campest of the lot spoke like he was a cast member of "Are You Being Served" and recounted his adventures keeping lonely sailors company in the evenings after being on the bridge in the day.

You know what? If assorted chutney ferrets, poofs, fags, screaming queens, nancy boys, and other limp-wristed gentlemen were good enough to beat the Nazis, I'm fairly sure their younger counterparts are good enough to serve now.
posted by rodgerd at 2:17 AM on July 15, 2008 [13 favorites]


"Gays ... hardened"

Hard Gay totally available for comment. (Youtube, poss. NSFW)
posted by zippy at 3:39 AM on July 15, 2008


I'm so glad I have an opportunity to use this picture from my recent trip to my hometown of Sparta, IL.
posted by EarBucket at 4:25 AM on July 15, 2008



Handy Ad that helps identify the gay (nsfw)

From the good people at 42below
posted by doogyrev at 4:42 AM on July 15, 2008


There's probably some cultural context to Hard Gay that makes him funny that I don't get. I guess I've had a few absurdity chuckles in there, but it's pretty thin. It's like the stereotype got messed up with some noise in transmission.
posted by a robot made out of meat at 4:50 AM on July 15, 2008


The problem is that the U.S. military is a conservative Christian organization.
posted by DU at 5:46 AM on July 15, 2008


Anyone want to lay odds that this Republican homophobe is a closet homosexual?

On his own time in the service, Hunter said "I didn't do anything special in the U.S. Army, but I served with very special soldiers I will never forget."
posted by octobersurprise at 5:56 AM on July 15, 2008


Has he never read of the Sacred Band of Thebes?

Plutarch reports that the Sacred Band consisted of homosexual couples and the reason was that lovers would fight more fiercely and more cohesively at each other's sides than would strangers with no ardent bonds.
posted by Carol Anne at 6:13 AM on July 15, 2008


Actually, all these references to Sparta, Thebes, etc make me wonder what exactly they are teaching at West Point and the like. No military history, apparently, and very little ability to examine facts to come to a conclusion. How long can the military survive running on blind faith?
posted by DU at 6:41 AM on July 15, 2008


Having lived closely with the military most of my life, I can tell you the primary fear is not that homosexuals will not be good warriors.

The fear - entirely irrational - is that acceptance of homosexuals will lead to a great conversion of our troops to homosexuality. The folks in the establishment genuinely believe that homosexuals are scheming and plotting to convert our young men into sodomites. Really. I have had long conversations with people who are totally convinced of this. They literally use the term "recruitment". My own father, an Air Force Lt. Col., seems to be rabidly terrified of this, and he angrily denounces queers every chance he gets. Yeah, I know, it's weird.

The other fear - entirely rational - is that rabid anti-homosexual elements in the military will gang up on the queers and beat them or even kill them. This would clearly be bad for troop morale to have troops killing each other. It's a very real possibility.

Solving this issue requires resolving queer fear and hatred issues in the greater population at large. Don't hold your breath.
posted by Xoebe at 6:47 AM on July 15, 2008 [1 favorite]


If assorted chutney ferrets, poofs, fags, screaming queens, nancy boys, and other limp-wristed gentlemen were good enough to beat the Nazis...

Logged in just to favourite that. Chutney ferrets!
posted by sixswitch at 7:08 AM on July 15, 2008


The folks in the establishment genuinely believe that homosexuals are scheming and plotting to convert our young men into sodomites.

There must be something deeper than that. For instance, why would it be bad for homosexuals to be "recruiting" soldiers? I mean, does the military exclude people who enjoy chess because they might try to "recruit" more players? What makes homosexuality different than chess in their minds?
posted by DU at 7:19 AM on July 15, 2008 [1 favorite]


Isn't there, like, a ton of man-on-man sex in the military? I thought it was like prison, you get a pass because there are no/few available women around.
posted by Saxon Kane at 7:20 AM on July 15, 2008


"We aren't the Brits. We're not the Europeans. We're not the Swedes," says Republican Congressman Duncan Hunter

Considering this (and a few other things), I'm pretty glad Mr. Hunter isn't European.
posted by Skeptic at 7:20 AM on July 15, 2008


The good news: Duncan Hunter will be termed out of office this January.
The bad news: His likely successor is his son, Duncan Hunter.
posted by LionIndex at 7:40 AM on July 15, 2008 [1 favorite]


Actually, all these references to Sparta, Thebes, etc make me wonder what exactly they are teaching at West Point and the like. No military history, apparently, and very little ability to examine facts to come to a conclusion. How long can the military survive running on blind faith?

West Point is an Officer training school - it is not for grunts and it is certainly not specifically for congressmen. I think you would find an extraordinarily different attitude there in terms of the study of the reality of war as opposed to the politics of the military. They teach both, and cadets are expected to be the elite, capable of understanding and analyzing the grey areas between. The military needs the grunts to have blind faith, but to survive as an institution subject to the changing tides of politics, as illustrated by this Hunter twat's point of view, its leadership needs to be well schooled.
posted by spicynuts at 7:57 AM on July 15, 2008


How long can the military survive running on blind faith?

Forever. Which is to say, until the Rapture. Just a feeeeew moooore years.

What makes homosexuality different than chess in their minds?

The buttfucking and cocksucking?
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 8:07 AM on July 15, 2008 [1 favorite]


What makes homosexuality different than chess in their minds?

The buttfucking and cocksucking?


What an odd version of chess you must play.
posted by DU at 8:15 AM on July 15, 2008 [4 favorites]


The other fear - entirely rational - is that rabid anti-homosexual elements in the military will gang up on the queers and beat them or even kill them.

This strikes me as the same kind of thing that could have been said about blacks in the military not too long ago. We managed to negotiate that transition, so hopefully the same mechanisms used to keep racists from killing black soldiers could be used to protect the gay ones.

I'm amazed that with recruitment as low as it is right now, and with them being forced to extend terms of service repeatedly, that they would turn anyone away. I would think that the military would be happy to get anyone they could who was capable and willing to fight. I mean, they've raised the maximum age for enlistment, and reduced the criminal and educational ones, but god forbid you might like boy parts instead of girl parts. That makes you an infection just waiting to spread through the disciplined ranks, instantly turning well trained soldiers into a chorus line of showgirls.
posted by quin at 8:18 AM on July 15, 2008 [1 favorite]


What makes homosexuality different than chess in their minds?

The buttfucking and cocksucking?

What an odd version of chess you must play


The queens we use would not excite you.
posted by Faint of Butt at 8:31 AM on July 15, 2008 [18 favorites]


Faint of Butt FTW.

Totally.

One Night In Bangkok. You slay me!!!
posted by CitizenD at 9:02 AM on July 15, 2008


Well, it does make hard men humble.
posted by Snyder at 9:30 AM on July 15, 2008


To people bitching about the Army needing to get a grip, (I assume you mean the military as a whole, since this certianly isn't an Army only thing,) you'll find that if the Chariman of the Joint Cheifs is ok with gays in the military, among other things, you'll understand that this is not a DoD regulation, but a law past by Congress. Those are the people who those in favor of civil rights will ultimately need to persuade.
posted by Snyder at 9:34 AM on July 15, 2008


@ ROU_Xenophobe

there's nothing that can't be explained via a Repo Man quote
posted by pellucid at 9:43 AM on July 15, 2008


West Point is an Officer training school - it is not for grunts and it is certainly not specifically for congressmen. I think you would find an extraordinarily different attitude there in terms of the study of the reality of war as opposed to the politics of the military. They teach both, and cadets are expected to be the elite, capable of understanding and analyzing the grey areas between. The military needs the grunts to have blind faith, but to survive as an institution subject to the changing tides of politics, as illustrated by this Hunter twat's point of view, its leadership needs to be well schooled.
The Air Force Academy is also an officer training school. Apparently, though, it has actively been on the road to becoming Jesus Camp for years now.

I'm not saying the same is true about West Point, but I'm not sure why I should be surprised if it turned out to be the case.
posted by Flunkie at 10:00 AM on July 15, 2008 [1 favorite]


From what I've heard, it's not always difficult to get some Real Manly Lovin' in and around American military bases. I think there are probably more gay or bi troops (or sailors, or airmen) than most conservatives would like to let on.

Well, yeah that's sort of the idea of "Don't Ask, Don't Tell". You can be as gay as you want off-post, you just can't be open about it. I met a couple of people while I was involved with the military who just shrugged and refused to answer any questions in that direction. It's not uncommon.

Both from personal experience and from what I've read, although the focus of gays-in-the-military discussions is almost always on male homosexuals, any policy change would probably have a far greater impact on women. I'm not sure if it's safe to say that a disproportionate number of women in the military are not-hetero, but they do seem to be affected disproportionately by DADT, which is suggestive. So if the policy was relaxed or eliminated tomorrow, that's probably where you'd see the most immediate effect.

As to the driving force behind DADT, I think it's a motivation of what tkolar and Xoebe have said. The military is (at least in my experience, which was Army) a pretty inclusive organization. I've seen a lot of racists go in, and comparatively few come out. But the political control of the military rests firmly in the hands of social conservatives who hate homosexuals for reasons having nothing to do with the military -- they just use the power they have over the military establishment to exclude gays, because they can. If they could prohibit gays from getting drivers licenses they'd doubtless do that, too -- but they can't.

The paranoia and siege complex some of these people have concerning the "gay agenda" is both comically bizarre and frightening at the same time. There really are members of Congress who think that there's a secret gay cabal out there to "convert" society, en masse, into devil-worshipping Sodomites. They feel intensely threatened by this. I can't explain it, but it definitely is out there, lurking just beneath the political waves, and it's one of the reasons I doubt we'll get much movement on the DADT front in the immediate future.
posted by Kadin2048 at 10:09 AM on July 15, 2008


Los Hermanos Rodriguez don't approve of drugs.
posted by porn in the woods at 10:19 AM on July 15, 2008


The other fear - entirely rational - is that rabid anti-homosexual elements in the military will gang up on the queers and beat them or even kill them. This would clearly be bad for troop morale to have troops killing each other. It's a very real possibility.

As has been said above, the same argument was used against blacks and women in the military. And it does happen: see Pfc LaVena Johnson.

The best solution in all of those cases is to not have white, straight, male soldiers who would kill somebody for being black, gay, or female. Not admitting people convicted of violent felonies would probably be a good start.
posted by hydropsyche at 12:35 PM on July 15, 2008


I say let gays in the military. Do it. But don't make a big deal out of it. Don't let anybody know you're doing it. Maybe even let the fact spread by word of mouth in the gay community. Don't make a fuss. By the time it comes out, it will be done, and nobody will think much of it. But you announce the fact to the world?

They're there already. It's just that they get kicked out the moment someone knows they're gay and reports it to the right person. It doesn't matter how good you are at what you do. You're gone. Which means the ones who stay live a kind of double life of hiding and secrecy. People will rat out other people for a grudge. It doesn't matter if you're one of the top people in your training program. It doesn't matter if it's what you've wanted to do all your life. You are dismissed. Deemed unfit for service. Gone. They are kicking out some of their best people-- bright young people in officer programs, people who speak the languages currently lacking and of great importance, like Arabic. Gone gone gone.

It's similar with the Boy and Girl Scouts. Where would they be without gay men and women? Lacking a lot of leaders they've had over the years. Oh, but now that the gays want to live openly, we can't have that here. It's against our values.

Sexuality isn't a value or a job requirement. It's going to take awhile for some people to truly comprehend that though. In the meantime I fear for our defense.
posted by Tehanu at 12:39 PM on July 15, 2008


The best solution in all of those cases is to not have white, straight, male soldiers who would kill somebody for being black, gay, or female. Not admitting people convicted of violent felonies would probably be a good start.

The military can be oddly effective at being progressive because the chain of command can mandate a change. Unlike civil society Soldiers either obey the order or they get sent down for insubordination.

In the case of people getting assaulted or murdered for being gay (or female, or Jewish, or black) the solution is quite simple and effective. You line the perpetrators up against a wall and you shoot the motherfuckers.
posted by tkchrist at 12:57 PM on July 15, 2008


Meanwhile, the British Army is working with Stonewall to ensure equal rights for gay soldiers.
posted by Pallas Athena at 1:18 PM on July 15, 2008


The military can be oddly effective at being progressive because the chain of command can mandate a change. Unlike civil society Soldiers either obey the order or they get sent down for insubordination.

I saw evidence of this frequently regarding race, during the seven years I lived in Norfolk. Hey, if you don't like that your CO is black, tough fuckin' luck. It was quite remarkable at times to see people's prejudices thaw-by-force.

On the other hand, I knew a gay woman who was getting harassed in a seriously stalker-esque way from a shipmate after turning down his advances. Her complaints regarding his aggressive behavior were pooh-poohed. So stalker tried to blackmail her (it was an open secret that she's gay.) She eventually "gave up" and came out to her CO. And she was discharged for violating Don't Ask Don't Tell. She loved her job in the Navy, but they'd rather dump her than enforce those fraternization policies that paulsc thought so highly of.

On the hilarious side: guys from the same boat running into each other at gay clubs and frantically backpedaling to explain what they were doing there.
posted by desuetude at 1:43 PM on July 15, 2008


I wish that every last gay person in the ranks would give that jackass Hunter exactly what he wants and go on strike. Gays don't belong in the military? Fine. Good luck with your all-volunteer force.

Idiots.
posted by Space Kitty at 2:25 PM on July 15, 2008


...guys from the same boat running into each other at gay clubs and frantically backpedaling to explain what they were doing there.

Doing research. Yes, research.
posted by ericb at 3:26 PM on July 15, 2008


Side note: It's funny when "macho" comes full circle. In Brazilian Jujitsu you get occasional homophobes. The entire base concept of this bad-ass martial art is being comfortable with close, and at times, rather intimate physical contact with another person. You either get used to being tea bagged by some dude for an hour or you don't.

Some guys suddenly get all worked up weather or not a partner might be gay. Like him enjoying resting his balls on your forehead while he chokes you unconscious with his legs some how makes the exercise less dignified. Anyway those dudes either change their thinking or they don't last long.

I recall one deluded asshole, I'll call him Cliff, was always announcing his insecurities by beginning every story with "Faggots this" or "Faggots that". Homo-erotic humor was one thing. But this guy was disastrously homophobic and he HAD to tell you that.

Thing is: Cliff never got that his partner in class, I'll call him Mike, that was constantly choking Cliff's idiot ass out—was gay. And this was a not so subtle attempt by Mike to teach Cliff a friendly lesson. But it never took.

I tried to take Cliff aside and tell him without outing anybody. But I gave up. Because in Cliff's mind how could Mike be gay? He was a bad ass! A highly competitive former Marine, who rolled (with other men) hours every night— seven nights a week, and he worked out all the time and was, like, totally buff.

Yeah. Okay. Gay? Impossible, Cliff.
posted by tkchrist at 4:04 PM on July 15, 2008


Apropos of nothing, tkchrist, I find that story particularly funny because among my friends in college were a gay couple named Clifford and Michael.
posted by Faint of Butt at 4:51 PM on July 15, 2008


MetaFilter: You either get used to being tea bagged by some dude for an hour or you don't.
posted by kirkaracha at 6:42 PM on July 15, 2008


"... She loved her job in the Navy, but they'd rather dump her than enforce those fraternization policies that paulsc thought so highly of. ..."
posted by desuetude at 4:43 PM on July 15

Huh? I simply wrote that the U.S. military has explicit no-fraternization policies for all of its mixed units. It does. During the recent PBS series Carrier, a sexual incident that happened on shore leave, between a senior male petty officer and a junior female seaman was documented, where the senior petty officer was disciplined, and his career substantially impacted for what will be years, and the female seamen was also disciplined, even though the female seaman did not allege that the sex was not consensual. Both were disciplined for violation of no-fraternization.

How do you get, from my comment above, that I'm expressing a personal opinion, pro or con, about such policies?

But in the case of your gay friend with the DADT and harassment problems, her decision to come out to her CO clearly trumped military policies against both harassment and fraternization, because once she'd made the declaration she was gay, the basis for investigating and disciplining other personnel under no-fraternization and anti-sexual harassment policies was moot. I'm no lawyer, but as I understand it, DADT exists partly to create a "5th amendment" zone around sexual orientation issues for all military personnel, so that they can get through just such circumstances in due process, focusing on the impact of such things as harassment and blackmail behaviors, instead of bringing sexual behavior into military situations, where sex has no place. If she wanted to fight the blackmail and the harassment, she should have stuck to her guns, invoked DADT, and kept her own sexuality out of the proceedings. Some might even say, she owed her fellow shipmates that, and that in failing to invoke DADT, she did not do all that she could to contribute to the greater discipline of her unit.

Personally, I'm a little less doctrinaire. In the enlisted ranks, the military is generally dealing with 18 to 23 year old people, often without great educations, balanced life experience, or even fully matured personalities. I think that giving the command structure some understanding as it tries to fulfill the mission of the military, working with a broad spectrum of young people many of whom are unsure of themselves in many areas, is reasonable. It's not always as black and white (or gay and straight), even in foxholes and command posts, as policy makers, pundits, and Internet voices expect that it is.
posted by paulsc at 7:55 PM on July 15, 2008


"Hot man-on-man action" does not mean that either of the men involved are gay. You do not have to BE a homosexual to have a homosexual experience! It's the same scenario as prison, or an all-girls' boarding school - you're in a situation where your contact with the opposite gender is extremely limited, so your sexual energy gets channeled somewhere else.

I myself am a queer woman and live with a man, but it doesn't make me any more straight.

The problem that the US Military has, from what I understand, isn't with gay experiences in the military (because really, the whole idea is a pretty gay experience. Guys dressing up and carrying around big guns? Dropping to the ground for their superiors? GAY), but with gay individuals - that is to say, card carrying members of the Rainbow Nation. Which just sets up a hypocritical situation: "You can fool around with dudes, but the minute you want to settle down and marry one, we don't want to talk to you anymore."

I can't imagine why any gay person would choose to commit themselves to being in the US Military, but I can't fathom Log Cabin Republicans either.
posted by grapefruitmoon at 8:05 PM on July 15, 2008


I can't fathom Log Cabin Republicans either.

Nor can I, but I guess it's all about the Lincoln Logs.
posted by ericb at 8:56 PM on July 15, 2008 [1 favorite]


Like him enjoying resting his balls on your forehead while he chokes you unconscious with his legs some how makes the exercise less dignified.

Metafilter: Like [it] somehow makes the internet less dignified.
posted by spaceman_spiff at 9:32 PM on July 15, 2008 [1 favorite]


paulsc, hence the scare quotes around "gave up" regarding her decision to come out to her CO, which is how she felt. She tried to go through proper channels. Stalker escalated his campaign. At some point, it's wiser to protect yourself than stick to your guns regarding policy. But if the Navy had investigated & disciplined appropriately in the first place, they'd still have a damn fine mechanic.
posted by desuetude at 6:58 AM on July 16, 2008


If only these gays would stop taunting us pureblood heterosexuals with their enormous, juicy cocks we could get on with the business of empire!!


I'm a fan of adjectives as much as the next chap but can a penis really be juicy? It may be a self confidence thing, but I would describe my penis as succulent.
posted by oxford blue at 6:44 AM on July 23, 2008


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