Tuesday, September 20, 2011

'Don't Ask, Don't Tell' Repealed

At LAT, "'Don't ask, don't tell' repeal lets gays, lesbians serve openly."

Sergeant Fury

Cartoon Credit: Matt Bors.

RELATED: From David Horowitz, "Issues That Dare Not Speak Their Name":
“Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” is a way of containing the destructive force of sex on a combat capability called “unit cohesion.” To create the perfect killing machine, the military works hard to drain recruits of their individuality and their self-interested desires in order to make them think like cogs, well, in a machine. An essential part of the military mind is that the members of a fighting unit don’t think for themselves, but do as they are told. They work as a unit in which each performs an appointed task. The mission objective – not personal consideration – guides their actions. Suppose a commander were faced with the choice of risking his unit or risking the life of his own son, for example. Suppose the life of his son were threatened, but to save him would risk the military objective his superiors had set. Suppose he let the human override the imperatives of the machine. He would be doing what was natural, but the military objective he sacrificed might cost the lives of hundreds or thousands.

To avoid such breaches of military discipline, military policy does not allow family members to fight in the same unit. The same principle underlies its policy towards gays. Sacrifice of unit cohesion and military order is the threat that sex between soldiers poses for any combat force. The open inclusion of gays in the military is regarded by military men who oppose it a threat to effectiveness of the military as a fighting force.
Also, Mackubin Thomas Owens, "The Case Against Gays in the Military":
Winning the nation's wars is the military's functional imperative. Indeed, it is the only reason for a liberal society to maintain a military organization. War is terror. War is confusion. War is characterized by chance, uncertainty and friction. The military's ethos constitutes an evolutionary response to these factors—an attempt to minimize their impact.

Accordingly, the military stresses such martial virtues as courage, both physical and moral, a sense of honor and duty, discipline, a professional code of conduct, and loyalty. It places a premium on such factors as unit cohesion and morale. The glue of the military ethos is what the Greeks called philia—friendship, comradeship or brotherly love. Philia, the bond among disparate individuals who have nothing in common but facing death and misery together, is the source of the unit cohesion that most research has shown to be critical to battlefield success.

Philia depends on fairness and the absence of favoritism. Favoritism and double standards are deadly to philia and its associated phenomena—cohesion, morale and discipline—are absolutely critical to the success of a military organization.

The presence of open homosexuals in the close confines of ships or military units opens the possibility that eros—which unlike philia is sexual, and therefore individual and exclusive—will be unleashed into the environment. Eros manifests itself as sexual competition, protectiveness and favoritism, all of which undermine the nonsexual bonding essential to unit cohesion, good order, discipline and morale.
We'll of course see how these arguments play out in real life.

4 comments:

Kenneth Davenport said...

Countries in Europe have gays serving openly, so progressives don't see the big deal. Only European nations (with the notable exception of the UK) don't actually engage in shooting wars, and thus don't find themselves in remote combat posts in Afghanistan, where unit cohesion is the key to survival. All you have to do is go rent the movie "Restrepo" and you will understand how ludicrous repealing DADT is. And what do the chiefs of the combat arms -- Marines and Army -- say? They say it will be detrimental to our readiness. So who are you going to believe? The progressive caucus of arm-chair warriors or those who actually fight our wars?

Matthew D C said...

I just wrote a bit about this as well. There are going to be some issues with having gays openly serve in the military but honestly, I don't think a whole lot will change as far as the effectiveness of our force. I am speaking from experience. I have been in the Army for 7 years and I have know more than a few gay men and women. For the most part it really isn't an issue. Just because
DADT has been repealed doesn't necessarily mean that all kinds of gay people are going to run around trying to have sex with each other all the time. Anyways, feel free to check out my blog if you want to know about some of the issues we will have with this new policy.

Kenneth Davenport said...

Matthew -- I certainly defer to you on this. I agree that this doesn't mean that gays will be running around flaunting themselves, etc. But after watching Restrepo -- which is admittedly an extreme situation where U.S. troops were in an isolated mountain base living in primitive conditions -- I was struck by the level of physicality that these young men exhibited toward each other. The hormonal energy among these guys is palpable -- they dance and wrestle with each other openly as a way of channeling young male hormones. Totally understandable - and it seemed to be a key dynamic of the esprit d'corps that they had. How does this change with an openly gay soldier among them? I don't know. But it certainly is worth considering. My guess is that any commander who is close to the field in Afghanistan or Iraq doesn't think repeal of DADT is a good idea. Anyhow, I guess we shall see what happens!

Donald Douglas said...

I get vets in my classes every semester, and it goes both ways. I get especially strong reactions to privacy concerns, that is, sleeping ans showing conditions with gay members of the same sex. I'm told that is not a good situation for combat personnel, although I'm coming from the scholarly/teaching side of this.