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06 December 2010

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Jane

There are gays in combat who are "brothers" in the infantry sense of the word already, are there not? In many but not all such cases, their comrades must have a fairly clear idea of who likes women and who does not. What is it about openly acknowledging who is which that you believe will be so destructive to American military culture?

Patrick Lang

Jane

Stop being so lazy and go read the letter that General Amos quoted in his testimony. pl

Charles I

"What is it about openly acknowledging who is which that you believe will be so destructive to American military culture?"

Sadly, it boils down to the same trite force that allowed these wars.

Human nature, individual and collective. Abolishing DADT may abolish the silent 72%'s current disposition and invite them openly acknowledge of their resentments and prejudices - their human nature, perhaps subordinated to DADT as is gay pride.

As reason has been to fear and bullshit, but I digress.

It might facilitate group therapy, of which I have some dreary experience, but the close killing is a different kettle of fish, of which I know nothing but what is revealed here.


I beleive in equality and democracy, but SST & co are my primary source on the human nature of our 20/21st century soldiers. They have at least made me see execution may be so problematic as to be of questionable merit, notwithstanding unquestionable -to me - equality rights.

And now that I cold bloodedly think about close contact shedders of blood noted in the National Journal post while we are at war, I can imagine myself as one of them, wondering "WTF are these people talking about. I'm f***ing fighting here. For that a*****e Karzai. Pay attention."

Jane

"Both sides cited comments from active-duty service members to make their cases. General Amos, for example, read aloud comments that a Marine platoon commander made about his unit in an online survey: “Despite differences, we are so close that we anticipate each other’s next move in garrison and in combat. Our ability to do our job is predicated on this kind of relationship. If you were to add any element of sexual competition, intra-unit sexuality or hesitance in trust, it would unquestionably prevent those bonds from forming or immediately destroy them if introduced.”

But a short time later, Mr. Levin looked at General Amos and read aloud a quote in the Pentagon’s report from a Special Operations commando: “We have a gay guy in the unit,” Mr. Levin read. “He’s big, he’s mean and he kills lots of bad guys. No one cared that he was gay.”"

"DADT hearing testimony Amos letter" did not bring to the top a relevant cite.

Working from the bit in the NYT, it still doesn't make sense to me. The things platoon commander fears -- 'If you were to add any element of sexual competition, intra-unit sexuality or hesitance in trust' -- are things that come with the existence of gay soldiers in a unit -- not with whether they are officially closeted or not. Gen. Amos reports that since 1993 two tenths of one percent of the discharges from the Corp were for reasons of homosexuality. Now either there are an abnormally low percentage of homosexuals in the Marines or they are exceptionally good at remaining closeted or everybody knows any way and it causes no problem. My guess, and it is that, is that most everybody does know who is which.


As to trust, doesn't it run rather the other way -- wouldn't you rather know whether the guy slapping on the fanny was gay or not?

As a woman, I've had passes made at me from a fair number of people who were much larger and uglier and it's never been a problem. Why should a Marine find it that much more difficult? "Buddy, your gaydar failed" should suffice.

walrus

The relevant text that Gen. Amos quoted and to which Col. Lang referred :

""My team's effectiveness is directly tied to its cohesiveness. Despite differences, we are so close that we anticipate each other's next move in garrison and in combat. Our ability to do our job is predicated on this kind of relationship. If you were to add any element of sexual competition, inter-unit sexuality, or hesitance in trust, it would unquestionably prevent those bonds from forming or immediately destroy them if introduced.""

Patrick Lang

Charles 1 and Jane

Colonel Joseph Collins has it right over on the NJ blog when he says (disparagingly) that the combat arms are a testosterone saturated zone. What he does not seem to accept is that these military occupational specialties MUST be that. Whether or not Colonel Collins has any personal experience of combat is unclear from his bio. Such infantry, armor and SF units are essentially hunting bands made up of people who want to be in that kind of atmosphere and who find their identity in that society. The more they are like that, the more they are effective. Look at marine recruiting propaganda. Could anything be more testosterone laden? Who is going to serve in these units (the fighting parts of the ground forces) if this kind of straight man, gay person or woman does not want to serve there? Don't for a moment think you can simply order people into the infantry. That was tried in WW2. SLA Marshall and the Army found that over 90% of draftees forced into the infantry never fired their weapons when in contact with the enemy. They just hoped they were not noticed. So, experiment away! Let's see what happens! pl

Patrick Lang

Jane

"things that come with the existence of gay soldiers in a unit -- not with whether they are officially closeted or not."

Because you are relentlessly partisan in this matter you choose to believe that gay soldiers now serving in combat units are only "officially closeted." that is not the case. As George Casey (the Army CoS) said "it is not the same to 'think" someone is gay as opposed to 'knowing ' that they are. Now, you will, I am sure believe that I am merely ignorant or bigoted. You are free to do so. I hope that my fears are unjustified and that all will be well in this change. pl

Secure Care

Is there a complete copy of the letter to Gen. Amos available on line or just the quoted part from the NYTimes ?

Patrick Lang

SC

Some marine will provide it here. pl

Spafford

In the DATD debate I have noticed references that other nations' military units (such as British, Israeli) have openly gay troops. But I have not seen any analysis of the effect on combat units. Where to find out this info? Was other nations' experiences assessed in the Pentagon's study?

Patrick Lang

Spafford

I would be wary of such data. It is a rare thing for senior officers to report that anything they were involved in was a failure. pl

BillWade

I'm not a fighter pilot, just an enlisted guy who after 8 years in the Air force got to work for and be around fighter pilots. Now, these guys won't tolerate a wimpy straight guy, I'm kinda smiling here, but I just don't see them tolerating an openly gay male.

Maybe a compromise, open all career field that are currently open to women to openly gay folks and let anybody who wants it bad enough, straight or decidedly closeted gay folks, into the combat arms.

Fred

It is unlikely to acceptance will be any better in the submarine force.

Jane, was your life dependent upon the ugly people that made passes at you or only the cute ones?

"I've had passes made at me from a fair number of people who were much larger and uglier and it's never been a problem." It is fortunate you've never been the victim of sexual harassment. Hopefully you are not naive enough to think it does not exist.

Patrick Lang

BillWade

You are right. Fighter pilots belong in my testosterone saturated zone.

I think you are right that there is probably room for some particular gay men and women in the CA.

Joan of Arc? pl

Secure Care

Joan of Arc?

Umm, yum, Amazons...

par4

I don't think being homosexual lowers your testosterone levels.

Charles I

Pat,I'm trying in my muddled way to agree that experimenting at the pointy end of the stick while at war, however principled to Jane & I, may be contraindicated, even irrational.

If it were possible AND felicitous, it should be done. One generation, it may be. Or it may be that we find we need SOME close killers who are not perfect libertarians more than we need perfect universal uni-sexual equality.

On the other hand, if it were an issue, I'd be all for litigating/legislating sexual equality - no pedarists, bigamists or xenosexuals - in civilian police forces even if every cop went on strike.

Jane, you're probably the kind of person I like to protest with. But life isn't black and white, reason and emotional, all neat. Its a mess. Sex and violence and food and shelter. And Circuses.

If you can equate the 2 person psycho-social-sexual dynamics of fending off a pass from a big lout with what must be going on in team structured combat, I'm glad I never made a pass at you, but would you lay down your life for me after I did?

Its just not the same. I'm neither woman or soldier. Sex and violence are cousins, but they're not the same, and often combine with explosive results. Caution is indicated, even if not preferred.

Patrick Lang

par4

What is important is the self perceived testosterone levels of the rest of them. pl

Sidney O. Smith III

It is very hard for me to determine if the US military --post George Marshall - has evolved more into a tax sponsored civilian corporation than, alternatively, an institution that cultivates the unique experience of brotherhood -- the type of brotherhood that has been time tested as the surest way to survive the horror of war and complete the military objective.

One can look for indicators. And I would think an institution that stresses brotherhood would have had countless “brothers” who would have had stood up for the USS Liberty vets, and they would have done so with absolutely no hesitation. Taking such a stand, after all, is what brothers do. And I just see no evidence that the US military stood up for the USS Liberty vets as brothers would have done. In fact, if ever there was an example of a stab in the back, it is what happened to those guys. And, lest we forget, there were US Marines on the USS Liberty.

And wouldn’t a brother have stood up for General Zinni when he was called a traitor? Yet, nothing happened when the greatest of insults was hurdled his way. General Zinni -- probably the greatest US Marine to come out of the Vietnam War -- is called a traitor and, yet, nothing happens. That lack of response appears more indicative of the politics within a civilian corporation than a brotherhood. And, most significantly, it important to realize that the ones who called him a traitor work in the Pentagon.

And what about all those talking head ex military people who helped, along with the progressives of the msm, sell these disastrous wars without even notifying the public of their financial conflict of interests? If you are using a standard of “brotherhood”, then one can conclude beyond a reasonable doubt that those military taking heads were selling the E-2's and the E-3’s down the river, all for a fast buck. If these military experts were brothers, they would have been standing up for enlisted man, and warning the public not to take the sacrifice of war like it’s a Hollywood action adventure, but they didn’t do so. They, in fact, sold it as an action adventure. How many have died because they were spinning such illusions, and all the while operating behind the cloak of brotherhood?

And what about General Ali? Time and time again, at SST, he has put it on the line to best serve the interests of the USM, the American people, and the Western civilization. And I don’t exactly see the USM calling him a brother. Far from it. We all have seen comments made by a few here.

What about General Petraeus groveling before all those uber Likud Zionists after Petraeus, in an open hearing and on the record, stated that the policies of Likud Zionism were endangering US soldiers? Would George Marshall have done such a thing? When looking at that evidence, how is Petraeus acting like a brother to those in uniform?

This lack of brotherhood is what made Major Gant’s work so perilous. He became brothers with the some Afghan tribal leaders, and they trusted him. But what happens after Major Gant leaves, and Kagan comes in, all with the goal of implementing policies that will promote a clash of civilizations? Those Afghans with whom Gant became a brother will face American betrayal due to the likes of Kagan and company. Isn't that what happened to at least some Major Gant's predecessors who served in Vietnam?

optimax

Many moons ago I drove cab in SF and was constantly being hit on by gay men. Most of the men, after me saying I was straight and married (at the time I was), stopped hitting on me and we would usually have a good conversation about something else, all and all a more intelligent conversation than I had with most straight men. But some of the gays were obnoxiously persistent. When I complained to my brother about this he said it was just male sexuality, some men understand "no" while some don't. It made me have empathy for good looking women--and being a good looking man is an act of god that I have learned to humbly accept responsibility for.

VietnamVet

Colonel,

I've also heard that 90% of draftees never fired their weapon in WWII and that the rural hunting culture bred and raised Sergeant York and other true soldiers. It really means that 90% of the million men on both sides who died at the Somme went over the top and were slaughtered.

This is the argument for a small professional Army. The problem is that rural white evangelistic America is shrinking. In Vietnam, I associated with the urban whites & blacks not "Red Necks". I was one of the 90%.

Atomic weapons make the massed armies of WWI a moot point unless the State doesn't have them like Vietnam, Iraq or Iran. But, if you can't use atomic weapons, you need a mass army to secure and police all the rural villages.

The US Army cannot defeat the Taliban. It has far too few troops. America is unwilling to draft or pay for a true army to conquer the Middle East.

I had to read Wanat. Combat Action in Afghanistan, 2008. My old company was attempting pacification, all over again; except, now we have now given up on trying to win the hearts and minds; seizing land for the FOB and wearing punisher skull patches.

As long as there are Afghans, they will celebrate the day when the last American leaves their land.

The deepest grief is over pointless death. It is best ignored.

Sidney O. Smith III

Hmmm…here it is roughly four days since the question was posted and only two other takers among the mighty military expert club, whose expertise is sending others to war. Why so few responses? Where’s Carafano? He is the one preaching world war, and he won’t even take a stand on this one issue? West Point, right?

I think the longer these type people go without responding, one way or the other, the greater the likelihood they would not be around when things got tough. Same ol’, same ol’. And it is reasonable to say that fear is the main reason they will not speak up, because they sure line up to be heard when it is sending others to die.

The greatest betrayal on earth is when one says he is your brother and he stabs you in the back. And the wound runs particularly deep when it is an older "brother" backstabbing the younger. The US Military, at least the Pentagon crowd, has not always scored too well in that regard.

Patrick Lang

Sidney

I think that the person who sent me the insulting note can be found among those you criticize or one of the denizens of AEI. pl

Fred

Sidney, perhaps since the elections over said folks feel they no longer need to put thier opinions out there to get quoted by the other media outlets, that probably being their purpose rather than trying to actually inform or persuade the readership?

dagezhu

Currently the US Marines have problems keeping out of trouble with Okinawan women and girls.

Once openly gay Marines can be billeted overseas, I suppose there will be complaints coming from both sexes.

We accept that some hetero men commit rape some of the time. Many people seem to think that gay men never commit rape. When the first gay US warfighter is caught committing gay rape, expect some bad publicity.

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