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Old 11-29-2007   #1
Cannoneer No. 4
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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?

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Old 11-29-2007   #2
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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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Old 11-29-2007   #3
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Gee, that's not a loaded question is it? Not at all like "Have you stopped beating your wife?"

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Old 11-29-2007   #4
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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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Old 11-29-2007   #5
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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.


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Old 11-29-2007   #6
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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?
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Old 11-29-2007   #7
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Default U Boat identified the real problem

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

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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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Old 11-29-2007   #8
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Default Hashed, Rehashed, Reheated to death but not yet resolved

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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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Old 11-29-2007   #9
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It's ironic that the most ignored voices in the early 1990s during the discussions of the "Don't ask, Don't tell" policy, were the ones (like me) saying "DADT is de jure recognition of the de facto conditions".

Regarding the use of the word professionalism-
This is one of my personal hot buttons. What professionalism? What is professionalism for IBM, or Harvard faculty should be professionalism for the military? How asinine. In the profession of arms, the profession of breaking things and killing people, we are indifferent to whether the tie matches the hanky, and harsh language is a way of life, not a cause for a reprimand. Being fat is unprofessional to a soldier, but is the perogative of success in academia or corporate America.

Let's make a deal. Soldiers won't hold civilians to military professional standards (like fitness and competence with arms) if civilians don't try to apply their standards of professionalism to the military.

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Old 11-29-2007   #10
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Default Why the big question?

We ask our Soldiers every day to work with people who have different beliefs and backgrounds every day. The truth is that Homosexuals are in the military right now and are serving next to heterosexual in every capacity.
The Judeo-Christian argument is out since we allow Muslims; Hindu, Buddhist and even Satanist into the military. If you are a Jew or a Gentile or a member of any other main stream religion and can serve along side a Satanist. Then you should be professional enough to serve alongside a openly gay soldier.

Sexual orientation is not an indicator of how well a person will do in battle.

Why can we not let openly gay people serve in the Military? I for one would not be bothered by them in any way.

What is the real question?
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Old 11-29-2007   #11
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Default That's a relatively fair question

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Originally Posted by Cannoneer No. 4 View Post
Are the units with which we will fight small wars ready NOW to accept OPENLY homosexual members without issues?
As there are more than one million service members, you may need to address your problem with all of them to extract an accurate polling. Personnaly, I can deal with anyone so long as they don't take their orientation to work. Firing a weapon and being physically fit has little to do with what takes place at home or in social settings without a uniform.

Since you claim to be a 'tanker' from the cold war era (which, BTW, includes more than half of the folks herein), what's your take (you often pose the question without touching on a solution)?

Our Admin was openly gay and sadly degraded his position and authority by doing so (including foreign females complaining about his obscure behavior at work). He was otherwise a great administrator, but refused to leave his orientation at home.

…it’s a question of ethics and professional behavior.

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Originally Posted by Cannoneer No. 4 View Post
Is not Politics In The Rear an appropriate place to discuss politics in the rear?
I think Steve was trying to be diplomatic (which he was).
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Old 11-29-2007   #12
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Frankly, I don't think having gays openly serve in the military significantly affects combat effectiveness, nor do I think a DADT policy makes any sense at all from a security point of view.

Indeed, with regard to the latter, concealing one's sexual identity might be grounds in Canada for denying access to shared US intel material.. how's that for irony? Then again, we have same sex military marriages performed by military chaplains.

More to the point, combat effectiveness does not always trump core issues of human rights. I'm reminded that "combat effectiveness" and unit cohesion was also used as an argument for racial segregation and discrimination in a previous era....
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Old 11-29-2007   #13
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Our nations military in some cases, has been "progressive" on race matters earlier and better compared to society. I am thinking here of when we abolished segregated units during the Korean war, albeit out of necessity, the mother of innovation.

The military allowing open homosexuality, would increase the divide between the military and society. Making the military more virtuous, even society as increasingly accepts homosexuality. This divide, being something our founding fathers told us to weary of, as being detrimental to our republic.

Where does this angle lay in the debate?
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Old 11-29-2007   #14
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Just to be clear, the policy is Don't Ask, Don't Tell, Don't Pursue. The last piece was a modification to the original policy that took effect a few years back. So exactly how "openly" gay does someone have to be to get the boot?

A soldier can subscribe to a homosexual publication, frequent a homosexual nightclub, be seen entering a hotel with another man, etc., but the command cannot do anything about it - it is a violation of the policy to even question the soldier about any of these things. Even if he comes out and confesses to a fellow soldier and that soldier gets upset and tells the command, the command is not supposed to follow up on that in any way.

There are only two ways in which a soldier can be booted out for their orientation: be caught in a homosexual act or put in writing that he (or she) is a homosexual and run it up through a bureaucratic process confirming their sexual orientation several times prior to the actual chapter taking place. A soldier has to work at it to get kicked out for being gay.

There are many homosexuals serving in the military whose fellow soldiers are well aware of their orientation, and it doesn't become an issue. There are others serving who stay very much in the closet, not so much because of the broader policy, but because of their fear of the reaction of their fellow soldiers. The real issue for the average homosexual soldier is down at unit level, and not really at the policy level.

During my time at DLI doing my last year prior to retiring, the gay soldiers I observed being given the boot were consciously trying to get out of the Army. They fell into two categories. The first were the slackers and cowards, who decided that Army life was not for them (or the thought of being deployed into a combat zone after graduation scared the hell out of'em), and that declaring homosexuality was an easy out. Still a lot of red tape, but faster than the old "food-for-freedom" route (which was eventually closed).

An extreme case was a female who first tried to get out on a combination of APFT failure and food-for-freedom. Unfortunately for her, TRADOC had just directed no more chapters for those issues unless there were other disciplinary problems involved. So all she succeeded in doing was obtaining a personalized, tightly supervised and much more intense personal PT program. So, she next went and tried to work the installation shrink to get a psysch chapter. Well, that takes a long time - and once she realized how long and involved it was, she gave up. And immediately submitted a written document to the commander stating that she was a lesbian and could not continue to serve. A couple of formal interviews up the chain and a bunch of paperwork later and she was gone.

Another group was perhaps unusual to DLI; these were the parasites - they'd wait until they were about to graduate from the course, and then declare their homosexuality and get themselves kicked out after having completed nearly two years of world-class language training at taxpayer expense.

So, I see it mostly as a political football. The larger issue of recognizing gay partners, gay marriage and all those things is something that has yet to be settled at the national civilian level. I agree with Bourbon in that I feel the military is not the place to be moving forward with such things until and unless a standard is set that all states and the majority of Americans accept.
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Old 11-29-2007   #15
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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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Old 11-29-2007   #16
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Default My take, Stan

is that openly homosexual soldiers will no longer be an issue when the greater society from which the soldiers come no longer stigmatizes sodomy.

Some Neanderthal politically incorrect knuckle draggers resist the idea, questioning why they have less right to privacy than females.

DADT will go away shortly after the next Democrat C-in-C takes office.

The reason I posted it on this forum is because a Clinton political operative with 42 years of military service had his YouTube question aired during the Republican debate and was also present in the audience to ask the question again. The political use of retired military officers to advance social engineering agendas was what interested me.
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Old 11-29-2007   #17
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Default Thanks ! Here's mine

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Originally Posted by Cannoneer No. 4 View Post
is that openly homosexual soldiers will no longer be an issue when the greater society from which the soldiers come no longer stigmatizes sodomy.

Some Neanderthal politically incorrect knuckle draggers resist the idea, questioning why they have less right to privacy than females.
Good question. But, I wasn’t specifically targeting what those ‘oriented’ folks do ‘off duty’ and I hope, ‘out of uniform’. Expressing one’s sexual preference in the work place is unprofessional and should never be tolerated. I’m well over 50 and work around very young and available females. Am I then (in my orientation) permitted to display desire? That’s fairly weak Sierra for a male or female in the US Military.


We do not eat where we Sierra and we do not Sierra where we eat…period. This is not an MOS-related issue; the rules apply across the board.


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DADT will go away shortly after the next Democrat C-in-C takes office.
That very well may be the case, and the US Military will have to once AGAIN deal with the issue.

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Originally Posted by Cannoneer No. 4 View Post
The reason I posted it on this forum is because a Clinton political operative with 42 years of military service had his YouTube question aired during the Republican debate and was also present in the audience to ask the question again. The political use of retired military officers to advance social engineering agendas was what interested me.
I like that twist a smigin better and I hate the use of military in political debates. If we were not at war and the politicians had nothing more than the cash in their pockets, those so-called candidates would have little better to discuss than what Bill does with his Cubans
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Old 11-29-2007   #18
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Default LMAO Military Not Social Engineering

I was about to write something both agreeing and disagreeing with certain points made here, but, I saw the above statement so many times, I felt laughter bubbling out uncontrollably.

Beyond the "desegregation", we are talking about a military where women's auxiliary corps were integrated into the main force. We are talking about the military that then opened up certain "combat" MOS and other MOS that could be rightfully construed as being near or absolute in all but name combat MOS (MPs? convoy truck drivers, combat medics, etc, etc, etc).

But more than that, we are talking about the military that cut cigarettes out of rations. Has a drug and alcohol rehab program. Is considering removing pornography, in all its forms, from the AAFES. Has instituted BMI, height and weight standards. Gives 5,000 (exaggerated) vaccines for every type of illness known to man. Will discharge members for domestic violence. Has laws that make single or divorced members give up custody of their children, automatically pay support, provide health insurance, etc

This is a short list of things I can come up with off the top of my head. Ostensibly, all of these things are to effect a more disciplined and physically capable force, amounts to "social engineering".

Pardon me, though, if I have an unrestrained moment of amusement over continued assertions that the military does not "do" social engineering.
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Old 11-29-2007   #19
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Default If the Democrats win...

Kat, that was soooo good, that some democratic candidate will use it...mark my word...,and he/she will win

Quote:
social engineering
Well put !
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Old 11-29-2007   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kehenry1
....Is considering removing pornography, in all its forms, from the AAFES....
Considering?! Its been done. It went from covered shelves (yes, plural - some PX's had quite a selection), to covered magazines on covered shelves, to reducing the selection to Playboy, now its game over. Unless you consider Maxim pornography (Well, some PX/BX still carry Playboy, but that's not really porn either).

And you forgot to mention that soldiers are now sent into a hostile fire zone for a year and longer under prohibitions against sex and drinking for the entire time. So for many, its either risk a career to unwind or keep it all in until you blow.

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Hell, it gets ridiculously frustrating sometimes. Almost a decade ago I had one of my SSGs receive a Field Grade Art 15 for having a drink with a source in the Balkans. All of our pleading about local culture, source rapport etc. was dismissed by the Bn Cdr in his "zero tolerance" approach. (Just to be clear - the guy wasn't drinking. He nursed a drink while the source was drinking. Anybody who's worked that AO knows there are many people who won't trust you if you don't have a drink with'em. Just like sitting down to drink tea with a source in the ME.)
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