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Thread: Homosexuality and Military Service (Merged thread)

  1. #321
    Council Member Fuchs's Avatar
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    May 2008


    Ironically, one of ancient units that emphasised cohesion the most was the Sacred Band of Thebes.

  2. #322
    Council Member Ken White's Avatar
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    May 2007

    Default A twofer...


    Heh. Me too. Despite holding an opposing POV myself, I have worked with plenty of Democrats, Republicans, evangelicals and atheists in my day and am fine with that part of them as long as they don’t go on about the genius of Rush Limbaugh, Paul Begala, Pat Robertson and Richard Dawkins...

    Fanatics of any stripe or type are dangerous and to be watchfully ignored.
    That sort of balance is a hard (impossible?) thing to try to arrive at via a one-size-fit-all policy, for sure.
    Any sort of true balance is extremely difficult to attain or maintain in a nation of over 300M diverse souls scattered over ± 3.8M square miles. Though to hear the big guvmint types, if they were in charge it'd be a snap.
    I’ve been in Fayetteville on a Friday night. I would say the bar for embarrassing incidents is set pretty high at this point.
    Huh? What do you have against good clean fun...

    As a participant in those games many years ago, BPC, when the pressure to be nice and to conform was nowhere near what it was post 1985 or so thanks to John Wickham, little that happened there ever embarrassed the Army because the national news media (a) knew at least something about the Army, (b) knew that testosterone imbalance was real but would pass and did not reflect on any institution, (c) knew that bar maids will be bar maids and most were not in or of the Army, (d) knew what was news and what was not, (e) didn't have time to waste on local stupidity. Today, things are different...

    Ironically, one of ancient units that emphasised cohesion the most was the Sacred Band of Thebes.
    True dat. Fortunately, that also was BPC -- and they didn't have a Congress full of persons who needed to remain in the public eye by focusing on anything that might help them do that...

  3. #323
    Council Member AdamG's Avatar
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    Dec 2005
    Hiding from the Dreaded Burrito Gang


    With homosexuals now able to serve openly in the military, the gay rights movement’s next battleground is to persuade the Obama administration to end the armed forces’ ban on “transgenders,” a group that includes transsexuals and cross-dressers.

    “Our position is that the military should re-examine the policy, the medical regulations, so as to allow open service for transgender people,” said Vincent Paolo Villano, spokesman for the 6,000-member Center for Transgender Equality.

    The Servicemembers Legal Defense Network (SLDN), which pushed to end the military’s gay ban, is urging President Obama to sign an executive order prohibiting discrimination based on “gender identity.”

    Have fun on thatpredictably slippery slope
    A scrimmage in a Border Station
    A canter down some dark defile
    Two thousand pounds of education
    Drops to a ten-rupee jezail

  4. #324
    Council Member
    Join Date
    May 2008

    Default Theban and Non-Theban "Bands"

    The Sacred Band of Thebes has been mentioned several times in this thread (history link from an earlier post). That mention shook open an old file drawer in my noggin - not about the Theban Band itself; but about a clever tactic used against a "Theban-type Band" in the Roman Games.

    I read Those About to Die (Ballantine, 1958), by Daniel P. Mannix, in the late 1950s. This lassoing tactic stuck in my head as being clever:

    (snip beginning here):

    After this first bout, there was a full-scale battle between the Essedarii in their chariots, with laqueurii (lariat throwers) riding with them, and Hoplite infantry in armor and carrying spears.

    The Hoplites were Greek mercenaries who fought for hire under their own officers, either against an enemy or in the circus. On entering the arena, the Hoplites formed a closed phalanx, the equivalent of the British hollow square that broke Napoleon's chasseurs eighteen hundred years later.
    (snip ending here):

    The phalanx was itself again, ready to meet the next charge of the Essedarii.

    Two chariots were coming in abreast now. Surely they intended to hit the phalanx full on, sacrificing themselves so the following chariots could plow through the broken line.

    The Hoplites braced themselves for the shock. At the last instant the chariots split, turning to left and right. The lariat man in the left-hand chariot threw his noose with the quick, underhand toss, aiming for a man in the rear rank.

    An officer cut the rope through with a single slash while it still hung poised in mid-air. He had served in the Near East and his sword was of Damascus steel. The other lariat man took advantage of the distraction. He had been playing his rope, doing a spin now known as the Ocean Wave, in an attempt to hold the Hoplites' attention and distract them from his friend.

    When he saw that his comrade's throw had been foiled, he instantly flung his own rope, leaning far over the side of the chariot and putting the whole force of his body into the motion, using his arm mainly to guide the rope. He caught a man in the fifth rank, jerked him off his feet, and began towing him through the other lines.

    Among the Hoplites, homosexuality was regarded not only as natural but as an idealized and noble relationship between an older and a younger man.

    In the phalanx, the young men in the front ranks each had a lover among the older men in the rear ranks. This situation was believed to increase the efficiency of the regiment for no man would run away and forsake his lover in a crisis. But the relationship also posed difficulties.

    As the Essedarius dragged his captive through the ranks, the man's boy-lover dropped his spear and threw himself on his friend's body to save him. The two men together cut a wide swathe through the ranks.

    An officer passed his sword through the boy's throat and the cry of "Dress ranks! Dress ranks!" went up from the officers and the non-coms alike. But the damage had been done. The phalanx was broken, and the yelling Essedarii were charging in from all directions.
    Now, (1) Mannix's book can be fairly classed as "popular history" or "historical fiction"; and (2) I do not present this as an argument against gays serving in combat situations. I don't think it likely that either Army or Marines are going to field a "Theban Band" at a "Restrepo".

    I can think, however, of a situation where close (straight) relationships were a material adverse factor to a "Non-Theban Band" - the 1975 collapse of many ARVN units who were tied locally to their families.

    I doubt that either of these issues (the "Non-Theban" being statistically much more likely) will be considered rationally or in an NPC mode.



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