DADT: Every Republican Candidate’s Failure

Augustin Cline has a brilliant post up at Jesus’ General. It is about the wholesale failure of the entire Republican side of the 2008 race to take the right stand on openly Gay Americans in the military.  This issue is sharply divided along partisan lines:

Every Republican candidate is on record as supporting the current policy and not allowing gays to serve openly in the military; one suspects that they would oppose gays serving in the military at all if they could only think of how to get away with it. Every Democratic candidate is on record as supporting the elimination of this policy and opening the ranks to gays who are out of the closet.

The argument behind don’t ask don’t tell is one of desperately convoluted logic (emphasis mine):

The status of gays in the military also sharpens the conflict between reality and conservatives’ wishful thinking: by allowing closeted gays to serve, conservatives are unable to argue that there is something intrinsically wrong with the presence of gays themselves. Only publicly gay people are a “problem,” and somehow the revelation of one’s sexual orientation — not their behavior, just their orientation — causes them to go from being a model of military discipline to troublemaker who has to be drummed out of the service. Only the desperately homophobic can accept this at face value.

The cost of DADT is well documented.  We are losing very capable soldiers, translators, and other vital personel to salve the open sore that is religious conservatism in this country.  And the Republicans are all too willing to have that much in common with the same religious radicals we are supposed to be fighting:

Better to live in chains than let queers out of the closet, that’s the motto of the Republican Party — and perhaps more than a few religious extremists living in caves in the Middle East.

Homophobia is tangibly hurting this country.  No candidate who supports Don’t Ask Don’t Tell has an ounce of credibility on security issues.  The only thing they’ve shown us is how far they will go, how deeply they will betray our confidence in the service of an illogical hatred.

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16 Responses

  1. Like many things in the so call “moral” or “value” base of the Republican party, its the not the “sin” itself, but the appearance of it. They don’t want it destroyed or abolish (they know thats not possible) what they want is to banish it, to the other side of the tracks, the edge of town, across a border, etc. Or to use a tired cliche…”Out of sight, Out of Mind”.

  2. I think that’s an especially insightful observation. So much of the Republican ethic is about hiding impropriety. The Larry Craig thing is a prime example. I’d go even further, and suggest that it is simply a distinction between the elites and the rest of us. I think there is this very dangerous notion that the elite are permitted to cross ethical lines, so long as secrecy is kept.

  3. Its one of the reasons why the respond with “Why do you hate America?” when you highlight something about America’s past, as if not knowing or not saying it made it all right. Denial…the Nile…so on and so forth…..

  4. Is the distinction between a gay person and a straight person, the sex, or personal knowledge. I mean does it make a separate position out of it now for a non sexually active gay person vs. a non sexually active straight person. If your in the military and your straight and you aren’t having sex or visa versa is it still an issue? Is the difference that the mention of straight sex is considered bragging and the mention of gay sex is considered unnatural. If so where does it leave the person that just doesn’t mention sex? After all it is about the sex. It’s always about the sex. If gays weren’t having gay sex then would there still be an issue? I doubt it. And why does no one make an issue of the straight sex that goes on in the military? That is probably more damaging than any other personal involvement (pregnancy related).The whole sexual orientation thing with regards to ability to serve is probably designed to keep pace with the loss of rights when you join the military in the first place.

    I mean think of it this way. If DADT wasn’t policy then insubordination could be excused if someone claimed that the reprimand was due to their sexual orientation. Next thing you know there would be a rash of insubordination by straight recruits protected by the “don’t shoot I’m gay” response. Recruits would want to say that their rights (which were taken away at sign up day) have been violated. They were being picked on for being gay. Whatever way you slice it it’s a prejudice. The military is a different society than the civilian population and they are all the same. Same haircut same clothes same barracks. Now the long standing tradition of sameness is supposed to be thrown out the window because someone finds it offensive that issue was pushed and the response was DADT.
    With the military it is a corporal system so having labels is called rank. There is no room for a second ranking system less order be lost. It’s really quite a simple concept. I don’t expect you to understand it, just consider it.

  5. Actually it is an issue. Rumsfeld went to war with the Army and expelled not a few ranking officers for things like having affairs and the like, all in a heterosexual way. But really why being gay would affect someone ability to perform his or her military duties is beyond me.

  6. Exactly Rafael, so why even mention it if it doesn’t affect their ability to perform. DADT is not the problem, it’s the identity question. But in the military there are no individual identities so the DADT appears to be standard procedure overall, not just with regards to sexual orientation. DADT applies to all facets of military life.

    The only reason it came up in the GOP debates is that Anderson Cooper has ulterior motives as he is an openly gay man he is trying to stuff it down our throat (intentional equivocation).

    And no fitness it’s not homophobia it’s called analysis, before you go attempting to make an example of me again.

    That’s why the brigadier general was allowed to ask his question twice (live and youtube). It’s asking the military to give uniqueness in a machine of sameness and it’s not conducive to orderly conduct where everyone is treated by rank. Period!

  7. But if its not an issue, then openly homosexual personnel could and should serve. DADT punishes those who merely come out of the closet or are discovered to be homosexual. It is not a prohibition against overtly displays of sexuality or conduct that in fact would disrupt the esprit d’corps of a unit or the armed forces. So DADT is in fact invalid.

  8. “Rumsfeld went to war with the Army and expelled not a few ranking officers for things like having affairs and the like, all in a heterosexual way.”
    vs.

    “DADT punishes those who merely come out of the closet or are discovered to be homosexual. It is not a prohibition against overtly displays of sexuality or conduct that in fact would disrupt the esprit d’corps of a unit or the armed forces.”

    So then it seems equal. Openly heterosexual personnel are getting punished (equally?) as well. Where’s the dilemma?

  9. Additionally Rafael, it isn’t about the “esprit d’corps” it’s about the chain of command and subordination. You can’t make promotions based on qualification if you are making categories of sexual orientation. It just has nothing to do with the goal and objective of the military training and advancement system. Singling yourself out as a gay soldier then imposes that now black soldiers can categorize their identifier and then Asians and women and Latinos and etc. etc. That’s not how it works. In the military you are the same as everyone else as a cohesive team. The individual is disconnected from the soldier. For the same subordination issue not for any other reason. There’s no room for individuality if the life of the entire unit depends on synchronized planning. Individuality only becomes pertinent with acts of extraordinary heroism.

  10. “Homophobia is tangibly hurting this country. No candidate who supports Don’t Ask Don’t Tell has an ounce of credibility on security issues. ”

    How the fuck does sexual orientation fit in the “important political positions with regard to the country” at all? There are so many other pressing issues of significantly more importance that need to be addressed. To attempt to distract people from important country issues by portraying sex as an “important” issue and to the point of the above comment is just ignorant. Blatantly, foolishly ignorant. Don’t we have more important issues to address???????

  11. Your not prevented from joining the military if your black, nor are you kick out because of it. Your analogies are misleading to say the least. The people where not kicked out for having sex, they where kicked out because they disobeyed orders. The last time I checked it was not illegal to have sex with your significant other. Getting rid of DADT in no way interferes with the chain of command, you could not get kicked out of the Army for being a minority or female,why should you be forced out of your gay? No reason to treat them any different, and therefore no need to keep it quite or to punish those who simply don’t want to hide. Its like asking a person of color to bleach their skin because the color of his/hers skin would “single them out”.

  12. Michael D,

    I mean think of it this way. If DADT wasn’t policy then insubordination could be excused if someone claimed that the reprimand was due to their sexual orientation. Next thing you know there would be a rash of insubordination by straight recruits protected by the “don’t shoot I’m gay” response.

    That’s a joke, right?

    The military is a different society than the civilian population and they are all the same. Same haircut same clothes same barracks.

    Wrong again. Different religions. Different skin color. Different beliefs, different political parties, different histories, different lives. Different sexualities. The only change would be allowing public acknowledgment.

    How the fuck does sexual orientation fit in the “important political positions with regard to the country” at all? There are so many other pressing issues of significantly more importance that need to be addressed.

    Because homo-bigots are removing vital personnel from our over-stretched military. That’s one reason. Another? Because we don’t need to have one issue campaigns. And hatred and bigotry is always an important issue.

    A candidate who supports DADT is sacrificing our security for their personal phobia. Hence the lack of credibility on security issues.

    Rafael,
    Thanks for fighting the good fight. Michael’s analogies are indeed misleading.

    you could not get kicked out of the Army for being a minority or female,why should you be forced out of your gay?

    Right on!

  13. The sameness excludes all other differences. That’s the point. The reason not to allow differences is to keep all soldiers the same. The reason for sameness is to make everyone equal. And to make every soldier just like the next/last. There has to be equality in a military environment and there can be no individuality and no exceptions. You are wrong again. You are also being ignorant again. You are ignoring the fact that as a soldier you have no rights. No individuality. You only have what the military gives you and that’s all you need. As in the military says you only need 3 hours sleep and that’s what they give you. So if someone cries that they need 6 hours sleep they will probably get no sleep. I am not misleading but you are certainly making your best attempt to. At the grunt level all the soldiers have is each other, no color, no race, no religion, just each other. And in the battlefield it’s even more so. DADT is designed to keep sameness. Get your head out of your ass and stop trying to make it a political issue. It is most certainly not!!! It may be considered a personal issue and personal issues also have no place in the military. After all is said and done morale is fostered by people not peoples differences. Military planners know this and have kept the policy because it is vital to the orderly conduct. Not so you can cry the liberal cry and discredit anyone who is not liberal.

  14. Talking about misleading analogies, are you really going to compare ancestry or gender to homosexuality as indistinguishable or optional? Now that’s misleading. How does one come to such narrow conclusions? You’re trying to tell me that being gay is just as certain and permanent as being black? Forget about it….

  15. Michael D,
    All soldiers are not exactly the same. Just repeating it doesn’t make it so.

    At the grunt level all the soldiers have is each other, no color, no race, no religion, just each other.

    And why not “no sexuality, just each other”?

    alking about misleading analogies, are you really going to compare ancestry or gender to homosexuality as indistinguishable or optional? Now that’s misleading. How does one come to such narrow conclusions? You’re trying to tell me that being gay is just as certain and permanent as being black? Forget about it….

    Homosexuality is a biological fact, not a choice.

    But again, you’ve missed the point. Some things, like skin color and ancestry, are just what we are born with. Others, like religion and politics, we choose. In both cases soldiers have significant differences, and manage to work together.

    Stop selling our soldiers short. They can handle it.

  16. There was a time when the Army did discriminate against people on the basis of race and ethnicity, even though they where perfectly capable of doing the same jobs as their white counterparts (see the Turkegee airmen).

    Ok…lets put up a simple example, serviceman A enlist, go through basic training, advance training school joins a fighting unit, spends one or more tours of duty on the front lines. Then when he is on leave or perhaps years later, somebody sees him going into the “wrong” establishment. The Pentagon finds out and next thing you know he is kicked out. Besides the fact that he (or she) was “found out” what really changed. The answer of course is nothing.

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