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Gays In The Military

108 posts in this topic

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.

Well, at least part of the point here is that enrollment of men and women who are openly gay may cause a drop in enrollment. Given the function of the military, and how real change is achieved historically, this open policy towards homosexuals may not be advisable at this time. As of now, I have no problem with the military being the last place we see social enlightenment.

(All these posts on an issue I'm not qualified to comment on: I really need to take it easy on the coffee!)

That is also an argument that could have been used against having lacks in the military. Would you have supported that on the same grounds?

I've addressed this.

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Joss, have you ever seen a war zone? Have you ever seen the amount of wounds and blood that are in a war zone? If a person gets shot there is going to be a splattering of blood.

I'm not disagreeing with that. I'm saying that even if there are open wounds and a splattering of blood, contamination is not a given. Obviously, if you have a splattering of contaminated blood inside an open wound, basically a surgical injection, then there's likely to be contamination. How often does that specific event occur?

What rate of such transfer of infection would you consider acceptable? And what do we do with the fact that, right or wrong, AIDS is still misunderstood among those who tend to join the military?

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Cute and all, but even during world war II, that didn't happen. If we're ever in a situation when everyone must fight, I do think that HIV will be the least of our concerns.

There have been many units throughout history that had to go to all-hands -- some in WWII.

AIDS isn't the only issue, though given the severity and notoriety of this disease, it should be a factor when contemplating this policy.

In my view, the big issue would be unit cohesion. It's a stretch, to be kind and try to avoid the use of terms like "rationalization" and "cute and all", to insist that either people that contemplate joining the military don't care about this issue, or that we'd have as large a force if the military had an open policy towards homosexuals.

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Who then is in charge of refuelling, feeding, healing, allocate materials, load boats (or planes), unload boats (or planes), drop bombs from a mile or 2, etc, etc? There are plenty of spots where the likelihood of two people being exposed to each other's blood is extremely remote. In fact, I'd be willing to bet that if you take the military as a whole, even in war, that's the situation for most military personal.

As a side note, this is still not a reason to keep gays out of the military. HIV-positive maybe, gays not.

As for your example, I don't see how any one soldier would know that there comrade in arm is HIV-positive (and I don't know why or how they would be more likely to learn that than hepatitis, for example).

Also, as a reminder, HIV is certainly no fun but in the Western world it's not a death sentence. I know of people who have been HIV-positive for 16+ years.

Once again, I never stated that the military does not have people that do those things. What I am trying to get across to you (and others) is that one joins the military to defend this country and it's citizens. And when one joins the military they should expect to go in "harms way" no matter what their day to day job might be they can always be called to the front lines or the enemy can bring the front lines to them and it is irrational to think otherwise.

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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.

Well, at least part of the point here is that enrollment of men and women who are openly gay may cause a drop in enrollment. Given the function of the military, and how real change is achieved historically, this open policy towards homosexuals may not be advisable at this time. As of now, I have no problem with the military being the last place we see social enlightenment.

(All these posts on an issue I'm not qualified to comment on: I really need to take it easy on the coffee!)

That is also an argument that could have been used against having blacks in the military. Would you have supported that on the same grounds?

The US Military is not a democracy, nor is serving in the military a right.

Again, as irrational as it may be, if having blacks or gays in the military would cause it to be dysfunctional, then I would not want blacks or gays in the military. The are better ways of changing the culture, such as having the first black baseball player, the first openly gay football player, the first black/gay politician, etc etc. The military is not the proper arena for starting cultural change; it should be the very last.

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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.

Well, at least part of the point here is that enrollment of men and women who are openly gay may cause a drop in enrollment. Given the function of the military, and how real change is achieved historically, this open policy towards homosexuals may not be advisable at this time. As of now, I have no problem with the military being the last place we see social enlightenment.

(All these posts on an issue I'm not qualified to comment on: I really need to take it easy on the coffee!)

That is also an argument that could have been used against having blacks in the military. Would you have supported that on the same grounds?

The US Military is not a democracy, nor is serving in the military a right.

Again, as irrational as it may be, if having blacks or gays in the military would cause it to be dysfunctional, then I would not want blacks or gays in the military. The are better ways of changing the culture, such as having the first black baseball player, the first openly gay football player, the first black/gay politician, etc etc. The military is not the proper arena for starting cultural change; it should be the very last.

And for what's it's worth, I have heard anecdotal evidence of how having women serve combat roles in the military has caused a lowering of physical fitness standards.

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And for what's it's worth, I have heard anecdotal evidence of how having women serve combat roles in the military has caused a lowering of physical fitness standards.

Same, although it's an average - the guys get better training because (in the British Army and the Wehrmacht anyway) they carry all of the girls' kit!

Still hear women occasionally protesting that the SAS are male-only. And submarines.

That being said, I know a few female soldiers (again British Army) who can definitely do their part in battle; but they do not look nor behave like women.

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And for what's it's worth, I have heard anecdotal evidence of how having women serve combat roles in the military has caused a lowering of physical fitness standards.

Stephanie Gutmann wrote a good book that can give one a real glimpse into the situation you mention along wtih many other negative aspects of America's military trends called The Kinder, Gentler Military: Can America's Gender-Neutral Fighting Force Still Win Wars?

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Again, as irrational as it may be, if having blacks or gays in the military would cause it to be dysfunctional, then I would not want blacks or gays in the military. The are better ways of changing the culture, such as having the first black baseball player, the first openly gay football player, the first black/gay politician, etc etc. The military is not the proper arena for starting cultural change; it should be the very last.

Good to see you're consistent. This is where I part ways with you and several on this thread. A nation's whose military would be unwilling to accept blacks, or women, or any other group otherwise willing and able to fight for their country, such a nation has no moral right to exist.

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Again, as irrational as it may be, if having blacks or gays in the military would cause it to be dysfunctional, then I would not want blacks or gays in the military. The are better ways of changing the culture, such as having the first black baseball player, the first openly gay football player, the first black/gay politician, etc etc. The military is not the proper arena for starting cultural change; it should be the very last.

Good to see you're consistent. This is where I part ways with you and several on this thread. A nation's whose military would be unwilling to accept blacks, or women, or any other group otherwise willing and able to fight for their country, such a nation has no moral right to exist.

There are certain reasons why women are not allowed in certain situations within the military, and some other jobs, which is their physical nature. And the same goes for weak men that cannot carry out the objective hence why we have boot camp. One example is If I get shot and have to count on a women that weighs about 50 pounds less than me to be able to carry me to a secure position then we are both most likely going to die. And a concrete example, while I was in the school of infantry part of our training consisted of carrying full war packs which sometimes weighed close to 70 pounds, then add to that my rifle, first aid kit, war belt with canteens full of water, helmet, flack jacket and sometimes other men and all their gear while carrying all of this for miles and hopefully you start to get the picture.

The shortest hike I ever went on in the Marine Corps was a 9 mile speed hike which we accomplished in just over an hour, it was like we were sprinting the whole distance. About a third of the way through the hike one of the Marines in my platoon twisted his ankle. Our Navy corpsmen stated that he thought it might be broken and called for a Humvee to take the Marine. My First Sergeant told the corpsmen to get a stretcher and that myself (as his platoon leader) along with the injured Marine's squad leader were going to carry him. This means that I was now going to carry all my own gear, half of this Marine's body weight (he weighed about 180 pounds) and all his war gear such as I mentioned above. Can you do the things I mentioned? Can the average women do the things I mentioned? Can the average person do the things I mentioned? When they can and they choose to be part of the military and fight and go through all the s___ that I and other Marines have gone through then I will accept them as a Marine. But until then those type of people have no right to put military members in further harms way than they already are.

One further item is, as I mentioned earlier, the accomplishing of military objectives. I think we can agree that although many people with HIV/AIDS can live a productive live they do need more attention than a healthy person. But in the military people with disease or constant injuries will compromise the accomplishing of objectives as they will constantly need medical attention beyond what most other military members would. Which means, unlike in the civilian world, a person that is constantly getting out of work or missing deployments because of their sickness will compromise the units efficency at accomplishing the objectives. Whether one agrees or not, the military gets rid of anyone that cannot work at full capacity. If the military kept anyone around that could not carry their part of the job the units will also lose it's cohesiveness as the members that are not sick will constantly have to carry the load for the sick Marine. And I think we all know what happens when the reward for being good is to carry those that are not will lead us.

Unlike most civilian jobs, people in the military can live or die when other military members do or do not accomplish their objectives. And unlike in a civilian job where people can choose alcohol, drugs or a homosexual lifestyle and still keep their job, in the military they turn away or discard those that choose to put those lifestyles ahead of the achievement of the objectives. And when more than 50% of newly detected AIDS/HIV in America comes from men that have men on men sex the military (and the rest of society) cannot deny that a homosexual male is choosing to put himself at higher risk just like they do to people that choose alcohol and drugs above the obtainment of military objectives.

Think what you will as I am sure you will. But when it comes down to the achievement of military objectives, which are hard enough already, the military does not need even more obstacles to overcome.

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Again, as irrational as it may be, if having blacks or gays in the military would cause it to be dysfunctional, then I would not want blacks or gays in the military. The are better ways of changing the culture, such as having the first black baseball player, the first openly gay football player, the first black/gay politician, etc etc. The military is not the proper arena for starting cultural change; it should be the very last.

Good to see you're consistent. This is where I part ways with you and several on this thread. A nation's whose military would be unwilling to accept blacks, or women, or any other group otherwise willing and able to fight for their country, such a nation has no moral right to exist.

A nation that does not recognize individual rights is a nation which has no moral right to exist. Being in the military isn't a right. Denying someone's entry into the military isn't violating their rights.

When they build a time machine some day you can go back in time and inform America that she doesn't have the moral right to exist.

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There are certain reasons why women are not allowed in certain situations within the military, and some other jobs, which is their physical nature. And the same goes for weak men that cannot carry out the objective hence why we have boot camp. One example is If I get shot and have to count on a women that weighs about 50 pounds less than me to be able to carry me to a secure position then we are both most likely going to die.

One of my former girlfriends could easily carry me. Admittedly she rowed for her university and was 6ft tall.

Boot camp sorts out the weak. The problem is when boot camp standards are lowered to admit more women.

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There are certain reasons why women are not allowed in certain situations within the military, and some other jobs, which is their physical nature. And the same goes for weak men that cannot carry out the objective hence why we have boot camp. One example is If I get shot and have to count on a women that weighs about 50 pounds less than me to be able to carry me to a secure position then we are both most likely going to die.

One of my former girlfriends could easily carry me. Admittedly she rowed for her university and was 6ft tall.

Boot camp sorts out the weak. The problem is when boot camp standards are lowered to admit more women.

Exactly. I applaud keeping high standards when they are based on technical skills or physical abilities.

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There are certain reasons why women are not allowed in certain situations within the military, and some other jobs, which is their physical nature. And the same goes for weak men that cannot carry out the objective hence why we have boot camp. One example is If I get shot and have to count on a women that weighs about 50 pounds less than me to be able to carry me to a secure position then we are both most likely going to die.

One of my former girlfriends could easily carry me. Admittedly she rowed for her university and was 6ft tall.

Boot camp sorts out the weak. The problem is when boot camp standards are lowered to admit more women.

Or, when they give out "stress cards" that allow recruits to have 15 minute breaks from getting yelled at or doing push-ups or leg lifts, you know all the things that are challenging mentally and physically. I am not certain if this idiotic idea is still in practice, but in the late 1990s some American military boot-camps were using it. :D

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There are certain reasons why women are not allowed in certain situations within the military, and some other jobs, which is their physical nature. And the same goes for weak men that cannot carry out the objective hence why we have boot camp. One example is If I get shot and have to count on a women that weighs about 50 pounds less than me to be able to carry me to a secure position then we are both most likely going to die.

One of my former girlfriends could easily carry me. Admittedly she rowed for her university and was 6ft tall.

Boot camp sorts out the weak. The problem is when boot camp standards are lowered to admit more women.

Exactly. I applaud keeping high standards when they are based on technical skills or physical abilities.

But, you think that it is okay when the mission objectives are sacrificed so that a sickly/not medically fit person can join or stay in the military?

In the military they use a guide called the TO&E to keep units up to operating levels for personnel and equipment. I always found this guide as useless as we were never (and I mean never) able to achieve the stated levels of people nor equipment. The last supervisory role that I had in the Mairne Corps I was supposed to have a minimum of 15 trained people but could have as many as 26, I had 8 trained personnel. We ran out of money for supplies within 6 weeks and then I had to start bartering with other units to get the supplies we needed to function for another 6 weeks which is when we were given more funding.

I am always amazed at the people that have never been in certain situations, but call other people rationlist when they describe a "real world" situaiton and come up with a "real world" sollution to such problems. It is always easy to sit in one's arm chair and send orders to the field for other people to follow, but I will almost always have more respect for the person that is living through the ordeal and still overcomes the difficulties even if others do not always agree.

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Or, when they give out "stress cards" that allow recruits to have 15 minute breaks from getting yelled at or doing push-ups or leg lifts, you know all the things that are challenging mentally and physically. I am not certain if this idiotic idea is still in practice, but in the late 1990s some American military boot-camps were using it. :D

That is simply insane...

"Don't shoot me! Here's my break card!"

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Exactly. I applaud keeping high standards when they are based on technical skills or physical abilities.

I would also like to add that the Marine Corps does not accept people that belong to gangs, have gang tattoos or more than three tattoos. The Marine Corps has found that the majority of people that have or do these types of things have personalities that cause discohesiveness within the unit which causes a loss of efficiency which in the Marine Corps means loss of life and possibly a war. And in the real world where the Marine Corps does not make money/wealth and instead gets a yearly budget that does not change, they must limit money and time spent on the training of it's personnel to the utmost degree.

It seems by your standards from above that you would consider Marine Corps standards to be irrational and wrong. Well, I do not agree with every choice the Marine Corps makes nor some of their reasoning, but the people in the Marine Corps must deal with real world problems and overcome them within the limits of their capacity.

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A nation's whose military would be unwilling to accept blacks, or women, or any other group otherwise willing and able to fight for their country, such a nation has no moral right to exist.

Once again, you seem to be ignoring what "willing and able" means in the military context, which, along with your willingness to project horrors on those who disagree with you on this issue, smacks of rationalism.

Personally, I couldn't care less what the military's make-up is so long as the standards used are shown to yield the best fighting force possible. Going broader with what Carlos and I have said several times: in a moral society, there can be no such thing as a right to a given profession/career.

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...so long as the standards used are shown to yield the best fighting force possible...

Exactly; because the only purpose of the military is to defend the United States. Therefore, I don't care how they want to run the military: whatever policies they follow which don't violate the constitution while maximizing the effectiveness of the military are good policies to me.

In the 1960's it would have certainly been moral to for a business to risk losing some of their profits due to a public backlash by hiring a black man, because the principle of racial equality was worth more to them than maximizing their profits.

In the case of the military, maximizing their efficacy should come second to nothing except the US Constitution, because unlike the business analogy, if their efficacy is compromised people die. That is a totally different context, and for that reason they could not afford to experiment with cultural change.

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Exactly. I applaud keeping high standards when they are based on technical skills or physical abilities.

Well, I do not agree with every choice the Marine Corps makes nor some of their reasoning, but the people in the Marine Corps must deal with real world problems and overcome them within the limits of their capacity.

Today it's considered heroic just to enlist in the military. Not any more so than say taking a job in business. For me, to enter college is heroic. In my own college career (the 1970's) I think I fought harder battles than I did in the war because I was fighting intellectual battles against a soon to be entrenched enemy. And I won them all.

There are heroic stories in the military. Wouldn't an Objectivist find a spiritual uplift no matter the subject?

Here's the story of the most highly decorated small unit (if I read it correctly, it was some 600 of the enemy's best against 20 Marines) in the Vietnam War:

I think Objectivists will find one particular tactic used by these Marines as familiar from Ayn Rand's unique perspective on the value of it. I won't give it away:

Howard's Hill

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within the limits of their capacity.

And look at this:

I think those who jump on a grenade are sometimes self-sacrificial. It depends on the circumstances. But in combat who's to say? This man performed certainly above and beyond the normal human capacity. Or is it?

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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.)

I keep reading that Britain, Canada and even Israel have gays in the military, and that they haven't had any problems. As for sexual feelings, what about those between straight men and women in the same unit? If gays ever do cause trouble by making unwanted advances or whatever, they should be disciplined or kicked out. But the same goes for straights, and I've read stories (I can't vouch for their accuracy) that the military has ignored sexual harassment against women by men. The ban or gays, by contrast, has been carried to ridiculous lengths: one of the first things the Army did after we went into Iraq was to get rid of a dozen Arabic translators because they were gay. Yeah, that must have helped our troops a lot. And remember Nidal Hasan? If he'd shown signs of being gay, he'd have been booted out. But signs of radical Islamic sympathies? Fuggedabout it!

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one of the first things the Army did after we went into Iraq was to get rid of a dozen Arabic translators because they were gay. Yeah, that must have helped our troops a lot.

Not so sure about this but seem to have heard that in Islam gays are executed. If factual this is "a lot" more reason to kill our enemy.

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I keep reading that Britain, Canada and even Israel have gays in the military, and that they haven't had any problems.

It's hard for me to trust anything printed on an issue that's this politically charged; especially since, more and more, appointments to the higher ranks in the military have a significant political component to them. (I used to love reading about what it took to advance to the highest ranks in the US military. It dawned on me, eventually, that having people who've earned MAs and PhDs in the nation's most prestigious humanities departments both run the military and coordinate with politicians could only weaken the Forces.)

As for sexual feelings, what about those between straight men and women in the same unit?

I'm not expert but as I see things right now, I'd think coed units are a problem as well. Since every member of the armed forces has to be ready for anything, I, as of now, have a problem with women serving.

If gays ever do cause trouble by making unwanted advances or whatever, they should be disciplined or kicked out. But the same goes for straights,

I agree. But unwanted advances aren't the only issue. And I'm not so sure that when we reach that reason-driven society, that it will be unreasonable for warriors to not want to serve side by side with people who are attracted to their own gender.

If it's possible to change the military so that comrades don't live together 24/7 and/or as intimately as they do now, and if the resulting losses are countered by the benefits of such a restructuring, then the issue vanishes in my mind.

and I've read stories (I can't vouch for their accuracy) that the military has ignored sexual harassment against women by men.

Also an issue. Also proof, I think, that the potential attraction to one's comrades is a mine field.

The ban or gays, by contrast, has been carried to ridiculous lengths: one of the first things the Army did after we went into Iraq was to get rid of a dozen Arabic translators because they were gay. Yeah, that must have helped our troops a lot.

I would hope, and would bet, that there's a good though politically unpopular reason behind the military's discriminatory practices. To my ears, the ban sounds reasonable given both the eternal issue of serving with someone who, by his nature, may find himself attracted to his fellow warriors, and the times we live in. (I've been asked if I would ban blacks from serving. In our times, certainly not. In other times in history, times when the knowledge we take for grated today hadn't even been worked out yet let alone be anywhere near critical mass, yes.)

And remember Nidal Hasan? If he'd shown signs of being gay, he'd have been booted out. But signs of radical Islamic sympathies? Fuggedabout it!

It's this sort of thing that makes we wonder if those who insist on pressuring the Pentagon to integrate homosexuals know what they're talking about.

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In the case of the military, maximizing their efficacy should come second to nothing except the US Constitution, because unlike the business analogy, if their efficacy is compromised people die.

People die, and the republic that has done more for freedom than any other, would be threatened. Then what?

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