Ramblings From the Ragged Crumbling Edge Of The Reality-Based Community

Thursday, March 18, 2010

DADT: What Crazy Looks LIke 

...OK, so we know that there are a couple of certain mindsets at work deep in the heart of the US military that can argue against the idea that a person's sexual orientation shouldn't matter when it comes to the point of being willing to serve - and perhaps die - on behalf of our nation. In the first place, any effort to recruit 18-year-old kids into the military brings with it the same sort of social strictures and stigmas that can be found in high schools all across the nation. In the second place, there are things like the overall military problem with separation of Church and State...

And then there are the observations of Marine Gen. John Sheehan (Ret.), former NATO Supreme Allied Commander and recipient of a Silver Star, two Bronze Stars (with a Valor Device), and two Purple Hearts. He perfectly captures a recent - if not current - management view of 'Don't Ask, Don't Tell' in his comments to the Senate Armed Services Committee today, describing the failure of a Dutch contingent of NATO peace-keeping troops to prevent the 1995 Bosnian genocide in Srebrenica. Apparently the twin failures of The Rules of Engagement and of will on the part of the NATO commander in that particular episode of genocide were somehow trumped by by the fact of the Dutch army not having a "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" policy (or perhaps an outright ban on "those people serving in the military)...

Most craziness relies on a suspension of belief and a refusal to talk about the way things have been. This particular craziness fits that mold nicely. It relies on the suspension of belief in the whole history of the Bosnian conflict and a refusal to acknowledge that a lot of countries you really wouldn't want to take on in any situation less than a D-Day invasion don't have any particular problem with the sexual orientation of the troops. The General probably tipped his hand most completely at this point:
Sheehan claimed that sexual attraction between servicemembers of the same sex would have a negative impact on readiness, while attraction between men and women in gender-integrated units would not.

...so "normal" boys and girls thrown together in close proximity won't feel powerful urges, but gay and lesbian boys and girls will. Clearly the General has never chaperoned a high school field trip. When it comes to individual sexuality and service in the military, this is what "crazy" looks like...

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