Saturday, September 25, 2010

You Didn't Ask Me But I'm Going To Tell You Anyway

I have what I guess is a pretty un-nuanced, old-fashioned view of Don't Ask Don't Tell. Basically, the purpose of the military is to bring violence upon our enemies. It's not a tool of social policy. If having gays serve openly in the military enhances its ability to do violence, then I'm all for it. If not having them serve openly works better, then I'm all for that. If DADT is the best policy, then... well, you get the picture.

It's possible to take that "best for the military" thing too far, of course. I wouldn't support a policy of executing every tenth man in a platoon that screws up, even if that could be proved, via scientific study, to enhance military effectiveness. But our policy with regard to gays in the military has never been anything like that draconian. If discovered, they are discharged; that's all.

Being gay might be a personal choice, or it might be inherent. There's a big debate about this, and in some cases it might matter which is right. (Personally I suspect it's a bit of both, in different proportions for different people.) In the case of military policy, I don't see how it matters one bit. If it's a choice, then that's one choice that's denied to you, like wearing shorts and sandals on parade, or wearing a nosering and a mohawk. If it's inherent (which is a broader term than "genetic" - it might be inherent due to upbringing), then so are lots of other things that keep people from serving in the military. If you have flat feet, you cannot serve. Why? Because it detracts from military effectiveness.

Which of these policies actually is best for the military is not a question I am at all qualified to answer. But it should be the only question being asked. Whether it enhances social justice or something is irrelevant.


  1. One thing that is usually never mentioned in the debate on gays in the military, would be the financial cost of allowing gays to serve. While most advocates of the idea would say there is no cost at all, they aren't thinking of the implications.

    One I can think of, right off the bat: seperate quarters for homosexual males and for lesbian females. Currently in the military, quarters are segregated by gender, so there are two seperate barracks, etc. If gays are allowed in the military, then you will need FOUR seperate barracks. This would also require individuals in the military to openly disclose their sexual orientation, and have that put into their military record, so that their commanders know where to house them.

    Advocates of gays in the military would probably scoff at this objection. However, I'm sure they'd be scandalized if I suggested that female soldiers be forced to shower with male soldiers. For very similar reasons, it's not right to force male soldiers to shower with male homosexuals, or to force female soldiers to shower with lesbian soldiers.

    I would further challenge any advocates of gays in the military to put their money where their mouth is: for the next year, live with and shower with a bunch of people you aren't sexually attracted to, but who may be sexually attracted to you. If you aren't willing to do that, then shut up, you have no right to be making that choice for someone else.

    Oh, and I like the reference to decimation, James. It's amazing how the meaning of that word has changed from its origins.

  2. @Gary: Thanks for your insight. I was hoping you'd weigh in on this one.

  3. I'm happy to do so, James. However, you already said the most important thing -- that military policies necessarily focus on military effectiveness, and not on making people feel equal or satisfied