Homosexuals in the military

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Lucrece
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Re: Homosexuals in the military

Postby Lucrece » Fri Dec 05, 2008 6:59 pm UTC

Philwelch wrote:
Lucrece wrote:Are you suggesting that retention difficulties are caused in part by people indignant enough to have homosexuals in their units that they will leave careers they have trained intensively for?


We already have retention problems. Servicemembers are already "leaving careers they have trained intensively for" for other reasons. The military often advertises itself as a pathway into a civilian career later on, and most military work specialties connect pretty cleanly and obviously into a civilian career later on. If you're a mechanic in the Army you can be a mechanic at home. If you're a computer tech in the Army you can be a computer tech at home. If you're a nuke tech in the Navy you can be a nuke tech at a civilian plant. Even without these opportunities there are more and more mercenary firms and defense contractors hiring former military than ever. Retention is already a problem.

I'm asking you to show me that we'd have fewer troops leaving because they don't want to share the squad bay with a queer than we have leaving or being kicked out over DADT.


Thus, I put in the "in part".

Unfortunately, I do not have any statistics for it. Maybe because the events happen too rarely to warrant attention.
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Re: Homosexuals in the military

Postby Philwelch » Fri Dec 05, 2008 7:08 pm UTC

The events happen too rarely to warrant attention because, as I've said before, DADT works. Repeal DADT and allow openly gay servicemembers and then we'll see what happens.
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Re: Homosexuals in the military

Postby Lucrece » Fri Dec 05, 2008 7:10 pm UTC

Philwelch wrote:The events happen too rarely to warrant attention because, as I've said before, DADT works. Repeal DADT and allow openly gay servicemembers and then we'll see what happens.


Have you anything to prove that this is because of DADT? DADT only prohibits the not being ashamed of being who you are. Members in your unit will still suspect you regardless of being closeted, and they will still be positioned to deal with the idea of a gay unit member.
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Re: Homosexuals in the military

Postby Ari » Fri Dec 05, 2008 8:03 pm UTC

To those who support Don't Ask, Don't Tell: Do you think it would work if extended to heterosexual soldiers, too?
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Re: Homosexuals in the military

Postby jwcane » Fri Dec 05, 2008 10:08 pm UTC

This is a non-issue which is being rendered into an issue by spurious notions of ethics.

The moral harm of discriminating against gay people is real. The benefit of discrimination is imaginary, unquantifiable and disproven in more progressive nations.

If more people took their moral positions from a rational evaluation rather than religion, we wouldn't even be having this discussion.

Replace the word "Gay" with the word "Black" or "Latino" or "Irish" or "Catholic" or "Jewish" or "Tutsi" or "Left-handed". I could go on. How do you feel about it now? All of these have been used as ground for discrimination in the past. But that's not as interesting as this: all of these have also been the subject of much debate - mainstream debate, I should add - on the potential downside of removing the discrimination. What the hell?

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Re: Homosexuals in the military

Postby Gunfingers » Fri Dec 05, 2008 10:52 pm UTC

Philwelch wrote:The events happen too rarely to warrant attention because, as I've said before, DADT works. Repeal DADT and allow openly gay servicemembers and then we'll see what happens.

This could just be me, but it seems like the burden of proof should be on the "pro-DADT" crowd. That is to say, there's no evidence that allowing gays to serve openly wouldn't cause significant damage to morale, good order, and discipline, but there's also no evidence that it would. In absence of any evidence either way, it seems like we should do the non-discriminatory thing until such time as it has proven to cause problems.

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Re: Homosexuals in the military

Postby Philwelch » Sat Dec 06, 2008 12:02 am UTC

Gunfingers wrote:
Philwelch wrote:The events happen too rarely to warrant attention because, as I've said before, DADT works. Repeal DADT and allow openly gay servicemembers and then we'll see what happens.

This could just be me, but it seems like the burden of proof should be on the "pro-DADT" crowd. That is to say, there's no evidence that allowing gays to serve openly wouldn't cause significant damage to morale, good order, and discipline, but there's also no evidence that it would. In absence of any evidence either way, it seems like we should do the non-discriminatory thing until such time as it has proven to cause problems.


The burden of proof should be on people who want to change the way we organize our means of defending our civilization.

jwcane wrote:The moral harm of discriminating against gay people is real. The benefit of discrimination is imaginary, unquantifiable and disproven in more progressive nations.


We're not a more progressive nation on this issue. The culture is different.

jwcane wrote:If more people took their moral positions from a rational evaluation rather than religion, we wouldn't even be having this discussion.


Yeah, and if your aunt had testicles she'd be your uncle.

It's great if we don't discriminate against gays when we all strip naked and get into the communal shower. It's also nice to have an effective military. If we can do both, I'm all for it, I'm just talking about what's at stake here and what needs to be established before we fuck with our national defense.
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Re: Homosexuals in the military

Postby natraj » Sat Dec 06, 2008 12:57 am UTC

Saying the burden of proof is on people in favour of repealing DADT is kind a catch-22 situation, because how are you going to prove that allowing LGBT people to serve openly won't harm morale until LGBT people can serve openly? Until it's repealed, you're just going to have people sitting there saying "Well, it might hurt so since we have no proof we're not going to change."
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Re: Homosexuals in the military

Postby Philwelch » Sat Dec 06, 2008 1:09 am UTC

Interviews and surveys of service members, pilot programs, and other attempts at inference would allow us to predict the effects on unit cohesion and morale, along with the effects on retention and recruiting. I'm only asking for some evidence along those lines, not absolute proof.
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Re: Homosexuals in the military

Postby Elvish Pillager » Sat Dec 06, 2008 1:14 am UTC

The burden of proof shouldn't be on anyone, considering the fact that it's impossible to prove either stance, except possibly by effecting the actual change in question. (So basically, what natraj said, except that it applies equally to both sides.)

As anti-DADT, the simplest argument seems to be of the "you can't be a moral country if you're willing to defend yourself using immoral means (e.g. segregation in the military.)" nature.

As pro-stasis, I'd say "It's a military. It's always going to be a rough place, and since the point of it is to protect, the commanders should have the discretion to use a certain amount of injustice to do what they believe will be in the best interests of protection."

I'm leaning towards anti-DADT. The comparison with allowing black servicemen seemed convincing to me.
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Re: Homosexuals in the military

Postby EmptySet » Sat Dec 06, 2008 3:03 am UTC

OK, so let's say that homosexuals are allowed to serve openly and a bunch of soldiers walk out in a huff because they don't want to work with homosexuals (even though they are already doing so due to the DADT policy).

Do you really WANT those sort of people in your military?

Leaving the military because gays can serve openly speaks of a contempt for people who are different from yourself, a belief that some categories of people are second-class humans who aren't entitled to the same rights as yourself. When you're stationed in a foreign country, similar attitudes towards the "towelheads" could prevent the establishment of friendly relations with locals - which is important if you plan to stay there for any length of time - and could even lead to human rights abuses and war crimes, which can be a disaster for foreign relations (as demonstrated with America in the Iraq war).

Take this article (and associated N&A thread). An American senior interrogator says that he and his team achieved the best results by "building a rapport with suspects" and "showing cultural understanding". Now, if you absolutely cannot work with your fellow American citizens because they don't have the same sexual tastes as you, how can you deal with people from an entirely different culture? When you have to deal with a different culture every day - when your life and the life of your fellow soldiers can depend on getting a tipoff from locals - "these people are not like us and don't deserve to be treated as equals" is not a useful attitude. Inability to work with people different from yourself - even people you strongly disagree with - is a detriment to the force.

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Re: Homosexuals in the military

Postby Lucrece » Sat Dec 06, 2008 3:14 am UTC

EmptySet wrote:OK, so let's say that homosexuals are allowed to serve openly and a bunch of soldiers walk out in a huff because they don't want to work with homosexuals (even though they are already doing so due to the DADT policy).

Do you really WANT those sort of people in your military?

Leaving the military because gays can serve openly speaks of a contempt for people who are different from yourself, a belief that some categories of people are second-class humans who aren't entitled to the same rights as yourself. When you're stationed in a foreign country, similar attitudes towards the "towelheads" could prevent the establishment of friendly relations with locals - which is important if you plan to stay there for any length of time - and could even lead to human rights abuses and war crimes, which can be a disaster for foreign relations (as demonstrated with America in the Iraq war).

Take this article (and associated N&A thread). An American senior interrogator says that he and his team achieved the best results by "building a rapport with suspects" and "showing cultural understanding". Now, if you absolutely cannot work with your fellow American citizens because they don't have the same sexual tastes as you, how can you deal with people from an entirely different culture? When you have to deal with a different culture every day - when your life and the life of your fellow soldiers can depend on getting a tipoff from locals - "these people are not like us and don't deserve to be treated as equals" is not a useful attitude. Inability to work with people different from yourself - even people you strongly disagree with - is a detriment to the force.


Adding to that, it is pretty obvious that soldiers are taught to be versatile, adaptable. Why should coping with different persons be the exception?
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Re: Homosexuals in the military

Postby Malice » Sat Dec 06, 2008 3:36 am UTC

EmptySet wrote:OK, so let's say that homosexuals are allowed to serve openly and a bunch of soldiers walk out in a huff because they don't want to work with homosexuals (even though they are already doing so due to the DADT policy).

Do you really WANT those sort of people in your military?


Yes. While homophobia is deplorable, that doesn't change the fact that we need warm bodies with guns in their hands if we want to accomplish military aims. If we enact policies that piss too many soldiers off, and they leave, we no longer have an armed forces, and saying "Well, they were mean," isn't going to help when Canadians start crossing the border and bayoneting dogs and small children.

It's questionable as to whether this policy would reduce our ranks inordinately, but if it did, and in such a way that couldn't be fixed rather quickly, then we'd have to either re-evaluate changing the DADT policy or re-evaluate the extent of our defensive and military needs.
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Re: Homosexuals in the military

Postby Philwelch » Sat Dec 06, 2008 4:24 am UTC

EmptySet wrote:Leaving the military because gays can serve openly speaks of a contempt for people who are different from yourself, a belief that some categories of people are second-class humans who aren't entitled to the same rights as yourself.


Yes. That kind of attitude is very conducive to killing people, which, let's not forget, is the primary function of the military.

Occupation and nation building is not well done by people who are trained killers. Separate issue.

And even taking your argument seriously, the homophobic American man and the average Arab Muslim have more in common than the Muslim and the progressive gay American. Your argument cuts both ways: maybe some cultures will better respect a force that doesn't allow openly gay members than a force that does.
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Re: Homosexuals in the military

Postby Dream » Sat Dec 06, 2008 4:41 am UTC

Philwelch wrote:And even taking your argument seriously, the homophobic American man and the average Arab Muslim have more in common than the Muslim and the progressive gay American. Your argument cuts both ways: maybe some cultures will better respect a force that doesn't allow openly gay members than a force that does.


There are progressive, tolerant Muslims. There are, believe it or not, gay Muslims too.
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Re: Homosexuals in the military

Postby EmptySet » Sat Dec 06, 2008 5:40 am UTC

Philwelch wrote:
EmptySet wrote:Leaving the military because gays can serve openly speaks of a contempt for people who are different from yourself, a belief that some categories of people are second-class humans who aren't entitled to the same rights as yourself.


Yes. That kind of attitude is very conducive to killing people, which, let's not forget, is the primary function of the military.


The primary function of the military is not "killing people". Nobody orders their military to "kill X enemy soldiers". Instead, they are ordered to keep the place safe for civilians, or take control of an important piece of infrastructure, and other things which are in the national interest. Killing people is often necessary to achieve these goals, but it's misleading to claim it's the primary function of the military. As any gamer can tell you, if the President gets shot while you were supposed to be protecting him, it doesn't matter that you single-handedly slew 400 terrorists. You failed the mission. Furthermore, the modern military is frequently involved in peacekeeping operations, coastal/border patrol, and other situations where there may be a lot of interaction with civilians... not to mention that the media is almost everywhere these days. In these circumstances it's important to have a military which can get on with people of different backgrounds.

Philwelch wrote:Occupation and nation building is not well done by people who are trained killers. Separate issue.


...how are you going to occupy a country without a military force? Having one present to keep control of the country is what occupation means.

Philwelch wrote:And even taking your argument seriously, the homophobic American man and the average Arab Muslim have more in common than the Muslim and the progressive gay American. Your argument cuts both ways: maybe some cultures will better respect a force that doesn't allow openly gay members than a force that does.


It's possible, yes. However, I really doubt this will be a problem.

Firstly, in recent wars America has been supported by Australia, the UK, and a host of other countries which allow homosexuals to serve openly. This doesn't seem to be hindering the war effort. I've never heard "because they have gay soldiers" as the reason given for insurgency in Iraq. The fact is that homosexuals are already serving openly in the same places as American troops and it isn't causing problems. Also, the article I linked to earlier, which gives the primary reason for people joining the insurgency in Iraq as distaste for America's use of torture and human rights abuses (not, you note, the disgustin' sexual promiscuity which goes on in America or any such thing).

Secondly, if it really *is* a problem in a certain country, then homosexuals can be instructed to avoid mention of their sexuality whilst in that country, or not deployed to that location if it's really that much of an issue.

Malice wrote:While homophobia is deplorable, that doesn't change the fact that we need warm bodies with guns in their hands if we want to accomplish military aims. If we enact policies that piss too many soldiers off, and they leave, we no longer have an armed forces, and saying "Well, they were mean," isn't going to help when Canadians start crossing the border and bayoneting dogs and small children.

It's questionable as to whether this policy would reduce our ranks inordinately, but if it did, and in such a way that couldn't be fixed rather quickly, then we'd have to either re-evaluate changing the DADT policy or re-evaluate the extent of our defensive and military needs.


Again, it's been introduced in other countries and doesn't seem to have decimated the ranks, although America is a bit more conservative than most of the West. Some people will certainly leave the military because of it, but you'll probably get increased enlistment among homosexuals which will ameliorate it a bit. If you do lose numbers, I don't think it would be enough to cause any major problems.

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Re: Homosexuals in the military

Postby quartercirclefish » Sat Dec 06, 2008 9:44 am UTC

It seems that the discussion on the comparison between nations where gays are allowed to serve in the military with nations where this is not the case, was left at something along the lines of "The 3 biggest military nations don't allow gays. They are the ones that serve in the most wars/demand the most from their troops so any detriment that gays in the military bring would be seen in those countries first. The military of nations allowing gays do not undergo the same stresses."

To refute some points:
The size of the military (as distinct from deployment/demands) should not be relevant. Troops are deployed in tightly defined units of relatively small numbers (squads, platoons etc). Most of the interactions are on the small levels of numbers so any reduction in unit cohesion and moral should be seen even in the smaller armies. As some evidence, in May 2005, the US military occupied 106* bases in Iraq. The US military had aprox 152,000** soldiers deployed in iraq at Oct 2005. This gives 1433 troops per base. This commitment (per base) was matched by the British, Aussies, South Koreans, Ukrainians and Georgians***
Of these, as has been stated before, the British, Australians, Ukrainians and Georgians do not ban gays from their military.****
Thus countries with open serving gays deploy troops to high stress/front line environments in similar numbers to the numbers of US troops a deployed US solider would interact with on base. And any factors related to the size of the deployment should be apparent there.
(This doesn't work if you are arguing about the a loss of moral due to troops having an abstract concept that there are gays in the military but I don't interact with them, as opposed to the more likely circumstance of "hey look, that guy in my mess hall is gay" )

The deployment/demands issue also falls down. Leaving aside the IDF, due to the fact that it isn't an overseas deployment in hostile territory might not bring about the required demands. The UK and Australian forces have been deployed in most of the wars that the US has been involved in. The Australian ban on gays in the military ended in 1992(5). The UK ban ended in 2000 (6). So the only deployments we have to go on are East Timor, Bosnia, Afghanistan and Iraq. East Timor wasn't a major war, Bosnia was an air war (from NATOs p.o.v) so the potential for stresses could be argued as less.
That brings us to Afghanistan and Iraq. In terms of judging if one military held up better in battle stress conditions than another, I can't see a way of measuring this. Death toll against deployment numbers will be clouded by training, involvement, risk, strategy etc. Psychological impact numbers would be tightly controlled and clouded. All I can think of is that the most front line of troop in the harshest territory, ie special forces, were deployed in reasonable numbers by the UK and Australian forces (cant find exact deployment numbers of special forces troops as opposed to total troops and probably wont). It is therefore reasonably likely that gays were deployed in special forces units in this high demand situation. There are no reports I can find of units from these countries performing worse than an equivalent US unit. So the only point to draw must be that allowing gays into the military has no appreciable difference on the quality of the military force.

*http://www.fcnl.org/iraq/bases.htm
** http://www.globalsecurity.org/military/ops/iraq_orbat.htm
***http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Multinational_Force_in_Iraq
****http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sexual_orientation_and_military_service
(5)http://query.nytimes.com/gst/fullpage.html?res=9E0CE5D81139F937A15752C1A964958260
(6)http://www.associatedcontent.com/article/24282/gays_in_the_military_what_about_the.html?page=2&cat=37

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Re: Homosexuals in the military

Postby Ari » Sun Dec 07, 2008 5:17 am UTC

Philwelch wrote:The burden of proof should be on people who want to change the way we organize our means of defending our civilization.


Surely the burden of proof falls upon anyone who advances an opinion that isn't already adequately proved? I don't think there's been a very definitive argument either way on this, (and thus rigorous citing would be welcome regardless) although being a "B" I'm kinda biased on the whole gays lesbians and bisexuals serving thing. Just because an unjustified position happens to actually be policy does not make it any more justified.
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Re: Homosexuals in the military

Postby Silas » Sun Dec 07, 2008 6:43 am UTC

That's a fine summary of the burden of proof, but if you try to apply it, you come to the same conclusion Philwelch did. The claim that needs to be proven is, "Reversing the DA/DT policy will not result in inordinate harm to the military's readiness."

The reason we ask that, and not the converse ("DA/DT's benefit to military readiness outweighs the prospective harm to gay servicemen and would-be servicemen, that we have DA/DT now, and we have an effective military, and we err on the side of caution when it comes to the national defense.
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Re: Homosexuals in the military

Postby quartercirclefish » Sun Dec 07, 2008 7:33 am UTC

However, after seeing that no apparent inordinate harm came to the readiness of the militaries of nations that have reversed bans on gay troops, the claim that needs to be proven is that "The US military is sufficiently different (in terms of military culture, unit structure, moral) from the defense forces where gays are allowed (UK, Australian, Isreali and most of Europe)that the experiences of no detrimental impact from allowing gays in those cases cannot be used to support the case for change in the US"

And it isn't just evidence of being different. It is evidence of being different and why that difference would cause a detrimental effect of gays to appear.

*ninja edit*

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Re: Homosexuals in the military

Postby fjafjan » Sun Dec 07, 2008 12:27 pm UTC

So how is the argument "homophobes would leave the army and that is bad" any different from "racists would leave the army if blacks are allowed to serve" or on the same level, "Misogynists would leave the army if Females were allowed to be superior officers". You can't sacrifice basic rights simply to please an intolerant minority, or even majority. People change their minds about things, and the ones that don't, and if they don't they'll eventually die and typically the younger generation doesn't get what the big fuzz is about.
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Re: Homosexuals in the military

Postby King of Frogs » Sun Dec 07, 2008 4:55 pm UTC

I agree, frankly, if I am being defended by an army who believes that homosexuals are a second-class group, I don't really think this is an army which serves my interests. The military must at all times represent the will of a democratic mandate. If the situation is otherwise, we get an independant military which can get too big for it's boots.
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Re: Homosexuals in the military

Postby Malice » Sun Dec 07, 2008 8:41 pm UTC

fjafjan wrote:So how is the argument "homophobes would leave the army and that is bad" any different from "racists would leave the army if blacks are allowed to serve" or on the same level, "Misogynists would leave the army if Females were allowed to be superior officers".


It isn't. In every single one of those cases, if there is a possibility of enough people leaving the army for us to not be able to defend ourselves properly, then at the very least, the transition needs to be made smoother in order to prevent mass exodus. The fact that the soldiers keep us safe is more important than whether or not they are Basically Decent, tolerant people.
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Re: Homosexuals in the military

Postby Spuddly » Mon Dec 08, 2008 12:33 am UTC

Philwelch wrote:The military's function isn't to effect social change; it's to defend the country. So really, it depends on what the prevailing attitude is within the current military, and how quickly it'll adjust post-integration. There's a difference between "in principle I'm cool with gays in the military" and "I''m comfortable having one laying in the next rack over every night while we sleep" as well.

Like it or not, having a functioning means of national defense is imperative to a civilization continuing to exist. Sometimes it needs to function exceptionally well.

The main vibe I continually pick up is that we need to be living in an ideal world right now where gay men can shower with straight men and nobody ever gets made fun of and we tolerate every single difference that we have with each other, and if you were raised differently and don't like the new world order you should just deal. That's not reality. Reality is, don't ask don't tell works and we should make any change to it contingent upon very strong evidence that allowing openly gay men to serve in the military would work just as well. It does in other cultures, but will it work in ours? I'm anxious to see the evidence.

In other news, I'd like to see an unconditional, unreversible end to the draft and to draft registration before we repeal DADT, because DADT offers men a decent means of draft evasion.


But gays are doing lots of translating. And if a translator gets outed, he's fired.

I don't think the US should deploy translators in the first place.
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Re: Homosexuals in the military

Postby King of Frogs » Mon Dec 08, 2008 12:54 am UTC

If the army is supposed to be patrolling an area and keeping the peace against the kind of enemy who can hide well and know the ground and possibly the people, the army must be able to create a rapport with the civilians, if they do not they will be seen as an occupying force, which would only increase the anger of an already very angry population. The army has a duty to help rebuild the country they almost destroyed.
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Re: Homosexuals in the military

Postby Spuddly » Mon Dec 08, 2008 1:09 am UTC

King of Frogs wrote:The army has a duty to help rebuild the country they almost destroyed.

Why? Is there a law or something? Some sort of conditional I'm missing? Or is this just an opinion of yours?
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Re: Homosexuals in the military

Postby Philwelch » Mon Dec 08, 2008 1:18 am UTC

Rebuilding shouldn't be a function of the military (that's too far from their core competency, which is combat) and translators can be independent contractors instead of uniformed personnel anyway.

In any case, allowing openly gay servicemembers can be, just like allowing women, something we apply to some parts of the military and not others. We can allow gay translators before we allow gay infantry.
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Re: Homosexuals in the military

Postby King of Frogs » Mon Dec 08, 2008 1:20 am UTC

Because, Spuddly civilians who were <i>not</i> involved (making them illegitimate targets by the way) have to live in the country the Coalition blew to bits. If you want to pretend that the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan were fought to "liberate" the people there, then it's pretty damn hypocritical to then say, "yeah, sort our your own damned problems, we're off home".

From a pragmatic point of view, not being seen to do so would reduce the occupation's international credence and lead to an area which is already very anti-America (I'm assuming you're American here) becoming more so. Without conciliation, the only result will probably be more wars of this nature.

And yeah, if you want to win over all, then sure kill, kill, kill to your heart's content, but you won't be fighting a just war.
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Re: Homosexuals in the military

Postby Spuddly » Mon Dec 08, 2008 1:44 am UTC

Philwelch wrote:Rebuilding shouldn't be a function of the military (that's too far from their core competency, which is combat) and translators can be independent contractors instead of uniformed personnel anyway.

In any case, allowing openly gay servicemembers can be, just like allowing women, something we apply to some parts of the military and not others. We can allow gay translators before we allow gay infantry.


Would gays really be that big of a deal?
Do you have any evidence to back up that claim, other than opinion?
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Re: Homosexuals in the military

Postby Philwelch » Mon Dec 08, 2008 8:40 am UTC

Spuddly wrote:
Philwelch wrote:Rebuilding shouldn't be a function of the military (that's too far from their core competency, which is combat) and translators can be independent contractors instead of uniformed personnel anyway.

In any case, allowing openly gay servicemembers can be, just like allowing women, something we apply to some parts of the military and not others. We can allow gay translators before we allow gay infantry.


Would gays really be that big of a deal?
Do you have any evidence to back up that claim, other than opinion?


They may or may not be a big deal. As it stands, we have DADT and the military seems to function quite well. Furthermore, during the time when homosexuals were explicitly banned (i.e. during the Persian Gulf War), the military functioned quite well. So far we have very good evidence that disallowing openly gay servicemembers allows this military, in this culture, at this time in history, the ability to function well. There is no corresponding evidence about allowing openly gay service members.

Considering the millions of human beings throughout the world who rely upon the strength of the US military for their bodily security and basic human rights every day, it's imperative to keep the US military functioning. Show me the evidence that changing the DADT policy will either create a net benefit or at least not get in the way and I will support it.

People have made an argument that we've lost too many translators over the DADT policy, for instance. I propose two solutions:

1. Outsource translation to independent contractors.
2. Allow openly gay service members to serve in MOS's (Military Occupational Specialties) where their sexuality—and, more to the point, the reaction of other service members to their sexuality—is less likely to be disruptive. This would affect housing and other things as well. Services that require large numbers of men to quarter in confined settings (the Navy and Marines, for instance) would have fewer opportunities for open gays than services that allow more personal space (the Air Force or in some cases the Army). Gays would have the choice of remaining under DADT or openly declaring their homosexuality and restricting themselves to less-disruptive specialties. This would not only ameliorate the losses among language translators but would also provide a pilot program to gather more evidence about the effect of openly gay service members.
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Re: Homosexuals in the military

Postby Azrael » Mon Dec 08, 2008 1:32 pm UTC

Thread sanitized. Don't make me do it again.

And, while we're at it: REPORT TROLLING. Don't try to address it yourself, or you'll just end up sounding like a wanker and making even more of a mess for me to clean up.

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Re: Homosexuals in the military

Postby Diadem » Mon Dec 08, 2008 2:06 pm UTC

EmptySet wrote:OK, so let's say that homosexuals are allowed to serve openly and a bunch of soldiers walk out in a huff because they don't want to work with homosexuals (even though they are already doing so due to the DADT policy).

Do you really WANT those sort of people in your military?


But that's the wrong question. Those people, unfortunately, exist. Given this fact, where would you rather have such people. At home, where they are free to propagandize their bigotry to others, or in Iraq, getting shot at and killed.

Phrased like that, it's an easy choice, no?

Let's face it guys. Having homosexuals in the military is a bad idea. Homosexuals are much to precious to risk in a war!

I hope some lighthearted humor is allowed here in SB. If not, please realize that I'm making a serious point in between the lines.

For reference, yes, humor is certainly allowed when it's in the context of a contributory post. The one-liner posts are the ones likely to disappear.

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Re: Homosexuals in the military

Postby fjafjan » Mon Dec 08, 2008 2:24 pm UTC

Malice wrote:
fjafjan wrote:So how is the argument "homophobes would leave the army and that is bad" any different from "racists would leave the army if blacks are allowed to serve" or on the same level, "Misogynists would leave the army if Females were allowed to be superior officers".


It isn't. In every single one of those cases, if there is a possibility of enough people leaving the army for us to not be able to defend ourselves properly, then at the very least, the transition needs to be made smoother in order to prevent mass exodus. The fact that the soldiers keep us safe is more important than whether or not they are Basically Decent, tolerant people.

First of all, you need to define some level of safety before you can say "defend ourselves properly".
You can never be entirely safe, so any size of the military will be too small to have a perfect defense (in reality anyway).

But more importantly you might want to look at this from the viewpoint of a civilized society where discrimination and bigotry is not acceptable. Now sure if it was the case that the military would collapse if gays were allowed to serve, but again as has been mentioned many other first world, first grade armies, while smaller certainly living under very similar conditions, but probably where homophobic attitudes are less common, have not suffered any noticeable loss of personnel due to allowing homosexuals to serve openly. So it is up to you to prove that this flagrant discrimination is OK due to the serious setback it would cause. So far no data, only speculation and insinuations have been made to prove this claim.

As for allowing gays to serve only as hired contractors in non front line situations also drips of discrimination, and aside from the discriminatory nature of such a proposal, it would be deeply unfair as having a military record yields several social benefits like health care, educational opportunities etc. These are as far as I know not available to contractors.



Philwelch wrote:They may or may not be a big deal. As it stands, we have DADT and the military seems to function quite well.

Yeah I mean both the occupation of Iraq and Afghanistan are going splendid.
Besides this is a stupid argument for the status quo, would you have banned women from higher education since after all, universities seemed to be functioning "quite well" before they were allowed?


Philwelch wrote:Considering the millions of human beings throughout the world who rely upon the strength of the US military for their bodily security and basic human rights every day, it's imperative to keep the US military functioning. Show me the evidence that changing the DADT policy will either create a net benefit or at least not get in the way and I will support it.

There are militaries that have open homosexuals, show me that these armies have experienced any serous trouble.
Secondly, around the world?

So far we have very good evidence that disallowing openly gay service members allows this military, in this culture, at this time in history, the ability to function well. There is no corresponding evidence about allowing openly gay service members.

So far we have tried A. We know there are some problems with A, but A is not horrible. Therefor we should not try B, which would remove the problems of A, but might cause others.
Look it's like this, Homosexuals have a right not to be discriminated against. So you make the argument that discriminating homosexuals is necesary to provide (some arbitrary level of) adequate security. You then give no evidence to support this claim but to say that right now there is this level of security. You refuse to look at the data from countries with similar, mind you not identical, but similar cultures that have allowed homosexuals in their armed forces. Armed forces that have worked together with American forces without any known major problems.

tldr; To put it shortly, you are supporting a discriminatory policy without giving any evidence of why it is actually efficient. You're arguing from fear and using scare tactics.
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Re: Homosexuals in the military

Postby Lucrece » Mon Dec 08, 2008 5:02 pm UTC

Philwelch wrote:
Spuddly wrote:
Philwelch wrote:Rebuilding shouldn't be a function of the military (that's too far from their core competency, which is combat) and translators can be independent contractors instead of uniformed personnel anyway.

In any case, allowing openly gay servicemembers can be, just like allowing women, something we apply to some parts of the military and not others. We can allow gay translators before we allow gay infantry.


Would gays really be that big of a deal?
Do you have any evidence to back up that claim, other than opinion?


So far we have very good evidence that disallowing openly gay servicemembers allows this military, in this culture, at this time in history, the ability to function well. There is no corresponding evidence about allowing openly gay service members.



The evidence doesn't actually show that disallowing open recognition of being homosexual-- or banning homosexuals-- ALLOWS the military to function well. There is no evidence whatsoever that such disallowance is a reason for the military's satisfactory performance. What the current evidence shows is that the military functions as it currently is; i.e. , discharging homosexuals is not so detrimental. That's not the debate, though. The debate is on the ethics of the policy, and how much of it is actually grounded on effectiveness and not on a desire to politicize the army.
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Re: Homosexuals in the military

Postby Indon » Mon Dec 08, 2008 5:22 pm UTC

EmptySet wrote:There's also the fact that US military personnel are already sharing sleeping areas, showers, etc. with homosexuals, due to the "don't-ask-don't-tell" policy...


This is extremely relevant.

Look at this from the perspective of a high-ranking officer in the US military. If a military member misbehaves and turns out to be homosexual, well, the "Don't ask, don't tell" policy functions as plausible deniability for that member's superiors.

Now, if a military member misbehaves towards a member of the opposite gender, and it turns out that insufficient measures were taken to prevent it by his leadership, his leadership is liable to a degree for his actions. Nobody goes to jail, but someone may well lose their job. Thus, things like general orders to establish wholly separate living quarters for males and females - so that when someone does something wrong, the government can say, "Well, he ignored orders, so it's not our fault."

If a military member's leadership was aware of that member's homosexuality, they are under legal obligation to take the same kind of measures that they take towards heterosexuals to prevent questionable situations. Logistically, this is prohibitively expensive. Any number of heterosexuals of the same gender can be housed together without a problem - but no more than two homosexuals may be housed together without a potential attraction.

This in turn can lead to potential morale problems from a policy that handles the liability. You could go from living with fifty individuals to living with two just by claiming to be homosexual - there will be military members who do that just to get more comfy quarters (consider, if you will, that there are military members who marry for the associated financial benefits, and you'll get an idea of the mindset you're looking at), and that brings up all kinds of problems. Policy problems associated with this would also include trying to verify people's claims about their sexuality, because it only takes a couple verification errors before you've accidentally housed some couple in their own private 'homosexual' quarters, and it's only a matter of time before something like that hits the news unfavorably.

The 'don't ask, don't tell' policy is a way to try to reconcile homosexuality with a paternalistic leadership style that takes a significant degree of responsibility for the prevention of misconduct by its' members, while minimizing costs (of multiple types) related to the policy.

Barring a military wealthy enough to provide individual quarters and other relevant facilities to all its' members even when deployed (to most locations - exceptions can be made when established to be impossible such as with special ops units in field conditions), or a change in military culture such that a general won't lose his job for not putting homosexuals in their own quarters, it doesn't seem possible to propose a new policy that won't be extremely difficult to implement effectively, and very expensive.

I'm all for higher taxes in order to reach the point where we no longer have a significant need for shared facilities, though.
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Re: Homosexuals in the military

Postby Philwelch » Mon Dec 08, 2008 5:48 pm UTC

fjafjan wrote:
Philwelch wrote:They may or may not be a big deal. As it stands, we have DADT and the military seems to function quite well.

Yeah I mean both the occupation of Iraq and Afghanistan are going splendid.
Besides this is a stupid argument for the status quo, would you have banned women from higher education since after all, universities seemed to be functioning "quite well" before they were allowed?


The function of a university is to educate adults and perform research. There's no good argument that allowing women at the time that we did would have interfered with that goal. Whereas when you consider the attitudes in society at this time, the sensitive nature of sexuality, and the close quarters that military personnel regularly live in, there's good reason to suspect there would be problems integrating open homosexuals into the military.

fjafjan wrote:
Philwelch wrote:Considering the millions of human beings throughout the world who rely upon the strength of the US military for their bodily security and basic human rights every day, it's imperative to keep the US military functioning. Show me the evidence that changing the DADT policy will either create a net benefit or at least not get in the way and I will support it.

There are militaries that have open homosexuals, show me that these armies have experienced any serous trouble.


Different cultures and different military needs. Show me the consequences of integration in those militaries and make an argument that our experience would be similar.

fjafjan wrote:Secondly, around the world?


Japan remains disarmed because they have assurances that the US military will defend them. South Korea remains militarily weaker than the North because of similar security guarantees--this has allowed the level of economic development (and thus the standard of living) that South Korea has reached now. Western Europe still has significant US security guarantees. So does Taiwan. If you add up the number of people around the world who rely upon the US military for the protection of their human rights against potential aggression from authoritarian regimes, they probably approach or outnumber the population of the United States itself.

fjafjan wrote:
So far we have very good evidence that disallowing openly gay service members allows this military, in this culture, at this time in history, the ability to function well. There is no corresponding evidence about allowing openly gay service members.

So far we have tried A. We know there are some problems with A, but A is not horrible. Therefor we should not try B, which would remove the problems of A, but might cause others.


I'm not saying we shouldn't try B, I'm saying that maintaining the effectiveness of the military is a matter of fundamental security, and that risk mitigation is an extremely important concern.

I'm not saying we shouldn't allow openly gay service members. I'm saying we should be very careful about making sure it doesn't effect our military efficacy before we do so.

fjafjan wrote:Look it's like this, Homosexuals have a right not to be discriminated against.


The people of South Korea also have the right not to be murdered and repressed by the North Korean army.

fjafjan wrote:So you make the argument that discriminating homosexuals is necesary to provide (some arbitrary level of) adequate security. You then give no evidence to support this claim but to say that right now there is this level of security. You refuse to look at the data from countries with similar, mind you not identical, but similar cultures that have allowed homosexuals in their armed forces. Armed forces that have worked together with American forces without any known major problems.


You misunderstand. I make the argument that DADT causes an acceptable level of negative consequences, and that changing the policy in any way should be contingent upon strong evidence that the resulting negative consequences will be similar to the negative consequences we see now.

I'm asking you to actually provide me that evidence. Instead you're misrepresenting my position and calling me a bigot. Which makes it pretty funny—I'm an openly bisexual man who, but for some medical problems, would have happily served in the military, abiding by the DADT policy.

Lucrece wrote:What the current evidence shows is that the military functions as it currently is; i.e. , discharging homosexuals is not so detrimental.


Yup. You articulated it better than I did.

Lucrece wrote:That's not the debate, though. The debate is on the ethics of the policy, and how much of it is actually grounded on effectiveness and not on a desire to politicize the army.


The ethics of the policy are these: the US military needs to be extremely effective or else there is significant risk to the human rights of millions of people around the world who live under the protection of US security guarantees, and whose standard of living depends on the ability of their governments to limit their defense spending due to those guarantees. Requiring tens of thousands of gay service members to remain closeted seems like an acceptable tradeoff, but if you can show me it's unnecessary, I'll support the policy.

Indon wrote:Barring a military wealthy enough to provide individual quarters and other relevant facilities to all its' members even when deployed (to most locations - exceptions can be made when established to be impossible such as with special ops units in field conditions)

...

I'm all for higher taxes in order to reach the point where we no longer have a significant need for shared facilities, though.


1. The biggest military vessels ever built aren't big enough to house all the crew in individual quarters. Submarines are even more problematic. Nuclear missile silos similarly.
2. Sometimes it's not feasible to only have one man per foxhole.
3. There are very good psychological and sociological reasons why housing troops in a squad bay is better than housing in individual quarters. Like it or not the military is a collectivist culture and shared living arrangements are a big part of enforcing that cohesion.

Somehow it just seems easier to restrict homosexuals (and for that matter, women) to roles where they don't have to live in such close quarters with heterosexual men.
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Re: Homosexuals in the military

Postby Indon » Mon Dec 08, 2008 6:26 pm UTC

Philwelch wrote:1. The biggest military vessels ever built aren't big enough to house all the crew in individual quarters. Submarines are even more problematic. Nuclear missile silos similarly.

Technological advancements can potentially offer smaller crew requirements as well as more space for that crew.

Edit: Additionally, if I recall correctly many naval sleeping quarters have two people to a room - which is compatible with a homosexual-permitted policy.

Philwelch wrote:2. Sometimes it's not feasible to only have one man per foxhole.

Anyplace where our military actually maintains a literal foxhole anymore would be a location under the aforementioned established exemptions to the policy. Mind that this is the same reason women aren't allowed in said foxholes - such a policy would have precedent.

Philwelch wrote:3. There are very good psychological and sociological reasons why housing troops in a squad bay is better than housing in individual quarters. Like it or not the military is a collectivist culture and shared living arrangements are a big part of enforcing that cohesion.

What? The Air Force has been pushing for individual quarters for years, and so has the Army of late (whenever they could afford it, anyway).

Whenever feasible, it's better to have individual quarters (or barring that, quarters shared with as few as possible). People are happier and less stressed when they have more privacy.

Old-school barracks-style housing exists in only two places: Where the military can't afford to do better, and in training (where the military needs to prepare you for when they send you to somewhere that they can't afford to do better).

Philwelch wrote:Somehow it just seems easier to restrict homosexuals (and for that matter, women) to roles where they don't have to live in such close quarters with heterosexual men.


It is easier (but most importantly, cheaper), that was my point. Thus why my proposed solution would require sweeping upgrades of military housing infrastructure.
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Re: Homosexuals in the military

Postby Philwelch » Mon Dec 08, 2008 6:54 pm UTC

Indon wrote:
Philwelch wrote:1. The biggest military vessels ever built aren't big enough to house all the crew in individual quarters. Submarines are even more problematic. Nuclear missile silos similarly.

Technological advancements can potentially offer smaller crew requirements as well as more space for that crew.

Edit: Additionally, if I recall correctly many naval sleeping quarters have two people to a room - which is compatible with a homosexual-permitted policy.


I've been on a Nimitz class twice, both times overnight. In both cases I slept in a large squad bay with a bunch of other students. The females were housed in a separate squad bay. You may be thinking of officers' quarters.

In any case, two people to a room is problematic: either someone has to volunteer to room with the queer, or you have two homosexuals rooming together.

Indon wrote: Anyplace where our military actually maintains a literal foxhole anymore would be a location under the aforementioned established exemptions to the policy.


There's a vast number of units that, potentially, would have to maintain foxholes while in the field. The fact that we haven't had a war requiring this for decades is no reason to suppose that we won't in the future.

More to the point, foxholes and tents provide a more dispersed target to the enemy than building a gigantic two-man-per-room barracks in the middle of Saudi Arabia.

Indon wrote:
Philwelch wrote:3. There are very good psychological and sociological reasons why housing troops in a squad bay is better than housing in individual quarters. Like it or not the military is a collectivist culture and shared living arrangements are a big part of enforcing that cohesion.

What? The Air Force has been pushing for individual quarters for years, and so has the Army of late (whenever they could afford it, anyway).

Whenever feasible, it's better to have individual quarters (or barring that, quarters shared with as few as possible). People are happier and less stressed when they have more privacy.

Old-school barracks-style housing exists in only two places: Where the military can't afford to do better, and in training (where the military needs to prepare you for when they send you to somewhere that they can't afford to do better).


Actually, the rationale for squad bays in boot camp is exactly what I've said: to enforce a cohesive, collectivist culture.

Further, the Air Force is rather unique in that they don't actually put boots on the ground in any real numbers. They maintain airbases. They also have a reputation of being rich and spoiled. I'm not saying that it isn't pleasant or luxurious to have a room to yourself—I'm saying that unit effectiveness and military virtue require spartan living arrangements, even more than cost constraints do.
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Re: Homosexuals in the military

Postby Indon » Mon Dec 08, 2008 7:13 pm UTC

Philwelch wrote:I've been on a Nimitz class twice, both times overnight. In both cases I slept in a large squad bay with a bunch of other students. The females were housed in a separate squad bay. You may be thinking of officers' quarters.

Ah, that's probably it.

Philwelch wrote:In any case, two people to a room is problematic: either someone has to volunteer to room with the queer, or you have two homosexuals rooming together.

A male and female homosexual can room together. The reason heterosexuals are segregated by gender is to keep individuals who would be attracted to each other apart - this requirement does not exist for homosexuals.

Philwelch wrote:There's a vast number of units that, potentially, would have to maintain foxholes while in the field. The fact that we haven't had a war requiring this for decades is no reason to suppose that we won't in the future.

No, but it is a reason to form policy around the apparent reality that warfare is no longer what it used to be, and we have no reason to assume it will be that way again.

If things change in such a significant way, the policy can be changed yet again to reflect that.

Philwelch wrote:More to the point, foxholes and tents provide a more dispersed target to the enemy than building a gigantic two-man-per-room barracks in the middle of Saudi Arabia.

Back when we were in Saudi, we totally built gigantic barracks. And if the anti-terrorism measures had been up to par, there arguably should never have been a problem with it.

Philwelch wrote:Actually, the rationale for squad bays in boot camp is exactly what I've said: to enforce a cohesive, collectivist culture.

Insofar as everything in military training is oriented towards indoctrination, sure. But the bottom line is spending Uncle Sam's dollars.

Philwelch wrote:Further, the Air Force is rather unique in that they don't actually put boots on the ground in any real numbers. They maintain airbases. They also have a reputation of being rich and spoiled.

Which is why they started it years before anyone else did. Only much later did the Army notice how effective it was, and started investing in the same thing. This is very much a case of an effective policy being copied by another organization.

*goes off hunting for a good news article to describe the phenomenon*

I imagine the naval branches would be inclined to follow suit as well, if not for the much more difficult space requirements.
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Re: Homosexuals in the military

Postby Philwelch » Mon Dec 08, 2008 7:19 pm UTC

Indon wrote:
Philwelch wrote:More to the point, foxholes and tents provide a more dispersed target to the enemy than building a gigantic two-man-per-room barracks in the middle of Saudi Arabia.

Back when we were in Saudi, we totally built gigantic barracks.


Yes, that is what I was referring to.

Indon wrote:And if the anti-terrorism measures had been up to par, there arguably should never have been a problem with it.


Dispersion is an anti-terrorism measure. In fact it's a good defense measure overall.

Indon wrote:I imagine the naval branches would be inclined to follow suit as well, if not for the much more difficult space requirements.


I bet they do, in their ground bases. But ships are a different story, submarines even more so.
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