McCain: Gays To The Back Of The Tank genre: Gaylingual & Six Degrees of Speculation

Gays Not Allowed

Senator John McCain, in a letter to the Servicemembers Legal Defense Network (SLDN), offered his support of Don't Ask, Don't Tell, the military's current position with regards to gays in the military. McCain suggested that while he understands the good intentions of those who favor the repeal of the policy, he believes that the risk to the cohesion and morale of the military is too great.

Washington, DC – United States Senator John McCain (R-AZ), a candidate for the 2008 Republican presidential nomination, has reiterated his support for the military's "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" ban on lesbian, gay and bisexual service members. In an April 16 letter to Servicemembers Legal Defense Network (SLDN), McCain says the law, passed in 1993, "unambiguously maintains that open homosexuality within the military services presents an intolerable risk to morale, cohesion and discipline."

I realize that many of those opposed to gay rights are angered when those who support measures to protect gays and provide them with the same rights as heterosexuals suggest that a corollary can be drawn to the civil rights movement. Many feel that being gay cannot be compared to being black since one can be concealed and one cannot. While that argument has some semblance of truth, it isn't a reason to deny gays the full array of rights or to require them to hide their identities.

Frankly, that would be akin to having told blacks in the 1960's that they should all follow Michael Jackson's example and alter their appearance to be more white or offering classes in linguistics in order to alter existing dialects often associated with African Americans so they wouldn't be so noticeable.

In his letter, Senator McCain says that, "I believe polarization of personnel and breakdown of unit effectiveness is too high a price to pay for well-intentioned but misguided efforts to elevate the interests of a minority of homosexual service members above those of their units. Most importantly, the national security of the United States, not to mention the lives of our men and women in uniform, are put at grave risk by policies detrimental to the good order and discipline which so distinguish America’s Armed Services." McCain, who voted in favor of "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" in 1993, says "I remain opposed to the open expression of homosexuality in the U.S. military."

I found the military cohesion argument laughable. If the sexual practices of gays...practices that they share with other gays…are a threat to unit cohesion, then what happens when one heterosexual soldier sleeps with the wife of a member of his unit? If sex is the linchpin to cohesion, then what is being done to assure that heterosexual sex doesn't harm unit cohesion? The answer is that there are standards of behavior and adultery is not allowed...but the mere potential of sexual infidelity doesn't preclude heterosexuals from serving nor are they required to hide their sexuality. Clearly, there are numerous factors that can harm the cohesiveness of the military...but all others are dealt with as issues of conduct and are not prerequisite conditions to deny service in the military. Two committed gay adults should have the same freedom to engage in the sexual activities they choose without fear of being discharged from the military.

Given the recent news about the loosening of standards for entry into the military...allowing those with criminal backgrounds and those with psychological disturbances easier entry is clearly a risk to cohesion but it is seemingly acceptable. Can we say double standard?

Years ago, black soldiers were separated from their white counterparts because of prejudice and presumably the threat that integration may have posed to unit cohesion...but we evidently acknowledged that the problems was symptomatic of unacceptable prejudice and we set about ending prejudice and discrimination towards black soldiers...we didn't ask black soldiers to hide who they were or prohibit their service because some of their fellow soldiers would dislike them and therefore that might hurt the morale of the unit.

People like Senator McCain would have us think that the military is unable to deal with issues of morale and behavior...and yet anyone who knows anything about the military knows full well that little within the military is left to the discretion of the individual soldier...they are told what to think and how to behave...and if they don't comply they are dealt with accordingly. Are we to believe that the issue of gays in the military is more complex than confronting other prejudices over the years? I think not.

Further, does anyone believe that soldiers aren't already coexisting with know gays? Of course they are...unless we're to believe that some 65,000 gays can hide in the military without notice...a fact that would virtually concede that the powers that be are routinely fooled by their own soldiers. What would that infer about our military's competence to flesh out our enemies?

The bottom line is that those who argue against allowing gays being allowed to openly serve in the military are simple promoting prejudice and institutionalizing discrimination. The purpose of our military is to preserve order and defend our way of life. Should that purpose include making one group of citizens second class members? If the military isn't going to set the right tone and example, why would we expect the average citizen to act appropriately? If our government isn't going to lead the way in ending prejudice, I would like to know who will.

Daniel DiRito | May 4, 2007 | 2:11 PM
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Comments

1 On September 15, 2008 at 12:38 AM, Ben Brown wrote —

Have you spent anytime serving in the military yourself Mr. DiRito? Because when you state something like, "yet anyone who knows anything about the military," means you speak on behalf of a large group of people. Obviously, if you had anytime in the service, you would back up your opinions with your own experiences. You would know that if the individual soldier is fully convinced that if an order is not a lawful one, then he or she can make the decision not to follow it.
Your opinion is full of words and no numbers or cases. You don't bring up any cases where the military has allowed individuals who have prior convictions, etc. Also, where does 65,000 come from? Now, I realize I've not spent much time being in the Air Force, for I am only a cadet at the U.S. Air Force Academy. But, I certainly can tell when one person tries to talk about the military but has nothing to back it up with.

2 On September 15, 2008 at 5:46 PM, daniel wrote —

Ben,

Regarding your opening question...as a matter of fact I have...though I can't remember all of their names. I doubt you'll appreciate the humor and sarcasm in that answer...but your question doesn't really warrant a serious response.

As to your being able to ascertain "when one person tries to talk about the military but has nothing to back it up with."...I'd love to know your basis for such an unfounded assertion? Perhaps I'm wrong, but that statement sure sounds like you're guilty of your own accusation.

You admit that you're only a cadet at the AFA which means you can't be very old...and yet you think you know me and what experiences I may have with issues relative to the military. Hmmm...perhaps you ought to have some evidence before drawing such conclusions, eh?

Since we're talking about the military, your approach to this discussion doesn't strike me as a very prudent military strategy...at least in my estimation. I would have thought your instructors would have taught you to do a little reconnaissance before attacking.

As a matter of fact, the example you cite to refute my comment seems rather trite to me. The fact that a soldier has recourse if instructed to do something unlawful is hardly evidence of free reign. I'm not going to follow anyone over a cliff...but I sure wouldn't cite that as evidence of unencumbered freedom. Seems more like common sense to me...but hey, it's your argument.

As to "cases", do you live under a rock? How about reading the newspaper once in a while? Ever heard of a Google search? Ever heard of the SLDN? I'll help you out...but I have to say, if my tax dollars are being spent on educating cadets, well, I'm left scratching my head.

Here's some reading material for you:

On Lowered Admission Standards:

http://www.mcclatchydc.com/227/story/43999.html

http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2007/07/30/eveningnews/main3115199.shtml

http://www.nytimes.com/2008/04/22/washington/22waiver.html

Sources of 65,000:

http://www.urban.org/publications/411069.html

http://www.nbc5i.com/news/16817058/detail.html

http://www.thegaymilitarytimes.com/070327Brasch.html

http://www.sldn.org/binary-data/SLDN_ARTICLES/pdf_file/3195.pdf

FYI, I know people who are currently in the military and I've spoken at length with them regarding military life, gays in the military, and any number of other topics relative to my written observations. And I'm sure you can understand my hesitation to name those individuals in my postings.

Besides, let me see if I can follow your logic...since you believe I can't know anything about the military because I never served in the military...do you also ascribe to the theory that the first walk on the moon could have been staged in a Hollywood studio? You see, since you weren't there, your opinion to the contrary would merely be reliant on the reports of others, right?

Now anytime you want to discuss the subject matter contained in this posting, you let me know. I promise I won't hold it against you that you'll have to rely on second hand accounts for those portions of the content that predate your birth.

Regards,

Daniel

P.S. #71, OT?

3 On September 17, 2008 at 9:26 AM, Ben in Oakland wrote —

to Ben from another Ben:

What I find interesting is a comment of Colin Powell's, something to the effect that gay people can be both patriotic and great soldiers, but nonetheless, could not serve their country. So it's not about fitness to serve. DADT allows for gay people to serve as long as nobody knows they're gay. So it's not about the presence of gay people, or their ability to live with straight people even if those people know, guess, or assume that the gay people are gay. (And I don't buy for a minute that people don't try to figure out the sex lives of other people they live and work with).

In short, as we already know, gay people are kicked out of the military for no other reason than that they are gay-- not for doing, on average, anything that a typical straight soldier might be kicked out for.

In short, it's not really about gay people at all, but as usual, about how much the very existence of gay people bothers some straight people.

(And those straight people (or wanna-be-but-ain't) are willing to express mail our country to hell in a hand basket to prove their point. Firing scarce Arabic translators because they like dick? That doesn't make any sense.)

When the anti-gays are honest, and they often have been, they will admit that this statement is true: "I so disapprove of/am wigged out by/hate/dislike/judge moralistically/etc. homosexuals that I could not possibly give up my prejudice, not in the name of tolerance, not in the name of compassion, not in the name of freedom, not in the name of fact and logic and experience and reason---and certainly, not in the name of UNIT COHESION."

Yet, so many people have, both in and out of the military, They find out it just doesn't matter. It's not important. I they have a little less negative and a lot more positive in their lives.

In short-- yet again-- and I'm actually coming to my point: it is all about BIAS, and nothing but bias.

And frankly, I do not find that prejudice, bias, dislike, fear, hatred, stupidity, intolerance, and ignorance, or the insistence that those are good qualities to have, that somehow, finally, you have it right about which group of people need to be hurt or kept in their place-- constitute a good basis for social policy, law-making, military preparedness, or anything else that might benefit our country.

I don't need a study to tell me this. I just need to read a history book. It has not helped our society ever-- racial, religious, ethnic, lingual, whatever prejudice is du jour-- and this case is NO DIFFERENT. I repeat: Firing scarce Arabic translators because they like dick? Straight soldiers are dying for that reason. It doesn't make any sense. 25,000 moral waivers to convicted felons, but upstanding talented patriotic gay people need not apply because it is GOING TO MAKE SOME BIGOTED,INSECURE, IMMATURE, FEAR RIDDEN STRAIGHT BOY UPSET????!!!!

Who exactly is causing the problem?

The unit cohesion argument is just another version of Stanley Kurtz's lame argument that if gay people are allowed to marry, straight people stop having babies, or some such nonsense. The argument shifts subtly and suddenly from gay people getting married to how straight people feel about that. what's interesting to me is that in both cases, straight people act very badly (they stop having babies or can no longer fulfill their mission because they can't get over themselves), and gay people get blamed for it, and must pay the price.

I think this is a very accurate description of the situation. So, if you want studies, be my guest, but it won't change what appears to me to be a very obvious reality.

soldiers die, our country suffers, George bush gets elected, talent is lost, time, energy and money are wasted that could be devoted to making our world and country better, and all in service to a prejudice.

maybe you could find a study that would justify that.

Thought Theater at Blogged

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