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Thursday, May 27, 2010

DADT -- What difference does it make?

As is my tendency, I'm speaking as the devil's advocate.  What is the practical difference between Don't Ask Don't Tell and what things will be like in the military if and when it is repealed?
When I was in the Marine Corps, if DADT wasn't the law, it was certainly the practice.  We all served with people we suspected were gay; and speaking for myself only, it certainly didn't matter in a personal or professional relationship with those folks.  To be clear, I never spent any time in a war-time foxhole and so obviously wasn't in a position to evaluate my feelings sharing that situation with someone I knew or suspected was gay.  I can tell you with all certainty it would not have mattered to me.
But that's really not what I'm getting at.  How will things be any different in the military if gays won't have to conceal who they are?  Do you think all of a sudden there will be openly gay (insert whatever slang here you choose -- flaming, etc) people wearing a uniform?  Do you think suddenly people in uniform will be walking around limp wristed?  Seriously, just because the laws change doesn't mean day-to-day life will change.  There will still be those non-gay members who it doesn't matter to and will be your friend, and there will continue to be those who'll want to take you out back and beat the hell out of you. 
So with that backdrop, gay people know they'll still need to live their daily military lives the same way as before.  There will still be bigotry regarding promotions.  There will still be a military dress code and rules of comportment.
Understand this:  I believe every one should be treated equally and fairly, and I believe DADT should be repealed; but also that I served and realize that the military is a special universe, shall we say, with special requirements.  If I thought for one second that repealing DADT would negatively effect the daily morale of troops or create an environment that could be dangerous to those who are fighting our wars, I would sadly be against it.
What am I missing?


deb said...

But if somebody doesn't make a stand, some time, then nothing changes. The only reason there's a black man in the Oval office today is by the sacrifices of the civil rights activists that came before. Because somebody was willing to stand up and fight for basic human rights. The military should not be exempt from having to operate in accordance with basic human rights.

Zebster said...

And we agree. Hopefully I'm not being misunderstood. I'm saying it should change and I'm asking what difference it makes to those who don't want it changed.
And I stated the only reason I wouldn't support it and I don't believe that's an issue.

George said...

How much space do I have for my comment?! Me: ex-Marine MP and court reporter, so I saw it from both sides. The worst person the military has to endure is the malingerer, the barracks thief, the liar or the doper. DADT is bullshit hypocrisy and should be repealed. Rape is rape, and I doubt a repeal of DADT will result in an explosion of male-on-male rape. Otherwise, it's just about sex--consentual sex--and I don't see anyone griping a guy and girl Marine getting it on in the barracks, or behind the E-Club. If that's bad conduct, then it's the same punishment under Art. 92 (or Art. 99 if in a warzone). I would no more expect to see "flaming queers" walking around limp-wristed, than I would gold-toothed pimps or leisure suited Mafia capos. Standards of conduct, dress, appearance, and attitude would be upheld. Who and how a person screws is his/her own business. I don't agree with comparing DADT with civil rights arguments for Blacks, and I run away from categorizing sexual orientation as a "human right." How a person has sex is their business, but I don't think the hetero fetish of being pee'd on is a "human right." DADT is wrong and the military needs to stop being deliberately myopic about it, bu let's not mix apples with bricks.

ODBasford said...

I think we're all on the same page here. My 2cents (not having served in the armed forces) is that before the army started dishonorably discharging Arabic translators for being gay, they should have had the burden of proof that those individuals ever caused problems. The damage done by the loss of even 2 translators is probably far worse than the discomfort felt by a homophobe having to live/train/fight next to a homosexual. Now multiply that by the thousands of hard-working individuals who were discharged and it's obvious why DADT was a horrendous idea.

The only way that DADT will stay in place at this point is if John McCain makes a compelling argument that the Army is too homophobic to handle it. I've got a little more confidence in our servicemen than that.