Unfriendly Fire
How the gay ban undermines the military and weakens America

Hate Mail Streams In

Within hours of posting a commentary today on cnn.com, I got the following email:

I’d rather serve with an ex-felon than some limp-wristed faggot looking at my ass in the shower. These deviants have no place in civilized Christian society. alas, since we have a Marxist in the White house who despises our military anyway, I’m sure you and your reprobate fellows will get your wish and your goal of destroying the military and the country will be closer to realization. Thankfully, you will have to answer for this before God one day.

In all my years of writing on this topic, I’ve never actually received anything that hateful, which is very good news! In fairness, this guy is obviously a bit angry, perhaps about things that have little to do with nice gay people serving their country, so this does not go to my head that much. But I thought I’d share it. So ok, hate mail is not exactly “streaming” in, but I felt like using a dramatic headline. Forgive me, as I’ll forgive Hatey.

42 Responses to “Hate Mail Streams In”

  1. bfree says:

    Go serve in a combat unit for months on end IN COMBAT. Then think about your gay squad leader who has a sexual relationship with the only other gay peson in your squad..a fellow squad member.

    Gay squad member is running point in an urban clearing situation. Squad leader reassigns you as point instead of his boyfriend.

    That’s only one of a thousand situations that will come up if you allow sexual relations as a result of openly gay soldiers in the military. It will ruin the bond and trust you MUST have to be an effective fighting unit.

    I have no problem with anyone’s sexual preference. I am a vet, army ranger, first gulf war veteran. DO NOT allow openly gay soldiers to serve..you wil render our combat units virtually innefective.

    This should be left up FULLY to the current combat units of the armed services. They and they alone must face life or death and they should have a say as to whether or not they would accept openly gay fellow soldiers.

    DO not force upon our soldiers a situation they do not want.

  2. Leo says:

    I love angry mean people cause they’re so easy to make fun of. Does this guys really think gay people are interested in looking at his hateful ass in the shower? Seriously though, even though you can easily ignore someone like this it does illustrate how stupid, narrow minded, and ignorant people are. what makes this even more dangerous is his conviction that God is on his side….yeah right, I bet Jobe thought God was on his side too…..look where that got him.

  3. Lou Marinucci says:

    I totally agree with the above Email. You and those like you belong in places like Greenwich village, Key West and Providence, Cape Cod, but NOT, definetely NOT in our much revered military. Our military is the bset in the world, due, among other reasons, to the lack of assholes like you
    in its ranks.

    Obama’s time will pass, hopefully without bringing this once proud country to its kness, kissing the world’s ass (Which, by the way, we saved at least twice, but next time, let the nazis have it).

    May God show no mercy on all you sick bastards !!!!!

  4. J haplin says:

    As a once student of UCSB, I applaud having one of our scholars on the forefront of CNN.com. Congratulations.

    However, my admiration and excitement for your accomplishment stops there. You sir, are dead wrong in your analysis of this issue.

    The debate is not about equality, it is not about what other countries do, it is not about what studies of other countries have provided. If the Canadians have not noticed a difference in their military who cares – they are not the most powerful military in the world sworn to protect our “super power” country from high-power forces including the likes of terrorists armed to the teeth. In short, they are not us and we need to find what works for us, not them.

    Looking to the military itself… OUR men and women who fight have OVERWHELMINGLY gave a resounding no to having openly gay men and women in uniform. Either they are all bigots… highly doubted considering the military was the first force to abolish discrimination…. or there is something there you as a scholar, who sits behind a desk and “studies” this, cannot see. What I think they see, that you cannot with your grand pleas to justice, equality etc., is this: the military is a beast that requires something more than a willing body there to fight.

    The military it requires a net built by the hell at “boot camp” and relied on in battle. The fighting men and women risk their lives every time they go out to wage war. That requires man A to unquestionably trust man B with his life and vise-versa. It is a network of “brotherhood” – something similar to a fraternity. For men to build that trust… esp. men who tend to be un or under educated… they have to be extremely comfortable with each other.

    Go to your local fraternity (I know there are a number of them at UCSB I was in two) or, as a better example, go watch the movie “Remember the Titans” and see how that trust and what I would call brotherhood is built. (Note: by men and brotherhood I mean this interchangeably to include women in their separate “womanhood” etc. it is just too much to write it out both times here.)

    It is a weird system where men have to be comfortable with each other to bond. This male bonding = being comfortable snapping each other with towels – singing together – dressing together – sharing emotions – showering together naked etc.

    Two straight men can do that perfectly well; they each know that whatever is going on is in no way sexual. But when you enter a gay man, you retract some of those things. The element of no sexuality disappears, the comfort disappears, the bonding disappears.

    And as much as equality is valued in our society – our society survives based on the protection from the military. People live and die based on the efficacy of the military. Get rid of the bonding and the military = less able to do what it does. The network that protects each other man is destroyed – as in the fly that is a foe can penetrate the brotherhood web where it could not before. The web has weak links built by not being able to be totally comfortable with the lack of sexuality.

    What this is about is whether OUR military would be better off or worse off with “openly gay” members. The resounding answer from the military, fraternities, and locker rooms is that for OUR military, it is not a good idea. I am not willing to risk our military, our country, or our men and women so that less than 10% of the population can be “open” about their sexuality in the army. Either keep it to yourself or find a different profession. Move on.

    * Before the criticisms of women serving perfectly well in the military come, note that women are separated for many services and feel this exact problem. They don’t bond well with the men – the men simply ignore women + the men are able to deal with it as there is really a wall between the men and women. Women get their own places to shower and change and bond etc. This does not effect the web or network built up by being able to walk around naked in the shower etc. Whereas gays in the military effects all the men’s ability to bond as one gay man in the locker room = all are no longer open and free with straight men. This problem is not apparent in the men’s locker room.

  5. Chris says:

    I agree 100%. I do not think men, or women in the military who are forced to shower with other men, or women will feel o.k taking a shower or changing clothes in front of opening gay people, and feel it will leave to alot of trouble that people who are not in the military do not think about nor care about. I think the current policy is o.k, and should stay in place.

  6. Jack says:

    Tolerating open gays in the military will have a negative effect in the following ways:
    -In war zones where personal hygiene cannot be practiced properly, they will spread sexually transmitted diseases, viruses and parasitic insects. Much the way females do in war zones.
    -The gay will be more focused on how they look and where their boyfriend is than the mission, compromising the integrity of the unit.
    -Being more feminine than the heterosexual, the homosexual will naturally fail under the pressures of combat because of their inherently weak traits, thereby compromising the integrity of the unit and consequently the country.
    The finely polished machine that is the military does not need to be tarnished by tolerating the gay man. They are tolerated enough in society and should be quite happy with being able to vote.
    What does your sexuality have to do with military service?

  7. ZnSD says:

    As someone who was raised in a military home and is married to someone in the military I have to say it’s pretty stunning to read such vitriol and immaturity coming from those who claim to be in the US Military. If anyone actually thinks that there would be any difference for the heterosexuals in the military they are mistaken: the difference is for those who have to lie to keep their jobs. There is an implication that people would just be so uncomfortable because a gay person would be looking at them is LAUGHABLE. ‘bfree’ who has come up with a theoretical sexual liaison needs a reminder that any sexual misconduct is already covered under military code. I find it truly ridiculous that anyone would choose a convicted felon over someone who may be in the top 1% simply because they are gay or lesbian. Talk about cutting off your nose to spite your face. Foolish. Thanks for your work Nathaniel!

  8. Mike says:

    noone wants nice gay people serving their country. we want soldiers. soldiers want other soldiers too. as a veteran, i dont want a queer in the shower bay with me, ever. save your bs about noone wanting to look, thats crap. of course they’ll look, thats what perverts do. yes we hate you, what you do. we love you as christians and pray for your worthless selves to try and come up with some way to redeem your doomed souls. but getting mtv to preach that gay is cool aint gonna get it with the rest of us. you aint normal. you aint right. you are not going to change the world into your little boofoo paradise. sorry.

  9. USMC says:

    j haplin is 100% right on.

    Whats very important about this conversation that most activists do not ever bring up is what being openly gay actually means. Being “gay” or homosexual deals entirely with a persons sexual preference in a partner. Being OPENLY gay means that you freely and willingly talk and/or demonstrate facts about your sexual desires with members of the same sex. For males this is the discussions that include the aspects of oral exploits and sodomy. This is kissing other males, holding hands, etc.. This is all that “openly gay” means.

    This has nothing to do with the kind of person, their character, their ability to fight, nothing… right now many gay Americans serve in the military. This has nothing to do with the ability of a homosexual to serve. The debate is over whether or not its GOOD for a Fireteam Leader to be discussing his sodomy adventure with the Leader of another Fireteam in front of his fellow Marines, the same Marines who follow him into battle, in the midst of firefights. THE SAME MARINES that may be in close proximity when everyone is bleeding, when personal hygiene is conducted in close quarters… etc.. I personally as Actively serving Marine would argue that it is NOT GOOD for morale, or unit cohesion. This doesnt mean that being gay should preclude any American from serving. This just means that being “openly gay” would be extremely detrimental to our combat effectiveness.

    I personally dont care if a person is gay or not, then again I am protected from having my brothers in arms openly proclaim their homosexuality. As i said, some very good men very close to me may be homosexual, but i do not know that for sure, they never openly talk about, they never openly demonstrate it, it IS NOT AN ISSUE because it is NOT openly discussed. They do not bring their boyfriends around, they do not discuss their sexual attraction to the action of sodomy or anything else. It doesnt begin to cause a problem for any of us, because it isnt out in the open for unit consumption.. and I can tell you that that is a solid policy for the US Military, and Im not studying this from behind a desk, or reading reports, Im actually a member of the US Military.

  10. Jack says:

    Nathaniel you have no idea what you are talking about. Just because your a military brat doesn’t mean you know how it is to have to count on people when the bullet meets the meat. Homosexuals are weak, flamboyant, self proclaimed victims who want the system to change because they feel like it. There is no good reason to allow open gays into the military and you know it. Everyone I know in the military would outcast an openly gay soldier. There is no room for it. The US Military doesn’t allow Soldiers, Marines, Airmen and Sailors to play ass-grab all day like the freakin Iraqi Army. Grow up and learn what it takes to be the best fighting force in the world. It doesn’t take queers, it takes men.

  11. Paula says:

    Why do people think that being gay means that you are weak? While there are flamboyant gay men I don’t think that they are the type to be in the army-just as many flamboyant, self consumed straight men are not. It takes a certain type of person to be in the army and gay people can be as brave and strong as anybody else. I do not think that being openly gay means you will “grab ass” any man or woman who comes along or that you will have boyfriends or sex in your unit. It just means that you do not have to lie. Gay soldiers are not perverts. They just want to serve their country.

  12. Leo says:

    I am openly gay at work and I don’t run around grabbing or making unprofessional or unwanted advances towards my straight collegues. for starters it’s disrespectful to treat someone like that in any environment, much less work, and secondly because that’s simply not who I am. I do notice many straight men who make advances towards women and who’s tongues fall out every time a pretty skirt walks by. My own experience tells me that straight people who are not comfortable with gay people have something to hide and project their own chauvinistic macho perverted selves into gay people. In other words, they expect everyone to behave as badly towards them as they behave towards women.

    And by the way, anyone who starts, ends, or injects “it’s not that I’m homophobic” into a sentence already knows they are homophobic or wouldn’t feel the need to say it. Not to put too fine a point on it but if you weren’t homophobic you would care less if the person next to you is gay. On a final note, I have lots of gay friends in the military so like it or not, they are already serving next to you. I’m proud of them and ashamed of a system that will take their service but not allow them to be open about who they are. Shame on all you haters out there, especially those of you arrogant enough to actually think God is on your side. It is you that will burn in hell for your hateful pedantics. Every wonder why homosexuality is not on the 10 commandments or not one of the 7 deadly sincs? I bet most people who provess to be “christian” couldn’t tell me (without looking it up on the internet) what the 10 commandments are, or what the 7 deadly sins are, or recount the story or jobe or sodom and gomorrah, or tell me who st. longinus was…….or recount anything about your so called profession other than what has been told to you by some preacher on a podium. Shame on you and your false faith! You pervert everything around you.

  13. Shahn Andersen says:

    Nathaniel, for your next book you should do a study of this guy and similar people and the real root of their homophobia. Was he simply taught to hate gay people? Did he have some experience that brought this emotion out in him? Has he never known an out gay person personally?

    I’ve always had my suspicions that people like him “Doth protest too much”.

  14. Nathan says:

    jhaplin raises an interesting issue, and does a good job of explaining how it feels as a heterosexual male to be part of a brotherhood, and the level of trust that is required to excel. The problem with this explanation is that it doesn’t justify why homosexuals shouldn’t be allowed to be open. All it does is try to justify why heterosexual males should be allowed to be oppressive and chauvinistic. He’s justifying why it should be OK to keep the group of brothers homogeneous and similar minded, because the unit somehow loses strength if you can no longer privately make “fag jokes”, racist jokes, or denegrate women without fear of being called out on your prejudice.

    The problem, jhaplin, is you and your brothers’ unwillingness to allow others into your inner circle who are different and may have something valuable to offer, without fear that they will somehow help elevate who you are into something better. In PCland this is referred to as hetersexism, and no where is it more staunchly practiced than in fraternal organizations. It’s not a sound argument for keeping homosexuals inequal in military service, but it is a clear explanation to all of us as to what is truly wrong in our military culture today. It’s a systemic problem that’s been responsible for hostility against people of color and women joining the military as well, and not just homosexuals.

    If you’re going to get on your soapbox about defending the constitution and American liberty, at least have the decency to try practicing it in your daily life, no matter what the stakes.

  15. Marisa says:

    Well, Nathaniel, they are streaming in now!

    I’m pretty sure the whole brotherly love/morale issue was/is used for why blacks and women shouldn’t serve in active duty too. The reality is, however, that gay people are already and have always been serving in the military. Your ass may have already been looked at … and amazingly your head didn’t explode because of it.

    The issue being discussed now is should we have sanctioned discrimination. I, for one, say no because that is what we have a military for to begin with … to protect our country … a country which is meant to extend freedom for all people and with a clear separation of church and state. I would think those in the military would familiarize themselves with the constitution of the country they are putting themselves in harm’s way to defend. Blatant federally sanctioned discrimination (even of people you may not personally like) is un-patriotic and un-American.

  16. USMC says:

    Leo,

    You miss the point. It doesnt matter if you dont grab ass or make unwanted advances towards your straight colleagues at work. If you are openly gay than you do discuss your sexual preferences or experiences and/or demonstrate your sexual preferences at work. Your straight colleagues may not care if you do this… they may not have any problem with you being a homosexual. BUT.. i can assure you that they would not willingly volunteer to get a blood transfusion from you. This is the point you need to understand. Its not that you are a sexual predator against your fellow workers, its that conditions exist that deal with trust and a specific closeness that only exists for combat units where you have no choice in simply not having anything to do with you. You are forced to be in close quarters during times where your life may be in danger, and you must depend on your fellow “workers” to save your life.

    If no one knew you were a homosexual, if you did not discuss your sodomy adventures or your oral adventures with members of the same sex, or your desire for such activities to take place with members of the same sex, then no one has an issue. This does not in any way preclude you from doing your duty.

    The same is true for heterosexuals. If my CO passed down the word that there would be zero tolerance for Marines discussing any sexual escapades, heterosexual or not, that no male Marines could discuss any of their sexual desires for any female it would not infringe upon my right, it would not keep me from accomplishing my mission, it would not deter me from doing my duty.

    Are you saying that because you cannot discuss your sexual attraction to members of the same sex that you cannot do your duty? That its more important to be able to talk about the sodomy you did last weekend with your boyfriend then it is to serve in the defense of your countrymen? Its that vital to be able to do that, that you would rather NOT SERVE or feel that its not worth it because you cant talk about your sexual preferences to other members of your unit?

    I would say if having this ability to discuss your sexual preferences is more important that serving your nation, standing beside fellow Americans in the defense of your family and friends against foreign threats, if this is MORE important to be able to talk about how much you’d like to sleep with your squad leader… then the US Military does not require your presence.

    This has nothing to do with faith. It would be wise for homosexuals to stop denigrating the faith of other Americans simply so they have the right to talk about their sodomy adventures in the presence of other service members. Its a grotesque display of ignorance.

  17. Leo says:

    USMC,
    I think you are missing the point. It’s not about being able to talk about your sexual escapdes, which BTW, most gay men I know don’t run around talking to people about who or what they did. It’s about not being FIRED because someone knows you’re gay. And BTW, you are wrong about my coworkers. As it happens, I have given blood and even donated a kidney to a straight co-worker of mine. I can assure you he had no issue with it.

    The point is you are homophobic and are threatened by people being who they are. We’re not asking for the right to brag about our sexual adventures (even though I don’t see what’s wrong with it given straight men do it all the time). We’re just asking not to be fired for who we are and to be held to the same standards that our straight comrads in arms are held too. Shame on you USMC for not seeing this.

  18. USMC says:

    “I think you are missing the point. It’s not about being able to talk about your sexual escapdes, which BTW, most gay men I know don’t run around talking to people about who or what they did.”

    This is exactly what being “OPEN” is. If you do not discuss your sexual escapades, your sexual preferences, who you did or didnt do, who you like or dont like… then you arent “OPENLY” gay.

    “It’s about not being FIRED because someone knows you’re gay.”

    If you are not openly gay, then how would ANYONE know if you are gay or straight? It isnt an issue unless you openly behave, discuss, or acknowledge your homosexuality.

    Youre duty, ability to do your job, your desire to serve, everything associated with your military service does not REQUIRE that you be open about your sexual preferences.

    As of today you can serve in the US Military as a homosexual, nothing is keeping you from serving.

    Are you suggesting that you would rather NOT serve, that that it is less important than your ability to be “OPENLY GAY”? If this is the case, if you would rather talk about your desire to give oral sex to another man, than serve your nation… then we dont want you.

    “The point is you are homophobic and are threatened by people being who they are. We’re not asking for the right to brag about our sexual adventures (even though I don’t see what’s wrong with it given straight men do it all the time). We’re just asking not to be fired for who we are and to be held to the same standards that our straight comrads in arms are held too. Shame on you USMC for not seeing this.”

    No, im not threatened by homosexuals, but I am a member of a ground combat unit. The bond of actual combat units differs greatly from the majority of Military occupations. The trust of a supply clerk in the other members of their supply section is a different dichotomy than those of an infantry or artillery units. This is why the military in all branches have women serving in occupational roles such as in the supply shop. We dont have women in frontline combat units, its not because we are fearful of women or hate women. Its because there are specific psychological and emotional realities to a band of men under extreme stress in combat. This is something you would not comprehend since you have not stood in this position.

    And yes you are asking for the ability (its not a right) to brag about your sexual adventures. Thats what being “open” is about. The ability to walk around holding hands and kissing another man, the ability to discuss your sexual desires with other men. There is no other way to be open without verbally or physically displaying your sexual preference. Otherwise, you are keeping your sexual preferences and desires to YOURSELF… which is exactly what the policy is right now. And nothing is keeping you or any other homosexual from serving in the US Military. This is ENTIRELY about the ability to be “open”.

  19. J haplin says:

    Nathan:
    I appreciate the comment – I would however ask that the ad hominem attacks be kept to a minimum as this is a forum to speak intelligently on a subject of great importance to each of us and to our country. Further, attacking me for being: “oppressive,” “chauvinistic,” making “fag jokes,” “degrading women,” and making “racist jokes” is unwarranted an unfounded. I would never do such a thing. As is the assumption that it is my personal “unwillingness to allow others into [my] inner circle for fear that they will somehow elevate into something better” and that I have some hostility against gay people. In fact that would be quite dumb of me as I am homosexual and have experienced this very problem presented here first while playing sports, second while being in a fraternity, and now in my law practice.
    I am not advocating that this system is right; I am not advocating that it is equal or just; I am simply arguing that this is the system we have. It is built on human elements – to modify it based on pleas to egalitarian society, equality, justice or other country’s systems can and would serve to KILL off the exact men and women’s lives that are dedicated to SAVE US from those who would or do attack AND, subsidiary to that, it would serve as a detriment to the security of our country as a whole in that the military would be less effective at what it does.
    The problem is not racism or bigotry… the problem is, as it always has been, people. I should not have used the term ‘brotherhood” to explain the connection between people in a close-knit group. The term of art could be better surmised as a “web of trust.” The military NEEDS to build and maintain this web… it something I akin to a spider web that allows the military machine to succeed in that every individual works for the better of each other individual and thus the web/network as a whole. If the network works better, army personnel are not killed recklessly. Further, the web works better and thus protects our country better. If it does not, both the military and those doing the fighting would be diminished.
    To build this web, the military needs similarly situated people. That is how trust in any sect of society works. People who share common interests, common themes, common goals and, of course, “common sexuality,” easily bond. This is why when you go to a barbecue all the men go to one side and all the women go to another naturally. This is why football players seem to be the same type of guy… the same goes for fraternity players, poker players, or, even, Star Trek fans. It is a fact of humanity that cannot be ignored.
    In a sports team, or a fraternity, or the military… this bonding is necessary. That is precisely why all three go through some sort of “hazing” process: be it “Pledging” (in a fraternity), going through “Hell Month” (on a football team), or going through “Boot Camp” (in the Military). All three organizations NEED this and try very hard to attain it. Go talk to a fraternity president as to why they try to haze members which they need… go talk to a coach and ask why they are so abusive to the players they love… go and ask the military personnel why they do not want homosexuals to be “open” about their sexuality when the military has been on the forefront of equality for our country over the last century.
    The reason is: humiliation, common suffering, common pain serve as catalysts for people to bond together. Those catalysts are brought to actual fruition as a bond when the members going through are able to let go of the normal pressures of society and just exist. To do this you need commonality between members. This is why you see men who are super-masculine singing together, walking around naked together, etc. And once those bonds are formed… together the whole group has a network of bonds that protects them all and serves to make the machine of the group more successful; be it sports, fraternal, or military.
    As an example of bond-forming, I vividly remember one teammate of mine years ago putting “BenGay” cream in another guys jock-strap as a joke. He was pissed of course; I saw how painful it was for the guy. But he took it in good fun and got the other guy back by later throwing all his clothes into the street so the other guy had to go out in the road naked while the rest of us laughed. The two men are best-friends to this day.
    If a homosexual male was to touch and put cream in another man’s jock strap, or throw a guys clothes into the street and force him to walk around naked, the image changes. There is no bonding occurring as there is a sexual element. Maybe the homosexual wanted to touch the guy’s jock-strap or wanted to see a guy running into the street naked. The men would not take it as fun, but as crossing the line and sexual. This is the problem. Enter “open” homosexuals and there are now inherent boundaries created which affect the ability to bond; in short, the dynamic changes when someone from a homosexual perspective enters the web. By taking out the means to create the necessary web… the web is weakened or eliminated altogether.
    This is the problem that society faces. In sports we can demand that the system is equal. In fraternities we can do the same. In both, the demand does not affect much other than people’s comfort level. But when we are talking about taking lives of soldiers or in weaning the fighting power of the military (and possibly losing our country for inability to fight effectively) we cannot demand that the military just be equal and do what makes people and society more egalitarian. We must allow the military to do what is best to protect the people who risk their lives and our security as a country in general.
    While I appreciate the criticism Nathan, please get on your soap box by addressing the merits of the argument and not whether I am personally a bigot. Thank you.

    J

  20. J haplin says:

    EASIER TO READ VERSION … MY APOLOGIES FORUM

    Nathan:

    I appreciate the comment – I would however ask that the ad hominem attacks be kept to a minimum as this is a forum to speak intelligently on a subject of great importance to each of us and to our country. Further, attacking me for being: “oppressive,” “chauvinistic,” making “fag jokes,” “degrading women,” and making “racist jokes” is unwarranted an unfounded. I would never do such a thing. As is the assumption that it is my personal “unwillingness to allow others into [my] inner circle for fear that they will somehow elevate into something better” and that I have some hostility against gay people.

    In fact that would be quite dumb of me as I am homosexual and have experienced this very problem presented here first while playing sports, second while being in a fraternity, and now in my law practice.

    I am not advocating that this system is right; I am not advocating that it is equal or just; I am simply arguing that this is the system we have. It is built on human elements – to modify it based on pleas to egalitarian society, equality, justice or other country’s systems can and would serve to KILL off the exact men and women’s lives that are dedicated to SAVE US from those who would or do attack AND, subsidiary to that, it would serve as a detriment to the security of our country as a whole in that the military would be less effective at what it does.

    The problem is not racism or bigotry… the problem is, as it always has been, people. I should not have used the term ‘brotherhood” to explain the connection between people in a close-knit group. The term of art could be better surmised as a “web of trust.” The military NEEDS to build and maintain this web… it something I akin to a spider web that allows the military machine to succeed in that every individual works for the better of each other individual and thus the web/network as a whole. If the network works better, army personnel are not killed recklessly. Further, the web works better and thus protects our country better. If it does not, both the military and those doing the fighting would be diminished.

    To build this web, the military needs similarly situated people. That is how trust in any sect of society works. People who share common interests, common themes, common goals and, of course, “common sexuality,” easily bond. This is why when you go to a barbecue all the men go to one side and all the women go to another naturally. This is why football players seem to be the same type of guy… the same goes for fraternity players, poker players, or, even, Star Trek fans. It is a fact of humanity that cannot be ignored.

    In a sports team, or a fraternity, or the military… this bonding is necessary. That is precisely why all three go through some sort of “hazing” process: be it “Pledging” (in a fraternity), going through “Hell Month” (on a football team), or going through “Boot Camp” (in the Military). All three organizations NEED this and try very hard to attain it. Go talk to a fraternity president as to why they try to haze members which they need… go talk to a coach and ask why they are so abusive to the players they love… go and ask the military personnel why they do not want homosexuals to be “open” about their sexuality when the military has been on the forefront of equality for our country over the last century.

    The reason is: humiliation, common suffering, common pain serve as catalysts for people to bond together. Those catalysts are brought to actual fruition as a bond when the members going through are able to let go of the normal pressures of society and just exist. To do this you need commonality between members. This is why you see men who are super-masculine singing together, walking around naked together, etc. And once those bonds are formed… together the whole group has a network of bonds that protects them all and serves to make the machine of the group more successful; be it sports, fraternal, or military.

    As an example of bond-forming, I vividly remember one teammate of mine years ago putting “BenGay” cream in another guys jock-strap as a joke. He was pissed of course; I saw how painful it was for the guy. But he took it in good fun and got the other guy back by later throwing all his clothes into the street so the other guy had to go out in the road naked while the rest of us laughed. The two men are best-friends to this day.

    If a homosexual male was to touch and put cream in another man’s jock strap, or throw a guys clothes into the street and force him to walk around naked, the image changes. There is no bonding occurring as there is a sexual element. Maybe the homosexual wanted to touch the guy’s jock-strap or wanted to see a guy running into the street naked. The men would not take it as fun, but as crossing the line and sexual. This is the problem. Enter “open” homosexuals and there are now inherent boundaries created which affect the ability to bond; in short, the dynamic changes when someone from a homosexual perspective enters the web. By taking out the means to create the necessary web… the web is weakened or eliminated altogether.

    This is the problem that society faces. In sports we can demand that the system is equal. In fraternities we can do the same. In both, the demand does not affect much other than people’s comfort level. But when we are talking about taking lives of soldiers or in weaning the fighting power of the military (and possibly losing our country for inability to fight effectively) we cannot demand that the military just be equal and do what makes people and society more egalitarian. We must allow the military to do what is best to protect the people who risk their lives and our security as a country in general.

    While I appreciate the criticism Nathan, please get on your soap box by addressing the merits of the argument and not whether I am personally a bigot. Thank you.
    J

  21. leo says:

    USMC,
    Being openly gay means being able to tell people you are gay without fear of being fired. You are simply clouding the issues with your own insecurities. I know gay people who are firefighters, police officers, and work in other public safety jobs where other people’s lives including their comrades depend on them and they are openly gay with no issues. Openly gay does not mean behaving badly as you seem to think it means. It simply means being able to talk openly and honestly about who you are. C’est tout. I would suggest everything else is your issue as an insecure heterosexual.

  22. USMC says:

    leo,

    If you took a moment to read what you are saying you would see that it is not I who am clouding the subject. You are not speaking as a combat veteran, or a member of a military combat force.

    Police officers are not soldiers, a police officer can go home after his shift, shower at home, he is not forced to sleep in a hole with another police officer, nor is he forced to live with another police officer. These are civilian jobs, they do come with a certain amount of risk and danger, but the mean streets of Detroit ARE NOT comparable to that of Fallujah, Iraq.

    You are comparing apples to oranges. A firehouse is NOT a squad bay on a military installation. It is not a FOB in a forward combat position.

    I did not suggest that being openly gay means you behave badly. Telling other people that you enjoy sodomy is not in and of itself a “bad” example of behavior. Being openly gay DOES NOT mean you can tell people you are gay without fear of being fired. Being openly gay is a behavioral action. Whether you are desiring to get fired or not has no bearing on being openly gay. Youre trying to equate an ability to do and say whatever you want as a write without fear of reprisal. That does not exist for any of us.

    I as a straight man do not have the right to proclaim my sexual desires or preference in front of SEVERAL different elements of my command or unit, i certainly do not feel entitled to be able to do so without fear of being punished or any reprisal. This is to say, I do not have the right to tell my buddy about my latest sexual escapade, he can report that to my superiors in any number of ways, and I can be reprimanded. Its not a matter that I feel I should be protected from any result my actions may invoke, its whether or not those actions have intended or unintended consequences on the cohesion and combat effectiveness of my unit. And really, you continue to avoid this issue as if this doesnt matter. Why is that?

    What you keep denying is that acting openly gay means that you act in a manner that clearly verbally or physically demonstrates your sexual preferences or desires. There is no way around this. It doesnt mean you are crude about it, or act in a “bad” manner, but nonetheless you are projecting your sexual preferences and desires on the people around you. This is something that intended or unintended has consequences on the unit.. and it is a “right” which you do not have, nor need in order to serve your nation honorably in the US Military.

  23. admin says:

    Glad to see I’ve started such a vibrant debate! Please check back in the next couple days–I’ll be offering some replies in my next blog post. Have a great weekend! NF

  24. leo says:

    USMC,
    The point is that you CAN and WILL get fired in the military for being gay whether you act within the regulations or not. You will be fired simply for BEING gay. That’s the point you don’t seem to want to understand or acknowledge.

    Everything else you say is tripe and you assume a lot about me, such as my military status, current or present which you should not assume.

    I’ve never heard of a straight person not being able to perform his or her duty because someone in their unit is gay. I would say to that person that he or she is the one that needs to be discharged because they are the ones not able to focus on their jobs.

    As a point in fact, I have been to Fallujah, to Bagdad, and to Mogadishu so i do know what i’m talking about. bigot is as bigot does…

  25. leo says:

    One more thing and then I am done with this post. USMC and everyone else here who is homophobic, you should look within yourselves and ask yourself why it is you are this way. This is an issue you are going to have to deal with. The world is changing and gays and lesbians are gaining more and more rights which others take for granted. I am fortunate in my life to have lots of people around me who love and support me and I love and support my country in MANY ways through civilian and non civilian work. Remember that civil rights means standing up for the minority, for people who are not you. For those of you who profess to be Christian. This is what jesus preached as well and it is why he was a social outcast in his time. If you do not want people to hate on your religion then you should stop using your religion towards hate. It is not God or Jesus who hate us. Having created all people, God loves us all. It is you who hide your bigotry and hate behind religion and not only is that a perverted twist on religion but it is blasphemy as well.

    Cya, I’m taking my gay-ass out of here. I’ve had enough of this debate.

  26. J haplin says:

    I have agree with Leo. People who are fighting homosexuals in the military, or anywhere for that matter, for bigotry reasons (etc.) should look deep at themselves.

    However, that in no way eliminates the fact that people do not bond as well… and thus create the web as well… when there are homosexuals due to inherent human boundaries. And when that web is necessary to protect people’s lives, equality needs to take a back seat.

  27. USMC says:

    “The point is that you CAN and WILL get fired in the military for being gay whether you act within the regulations or not. ”

    This is false. If you act within the regulations there is no way for them to “prove” or “disprove” sexual orientation and by the law of dont ask dont tell, they cannot ask you sexual orientation.

    And the policy of “allowing gays to be openly gay” in the military is not the same as approving or allowing homosexuals to serve.

    “I’ve never heard of a straight person not being able to perform his or her duty because someone in their unit is gay. ”

    Neither have I, an outcast can perform their duties just fine, but having an outcast because of sexual orientation affects unit cohesion, not the ability of one individual to do any specific task. But this furthers the point. You see the military, or combat units as a collection of individuals doing individual tasks, and that is an incorrect assessment of a combat military unit. It is a team, a brotherhood, it is more than any ONE individual action, and trust of the group, throughout the group is vital. Once again you seem to dodge this issue like its the plague.

    Its almost as if youre suggesting that since you are gay, you should be able to profess it from the mountain tops and if people in your unit dont like it, then THEY should be blamed for human responses to specific situations where both of you will be naked together. Where both of you will have to sleep together. There is no choice for the other people to “get over it”, they are forced to be with it, and in a combat unit this type of distraction and problem and issues with trust because of the sexual preferences of another member may have fatal consequences and you seem to care less about that? Why is that? Why does that not concern you at all? These units are here to protect you and your way of life, homosexual or not, that is our purpose. Why are you not concerned that damaging the cohesiveness of that unit could cost people their lives?

    “As a point in fact, I have been to Fallujah, to Bagdad, and to Mogadishu so i do know what i’m talking about. bigot is as bigot does…”

    um… sure. I guess between giving your kidneys away and your status as global warrior you are indeed an intriguing story teller.

    “For those of you who profess to be Christian. This is what jesus preached as well and it is why he was a social outcast in his time. If you do not want people to hate on your religion then you should stop using your religion towards hate. It is not God or Jesus who hate us. Having created all people, God loves us all. It is you who hide your bigotry and hate behind religion and not only is that a perverted twist on religion but it is blasphemy as well.”

    As i mentioned before, it is not wise for homosexuals to denigrate, preach, or question the faith of those who disagree with them. It is the highest demonstration of ignorance.

  28. leo says:

    Being 57 years old, i’ve done many things….

  29. J haplin says:

    Age does not mean you have done much with you life. My grandmother at 87 has left her home all of 15 times in the last 20 years.

  30. bfree says:

    Let members of combat arms units vote on this. THEY, not US, have to deal with the life and death consequences of these decisions.

    The problem with the gay community is that they want to try to legistlate acceptance. What they fail to understand is that legal acceptance is not the same as social acceptance because it’s counter to the immutable laws of nature. Doesn’t make them bad people, but for a man to have sex with another man is considered perverse and just gross to most males. That’s just a fact and a real lack of trust and respect comes with that and that would weaken the fabric of the fighting unit.

    If YOU have not served in COMBAT, I’m sorry, you ARE NOT qualified to have contribute here.

  31. bfree says:

    I might mention that ZnSd mentioned growing up in and being married to but never that he or she has served in combat like many of us weighing in on this subject.

    Also, we all know that sexual relations in the military will take place. You are being ignorant and highly naive and like most left wingers who have never served, your intent is not to improve the military…it’s merely to try to exercise your power and piss people off that you don’t care for. It’s so transparent. Most liberals love body counts and say they support soldiers but relish and celebrate heavy losses because it serves their activist or political causes.

    However, I am most concerned with front line combat, team oriented, units where life and death decisions are made every day. Not REMF units where it is well knownn that many woman to woman relationships take place.

    I hope that one day the US can amicably split into two separate states..the one the dem’s live in where everyone is parented to, over taxed, looking for a handout from the government and with a dysfunctional military…and the other US that stands for accountability, encourages self reliance, rugged independence, entreprenuralism and with strong NON-POLITICALLY correct army.

    I’m not so sure that’s so far away…I hope not.

  32. admin says:

    As I said, i plan to post a reply in the next few days. But let me just share this one thought now about whether those who have not served in uniform get a place at the table of this debate:

    First, please keep in mind that the policy many of you are defending does not let me serve in the military, as I am an openly gay man. So the notion that you would further try to silence my input on the matter is kinda outrageous.

    I find that many from the military community resent “outside” input on this issue, and I understand that. Serving in the military gives you a unique perspective on these issues, but it doesn’t necessarily give you the right one. Or the last word. Many military members thought liberating Iraq would be a cakewalk and they were wrong; many thought we should not integrate the military and they were wrong; many routinely defend outdated or redundant weapons systems and military bases, and often civilians–who properly control the military–have to step in and say “enough.”

    Some of you served, and I respect that–you have something to contribute to this debate. I have studied this issue for ten years, and spent eight years earning my Ph.D. in history. You can mock “study” all you want, but those eighteen years give me knowledge that has value too, and so I have something to contribute to this debate. I have learned far more than most people about gays in the military, whether they’ve served or not. It’s just what happens when you spend this long becoming intimately familiar with a 4-page law.

    So let’s retire this idea that only the military can have input on what the military does–that’s what dictatorships are for.

    But don’t take my word for it anyway. As my book chronicles in detail, our own military has studied this issue for decades and found each time that openly gay service works. But they have tried to bury these results every chance they get.

    Below are ten studies that address BOTH foreign and U.S. military service with respect to sexual orientation, some by our own military research arms. More to come. NF

    1. The U.S. Navy’s Crittenden Report from 1957 which found that gays did not present a security risk.
    2. The Pentaton’s PERSEREC studies from 1988-90 which found precisely the same thing as the Crittenden report, and also concluded that the ban was unfounded and not based on evidence.
    3. An Army memo from 1991 recommending the ban be lifted.
    4. A 1992 draft report by the GAO suggesting that the military “reconsider the basis” of the gay exclusion rule.
    5. A 1993 GAO study of four foreign militaries, which found that: “the presence of homosexuals in the military is not an issue and has not created problems in the functioning of military units” and that practices with respect to gay service were consistent with policy.
    6. The 1993 Rand study prepared by over 70 social scientists based on evidence from six countries and data analyses from hundreds of studies of cohesion (not all were military) that concluded that sexuality was “not germane” to military service, and recommended lifting the ban.
    7. A 1994 assessment of the Canadian Forces by the U.S. Army Research Institute for the Behavioral and Social Sciences finding that predicted negative consequences of ending gay exclusion did not materialize following the lifting of the ban.
    8. The assessments of the UK Ministry of Defence calling its new policy of equal treatment “a solid achievement” with “no discernible impact” on recruitment and no larger problems resulting from reform.
    9. An assessment by a Canadian military office finding that there was no effect on readiness when the ban was lifted, despite enormous resistance and anxiety preceding the change.
    10. Four independent academic studies conducted by UC-Santa Barbara’s Palm Center finding that lifting bans in Britain, Israel, Canada and Australia had “no impact” on military readiness, that the situation of foreign militaries was relevant to the American policy discussion, and that negative attitudes almost never translated into service member departures, recruitment problems or other disruptions.

  33. J haplin says:

    I have to agree with Nathaniel that discounting the opinions of “academics” who have studied this matter is uncalled for and naive. The fact of the matter is that in order to solve any problem, this one or others, we need a multiplicity of views so we can see the whole picture. 18 years of experience studying the causes, effects, etc., of a matter brings something of uncountable value to the table to discuss.

    That being said… Nathaniel, you are also missing the same point and should take a dose of your own words. The men and women of the army also bring something, a lot of something, to the table as well.

    Studying something only gets you so far – ask any lawyer how well law school really prepared them to practice law for a great example. I know you will get the same answer no matter which lawyer you ask – law school really has only the faintest resemblance to the practice of law as “studying” and “doing” are two entirely different monsters. Each gets and misses some things. The same is true for your studies of homosexuals in the military.

    In tune with that… you should understand that all the “studies” above do not give your argument anything more than an academic notch in the belt. Yes, this commission said that or that study found this. And if you line them all up they sound correct and give your argument weight. However those studies and those conclusions are not the holy grail when it comes to making this, or any, decision.

    As another “real-life” example relative to this debate, 75 years ago all the academic studies said being homosexual was a mental disease. Dr.’s who spent their life studying it 100% believed they were looking for a cure to the disease. They were wrong – and you can be wrong with all of your studies listed above.

    The question is not whether it “should” work according to some people who study it; the question is whether it would in fact work in real life. If the answer could simply be solved by lining up studies we would not even be having this debate. Similarly, if the debate could be solved by simply talking to the men and women of the armed forces we would also not be having this debate.

    But studies and people’s experiences can both be dead wrong. My evidence is something of a hybrid… experience in other areas noting the inherent problem the men and women face when homosexuals enter military units. But that is no more right or wrong than other evidence. It is just evidence (even thought I strongly believe it – so much so that I would say I “know” it to be true – and can rally a lot of support for such).

    Which leaves us with… we need to try it and see who is right. But that involves a lot of risk.

    The risk we take by following those studies here is human lives and the security of the nation. If your studies are wrong – people die. It is that simple. The question really becomes what reward is gained by taking that risk?

    At best our population is comprised of 10% homosexuals (~2% according to the latest “survey” … but I assume a 400% increase due to the inherent “in the closet” phenomena homosexuals face). So, is the liberty of ~10% of the population to be able to TELL others openly they are homosexual, worth the possible lives of people which could be taken if your studies are wrong?

    In my opinion… when it comes to one persons feelings or ability to talk openly about their sexuality v. another persons life, I choose the latter. Life is too precious to waste.

    Until you can rebut the argument of the men and women of the military… and my/other arguments … FULLY with more than shoveled smoke you are going to get the same resistance to leave the system how it is.

    J

  34. USMC says:

    Nathaniel,

    I dont discount the academic contribution to this debate. There are things to be said about everything you mentioned.

    But here is where in my opinion there are debating tactics and “assumed” perspectives on your part…

    When you mention that the military was wrong about Iraq. This is a perfect example of an entirely non-relevant academic argument. Youre saying in general the military is not all knowing and always right… therefor YOUR argument MUST be valid. Do you understand what youre conveying with such a statement? Because the “military” leadership isnt correct 100% of the time, or tactically incorrect on Iraq, that must mean that you are, or at the very least could be correct on the issue of openly gay citizens serving in the military.. this is an actual reason you profess as giving credence to your argument. This is a bad way to approach any debate.

    I am in a combat arm of the US Marine Corps, its not hypothetical about what I tell you or what i convey as my actual opinion of what occurs within a unit. Im not citing any resources other than my own experience.

    Im not a General, no one will ever ask me about tactical decisions on the scale of an entire theater of operations. I make no decisions about what color, creed, or sexual orientations will be allowed to serve or not. I represent the 90% of the military that is affected by what you propose with 0% of the power to make ANY of the mistakes you reference as a reason to doubt what Im telling you.

    I have articulated specific reasons why this is a bad idea, you need no study or false logic to address these reasons. A study of what Canada did isnt addressing the very topics I have raised here. Your supporters naturally fall back on how much a bigot people like myself are, and how we need to re-evaluate religion.

    J haplin put it perfectly.. “when it comes to one persons feelings or ability to talk openly about their sexuality v. another persons life, I choose the latter. Life is too precious to waste.”

  35. bfree says:

    Well I’m afraid academic input doesn’t mean a rats ass to those solidiers breaking through the front door of an insurgents hideout. Combat is a unique experience you cannot debate at some cocktail party on a saturday night without actually having been there. And you haven’t, and haven’t understood the unusually bond and trust it takes to work as a highly motivated team, than you don’t have a say.

    The problem with academic types, I’ll say it, elitists, is that they always want their say, but they are never willing to put themselves in a position to be accountable. For the elitist’s, the thrill is in feelling they have won the intellectual debate.

    Well, I’m afraid that when it comes to the welfare of our troops, the LAST people I want debating on this are people who have not only “never served in combat” but who would not have the intestinal fortitude to make it through the first day of boot camp.

    Go read your books, and engage in your mental masturbation but when it comes to who our men want to fight with, that’s should be there sole decisions. Certainly not a bunch of gay activists who have no clue about the brotherhood of combat.

  36. admin says:

    bfree, a couple questions:
    1. There are over 2 million people in the U.S. military and they come from wildly different backgrounds and have countless different values and moral systems. Do you give a litmus test to all of them? Do you want us to believe you agree with the morals and values and behavior of all 2 million of them–such that you can maintain bonds of trust with them all–except for the gay ones, and you therefore have the right to exclude them?
    2. A lot of people think that gays and liberals are all about doing whatever they want, without regard to the whole community. But isn’t your support for the gay ban a matter of elitist military people who don’t “want” to serve with a certain group of people imposing their own desires on the whole? How is this different?

  37. bfree says:

    What is the real truth behind Nathan’s Crusade…allow me to speculate since I have an openly gay brothers insecurities I deal with every week.

    It goes something like this:

    Nathan grow’s up in a military family, a family who was very proud of it’s service to the nation.

    Unfortunately, because Nathan was gay he couldn’t actually serve (probably didn’t want to anyway) and although his family confesses their love and acceptance towards him, Nathan never really felt he measured up.

    So now Nathan is on his crusade to push for accceptance of openly gay men in the military so at his next Thanksgiving he can pound his chest and say “see, open gay’s are serving and I could have too” as he thinks to himself..”now please be proud of me, please, please, please truly accept me”. Nathan, come on, this is pitiful.

    Nathan, do not put at risk, our honorable and decent young men serving in combat units so you can try to satisfy your own personal issues. It’s selfish and it’s transparently adolescent. Try all you want to make this some type of intellectual issue..but we all see right through you.

    Everyone reading this article needs to know that Nathan’s underlying motive is not GAYS in the military..it’s personal acceptance. It’s acceptance…Nathan, I have something for you to read….MASLOW.

    Nathan knows it’s TRUTH.

  38. admin says:

    I think you’re confusing Nathan and Nathaniel. We are two different people.

  39. bfree says:

    Admin..I do not even find it necessary to answer any of your questions. They, by themselves show a real lack of understanding between general life and that of a combat soldier and unit.

    Again, the only people that should be making these decisions are those that will have to endure the consequences of them in combat. I say send it out for referendum among all combat soldiers and let them choose. If they say openly gay is ok, I will support it 100%.

  40. [...] are some of my thoughts in response to the spirited comments prompted by my last blog post, which was itself a response to some of the venom that poured fourth after my recent cnn.com op-ed. [...]

  41. Can't believe says:

    I just can’t believe all the hate in this chain of messages.

    I’ve never been in a combat unit, but I do serve with MPs. Although I’ve never been over seas, I was at the Super Dome when Katrina hit.

    None of that matters. People here are slicing and dicing what it means to be ‘openly’ gay, or a soldier, or Marine, none of that matters.

    All of those people against lifting DADT, how would you feel if you could never mention the person you love, or what you plan to do once you get back to State Side. If a gay military person speaks of his/her loved one, they can get fired. Bottom line is: Is this fair?

    I have no answers for how to solve the logistics of lifting this ban. I agree, there will be plenty.

    I do however feel it is past time for me to leave my military career. I’ve been in for 14 1/2 years and get so sick to my stomach from hiding I’m willing to give it all up just to not have to hide and be dishonest.

  42. George says:

    What if we took DADT to its extreme? What if we, as a country, decided that the military should be entirely desexualized? Would you accept that you should be fired for talking about the attractiveness of a woman or the one-night stand you had the previous weekend? Both of those statements, sexualize the work environment and, from a biblically standpoint, are adultery and sinful. (Matthew 5:28) That would certainly seem to assure that no sexual tensions were *expressed* in a military setting.

    Would that be OK?

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