James Leroy Wilson's blog

Friday, June 12, 2009

Shouldn't the issue be sex in the military?

President Obama "disappoints" on gays in the military by supporting continuation of the "don't ask, don't tell" policy even though a convincing majority of Americans support having gays in the military.

Obama's support for the status quo should be surprising to . . . nobody. This is the m.o. of the modern President. Make sure to fail to live up to the expectations of your most fervent and hopeful supporters early on, and then when re-election approaches throw a few crumbs in their direction. Obama doesn't need gay activist or feminist support today, and it's not as if they'll ever vote Republican.

As to the issue itself, I should first start off that there is something about the military I find objectionable at the start. Even though joining is voluntary, to enlist is to sell yourself into slavery, in the sense that it is a job you are not free to quit. Further, our military presence in over 100 countries is not a sound way to "defend our freedom." It instead provokes foreign resentment and makes America less safe.

But I'll put all that aside and for the sake of argument assume that the military is a wonderful institution, the leading reason to be proud to be an American, etc.

So the question is: are gays in the military bad for cohesion and morale?

All I can think of in response is, we have women in the military, don't we? And even though they may not be assigned combat duty officially, in a place like Iraq dozens have died from hostile fire. In the navy, women serve on board ships with men.

What is more likely to undermine cohesion and morale, one gay guy in a unit, or three or four guys in a unit all liking the same girl?

Those who accept women in the military have no grounds to object to gays in the military; indeed, one would assume there would be fewer problems of sexual tension and jealousy with more gays and fewer co-ed units.

If the issue is military discipline, then rules against romantic relationships and sexual contact among the personnel should be strictly enforced. But it seems to me that the main problem today with gays in the military is that the military itself insists on making it an issue.

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