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03 December 2010


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Sidney O. Smith III

Don’t understand Levin’s statements during the hearing.

So I started wondering, what if Levin’s wife/lover was in the USM and in harm’s way? More than that, what would happen if Levin’s lover was in harm’s way because of an overly ambitious military officer who wanted to see her as cannon fodder because he or she disliked Levin. Would Levin use his power and take steps to protect her -- steps that he would not take with anyone else and steps that may endanger others? Or would Levin let his lover/wife get slaughtered simply to make a political point?

I would take whatever steps necessary.

Don’t see the connection to race. I know a lot of black men, Asians, etc, who feel just as strongly about their lovers as I do. In fact, just yesterday, I was shooting the breeze with a black guy and he was telling me about what lead him to get married. When it comes to marriage, we apparently are on exactly the same track.

And I know homosexuals who feel that strongly about their lovers too. I am of the school that homosexual attraction, in all likelihood, is genetically predisposed and every bit as strong as heterosexual attraction.

But none of these people I mention are in the military. So whatever the experts decide. And training, I assume, can overcome any inclination to prefer a lover over the mission at hand. Plus, Levin is a politician not a military person, so, one hopes, that military people have more strength to make the difficult decision than a politician. All comes down to self disciplineand sacrifice, I reckon.

And again, I don't know the answer. Plus the military is not my calling.

Norman Rogers

"So perhaps things have changed. "

Yes, they, apparently, send their children to German schools and many get their health care on the German economy (which is excellent, nonetheless).

I am outside of all of this, however. The expatriate community here is quite large. I can go anywhere and hear English. I took my daughter to Rothenburg ob der Tauber two days ago and there was more English spoken there than German. And there were Chinese people everywhere. Even though I am 6'4", one woman touched my hair and I did not mind.

A couple told me that the facility is overwhelmed and cannot accommodate all of the civilians, contractors, and military personnel who work on the various reservations. They are overcrowded and the resources are overtaxed. I don't know how many reservations there are outside of Stuttgart. Sindelfingen? I'm not certain. There are none between here and Lausanne, Switzerland.

Given all of that, the problem may not be lifestyle related but proximity related. If everyone is short of space, does that not mean that increasing the numbers of people who have to be accommodated will put more strain on the system and lead to more resentment?

Neil Richardson

"But none of these people I mention are in the military. So whatever the experts decide. And training, I assume, can overcome any inclination to prefer a lover over the mission at hand. Plus, Levin is a politician not a military person, so, one hopes, that military people have more strength to make the difficult decision than a politician. All comes down to self disciplineand sacrifice, I reckon."

I'm not sure if this would be an issue. In almost every war that this nation has fought, there were senior officers who lost their sons who were under their command. Just off the top of my head, Gens. Marshall, Patch, and Almond lost sons who were under their command. In fact I remember reading somewhere that Joshua Chamberlain had used his younger brother Tom to plug a hole in the line without a second thought at Little Round Top. Granted we don't have direct evidence regarding lovers, but I would assume that parental love is just as strong if not stronger.


Col. Lang:

I just finished watching all seven hours of the C-Span coverage of the Senate Armed Services Committee hearings on DADT. My take on what transpired is somewhat different from that of Bumiller whose article stresses the problems but not the solutions which were also presented by the two panels. This happens to me routinely when I watch the raw data on C-Span and compare it in my mind’s eye to the summary of the same events that are later reported by other media.

As I saw it, all the service chiefs (including the CNO and the Commandant of the Coast Guard) were a tad tender about having to take on this task in addition to everything else they’re doing, but none of them including the Commandant of the Marine Corps backed away from the challenge.

IMO critical to their taking this position was their understanding that DADT would NOT be implemented until a certification process called out by the proposed law had taken place. This certification process requires that before implementation can occur that time must be taken to do the following:

1) to consider the recommendations from the DOD survey report and its proposed plan of action,

2) to ensure that DOD had prepared the necessary policies and regulations to implement the repeal of DADT, and

3) to ensure that these policies and regulations are consistent with standards of military readiness, military effectiveness, unit cohesion, and recruiting and retention.

This certification process require the signatures of the President, the Secretary of Defense and the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs. Moreover, DADT would still not be repealed until 60 days after certification during which time the Congress would have the right of review.

Both Admiral Mullen and SecDef Gates made it plain to the committee that their signatures would not be affixed to any document that did not meet the above criteria to their satisfaction. Given DOD’s (Gates’) insistence on having a comprehensive internal DOD survey, report and recommendations in hand that supported repeal of DADT I’m inclined to believe them. Thus, even if Congress passed a repeal of the existing DADT law on Monday, December 6th, 2010, the new law would not go into effect absent the certification process described above which could not possibly be completed until sometime in 2011 at the earliest.

Having the time necessary to do the job right was important not only to Dr. Gates and Admiral Mullen but to the service chiefs as well. The only serious concerns about repealing DADT came from General Amos, the Commandant of the Marine Corps. The others, including General Amos, recognized without serious objection that given the time to create the necessary training programs that they had the subordinates in place who could provide the leadership necessary to implement the new policy. Even the respective Chaplains Services had indicated to the service chiefs that they too were prepared to make this work.

Thus, in my opinion, DOD and its service chiefs are genuinely attempting to conduct a thoughtful, careful process that will lead to a constructive solution, and to avoid engaging in a process that at best is impulsively driven by political hyperbole.

A major issue that DOD believes is compelling in the push to pass DADT now was completely ignored by Bumiller. DOD is concerned that the recent federal court rulings in favor of gay and lesbian plaintiffs are the harbingers of a judicial fiat that will force DOD to repeal DADT before it is ready to do so. It was my sense in listening to this discussion that this possibility was much more disturbing to DOD and the service chiefs than the repeal of DADT by the Congress. That the courts might immediately restrain DOD from continuing to operate under the existing DADT law was universally seen as patently disruptive to military readiness and effectiveness, i.e., national security, and to be avoided if at all possible.

If I had to criticize Bumiller I would say that her report was not comprehensive. That is she did not broadly inform. Instead she focussed as do so many journalists on relating only those aspects of the event which support their own view.

If you want to get a reasonable precis of the agenda for the hearings, listen on C-Span to the first three minutes of Chairman Levin’s opening remarks.

Patrick Lang


I, too, watched all seven hours. pl

William R. Cumming

Found the post and comments extremely interesting. I guess mass armies may be a thing of the past. So then the question is how do we get the portion of those we need to serve in the Armed Forces to serve? Always remember the almost 40% rejection rate of men for service in WWII largely for malnutrion. My belief is you could not serve if you weighed under 100 pounds. Thus, the creation of the Food Stamp program which was a war driven meaure based on need for bodies. What really is driving the need for gays and lesbians? Shortage of heterosexuals willing to serve in the military that meet the standards otherwise? Why not a single anthropological study of this issue brought to the fore, or perhaps some other more relevant discipline--psychology, sociology etc.

Well like the case mostly, US continues to formulate important policy without much really deep understanding or study.

Are gays and lesbians an issue in any other 1st class militaries? The Romans punished overt homosexual behavior in the Legions by death if my understanding is correct. What is the best open-source discussion of military history on that subject since the clearcut policy of the Roman military leadership? And of course the "Greek disease" was prevalent in Roman society generally to the extent that can be established.

Sidney O. Smith III

Perhaps so. I would hope a parent would accept a child’s decision to join the military as a vocational calling.

I know myself and I am going to choose the safety of my wife/lover over the mission at hand. I will give her preference, even if in small ways. Apparently, you would not give your lover or wife such a preference, even if it means her death. That is your decision, perhaps the result of military training.

Plus, if I lost my wife/lover, I would feel a sense of loss different than if I lost a buddy. Maybe you would grieve the same way for both and treat them equally. If you and your wife were in a tank and her head got blown off, then I admire the fact you have the training to treat your wife just like another GI Joe buddy. I respect your decision to treat your wife and other soldiers as one and the same.

It sounds like the sine qua non of a military person is the willingness to send a lover to his or her death in equal measure to someone who is not.

If that is the case then I think it is fine to repeal DADT. It may fine anyway, although I like what Stanley Henning had to say. Regardless, in the civilian world, I think it all should be wide open.

Also, if I may, I think a parent does indeed grieve when he or she loses a child in a war but a parent and child are not on the battlefield together. And I think if a parent and child were fighting side by side, then odds increase that the parent would show a love for his or her child in ways that are different.

Maybe you would not. Maybe if you were in actual combat with your daughter at your side, then you would not be affected with seeing her get blown to bit to any degree different that if she were another GI Joe buddy, and you could keep the mission at hand as your number one priority. I respect your decision.


An easier way to fix this problem is to get rid of our large standing army. The Founding Fathers warned us about them and how detrimental to democracy they are.

Patrick Lang


The Draft? Are you willing to have your children or grand children drafted to serve in Afghanistan in the infantry? D you know what the infantry is? Do you think that this would not be an issue in a drafted force? Should there be no career people in the military? Should there just be draftees? pl

Richard Armstrong


Instituting a draft would in no way prevent people from volunteering or deciding to make the military a career. I hope this is not what you are implying.

The major benefit I see to a draft WITHOUT DEFERMENTS is that it distributes the responsibility to protect the Constitution among all those protected by it.

When the general population feels their children are at risk to fight and die in an unnecessary war of choice like Iraq I think popular support for going to war would wane.

Charles I

William R Cumming, perhaps "What really is driving the need for gays and lesbians?" is in large part gays and lesbians who wish to serve as equally needed citizens in a democracy which is otherwise opening up, however . . . "nonutile" is the best I can do, to some important constituents that seems or may be at present.

Certainly if gay rights were not being asserted by gays, it likely wouldn't be much of an issue. I'm a bleeding heart, but notice I'm an issue band-wagoneer, rather than pioneer.

They're here, they're queer, they are part of us, the debate must be had. My own accommodation - sit still for DADT until sufficient generations of socialization - and pauperization - make this moot is distasteful to me, but I dunno how to run the army run, let alone succeed in its mission.

If only we could only send them when it was so existential you'd gladly see you child or lover killed if inescapably mission critical.

But by the Heisenberg principle alone, the twain should not be deployed together - I'm with Sidney, at the very least I'd look, what human or General wouldn't, and that alone changes things.

I am willing to salute the professionals and not shout at you when I disagree, in lieu of being drafted.


'The fact that having gays serve openly in the British military with 'little fuss' and the 'predicted discord did not occur' does not settle the issue. The key question is whether the change impacts on combat effectiveness.'

The U.K. had a scandal some years ago because two female soldiers elected to engage in lewd acts to entertain several dozens of their male comrades.

The USA troops in the 1991 Gulf conflict were often heard to complain that female soldiers abused the considerations given to their sex.

I am not optimistic about the integration of modern homosexual culture and modern military culture.

Rick Yi

It is relevant to observe that Al-Jazeera claims that male-on-male rape occurs in the U.S. military. That news agency uses the loaded term "rampant."


Billy Capshaw was 17 when he joined the Army in 1977. After being trained as a medic he was transferred to Baumholder, Germany. His roommate, Jeffrey Dahmer, by virtue of his seniority ensured that Capshaw had no formal assignment, no mail, and no pay. Having completely isolated the young medic, Dahmer regularly sexually assaulted, raped, and tortured him.
Armando Javier was an active duty Marine from 1990 to 1994. He was a Lance Corporal at Camp Lejeune in 1993 when he was raped.

Five Marines jumped Javier and beat him until he was nearly unconscious, before taking turns raping him.

Comment: Of course I do not regard Al-Jazeera as an unbiased source.


Rick Yi,

The fact that rape occurs doesn't make it 'rampant'. Two annecdotal cases from 2 decades ago, and Jeffrey Dahmer? The author/editors have an agenda with this one.
Here's the official crime stats

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