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Asking, Telling, Not Caring

Well, "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" is going to be history. The bill -- passed during the 1990s and signed by President Clinton -- took into law a matter previously covered by the regulations of the Uniform Code of Military Justice and took the authority for handling the subject out of the hands of the military and the Commander In Chief.

I've always been somewhat of an agnostic on the matter. As a general rule, I support gay rights (every now and then, when I feel the emotional need for attention here, I write another piece in support of gay marriage), but I also understand that the military is a special case. They are NOT supposed to be representative of America, they are supposed to be our best. Their function is not supposed to reflect or symbolize society, but to protect it. The members of the military have voluntarily surrendered many of their rights by enlisting, becoming essentially government property (witness accused WikiLeaker Bradley Manning, who's finding out just how many rights accused soldiers have under the aforementioned UCMJ). Pretty much the only rights they have are those the military grants them.

I've never served, so I don't feel overly comfortable about the issues raised by openly-gay service members. I've worked with numerous gay people, and never had a problem with any of them -- in fact, I tended to get along better with them. But that was in the Dreaded Private Sector, not in the service, so the parallels are seriously limited.

Further, the repeal does not immediately lift all barriers to gays in the military. Instead, it returns it to where it should have been all along -- the sole discretion of the military itself and its Commander In Chief. It is expected to change under President Obama, but that's entirely up to him.

I do find myself encouraged by the statement of the Commandant of the United States Marine Corps, who had argued against the repeal of DADT. General James Amos did what anyone who knows the least bit about the Corps should have expected -- stated his objections, then when it became an order, said "yes, sir" and committed himself wholeheartedly to making it work.

I have few doubts that our military can make it work. As noted, they aren't a fair depiction of our nation, they don't "look like America," they don't reflect our average national character. They tend to represent the best of us. And I believe that they will follow General Amos' example -- salute, say "yes, sir," and commit themselves to carrying out the orders of their Commander In Chief. (With a few idiots trying to fight it under the "birther" argument questioning Obama's eligibility to be president and CinC, and getting judicially stomped down in short order -- like Lt. Colonel Terrence Lakin)

And yes, there will be cases like what was alleged about former Congressman Eric Massa, who apparently was a serial groper of his subordinates during his career in the Navy. It may take a few years and a few cases to sort out just how to handle such matters, but they'll work it out.

The only question is, what will be the tradeoff for this accommodation? While the military expends time and energy and focus on this, what will get short shrift? And is "during two campaigns in a major conflict" the best time to do so?

My own theory is to follow the model used for integrating women into the armed services; a graduated process, implemented in stages. The biggest gripe heard was the lost of Arab linguists and other non-combat specialists to DADT regulations, so start off there. Don't just go whole-hog and dump all restrictions, but work up to it.

With the repeal, the integration of gays into the military is pretty much a done deal. Oh, a future president could undo it, but that's not very bloody likely unless the implementation is a disaster. The sole question is how it will be done.

And that is where the question of how Obama will act comes into play. He promised to do so, but so many of his promises have shown to have expiration dates -- and there's no guarantee that this one will not also fall by the wayside. Further, Obama is arrogant -- he has been told all his life that he's smarter than everyone, that his intelligence trumps everything, even the intelligence and superior experiences of others. He very well could leave it up to the military to resolve the matter, or he might order them to follow what he (and his cronies, who have a decided lack of military experience among them) believes to be the best way.

Please, just this once, let Obama let his ego take a back seat to common sense and just give the military a general, vague order to "make it so." Let the commanders figure out the best way to make it work with minimum disruptions. General Amos sounds like he knows the score, and I doubt he's the only flag officer with that kind of attitude.

They can make it work. I have faith in them. Just let them do it their way.


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Comments (38)

Are there going to be a quo... (Below threshold)

Are there going to be a quota for promotions to officers for the 'openly' gay soldiers now? The politicians will never stop their meddling.

zaugg:I imagine if... (Below threshold)


I imagine if there is a quota it will have several effects:

1) Anyone of rank desiring promotion who was thinking of staying in the closet will strongly consider outing.

2) Anyone desiring promotion will consider claiming to be gay or bi (a lot easier than claiming race or gender).

3) There will now be a "gay card" that can be dropped either in opposition or in conjunction with the "race card" and the "gender card" (they really just ought to call them the black card and the female card, because they're the only ones that use them). This is the real challenge to the military, and how it is handled will define whether it strengthens or weakens our forces.

Very good JT.I do ... (Below threshold)

Very good JT.

I do think middle america recruitment will go down.

I also work with gays and find them competent, friendly and kind but it still doesn't change my belief that they live in sin and worse, embrace it. (pardon the pun)

If you look at the growth of the "gay movement" over the years since 1980, you will find after each "we only" goal is reached, they go the next step. In this case it will be wanting their "partners" to get full benefits, etc.

I am concerned that 70-72% of military in combat are not for this. Obviously they view this as an unnecessary distraction. And it is.

This is bad law and social engineering. Only. ww

"...let Obama let his ego t... (Below threshold)

"...let Obama let his ego take a back seat to common sense...."

Hasn't happened yet.

Don't kid yourself that something has been 'accomplished' by repeal of DADT. This is only the beginning.

So while we have troops in ... (Below threshold)

So while we have troops in Iraq and Afghanistan, two Muslim countries, we are implementing a program for gay soldiers. If the POTUS and his minions want quotas, etc, then the military has to salute and say 'Yes Sir'. But this policy now places more of our soldiers' lives at risk, since Islam considers homosexuality to be a crime punishable by death. Muslim civilians will also be more adverse and even more hostile to helping our military, since they would be helping those who 'deserve' death.

This was an ill-timed and ill-advised plan, for the sake of politics.

The repeal of DADT is going... (Below threshold)

The repeal of DADT is going to be a clarion call for homosexuals in the military to "come out" and declare their sexual preference. In essence, this will only serve to undermine the rigid non-individualism that the armed forces drill into each recruit the minute they start basic training. The very first thing they do to you is remove almost all of your individuality (e.g. shaving your head, making you dress like everyone else, etc.) so they will fight better as a cohesive unit. DADT should've been called "We Don't Want To Know, We Don't Need To Know, So Shut Up Already About Who You Choose To Have Sex With And Just Shoot Stuff Like You Were Trained For Weeks To Do."

Jason is correct. When I jo... (Below threshold)

Jason is correct. When I joined I went through 13 weeks of training mostly to lose my ego and learn to work as a cohesive unit. I think this is like mixing oil and water, they will be in the same glass but not together. ww

You are correct in your obs... (Below threshold)

You are correct in your observation that it will take "a disaster" to reverse this law. To qualify, a disaster would have to involve a significant loss of life that was clearly and unambiguously attributable to gays in a unit (i.e., something more dramatic than the Wikileaks episode). The necessary clarity will almost certainly be unattainable, so the result will be a known loss of life, without any possibility of repeal.

In 1947, Harry Truman signe... (Below threshold)

In 1947, Harry Truman signed hin mythical executive order desegregating the military. In 1954, under President Dwight Eisenhower, the Army and Marine Corps were in fact desegregated. Hardly think this going to be smoother.

Notice that the left always... (Below threshold)
Don L:

Notice that the left always uses cultural and moral weapons to destroy America - Maybe "conservatives" are missing the real war and it isn't about fiscal sanity only - as if immorality will ignore the money issues when it gets through contaminating the minds of the right. (first they came for the Poles but I wasn't Polish etc....)

Read (and understand why they are so)the American Communist Party Goals and you'll soon see that this is all part of their methodology -destroy the morals -the family - the culture, the religion, and you won't really have to fire a shot to win... support Gay marriage, indeed, when the cost of such depravity hits home someday...

Barrys regime is a sickly c... (Below threshold)

Barrys regime is a sickly concoction of stupidity and political correctness.

2012 cannot come soon enough.

I just love it that some di... (Below threshold)

I just love it that some dipshit Navy admiral who probably has not been in harms way in his entire career, and a turncoat Republican political piece of crap, decide this major issue for entirely political reasons. All the asshole politicians and craven officers go home every night to single family dwellings in nice quiet peaceful neighborhoods. The combat troops, on the other hand, live 24/7 with 20 other people's elbows in their ear, and are very often at risk of death. So, let's throw them to the wolves to score some cheap political points.

Ft. Hood revealed the true corrupt nature of the senior military command. A good man here and there, and tons of total assholes as far as the eye can see. How would you like to be an enlisted man who absolutely knows that the senior command does not give a crap about him, and will instantly destroy your life rather than risk even a tiny blemish on their precious career.

Our government is totally corrupt from top to bottom and this is just one more example.

Sorter Jay Tea: "We lost an... (Below threshold)
Woop dere It Is:

Sorter Jay Tea: "We lost another one, but we can still hate Obama so it's ok"

Shoter Woop: "I'm a fuckin... (Below threshold)

Shoter Woop: "I'm a fucking idiot".

I see whoopi still has that... (Below threshold)

I see whoopi still has that nasty galoob in his diaper.

The Israeli army let's gays... (Below threshold)

The Israeli army let's gays serves openly. I don't think this will be a problem for the U.S. military.

Garand, I was all set to ri... (Below threshold)

Garand, I was all set to rip Woop a new one, but I really can't elaborate on what you said. There's nothing more to say.

Woop is currently at the top of my list of "wastes of skin."


First it was blacks segreg... (Below threshold)
Steve Crickmore:

First it was blacks segregated, then women and now gays. Another 17 years lost, to Dadt and the prejudices of conservatives, and Jay seems to blame Obama for raising this. If conservatives had their way America would still be in the stone age in terms of equality. And their presidential candiate,the last angry man, McCain continues to tear his hair out over this issue!

If we had zero tolerance to sexual abuse of any sort (that includes women and not just the tender sensitivities of sexist macho men), in the miltary, that would be the common sense approach, including the Tailhook scandal and John Lehman,the Navy Secretary and a zealous participant, McCain's good friend, who led McCain's transition team, even though the Pentagon’s inspector general concluded that the 1991 convention was “the culmination of a long-term failure of leadership” in the Navy.

Wrong, again Steve. Women c... (Below threshold)

Wrong, again Steve. Women can join the military but cannot share quarters with men. Big difference. Because women's sexual preference it men and most men's preference is women, so do to the complexities of sexual tension, we don't want to tempt anyone. So maybe homosexuals that "come out" can serve but have quarters seperate from heterosexuals?

And for a point of history that Steve lacks. A republican freed the slaves at the cost of his life. A republican started conservation of the environment. Republicans passed the Civil Rights bill. Republicans reformed welfare so they will eventually work and become tax payers instead of tax takers. Some very monumental life changing stuff republicans have done with the dem's kicking and screaming. ww

WildWillie, point taken abo... (Below threshold)
Steve Crickmore:

WildWillie, point taken about the Republicans. We'll we just to have to see how the policy comes out. I don't think it will make any difference. I have been a health member of YMCA for example and found gay men remarkably subduded.-I'm sure a place like prison is different- but I don't think it will be a problem since they already in the military. There may be some unintended consequences. Gay men might even bond better and straight women might even welcome that there is less of a hyper macho flavor. Actually it won't matter too much if they are already in...just make it, a more honest policy, that they can't kick out someone just because someone (maybe for their own personal reasons) found out was bisexeual or whatever. and we might even start getting some decent translators again.

I can only speak for myself... (Below threshold)

I can only speak for myself, not the Corps, and even though I'm now retired, I still can not speak for them... Want the official line? Go ask the local USMC PAO (Public Affairs Office).

Marines are riflemen; each and every one of em are warriors. At this time of year, you will not find blow-up Santa bubbles, reindeer, or Christmas lights strung across the roads on their Camp (or bases -which the other services call them) - Marines are all business; they spend the majority of their time training: mastering infantry tactics and honing weapon proficiency skills.

Are all Marines 252 pounds, 6 foot 2 studs, with razor creased shirts and boots that shine like the balls of a cat? Not even close. Stereotypes die hard. I weigh a buck-fifty and there wasn't a Private alive that didn't enjoy rubbing the Master Gun's face in the gravel during a 2 minute no-holds-barred martial arts grappling drill. I gave as good as I got (and just so long as they didn't kick me in the knee - we could fight as mean and dirty as we wanted). Two minutes is a long time to go at it (trust me).

So what does a warrior look like? Some are female, 5 feet tall, weigh 100 pounds (dripping wet)... and are mothers of a child or two (or three). Sure we segregate the sexes in boot camp (for good reason) ...but once you earn the title - your a Marine, just as good as any that came before you.

My manhood isn't threatened by gays. And I could care less where you came from and who your mommy or daddy is (or even if you know em). What I want to know is... can you Fight? And from my experience with the newest Millennial generation of Marines, they couldn't give two figs about that other stuff either.

Marines put up with a lot of crap...Social Engineering like DADT was one of em. Sure I expect 'issues' to arise now that that has changed; but then its Eye, Eye Sir (or Ma'am) and get on with the mission. This so called brouhaha - is nothing that a Private First Class or Lance Corporal Fire Team Leader won't be able to handle.

And that my friends, for whatever its worth - is my opinion.

Semper Fidelis-

"..straight women might eve... (Below threshold)
Les Nessman:

"..straight women might even welcome that there is less of a hyper macho flavor."

Oh, well, how nice for the women.
'Cause that's what's important in a military : women's feelings.
We don't want a mean 'ol Army with macho men. They might be brusque. Or coarse. The horror!

You got it Les. Also Bruce,... (Below threshold)

You got it Les. Also Bruce, it is aye, aye. As an old sailor, that terminology is important.

Thanks for your opinion, but I disagree. 72% of combat soldiers and marines said this was a bad idea. More then 2/3 of combat forces. More then significant, but they were ignored. ww

First it was blacks segr... (Below threshold)

First it was blacks segregated, then women and now gays. Another 17 years lost, to Dadt and the prejudices of conservatives, and Jay seems to blame Obama for raising this. If conservatives had their way America would still be in the stone age in terms of equality. And their presidential candiate,the last angry man, McCain continues to tear his hair out over this issue!

Steve, apparently I wasn't clear enough -- or, at least, clear enough for you. I am tentatively in favor of Obama overturning the banning of gays, signed into law by Bill Clinton -- what I had doubts about was how he will do it. He is entirely capable of screwing it up royally, if he micromanages it.

Or, alternately, he is capable of just dropping the whole thing. Just because he's promised it doesn't mean squat -- look at all the other promises he's broken.

I hope he does lift the ban, and does it in a way where he doesn't screw it up.

How you spin that into me "blaming Obama for raising this," is beyond me. But then, trying to follow what you call reasoning often escapes me (and many others).


Wild Willie,Aye, y... (Below threshold)

Wild Willie,

Aye, your right ... I said it a million times, - I just can't spell. Have ta quibble though. The Marines never were a democracy. One of my jobs used to be to go around correcting everything in sight. I use to say, "I don't make the rules (or regulation)... I just enforced em... so don't come around expressing your displeasure...its a waste of breath."

I'm not really an advocate for gays in the military. Its a non-issue for me. The vast majority judge you not by your rank - but what you bring to the fight (like how you handle yourself as part of the team).

The average Marine is 19/20 years old and an E-3/4 (that's a Lance Corporal or Corporal). They mint 50,000 Privates and 2nd Lieutenants
a year - effectively replacing their entire manpower structure just about every four years. So its a very young force. They thought I (at age 50) was absolutely ancient.

The point I made about this "issue" not rising above much more than a PFC's (Private First Class) or LCpl's (Lance Corporal) preview is right on the money. They outnumber everybody else; thereby holding the lion's share of leadership responsibility and getting things done.

This new Millennial generation is different than my generation (Boomers are twice removed). They are hard-core tough, smart as hell, learn quickly, and will see right through any spin in a heart-beat. My opinion one way or another is immaterial to this issue. They are the one's who carry the burden of duty now... and you can point to all the paper in the world that says otherwise... but having served with so many though the years, I gotta call it like I see it: They are the greatest generation, and will take this without breaking stride and Charlie Mike (Continue [the] Mission).

Semper Fidelis-

Lots of words to say very l... (Below threshold)

Lots of words to say very little.

The first time there is a an incident in a deployed combat unit, expect a fragging.

If it ain't broke don't fix it! And with less than .0007% of the military forced to leave this should have been a non-issue, exect for the gay lesbian advocacy groups. As Brian Susman asked on Fox last night: which one of the six sexes will dominate? And if you don't know the six sexes, you don't deserve a vote on DADT.

Now they can say they are h... (Below threshold)

Now they can say they are homosexual. However, if they admit to acting out those homosexual tendency then they can be kick out of the military. If there is any question about their behavior, they can be question about it.

While I don't personally ca... (Below threshold)

While I don't personally care whos banging who in the military or anywhere else, I do think that its an especially stupid thing to take up right now.

Whats the matter? Two wars isn't keeping the military busy enough right now? They really need to deal with this kind of crap now? really?

Still, I look forward to seeing the same gay idiots that ran out to make a political statement by getting married, suddenly realizing that you cant divorce the army when it aint funny no more.

Now don't you feel sorry fo... (Below threshold)

Now don't you feel sorry for all those folks that thought they would get an easy early out (pun not intended) by disclosing their preferences? "You're gay? Good, get your gay butt back in ranks!"

Jay, o'kay you didn't expli... (Below threshold)
Steve Crickmore:

Jay, o'kay you didn't explicitly blame Obama for raising it, you seem to find fault with him for not being cautious enough, when he has had this studied to death, and is giving the Pentagon as much time as it wants, to implement it.

Micromanging- I suppose that is his bad in healthcare- yes, he should have seen how near universal healthcare-with individual mandates, worked itself through Massachusetts, before making the same mistakes, federally. Probably, he should have consulted Romney.

Maybe, the Pentagon could have experimented with having 'open' gays and lesbians accepted in one of the forces first, to see how that would have worked- say the Navy, that would have pleased McCain no end? I suppose it is social engineering, but if it is good social enginneering or neutral what is wrong with that? Anyway, they have had gays in the Pentagon for a long while; Bradley Manning for example the wikileaks leaker, who was revolted by the American condoning of Iraqi torture he saw, so how effective has Dadt really been? If it makes gays in uniform less resentful and they feel more part of the team, that should be a plus, there might be less Bradley Mannings, then again...

What is "Micromanging</i... (Below threshold)

What is "Micromanging-"?

Studying a miniature of Christs manger? Appropriate for this time of year I guess.

Merry Christmas!

914 -- "micromanging" is th... (Below threshold)

914 -- "micromanging" is the art of picking off tiny sections of a dog's fur, leaving little bitty bald spots. It's a rather odd form of animal cruelty.

Steve -- you couldn't be any more knee-jerk about me than if I celebrated every posting by whacking you on the knee with a rubber hammer. Here I'm saying "Obama's on the right side of the issue, indications are he'll stay there, but I hope he doesn't screw it up" and you STILL have to reflexively take issue with me.

Some people just can't take "yes" for an answer.


Bruce, the problem will be ... (Below threshold)

Bruce, the problem will be at the recruitment level. I think the lions share of enlistment come from rural areas and small towns. They do not have the "big city" mindset. The beliefs are strict. ww

I also am fairly agnostic o... (Below threshold)

I also am fairly agnostic on the matter. I feel someone's sexuality in the military (like the workplace) is probably the worst kept secret around. I could be wrong (and no I did not serve so I am guessing as to the effectiveness of my gaydar) but regardless, the main downside I see is that now there is yet one more right to be abused.

I understand there is racism, sexism, homophobia etc... in the country, but what I see now is the opportunity for people to abuse a system.

Don't like the fact you have extra duty for some reason, it's because you're gay.

Had to pull fire watch too often, it's because you're gay.

Got moved to the engine room, it's because you're gay.

I sincerely hope not. Honestly I do. I hope I am wrong and this is a championing moment for gay rights where we can mark and say "This is when America made a change for the better."

But as a watch the actions of the left and our lame duck congress, I am pessimistic at best.

Mayhap there shoul... (Below threshold)

Mayhap there should be a pool started to see how long before an activist group generates a discrimination lawsuit.

You know it's coming.

Having spent almost my enti... (Below threshold)

Having spent almost my entire career at the small unit level, what its like to spend months on end sharing a hole in the ground is that you know everything there is to know about those you share it with.

You know their hopes and dreams, and every thing they ever did growing up. You know all about their family - and I mean everything...probably better than their spouses or brothers and sisters do (if they have em). You know their strengths and weaknesses. There is no break, or escape, and no time off...its relentless and endless 24/7. Your world shrinks to the smallest proportions imaginable and time appears to slow down. You fight, take casualties, and see your friends die (you have bad days and worse). You do what needs to be done (not for freedom and country so much)... you do it for them. That's the bond.

Now place DADT in this environment, and one might begin to see how incompatible this law really was with reality. Perhaps that's why so many commentators on this thread have a problem with gays in the military. Even though they might not have served...intuitively they know (and feel revulsion towards those that are so different and lived a life that is alien to their core beliefs).

If you've ever been at the point of decision on the battlefield, you will be amazed at how all the extraneous detritus of the world just falls away - nobody, and I mean nobody goes there except those that were sent. Look around - wishing for better circumstances or more support isn't an option...all you got is your team... deal with it.

You never stop thinking, but you do learn to put your feelings in a box. You can always pull them out later...and examine them when you have the time. We called it, "emptying the trash," which had to be done from time to time - so that it wouldn't overflow.

At the small unit level, the character of the team is as varied as you can possibly imagine. Photographs of naked women circulate freely in some; in others, silhouettes of potential enemy equipment abound. The higher ranking Commissioned Officers and Non-Commissioned Officers (NCOs) are rare... look around, and all you'll see are Privates and Lance Corporals. To belabor the point, although I knew they existed - I didn't actually meet or speak with a Master Sergeant or Master Gunnery Sergeant until after the second year of my first enlistment.

So the military (or the Corps at least) is run by junior leaders - PFCs and LCpls. They are the backbone of the Corps, and it is they who will have the burden of implementing and executing any changes that come down through the chain-of-command. Ask them their opinion, and they will give it freely (trust is a two way street)...but after the time for input, then its time for a decision to be rendered. Once rendered, all the input is immaterial. A lawful order has been given - and everyone will bend heaven and earth to see it executed. That's the way it really is. And that's why I have no doubt about the outcome.

I see I'm on a blue-streak, sorry for the long post.

Semper Fidelis-

And, what of , deploying a ... (Below threshold)

And, what of , deploying a soldier to a country which condones executing a person because of their Homosexuality? Wouldn't that be considered putting that person in a doubly dangerous situation? In that case will the soldier carry ID which identifies his sexuality? How about never sending that soldier into combat at all, just have them shuffle papers behind the lines. How about we just disband our Armed forces altogether and hire mercenaries, it would be simpler.

So did anyone start that Di... (Below threshold)






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