Steven Cheslik-DeMeyer

Straight Shooting

Filed By Steven Cheslik-DeMeyer | December 19, 2010 10:00 AM | comments

Filed in: Politics
Tags: Don't Ask Don't Tell

Not everyone is as war-crazy as the gays today, certainly not these American veterans:

There was a black-out and a white-out Thursday and Friday as over a hundred US veterans opposed to US wars in Afghanistan and elsewhere around the world, and their civilian supporters, chained and tied themselves to the White House fence during an early snowstorm to say enough is enough.

Washington Police arrested 135 of the protesters, in what is being called the largest mass detention in recent years. Among those arrested were Ray McGovern, a former CIA analyst who used to provide the president's daily briefings, Daniel Ellsberg, who released the government's Pentagon Papers during the Nixon administration, and Chris Hedges, former war correspondent for the New York Times.

No major US news media reported on the demonstration or the arrests. It was blacked out of the New York Times, blacked out of the Philadelphia Inquirer, blacked out in the Los Angeles Times, blacked out of the Wall Street Journal, and even blacked out of the capital's local daily, the Washington Post, which apparently didn't even think it was a local story worth publishing.

Right next to all the stories today about DADT being repealed was the more routine news that the House approved millions more (without debate) for the endless foreign wars for oil. Pay attention people. Is it really that hard to make these connections? Go fight your war. Go kill some people. But let's be honest. This is not your civil rights battle. They need bodies, y'all, and queer bodies will do in a pinch.


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I don't buy the argument that they're in particular need of cannon fodder right now. Consider:

http://www.army.mil/-newsreleases/2008/10/10/13228-army-exceed-recruiting-goal-for-fiscal-year-2008/

http://www.army.mil/-news/2009/10/14/28745-army-meets-recruiting-goals-for-quantity-quality/

They were having trouble meeting those benchmarks during Bush's second term, but ever since the economy crashed they've been doing just fine.

But thanks for passing along the information about the peace protest. Perhaps there will be some coverage tomorrow once the week starts.

Alex, I fired that off quickly after enduring an entire day of celebratory jingoism all over the internet, and my reference to queer bodies was lazy blogging.

I didn't mean to argue that the military was filling a shortfall of soldiers by repealing DADT, only, more generally, that they have wars to fight and it's to their advantage that they can be indiscriminate in who they enlist to fight them now.

No worries. It wasn't just here, but I know I've heard other people directly arguing that.

Its an absolutely and completely false correlation to imply that being against the military's discriminatory DADT policy makes you a supporter of America's aggressive and unwelcome actions in Afghanistan and Iraq. That's distortion and spin worthy of Fox News.

Who's doing the spinning, Phil? The whole campaign to repeal DADT was based on stories of gay war heroes, patriotic sacrifice, the importance of enlisting the most talented and dedicated to fight for American freedom, etc., with no critique of the actual operations that the military is engaged in, especially, as you say, in Iraq and Afghanistan. THAT is war propaganda, plain and simple. How does that NOT constitute support for those actions? How do these things NOT correlate?

I have good friends, people I respect and admire, who are on your side in this, so I've tried hard to understand how one can support the effort to let gay and lesbian soldiers serve openly but oppose the wars they are fighting. I just don't see how that works. It strikes me as a deeply cynical view.

The U.S. military's slaughter and torture and displacement of millions of people, especially civilians, in the Middle East, Southeast Asia, Africa, Latin America, etc. over the last several decades is an evil greater by degrees of magnitude than job discrimination against homosexuals in the U.S. I can't suspend my entire value system to fight for a symbolic gay rights victory, and for you to accuse me of being deceitful offends me.

maybe I'm not understanding something. Where are you seeing "celebratory jingoism" or "war-crazy" gay people? We're celebrating the end of a discriminatory policy, not wars or military operations. I oppose war too, but that doesn't mean that I think the military can discriminate against open gay men and lesbians.

Maybe you should read those "jingoistic" posts and look carefully at what they're actually saying. I haven't seen much of anything that I would describe as war-loving or jingoistic.

Yeah, did I miss all the queers calling for a bloodbath after the senate passed DADT repeal?

maybe I'm not understanding something. Where are you seeing "celebratory jingoism" or "war-crazy" gay people? We're celebrating the end of a discriminatory policy, not wars or military operations. I oppose war too, but that doesn't mean that I think the military can discriminate against open gay men and lesbians.

Maybe you should read those "jingoistic" posts and look carefully at what they're actually saying. I haven't seen much of anything that I would describe as war-loving or jingoistic.

Kathy Padilla | December 19, 2010 12:21 PM

Is a right a right even if I choose not to exercise it?

Of course - it's still one I can't choose to exercise.

Let me get this clarified. According to Steven Cheslik-DeMeyer's philosophy LGBT individuals should not support the right of other LGBT individuals to do things we personally do not support. Neat!

OK, since I do not like people who talk on cell phones while driving NO LGBT individual will be allowed to talk on cell phones while driving. Straight people can continue to do so.

Seriously while I consider myself a progressive I have problems with the liberal school of thought, as indicated by Steven, that the solution to all problems is to restrict the rights of others.

It's not a "liberal" school of thought, but a left-wing extremist school of thought. According to the radical queer logic, the military and marriage are oppressive institutions, therefore GLBT people shouldn't participate in them regardless of individual sensibilities. For that reason, government-mandated discrimination is seen as a worthy and acceptable price. It's better for GLBT people to suffer discrimination than to perpetuate institutions to which the radical queers are fundamentally opposed.

Right? Like for some reason I'm supposed to be HAPPY that now queer youth--in addition to poor people, people of color, and other marginalized populations--lacking other resources, lacking other opportunities to fund an education or to be financially stable or to survive more broadly, are going to be coerced into offering their bodies over to the U.S. government's racist/imperialist plot?

The same queer kids who have been kicked out of their homes and not been provided a place to stay, been rejected from one too many jobs because their gender presentation isn't protected by the government -- THIS is their way out now? To merrily join hands with that government that never before gave them a second thought, to get its blood on their hands, to join its toll of dead bodies?

No. Thanks.

Don't expect queer youth to ever the same attention the military did. That's sort of the big lesson here: there is a level of care for DADT and marriage that isn't replicated on other issues mainly because the conservatives are in charge and America's moving to the right. I think people are missing that point and will continue to support something they don't really support just because it's the issue that has the money backing it.

What about those of us who did support it, but the issue directly affects our lives? Should we have shut up and not supported DADT repeal?

The U.S. military follows the orders of our politicians. The people elect the politicians. Hence all fault for wars of oppression fall on our backs. Not on the military. If we wish change we need to elect different politicians.

Paige Listerud | December 20, 2010 1:17 PM

Among countless other LGBTQ service personnel, bisexual Navy seaman August Provost died because of DADT. DADT makes the military more dangerous for LGBTQ who are already serving and then gives the military the excuse to withdraw any veteran support once they are dishonorably discharged. Try dealing with PTSD or other injuries, injuries you received in the line of duty, without any access to healthcare and see how much fun that is!

We have a multilayered problem here that will not be solved with simplistic right vs. left thinking. We are in the middle of several imperialist wars that show no sign of ending and are making billionaire military contractors into gazzillionaires while generating more terrorism and hatred for our country around the world. You want those wars to end next year, you have to shift into overdrive to get the whole nation to force their termination--you don't just nitpick at the bone that the ineffectual Democrats have thrown at the LGBTQ community to make themselves seem progressive.

You need to read a history book some time.

The military has always "allowed" gay men to serve in during a time of draft. Just ask those that went in and tried to get out by saying they were gay during the Vietnam war. In many instances they were asked to show proof, and/or sign documents stating they were gay, but then were still drafted. And of course after the war was over, many had those very statements and documents used against them to strip them of status and benefits.

This just gives us the freedom to choose the opportunities available if we so choose to. It has no more of an affect on the draft procedure than it historically has ever had.