Not Asked, but Told

Popular wisdom insists that social issues are a political wedge wielded from the right to divide Americans for political gain. Experience suggests that the cynical aggressors, in this sense, are actually more likely to reside on the left. Not for no reason has President Obama played the “don’t ask, don’t tell” card as his political agenda falls apart on the grounds that it’s extremely unpopular. Gotta distract the rabble, you know.
As a political calculation, I think he’s wrong. The movement against him, most visible in the tea parties, is not going to take its eye off the economic and civic issues on which the president has us all so spooked just because he shouted “gays” in an active military. And as a policy decision, Anchor Rising contributor Mac Owens explains why Obama’s wrong in a Wall Street Journal op-ed:

The congressional findings supporting the 1993 law (section 654 of title 10, United States Code) reflect the common-sense observation that military organizations exist to win wars. To maximize the chances of battlefield success, military organizations must overcome the paralyzing effects of fear on the individual soldier and what the famous Prussian war theorist Carl von Clausewitz called “friction” and the “fog of uncertainty.”
This they do by means of an ethos that stresses discipline, morale, good order and unit cohesion. Anything that threatens the nonsexual bonding that lies at the heart of unit cohesion adversely affects morale, disciple and good order, generating friction and undermining this ethos. Congress at the time and many today, including members of the military and members of Congress from both parties, believe that service by open homosexuals poses such a threat.

Mac’s also got an FAQ of sorts related to the essay on NRO.
The bottom line is that liberals, progressives, or whatever we’re agreeing to call them these days want to disallow society from making distinctions between classes of people, even when those classes have relevant differences, in order to make certain political disagreements seem more important. How one bonds with others, and with whom one bonds in what way, has significant implications in the life-and-death situations that military personnel face regularly. But the likes of President Obama find it convenient to leverage the deep, personal feelings involved in sexual orientation, so all else must be treated as secondary.

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BobN
BobN
11 years ago

On the other hand, Obama definitely believes in “don’t ask, don’t tell” for his budget and healthcare nationalization scheme.

Jon
Jon
11 years ago

Just happened to come here and read your post right after reading this Volokh Conspiracy post, and thought I should put up the address: http://volokh.com/2010/02/10/will-allowing-gays-in-the-military-really-impair-unit-cohesion/

Jon
Jon
11 years ago

I should also note, since I posted that Volokh link, that Mac does address the topic of the Volokh column at the FAQ link Justin posted.

msteven
msteven
11 years ago

You & Mac have succeeded in building the ‘straw-man’ arguments on this issue. Not to mention that you partisan-ism has hit new highs (or lows, depending on how you look at it). Consider yourself in the class of Rush, Rachel & Keith in the arena of fair & thoughtful discourse. But I digress … since you link to it, I’ll address a couple of Mac’s FAQ: He states that Truman’s order to de-segregate the troops was prompted not by a desire to desegregate but by an improvement to the effectiveness of black soldiers. (ignoring the effectiveness of the white soldiers apparently) What a crock. Hmmm, then maybe Obama should order including woman in combat to improve the effectiveness of … woman in combat. Please. But my favorite is the mention that African-Americans take offense at the comparison between their equality struggles and homosexuals. As well they should, it’s not comparable. The straw man is that this comparison is somehow relevant to this debate. It isn’t. What is relevant is that in the context of military service, the issue IS THE SAME. Military personnel did not want to serve in the same unit as with African-Americans because it would affect unit cohesion. Sound familiar? Then there are the examples of people using the ban to get out of military service (with an honorable discharge). I fail to see how that is relevant in any way. And neither is the pro-gay argument that the ban prompts anti-gay violence or witch hunts. It is correct that there is no ‘right’ to military service. But you are saying that homosexuality is the one area where the ‘unit cohesion’ consideration should trump all. If that were truly your concern, then the military should be able to discharge anyone using the ‘unit cohesion’ reason. Maybe someone… Read more »

Steve--i was Ghey
Steve--i was Ghey
11 years ago

Other nations have allowed gay and lesbian service members to serve in their militaries without discrimination and without impact on unit cohesion or morale. A comprehensive study on this was conducted by RAND in 1993. RAND researchers reported on the positive experiences of Canada, France, Germany, Israel, and The Netherlands and Norway, all of which allowed known homosexuals to serve in their armed forces.
Ending this discriminatory policy will contribute to our military’s effectiveness. To take just one example, dozens of Arabic and Farsi linguists have been forced out of the military under “don’t ask, don’t tell,” at a time when our need to understand those languages has never been greater. Thousands of troops – 13,000, by one estimate – have been forced to leave the military under the current policy. That number includes many who could help the military complete some particularly difficult and dangerous missions
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=InBXu-iY7cw

Jon
Jon
11 years ago

oh because our military is so STRONG IN NUMBERS right now that we couldn’t use a few thousand more homosexual soldiers? Maybe if the RIGHT didn’t use our men and women as plastic toy soldiers for the last 8 years, we wouldn’t have to worry about enlisting homosexuals in the military.

Manny V
Manny V
11 years ago

Societal acceptance of Gay marriage, and Gays in the military is inevitable
Since western society has evolved to and beyond recognizing people of color and woman as societal equals doing the same thing for gay folks is the next inevitable moral step.
In previous generations Justin would have been the guy advocating segregation, anti-miscegnation law, Jim Crow laws, keeping women subservient to men and even earlier still he would have been the guy claiming that the bible said that Slavery was AOK.
In short, Justin is an antiquated, immoral m____on.
A speedbump on the road to human moral evolution.
The fact that he claims to do so because of his perverted religious beliefs is farking hilarious, of course

rhody
rhody
11 years ago

When you start seeing the Pentagon brass testifying that the anti-gay policy is antiquated…
Given the numerous and far-flung commitments of our armed forces, we can’t afford to discriminate anymore. It’s putting our national security in danger, and I’m encouraged to see the political and military establishment finally recognize that.

BobN
BobN
11 years ago

One one side I read analyses by top military experts and on the other I read emotional outbursts and personal insults aimed at Justin by anonymous civilians.
Gee, I wonder…how can I decide which group is more credible?
I may lose sleep tonight pondering this.

msteven
msteven
11 years ago

BobN,
What about those miltary experts who don’t support the current policy? How credible are they?
It is easier to sleep with your eyes closed.

OldtimeLefty
OldtimeLefty
11 years ago

BobN
I don’t think you ever lost sleep pondering anything.
OldTimeLefty

joe bernstein
joe bernstein
11 years ago

Rhody-as if you would know squat about what goes on in the military.
The fact is,homosexuals have served honorably in our armed forces for as long as we’ve had armed forces.
I knew,along with everyone else in my unit in Vietnam that there were some homosexuals in the outfit-no one bothered them or ostracized them,but OTOH they didn’t exactly advertise the fact either.It was just better off that way.As long as someone doesn’t bother me with their sexual orientation,I could care less,as long as they do what they have to.
I don’t think what turns you on is necessarily of interest to anyone else.Assuming it’s between consenting adults.
My only problem with homosexuals is when they try to make sexual orientation into a political agenda.
I’ve known homosexuals who have said they wished the activists would just shut the f**k up sometimes and everyone could just live their lives.
These tend to be older people.

Joe in Coventry
Joe in Coventry
11 years ago

Settle down, you poor persecuted fundies. Your lives won’t change a whit if gays fight, and possibly die, while serving our country . Your just itching for an excuse for more self-righteous whimpering. Why don’t we call this “debate” what it really is:
a plea for attention by thin-skinned superstitious morons.

rhody
rhody
11 years ago

Ronald Reagan to Joe Bernstein:
“There you go again.”
🙂

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