Sunday, October 11, 2009

Fixing By Breaking It

If you want to have an effective military you must have training, discipline, respect, dedication and strength. You must never forget why a military exists. It is to defend the nation and protect the people from external aggression.

If you can achieve those goals without imposing harsh restrictions on the citizenry, so much the better. A volunteer force is better than a conscripted one. People that want to serve coming from a society which respects such service will give you a powerful force achieved with little disruption. Technology of warfare has evolved to the point that any proposals to return to a drafted military are ludicrous to those who know what the state of the art is today. You don't mass infantry in Flanders' fields to charge from the trenches each morning at 5:00 AM. You need willing, intelligent, trained technicians who take pride in their profession and expect that you will not place them in harm's way unnecessarily. When it is necessary, they will give their life for their comrades and their country.

What a military isn't, is a social science lab. It isn't about egalitarianism. It isn't about social engineering. It isn't about gender equity or affirmative action, and it certainly shouldn't be about gay rights. Yet, the Messiah, who is all things in promise to all people, is picking at the scab of his Democratic predecessor, the policy of "don't ask, don't tell."

Gays March For Right to Mince

Bill Clinton sought votes by promising a relief from the military policy of separating actively open homosexuals from the service. The policy had a sound basis unrelated to morality, yet the issue was raised to an accusation of outright bigotry and prejudice. The arguments for revision to the policy were emotional, compelling, and largely ungrounded in understanding of the issues.

Clinton's solution was "don't ask, don't tell." In a nutshell, it prohibited the military from specifically asking the question of a military member regarding their sexual orientation. It specifically directed military members to not flaunt their sexual predilections openly. If we don't ask you which way you run, please don't tell us. You then serve by being discreet.

I knew several folks during my military tenure who were gay. They weren't Barney Frank or Liberace. They didn't lisp, prance, cross-dress, or hit on their co-workers. In other words they did their jobs with professionalism and met the same standards of behavior that all of us flaming heterosexuals did.

There were some fighter pilots, even ones that I flew with in combat. There were some support troops and at least one general officer. There was a Thunderbird! When I asked a friend who was on the team with him whether they knew, he said that "the secretaries told us..." Of course! A single Thunderbird would be a hot catch for a secretary but when a few of them were rebuffed, they figured the situation out.

Now the Bamster is promising to remove the "don't ask, don't tell" limitations. What does that accomplish? Does that mean that now individuals can openly flaunt their sexual activities? Will heterosexuals be able to as well?

Let's be clear in this. The issue isn't about disruption in the shower or latrine. It isn't about proximity in a barracks, foxhole or submarine. It isn't about sexual harrassment in the workplace which is already prohibited.

The issue is about leadership.

The military requires a hierarchy of command. All individuals are subject to an "up or out" policy in which you must continually earn promotions as your length of service and experience build over time. You must assume leadership roles and that is about more than pinning on a new insignia or sewing on more stripes.

We still live in a society in which homosexual behavior is viewed as unacceptable by a large number of people. Whether they take that view based on moral values or physiological ignorance is irrelevant here. What is unavoidable is that the military draws from the society at large which means that a large number of the military view the behavior as aberrant. The result is that an open homosexual will not have the respect of those which he/she is required to lead, discipline and motivate.

The President is promising an action which he views as politically expedient. It responds to demands of a segment of his constituency. It will do little with regard to changing societal viewpoints, but it can do significant damage to the morale and structure of our military.

One needs to ask the tough questions here and examine the costs versus the benefits of such an action. What good can come of it?

3 comments:

Brigid said...

off topic -

Dear Ed - With all due respect, I did not post your comment about Boulder and the people in it. The family I was visiting is headed by a highly decorated retired fighter pilot who served in combat before you even soloed. They are NOT liberal and have lived there 50 years in a house they built and they will not leave at their age. They read my blog and would have found your comment highly insulting. Yes, the town has lots of people like that, but not all of them are.

Anonymous said...

Hmm. Could be more to it than that, Ed.

Another possibility: this policy is a measure that will help to cultivate a "gay" network in the services. Its purpose--like gay networks in education, entertainment, and so on--will be to to broker power. Left power, you might say.

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