Friday, June 08, 2007

Don't ask

City Lights links to an op-ed piece about the military's don't ask, don't tell policy, which has cost us 58 Arabic linguists and essentially left the American military speechless in Iraq.

Like the op-ed writer, I attended the Defense Language Institute but in an era when the draft was on, and the policy was don't tell and don't let anybody find out. So I had two thoughts about this piece:

1. What in the heck was going on in those Arabic language barracks?

2. In those days, public calumny of gays was so strong that lots of gays allowed themselves to be conscripted rather than admit their sexual orientation. So it was sort of just taken for granted that the homosexual composition of the military was roughly equal to the homosexual composition of America as a whole. No soldier I knew ever admitted to being gay, and maybe nobody was, but there were always stories. In fact, one guy about whom the most stories probably swirled turned out to cash in on most G.I.s' California dreaming: He fell in love with a Monterey girl.

In short, anxiety about gays in the Army was roughly equivalent to anxiety about gays in real life, and no big deal anyway you looked at it. So how did it become a principle worth compromising our military capability over?


Vince said...

As a result of a low lottery number I spent time in the U.S. Army in the early 70s. Like your experience, there were unconfirmed stories, but few facts. However, by the time I got to Europe and placed on a Nike Herc site, in almost nowhere, the few who were were, were comfortable being "out." I figured that this was because we were so shorthanded that no one was willing to toss them out.

Anonymous said...

I think it's kinda like the Presidunce's Iraq policy. He's afraid that if we don't kick them out, they might follow us home! But wait, now I'm confused. REALLY confused, because one of Bush's handpicked faux news reporters was ALSO a member of! Remember Gannon/Guckert?, the gay military stud who had over TWO HUNDRED VISITS, many of them allnighters, at the White House! What gives? It kinda strains credulity, but I suppose that Bush never "asked" and GG never "told"! But I can only IMAGINE the tongues that would be wagging if Clinton had had a gay fella stay over at the Oval Orifice!

Larry Kralj, Environmental Rangers!

Anonymous said...

Larry, the policy in question was implemented by one of your heroes, President Clinton.

I thought it was a good compromise myself.

David said...

Eric, I'm having trouble understanding how a tacit agreement to be hypocritical amounts to a good compromise. Either gays are a detriment to the military and should be barred or they have something valuable to contribute and should be gratefully admitted. I don't see how the pretense helps anybody.

Anonymous said...

Eric, in case you missed it, my only point really is that this is the GAYEST ADMINISTRATION IN HISTORY! Including A WHOLE LOTTA EVIDENCE indicating that the commmander in chimp himself has partaken of the gay lifestyle! And my other point is that gays don't bother me one iota, but hypocrites do. That's all. Again, my hero Clinton had hetero sex and got impeached. Bush has homo sex and gets a pass. THAT'S quite wrong.


Anonymous said...

I considered it a compromise because it allows gays to serve if they wish.

They just have to keep it private.

When I enlisted in the Air Force in 1979, I was openly asked by my recruiter if I was a homo, and was told that 'they' couldn't serve.

Under President Clintons policy, they aren't supposed to ask.

Looks like a compromise, doesn't it?