March 15, 2010

DADT – Will not win us any friends either way.

DADTI actually wrote this post several weeks ago.  I sat on it because, honestly I felt like this was not something I really wanted to get into with the other current events going on, but this story on the web surfaced today and I thought that maybe it was time to post this.  The story references a recently discharged Sergeant in the Air Force who was outed by the local Police department who were investigating the Sergeant’s partner, discovered they were gay, and felt the NEED to Tell the military.  This does not change my overall post…but it does bring even further to light that the DADT policy has issues.  The Don’t ask Don’t Tell policy, (DADT) and “gays in the military” (GITM) is a political third rail in our Country, electrocuting anyone who touches it. 
A career in the Military is a great way to earn a living, see the world, and play with the coolest toys.  It is answering a higher calling in service to one’s nation, working to secure our freedom and our way of life.  More than that, the Primary job of a soldier is to be willing to kill and be killed on the orders of our government to enforce or protect our political will.  All of the other stuff is just extraneous.  The military is not some cooler version of the peace corps or some community service organization. Certain personal considerations cannot and must not enter into the equation.  Military service is different than any other career choice:  It is your life and your buddy’s life and the lives of people back home and the people in the crosshairs lives at stake.  Petty considerations and political correctness just do not apply.  That being said, and taking my tried and true Constitutional Libertarian viewpoint, one’s sexual orientation should not be a factor in one’s ability to fight, kill, and potentially be killed, on orders from the CINC.  So, at the root of it,  It doesn’t matter.  I can accept that.  I can agree that a gay man or a gay woman could meet all the physical demands and do the fundamental job at hand.   But there is more to it than that isn’t there?
I have zero problem with Women flying combat missions in the Air Force. There are physical considerations to flying but they are much less than, say, with being a Special Forces operative, I am not even sure that what some of those guys do is really humanly possible, even though they do it.  I also do not have a problem with women on Capital surface ships in the Navy.  I am a little concerned about women on submarines and smaller craft.  Not because of the women in particular, but because of the women/men interaction.  That is a distraction we do not need in certain situations. There apparently has been some talk regarding all female ships or all female units, and to that I say that Separate but Equal was declared unconstitutional several decades ago.   I have the same issue with GITM serving openly.  I think because of our prejudices and our predilections when it comes to privacy and intimacy there are potential issues. It adds another motivation for certain behaviors. Remember in the military most of the time  you live with those you work with.  There has to be unit integrity.  It just stands to reason that in the high stress situations likely to be encountered in the military that any sort of added sexual tension is likely to be problematic.  Human nature and our political system is such that once the closet doors are opened there will be backlashes and scandals that we simply cannot afford.  Look at what Tailhook did to the Navy, even the Abu Ghraib atrocity had a male/female interaction component (component, I said) (read a great piece on why Abu Ghraib really happened), now imagine throwing other sexual orientations openly into the mix.  The goal is putting ordinance on target…not debating the sexual proclivities of the people operating the weapons systems.  If we over politicize our military we destroy their capability to conduct their mission. Put simply, repealing DADT or changing the political policy surrounding GITM will not enhance our military’s capabilities one iota.  All that being said, if it takes a undercover agent to find out that someone is gay, they were not exactly shouting it from the rooftops now were they?  The policy may need to be re-thought or re-executed because there are too many cases where the military or even third parties brought it up…that is a violation of the “Don’t Ask”  part of DADT.  This is precisely what the news story today was about, perhaps the policy should be “See no Gay, Say No Gay, Hear no Gay”.
I have heard the statistics on the number of people (women specifically) who have been given a DD under the DADT policy.  It is unfortunate because I also believe that DADT is being misused to get rid of personnel who are probably not up to certain performance standards, and probably also a politically expedient way of getting rid of people who just do not fit in for some other less noble reason other than effectiveness.  If anything this proves my point.  If the DADT policy is being used as a weapon to eliminate not only people who ‘Ask’ and/or ‘Tell’, but also those who are gay (or even straight) and do not pull their weight or otherwise get along, or those who are the victims of someone else’s interests what will be the likely result of forced compliance with an openly gay minority in our military?  Court Martial's, Lawsuits, Scandal, preferential treatment, Affirmative Action, quotas, and ultimately a loss of effectiveness?  That would be my guess. I know most western nations now allow “outed” gays to serve openly, and I have no problem with that if it works for them, but history has proven that following Europe is not usually the best course of action for the United States. 
I know there are a lot of gay people out there who want nothing more than to not have to hide who they are and still be able to serve their country in the military.  If we could do that and keep the politicians, the radical homosexuals, thestoryusgaymilitary homophobes, and the fanatically religious out of the conflict and just stick to those people who just want to do the job it would be ok with me. But I also am not naive enough to believe that the LBGT community is not being used as a pawn in a larger game.  I think this is ultimately again about the size of government and the all important (to the politicians) social “benefits”.  Although this nation is not supposed to live under mob rule, we have to remember that the LBGT community is a small, although vocal minority. While I am not in favor of open homosexuality in the military, I am also not in favor of outing people who are trying not to make their sexual orientation a defining part of their career.  The main thing to remember is that there is no political benefit to be gained by the democrats pushing this issue except to use it to damage the military.  IF DADT really meant, “we wont ask, investigate third party reports, or drum you out of the military if you do not tell”,… we would be in good shape. The thing is, the political class will never let it be.  This is an issue that is destined to be over politicized by both sides.  There will be crusaders who want to be flamboyantly gay in the military to make a point and there will be jerks like these cops who used DADT to lean on this woman to give up her partner. I am fully prepared to be taken to task by both sides of this argument over this post, but I just think that anything that doesn’t increase our military’s effectiveness has no place in the discussion, crusaders on either side of the argument and parties with something to gain need to be marginalized for the greater good.
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