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Don't Ask, Don't Tell. Just haze.

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TheEgoist
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http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/conte...id=opinionsbox1

Story had me on the verge of tears. Is there any excuse to keep this shameful policy going, except to appease the immoral bigots who put this man through months of Hell because he wanted to serve in the military and happened to be gay? Obama says he is going to end it. He hasn't done ANYTHING except talk.

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I've always thought that this was a very strange policy and I'm particularly surprised that Obama hasn't done away with it yet. I suppose everything is about politics with this administration.

I've never been in the military, so I'll defer to people like Zip and others who have actually been in the service. I don't see why would there be a problem with simply accepting gays in the military, the same way they are pretty much routinely accepted in most other professions.

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Homosexuality isn't the problem, homophobia is. Blackmail and all those other oh so McCarthy fears are only possible threats when a person is forced to hide his sexuality.

The Canadian Forces has permitted Homosexuals to serve since like the early 80's? To my knowledge there has never been a security breach because of a person being a homosexual. Indeed, it is much more likely for a man to be blackmailed about an illicit hetro affair than a homo one.

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I've been in the military for quite a while and this has never been a big deal. Thats not to say there have never been any problems, I've just never seen any hazing or any attempt to find, single out, and harass gay soldiers. I do remember one suspected incident of interpersonal violence, and it seemed a more likely that the perpetrator was batshit nuts than the crime was motivated by the rumors of the victims gayness. Any kind of gender, race, or orientation harassment is severely looked down on. You wouldn't believe how many anti-harassment classes soldiers are continually put through. I'm sure a large majority of military members would state that they aren't ok with gays in service, but I'm sure they would also state that they aren't interested in starting any inquisitions or getting upset about it. The anti-gay service stance makes sense just because most service members come from conservative or moderate roots that hold those views. The left doesn't respect or support the military regardless of what they say and most left to far left people would do anything before they would work for the military. At least thats been my perception.

Edited to agree with Zip. The openly gay guy serving isn't getting blackmailed. Its going to be the guy hiding it to keep his job or especially the closeted guy living a secret life. The security risk of the first guy is totally eliminated, and the second is going to be a risk no matter what. I don't see any reason why a secret gay affair would be any more of a security risk than a secret hetero one anyway.

Edited by Castle
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The anti-gay service stance makes sense just because most service members come from conservative or moderate roots that hold those views. The left doesn't respect or support the military regardless of what they say and most left to far left people would do anything before they would work for the military. At least thats been my perception.

One of the arguments I've heard in the past is that "unit cohesion" will be affected negatively by allowing openly homosexual men in combat units. I'd tend to doubt this is true, but what do you guys in the service think?

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One of the arguments I've heard in the past is that "unit cohesion" will be affected negatively by allowing openly homosexual men in combat units. I'd tend to doubt this is true, but what do you guys in the service think?

There are a lot of things that can negatively affect unit cohesion. Not doing one's job is one. In regular life, it's hard enough to get along well with everyone one works with. Units are placed together without the freedom of choice in the regular work market place.

Personally, I believe that don't ask, don't tell is unreasonable. Whether one is open or not about something still allows for the opportunity of individuals to make their conclusions, rational or not. I don't see where the policy changes anything necessarily.

Edited by SD26
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I honestly wouldn't know. I can see it being a problem, but even then it seems like that would be the sort of thing that would fade over time as the culture of the organization adapts. Of course, the difficulty of implementing something doesn't have any bearing on whether its correct or not. I also think it would require some significant changes to the organization, beyond what would be immediately obvious. My gut tells me it wouldn't be a detriment in the long term but it would probably be a difficult beginning.

Edited by Castle
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Didn't the ancient Greeks use interpersonal relations between soldiers to help with group cohesion? You were more likely to fight and die for your fellow soldiers if you loved them on every level. Couples on the battlefield - craziness, or a novel idea for creating the ultimate fighting force?

Edited by brian0918
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Unit cohesion is another crock. Unit cohesion is harmed more by someone being forced to be something he isn't than it is by being honest and open about it.

Besides do the brass honestly believe that after a significant portion of time together that the Unit doesn't know? Why the evasion? Not secure enough in their own manhood I think.

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Besides do the brass honestly believe that after a significant portion of time together that the Unit doesn't know? Why the evasion?

Exactly.

It's just a philosophy that is destined to fail. More Cloward-Pliven Strategy that generates ridiculous demands that will fail and generate more crisis.

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The whole thing is rooted in evasion - some people just want to pretend that gays don't exist (at least not in their group). I can't see how refusal to acknowledge reality can do anyone any benefit.

If there was a unit-cohesion issue, I imagine the gays (or homophobes) could just be transferred to another group without too much difficulty.

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It's only a matter of time before this embarrassing policy is let go. Will that stop hazing? No, I don't think so, but at least it will give a better atmosphere for homosexuals, over time. I actually think cases like the one presented in the article are the rare cases now, and homosexuals are allowed to be 'open' in public with increasing frequency. If it's used as a policy, it's probably used as a tack on charge, when more serious charges/problems already exist.

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Honestly, the whole "Uh oh, we found out you're gay and you've got to be kicked out." has been used a lot more as a device for people to get themselves out of the military than as any sort of persecution. Not that innocent homosexual have never been removed from service, I've just seen the gay card thrown as an escape tactic a lot of times. The whole thing is just stupid. The only case I can remember reading about was a discharge a few years ago where a soldier got outed completely by accident. The common theme that I can remember was that everyone involved was pretty much rolling their eyes at the whole thing with the command reluctantly obeying regulations they obviously thought were dumb.

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Homosexuality isn't the problem, homophobia is. Blackmail and all those other oh so McCarthy fears are only possible threats when a person is forced to hide his sexuality.

The Canadian Forces has permitted Homosexuals to serve since like the early 80's? To my knowledge there has never been a security breach because of a person being a homosexual. Indeed, it is much more likely for a man to be blackmailed about an illicit hetro affair than a homo one.

I agree with your assessment here, in the context of some sort of CI matter, but I don't think it applies to the reason why "don't ask, don't tell" is a policy. The policy demands people keep their sexuality secret or they could be discharged, etc... If the driving factor here were CI risk indicators, they would reverse the policy, making the release information regarding one's sexuality less embarrassing or threatening.

Edited by RussK
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Homosexuality isn't the problem, homophobia is.

I agree, Zip. I have a question though. I have no problem undressing and such around women that are heterosexual or gay men. I would feel very differently undressing or showering around hetero men or lesbian women. (Not doctors or my friend's lesbian mom when I was a kid, but I mean as an adult around other adults who are essentially strangers to you.)

Now I'm aware that most hetero men and lesbians out there are not necessarily interested in me, but that doesn't mean I want to shower, groom myself or dress in front of them. Don't you think it could make individuals feel very uncomfortable, and rightfully so, if someone who could be sexually attracted to them is allowed to watch them undress and shower and such? Should we just start bunking everyone together regardless of sexual preference? Should we tear down the barriers in public restrooms, retail dressing rooms and such? Where do you draw the line? I'm curious.

Other than that issue, I don't really care who they let in the military, as long as the individual has voluntarily signed up and can perform the duties that are required.

My ex was in the Army. He told me a story once of a guy in his barracks he suspected of being gay. He observed the guy get up in the middle of the night, get something out of his foot locker and take it to the dumpster. My ex waited for him to get back into bed and fall asleep, then he went out and retrieved the items from the dumpster. It was Playgirl type magazines. My ex turned them in to his superiors and the guy was gone by that afternoon.

The story obviously disgusts me and I told my ex as much. He just couldn't get past that it was a bad thing for his unit (or whatever group it was) and you can't take that kind of bad vibe into battle. (Why didn't I divorce him sooner? :D ) I can't help but wonder why type of discharge that guy ended up with. A dishonorable discharge can really hurt when you're looking for work.

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Wow, what a dick move. The answer to the communal shower/living thing is to get rid of that style of living, not try to acclimatize everyone to exposing themselves without odd feelings.

To the best of my knowledge (10+ years in service) the discharge for homosexual conduct is a general discharge, doesn't reflect one way or the other. That can be bad enough, but it doesn't hold the stigma of an "other than honorable" or "dishonorable". I don't exactly keep my finger on the pulse of the issue, but I doubt that the policy has changed. I doubt a lot of the so-called moderates supporting this would back a clear declaration of "dishonor". The whole point is to implement lame half measures in an atmosphere of indistinct principles after all. Honestly, Every dishonorable discharge I've ever seen has been for something totally crazy, criminal activity and the like.

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The answer to the communal shower/living thing is to get rid of that style of living, not try to acclimatize everyone to exposing themselves without odd feelings.

I thought the purpose of that type of living environment was that it's economical, it encourages a sort of unity amongst the troops and prepares them for war-like situations?

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I thought the purpose of that type of living environment was that it's economical, it encourages a sort of unity amongst the troops and prepares them for war-like situations?

I hesitate to comment because all my knowledge of the armed forces is mostly second-hand, but I think I can safely ask: what kind of privacy is there in the front lines? I imagine little to none.

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I'm positive its an economy thing. It certainly never made me feel more unified with the team, shared hardship and success does that. It just felt childish. We partitioned ourselves private areas in A-stan, but sure there are situations where you would have to bunk communally. The army doesn't necessarily live constantly like its a war though. Even if it did cost more money I still think it would be the right thing to do for integrating different lifestyles into the army, outside of wartime. As stupid as homophobia is the homophobe has a right to be wrong, and making him perform uncomfortable and disturbing (to him) actions as part of his job is wrong, just as forcing a homosexual to hide or act against his lifestyle and convictions as part of his job is wrong. The only answer I can see there is everyone lives in their own domicile, like adults. War is different because it entails all kinds of unforseen considerations and situational difficulties.

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I agree, get rid of the communal nature of things like showers and toilets. I'm not having a crap for the team I'm having it for me.

But really, considering Kelly's question about those places, have you ever considered defecation by the other sex as being sexual? I would imagine that most Homosexuals would feel the same way.

As for showering, please, in the army there are precious few times out in the field where you get enough time to think about anything other than getting clean.

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I honestly don't remember ever showering in the field when I was active. In my line of work, that sort of thing was just way down on the list. Even if we did, I wouldn't expect private showers. The point is to practice the hardships and tasks of war (kinda).

I honestly hadn't thought about toilets, there always seem to be stalls or port-a-potties. I probably wouldn't be MORE uncomfortable knowing a dude watching me take a dump was gay, I would be pretty close to max uncomfortable no matter who was.

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  • 4 weeks later...
http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/conte...id=opinionsbox1

Story had me on the verge of tears. Is there any excuse to keep this shameful policy going, except to appease the immoral bigots who put this man through months of Hell because he wanted to serve in the military and happened to be gay? Obama says he is going to end it. He hasn't done ANYTHING except talk.

Oh, it's not Obama's fault. It's those evil obstructionists fault :P

DADT is possibly the most unfair policy directed at the gays. Problem is, very few people discuss the most unfair aspects of 10 USC 654.

There's the false equation of "Telling people you are gay" == "Advertising your sexuality". That has been debunked over and over again, true, but people insist on believing otherwise.

But what it does not address:

- You can't get caught having sex with another man

- You can't attempt to marry another man.

How on earth do you prevent another man from marrying another man? Off duty? You can't.

Edited by Black Wolf
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  • 1 month later...

So how exactly do you communicate with a person who doesn't see a problem with Don't Ask Don't Tell?

How do you tell a person who is convinced that "the military is not a place to reveal your sexuality" what is so bad about DADT?

Someone feels he has to hide who he is in the military because of Don't Ask Don't Tell. But that doesn't matter to some people, because he shouldn't have to reveal it in the military in the first place. Because "the military is not a place to reveal sexuality". How do you explain to this person why DADT is wrong? Why infringing on the freedom of speech of people who are protecting ours is a bad thing?

Does Don't ask don't tell actually prevent security breaches? It has not proven to. Israel, Canada, Brittain, and Australia let gays openly serve in their military, and the sky hasn't fallen in these countries. 73% of people in the army have no problem with homosexuals and do not mind serving with them. But none of this matters, apparently, "you don't need to reveal your sexuality in the military".

Why not? Who decides what "needs" to be revealed in the military? Why does there need to be a federal statute defining the behavior of our soldiers? Why can't our commanders just do their job? If telling someone that you are gay is so dangerous to the unity of the team, so much more than the heterosexual harassment in the military and the hazing in the military, why can't the commanders do their jobs and take care of that?

Edited by Black Wolf
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