And a DADT story from a non-officer.
But first, Cal Thomas an idiot.
I was reading his column on DADT when I came across this paragraph:
But we are beginning in the wrong place. The place to start is whether citizens of this country, through their elected representatives and the military leaders named by them, have a right to determine what type of service members best serve the interests, safety and security of the United States. I contend we do.
Then I thought, didn't Gallup just do a poll about DADT? I'll have to look it up to write a post about this later.
Oh, how wrong I was. I didn't need to look it up at all, because it appears several paragraphs down:
Opinion polls have shown the public shifting in favor of gays in the military, including a recent Gallup poll that found that "Americans are 6 percentage points more likely than they were four years ago to favor allowing openly gay men and lesbian women to serve in the military, 69 percent to 63 percent."
Well, there ya go. You want to see some more Barrel Fish shooting?
If the armed services were open to all behaviors (as distinct from orientations), recruitment might become more difficult. Some of the services have struggled recently to meet their recruitment goals[...]
Later that same sentence:
though overall enlistment is up because of the economy.
It's almost like recruitment is unrelated to the presence or absence of out queers in the military.
Society accepts gays so much that any brilliant leader who disagrees is shouted down by the rabble:
[Positive polling on gays in the military] is mostly because there are few leaders who wish to give voice to opposing points of view. They fear being shouted down or accused of homophobia.
Society is totally opposed to homosexuality and elitist librul democrat congresscritters who approve of it will lose their jobs:
If Congress wants to repeal DOMA and change the military's behavioral codes, it can do so through new legislation. But that would put Blue Dog Democrats at risk at re-election time because they serve mostly conservative districts. They know their political careers would be over if they voted in favor of gay marriage or for gays in the military.
Here's something that sounds a lot like an argument:
The gays-in-the-military and gay-marriage issues are part of a broader attempt by liberals to restructure society. Social activists despise biblical morality (which heterosexuals could use a little more, too), traditional values that have been proved to work when tried and numerous other cultural mores.
Yeah, no culture has ever accepted gays in the military and lived to tell about it:
2 Countries that allow homosexuals to serve in the military
2.7 Czech Republic
2.18 The Netherlands
2.19 New Zealand
2.24 South Africa
2.28 United Kingdom
At least the response to that argument wasn't embedded in the column itself.
One last one:
Mission is national defense, not experimental psychology
This is why fewer and fewer people care what douchebags like Cal Thomas have to say. The majority of people know the military isn't about "national defense," that's why it keeps on being used to invade third-world countries and steal their resources, just like the majority of people know working with gay people isn't a problem or "experimental psychology." These arguments don't have much resonance right now because they're just so detached from the reality in which people are living.
Joseph Rocha's description of DADT
Cal Thomas is ostensibly responding to what Joseph Rocha (navy guy discharged because of DADT) wrote in the Washington Post. I recommend Rocha's column, and not because it says that DADT is bad (don't need to preach to the choir), but because of the way in which it's bad.
Usually we hear about how DADT ends the careers of decorated officers who went to the big military academies, have distinguished records of service, yada yada yada. As if the fact that they were high up there in the military means that they're more deserving of the right to be out on the job.
Rocha was an enlisted guy who joined up when he was 18 and thought if he was just in the closet he'd be left alone. That's the compromise DADT was supposed to have settled on. Well, apparently not so:
Shop talk in the unit revolved around sex, either the prostitute-filled parties of days past or the escapades my comrades looked forward to. They interpreted my silence and total lack of interest as an admission of homosexuality. My higher-ups seemed to think that gave them the right to bind me to chairs, ridicule me, hose me down and lock me in a feces-filled dog kennel.[...]
In one corner of the classroom was a long sofa, turned away from the door. When you walked into the room, it appeared that one man was sitting on it, alone. But I was there too -- the chief had decided that I would be down on my hands and knees, simulating oral sex. A kennel support staff member and I were supposed to pretend that we were in our bedroom and that the dogs were catching us having sex. Over and over, with each of the 32 dogs, I was forced to enact this scenario.
I told no one about what I was living through. I feared that reporting the abuse would lead to an investigation into my sexuality. My leaders and fellow sailors were punishing me for keeping my sexuality to myself, punishing me because I wouldn't "tell."
Even people who aren't gay suffer because of DADT:
I even saw "don't ask, don't tell" used against heterosexual female service members who had reported being the victims of sexual assault. If my chief acted on their statements, he would be forced to punish a friend of his, so the easiest way to make the problem go away was to scare the women into silence by saying something like: "You weren't sexually assaulted by a male in my unit. I hear you're a lesbian." After all, homosexuals have no rights in our military. You can't sexually assault someone who doesn't exist.
As well as people who aren't even accused of being gay:
In the course of that investigation, the Navy decided to charge my best friend, Petty Officer 1st Class Jennifer Valdivia, a 27-year-old Sailor of the Year and second in command of my unit, for failing to put an end to my chief's tyranny. The idea that she could have stopped the abuse is, to me, unfair and unreasonable. The Navy itself failed to stop him.
Val, as I called her, was set to return home when she was told of the charges and that she wouldn't be leaving Bahrain as planned. She was afraid that she would never see the United States again. My mentor ended up taking her life.
I've spent more time on military bases than I've wanted to as a civilian, and one thing I've noticed is the smug superiority some officers have towards enlisted folk. So I don't find it surprising at all that every time we need a gay DADT discharge hero, they're usually commissioned officers (with the notable exception of Eric Alva).
I know that we also talk a lot about the military, honor, etc., when we're talking DADT, but I don't see much honor in forcing someone into a dog kennel. Or threatening women who've been sexually assaulted so that they don't come forward. Or charging a subordinate so that the officer who was really at fault doesn't get his record unprettied.
DADT might have some culpability here, but the fact that these folks are as sadistic and self-centered and clubby as humans are generally is also to blame. And that's why just repealing DADT won't solve all of the problems for GLB and especially T people in the military.
While this was waiting in line to be posted, I found this:
[Republican U.S. Senate candidate Mark Kirk] supports continuing the "don't ask, don't tell" policy on gays serving in the military.
"I think it's worked out well," he said. "Keeping that all out of the workplace makes common sense."
Oh, yeah, sit around and talking about prostitutes and sex, but don't you dare talk about gay prostitutes and gay sex, because that's so much worse.