Mac

Gays In The Military

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Nothing against gays.

But in the military? In a combat situation? I'm against it.

Why?

In combat blood is everywhere. One's best friend and possibly a very fine warrior is at your side. He's bleeding. You're bleeding. Suppose he has Aids. Do you want to die from the blood of a hurt or fallen comrade as his possibly aids tainted blood mingles with yours? Because it's too common that it will be.

It's that simple.

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Nothing against gays.

But in the military? In a combat situation? I'm against it.

Why?

In combat blood is everywhere. One's best friend and possibly a very fine warrior is at your side. He's bleeding. You're bleeding. Suppose he has Aids. Do you want to die from the blood of a hurt or fallen comrade as his possibly aids tainted blood mingles with yours? Because it's too common that it will be.

It's that simple.

A personal story: my best friend from age 16 (he was two years my senior and carried a three-year sexual relationship with a woman three years older than he) became a Navy Corpsman with a tour in Vietnam a year after my first tour. I don't know if he was gay then but thinking back on it can see how he might have fallen in love with men, because that was his job -- to care for wounded Marines. He did earn the Silver Star. Some 15 years later he died of aids and he was gay, although I didn't know it.

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Wow. You must not be in the military. If you were, you would probably know that applicants who test positive for HIV are not allowed to join the Armed Forces. If you test positive for HIV while you're serving, you have to go through further testing/evaluation and may be limited to certain duties (for obvious reasons).

The military already addresses this issue in a much better way than it could by simply denying service to homosexuals. There are heterosexuals with HIV/AIDS too.

Also, please define "too common". Just exactly what percentage of homosexuals do you think are HIV/AIDS positive?

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Jake, Wow! It seems that you did not read Mac's whole post as he stated that his friend had a tour in Vietnam a year after his tour. Most people, even if they made the military a career, are no longer in the military from the Vietnam area.

Have you ever been in the military? If so, you should have noticed that one cannot force the men that are serving around him to trust and like him, that trust and friendship must be earned. And hence why a lot of the time there is a comradeship not found in other areas of life.

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You don't get AIDS simply by being in contact with HIV-positive blood. In fact it would take a pretty improbably set of circumstances for something like that to happen (and it would be just as likely to happen for any number of other rare diseases - what's so special about AIDS?) My knowledge on HIV is a bit dated, but as far as I know it is surprisingly difficult to get infected.

In any case, if you want to prevent HIV-positive people from serving in certain functions, then just test for HIV.

You don't become gay by helping injured men.

This is an incredibly ignorant position - to be polite.

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The military already addresses this issue in a much better way than it could by simply denying service to homosexuals. There are heterosexuals with HIV/AIDS too.

Also, please define "too common". Just exactly what percentage of homosexuals do you think are HIV/AIDS positive?

I don't deny service to homosexuals. (Like women, a homosexual is every bit as intellectually capable as a straight, although I would take issue with physical strength of a woman compared to the strength of a man.) I would deny it only in the specific context of combat.

I wasn't clear about my meaning of "too common". By that I mean that in battle the intermingling of blood is probably more common than in say a little paper-cut by one in an office job.

I confess I don't know percentages of much of anything.

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You don't get AIDS simply by being in contact with HIV-positive blood. In fact it would take a pretty improbably set of circumstances for something like that to happen (and it would be just as likely to happen for any number of other rare diseases - what's so special about AIDS?) My knowledge on HIV is a bit dated, but as far as I know it is surprisingly difficult to get infected.

In any case, if you want to prevent HIV-positive people from serving in certain functions, then just test for HIV.

You don't become gay by helping injured men.

This is an incredibly ignorant position - to be polite.

Usually blood from an infected person should not cause major concern to a non-infected person. But in Mac's example it could happen quite easily and something worthy of concern. In a war type situation many people are going to have open wounds and there will be blood flying all over the place. Usually the skin is great at stopping the transmittal of the infection, but if a person has cuts/open wounds on their body the virus can easily infect that person. Of course none of the information I related to means that just gay people can have HIV/AIDS nor be the only transmitter.

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You don't get AIDS simply by being in contact with HIV-positive blood. In fact it would take a pretty improbably set of circumstances for something like that to happen (and it would be just as likely to happen for any number of other rare diseases - what's so special about AIDS?) My knowledge on HIV is a bit dated, but as far as I know it is surprisingly difficult to get infected.

In any case, if you want to prevent HIV-positive people from serving in certain functions, then just test for HIV.

You don't become gay by helping injured men.

This is an incredibly ignorant position - to be polite.

Jeez. My knowledge on HIV is probably less than yours. And as I replied to another, I don't know statistics. But this I do know because I've seen it. I've seen blood from torn limbs. I once took the cellophane from a pack of cigarettes and pressed it into a bullet-hole in the chest of a wounded buddy to keep him breathing. I witnessed our own Corpsman do incredible things with arteries and mouth to mouth and all manner of heroic deeds with skull parts, teeth and blood spread over me and others in my squad.

It's my own assumption that my friend turned gay for the love of what he saw and did for his men. I can only imagine how it might affect an individual like him, whose job it was to care deeply in a way that I -- as primarily a killer (although Recon Marines were trained almost as much in emergency medical care as our beloved Corpsmen) -- didn't experience. I know such traumas are not well known or understood yet by the professionals in psychology. Say I'm therefore psychologizing. I don't have enough evidence.

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Jake, Wow! It seems that you did not read Mac's whole post as he stated that his friend had a tour in Vietnam a year after his tour. Most people, even if they made the military a career, are no longer in the military from the Vietnam area.

Have you ever been in the military? If so, you should have noticed that one cannot force the men that are serving around him to trust and like him, that trust and friendship must be earned. And hence why a lot of the time there is a comradeship not found in other areas of life.

...trust and friendship must be earned. And hence why a lot of the time there is a comradeship not found in other areas of life.

Thank you for this. It's the crux of the matter.

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I'm sure most members don't believe that there's a right to serve in the military. I'm also reasonable sure that most members want the Pentagon to pick its personnel by whatever standards yield the most effective force we can have.

Homophobia and discrimination against homosexuals are horrors. But is it wrong to not want to live so closely with someone who, by his nature, may find himself romantically and/or sexually attracted to commodes of the same gender? (Are we to believe the claim that young, viral men and women who happen to be homosexual are able to set the relevant feelings aside at will, even hiding all traces of such feelings if/when they develop?) Last, should the military be the arena used to further gloss-over the perfectly valid, not-a-matter-of-morality differences between heterosexuals and homosexuals? (No, I do not see a defining parallel between the Pentagon turning away homosexuals and the pre-Truman practice of racially segregating military units.)

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I'm sure most members don't believe that there's a right to serve in the military.
Homophobia and discrimination against homosexuals are horrors.

It's why I started this thread. I hear the pundits not getting down to principles. They talk about "times have changed." I submit they haven't, way before Truman et all. I was myself subjected to a homosexual come-on at the rear area non-commissioned officer's club in 1969. I had no idea what that was about, but was warned it would happen and still didn't get it. Naive I was. I'm not now, and it has happened since. And I understand another of the same gender being that way toward me -- or another. I'm just not, never have been and never will be that way attracted. I do submit that the military has (by its nature of the importance of trust in the commander and his trust in his subordinates) a unique but rational moral code of its own. I'm sick of hearing that there's no virtue in the use of force as opposed to the virtue of freedom inherent in Capitalism. One compliments the other.

Sorry if I'm way off base.

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I'm sure most members don't believe that there's a right to serve in the military.

I should add that it was a downright pleasure :D and privilege (as opposed to a "right") to have "served" in the military, as I'm happy to have seen one of my own rounds kill a Communist. Others I can't prove but I'm betting the ones I fired in return at bushes, trees and darkness from where the enemy fire was coming killed more Communists. There is some evidence in blood trails and one single enemy left (the entire squad fired the night before on intense more-than-one enemy attack) the next day when we found the corpse with a booby-trapped rifle -- dead.

A little off topic. I'm not supposed to talk about my war experiences, and this is not about me but that the above was brought up. Not many know except my wife who wanted every detail. Pleasure and pride we both feel for a kid barely 19.

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I don't know why this has been a problem. People are checked for health issues, so that is not a consideration. If one is 'propositioned' by a homosexual, surely a grown soldier can respond in a mature way. Such a proposition would be unbecoming of a soldier and likely lead to dismissal. Finally, homosexuality itself is not open to choice, and beyond any moral appraisal.

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If one is 'propositioned' by a homosexual, surely a grown soldier can respond in a mature way. Such a proposition would be unbecoming of a soldier and likely lead to dismissal. Finally, homosexuality itself is not open to choice, and beyond any moral appraisal.

I couldn't, except to go away bewildered. I say again, I didn't understand the proposition. :D:D

As to choice, I don't know that but I suspect homosexuality is indeed open to choice as is much in one's life.

I don't judge it in a moral aspect -- at least not negatively. I do judge it as a moral choice -- in a positive manner. If that's what one chooses. If it's genetic, that I don't know. Does anyone? If it's socially engineered that I do reject out of hand. Again, I claim no expertise in the latter two.

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Finally, homosexuality itself is not open to choice, and beyond any moral appraisal.

Do you have proof to back up that statement, because I do not agree and have seen contradictory studies and contradictory people in action. I think that many people today give way to much power to our genes which I have already discussed many times.

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Finally, homosexuality itself is not open to choice, and beyond any moral appraisal.

Do you have proof to back up that statement, because I do not agree and have seen contradictory studies and contradictory people in action. I think that many people today give way to much power to our genes which I have already discussed many times.

Whatever its origins, it cannot be a choice in the way we think of choices in life. While I didn't realize fully I was gay until a bit later (in my 20s), never once was it some kind of choice to take this course of action or that based on a deliberate process. I came to realize that I was attracted sexually and romantically to the same sex and decided not to pretend I could change that. Effectively it IS outside the realm of morality BECAUSE sexual orientation occurs at a level not open to conscious decisions.

As for gays in the military, I often wonder why people think gay men (or women) would be any less dedicated to defeating an enemy that they were willing to risk discharge for conduct unbecoming? Let's be honest about rational gay men and women: they don't go around making romantic passes where nothing but disappointment can result - or worse. It is less difficult being gay today by far, but it is still tricky. Most of my own gay friends understand the boundaries and stick to them. We don't go around trying to "persuade" non-gays to "give it a try," or any such thing. I would venture to say a gay man or woman in a military context would be far less likely to push the envelope, sexually speaking, than in civilian life. As for two gay men or women BECOMING romantically involved WHILE in the military together, I don't see how that would be any different from a man and woman in the military from doing the same.

To be clear, I have never served in the military myself, so I would welcome criticism as to how behavior might be different in that context.

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Finally, homosexuality itself is not open to choice, and beyond any moral appraisal.

Do you have proof to back up that statement, because I do not agree and have seen contradictory studies and contradictory people in action. I think that many people today give way to much power to our genes which I have already discussed many times.

I don't think that anyone has proof of this yet (as far as I know). But after just living, observing people, and thinking about this issue for many years, my opinion is in line with Arnold's. I mean, I think that's the explanation for a good percentage of men and women who choose individuals of their own sex for sexual relationships. The parts that I think involve choice are: the pursuit and attainment of any sexual partner at all, and the pursuit of sexual relationships with specific individuals. The part that I think is not a choice (my opinion, obviously) is the gender of the individuals to which one is sexually attracted.

I also think that Mac's speculation about why that individual was attracted to other men is probably not right. Still, it sounds very sensible to me, as an explanation from the point of view of a man who simply, and naturally (by which I mean genetically) cannot project what it's like to be sexually attracted primarily or exclusively to men.

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Finally, homosexuality itself is not open to choice, and beyond any moral appraisal.

Do you have proof to back up that statement, because I do not agree and have seen contradictory studies and contradictory people in action. I think that many people today give way to much power to our genes which I have already discussed many times.

Whatever its origins, it cannot be a choice in the way we think of choices in life. While I didn't realize fully I was gay until a bit later (in my 20s), never once was it some kind of choice to take this course of action or that based on a deliberate process. I came to realize that I was attracted sexually and romantically to the same sex and decided not to pretend I could change that. Effectively it IS outside the realm of morality BECAUSE sexual orientation occurs at a level not open to conscious decisions.

As for gays in the military, I often wonder why people think gay men (or women) would be any less dedicated to defeating an enemy that they were willing to risk discharge for conduct unbecoming? Let's be honest about rational gay men and women: they don't go around making romantic passes where nothing but disappointment can result - or worse. It is less difficult being gay today by far, but it is still tricky. Most of my own gay friends understand the boundaries and stick to them. We don't go around trying to "persuade" non-gays to "give it a try," or any such thing. I would venture to say a gay man or woman in a military context would be far less likely to push the envelope, sexually speaking, than in civilian life. As for two gay men or women BECOMING romantically involved WHILE in the military together, I don't see how that would be any different from a man and woman in the military from doing the same.

To be clear, I have never served in the military myself, so I would welcome criticism as to how behavior might be different in that context.

The personality that a person has is not the result of their genes, nor was it something that was consciously "chosen" by them at some point in their life. It is something that probably psychologically develops during some pivotal early years as a child. I would guess homosexuality could be similar in causation. It doesn't have to be a dichotomy between "choice" and "genes".

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The personality that a person has is not the result of their genes, nor was it something that was consciously "chosen" by them at some point in their life. It is something that probably psychologically develops during some pivotal early years as a child. I would guess homosexuality could be similar in causation. It doesn't have to be a dichotomy between "choice" and "genes".
Of course, but to use the word choice is misleading in this context. I did definitely choose to accept my own orientation and to take steps to learn how to become romantically involved, but I didn't choose my orientation as such.

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My position on openly gay people serving in the military:

It's hard to find a compelling reason not to allow it but also difficult to find a compelling reason for why it really matters much.

First, as has been established, no one has the "right" to serve in the military any more just as no one has the "right" to be President. The proper justification of choosing who is to employed by the government should be how effectively they can do the job weighed against any unique costs in having them perform that job. For example, many capable people can't serve in combat simply because of medical conditions that make it too risky like a heart defect or something.

It is in essence a question of combat effectiveness as people have pointed out. It really is no different than the segregating of blacks, but even that in and of itself wasn't (especially for those blacks who were not drafted) a violation of individual rights. It was a combination of overt racism and top brass believing combat effectiveness would be hindered by the conflicts of racial integration. It is obvious that integrating blacks in the long run greatly increased combat effectiveness but in the short-term it was not an idiotic concern for commanders to have.

The issue of allowing openly gay people in the military is really no different (although I think having a problem serving with a gay is significantly less irrational than not wanting to serve with a black man). In the long run, more qualified, talented gay people will join and improve the combat effectiveness of our military if allowed to serve openly. In the short term, it will probably make a lot uncomfortable/angry and decrease morale somewhat (as integrating blacks almost surely did). It's unclear how much long-term gain there is to be had but certainly there is some. It's inevitable eventually the long-term benefit will outweigh the short-term cost if prejudice against gays continues to decrease. I have not seen any good reason ever offered for why gays should not serve openly in the military other than it would bother other servicemen, which already makes little sense. Everyone knows there's no good way to prevent closeted gay people from serving and many do effectively, but if they say they are gay for some reason now a straight soldier can't do his job. This seems like a poor reason to me to . Also, it's not like units are gonna start watching Will & Grace together just because gays are allowed to serve openly (although a segregated openly gay platoon could be a hilarious tv show premise). All that is needed is an objective cost/benefit analysis regarding combat effectiveness.

Now as to whether homosexuality is a choice or not:

The genetic explanation makes a lot more sense than other explanations, although as far as I can tell there is no conclusive scientific evidence of any explanation. Certainly, some probably quite small number of confused individuals decide to experiment or consistently behave contrary to their actual sexual preferences but by my reasoning very few people are confused or self-loathing enough to have sex with people to whom they aren't physically attracted (at least definitely not more than once I'd think). The early childhood conditioning theory is plausible I guess but seems unlikely to me.

Finally, I don't see why so many straight guys have such a problem with gay come-ons. I find the image of homosexual sexual relations disgusting because I know such activities would be disgusting to me if I was involved in them. Just like you feel disgusted when you see someone else eat a food you can't stand. But, and I've had gay guys come on to me before, as long as a gay guy isn't harassing you, I don't see why it's not just a nice compliment.

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I didn't intend my comments on gay come-ons to be taken as an analysis of Mac's anecdote. That story just sparked an observation I'd had on a general cultural thing.

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I don't understand why it would be such a devastating issue to be propositioned, or why it would be more of a problem to shrug off in the military than in civilian life. I've never, to my knowledge, been propositioned by a guy. Am I to think this would suddenly be an issue if I joined the military and gays were allowed to serve with me?

Also, unless I'm mistaken, men and women in the military are given separate assignments if a relationship develops, to prevent any conflict of interest. I don't see why it couldn't be the same way with gay men and women. The conflict of sex, love and military assignment is nothing new.

And lastly, given that our leaders have decided they will use our military as peacekeepers rather than for self-defense, we are going to need evey willing and able body. I don't see the logic of turning people away without a very good reason. I completely agree that the effectiveness of the military comes first, and no one has a right to be a soldier, but I think we should be careful not to let that become a rationalization.

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You don't get AIDS simply by being in contact with HIV-positive blood. In fact it would take a pretty improbably set of circumstances for something like that to happen (and it would be just as likely to happen for any number of other rare diseases - what's so special about AIDS?) My knowledge on HIV is a bit dated, but as far as I know it is surprisingly difficult to get infected.

Usually blood from an infected person should not cause major concern to a non-infected person. But in Mac's example it could happen quite easily and something worthy of concern. In a war type situation many people are going to have open wounds and there will be blood flying all over the place. Usually the skin is great at stopping the transmittal of the infection, but if a person has cuts/open wounds on their body the virus can easily infect that person. Of course none of the information I related to means that just gay people can have HIV/AIDS nor be the only transmitter.

Even in that case - and assuming one of the injured person is HIV-positive - contamination is far from likely. In any case, it's not more likely than it would be for hepatitis for example, and probably many other horrible diseases.

Again, if you want to prevent HIV-positive people from serving in the military, test for HIV.

(And even if we would want to adopt some kind of precaution principle, there's no reason why HIV-positive patriots couldn't serve outside of combat zones.)

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I'm sure most members don't believe that there's a right to serve in the military. I'm also reasonable sure that most members want the Pentagon to pick its personnel by whatever standards yield the most effective force we can have.

Homophobia and discrimination against homosexuals are horrors. But is it wrong to not want to live so closely with someone who, by his nature, may find himself romantically and/or sexually attracted to commodes of the same gender?

It certainly is wrong, but no one forces anyone so irrational to serve in the military. If you know you don't want to have any exposure to gays, or blacks, or this, or that, simply don't enroll.

This discussion seems like a bunch of rationalization to me.

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