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    Council Member Cannoneer No. 4's Avatar
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    Default Homosexuality and Military Service (Merged thread)

    "Why do you think U.S. troops aren't professional enough to serve with gays and lesbians?"

    Question asked last night at Republican Debate by Brigadier General Keith Kerr, California State Military Reserve, (ret.)

    Watch http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rFHobluLlFg&feature=user 00:48

    Duncan Hunter's response at 01:30

    I believe in what Colin Powell said when he said that having openly homosexual people serving in the ranks would be bad for unit cohesion. And the reason for that, even though people point to the Israelis and point to the Brits and point to other people as having homosexuals serve, is that most Americans, most kids, who leave that breakfast table and go out and serve in the military and make that corporate decision with their family, most of them are conservatives, and they have conservative values, and they have Judeo-Christian values, and to force those people to work in a small tight unit with somebody who is openly homosexual, who goes against what they believe to be their principles, and it is their principles, is I think a disservice to them and I agree with Colin Powell that it would be bad for unit cohesion.

    General Kerr has remained active on the issue since his groundbreaking 2003 disclosure and last summer took a position on a steering committee of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender Americans who support New York Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton

    Our troops are professional enough to tolerate all that duty demands. The question to me is, do we gain more good soldiers by tolerating open homosexuality than we lose?
    Last edited by Cannoneer No. 4; 11-29-2007 at 01:54 PM.

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    Council Member tequila's Avatar
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    Default They already do, and always have ...

    The only question is whether or not gays/lesbians in the military should not have to hide their sexuality, or alternatively framed, be free to declare their sexuality.

    IMO this issue is rapidly growing moot and will not be a genuine issue in 15 years. Not worth spending time on - the direction of the national culture will determine this in the end.

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    Council Member Tom Odom's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by tequila View Post
    The only question is whether or not gays/lesbians in the military should not have to hide their sexuality, or alternatively framed, be free to declare their sexuality.

    IMO this issue is rapidly growing moot and will not be a genuine issue in 15 years. Not worth spending time on - the direction of the national culture will determine this in the end.
    Agreed. Unfortunately it will still be used as a political tool.

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    Council Member Cannoneer No. 4's Avatar
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    Default Found the transcript

    http://www.cnn.com/2007/POLITICS/11/...rt2/index.html

    Brigadier Gen. Keith Kerr (Ret.): My name's Keith Kerr, from Santa Rosa, California. I'm a retired brigadier general with 43 years of service. And I'm a graduate of the Special Forces Officer Course, the Commanding General Staff Course and the Army War College. And I'm an openly gay man.

    I want to know why you think that American men and women in uniform are not professional enough to serve with gays and lesbians.

    Cooper: I want to point out that Brigadier General Keith Kerr is here with us tonight. I'm glad you're here.

    (Applause)

    Again, the question to Congressman Hunter.

    Hunter: General, thanks for your service, but I believe in what Colin Powell said when he said that having openly homosexual people serving in the ranks would be bad for unit cohesion.

    The reason for that, even though people point to the Israelis and point to the Brits and point to other people as having homosexuals serve, is that most Americans, most kids who leave that breakfast table and go out and serve in the military and make that corporate decision with their family, most of them are conservatives.

    They have conservative values, and they have Judeo-Christian values. To force those people to work in a small tight unit with somebody who is openly homosexual goes against what they believe to be their principles, and it is their principles, is I think a disservice to them. I agree with Colin Powell that it would be bad for unit cohesion.

    Cooper: I want to direct this to Governor Huckabee.

    Thirty seconds.

    Huckabee: The Uniform Code of Military Justice is probably the best rule, and it has to do with conduct. People have a right to have whatever feelings, whatever attitudes they wish, but when their conduct could put at risk the morale, or put at risk even the cohesion that Duncan Hunter spoke of, I think that's what is at issue. And that's why our policy is what it is.

    Cooper: Governor Romney, you said in 1994 that you looked forward to the day when gays and lesbians could serve, and I quote, "openly and honestly in our nation's military." Do you stand by that?

    Romney: This isn't that time. This is not that time. We're in the middle of a war. The people who have...

    Cooper: Do you look forward to that time, though, one day?

    Romney: I'm going to listen to the people who run the military to see what the circumstances are like. And my view is that, at this stage, this is not the time for us to make that kind of...

    Cooper: Is that a change in your position...

    Romney: Yes, I didn't think it would work. I didn't think "don't ask/don't tell" would work. That was my -- I didn't think that would work. I thought that was a policy, when I heard about it, I laughed. I said that doesn't make any sense to me.

    And you know what? It's been there now for, what, 15 years? It seems to have worked.

    Cooper: So, just so I'm clear, at this point, do you still look forward to a day when gays can serve openly in the military or no longer?

    Romney: I look forward to hearing from the military exactly what they believe is the right way to have the right kind of cohesion and support in our troops and I listen to what they have to say.

    (Audience booing)

    Cooper: All right. General Kerr is -- as I said -- is here.

    Please stand up, General. Thank you very much for being with us.

    Did you feel you got an answer to your question?

    Kerr: With all due respect, I did not get an answer from the candidates.

    (Applause)

    Cooper: What do you feel you did not...

    Kerr: American men and women in the military are professional enough to serve with gays and lesbians.

    For 42 years, I wore the army uniform on active duty, in the Reserve, and also for the state of California. I revealed I was a gay man after I retired.

    Today, "don't ask/don't tell" is destructive to our military policy.

    Every day, the Department of Defense discharges two people, not for misconduct, not for the unit cohesion...

    Cooper: Wait, the mike is -- you've lost me. Is the microphone not working? Please, just finish your -- what is your question?

    Kerr: Not for the unit cohesion that Congressman Hunter is talking about, but simply because they happen to be gay.

    Cooper: OK. Senator McCain ...

    KERR: And we're talking about doctors, nurses, pilots, and the surgeon who sews somebody up when they're taken from the battlefield.

    Cooper: I appreciate your comments.

    Senator McCain, I want to give you 30 seconds. You served in the military.

    McCain: General, I thank you for your service to our nation. I respect it. All the time, I talk to our military leaders, beginning with our joint chiefs of staff and the leaders in the field, such as General Petraeus and General Odierno and others who are designated leaders with the responsibility of the safety of the men and women under their command and their security and protect them as best they can.

    Almost unanimously, they tell me that this present policy is working, that we have the best military in history, that we have the bravest, most professional, best prepared, and that this policy ought to be continued because it's working.
    Last edited by Cannoneer No. 4; 11-29-2007 at 03:33 PM.

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    Moderator Steve Blair's Avatar
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    This seems more suited (IMO) to a political discussion forum for the most part. The issue has been hashed, rehashed, and reheated to death. Tequila and Tom both make good points. Now, to redirect, what impact does this policy have on our ability to fight Small Wars?
    "On the plains and mountains of the American West, the United States Army had once learned everything there was to learn about hit-and-run tactics and guerrilla warfare."
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    Council Member Cannoneer No. 4's Avatar
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    Default Hashed, Rehashed, Reheated to death but not yet resolved

    Quote Originally Posted by Steve Blair View Post
    This seems more suited (IMO) to a political discussion forum for the most part. The issue has been hashed, rehashed, and reheated to death. Tequila and Tom both make good points. Now, to redirect, what impact does this policy have on our ability to fight Small Wars?
    Are the units with which we will fight small wars ready NOW to accept OPENLY homosexual members without issues?

    Is not Politics In The Rear an appropriate place to discuss politics in the rear?

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    i pwnd ur ooda loop selil's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by SteveMetz View Post
    Now that's the Mother of All Straight Lines!!! MUST.....RESIST....TEMPTATION....
    Muwahahahha he said "STRAIGHT!!"

    Seriously, from everything I've seen in the last 20 years the problems/politics/decisions aren't a military one. It's a civilian crisis not a military one. So being asked of future political leaders is likely the right place. What I want to know is when they will openly allow women to server in combat arms and stop the silly facade that women don't see combat (both in the media and in the promotion process). That does have to do with small wars and asymmetric warfare. When the battle field is the "time" and not the "place" chosen by the enemy there is not rear echelon.
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    Default U Boat identified the real problem

    Gee, that's not a loaded question is it? Not at all like "Have you stopped beating your wife?"

    SFC W
    Ha, your right, who can honestly discuss this issue in our divided nation? Years of hate radio and T.V. (both left and right) have politicized this issue beyond reason. With the exception of a few and rather loud red neck types, most not in combat arms (imagine that), I really don't think the majority of Soldiers I worked with, or work with now, care if a guy (or gal) is gay or not. There were guys in past units that I served in where the rest of us knew they were gay, but never thought much about it as long as they performed, and in these cases they did. It would have been a different story if he or she openinly paraded the fact though. I really don't want to work with a CPL Klinger, so I'm not sure why the current don't ask, don't tell policy is so unacceptable unless certain gays want to make a political issue out of their sexuality. If that is the case they need to do it elsewhere, because we have more important things to do in the military.

    I think the real issue is a Soldier's sexual behavior, not his/her orientation. Obviously a sexual predator, gay or straight, will do much harm to morale, and the services have had their share of straight sexual predators. For example, if I deploy to combat and have to work with female Soldiers attached to us (medical, CA, staff, etc.), it is essential that they don't fear wokring with me because I'm straight. We're professional partners, I can't accoust them, wink at them, or make unprofessional statements that make them uncomfortable. The same would have to apply to gays.

    Maybe the way to really decide this issue is take a survey, because with all due respect, a four star officer probably doesn't have the creds on this issue when he/she says they are speaking for the force. As one of you stated it is cultural issue, and the 30 and below gang probably represent the culture better than us 50 and above types. What does the force really think?

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    Council Member CR6's Avatar
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    Default I'm not so sure...

    Quote Originally Posted by tequila View Post
    The only question is whether or not gays/lesbians in the military should not have to hide their sexuality, or alternatively framed, be free to declare their sexuality.

    IMO this issue is rapidly growing moot and will not be a genuine issue in 15 years. Not worth spending time on - the direction of the national culture will determine this in the end.
    Maybe I'm out of it since I spend my life at echelons above reality now, but as little as eight years ago hostility towards anything or anyone perceived as homosexual was prevasive. Case in point, the murder of PFC Barry Winchell at Campbell back in 1999.

    http://query.nytimes.com/gst/fullpag...l,%20Barry%20L.
    "Law cannot limit what physics makes possible." Humanitarian Apsects of Airpower (papers of Frederick L. Anderson, Hoover Institution, Stanford University)

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    Council Member Ken White's Avatar
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    Default Aberrations always occur when humans are involved.

    Quote Originally Posted by CR6 View Post
    Maybe I'm out of it since I spend my life at echelons above reality now, but as little as eight years ago hostility towards anything or anyone perceived as homosexual was prevasive. Case in point, the murder of PFC Barry Winchell at Campbell back in 1999.

    http://query.nytimes.com/gst/fullpag...l,%20Barry%20L.
    As long ago as the 1950s through the late 70s in a number of infantry units, both Marine and Airborne, there were always Gay guys around and they were never a problem. Best Mess Sergeant I ever knew was as as gay as the proverbial three dollar bill and was campy as well -- Everyone in the 504 knew he was gay, Colonel on down. He spent his weekends in Raleigh and his weeks feeding great chow.

    I have known literally dozens of them, ranging from (probably) an Army three star through (certainly) an SF LTC, a couple of Army Majors a Marine Captain and a whole bunch of lower ranks.

    Not one ever had or was a problem.

    Winchell was an aberration in a Division not noted for the greatest discipline in the world (and in which I served twice when it was still on jump status).

    There have been others elsewhere and such things will always occur; they aren't the norm.

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    Council Member Rob Thornton's Avatar
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    Winchell was an aberration in a Division not noted for the greatest discipline in the world .
    When I was a PL in D/1/187th we (my section leaders, PSG and I) covered down on that platoon as an OC team during that BDE's DIV sponsored EXEVAL about a month or two before PFC Winchell was killed. Our observation was that there were significant command climate problems throughout that company, and there was a lack of mistrust and unit/individual discipline. When leaders cannot or will not work together only bad things will come of it.

    Best, Rob

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    Council Member CR6's Avatar
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    Default I understand and respect your points...

    Quote Originally Posted by Ken White View Post
    As long ago as the 1950s through the late 70s in a number of infantry units, both Marine and Airborne, there were always Gay guys around and they were never a problem. Best Mess Sergeant I ever knew was as as gay as the proverbial three dollar bill and was campy as well -- Everyone in the 504 knew he was gay, Colonel on down. He spent his weekends in Raleigh and his weeks feeding great chow.

    I have known literally dozens of them, ranging from (probably) an Army three star through (certainly) an SF LTC, a couple of Army Majors a Marine Captain and a whole bunch of lower ranks.

    Not one ever had or was a problem.

    Winchell was an aberration in a Division not noted for the greatest discipline in the world (and in which I served twice when it was still on jump status).

    There have been others elsewhere and such things will always occur; they aren't the norm.
    My point, using the extreme and disturbing case of PFC Winchell as an example, is that my short 15 years in the military I have witnessed or heard of more hostility towards the idea of openly gay personnel than acceptance of it. I'm not so naive as to think they are not serving. A guy in my platoon at airborne school went on to become the first openly gay member of the AZ state legislature a few years later.

    That being said, when DADT was a big issue in the early 90s, the hostility towards the idea of openly gay guys serving brought out a lot of ugliness whenever I heard the topic discussed among soldiers at Bragg. 15 years and two wars later, maybe it's not such a big deal anymore.
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    Council Member Tacitus's Avatar
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    CR6: Your recollections of the attitudes towards the prospect of gay and lesbian soldiers pretty much mirrors mine. I've never been to Ft. Bragg, but I was in from '90 - '94, and spent most of my time with the Big Red One.

    I never heard anyone express any racial prejudice. Most of the male soldiers did not have any problems with female soldiers. Among those that didn't have much respect for women in uniform, it wasn't unheard of to hear them say that they were probably lesbians. But I routinely heard some pretty hostile talk, even threats against any hypotethetical homosexual soldiers. Even from NCOs.

    I never had a problem with someone else's sexual orientation. I never perceived it as a threat to myself. But I had met gay and lesbian students in school before, so it was not such an alien thing to me. I honestly think that some fellas have led lives so sheltered that they never knew any gay or lesbian people, and had all kinds of notions about them.

    Anyway, I knew enough to shut up when the gay bashing was going on in the platoon, lest I be accused of wrongly being one. Self preservation can sometimes trump personal opinions, you know.
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    Council Member Ken White's Avatar
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    Default The talk has been fairly consistent over the years.

    Quote Originally Posted by CR6 View Post
    My point, using the extreme and disturbing case of PFC Winchell as an example, is that my short 15 years in the military I have witnessed or heard of more hostility towards the idea of openly gay personnel than acceptance of it. I'm not so naive as to think they are not serving. A guy in my platoon at airborne school went on to become the first openly gay member of the AZ state legislature a few years later.

    That being said, when DADT was a big issue in the early 90s, the hostility towards the idea of openly gay guys serving brought out a lot of ugliness whenever I heard the topic discussed among soldiers at Bragg. 15 years and two wars later, maybe it's not such a big deal anymore.
    So has the action -- virtually nil other than a very, very occasional eruption like the Winchell incident. That one, like many in the civilian world, as likely as not brought about by our incompetent media concentrating on a non-event on slow news days.

    Troops talk, bitch and moan. Like civilians, they'll harp on the topic du jour. Like the civilian world, some will act on their ranting. They will also smokestack and talk a lot of trash -- most of it needs to be noted but it rarely leads to much action. What they do, as opposed to what they say, matters. In the Army, decent, sensible leadership contains it, that simple.

    I've got a serving son and another who was a Falcon (his brother and I have never held that against him ) and I live in a military town and talk to the kids occasionally so I stay reasonably abreast of the current attitudes. Todays kids are at least one notch above the 90s variant and about three or four notches above those around when I retired 30 years ago. You don't even wanta contemplate the 1950 version on the couth and acceptance scale...

    Your last paragraph is very appropriate and correct, I think, attitudes are softening on the topic in the civilian realm, so too will they in the Green Machine. Reflection of the society from which they come...

    The most significant problem with unfettered Gay acceptance, I suspect, will be on the subject and in the area of married enlisted quarters. Some of the more forceful wives can decide a bad example for their children is being set then the FSG and community honchos will really have fun...
    Last edited by Ken White; 12-01-2007 at 02:20 AM.

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    Council Member Uboat509's Avatar
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    Gee, that's not a loaded question is it? Not at all like "Have you stopped beating your wife?"

    SFC W

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    Council Member Tacitus's Avatar
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    Duncan Hunter's response at 01:30

    ..most Americans, most kids, who leave that breakfast table and go out and serve in the military and make that corporate decision with their family, most of them are conservatives, and they have conservative values, and they have Judeo-Christian values, and to force those people to work in a small tight unit with somebody who is openly homosexual, who goes against what they believe to be their principles, and it is their principles, is I think a disservice to them...

    Back to Hunter’s statement, specifically, he claimed.

    1. Most of the “kids” in the military are conservatives.
    2. Conservatives, who have Judeo-Christian values, would be forced to go against their values if they served with homosexuals, and would be a “disservice” to them.
    3. Therefore, conservatives in the military have veto power over this question of gays or lesbians in the armed forces.

    I’m just curious how many people around here back Hunter’s statement, in particular, on why they should be excluded.

    Are these in fact the armed forces of the United States of America? Which presumably would generally coincide with the characteristics of the population at large.

    Or should this be renamed the armed forces of Conservatives of America, Republicans of America, or Evangelical Protestants of America?

    I am not persuaded by the argument that "we conservatives in the military would consider it a disservice to serve with <insert whichever group, race, class, color, creed, religion here that you don't want to be around>, so they can't." Any others besides gay and lesbians that, like the Irish, Blacks, Jews back in the day, need not apply?
    Last edited by Tacitus; 11-30-2007 at 05:11 PM. Reason: can't type
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    Council Member Stu-6's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tacitus View Post
    Duncan Hunter's response at 01:30

    ..most Americans, most kids, who leave that breakfast table and go out and serve in the military and make that corporate decision with their family, most of them are conservatives, and they have conservative values, and they have Judeo-Christian values, and to force those people to work in a small tight unit with somebody who is openly homosexual, who goes against what they believe to be their principles, and it is their principles, is I think a disservice to them...

    Isnít this a little like saying most of the people at the country club are white so it is unfair to force them to accept anyone different?

    If you would be a little nicer to the gays maybe the conservatives would have to do all of the work. Or maybe we would find out that there are plenty of people who are willing and able to serve who just donít care about stuff like that.

    Besides there is no longer a draft no one is forced to work with anyone. . . you don't like it Burger King is hiring.

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    Council Member tequila's Avatar
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    Hunter's claim seems to run a bit contrary to my own recent experience at the School of Infantry at Camp Lejeune, N.C., where some enterprising soul took the trouble to wallpaper the interior of all three bathroom stalls for my platoon with some quite interesting hardcore pornography, to the general approval of the squadbay. Perhaps the Rangers were more pious in the 1960s?

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    Council Member Ken White's Avatar
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    Default Hunter's out to lunch, like most Pols.

    you can't pay much attention to anything those squirrels say.

    The Armed forces are a reflection of the society from which they come; same percentage of crooks, liars, con-men, eagle scouts, gay, straight, totally irreligious, evangelicals, jews, catholics etc. etc.

    There are a few such as Hunter describes, the vast majority are not. There are a few who are offended by gays, the vast majority could care less as long as it doesn't become an issue.

    Tequila's got it right.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Ken White View Post
    you can't pay much attention to anything those squirrels say.

    The Armed forces are a reflection of the society from which they come; same percentage of crooks, liars, con-men, eagle scouts, gay, straight, totally irreligious, evangelicals, jews, catholics etc. etc.

    There are a few such as Hunter describes, the vast majority are not. There are a few who are offended by gays, the vast majority could care less as long as it doesn't become an issue.

    Tequila's got it right.
    I'm with Ken on this. Some years ago a new 2Lt (out of OCS) was asked by his CO to look into whether an enlisted man was gay. He asked the platoon sergeant. The answer was that everyone thought so, but the guy was damn good at his job, didn't ghost, took showers after everyone else and after one or two social beers, took off on his own (private) activities after duty hours.

    The 2Lt then asked, So we don't have a problem?

    The platoon sergeant answered, Not unless you create one.

    The 2Lt decided he had more important concerns than a witch hunt.

    That has pretty much summed the entire situation up for me.
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