Homosexuals in the military

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EmptySet
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Re: Homosexuals in the military

Postby EmptySet » Tue Dec 09, 2008 4:25 am UTC

Indon wrote:
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.


If you're looking at it that way, the military leaders are being negligent in their duties by deliberately avoiding information which they believe has implications for the welfare of those under their care. For comparison, imagine that military leaders institute a policy of selective blindness which prevents them from identifying females, and thus makes females and males bunk together. Then, when someone complains, they say "I'm not to blame! I had no idea women existed!!" I think it's pretty clear that this kind of deliberate ignorance isn't a very good excuse. Not to mention that, if saying "He disobeyed orders!" is enough to exonerate the leaders, they can simply order everyone not to sexually harass each other.

Also, rape/sexual harassment/etc frequently occur between members of the same sex who claim to be straight (prison rape, for instance). I therefore question whether removing homosexuals to prevent such problems would actually be effective or necessary.

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Re: Homosexuals in the military

Postby Ari » Tue Dec 09, 2008 8:30 am UTC

Philwelch wrote: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.


I contend that many people at that time would have disagreed with you that there was no good argument against allowing women to attend university, and they probably made arguments that much resembled your own. That's not to say you're being intellectually dishonest - just that social conservatism doesn't really learn new tactics, which is what gives common ground to civil rights and human rights struggles. And that's rather transparently the basis of your argument: that social conservatism is less disruptive to the military.

I argue, on the other hand, that there is far too much good talent and unique perspective available outside the straight white male world that if other types of people wish to serve their country, then it would be foolish to turn them down or segregate them. And if people can't deal with it, and if there's harassment, rape, or violence- then you treat that as the criminal behaviour it is and, where possible, ship them home for trial. And that should hopefully make some inroads to fighting the misogynistic culture of the military in America that disproportionately enables domestic violence and abusive behaviour, which has real and serious costs to US society.
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Re: Homosexuals in the military

Postby Indon » Tue Dec 09, 2008 5:33 pm UTC

EmptySet wrote:If you're looking at it that way, the military leaders are being negligent in their duties by deliberately avoiding information which they believe has implications for the welfare of those under their care. For comparison, imagine that military leaders institute a policy of selective blindness which prevents them from identifying females, and thus makes females and males bunk together. Then, when someone complains, they say "I'm not to blame! I had no idea women existed!!" I think it's pretty clear that this kind of deliberate ignorance isn't a very good excuse.

But in practice, verification is difficult. It's relatively easy to give someone a physical examination to verify their gender - no such ready method exists for verifying sexuality. A gay person who wanted in the military could lie, as could a straight person who wanted out (not to say this still doesn't happen, but by minimizing the asking/telling aspect, we hopefully minimize the people lying aspect too).

EmptySet wrote:Not to mention that, if saying "He disobeyed orders!" is enough to exonerate the leaders, they can simply order everyone not to sexually harass each other.

Also, rape/sexual harassment/etc frequently occur between members of the same sex who claim to be straight (prison rape, for instance). I therefore question whether removing homosexuals to prevent such problems would actually be effective or necessary.


And this is, in fact, what the policy forbids - specifically, 'homosexual behavior' is what's forbidden, not actually being a homosexual. However, claiming to be a homosexual places those military leaders in the position of needing to take steps to minimize the chances of homosexual behavior - thus, discharge. Otherwise, they'd be negligent in their duties by deliberately avoiding yadda yadda you get the point.
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Re: Homosexuals in the military

Postby Philwelch » Tue Dec 09, 2008 8:53 pm UTC

Ari wrote:
Philwelch wrote: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.


I contend that many people at that time would have disagreed with you that there was no good argument against allowing women to attend university, and they probably made arguments that much resembled your own. That's not to say you're being intellectually dishonest - just that social conservatism doesn't really learn new tactics, which is what gives common ground to civil rights and human rights struggles. And that's rather transparently the basis of your argument: that social conservatism is less disruptive to the military.


The military is also a matter of risk management. When you have an unknown downside to changing things, it's reckless to change things. So you learn the downside as best you can and then compare.

There are many universities. Some of them could afford to experiment and let women in, because if they failed as a result, at least we would still have universities. There's also no good argument similar to the ones I'm giving—universities can and do segregate sleeping quarters by sex, whereas any solution to segregating homosexuals in the military is probably more trouble than it's worth.

It's also not social conservatism. I enthusiastically welcome the changes in society that would be necessary to allowing homosexuals into the military. But I am realistic enough to realize that the purpose of the military is not to effect such change. It can't. We have to let the social change happen first, before we change the military. It's not like when the military integrated the races—in that situation, a large enough proportion of the adult male population was in the military that racial integration in the military was enough to effect change on its own. We don't have the same proportion today.

Further, homosexuals aren't prohibited from serving in the military, they're prohibited from making their sexuality known. It's a fine point but an important one.
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Re: Homosexuals in the military

Postby EmptySet » Wed Dec 10, 2008 12:45 am UTC

Indon wrote:
EmptySet wrote:If you're looking at it that way, the military leaders are being negligent in their duties by deliberately avoiding information which they believe has implications for the welfare of those under their care. For comparison, imagine that military leaders institute a policy of selective blindness which prevents them from identifying females, and thus makes females and males bunk together. Then, when someone complains, they say "I'm not to blame! I had no idea women existed!!" I think it's pretty clear that this kind of deliberate ignorance isn't a very good excuse.

But in practice, verification is difficult. It's relatively easy to give someone a physical examination to verify their gender - no such ready method exists for verifying sexuality. A gay person who wanted in the military could lie, as could a straight person who wanted out (not to say this still doesn't happen, but by minimizing the asking/telling aspect, we hopefully minimize the people lying aspect too).


And under the current system, gay people who want to join the military are pretty much required to lie. Clearly, homosexuals could be identified in greater numbers and with greater accuracy if they were allowed to serve openly. Sure, some would still probably lie... but there are quite a few women who have disguised themselves as men to join the military, too (including cramped ships in the Royal British Navy a couple of centuries back). You're never going to get 100% honesty, but you should still make a reasonable attempt.

EmptySet wrote:Not to mention that, if saying "He disobeyed orders!" is enough to exonerate the leaders, they can simply order everyone not to sexually harass each other.

Also, rape/sexual harassment/etc frequently occur between members of the same sex who claim to be straight (prison rape, for instance). I therefore question whether removing homosexuals to prevent such problems would actually be effective or necessary.


And this is, in fact, what the policy forbids - specifically, 'homosexual behavior' is what's forbidden, not actually being a homosexual. However, claiming to be a homosexual places those military leaders in the position of needing to take steps to minimize the chances of homosexual behavior - thus, discharge. Otherwise, they'd be negligent in their duties by deliberately avoiding yadda yadda you get the point.


No. There is a difference between "sexual harassment" and "homosexual behaviour". I'm not an expert in US military law, of course, but from the description of the DADT policy given earlier in the thread, it seems like you could be discharged from the military for openly having a romantic affair with a consenting adult civilian of the same sex. This can in no way be construed as harassment of other members of the military. Furthermore, military personnel openly display "heterosexual behaviour" even though they may have to work with the opposite gender. If the policy on homosexuality is justified, then to be consistent the military would have to either adopt the same policy on heterosexuality, or on women ("It's not a law against women joining the military - they're free to join as long as we never find out they're female!").

Also, discharging someone merely because of their sexuality isn't a sensible measure to minimize the chance of sexual harassment. Firstly, as I pointed out, it's far from impossible or even unusual for straight guys to sexually harass each other. Removing homosexuals doesn't even remove the group responsible for the offences you claim to be minimizing. Secondly, booting out every homosexual, rather than just those who sexually harass people, is ridiculous. Crime rates are higher among black Americans than white Americans. Should we ban all blacks - sorry, I mean anyone who engages in "black behaviour", like persistently having dark skin despite orders to bleach it - to minimize the chance of soldiers stealing from each other?

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Re: Homosexuals in the military

Postby Philwelch » Wed Dec 10, 2008 1:03 am UTC

EmptySet wrote:Also, discharging someone merely because of their sexuality isn't a sensible measure to minimize the chance of sexual harassment. Firstly, as I pointed out, it's far from impossible or even unusual for straight guys to sexually harass each other. Removing homosexuals doesn't even remove the group responsible for the offences you claim to be minimizing. Secondly, booting out every homosexual, rather than just those who sexually harass people, is ridiculous.


"Sexual harassment" is a bad way to put it, but the reasons for excluding or segregating homosexuals is similar to the reasons for excluding or segregating people by gender. You don't have a straight man go out camping with girl scouts for the same reason you don't have a gay man go out camping with boy scouts for the same reason you don't have women and men in the same squad bay for the same reason you don't have an openly gay soldier in the squad bay.

You could argue for full gender integration in the military—I'm just saying you're logically compelled to do that, as well, if you're going to argue for integrating straights and gays. Similarly, it's hard to safely integrate gays in the military at all.

EDIT: Er, thanks. I was about to do that myself but thanks :D
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Re: Homosexuals in the military

Postby Azrael » Wed Dec 10, 2008 3:37 am UTC

Bunch of BALEETIONS. That particular topic doesn't need to be discussed here.

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Re: Homosexuals in the military

Postby quartercirclefish » Wed Dec 10, 2008 7:23 am UTC

Philwelch wrote:
EmptySet wrote:"Sexual harassment" is a bad way to put it, but the reasons for excluding or segregating homosexuals is similar to the reasons for excluding or segregating people by gender. You don't have a straight man go out camping with girl scouts for the same reason you don't have a gay man go out camping with boy scouts for the same reason you don't have women and men in the same squad bay for the same reason you don't have an openly gay soldier in the squad bay.


You dont have gay scout leaders because the scouting association is homophobic and prescribes to the view where homosexual men are comparable to pedophiles. And you do have straight male scout leaders going out camping with female scouts, at least in the Australian Scouting Association. Most scout leaders are male and most troops have female scouts. On camps, especially small ones, the troop leader is the only supervisor at the camp.

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Re: Homosexuals in the military

Postby EmptySet » Wed Dec 10, 2008 9:14 am UTC

Philwelch wrote:"Sexual harassment" is a bad way to put it, but the reasons for excluding or segregating homosexuals is similar to the reasons for excluding or segregating people by gender. You don't have a straight man go out camping with girl scouts for the same reason you don't have a gay man go out camping with boy scouts for the same reason you don't have women and men in the same squad bay for the same reason you don't have an openly gay soldier in the squad bay.

You could argue for full gender integration in the military—I'm just saying you're logically compelled to do that, as well, if you're going to argue for integrating straights and gays. Similarly, it's hard to safely integrate gays in the military at all.


Well, the context in which I initially responded was "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" and other arguments along that line. I took "misbehaves" to imply that someone was actually, y'know, doing naughty stuff like blatantly ogling people, making unwelcome advances, and so forth.

Anyway, even if you decide to base this on modesty or decency or whatever they're calling it these days, it's still a poor argument. Remember that there are already gay guys in the military, they're just not openly gay. So a closer analogy would be "It would be indecent for a man to camp with girl scouts! Unless he wears a dress and only talks in falsetto, of course." I mean, call me strange, but you're going to have homosexuals in the military either way and I think it's less creepy to have them in the open. Also, at school I was sent on a 10-day camping trip in a group of several dozen students. It was mixed gender, and we didn't have proper tents - just transparent pieces of plastic. The college I lived at also had bathrooms/showers which were shared by both genders, though they were of course in separate cubicles. For that matter, I'm not particularly comfortable with other guys seeing me unclothed (or vice-versa) even if everyone involved is straight, but I've shared sleeping quarters/shower facilities/changing rooms with other men without having any problems. What I'm saying here is that sharing quarters is not necessarily a problem so long as people are considerate of each other and do not habitually wander around naked.

Also, that kind of argument doesn't address at all why homosexuals shouldn't be allowed to serve openly in areas where they wouldn't have to share close quarters with the rest of the guys. If parts of the military can manage to have women serving alongside men, why can't they also have openly gay men?

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Re: Homosexuals in the military

Postby Indon » Wed Dec 10, 2008 4:14 pm UTC

EmptySet wrote:And under the current system, gay people who want to join the military are pretty much required to lie.

Incorrect.

Homosexuals in the military should not need to lie about their orientation because they should not be asked - the "don't ask" part of the policy.

Nor is homosexuality in and of itself prohibited - only homosexual behavior, which as you note, heterosexuals can also engage in, and would also be discharged for.

EmptySet wrote:No. There is a difference between "sexual harassment" and "homosexual behaviour".

Ah, okay, I need to clarify this a bit.

Yes, there's a difference between sexual behavior and sexual harassment. But the military's strategy for reducing the chances of sexual harassment is to reduce all sexual behavior across the board - this is why facilities are segregated by sex and such in the first place.

And because of that facilities issue, there's no effective way to minimize homosexual behavior, thus, it's incompatible with current military sexual policy.

EmptySet wrote:Firstly, as I pointed out, it's far from impossible or even unusual for straight guys to sexually harass each other. Removing homosexuals doesn't even remove the group responsible for the offences you claim to be minimizing.

Straight individuals are discharged just as homosexuals are for homosexual behavior.

EmptySet wrote:Secondly, booting out every homosexual, rather than just those who sexually harass people, is ridiculous. Crime rates are higher among black Americans than white Americans. Should we ban all blacks - sorry, I mean anyone who engages in "black behaviour", like persistently having dark skin despite orders to bleach it - to minimize the chance of soldiers stealing from each other?


Your analogy is flawed for a number of reasons.

-Being black does not make you more likely to steal. It's a correlation, not a causal relationship. Being homosexual does make you more likely to have sex with someone of the same gender. It is causal in nature.

-Even if being black somehow did magically make you more likely to steal, the behavior involved is stealing and only individuals who stole would be kicked out of the military, regardless of their skin color - and they are.

-Being black is verifiable, homosexuality is not.

-Finally, I would note that a verifiable condition which has a causal relationship with stealing does exist in reality, and to the best of my knowledge kleptomaniacs are not permitted to join the US military.
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Re: Homosexuals in the military

Postby Lucrece » Wed Dec 10, 2008 4:25 pm UTC

Actually, homosexual behavior in the military is not the only grounds for discharge. Having your status under MySpace/Facebook as "Gay", having pictures available of your love interest, seeing you in a PRIDE parade, are enough grounds for discharge.

The ban is not strictly against "homosexual behavior"; it is against the very own confirmation of homosexual identity.
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Re: Homosexuals in the military

Postby Indon » Wed Dec 10, 2008 6:18 pm UTC

Lucrece wrote:Actually, homosexual behavior in the military is not the only grounds for discharge. Having your status under MySpace/Facebook as "Gay", having pictures available of your love interest, seeing you in a PRIDE parade, are enough grounds for discharge.

The ban is not strictly against "homosexual behavior"; it is against the very own confirmation of homosexual identity.


In practice, outing yourself qualifies as homosexual behavior. In theory:

Indon wrote:However, claiming to be a homosexual places those military leaders in the position of needing to take steps to minimize the chances of homosexual behavior - thus, discharge. Otherwise, they'd be negligent in their duties by deliberately avoiding yadda yadda you get the point.


This is why.
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Re: Homosexuals in the military

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

That's not a homosexual behavior; it merely is an indicator that you engage in homosexual behavior, not that you are likely to do so in the military--considering its heavy sanctions. The assumption DADT makes is that openly gay men are more likely to engage in homosexual behavior than are those omitting that bit of information in order to keep their careers.
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Re: Homosexuals in the military

Postby Indon » Wed Dec 10, 2008 7:31 pm UTC

Thus the "in practice".
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Re: Homosexuals in the military

Postby Silas » Wed Dec 10, 2008 7:50 pm UTC

The point is, it creates or reinforces a- and this, I think, is the important bit- reasonable concern that the serviceman has or may develop a romantic interest in someone he deploys with.

We can't have that. Soldiers in the field can't be thinking, 'is this about how Hopkins never had the nerve to put the moves on Sloan?' or 'is my SSG still sore about that breakup three months ago?" Chess clubs get torn up by things like that- how much more so an infantry company in Qandahar?
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Re: Homosexuals in the military

Postby Lucrece » Wed Dec 10, 2008 8:52 pm UTC

Indon wrote:Thus the "in practice".


And that's what I'm refusing, the erroneous application of the term.

Silas wrote:The point is, it creates or reinforces a- and this, I think, is the important bit- reasonable concern that the serviceman has or may develop a romantic interest in someone he deploys with.

We can't have that. Soldiers in the field can't be thinking, 'is this about how Hopkins never had the nerve to put the moves on Sloan?' or 'is my SSG still sore about that breakup three months ago?" Chess clubs get torn up by things like that- how much more so an infantry company in Qandahar?


And this is expressed from the viewpoint of a heterosexual, a demographic that does not consistently practice self-restraint out of fear for repercussions. What many straight men do not understand is that a homosexual clearly recognizes that fellow heterosexual teammates are not a source of release for sexual tensions. Straight men constantly live without restricting their advances on females; this is a practice (sexual advances) which homosexuals are socialized out of.
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Re: Homosexuals in the military

Postby meat.paste » Wed Dec 10, 2008 9:00 pm UTC

It's all about sex. Humans want it, but our social constructs want to restrict access. The military deems it unseemly for the service personnel to doink each other. So, separate boys from girls to prevent this. Homosexuals mess this up because they could be housed together and they might have sex (gasp!) Male homosexuals are even worse because they will be objectifying the straight males just as much as the straight males objectify the women (and that's just icky for the straight males.)

I suspect this problem would go away if there was a unit whose job was to have sex with the military. When the personnel know that the medically licensed prostitutes are coming by in a week, it will be much easier to say no to a fling with a colleague. I would hypothesize that this approach will lower sexual harassment, increase morale, and be a boon to recruitment.

This will never happen, of course, because our society convolutes the animalistic urges for sex with the emotional need for relationships.
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Re: Homosexuals in the military

Postby Indon » Wed Dec 10, 2008 9:23 pm UTC

Lucrece wrote:And this is expressed from the viewpoint of a heterosexual, a demographic that does not consistently practice self-restraint out of fear for repercussions. What many straight men do not understand is that a homosexual clearly recognizes that fellow heterosexual teammates are not a source of release for sexual tensions. Straight men constantly live without restricting their advances on females; this is a practice (sexual advances) which homosexuals are socialized out of.


I do not view sexual behavior as being motivated by socialization. I view it as being motivated by a non-social drive similar to hunger or thirst.

From such a perspective, you can not remove such behavior - you can only suppress it. Such suppression could be socialized and, for the military, would even be desirable from both heterosexuals and homosexuals. But a socialized suppression requires a reason, or else like any learned behavior suppressing a non-social drive it will likely erode.
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Re: Homosexuals in the military

Postby Lucrece » Wed Dec 10, 2008 10:23 pm UTC

Indon wrote:
Lucrece wrote:And this is expressed from the viewpoint of a heterosexual, a demographic that does not consistently practice self-restraint out of fear for repercussions. What many straight men do not understand is that a homosexual clearly recognizes that fellow heterosexual teammates are not a source of release for sexual tensions. Straight men constantly live without restricting their advances on females; this is a practice (sexual advances) which homosexuals are socialized out of.


I do not view sexual behavior as being motivated by socialization. I view it as being motivated by a non-social drive similar to hunger or thirst.

From such a perspective, you can not remove such behavior - you can only suppress it. Such suppression could be socialized and, for the military, would even be desirable from both heterosexuals and homosexuals. But a socialized suppression requires a reason, or else like any learned behavior suppressing a non-social drive it will likely erode.


Again, this viewpoint, along with the one post above yours, is oblivious of how society socializes homosexuals to not express (or suppress rigorously) sexual interest toward other males outside of havens (gay clubs, places where advances are clearly desirable, as opposed to be met with a response that will send you to the Intensive Care unit of a hospital).

Do you understand how gay men avoid having hard-on's during PE showers? How they can "pass" if they want to? Even openly gay athletes are not all over each other in close-knit teams. I do not think you understand what the concept of "gay shame" that exists in most of homosexuals is.
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Re: Homosexuals in the military

Postby meat.paste » Wed Dec 10, 2008 11:34 pm UTC

Lucrece wrote: I do not think you understand what the concept of "gay shame" that exists in most of homosexuals is.


I do understand this. I think the fact that something like "gay shame" exists is indeed a direct result of our society's f-ed up attitude towards sex. Frankly, most (or many) of our social mores do not have a logical basis anymore. For example, homosexuality was a problem for the species when our population was in danger of becoming extinct (so was having sex with a menstruating woman or masturbating). These prohibitions, which existed to continue the species, do not make sense now that the species is expected to number 10 billion in the foreseeable future. The global society will adapt to this new reality with time.

My point was that the logic behind the bigotry against male homosexuals in the military and elsewhere in our society is based in part on an irrational fear of being objectified by another man. The hypocrisy of this attitude makes me angry.
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Re: Homosexuals in the military

Postby EmptySet » Thu Dec 11, 2008 12:25 am UTC

Indon wrote:
EmptySet wrote:No. There is a difference between "sexual harassment" and "homosexual behaviour".

Ah, okay, I need to clarify this a bit.

Yes, there's a difference between sexual behavior and sexual harassment. But the military's strategy for reducing the chances of sexual harassment is to reduce all sexual behavior across the board - this is why facilities are segregated by sex and such in the first place.

And because of that facilities issue, there's no effective way to minimize homosexual behavior, thus, it's incompatible with current military sexual policy.


Oh, right. It makes does make more sense if you're aiming to eliminate all sexual activity from the military. I'm still not convinced this is grounds for the DADT policy, though. Obviously, you're only trying to prevent sex within the military - otherwise, soldiers wouldn't be allowed to marry - so why not allow open gays so long as they maintain professional standards when they're on the job? After all, under DADT any homosexuals who join the military are expected to be disciplined enough (or discreet enough) to prevent anyone finding out. Why would they magically lose this ability if they openly partnered with a civilian of the same sex? Basically, what I'm saying is that if the goal is simply removing sexual activity from the military, then homosexuality shouldn't be mentioned. It should just be "No sexual behaviour within the ranks. Offenders will be dismissed from duty." If homosexuals really can't maintain a professional attitude, they'll get caught and thrown out soon enough, without the need for rules which specifically apply to homosexual behaviour.

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Re: Homosexuals in the military

Postby Ari » Thu Dec 11, 2008 9:45 am UTC

Philwelch wrote:The military is also a matter of risk management. When you have an unknown downside to changing things, it's reckless to change things. So you learn the downside as best you can and then compare.


We don't have an unknown downside. We have a downside that may have variances from similar situations around the world. Many smaller countries manage fine not only with openly GLB service members, but also without any sort of service segregation to deal with it. The unknown is what factors could make the US armed forces different, and whether these would have a significant negative impact. I've yet to see a good argument that the US is a special case.

There are many universities. Some of them could afford to experiment and let women in, because if they failed as a result, at least we would still have universities. There's also no good argument similar to the ones I'm giving—universities can and do segregate sleeping quarters by sex, whereas any solution to segregating homosexuals in the military is probably more trouble than it's worth.


There are many countries. Many have already experimented and let gay and lesbian people serve in their armed forces. I should also point out that many universities don't segregate by sex, and maybe that's something that could benefit your armed forces as well. I should also point out that segregating by sexuality, even if it were reasonably accurate, would assume that none of your "straight" soldiers are bisexuals who can pass for straight. Dangerous assumption. Better to just accept that people will need to control themselves, then watch for when they don't. Much like we do with teachers, priests, and scout leaders. :P

It's also not social conservatism. I enthusiastically welcome the changes in society that would be necessary to allowing homosexuals into the military. But I am realistic enough to realize that the purpose of the military is not to effect such change. It can't. We have to let the social change happen first, before we change the military. It's not like when the military integrated the races—in that situation, a large enough proportion of the adult male population was in the military that racial integration in the military was enough to effect change on its own. We don't have the same proportion today.


The social change has already happened. It's not finished, but it's happened. Keep in mind that it was merely a matter of decades ago that homosexuality (usually male homosexuality) was illegal in some western democracies.

I don't ask that the armed forces evangelise social change or even support it. But allowing people to work for you without fear of being arbitrarily fired because someone outed them is not supporting change. It is being completely agnostic- which is an excellent position to take for the military, I think.

(Supporting change would be a comprehensive non-descrimination policy, encouraging servicemembers to come out to their colleagues, and extension of partner's benefits to gay and lesbian life partners. While those things would be super cool, they can come after the military determines that openly being gay, lesbian or bisexual doesn't kill morale)

Further, homosexuals aren't prohibited from serving in the military, they're prohibited from making their sexuality known. It's a fine point but an important one.


Aren't they prohibited from being found out? I'd say that's effectively the same as an outright prohibition without any sort of enforcement during the enrollment process. As long as anyone who guesses (and then pretends they're told for whatever reason) or feels vindicative enough to out you falsely regardless is willing to complain, then there is no way for a homosexual soldier to serve reliably. This is a recipe for losing skilled service members.

EmptySet wrote:It should just be "No sexual behaviour within the ranks. Offenders will be dismissed from duty." If homosexuals really can't maintain a professional attitude, they'll get caught and thrown out soon enough, without the need for rules which specifically apply to homosexual behaviour.


This was the conclusion I was expecting people to come to when I asked how supporters of DADT would react to its extension to heterosexuality. :) Alas, nobody answered the question.
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Re: Homosexuals in the military

Postby Alexius » Thu Dec 11, 2008 3:58 pm UTC

EmptySet wrote:[It should just be "No sexual behaviour within the ranks. Offenders will be dismissed from duty." If homosexuals really can't maintain a professional attitude, they'll get caught and thrown out soon enough, without the need for rules which specifically apply to homosexual behaviour.

I believe that this is the rule in the British military, where homosexuals are allowed to serve in all posts, and women are allowed in all except for ground combat troops and submarines.

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Re: Homosexuals in the military

Postby Indon » Thu Dec 11, 2008 4:52 pm UTC

meat.paste wrote:I suspect this problem would go away if there was a unit whose job was to have sex with the military. When the personnel know that the medically licensed prostitutes are coming by in a week, it will be much easier to say no to a fling with a colleague. I would hypothesize that this approach will lower sexual harassment, increase morale, and be a boon to recruitment.

Other militaries have tried it. I have not heard any miracle stories of the value of this in regards to those militaries. The prostitution systems themselves also tend to be corrupt and associated with all sorts of badness that a military wants to distance itself from.

meat.paste wrote:This will never happen, of course, because our society convolutes the animalistic urges for sex with the emotional need for relationships.

I suspect it's less our society and more our hardwiring.

Lucrece wrote:Again, this viewpoint, along with the one post above yours, is oblivious of how society socializes homosexuals to not express (or suppress rigorously) sexual interest toward other males outside of havens (gay clubs, places where advances are clearly desirable, as opposed to be met with a response that will send you to the Intensive Care unit of a hospital).

You misunderstand. I know that people can and do supress sexual behavior when there's a reason. I'm saying that allowing openly homosexual individuals in the military takes that reason away - it allows homosexuals to find and socialize with each other freely, potentially creating such a 'haven', which would have a negative impact on unit discipline and morale (just like it does with heterosexual military members when they manage to bypass all the physical barriers to banging each other).

The previously-mentioned topic of suppression leads to an interesting quirk with DADT: It allows you to safely room homosexuals together provided they assume each other to be heterosexual (and they should, as they can not legally disclose or request another to disclose their sexuality). That point's useful to quiet down concerns of secret homosexual relationships in the military undermining order (because to be honest, the military is a very political organization, at least once you bring officers and policy into it, and DADT is very much a politicized policy). Not much relevance, really, but something else good to know on the subject.

EmptySet wrote:It should just be "No sexual behaviour within the ranks. Offenders will be dismissed from duty." If homosexuals really can't maintain a professional attitude, they'll get caught and thrown out soon enough, without the need for rules which specifically apply to homosexual behaviour.


When deployed, this is the rule. No sex, no exceptions - which leads back to my earlier points about taking measures to prevent sex, and liability associated when an officer does not take those measures.

You mention being discreet - I think you answered your own question about the DADT policy. Being discreet about relationships extends to all military members, but particularly homosexuals because of the additional concerns with segregating them - if a heterosexual's preferences are known, who cares, he's already physically separated from the individuals of his preference. But if a homosexual's preferences were to be known, he needs new quarters to be in compliance with the spirit of military policy - which brings in the issues I'd mentioned prior with cost and verification, etc, etc.
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Re: Homosexuals in the military

Postby Lucrece » Thu Dec 11, 2008 5:19 pm UTC

Indon wrote:
Lucrece wrote:Again, this viewpoint, along with the one post above yours, is oblivious of how society socializes homosexuals to not express (or suppress rigorously) sexual interest toward other males outside of havens (gay clubs, places where advances are clearly desirable, as opposed to be met with a response that will send you to the Intensive Care unit of a hospital).

You misunderstand. I know that people can and do supress sexual behavior when there's a reason. I'm saying that allowing openly homosexual individuals in the military takes that reason away - it allows homosexuals to find and socialize with each other freely, potentially creating such a 'haven', which would have a negative impact on unit discipline and morale (just like it does with heterosexual military members when they manage to bypass all the physical barriers to banging each other).

The previously-mentioned topic of suppression leads to an interesting quirk with DADT: It allows you to safely room homosexuals together provided they assume each other to be heterosexual (and they should, as they can not legally disclose or request another to disclose their sexuality). That point's useful to quiet down concerns of secret homosexual relationships in the military undermining order (because to be honest, the military is a very political organization, at least once you bring officers and policy into it, and DADT is very much a politicized policy). Not much relevance, really, but something else good to know on the subject.


Havens require a homogeneous gay population. Having 2 homosexuals-- or even 3, which would be rare-- would still yield little risk. Here's the thing: We are constantly aware of many heterosexuals' expectations about what we will do. These homosexuals will be awfully aware of the scrutiny brought forth by their teammates. Homosexual soldiers in the same unit may socialize; they just will not engage sexually because of the obvious threats they see in discomfort/resentment by straight unit members ("Hey, why do they get to have their way with sexual interests and we don't?"). Take it as sort of overcompensation for the constant stereotypes-- PARTICULARLY gay servicemembers, since they tend to be of the more butch kind that don't want to be associated with the schemas formed by straight men about gay men.
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Re: Homosexuals in the military

Postby Indon » Thu Dec 11, 2008 10:01 pm UTC

Lucrece wrote:Havens require a homogeneous gay population. Having 2 homosexuals-- or even 3, which would be rare-- would still yield little risk. Here's the thing: We are constantly aware of many heterosexuals' expectations about what we will do. These homosexuals will be awfully aware of the scrutiny brought forth by their teammates. Homosexual soldiers in the same unit may socialize; they just will not engage sexually because of the obvious threats they see in discomfort/resentment by straight unit members ("Hey, why do they get to have their way with sexual interests and we don't?"). Take it as sort of overcompensation for the constant stereotypes-- PARTICULARLY gay servicemembers, since they tend to be of the more butch kind that don't want to be associated with the schemas formed by straight men about gay men.


I think this point assumes our military members are not likely to look the other way when it comes to their fellows, and that discrimination towards homosexuals would continue after they're welcomed with open arms in the military and discriminating against them becomes illegal (which would undoubtedly accompany open admission of homosexuals in the military).

I don't consider either likely. In fact, I consider it overwhelmingly likely that indiscretions would be frequently, purposefully ignored and allowed to continue.
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Re: Homosexuals in the military

Postby Philwelch » Thu Dec 11, 2008 10:10 pm UTC

Ari wrote:
Philwelch wrote:The military is also a matter of risk management. When you have an unknown downside to changing things, it's reckless to change things. So you learn the downside as best you can and then compare.


We don't have an unknown downside. We have a downside that may have variances from similar situations around the world. Many smaller countries manage fine not only with openly GLB service members, but also without any sort of service segregation to deal with it. The unknown is what factors could make the US armed forces different, and whether these would have a significant negative impact. I've yet to see a good argument that the US is a special case.


It's not entirely unknown. But simply compare cultural acceptance of homosexuality in the US against that in European countries and you'll have a good argument there—not a conclusive argument against ever integrating open homosexuals, but enough of an argument that the matter requires more careful consideration.

Ari wrote:
There are many universities. Some of them could afford to experiment and let women in, because if they failed as a result, at least we would still have universities. There's also no good argument similar to the ones I'm giving—universities can and do segregate sleeping quarters by sex, whereas any solution to segregating homosexuals in the military is probably more trouble than it's worth.


There are many countries. Many have already experimented and let gay and lesbian people serve in their armed forces.


Yes, but none of their armed forces are as essential to world security as those of the United States. Nor do they have the same culture that we do.

Ari wrote:
It's also not social conservatism. I enthusiastically welcome the changes in society that would be necessary to allowing homosexuals into the military. But I am realistic enough to realize that the purpose of the military is not to effect such change. It can't. We have to let the social change happen first, before we change the military.


The social change has already happened. It's not finished, but it's happened. Keep in mind that it was merely a matter of decades ago that homosexuality (usually male homosexuality) was illegal in some western democracies.


Yes, and when the social change has progressed to a point where a vast supermajority of straight military members feel totally at ease sleeping in the next rack over from a queer, or sharing a shower with one, we can integrate. All I'm asking for is direct evidence that's the case.

We have a slight amount of evidence that a large number of service members would have a problem with it—a large enough minority that it would contribute to retention difficulties more than DADT does. Furthermore, only a minority of service members actually agree with allowing homosexuals to openly serve.

Ari wrote:I don't ask that the armed forces evangelise social change or even support it. But allowing people to work for you without fear of being arbitrarily fired because someone outed them is not supporting change. It is being completely agnostic- which is an excellent position to take for the military, I think.


First, the military isn't just another job that people "work for", it's a way of life. That's something all of you seem to be missing. Furthermore, "don't ask don't tell" is probably the most agnostic policy possible.

Ari wrote:
Further, homosexuals aren't prohibited from serving in the military, they're prohibited from making their sexuality known. It's a fine point but an important one.


Aren't they prohibited from being found out?


That's the "don't ask" part—it's prohibited to investigate it unless there's evidence of homosexual behavior.

Ari wrote:
EmptySet wrote:It should just be "No sexual behaviour within the ranks. Offenders will be dismissed from duty." If homosexuals really can't maintain a professional attitude, they'll get caught and thrown out soon enough, without the need for rules which specifically apply to homosexual behaviour.


This was the conclusion I was expecting people to come to when I asked how supporters of DADT would react to its extension to heterosexuality. :) Alas, nobody answered the question.


It's a dumb question—the way we handle heterosexuality is by gender segregation.
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Re: Homosexuals in the military

Postby ManaUser » Thu Dec 11, 2008 10:15 pm UTC

Interesting discussion. Would it be accurate to say that the two main arguments for keeping DADT can be summarized thusly?

Change is risky. The military is too important to take risks with.

Sex is bad (for the military). DADT helps prevent gays in the military from having sex.

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Re: Homosexuals in the military

Postby Indon » Thu Dec 11, 2008 10:24 pm UTC

ManaUser wrote:Interesting discussion. Would it be accurate to say that the two main arguments for keeping DADT can be summarized thusly?

Change is risky. The military is too important to take risks with.

Sex is bad (for the military). DADT helps prevent gays in the military from having sex.


I dunno about 'risky'. 'expensive', maybe, as even with current military policy if we threw enough money at the problem we could make 90% of it go away (at which point we could probably allow openly homosexual individuals in the military in almost every position women are currently allowed, due of course to field quartering problems - possible exceptions for the naval branches of service).

Yeah, a lot of military individuals disagree with allowing gay people in. Tough, they can deal. Being in the military isn't exactly about getting what you want all the time, after all, and there was probably more resistance to letting women in and desegregating units back in the day and that didn't stop anything (also, we as a military and as a country dealt with it).
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Re: Homosexuals in the military

Postby Philwelch » Thu Dec 11, 2008 10:32 pm UTC

Indon wrote:Yeah, a lot of military individuals disagree with allowing gay people in. Tough, they can deal.


That's not a very smart attitude to take in the era of the all-volunteer military, especially when we already have retention problems.

Indon wrote:Being in the military isn't exactly about getting what you want all the time, after all, and there was probably more resistance to letting women in and desegregating units back in the day and that didn't stop anything (also, we as a military and as a country dealt with it).


Allowing women and desegregating units happened during the draft.

ManaUser wrote:Interesting discussion. Would it be accurate to say that the two main arguments for keeping DADT can be summarized thusly?

Change is risky. The military is too important to take risks with.


I'm not arguing to keep DADT—I'm arguing to gather more comprehensive evidence (potentially including pilot programs) before making a change.

It's interesting how all of you are arguing with me instead of presenting me with the evidence I keep asking for. "Screw evidence", the party line seems to be, "our social agenda takes precedence and the security of the developed world can just deal."

ManaUser wrote:Sex is bad (for the military). DADT helps prevent gays in the military from having sex.


Sex within the unit presents difficulties. So do sexual harassment and assault. In fact, so does discomfort, which is why men and women don't shower together in group showers.
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Re: Homosexuals in the military

Postby Indon » Thu Dec 11, 2008 10:43 pm UTC

Philwelch wrote:That's not a very smart attitude to take in the era of the all-volunteer military, especially when we already have retention problems.

Volunteer or not, if the practical problems with permitting homosexuals in the military can be solved (and 'people will complain' is not a practical problem), then the US government is obliged, if not by law then by its' spirit, to limit its' discrimination as much as it can.

Also, with any luck once we stop sending Army personnel over to Iraq on convoys for 70% of the time they're in service, our military should be having less problem with keeping its' personnel.

Philwelch wrote:Allowing women and desegregating units happened during the draft.

If a massive number of white people volunteered to join the military, on the provision that they resegregate units, even if it fixed all our manning problems, it wouldn't happen. And it wouldn't happen for the same reason we shouldn't let a bunch of conservatives griping keep us from establishing a greater level of equality in our military whenever reasonable.
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Re: Homosexuals in the military

Postby Lucrece » Thu Dec 11, 2008 11:06 pm UTC

Indon wrote:
Lucrece wrote:Havens require a homogeneous gay population. Having 2 homosexuals-- or even 3, which would be rare-- would still yield little risk. Here's the thing: We are constantly aware of many heterosexuals' expectations about what we will do. These homosexuals will be awfully aware of the scrutiny brought forth by their teammates. Homosexual soldiers in the same unit may socialize; they just will not engage sexually because of the obvious threats they see in discomfort/resentment by straight unit members ("Hey, why do they get to have their way with sexual interests and we don't?"). Take it as sort of overcompensation for the constant stereotypes-- PARTICULARLY gay servicemembers, since they tend to be of the more butch kind that don't want to be associated with the schemas formed by straight men about gay men.


I think this point assumes our military members are not likely to look the other way when it comes to their fellows, and that discrimination towards homosexuals would continue after they're welcomed with open arms in the military and discriminating against them becomes illegal (which would undoubtedly accompany open admission of homosexuals in the military).

I don't consider either likely. In fact, I consider it overwhelmingly likely that indiscretions would be frequently, purposefully ignored and allowed to continue.


They're not likely to look the other way, especially when the mentality that they are disadvantaged for being straight comes into place. There will be resentment. Social discrimination in the military will continue; it's the administration that will not. You don't see women ceasing to be discriminated against even as they become integrated into male-dominated workplaces. Just because DADT is repealed won't mean that straight men will be any more comfortable with displays of affection between gay men. Even in Boston, MA, it is a gamble to go holding hands and hugging-- let alone kissing-- so, imagine how it would be in an army that still comes mainly from the South. Respect may be there, but playful, reckless support won't.
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Re: Homosexuals in the military

Postby Indon » Thu Dec 11, 2008 11:23 pm UTC

Lucrece wrote:They're not likely to look the other way, especially when the mentality that they are disadvantaged for being straight comes into place. There will be resentment.

Single military members don't do this to married military members, despite systemic discrimination in favor of married individuals in the military.
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Re: Homosexuals in the military

Postby Lucrece » Thu Dec 11, 2008 11:45 pm UTC

Indon wrote:
Lucrece wrote:They're not likely to look the other way, especially when the mentality that they are disadvantaged for being straight comes into place. There will be resentment.

Single military members don't do this to married military members, despite systemic discrimination in favor of married individuals in the military.


That's because they see themselves in a similar situation, as they too could be married. Married folks are not perceived with the same degree of social separation as homosexuals.
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Re: Homosexuals in the military

Postby Philwelch » Fri Dec 12, 2008 1:45 am UTC

Indon wrote:
Philwelch wrote:That's not a very smart attitude to take in the era of the all-volunteer military, especially when we already have retention problems.

Volunteer or not, if the practical problems with permitting homosexuals in the military can be solved (and 'people will complain' is not a practical problem), then the US government is obliged, if not by law then by its' spirit, to limit its' discrimination as much as it can.


"People will quit" is a practical problem.

Indon wrote:Also, with any luck once we stop sending Army personnel over to Iraq on convoys for 70% of the time they're in service, our military should be having less problem with keeping its' personnel.


Recruiting and retention were already below required levels before the invasion of Iraq.

Indon wrote:
Philwelch wrote:Allowing women and desegregating units happened during the draft.

If a massive number of white people volunteered to join the military, on the provision that they resegregate units, even if it fixed all our manning problems, it wouldn't happen. And it wouldn't happen for the same reason we shouldn't let a bunch of conservatives griping keep us from establishing a greater level of equality in our military whenever reasonable.


It won't happen. That's more to the point. The military integrated when it did because it could. No one is going to quit the military because they have to share a squad bay or a shower or a foxhole with a black man.

My position is as follows: I am currently undecided (due to lack of evidence) about whether we should end DADT and allow open homosexuals into the US military today. I think if we did so in 1980 it would have been a disaster. 1992 would have been iffy, but DADT was the compromise of the time and 16 years later it's a survivable status quo. In the next 10 to 20 years allowing open homosexuals will probably become indisputably worthwhile.

Likewise, I think that in retrospect, it would have been reckless to racially integrate the services during the Civil War.
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Re: Homosexuals in the military

Postby Indon » Mon Dec 15, 2008 10:37 pm UTC

Philwelch wrote:"People will quit" is a practical problem.

But not in practice, as citing it would basically be unethical. It'd be tantamount to saying, "We're going to keep you in your place because people don't take kindly to your folk around here," and I'm reasonably certain that is not something the US military wants in its' history.

Philwelch wrote:Recruiting and retention were already below required levels before the invasion of Iraq.

The past 7 years have seen a significant rise in popular support for the military - the existing problems are because our military is overstretched and forced to burn out its' resources (which happen to be people who then do not reenlist).

Philwelch wrote:It won't happen. That's more to the point.

I'm not sure which event you're referring to here.

Philwelch wrote:The military integrated when it did because it could. No one is going to quit the military because they have to share a squad bay or a shower or a foxhole with a black man.

Yes, they would. Not only was the US military not officially integrated during wartime (having been mandated before the Korean War, though in practice racial integration did take a while and was accelerated greatly by the korean war), but the military was ahead of the civilian world in integration - there would be no reason to believe that the resistance in the traditionally conservative military population would not have been far greater than the very significant resistance to the civil rights movement that would come years later.

Philwelch wrote:My position is as follows: I am currently undecided (due to lack of evidence) about whether we should end DADT and allow open homosexuals into the US military today. I think if we did so in 1980 it would have been a disaster. 1992 would have been iffy, but DADT was the compromise of the time and 16 years later it's a survivable status quo. In the next 10 to 20 years allowing open homosexuals will probably become indisputably worthwhile.

I don't think the social aspect is ever a worthwhile reason to uphold discrimination. In this case, there are practical barriers - and they may well last more than a couple decades, depending on the future of military operations - but I don't think the grousing of conservatives should ever stop progress.

Philwelch wrote:Likewise, I think that in retrospect, it would have been reckless to racially integrate the services during the Civil War.


It's happened in limited degrees since long before the Civil War, and worked just fine, even with heavy discrimination.
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Re: Homosexuals in the military

Postby 1hitcombo » Sun Dec 21, 2008 12:02 am UTC

I think a popular argument on the side of people for keeping DADT and other inequality practices in place is because if the US isn't ready for full equal rights for gays, then the military isn't. In other words, change must occur in national ideology before it occurs in the military.

My question is why isn't the military a source for progressive change? It's a huge part of the culture of any nation and if the military puts its foot down and says that homosexuals have equal rights, I feel that many other lesser organizations would only be forced to do so. Not to say that the military is a model for all other smaller organizations and parts of America, but the importance of the military would certainly have some sort of swaying influence. If wars can foster negative stereotypes on other countries, why not be the spark for positive change as well?

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Re: Homosexuals in the military

Postby Philwelch » Sun Dec 21, 2008 7:42 am UTC

1hitcombo wrote:My question is why isn't the military a source for progressive change?


The purpose of the military is to exercise physical force against the enemies of the state—not to effect progressive change. Militaries need to be able to exercise physical force as effectively as possible in order to ensure people's physical security.
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Re: Homosexuals in the military

Postby 1hitcombo » Sun Dec 21, 2008 4:43 pm UTC

Philwelch wrote:
1hitcombo wrote:My question is why isn't the military a source for progressive change?


The purpose of the military is to exercise physical force against the enemies of the state—not to effect progressive change. Militaries need to be able to exercise physical force as effectively as possible in order to ensure people's physical security.


But isn't practically everything not purposed to effect progressive change? Schools need to be able to make children learn as comfortably and efficiently as possible while keeping a sense of cohesion. Businesses need employees that will work well together to make money the most efficiently. Granted that these are probably easier institutions to implement such change to because they don't nearly as directly influence national security, but does every lesser organization need to promote equal gay rights before the military does so? what's it going to take before homosexuality is normal enough for the military to follow suit?

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Re: Homosexuals in the military

Postby Philwelch » Sun Dec 21, 2008 5:16 pm UTC

That's a good sociological question. But the argument for gays in the military needs to be "society has accepted homosexuals", not "let's use the military to effect social change". If a business fails, people lose their jobs. If the military doesn't work, people lose their lives and human rights around the world.

Also, most workplaces don't have employees shower together. The military is unique that way, too.
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