Friday, February 05, 2010

It Won't Work

The hot button of the week is now "Don't Ask/Don't Tell" and the dutiful sycophants of SecDef and Perfumed Princes of the Pentagon are parading before Congress to recite their lines about it being time to let loyal and patriotic gays, lesbians, transgendered and bi-sexual people experience the equality of misery in an extended combat engagement.

I'm, if you will excuse the imagery, at the "hump" of attitudes on homosexuality in general. Those who are my generation and older are distinctly in a majority of downright abhorrence of GLBT folks in society. Those who are younger than my generation are pretty much accepting in large measure of the concept but occasionally still stumble at the actual practice. For them, it isn't the outrage that older folks experience. Typically the deeper you get into the heartland, however, the more macho the guys get and the more stereotypically red-neck they become. That, of course, is prime recruiting country.

Here's a reasonably coherent discussion of the issue as it relates to the military which is distinctly different than acceptance by society at large:

Discipline, Morale, Cohesions and Philia vs Eros

A few years ago I was discussing the acceptance of women in the fighter community. That had been a rough road but after a quick twenty-five or thirty years, the females were generally accepted and showing the same spread of talent as the men. But simple acceptance in the trade is one thing. Actual practice was another.

I'd been an Operations Officer in a fighter squadron. The active-duty guy I was talking to was currently Ops Officer of a Strike Eagle squadron. The glitch for me was that he had dated and married a female weapons system officer who was assigned in his squadron. I asked him how that worked out relative to the other guys in the organization. My opinion was that it would lead to way too much drama.

The simple selection of aircrews for deployments, week-end or holiday alert, or for particularly dangerous missons could lead to serious problems. He denied it was an issue and I didn't believe him in the slightest.

The problem with open homosexuality in the military is the issue of being married to one of your aircrew members taken to exponential levels. Start with the fact that American society in huge segments does NOT accept homosexuality. That means festering hostility within the unit.

Add that the military, as we run it in the US, has a strict up-or-out policy. You must advance in rank and responsibility or be separated. Can you deny gays promotion without risk of being accused of prejudice? Probably that will be impossible. The inescapable conclusion then is that gays will then be in command or supervisory roles over folks who detest them for their practices. That isn't combat effective.

Can you imagine Douglas MacArthur in the trenches in WW I exhorting his brigade when everyone knows he's gay and proud of it? There's too much drama. Way too much drama.

What we've got here is a classic red herring. Obama has cast it out to assuage his base and throw the right into disarray as they scramble to avoid looking like prejudiced Neanderthals. It works because so few in American society in general and in the federal government in particular have any experience in the military.


Anonymous said...

I think you nailed this one, Ed.

Stay tuned for the coming, ahem, drama....

Eventually there will be an outbreak, a minor civil war, perhaps ignited by national existential crisis, and the rednecks, after fifty years of pent-up alienation, are going to clean house. Politically probable, and biologically inevitable.

And you better believe the GLB community is aware of what's coming and they are making preparations. That's what their movement is all about, and, yeah, when you think about it, it is as crazy as science fiction!

But there we are.

juvat said...

As discussed, quite well, over at Neptunus Lex, there's also the argument that since they have all these rights to housing, pay, medical in the military aka federal system, how can the states do anything different?
And can you imagine the furor when the first Gay is passed over for promotion?