We live in the Land of the Free, but we are not completely free. Our land is defended from hostile societies by our military. We are threatened by opposing ideologies and the US must forcibly repel them to survive.
But now, as well as combating the enemy without, our military must also combat prejudice from within. Our honed killing-machine (the US forces) must now reflect our highest ideals of liberalism. Is that realistic? Front-Line soldiers are not the most sophisticated nor reflective people. Is forcing the military to accept openly gay people a brave forward step, or a bullet in the foot? Is the military capable of tolerance towards homosexuals?
Is the repeal of DADT in the long-term interests of the Gay community?
WOW. It's hard not to get sidetracked by the propaganda and rhetoric in Jillyfish's post. Let me say this first of all-Those "Front-Line soldiers[who] are not the most sophisticated nor reflective people." are the individuals who always have and always will make it possible for you to have the right to express your views. Now, one's sexual orientation does not make one more manly or less manly, more feminine or less feminine, tougher or weaker. In fact it might make those who have dedicated themselves to serving our country more effective since they are not forced to hide who they are or fear reprisal for being themselves.
I don't think that it is going to cause harm to the way our military protects us from harm or in the way they fight on other fronts. The "openly gay" soldier is going to be joining the military for the same reason as everyone else, they will be able to do the job required.
I have to admit, the idea of "forcibly repel[ling] them to survive" makes me a little hesitant to take this too seriously. There wasn't even a serious threat to US shores in WWII, let alone in the time since then. So it is also hard to think about how allowing gays to serve openly in the military will change anything in terms of the professionalism of the various branches of the military.
And I also find it a little bit scary that people tasked with defending us aren't that "reflective' in your mind. I know a lot of folks that have served in the military that are awfully reflective, thoughtful and intelligent individuals. The idea that they couldn't handle someone serving alongside them that didn't share their views on sexuality is pretty absurd.
Actually, 70% of the military, in a survey conducted by the Pentagon itself, said that having openly gay service in the military would make little or no difference to unit morale. That's a pretty overwhelming majority that indicates they are already more tolerant than most give them credit for.
I agree that we can't use sweeping generalizations to describe those that are in the military. They are, after all, a reflection of US society, they are us.
I think the media and social conservatives have been the ones screaming the loudest about this policy change. Most of the military apparently cares more about fighting ability than sexual orientation. Gays have been in the military since the dawn of armies. This issue was a red herring from the start.
In my opinion, this will not compromise our security. Two reasons:
- Our national security at this point does not depend that much on the military. There has not been a military war (as opposed to one like the War on Terror that is more of an intelligence war) that has truly threatened our country since WWII. If readiness suffers by, say, 10% in the short term, the country is not going to get invaded. It may not be perfect, but it won't be fatal.
- There was a lot more opposition to African Americans serving in integrated units than there is to gays serving openly today. The military survived that, so why can't it survive this.
I'm not that crazy about your referring to our military as "honed killing machines" or "not the most sophisticated nor reflective people." Some are, some aren't, but I've had a lot of students I respected highly go into the military and, on average, I wouldn't say they were that much different from the rest of my students.
I've had a lot of students I respected highly go into the military and, on average, I wouldn't say they were that much different from the rest of my students. Pohnpei397
But that was before they went through the rigorous re-programming of basic training and the intense pressure of the US miliatry's 'corporate culture'. The army is a 'killing machine', what else could it be? It is an intensly masculine and aggressive organisation. Openly gay men are not welcome. They should be, but they are not.