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    Uncle Sam wants you (for now)

    Michael posts about this interesting item:

    Scholars studying military personnel policy have found a controversial regulation halting the discharge of gay soldiers in units that are about to be mobilized. The document is significant because of longstanding Pentagon denials that the military requires gays to serve during wartime, only to fire them once peacetime returns. According to the “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy, gays and lesbians must be discharged whether or not the country is at war.

    The regulation, contained in a 1999 “Reserve Component Unit Commander’s Handbook” and still in effect, states that if a discharge for homosexual conduct is requested “prior to the unit’s receipt of alert notification, discharge isn’t authorized. Member will enter AD [active duty] with the unit.” The 1999 document was obtained by researchers at the Center for the Study of Sexual Minorities in the Military (CSSMM), a think tank at the University of California, Santa Barbara during research for an ABC Nightline story.

    The source certainly looks legit, though I can’t judge conclusively. If it’s correct, it’s very strange. The main argument people use in defending the ban on open gays in the military is unit cohesion. Does that criterion magically become less important when the unit is actually going to go into combat? A friend who’s a military guy commented here last year to the effect that DADT is enforced inconsistently and has become a cheap out for some soldiers. I don’t have any first-hand experience, but it doesn’t seem hard to believe when you see stuff like this.

    4 Responses to “Uncle Sam wants you (for now)”

    1. Portia says:

      (If I’m going to continue importuning you via comment section, I suppose I should register one of these days.)

      I always thought the solution for this gay in the military thing would be the formation of a “sacred battallion”. Not sure how it would work, psychologically, in present day (As Eric has pointed out the psychology of sexuality has changed through the times), but man, think how upset the islamonazis would be at being whooped by a bunch of gay guys! Just for that, it would be worth it. (One of my favorite stories of this war was the female bomber pilot, over Afghanistan, letting bombs drop, while her male co-pilot said, “I wish they could know a girl did that to them.”)

    2. Sean Kinsell says:

      I wouldn’t be surprised if there were something in their sacred literature about being besieged by an army of homosexuals as a sign of the end times. :)

      Seriously, I think it sends more of a message to have gays working unshowily alongside straights as part of their units: we have a mission, we’re all cooperating equally, and that’s it. After all, one of the powerful parts of the story you related is that the pilot’s male coworker applauded her in the role she was playing. Of course, personally, I can imagine all sorts of delicious possibilities for a batallion of willing military guys, but they tend to involve securing, say, my apartment rather than Iraq.

    3. Portia says:

      “Of course, personally, I can imagine all sorts of delicious possibilities for a batallion of willing military guys, but they tend to involve securing, say, my apartment rather than Iraq.”

      LOL. Trust, me, I know this fantasy in the straight version. Other than the more detailed naughty bits, I’m sure it’s much of a muchness. :-)

      Seriously — yes, working together would be best. And you know, I used to teach at a military base (don’t ask) and I haven’t exactly seen any signs that the military itself isn’t ready for it. There were two guys in one of my classes who were definitely involved and fairly open about it — no, we didn’t ask, but sometimes we actively had to stop them from telling. Heaven knows they tried — and none of the other people seemed to have a problem. Whether that’s representative, though, I don’t know.

      I mean, it’s one of those things that SHOULD happen and that from a sane viewpoint could happen. But politics isn’t sane. And I have clue zero if too many people in the military would get weirded or not. My students didn’t, but how do I know if they’re representative?

      OTOH, the military integrated race-wise when the rest of society “wasn’t ready.” Being under fire and working for a goal has a way of erasing the minor differences, like who you lust after or what color your skin is. One of the things about my students is that these two guys had already been out “in the sandbox” with them. So they were just “guys”. It was QUITE clear everyone knew, and quite clear no one was going to tell anything.


    4. Sean Kinsell says:

      Yeah, I think I’ve said this before, but I do think that the unit-cohesion argument is reasonable at least in theory. However, DADT has been in effect for a decade now; if having gays in the military were going to cause disruptions that affected discipline and morale, shouldn’t we have started hearing about it by now?

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