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29 May 2010

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JLCG

Perhaps after the military have been offended enough the legions will discover that emperors can be made elsewhere than Rome.

William R. Cumming

Webb on VMI--just remember at heart is and always a Marine.

Patrick Lang

WRC

Pate, Shepherd, Puller, shall I go on?

His problem had to do with one of his sons who did not last long at VMI.

SteveB

I'm not sure that talking to the enlisted people does much good here. If they had relied on the expressed views of enlisted people in the 1950s how would desegregation have progressed? Even soldiers that supported desegregation would have likely found it difficult to publicly support that position, especially in the South.

Webb seems to be viscerally opposed to allowing gays/lesbians to serve openly in the armed forces so kvetching about ongoing studies seems to be little more than a cover.

Just one other point. You've written about how changing this policy will create all sorts of issues around housing, medical benefits, etc. Certainly there will be some who test these boundaries but they will be few and far between. Afterall, rednecks from the deep south don't move to Harlem.

What did Webb say about VMI?

Patrick Lang

SteveB

The question is not whether or not the enlisted folk are "enlightened." The question is whether or not they will vote with their feet over this. How many close relatives do you have in the military right now? Can we replace those who leave or are "chaptered? with friends or relatives of yours?

Webb said that an athletic coach had not lived up to his recruiting pitch with regard to his son. They always go home with a good story. Maybe it was true. That would have been acceptable but Webb then continued to say that VMI was a much diminished institution and unworthy of its past. I would have left the meeting but I was in someone else's house and unwilling to make a scene. I told him that he was mistaken. It was clear that this angered him. That Scotch-Irish complexion is a dead giveaway. pl

Redhand

Col Lang,

My sense, confirmed my your in-person experience, is that Webb was and is an arrogant jerk, so full of his own combat experience, novels and "defense expertise" that anyone else necessarily lives in a lesser, alternate universe.

However, I also think that "Webb seems to be viscerally opposed to allowing gays/lesbians to serve openly in the armed forces so kvetching about ongoing studies seems to be little more than a cover."

With all due respect, I wonder if your own opposition to such an admittedly huge change in one of our most respected institutions is also visceral and traditional, i.e. "How can this be? How can it work?"

On the PBS Newshour last night Bobo and Mark Shields discussed this subject. Shields said that in 1993 over 50% of Americans were against gays in the military, but now a substantial majority is in favor of it.

One reason to endorse the change is that the military must reflect general societal values in a democracy.

My own experience with gays has been in organizational settings, and is largely legal: I represented a number in successful asylum applications. The nature of my representation in such claims has required me to make a major effort to understand how they think and feel relative to society and self.

What I've seen is men who have felt saddled from birth with a sexual orientation that they have not wanted, but cannot avoid, whose societies and cultures have engendered enormous self-hatred in them.

These people have struggled with who and what they are, and after coming to terms with it, ask only that society respect their private lives and let them play by the rules, and be accepted (or at least tolerated) in the workplace. I have never gotten the sense that license to be "openly gay" there meant that they would come to work with a "flaunt it" attitude.

It seems to me that if female naval aviators can succeed in US carrier squadrons, and other women can integrate in the services successfully, there is no reason why gays can't conform, or that their presence will damage our military forces.

Patrick Lang

redhand

"your own opposition to such an admittedly huge change in one of our most respected institutions is also visceral and traditional,"

What is the citation for my opposition to this change?

It sounds to me that you are an advocate for the change. pl

lina

Perhaps a mass exodus of enlisted personnel following the repeal of DADT would be a good thing. Why do we need as many conventional forces as we have anyway? Maybe the policies behind deploying conventional forces can be changed to fit the new smaller military? Maybe we can finally get out of Afghanistan. Maybe we don't need 50K troops in Germany.

I know gay soldiers and sailors, and I know straight soldiers and sailors. In my empirical data, no one gives a flying f*** who is gay.

Fundamentalist Christians teach their children that homosexuality is a sin. If they want to keep them out of the military, good. If they want to live their lives based on what they read in Leviticus, fine. Stay home and get a civilian job.

I'm a U.S. tax payer. Don't use my $ to perpetuate fossilized social policies in the military.


Patrick Lang

Lina

Your argument is somewhat undermined by your indifference to national defense. pl

elkern

Seriously OT (please pardon):

WTF is going on in Korea?

Someone I care about is going to Seoul in a couple weeks, and I'm kinda worried about a real blow-up over there.

As I understand it, Seoul is within short-range missile distance of NK - a hostage city.

Anybody here have some deep or inside perspective on what's likely to happen there within the next month?

Sorry again for OT.

Richard Armstrong

The US military is currently fighting in two absolutely unnecessary wars and yet people are getting their panties in a knot over the repeal of DADT? Give me a break. Talk about a complete lack of perspective.

My personal story about serving with gays in the Army in the '70s and '80s follows.

While none of those guys were "out in the open", we all knew they were gay.

As for the idiotic notion that a straight soldier would not fight for his gay comrade the way he would for a straight comrade is laughable.

"Beetle" Bailey was a gay member of my squad. On the way back from the PX he was jumped by some ignorant rednecks from another company and thrashed badly enough that he needed medical attention.

After a very angry discussion among my squad and other members of the company it was decided this act could not be ignored.

The ensuing ambush of the angry rednecks by my squad paid them back with full measure.

You see the rednecks had attacked "one of our own". We didn't care that he was gay. He was "one of our own".

In order to maintain good order and military discipline my squad was ordered to "GI Party" the barracks. After the CO had gone home the senior NCOs came by and called off the "GI Party" and let us enjoy the rest of the weekend.

In my opinion the CO didn't give us Article 15s because he understood that we were fighting for "one of our own". By ordering the "GI Party" and then leaving the post for the weekend he participated in the NCOs conspiracy to let us get out of the rest of the punishment.

Because they knew that we were fighting for "one of our own".

I will also note that the rednecks from the other company either received Article 15s or were charged with assault under the UCMJ.

This was obviously unfair because they were driven to attack "Beetle" because he made them do it by being gay.

May God help the nation that won't allow certain citizens to defend it because they are women or black or gay.

Two down and one to go.

Redhand

Col Lang:

Re: What is the citation for my opposition to this change?

It was purely an inference: I did say "I wonder."

As to, It sounds to me that you are an advocate for the change, I actually have some real trepidation about it.

You don't have to have been shot at in a unit to believe that asexual male bonding is one of the key ingredients in "unit integrity" (the other being leadership IMO) and that introducing an openly gay element into the mix is playing with fire. Plus, like Pandora's box (intentionally provocative analogy) once this one is opened, there's no turning back in our "individual rights-based" society.

Because of this, I really have felt through the years since 1993 that DADT was a workable if intellectually dishonest compromise: Everybody knows there are gays serving in the military, so why can't we just look the other way?

That said, I am a reluctant supporter of the change, assuming that the reality behind gays serving openly in combat is accurately reflected here: U.S. Troops Serve with Gay Brits: Lifting U.K. Gay Ban was ‘Non-Event’.

lina

Col.:

You might be right about my indifference toward national defense, but I don't think it undermines my civil rights argument. Civil rights are worth defending. (See Paine, Thomas)

Patrick Lang

lina

I have spent my life in the effort to protect human rights and the US Constitution. I continue to do that. As an expert witness in the defense of some Gitmo detainees (the guiltless ones) I was mocked in court last week by a child woman DOJ lawyer who quoted from my book on intelligence and SST to "demonstrate" that I "undermined" the evidence because I hate the CIA. I am tired. pl

Patrick Lang

Some of you

Your self righteous attitude is ridiculous.

Do you not think that all the combat men here have served with gays?

The Army lives mostly in peace time in garrison. Understand? pl

Patrick Lang

Redhand

I do not oppose this change. What I oppose is anything that will function to the detriment of the institution that I love. pl

William R. Cumming

Thanks Pat. Obviously did not know of incident with Webb's son. He is a complicated man. You are a complicated man. The US Naval Academy and US Marine Corps are complicated institutions. AS is VMI! All are needed to help maintain the security of the US in a complex and complicated world. I am not a combat vet and still do know many and have friends and relatives killed in combat. That unique experience is needed in understanding of the world and past and present events as even now those willing and able to defend the US with the actual or potential of the ultimate sacrifice are in very very short supply. Yet others do love our country and many of the complicated mena dn women that have fought and sustained our country throughout its history. Memorial Day weekend is a perfect time for reflection on that effort and contribution. That is why hoping for wisdom in our leaders on many subjects including willingness to use Armed Force. My belief is that honor and valor is not in short supply in ranks of those with other than hetero sexual life style. Yet incorporation of that way of life in the norms of the military is going to take some extra diligence, patience, understanding, and willingness to adopt new norms and not sure how flexible the Armed Forces are to do that in present environment. To those willing to serve let them serve but also let them respect that their differences are what makes our country great even as we face nations, societies and religions that produce many willing to take their own lives in opposing US and its interests. This is and will always be a difficult and complex challenge for US.

Redhand

As an expert witness in the defense of some Gitmo detainees (the guiltless ones) I was mocked in court last week by a child woman DOJ lawyer who quoted from my book on intelligence and SST to "demonstrate" that I "undermined" the evidence because I hate the CIA.

Based on personal experience, I can say that there are few people more despicable than clueless young government lawyers who think that because they work for the federal government they somehow embody it. I hope you gave the idiot cross-examining you what she deserved.

lina

"What I oppose is anything that will function to the detriment of the institution that I love." pl

What I oppose are institutionalized policies that strip human beings of their dignity and their inalienable right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. I love people more than institutions. Self-righteous? Maybe. I appreciate the opportunity to speak out against injustice when stares me in the face.

Yes, I understand living in garrison in peace time. A lesbian friend of mine lives a lie (and rents an apt. off base) so she doesn't get kicked out of the Navy. She loves her career.


Patrick Lang

All

I heard Matthews and his crew agree today that this gay thing should be a national decisdion and not one left to the military. I would be curious to know how many of the people in that group have been in the military or have relatives in the miltary now. Klein elicited surprise from them by telling them that in a group of soldiers he talke to a bout this in Afghanistan 40% had misgivings. That in the context of polls that say that 75% of the Amerian public think it is all right. I wonder who they polled..

Lina

"I love people more than institutions." Yes, that is self righteous and I suppose that is why you were never a soldier. pl

oofda

"As an expert witness in the defense of some Gitmo detainees (the guiltless ones) I was mocked in court last week by a child woman DOJ lawyer who quoted from my book on intelligence and SST to "demonstrate" that I "undermined" the evidence because I hate the CIA."

And this is the same Department of Justice that has been politicized and manned with hack attorneys to the point where it is a shadow of what it was before. This attorney was probably another Regent Law School grad, the school that has a unique understanding of the Constitution - based on Pat Robertson's interpretation.

oofda

And this is the same DOJ that last week dropped a two-year criminal investigation into AIG. Go figure.

Bobo

Change is part of life though this one I hoped would of been achieved by the military versus stuffed down their throats.

I think prior posts have grappled with the logistics of the problem which will be overwhelming but future efforts should get this down good as there is a cost in this change and it should be made known.

Oh, for the record I have never seen anything in the Colonel's writings that indicates a hatred of the CIA but more of a insiders challenge to their failings. Young Lawyers are just that-young-making insinuations to make themselves look good. Don't sweat the small stuff.

Patrick Lang

ookla

She was not from the South. pl

Patrick Lang

Bobo

"there is a cost in this change and it should be made known." Yes. It is easy to talk about theories and beliefs and human rights. It is much harder to deal with the difficulties involved. We need to have work done here to study how to overcome these problems with the least damage.

As to CIA, I have always been a relentless searcher for effectiveness. I want CIA to be better than they are. Is that bad?

The intelligence agency that I have nothing to do with is DIA. My former colleagues there are retired and the last thing the people I used to direct want is to have the old man around. pl

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