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December 27, 2010

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"However, it's always been there. You can't wish it away. The military tends to recognize that you would find all of this unappealing and troops are trained to put on a polite face in front of you and the ugliness is largely kept out of sight and out of the media."

I certainly have no trouble believing this on all sorts of issues. It's what bureaucracies tend to do in general, even (or especially) the well-armed ones. But on the gay/gender issue I don't know that it has to be that way, as you claim. To take the racism comparison, I know you reject it, but a couple of generations ago (or even more recently) a lot of gung-ho Southern whites who might have served enthusiastically would have been vehemently opposed to fighting side-by-side with black soldiers. That prejudice was overcome, so I'm not sure why sexist attitudes couldn't. It might take awhile, of course.

Incidentally, avedis, I've stayed out of the argument, but most of the hostility you received came from your own initial approach--go back and take a look at your first post (I think) in the previous thread and it basically reads something like --You're all a bunch of lefty fruitcakes and you believe in global warming too, you morons--. (I started to put quotes around the paraphrase, but Gary wouldn't like it.) It's a great way to ensure a hostile response. Then some of your comments sounded sexist and/or homophobic. It didn't sound like you were just giving your view of how young Marines think (which might or might not be accurate), but that you were in some sense defending it. There's a difference between asserting that young men under certain conditions have a tendency to be sexist and homophobic (which might or might not be true) and saying it has to be that way and it's a good thing too. You blurred the distinction.

There's a bit of a paradox here. What you're saying about the military is what I'd expect to hear from a hardnosed, slightly self-righteous pacifist and antiwar activist on the far left, but you presented it in the persona of some rightwinger defending the necessity of having a Marine Corps of trained sexist killers.

to McK Texas: First, thanks for making reasonable and polite comments. Not all do.

Second, since you keep referring to your generation as having perspectives on this issue that younger commenters may not share, allow me to chip in. I'm in my mid-60s: same generation as you, perhaps? Served in the US Army, long ago, though not in combat. Married to the same woman 40+ years.

And I am NOT revolted at homosexual behavior, nor in my experience are most of my friends. In the most spectacular refutation, a huge contingent from the college/community choir showed up to sing at the "commitment ceremony" of two fellow choristers (let's call them John & Wayne). It was a wedding in every respect except name and law, this being a state that still doesn't recognize gay marriage. But we all showed up, and celebrated their union.

I'm not denying that many men feel otherwise, but my experience refutes your claim that this is somehow "hard-wired." So does the historical/anthropological observation that there are many societies in which a "stage" of homosexual relations is actually customary for ALL men, most of whom wind up married. Ancient Greece has some of the best-known, and the tradition that men *should* go into battle alongside their gay lovers, because it would encourage them to show greater bravery!

This of course does not prove that DADT should be (should have been) repealed. But I hope it puts paid to arguments against it based on the simplistic views that (1) all "straight" men are automatically revolted by homosexual behavior; and/or (2) warriors must be not just straight, but actively gay-aversive.

These are simply untrue as generalities. If they are true for particular subsets of nation, age, and/or profession, then they are the product of particular cultures - and cultures can be changed, if we want.

I was thinking it was more an exhibition of pointlessness, russell.

To wax personal, for no particular reason, some people here may recall that my editing/publishing experience includes a military history line, a military fiction line, particularly of WWII, Korea, and Vietnam, and I've read literally thousands of books and manuscripts of such, all written by veterans, which means I directly worked with many of them on their books.

Fewer may be aware of amount of time I spent in the late Seventies working, as my full-time job of the time, for SEA-VAC, the Seattle Veteran's Action Center, which was the primary non-profit, organized and run by Vietnam veterans, Seattle center at the time for veterans to go to do find help with their problems, and just to be among fellow veterans.

I didn't not listen, nor not talk to vets.

In summary, I've personally spent thousands of hours, talking to hundreds and hundreds of veterans, both some of the most articulate alive in my lifetime, and those too traumatized to even speak coherently, or much at all, for over thirty-two years, plus worked on huge numbers of military history books -- incidentally, my best friend spent many years as editor of the Military Book Club, and I spent plenty of time in his office, and still am in contact with him multiple times a day much of the time, like, say, today -- and the reason I did this professionally may actually relate to some interest in affairs military, including grunts, jarheads, and warriors of every type -- not fobbits, and a past where, just as a hobby, I've read several thousand books on military topics.

None of which approaches being in one second of combat, or being in boot camp for a week. I actually have some grasp of that, curiously enough.

But it all goes to show, along with all that I've previously mentioned, and linked to, I obviously am unfamiliar with, and hate all things, military, including the Marines.

Repeat: none of which approaches being in one second of combat, or being in boot camp for a week.

Repeat: none of which approaches being in one second of combat, or being in boot camp for a week.

It's all just second-hand knowledge, whether orally, or in writing.

I'm entirely aware of the difference. It would be impossible for me not to be entirely aware of the difference.

But I do have one or two clues. Of course, Hack wouldn't know anything about combat.

(And, no, he didn't approve of women in combat, either; that's not the point; neither is he someone I ever worked with; I've simply read most of what he's written, along with thousands of other warriors, talked to them, etc.)

A handful of names of people's whose books I did have something to do with: Michael Herr, Dispatches. (Just on the re-issue, to be sure.)

Gustav Hasford (didn't have personal contact other than reading his personally typed manuscript when he submitted it to us, and I desperately tried to get us to publish The Phantom Blooper, which didn't happen because, in essence, Hasford's legal problems.)

If you haven't read that, or heard of him, you should, and read The Short Timers.

Vietnam vets can reality-check, and non-vets can be educated. Just one guy, two very short novellas.

But I could keep going.

By wacky non-coincidence, Dispatches and The Short-Timers were the basis of a little-known film called "Full Metal Jacket."

Again: books are books, films are films, reality is reality, combat is combat. I'm not in the least asserting otherwise.

Another not entirely obscure author I worked with wrote the book of this movie, as well as his own various other books on his Vietnam combat experience.

And on and on through endless numbers of veterans. And the many books of military history, because I was specifically responsible for working on the entire Vietnam War, and WWII, and military history lines as my job.

Mind, I was the primary or acquiring editor on only one; I don't want to puff my credentials; all the other books and manuscripts I worked on were in a junior/subeditorial position, or in other cases, merely copyedited, or even just proofread.

Nonetheless, this meant going over hundreds of published books, and many hundreds of then or never-published works, with the author, not infrequently at length. And reading thousands of submissions. Many very good to wonderful.

None of which equals ten seconds in combat, or a week in boot camp.

But I just hate, hate, hate the military, and never listen to anyone who is a warrior.

Lastly, I repeat myself, with variant words: if anyone truly respected military men they would read MAJ Olmsted's Final Post, look at the links on the upper right of this blog, click through, read some of them, and wonder just why such a man, who died in the line in Iraq, might have chosen to post on this blog.

Rather than blather about how no one is reading their links.

But speaking of links: Special Reconnaissance Regiment:

Special Reconnaissance Regiment

The Special Reconnaissance Regiment (SRR) is a relatively recently formed special forces unit of the British Army, specialising in surveillance and intelligence gathering operations. The secrecy surrounding the SRR is even greater than the SAS or SBS, with very little info about the unit leaking into the public domain.
Special Reconnaissance Regiment - Role and Organisation

It is believed that one of the main roles of the SRR is to support SAS/SBS special operations by providing close target reconnaissance, surveillance and 'eyes-on' intelligence. The regiment employs state-of-the-art electronic surveillance gear to eavesdrop on their targets.

Little is publicly known about the SRR's size or structure. Recent press reports have put the regiment at company size - around 150 operatives. The SRR is believed to be based alongside the SAS at RHQ Credenhill, near Hereford.

It has been reported that the SRR sometimes deploys as a Specialist Reconnaissaince Detachment, or 'SpR Det', which has a focus on a specific task.(1)
Special Reconnaissance Regiment - Selection and Training

Following a grueling selection process, SRR operatives are trained in the arts of surveillance, photography, close quarters battle (CQB) and advanced driving. (see 14 Company section for more details of such training). With the shift of emphasis to operations in the Middle-East, SRR operatives are likely to become proficient in Mid-Eastern languages such as Arabic and Farsi.

The SRR recruits from all 3 UK arms of the military. It is the only UKSF regiment to include women in operational roles.

Pansies.

In our previous discussion re; repeal of DADT some commentors were tossing out various articles in the UCMJ like it is going to have an impact on post repeal sexual behavior.
You are wrong there, avedis. They were citing the UCMJ to prove how your claims that DADT repeal would grant gays special rights within the military that straights wouldn't also have were false.

@McKinneyTexas:

After a night's sleep, I agree that I was unreasonably judgmental and made unwarranted assumptions about you.

I still firmly disagree about how much of the reaction you describe is hard-wired rather than socialized. And I still trust my information sources. But there are better ways to say so.

Here's what I see.

Right now, today, it's highly likely that there are gay people serving, in combat arms, in the Marines, Army, and other services. When I say "highly likely", I mean it's virtually certain. They are in combat, now.

They are serving alongside of straight folks.

As certain as I am that gay folks are serving in combat, I am equally certain that at least some of the straight folks serving with them are aware that they are gay.

Maybe there are lots and lots of incidents of straight vs gay conflict going on that we just don't hear about, but to the casual observer (i.e., me) I'm not seeing psychosexual apocalypse going on.

It would appear that folks in the armed forces, including Marines serving in combat missions, are capable of dealing with gays in their midst.

The difference between DADT and no DADT will be that we can all stop pretending that the gay folks are there. They're there now, folks know they're there, they just have to pretend they're not.

On the topic of troops not firing on the enemy:
Do the studies mentioned by posters here have something to say about distinguishing shots not being fired due to killing inhibition and those due to lack of opportunity or withheld due to rational decision? There is an interesting fact about the Battle of Königgrätz (one of the largest of its era) that the number of rifle shots fired was roughly equal to the number of participants despite several units running dangerously low on ammo (iirc each infantry soldier on the Prussian side carried 60 cartridges). The surprising conclusion is that a vast majority did not fire their rifles more than once or even not at all and that in a battle not known for people mostly staying around doing nothing. So, which part of the soldiers were 'killing inhibited'. Not firing back even when under fire can be a complex decision and in the special case above a factor that came into play was clearly the paranoid fear of conservative parts of the Prussian military leadership that brechloaders would lead to reckless waste of ammo => extreme emphasis during training to keep fire discipline.
---
On those 'effeminate' gays: A recent 'argument' (not used by anyone here!) against gays in general is the ridiculous claim that Hitler totally relayed on gays because only they would be vicious, tough and cruel enough to take on the world. Would that not be a reason to establish yet another military branch? One could call it the Gayserks and send them in even before the Marines ;-)
---
Personally, I consider many sexual practices used by 'normal' straight people to be extremly disgusting. Do I have problems with straight people I have to suspect engage in those practices on a regular base? No, and there is the fast forward option in prawn* when they inevitably show up.
I would also not feel fully comfortable, if straight people would engage in sex in my presence unasked ;-)

*as usual, I don't know whether the correctly spelled word triggers any filters

My problem is with the characterization of sexual interaction in the military as a predator/prey kind of thing. Aside from reminding me of that horrible storyline in Star Trek Voyager, it suggests to me that the military is not doing a very good job in its training. Predator/prey may work when combating actual enemies, but shouldn't they make a distinction when it comes to other situations, not only with women soldiers, but with civilians they may encounter along the way? It may be simpler and more efficient to stereotype anyone outside the military unit as "prey," but it may also prove to be counterproductive in the long run.

as usual, I don't know whether the correctly spelled word triggers any filters

We'll probably get spam for seafood restaurants.

I'm very interested to see what the practical effects of the DADT repeal will be in the coming months and years. I imagine it will mainly result in a lot of gays in the military feeling a lot less stress about losing their jobs, and not much more. We'll see, and the need for theories will have ended. That's a bit of a wet blanket for a comment thread on a blog, I guess, but there it is.

"The surprising conclusion is that a vast majority did not fire their rifles more than once or even not at all and that in a battle not known for people mostly staying around doing nothing."

What would be surprising would be if any military historian or student of the military were unfamiliar with S. L. A. Marshall's foundational Men Against Fire.

His work has had its methodology clearly challenged and found to be faulty, but his conclusions remain almost entirely undisputed, and have been standing wisdom and taught in all U.S. military schools, to be best of my limited knowledge, since 1947.

In short, Marshall's methods weren't scientific, but more anecdotal, and he exaggerated that.

The basic truth he asserted remains common wisdom, however accurately or inaccurately (I'm inclined to believe with the range of reasonable accuracy, but, as I said, there are serious questions, and serious students should look into the matter of fire ratios themselves).

I'd recommend Men Against Fire, and then Grossman, along with John Whiteclay Chambers II's Parameters critique.

Key point of Marshall:

[...] In an average experienced infantry company in an average day's action, the number engaging with any and all weapons was approximately 15 per cent of the total strength. In the most aggressive companies, under the most intense local pressure, the figure rarely rose above 25 percent of the total strength from the opening to the close of the action.

Men against fire: the problem of battle command, Samuel Lyman Atwood Marshall, Chapter V: "Ratio of fire."

new topic less, emotionally charged topic....maybe we can all get along?

I find Marshall's stat.s to be unbelievable.
1. I don't think victory in the Pacific would have been achieved with those firing rates. The Japanese certainly weren't hesitant to use their weapons.
2. Accounts of combat in the Pacific that I have read - memoirs like Sledge's - have everyone firing.
3. It would be a senior NCO's specific job to make sure - especially given troops new to combat - that everyone is doing his job (i.e. firing). He would watch the line like a hawk and square away anyone failing to be combat effective. If there were low firing rates, then the NCOs weren't doing their jobs and if the NCOs weren't doing their jobs, then the whole system breaks down. Defeat would be inevitable under those circumstances.

That being said, there are things some men would be/should be doing other than firing their individual weapons. Some would be NCOs more focussed on what I described above than pulling triggers themselves. Some would be ammo bearers. Some would be stretcher bearers. Some would be assisting on crew served weapons.

I think that it is possible that in the European theatre firing rates could have lower. There troops faced German armor and an M1 simply isn't going to do much good against a panzer attack. You would merely give away your position and get killed if you fired at armor. And then there's that whole difference between marine Corps volunteers and their training versus Army conscripts and their training, but I don't want to over emphasize that :-)

For the points I made above, I thnik Marshall would be off re; the Army in Europe as well.

Finally, it seems that his 1947 published stat.s resulted in a sort of consulting job for Marshall. I sense the possibility of a motive to under-report firing rates.

In addition to what Gary says here I'd just like to add that Marshall's method of gathering soldiers together after a battle and asking open ended questions to elicit responses where people chime in details at random is not a very methodologically sound method for gathering accurate data. It does, however, make for cracking good narratives, which was, after all, SLAM's official job. Related to this, I'd recommend the first chapter of John Keegan's The Face of Battle as well for his helpful analysis of military history writing fashion.

Short answer for Hartmut's excellent and crucial question, the details of which can be worked out from Gary's links -- SLAM didn't study firing rates. He got soldiers together and asked them how many of them had fired their weapons. He did not seem to ask them why the did or did not fire. And Grossman asserts that SLAM's findings have been upheld by every study since, but Grossman fails to identify any of these studies or do any analysis of their data or conclusions, which is why I asked if anyone knew of any reliable studies because I have yet to see anything that I think passes muster.

avedis:

The USMC has found that instilling and reinforcing this mindset is an ingredient for successfully perpetuating the finest and proudest fighting outfit in the world. It has worked for over 200 years. I don't think that it would be a good idea to start messing with a proven formula. Certainly not now.

Calling your service "the finest and proudest fighting outfit in the world" is IMHO equivalent to calling your father "the greatest father in the world". It expresses an emotional truth that is important to you, but it has next to no empirical value.

When I read through the report on the effects of gay-acceptance in the Canadian Forces, the word that keeps jumping out is "professionalism". At all levels, including combat troops, the Canadian military has found that sexual orientation just isn't that big a deal. As one said:

When there’s a combat situation and you have to defend a position, or you have to go on patrol or whatever, then the most important thing here is to be able to achieve the order you receive. The sexual orientation doesn’t have anything to do with that. Not for one fraction of a second.

Canadians seem, by comparison to American troops who've talked about the issue, to be less emotional and more professional about the stresses of combat.

Dr S,"Calling your service "the finest and proudest fighting outfit in the world" is IMHO equivalent to calling your father "the greatest father in the world". It expresses an emotional truth that is important to you, but it has next to no empirical value."

Oh man, I am disappointed I find that crack as being ignorant and juvenile......then you tell me which branch of any service of any country has operated at the same tempo, generation after generation, and has a record of achievements equal to the US Marine Corps.

The Canadians? Ah yes, their tiny noble little Army has done exactly what since its inception? Compare to the Marines'. And, as I keep saying, Canadians are not Americans. They are far more liberal in many ways throughout their society.

D-Day? The invasion of Narmandy? The Marines experienced something similar, proportionately, every few months 1942 - 1945. Tarawa, Iwo Jima, Peleliu, Saipan, Guam, Gaudelcanal, Okinawa, etc, etc.......any similar actions on the Canadian's part? A disaster at Dieppe comes to mind.....anything else you can think of Dr S.?

I'll toss another twist at you; one beyond this idea of a "rape culture".

When you sign up for the military - Marines included - they tell you that they accept recruits regardless of race, creed, color, religion......but in boot camp you find out that doesn't stand. Your personal identity as any of that, African American, Catholic, Muslim can and will be used against you. You are first and foremost a Marine. If you need to have a religion, the Corps will issue you one and it may not be one of your liking or the one you came in with. You are not an African American. You are a dark green Marine. Some recruits have an issue with that....."this recruit is an atheist. He does not believe in the existance of god" will result in severe punishment. "This recruit is a Muslim" will get you punished and a major and very unpleasant interegation on why you don't believe in Our Savior Jesus Christ.

There is no right answer to anything other than what the DI says. What you hold dear will be stripped from you.

So I am wondering what happens when the DADT repeal goes into effect. Being gay is an identity that potentially separates or identifies the individual as, well, an individual. I am sure the DIs are going to ask who is gay and I am sure some gay guy, wanting to make a political statement is going to reply in the affirmative and there is going to be hell to pay. Does it end up in court? In the media? How do the other recruits that have had their personal identities stripped from them feel if the gay guy gets special consideration? That is a potential breakdown of culture and cohesion that goes beyond this feminist rape culture thing.

The marines are sublime. The indoctrination is uniquely intense. It is a form of brainwashing and it is meant to be total. And it woks. It produces real killing machines.

Why do we want this?

Because, throughout the past few hundred years of European/American history - until most recently - Naval power has been the expression of imperialism. Marines are Naval infantry. In imperial wars men will be asked to kill people that have not attacked their homeland; people who they have no beef with. However, there can be no morality based hesitation when the order is given to kill. Marines are the empire's hired killers.

Furthermore, being naval infantry, they are the first in. They are often outnumbered and asked to succeed against overwhelming odds in favor of the "enemy". No other large force trains for this kind of mission. Certainly not the Canadians.

Honestly, a "good Marine" is not that far removed from a kamakazi or suicide bomber in mentality. Again, the Canadians and other Armies just don't go that far (excepting the much smaller SOFs like the SAS, Spetznatz, SEALS....but those are for entirely different and smaller scale missions).

Finally, there are reports that there have performance issues on the Canadian's part in Afghanistan. True or not, they are not doing the heavy lifting.

Because, throughout the past few hundred years of European/American history - until most recently - Naval power has been the expression of imperialism. Marines are Naval infantry. In imperial wars men will be asked to kill people that have not attacked their homeland; people who they have no beef with. However, there can be no morality based hesitation when the order is given to kill. Marines are the empire's hired killers.

If I didn't know better, I'd think you were arguing for the abolition of the Marine Corps.

Hogan,

The Marines don't start the fights. The politicians and their wealthy backers do. It is they who need the Marines to do their dirty work. Get rid of them and we can have a force that is more like Canada's.

but Hogan, what fruits of empire are you willing to live without if that happens?

The argument that Canada is a more liberal society throughout concedes that what we are talking about here is culture not human nature.

You can not argue that a certain view of sexuality is hardwired with being ready for combat and argue that how Canadian soldiers feel doesn't matter because Canadians are more liberal.

Your link of dehumanization and effectiveness/toughness is popular but IMO mistaken and certainly not proven. While you are entiteled to your opinion about that you aught to acknowledge that it is your gut instinct, supported by certain military forces’ practices, and not proven. Unfortunately my view isn't proven either.

But there is support for it, people higher in empathy suffer less from PTSD. IMO rigidity is fragile. (I should dig up a cite for this).

what fruits of empire are you willing to live without

The dismissal of non-military solutions to diplomatic problems.

The deaths of innocents.

The costs of occupying foreign countries.

The aftermath of having imposed tyrannical regimes on those countries.

http://gradworks.umi.com/32/30/3230345.html

This one was found somewhat at random but gets the general idea across.

http://www.socialworkcontinuingeducation.com/courses/contentUR/secUR09.htm

It's not clear where this one is getting its information from but seems reputable.

stat.s

What does this mean? Shorthand, of some sort? I've seen you use this before, but thought it was a typo.

But I just hate, hate, hate the military, and never listen to anyone who is a warrior.

I come from a very different place than Gary does. The military is my customer, and I have fairly regular contact with them.

Sometimes they're wrong. Frequently, in fact. It's my job to listen to them, investigate, and then communicate my findings. Sometimes they're right, too. Frequently, even. But I never, ever take their word for it, because they're human beings, and therefore fallible, and not one of them understands the kind of engineering that I do the way I understand it. I also never, ever dismiss what they have to say, because they're my customer, and because I respect what they do, and because word of mouth is usually our first indication that things are not working as intended.

Not very many of my customers are Marines, though, because Marines usually wind up on the short end of the funding stick.

The USMC has found that instilling and reinforcing this mindset is an ingredient for successfully perpetuating the finest and proudest fighting outfit in the world. It has worked for over 200 years. I don't think that it would be a good idea to start messing with a proven formula. Certainly not now. Maybe never.

Argumentum ad antiquitatem. Plain and simple. That this methodology has worked for the USMC does not in any way prove that it is the only possible working, let alone best, methodology.

Also, what DrS said about the significance of your claim that the USMC is the finest military organization in the world holds true. That it is the proudest dwarfs even this former claim in narcissism: it requires absurdly blinkered navel-gazing, is not even vaguely provable, and for that matter is wholly independent of said first claim. Just sayin'.

Canadians seem, by comparison to American troops who've talked about the issue, to be less emotional and more professional about the stresses of combat.
This has not been my experience. How many Canadian troops have you spoken with, in person, and how many American?

Me: approximately 12-15 Canadian military personnel, comprising, to the best of my memory, ~3-4 officers, ~7 enlisted.

Approximately, best guess, 1200 to 1500 American military, 300 to 400 officers, 900 to 1200 enlisted.

To be sure, mostly rather some years ago, though by no means entirely; at least 8-14 were in January of 2008, and at least an equal number between 2002-2008. A drastically smaller sample, but, again, not proportionally different in my own very limited experience.

I'm not counting written correspondence, phone calls, nor simply reading writing, of course. I couldn't begin to estimate those numbers, and it's an entirely different thing to read the writing of someone you've never met, though it can still be, of course, a deeply moving and powerful experience, just as all writing can have such power, or more.

Though Sturgeon's Law does apply.

I've found tremendous variability among American troops, approximating the variablility found among the general population of Americans over the age of 17.

My sampling of speaking with Canadian military is, obviously, vastly smaller, but I haven't encountered any noticeable differences.

The American military personnel I've spoken with have been, due to circumstances, approximately 95-97% combat experienced, best as I can estimate/remember.

The Canadians were, I think, about 8-9 combat experienced, and 2-4 not.

Perhaps others might chime in with their experience, particularly those who have actually served.

I could email at least a couple of Canadian officers who have served in Afghanistan to ask them to comment, if that would be helpful. Bruce Rolston would be the first person I would ask, and it's highly likely, in fact, hell, I'll drop him an email now.

Okay, done. Whether it's a bad time for him, or whatever, I couldn't possibly say, and thus the odds are against his dropping by, but it was easy enough to ask, and a nice excuse to drop a line to someone I've not been in contact with in too long.

but Hogan, what fruits of empire are you willing to live without if that happens?

Snarkiest answer: cheap bananas from Guatemala.

Less snarky answer: If I end up saving from the tax reductions from dismantling our imperial defense structure, but have to pay something more like the market price for oil, would I come out ahead or behind? Please show your work.

I mean, since I'm not a shareholder in Halliburton or in Blackwater (or whatever the hell they're calling themselves this week), I'm not sure what "fruits of empire" actually accrue to me personally. Other than bragging rights, what exactly is my cut?

I take your point about our corporate overlords, which was also made by that great Marine Major General Smedley Butler. But it may also be true that if we deprive them of the tool (or at least make sure the tool isn't subsidized with tax money), the job is less likely to look profitable.

[...] The Canadians? Ah yes, their tiny noble little Army has done exactly what since its inception?
Canadian Forces casualties in Afghanistan.
The number of Canadian Forces' fatalities resulting from Canadian military activities in Afghanistan is the largest for any single Canadian military mission since the Korean War between 1950 and 1953. A total of 154 Canadian Forces personnel have been killed in the war since 2002.

[...]

Senior Officers (officiers supérieurs)
Colonel 1
Lieutenant-Colonel 0
Majors 3
TOTAL 4
Junior Officers (officiers subalternes)
Captains 6
Lieutenants 3
TOTAL 9
NCM Senior Rank (Rangs supérieurs)
Chief Warrant Officer 1
Master Warrant Officer 1
Warrant Officers 6
Sergeants (17 Sergeants, 1 Petty Officer 2nd Class) 18
TOTAL 26
NCM Junior Ranks (Rangs subalternes)
Master Corporals 14
Corporals (53 Corporals, 2 Bombardiers) 55
Privates (30 Privates, 10 Troopers, 1 Gunner, 5 Sappers) 46
TOTAL 115
TOTAL 154
[edit] Fatalities by cause
Cause Number
Enemy action
Improvised explosive devices (IEDs) or land mines 96
Rocket-propelled grenades or small arms or mortar fire 22
Suicide bomb attacks 12
TOTAL 130
Non-enemy action
Friendly-fire 6
Vehicle accidents 6
Helicopter accidents 2
Accidental falls 2
Accidental gunshots 2
Suicides 2
Unspecified 3
Illness 1
TOTAL 24
TOTAL 154

[...]

Figures released by DND in December 2009 show that the total number of Canadian soldiers injured and wounded in nearly seven years of war reached 1,442 by the end of December.[171] 913 of these are listed as NBI (Non battle injuries) and 529 of these are listed as WIA (wounded in action).

Following a policy change at the beginning of 2010, the Canadian military began to withhold all injury reports, releasing only statistics after the end of a calendar year, citing security reasons.

Every name is listed, and many details on most deaths.

Context: Coalition casualties in Afghanistan:

As of December 22, 2010, there have been 2,204 coalition deaths in Afghanistan as part of ongoing coalition operations (Operation Enduring Freedom and ISAF) since the invasion in 2001. [...] In addition to these deaths in Afghanistan, another 28 U.S. and one Canadian soldier were killed in other countries while supporting operations in Afghanistan. [...] During the first five years of the war, the vast majority of coalition deaths were American, but between 2006 and 2010, a significant proportion were amongst other nations, particularly the United Kingdom and Canada which have been assigned responsibility for the flashpoint provinces of Helmand and Kandahar, respectively. This is because in 2006, ISAF expanded its jurisdiction to the southern regions of Afghanistan which were previously under the direct authority of the U.S. military.

With 704 Operation Enduring Freedom and International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) deaths, 2010 has been the deadliest year for foreign military troops since the U.S. invasion in 2001, continuing the trend that has occurred every year since 2003.

In 2009, there were 7,228 improvised explosive device (IED) attacks in Afghanistan, a 120% increase over 2008, and a record for the war.[4][5] Of the 512 foreign soldiers killed in 2009, 448 were killed in action. 280 of those were killed by IED's.

National Inventory of Canadian Military Memorials (NICMM).

Some Canadians.

What Canada's military has done.

Operations database.

[...] Clicking on any region will display a list of operations.
I'll just do Middle East. You can go to the above pages and click links on each operation for details.
CF Name International Name Location Start Date
BATON BATON Iran 12/9/1978
Gulf War Kuwait, Iraq 8/2/1990
Lebanon 1975 Lebanon 1975 Lebanon 10/9/1975
CALUMET Multinational Force and Observers Egypt 8/3/1981
DESERT THUNDER I & II Operation DESERT THUNDER I & II Iraq 1/24/1998
DETERMINATION Operation DESERT THUNDER I & II Iraq 1/24/1998
IRAQI FREEDOM Operation IRAQI FREEDOM Iraq 3/19/2003
IRIS Operation IRIS Iraq 6/2/2003
Operation LION Lebanon 7/18/2006
NORTHERN WATCH Operation NORTHERN WATCH Iraq 1/1/1997
PROVIDE COMFORT Operation PROVIDE COMFORT (I) Iraq 4/6/1991
REGARD Operation PROVIDE COMFORT (II) Iran, Iraq and Turkey 4/9/1991
ASSIST Operation PROVIDE COMFORT (II) Iran, Iraq and Turkey 4/9/1991
SPONGE Operation SPONGE Saudi Arabia 2/11/1991
PROMENADE PROMENADE Persian Gulf 2/9/1995
IOLAUS United Nations Assistance Mission for Iraq Iraq 8/14/2003
DANACA United Nations Disengagement Observer Force Syria 5/31/1974
GLADIUS United Nations Disengagement Observer Force Syria 5/31/1974
United Nations Emergency Force I Sinai 11/5/1956
UNEF I Evacuation (Air) United Nations Emergency Force I Sinai 11/5/1956

TUNDRA United Nations Emergency Force I Sinai 11/5/1956
RAPID STEP United Nations Emergency Force I Sinai 11/5/1956
United Nations Emergency Force I United Nations Emergency Force I Sinai 11/5/1956
READY LIFT United Nations Emergency Force I Sinai 11/5/1956
United Nations Emergency Force I Sinai 11/5/1956
DANACA United Nations Emergency Force II Egypt 10/25/1973
BUGLE United Nations Emergency Force II Egypt 10/25/1973
ANGORA United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon Lebanon 3/19/1978
VAGABOND United Nations Iran-Iraq Military Observer Group Iran and Iraq 8/20/1988
United Nations Observer Group in Lebanon United Nations Observer Group in Lebanon Lebanon 6/14/1958
FORUM United Nations Special Commission Iraq 4/3/1991
United Nations Yemen Obervation Mission United Nations Yemen Observation Mission Yemen 6/11/1963

May I ask how many Canadian troops have you served with in combat to any degree, or witnessed in combat, or were in the same area of combat?

How many Canadian troops have you personally met?

What is your direct personal experience and knowledge of Canadian troops and the Canadian military, approximately? Indirect? Other?

Reading on Canadian military and battle actions of the last, oh, ten years?

Other?

It would be helpful to know what your specific basis of comparison is, and relevant knowledge base. Thanks if you might feel like clarifying this.

Would you like more detail in response to to your query?

I'd be happy to help.

Look here:

1.) If having gays in the military will degrade its operational capability to ANY significant degree, I say: Why not? If our military is so degraded, perhaps we won't threaten to use it so often.

2.) If the cause of "the gay" is more genetic than environmental, then excluding gays from the military will (given the fact that a lot of military die in wars) raise the population ratio of "the gay". Is this a desirable social outcome?

Discuss.

Not very many of my customers are Marines, though, because Marines usually wind up on the short end of the funding stick.

I worked for a while for a company that, among other things, provided simulation software for military training exercises. One of our main customers was the USMC, and I have been to Quantico in support of training work using that software.

I also have some extended family members who served in the USMC.

From that exposure, what I know about Marines is that they are intelligent, resourceful, fanatically mission oriented, and they are committed as an organization to learning and growing from their hands-on experiences.

My personal opinion, FWIW, is that the Marines, as well as the other services, will adapt successfully to the demise of DADT.

Just my opinion, nothing more or less. We'll see how it turns out. If there are problems, we'll deal with them.

Snarkiest answer: cheap bananas from Guatemala.

Rimshot!

The "fruit of empire" I am willing to forgo is empire. It ain't worth the candle.

Gimme back my republic.

me: Canadians seem, by comparison to American troops who've talked about the issue, to be less emotional and more professional about the stresses of combat.

Gary F: This has not been my experience. How many Canadian troops have you spoken with, in person, and how many American?

I was unclear. I meant that, in reading the report on gays in the Canadian military, I was struck by how professional an approach they took, and how many times they referred to their service's professionalism, its dedication to following orders and getting the job done. In contrast, Americans such as avedis who have argued against repealing DADT have stressed the importance of troops' emotional reactions, especially with regard to "combat unit cohesion".

yes, sadly, the Marines do, indeed, get the short end of the funding stick. In a perverse masochistic way (born of their training) they buck up and get the job done anyhow.

"What is your direct personal experience and knowledge of Canadian troops and the Canadian military, approximately? Indirect? Other?"

Honestly, zero. second hand only, at best.

The germans in WW1 assigned the US Marines - as usual the first in to fight for the US - "storm trooper" status. Has any Canadian unit ever achieved this high honor from an enemy? Marine Corps training and ethos remains the same to this day. This is why they are resistant to change. Their training has always produced effective warriors that shock and destroy the enemy where ever he is found.

Gary, I don't know what you are trying to achieve in presenting your list of recent actions and casualties of the Canadian forces. A similar list over the same time frame pertaining to the USMC would be considerably longer. You know that. Sometimes I don't get your style; it's purpose. I wonder if it's a smoke screen for a fall back? Or a way of offering a perspective but not make a point? You tell me please.

"Bananas". Good one. Sometimes I think that's all there is for most of us. However, the economic analysis of the value of empire could be the topic of a completely separate post. probably of many doctoral theses, books, volumes of books, etc. I think most of us could agree that cheap and accessible oil is another benefit. Does it outweigh the costs? Interesting question that requires more space and greater analysis capacity than is available here. I'd be interested in hearing viewpoints. Personally, I'd like to see a greater reliance on solar and wind and hydro. Some people more educated in this area than I tell me these are not economically viable alternatives at this time. Others say otherwise.

Stat.s....yes an abbreviation for statistics. I work in insurance for a day job. I am a numbers guy. It's an abbreviation we use daily.

"If having gays in the military will degrade its operational capability to ANY significant degree, I say: Why not? If our military is so degraded, perhaps we won't threaten to use it so often." Your slip is showing. The liberal anti military bias is often quoted by conservatives. It doesn't help your cause. However, I think you and some others here really are hostile to the realities of US military culture. It is apparent in comments. Were you one of those calling for reprisals, calling to get Bin Laden in the days following 9/11? be honest. Well, the Marines, even though they be Naval infantry were the first regular troops into Afghanistan. Fast and nimble while the Army lumbered about in its elephantine manner.

I often seeing libs say we have to stay in Afghanistan because women's rights there need to be fostered and protected. Maybe for you guys the spread of women's rights is a tangeable gain of empire.

Marines - or any other service branch these days - don't only - or potentially don't only - prosecute imperial wars. There are bad guys out there that need killing before they kill us or before they kill some other innocent friendly group - or us. No one seems to want to attack Canada or its interests. Perhaps this is the result of previous screwed up US foreign policy. Regardless, the ripple effect is a problem today that still has to be dealt with.

I'd like my republic back too. First let's kill all the media jingoists and then all of their political funder masters. Let's tax the bejeebus out the the wealthiest 5% who have more money and power than they could ever use in several life times and build our educational and healthcare and civil infrastructures here at home such that the average citizen has a chance at the pursuit of hapiness. I'm with Smedley.

I'm thinking a lot about this, lately, among many many other things. Also another death, on January 9th, 2005.

Today I did not get my California non-driver's license ID.

I also did not get arrested, because I know my rights, and when a sworn officer of the law is trying bullpucky intimidation. It's useful to know the law.

I violated California anti-terrorism law, unintentionally, it's true.

Then I walked a mile.

It's something I'd like to write up, as what happened actually has a significant political and policy element to it.

But my life is so full of fun and laziness, there's little time to do it.

Although I did write down the dialogue, and I have some relevant photos. So I have, at least, a very rough draft.

And I comment too much here, I understand, so that's all for now.

I don't like the first two weeks of January any more.

That's my reply to the remaining comments in this thread for now.

I expect, for now, at least, to be commenting much less on ObWi in future.

I've been asked by skippy the kangaroo to take up blogging there, not long before Eric invited me to guest post there. Also a couple of other group blogs. I preferred the idea of blogging at ObWi, which I felt most comfortable.

I never quit my group blogging stint here.

I simply stopped when I felt uncomfortable, and disappeared, and eventually I was emeritus.

I could take up posting there again, but I stopped because I became uncomfortable, so probably not.

Meanwhile, if my comments here become at all infrequent (will they?; I'm not a seer, so I really have no idea), all I'll say is that if anyone here can let me know if I've ever broken my word to them, I'd appreciate a reminder.

I do hope to post a post on January 5th, but it's at least as likely that I won't find myself able to.

I won't be responding to comments on this comment, ad my apologies to Doctor Science for the degree of off-topic excess prose from me on her thread.

Same apology to other ObWi bloggers.

Ta. Happy new year.

I do not like the first two weeks of January any more.

The previous sentence is not an accidental repetition.

Some remarks made here about the USMC reminds me of Platon's Politeia and the problem of how to get a military with no inhibitions towards the enemy that does not at the same time endanger the order of the state by simply taking over (he uses the image of the guard dog that viciously attacks anyone alien but is totally docile towards his masters).
His solution amounts to systematic brainwashing too including feeding them fake ideology/religion and keeping them separate from the general population.
Do I have to add that I am not a big fan of the guy (and not just because I had to translate the stuff at school).

Hartmut, it's "unit, corps, god, country". The order of devotion is interesting, no?

I think politics of civie leadership could cause the rubicon to be crossed figuratively, but I don't know about literally.

This DADT repeal will be a test of that.

@avedis:

I think politics of civie leadership could cause the rubicon to be crossed figuratively, but I don't know about literally.

The Presidency is a civilian office, by definition. The President is CIC of the armed forces. Civilian leadership of the armed forces is part of the foundation of the United States of America.

If there is even a question that any part of the armed forces will accept civilian leadership, then that part of the armed forces should be disbanded immediately and with prejudice. Sow its culture with salt and start again.

Seriously. If the oath is to defend the constitution, the oath is to submit to civilian leadership. If any US armed forces can't take that, they've dishonored themselves.

There are limits evilrooster and there are degrees. Some see that oath and civie leadership as a formality and an inconvenience.

You have no idea what sorts of operations go on behind the scenes. Once in a while an Ollie North gets caught and there is a brief glimpse into that world.

You see the military and its culture are eternal. Certain operations and missions had begun and will extend past any one POTUS' term in office. No one is going to break down what has built up just for the sake of some flash in the pan politician. If they did, planning would become a rollercoaster ride. Allies, other governemnts, etc would not be able to depend on consistency of certain arrangments and would, therefore, be less likely to enter into them in the first place.

You can quote your theories all day long. they don't stand up in the real world day to day application.

Everything I am hearing here in posts and comments - as well as what I get from coworkers, etc - is convincing me that civilians and military should be kept separate and civilians should be, largely, kept in the dark.

Too many of you are overly concerned with niceness and fairness. The good sheep focus on the "rights" of a few thousand homosexuals when there are massively more important and serious issues and operations that you can't even conceive of taking place. They listen to whichever MSM affirms their little bubble and they quote back from it.

Lives are on the line every day, entire govenments, economies, the fate of future generations even; including your own.

Let the professionals handle this. They aren't encumbered by grade school notions of appropriate interactions.

Everything I am hearing here in posts and comments - as well as what I get from coworkers, etc - is convincing me that civilians and military should be kept separate and civilians should be, largely, kept in the dark.

Funny how different people respond to things differently.

Everything I'm reading here is convincing me that military service should be as broadly based as possible. Universal is probably not practical, but some form of national service should be the norm.

Relying on a cadre of people socialized to the military and only to the military for national defense is asking for trouble. And I ain't just talking about DADT.

They aren't encumbered by grade school notions of appropriate interactions.

I'll speak for myself, but I suspect I speak for others as well.

The condescending attitude that characterizes your posts here is an annoying PITA.

You're not bringing any kind of new or unique insight to the table here. Yes, we all understand that lots of folks in the armed forces don't like the idea of serving with gays. Yes, we all understand that combat arms is a violent mission. Yes, we all understand that military culture is masculine and aggressive.

Noted.

Unless you have some kind of freaking crystal ball, you have no better idea of how the repeal of DADT is going to play out than any of the rest of us. We all have our opinions, and that is all we have.

Feel free to offer your point of view as regards substance, but kindly give the freaking Col Jessup routine a god-damned rest.

We all have our opinions, and that is all we have.

Well, we all also have the empirical evidence in the form of results of gay integration of other militaries in other countries. You (generically, not specificially russell) might say, "The US military is (or marines are) different."

I'd say every country and each military body is different from others in various ways, yet, to my knowledge, the results in other countries have been universally undisruptive.

Are the US and its military branches so very different from other nations and their militaries, so much more different from the others than the others are from each other, that their experiences indicate nothing worthy of note as regards what we should expect here?

I don't think so. The overwhelming evidence from other countries strongly suggests we won't have major problems.

We'll see.

avedis:

civilians and military should be kept separate and civilians should be, largely, kept in the dark.

The trouble with this even from *your* POV is that civilians who are kept in the dark about warfare will support military adventurism, as we've seen in the past decade. When what civilians see is (a) shiny guns, planes, and explosions, and (b) hard-core machismo, then a lot of voters and their representatives are going to support senseless, wasteful, immoral wars -- while cutting those messy, boring veterans' benefits.

They aren't encumbered by grade school notions of appropriate interactions.

In contrast to highly developed notions like "I am a hardass" and "gays=icky."

Some see that oath and civie leadership as a formality and an inconvenience.

Those people should either not re-up, resign their commissions, or be stood in front of a wall and shot. Seriously.

You want to live in military dictatorship? I will personally take up a collection to ship you and your family to some third-world junta-ruled sh*thole.

You see the military and its culture are eternal.

This word, "eternal," I do not think it means what you think it means. In fact, the American government could disband the military with the stroke of a pen, if it became necessary to do so.

Ok Avedis since you're so bent on offering disrespect to the Canadian army (including WW1 soldiers, which seriously you probably don't want to do if there are any actual Canadians around) how about the New Zealand army?

They're every bit as integrated as the Canadians and while most of what they're used for is peacekeeping, they also include among their number the NZSAS
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/New_Zealand_Special_Air_Service
and a living recipient of the Victoria Cross (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Willie_Apiata).

"Everything I am hearing here in posts and comments - as well as what I get from coworkers, etc - is convincing me that civilians and military should be kept separate and civilians should be, largely, kept in the dark."

So how well did that work for Soviet Russia? Which society that has a much less open military would you prefer to live in?

I mean that seriously. There are an enormous number of recent and semi-recent examples of states where the military either was very independent or controlled the state. So far as I can think of, none of them include places I'd rather live than the US. In fact the only one that seems even mildly palatable would be Turkey.

Which *specific* examples, do you think have been successful in a way that leads to a place you'd like to live? Pakistan? North Korea? China? Maybe you're thinking of Chile as the success story?

I'm no doubt wrong about this, but it really seems like avedis might be someone with Jesugislac's policy views trolling us. I mean, it seems that avedis has managed to be shockingly insulting to members of the US military while spewing far-lefty anti-imperialist talking points. And he seems to get a lot more respect than any actual far-lefty or pacifist would get were they to make the same points. But I might be wrong; I can't tell if a lot of regulars are refusing to engage him because they think he's a troll or because the holidays are slow times for blog commenting.

I must say, if avedis is not a troll, I'm somewhat astonished that such a conflicting bag of policy beliefs actually exists reified in any one person.

Like I've said before, if the US was to take a relatively isolationist stance as opposed to wars of aggression, projection of power and general medling in other countries' affairs, then I do believe the character of the military could change to be more along the lines of what you guys here would prefer. Frankly, I would prefer that as well.

However, things being as they are, I want Col. Jessup and the mentality that his command engenders in his subordinates. It is best for success with the current mission.

I am a realist; not a dreamer.

I am not really telling you that the military should necessarily be separated from civilian control. I am telling you that it IS separate to a much greater extent than you would imagine.
I would also add that your civilian leaders, including POTUS, are more separated from the populous that elected them than you care to imagine concerning - well probably a lot of things - but also military missions. What good does it do you if the letter of the Constitution is followed in that POTUS is signing the orders, but you, the people, have no idea what he's signing? You weren't a part of the process at all?

BTW, I wouldn't want to live in Turkey. I'd be a second class citizen there. I might be jailed due to my ethnic heritage.

Turb, why do I need to buy into any party view point hook, line and sinker? That to me is evidence of zombiehood.

To make and maintain peace is the best.

Conflicts arise. It's best to resolve with through diplomacy.

Sometimes when the unresolved conflict is serious enough in its ramifications it becomes time to kill. When it is that time, you don't break out a BB gun.

I have not dissed the military at all. That's your interpretation because you find my accurate description unpalatable.

Do we pretty up everything we like and ugly down everything we don't like? Is that a way to get to the truth?

Avedis at 12:06 p.m. -

Everything I am hearing here in posts and comments - as well as what I get from coworkers, etc - is convincing me that civilians and military should be kept separate and civilians should be, largely, kept in the dark.

Avedis at 4:14 p.m. -

I am not really telling you that the military should necessarily be separated from civilian control. I am telling you that it IS separate to a much greater extent than you would imagine.

You contradicted yourself without explanation. I will not argue with you because in order to do so, I would need to construct your arguments for you, as you have so far failed to even maintain a consistent stance to which I could object. If you misspoke in your earlier comment, you would be better off explicitly saying something like "I didn't mean what I said earlier, instead I meant to say ___." As it stands I cannot tell if you are lying, forgetful, or multiple people masquerading as one commenter.

I'm no doubt wrong about this, but it really seems like avedis might be someone with Jesugislac's policy views trolling us.
No. I don't base this on IP, which I haven't looked at. Impossible by style and word choice.

I'm somewhat astonished that such a conflicting bag of policy beliefs actually exists reified in any one person.

"Policy beliefs" may be putting it too strongly. --Military people know everything worth knowing and you pansy civilians should just STFU and let us get on with it-- is pretty internally consistent, if a poor guide to actual decision making.

Turb - the thought had crossed my mind as well, but I didn't see anything coming of bringing it up except for another unfocused attack on 'anti-military lefties' and another several paragraphs of denial and escalation.

It remains, of course, entirely possible that he's sincere, emotionally driven, duty oriented and not prone to demanding consistency from his personal worldview.

Whatever the case, his expressed views are at odds with those expressed by the majority of Marines with whom I have interacted and discussed DADT. Two years ago a former marine infantry officer that I know told me that he knew an active duty, not-telling DI who predicted that the policy would crumble with little net effect. A bunch of people would leave over the change. A bunch more would join. The rest would adapt.

...or, put another way, any group of people who are routinely able to set aside personal opinion in order to enact a mission set before them by a group of people in whom they have very little faith can carry out the 'mission' of integration in exactly that same manner.

No. I don't base this on IP, which I haven't looked at. Impossible by style and word choice.

This assessment might be correct if I had written "I think Jes is trolling us" but since I didn't write that, your response seems incorrect.


"Policy beliefs" may be putting it too strongly. --Military people know everything worth knowing and you pansy civilians should just STFU and let us get on with it-- is pretty internally consistent, if a poor guide to actual decision making.

True enough, but all the military people I know would laugh at the notion that 'military people know everything' -- being in the service seems synonymous to being exposed to a lot of military stupidity. I imagine that's true for any big institution as well.

"Everything I am hearing here in posts and comments - as well as what I get from coworkers, etc - is convincing me that civilians and military should be kept separate and civilians should be, largely, kept in the dark."

doesn't pair well with

"I am not really telling you that the military should necessarily be separated from civilian control. I am telling you that it IS separate to a much greater extent than you would imagine."

Is there an internal consistency that you could explain for us? It admittedly gets you out of answering my question, but it doesn't do much else.

In which countries do you think keeping civilians and military separate and keeping civilians, largely, in the dark has been a good strategy for their internal politics. Are there specific countries where you wouldn't mind living where you think that is more true than in the United States?

Do those countries have an established military might which the US should strive to emulate?

Which countries and/or systems are you thinking about?

Ok, Julian, you got me, ouch. What I should have said in the first staement is that I am beginning to consider that "that civilians and military should be kept separate and civilians should be, largely, kept in the dark."

The second statement you quote was a toning down of the first upon further consideration.

I am not sure what a troll is. I don't know who this jesu' person is. I'm still here I because find the mindset expressed by the various commentors to be fascinating. I truly do not understand you anymore than you understand me. At this point I continue to engage because I am learning something about my fellow Americans' thought processes. I think that is important. Also, I feel like if all the political and personal sensitivity and the petty gotcha games are dried up, there may be some final coming together; not necessarily in agreement, but in mutual understanding and respect. I could be wrong about that, though.


I do not understand what opposing beliefs I have presented to anyone here. I do not see where I have been insulting - and certainly not shockingly so.

Was this guy a troll? http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Smedley_Butler

http://www.fas.org/man/smedley.htm

I agree with him. I don't think what I have expressed is so very different.

sheesh...."not see where I have been insulting - and certainly not shockingly so -TO THE MILITARY.

Based on what I read in the news. Between 60+ and 80+% of American women are raped, at least once and often repeatedly, in their life time.
There is no such similar statistic for straight males or females being raped by homosexuals of their own gender.

Most pedophiles are heterosexual males. Some rape boys some girls but none that I have read about are homosexuals, with two possible exceptions Dahlmers, and the Atlanta murder.


The Air Force Academy recently admitted that 64% of female cadets are being raped by heterosexual cadets. No number is claimed for homosexual males raping male cadets or female homosexuals raping female cadets.

However there are frequent news stories of gangs of heterosexual males gang raping and sadomizing and beating suspected homosexual males.

I see no rationale to homosexuals not gladly being included in any group.

So, Sebastian, what military orders did Obama approve today? last week?

What is the CIA doing in every country it operates in right now? Where are the SEAL teams this evening? What are they doing? How about Delta? How about various USMC black ops units?

You tell me.

How is the war in Afghanistan going? Really going? How do you know that your source isn't just buying into another McNammara moment?

Why don't you call your congress person? I'm so very sure that he/she will give you a full briefing. Let me know how it goes, ok?

oh no Marnie, that never happens becaus the UCMJ has articles prohibiting it. Just ask anyone here. The UCMJ is always followed to the letter.

Let the professionals handle this.

Like Burnside, Gamelin, Gates, Haig, Custer....the list of these wise professionals is indeed long.

Avedis, you think a fundamental misunderstanding of human nature and the ability to fully integrate both homosexuals and homosexuality in a society as shown by history is a gotcha game while I think that it's, well, a fundamental misunderstanding of human nature on which you're basing dubious conclusions. And exactly what you're basing those conclusions on keeps changing, logical consistency is fairly necessary for any kind of substantive engagement that's not purely emotional, I don't really see where gotcha enters into it.

You have never addressed the military, combat experienced men that are in favor of repealing DADT. I would be interested in you talking about them because from what you've written so far it is as if you do not believe they exist which ofcourse is factually untrue.

"How is the war in Afghanistan going?"

Lousy.

"Really going?"

Really lousy.

But yes, three cheers for Smedley Butler.

ancinian, the gotcha was in reference to the you said this bit now you sat that. Semantics. As opposed to addressing substance. Nothing to do with the meat of the discussion.

Ah shorter Smedley; Marines are the best fighters, Marines are the hired killers of the empire. "three cheers for Smedley Butler." A shorter me; Marines are the best fighter, Marines are the hired killers of the empire. Boo....avedis isn't consistent...he's a troll....
i was enjoying a nice latte with a gay Marine and he said.....

of course afghanistan is going lousy. Why are we even there?

But yeah obama. he's a good lib. he's letting gays be open in the military.

Avendis, you're deflecting. You suggested that the US civilian state has TOO MUCH transparency with respect to the military, RIGHT NOW. Asking questions about its current state with the apparent rhetorical suggestion that there is much I don't currently know, while simultaneously arguing for civilians to have less knowledge and control isn't a sound technique.

So again. Which system or countries are you thinking about that have LESS transparency than the CURRENT state of affairs in the US and are nonetheless BETTER on some interesting scale/dynamic/outcome?

That is what you have asserted and that is what I'm asking you to defend.

"of course afghanistan is going lousy. Why are we even there?"

Because President Bush thought the term "Grave Yard of empires" referred to all those *other* empires?
Seriously you haven't answered my point about the MZ army, the NZSAS is operating under very similar conditions and to marines and is doing it quite well by most accounts despite it being fifteen years since homosexual soldiers could serve openly.
Perhaps their grip on the concept of masculinity is not quite so delicate as that of Marines?

Someone already mentioned it somewhere above, a potential real problem with integration of homosexuals could be (I actually think: will be) the religious crackpots that have infiltrated the US military to an alarming degree with the Air Force academy just being the tip of the (unfortunately non-melting) iceberg. If there is any need of a purge it would be these guys and cries of 'anti-christian' from the usual suspects should be seen a signs that the course is correct.
Unfortunately I see no chance of that happening beyond some cosmetic changes. Even Boykin was allowed to retire instead of getting the dishonorable discharge that should have been the minimum.
---
As far as WW1 goes, Scottish units also had quite a reputation as enemies to avoid if possible. Plus a no-prisoners attitude.

i was enjoying a nice latte with a gay Marine

Yes, gay Marines love them some lattes, don't they?

Bigotry. You're soaking in it.

Christians are "crackpots" that need to be purged, but gays are normal and need to be accepted? Good luck with. It will do much to further your agenda.

But yes, there is strong christian strain in the military (BTW, I am not a christian). Your fringe ideology is up against the vastly more prominent and mainstream christian ideology with the repeal of DADT. It is yet another military culture clash that spells trouble for your agenda.

"...Because President Bush thought the term "Grave Yard of empires" referred to all those *other* empires? "

and now Obama is doing the same.


"..You're deflecting. You suggested that the US civilian state has TOO MUCH transparency with respect to the military..."

Not transparency per se. Too much input into policy like DADT. Transparency would get us into a whole other discussion as to what should be classified and what shouldn't. Right now gov't transparency is minimal and probably becoming less. This isn't just with regards to military matters. It appears to me at least to be in regards to just about everything.

I can't answer which other country I'd rather live in because the question has tied enjoyment of civilian life style, gay service, civilian control or lack thereof and military effectiveness together as if these variables are not only integrally connected but are the most important coefficients of an equation that doesn't make sense to me as posed by the questioner. I suppose one of these days I'd like to do a Gaugin and retire in Tahiti. Bali would work as well.

The NZSAS is another small special forces type outfit. As I have already said, the SOF have entirely different missions than larger forces like the USMC. How many gays - "poofs" their called by the Brit SAS - in the NZSAS? Do you have those stats? If not, what's your point?


"You have never addressed the military, combat experienced men that are in favor of repealing DADT. I would be interested in you talking about them....."

Takes all types. Some men have a different perspective. That's ok. I think that it may depend on how the question is put to them. I was talking to my son (1st Lt, USA - combat arms) about this. He is ok with homosexuals being in his unit if they pull their weight and "keep their gayness to themselves". His concern, as a company commander, is that he is going to be faced with situation wherein, despite all the sensitivity training that is coming down the pipe, some of his troops just won't be able to accept the gays if they are openly displaying homosexual behavior and there is going to be an extra command load that will be a dangerous distraction from the myriad of other more mission essential points of focus.

I think this is the distinction; if you ask some men if they are ok with the general concept of serving in combat with gays, there are many who are not encumbered by religious ideologies, personal insecurities, stereotype thinking, etc that they will respond "yes".

if you pose to the same group of men the same question, but ask if it will cause disruptions from a training and command perspective, the answers will be different. Or maybe you don't even have to frame the question any differently. Some men will just consider it from that other perspective.

Then there are men that for whatever ideological background and/or personal psychology, just don't like gays. they will tell you that combat effectiveness will suffer based on their personal dislike.

In talking this over with my son - who is pretty open minded, but has the lives of some 200+ men to worry about - the biggest concern about the quality and character of gay troops seems to be, if, with the repeal, there is going to be an influx of the swishier gays who will be trying to make a political statement and causing all sort of legal and morale problems and command impossibilities. My son is one of those who says he'd resign his commission under those circumstances if he could. He can't due to contractual obligations. So his solution, he says, would be to migrate into the special forces community where he is certain that sort of nonsense would never be tolerated.

So, you see, depending on how you asked, my son could give you a range of answers that would support any political position on the topic of DADT.

I suspect that is the case with many - perhaps most - surveyed.

"christina crackpots"

Yep, all them christians are just plain crazy.

Bigotry. You're soaking in it.

I was talking to my son (1st Lt, USA - combat arms) about this. He is ok with homosexuals being in his unit if they pull their weight and "keep their gayness to themselves".

That's mighty white of him.

Then there are men that for whatever ideological background and/or personal psychology, just don't like gays. they will tell you that combat effectiveness will suffer based on their personal dislike.

In other words, they're crappy soldiers and too unprofessional to do the job. Good riddance to them.

if, with the repeal, there is going to be an influx of the swishier gays who will be trying to make a political statement

Joining the military these days is an almost certain ticket to someplace where you are going to be shot at. I'm sure there are a bunch of Harvey Fiersteins sitting around just waiting to sign up.

"christina crackpots"

Yep, all them christians are just plain crazy.

Bigotry. You're soaking in it.

It curdles my blood that someone who claims to work in the insurance industry, perhaps helping to make life-and-death decisions over people, is too goddamned stupid to understand that "Christian crackpots" refers to a subset of Christians who are crackpots, and is not a claim that all Christians are crackpots.

If you can't even read English, how the fcuk do you read actuarial tables?

Gay soldier. Killed by an IED in Iraq while on patrol. Shielded two other soldiers from the blast.

Purple Heart, Bronze Star. Criteria for a Bronze Star:

The Bronze Star Medal is awarded to any person who, while serving in any capacity in or with the military of the United States after 6 December 1941, distinguished himself or herself by heroic or meritorious achievement or service, not involving participation in aerial flight, while engaged in an action against an enemy of the United States

Rogers had two.

People who can't find a way to serve alongside gays will have to suck it up and deal or get out. I understand that that will be difficult for many of them, but DADT is difficult for lots of other folks. Nobody gets everything they want.

If you think repealing DADT is a mistake, that's your prerogative, but the folks making your argument lost the political battle. If that strikes you as candy-ass political bullsh*t, so be it, but that's the way things work. You win some, you lose some.

And yeah, to some degree this is a matter of a bunch of privileged liberal political do-gooders imposing their agenda on the folks in uniform. Just like DADT was a matter of a bunch of privileged conservative bigots imposing their agenda on the folks in uniform.

Will the ensuing controversy have some impact on good order and preparedness? Maybe. Banning folks who identified themselves a gay also had some impact on good order and preparedness.

The rules for how the military operates come from civilian legislators. That's how we roll, and it's good that we do things that way. If the military decides to rise up in insurrection over repealing DADT, the shit is going to hit the fan in about 1,000,000 ways, so we all better hope they do not do so.

But I don't see that happening, because gays serve now, everybody knows they do, most folks in service know at least some other folks in service who they know are gay, and nobody is freaking out about it.

In other words, your "you can't handle the truth" spiel to the side, most folks either just aren't bothered by gays, or can find a way to not let it get in the way of carrying out their mission.

Because they are grown-ups and professionals, they take justifiable pride in their competence, and they're not going to let something as irrelevant to the mission as somebody else's sexual orientation get in the way.

As it turns out, folks can handle the truth.

When you join the service, you leave your personal preferences at the door. If that doesn't work out for you, you get out. That's the way it works.

If that bugs you, be happy you're out of uniform now.

So, avedis, what military orders did Obama approve today? last week?

What is the CIA doing in every country it operates in right now? Where are the SEAL teams this evening? What are they doing? How about Delta? How about various USMC black ops units?

You tell me.

How is the war in Afghanistan going? Really going? How do you know that your source isn't just buying into another McNammara moment?
I haven't had time to write on it in a while, so here's what I thought on October 9th, 2009.

Get back to me when you've read it all, and do please post your own analysis of what you thought was going on in Afghanistan in September of 2009, with, oh, a ratio of one cite for every ten I gave. I invite you to do it in this thread. Or in any future open thread, or in the next post specifically having to do with Afghanistan.

You know much more than I do, so this should be no problem whatever.

I'm happy to answer your question here.

Of course, my opinion is somewhat different a year and almost three months later, but I'm sure you've had a history of writing stuff like this for the past decade -- and I'll give you lots more links to lots more past writings of mine on military subjects, if you ask.

Feel free.

I'll give you ten for each one you show me you wrote the same year. Fair?

If you prefer more recent stuff, I'll give you links to Eric Martin's writings here, same terms. Fair?

Quoth avedis at 4:46 PM on December 29, 2010:

There is no right answer to anything other than what the DI says. What you hold dear will be stripped from you.

So how is it different if what you hold dear is your homophobia?

Seriously, if Marine training so thoroughly breaks down and rebuilds a person so that [i]f you need to have a religion, the Corps will issue you one and it may not be one of your liking or the one you came in with, then it'll teach recruits to cope with gays.

That is if it's going to follow orders from its civilian bosses. And if not, if the Corps is going to be so publicly and blatantly Non Nunc Fi, then I say rip the flags off the sleeves and throw the whole lot of them out.

This is not the secret machinations of the wise and powerful military doing unmentionable deeds in the dark so that simple-minded Americans can lead their sheep-like lives in peace. Refusing to scrap DADT and live with openly gay soldiers is up-front, in the open defiance of civilian control. It will lead to open and unpleasant consequences. And I don't think the military leadership is that stupid, whatever truths you think civilians can't handle (as russell put it).

Oh, but please do be sure to read all the articles I linked to in this post -- every word -- so we're working off at least the same pages on that, and you can be sure I've not taken anything out of context.

Remember, I did it, and do it all the time, and since I know nothing about the military compared to you, you should find it quick, easy, and entertaining, even though duplicative of everything you already know.

And you're a devil dog.

But that's part of the deal I offer, not your OFP, gyrene. I'm not asking you to read a single thing I didn't link to in that article, which I only linked to not just because I read all the articles I link, always, but because of the body of knowledge and context I have that leads me to my own evaluations of how high or low confidence I place in a given piece and source of intelligence.

As an intel-trained person, you are, of course, professionally competent to just confidence, and, after all, you write here in such a professional manner, that I'm sure you were highly rated for your analyses by your superiors.

That wasn't above your pay grade, I'm sure. A snuffie with a snow job wouldn't describe you, especially now that you're outside.

In fact, why don't you post, oh, three professional analyses you've written in the course of your intel career, with every single word that's a specific noun, or that in any way classified, blanked out and replaced with [BLANK], so we can judge for ourselves your analytic professional intel skills.

Be first of foot, and right of the line. No need to be most ricky ticky, and I don't think you're a s**tbird nonhacker who thinks we're moon floss.

Or you could give a zoomie salute.

Or, since you might say you can't do show us a derogated version, because you can't declassify even words like "the" and "a," just write us your closest paraphrase that you can muster, in the same professional language you're used to using when you write an intel report, on, oh, any subject of your choice, but as if you were filing your normal duty analysis in the past, only applied to any military topic of today of your choosing.

Of course, you may think it's not worth the effort to put up or shut up.

But I have faith that you can do it with fortitude, John Wayne. I don't want you to feel like a big green weenie.

And I'm not inviting you to shut up. Comment away as you like, so long as you stay within the posting rules. The smoking lamp is on. Open debate about facts is what we're all about.

You might keep in mind that around here, you're a maggot. And we don't expect you to be a rock.

Remember to sight in.

Your choice.

Retreat Hell! [You] just got here.

It don't mean nuthin'.

If you'd like more, BOHICA.

And quit hitting Maggie's drawers.

Happy 2011 to you and your loved ones, God bless America, and semper fi.

As I have already said, the SOF have entirely different missions than larger forces like the USMC. How many gays [...] in the NZSAS? Do you have those stats? If not, what's your point?

How many gays would likely be serving in USMC? Do you have stats? What's an acceptable ratio for regular infantry vs. for SOF, and do you have an objective basis to determine this? If not, what's your point in demanding stats, other than to deflect this w/o acknowledging its direct relevance?

It remains, of course, entirely possible that he's sincere, emotionally driven, duty oriented and not prone to demanding consistency from his personal worldview.
I don't think he's FUBAR; he's just thinks he's the only one who knows s**t on a shingle, and can hand it out as SOP; he's on liberty. SNAFU.

No need to lock and load; we don't have a brig, but we get to choose what we chow down on. We'll see how far he can hump with us, and if his flack jacket is up to it. I'm good to go, if I decide to bother, and it doesn't seem like I'm commenting too much.

He's just a boot who can't tell who's a gunny outside, and thinks he's giving value for your tax dollar, and that good, now I can shoot in all directions.

Ooh rah.

russell,

Someone like Rogers was apparently very openly gay and served well. But this cuts both ways. Why do we need a repeal of DADT if we can have a Rogers being open to the point of being a gay activist and yet not being drummed out for this reason? A theme throughout our discussion has been that there are poor victimized gays who have been discharged despite fine service records. Rogers would seem to counter that perspective.

Here's a question. How do we know that the gays that have been discharged based on sexual orientation actually were stellar servicemen and women? I sure that you can find an example or two, but I am talking about overall; the majority of these cases. Of course a gay being discharged is going to claim discrimination and that is one of my points against the repeal. Now they can raise the spector of discrimination whenever they are disciplined up to and including discharge.

What about military the wiki leaks guy, Braddley Manning? http://www.aim.org/aim-column/military-homosexual-scandal-tied-to-wikileaks-treason/

This kind of activism among gays portents trouble for order and discipline.

I totally disagree with the assertion that the number of gays coming into the service will equal the number of those leaving the service if the repeal becomes an issue. That is an unsubstatiated unstudied proposition. Mere wishful thinking. Then again, I am just guessing too. Like you said, time will tell.

My daughter just stopped by to drop off some belated Xmass presents (she is on leave). I asked her what she thinks the repeal. A: "f___ing retarded". she went on to relate an incident in boot camp (Great Lakes Chicago) where a recruit in the shower asked to her soap her back (with sexual innuendo). My daughter says that it made her feel "grossed out" and that they "beat the hell out of her [the gay] that night". Exactly the sort of incident I expressed concerns about. My daughter had gone in with very liberal viewpoints on all of the issues.

My father, a Marine in WW2 who fought in the pacific (WIA, Purple heart) is a hardcore christian and thinks gays are an abomination to god.

So, in this military family, that's 1 against gays in the service under any policy, 3 against openly gay, and 0 for it.

But you guys all seem to know so many gay Marines, etc. I'm starting to doubt this. Maybe it's selection bias. The only Marines that would talk to people like you about this issue are gay.

At the end of the day, russell, you are perhaps only partially right about the fact that a law has been made and service members will either suck it up or leave. The law has not gone into effect. I will make a prediction. You best enjoy your little "victory" while you can. It never completely will be implemented. It will be sabotaged. The law will be changed, repealed or never practically aplied. We will see. Maybe we will revisit this in a year or two and decide whether your side really did score. This whole thing was about Obama scoring points with people like you so he can get your vote while he still behaves like a closet conservative where important issues are at stake. If the repeal can die a quiet death with Obama still maintaining the appearance of a win through next election, then the repeal will will never become a reality.


Phil, "If you can't even read English, how the fcuk do you read actuarial tables?"

I read actuarial tables just fine, thank you. Christian crackpots....I don't read anything qualifying that statement like "the SUBSET of christians that are crackpots". And what would define that subset? Probably any christian that doesn't agree with your special little world view.

"That's mighty white of him." My son is leading men in battle; ostensibly to keep you safe so you can run around mouthing off your opinions no matter how silly they may be. I think he has earned the right to call 'em as he sees 'em.

And my daughter, who wears the DIA badge as well as a hanging medal for her contribution to Operation Enduring Freedom has done the same.

Gary, "You tell me." I can't. That's the point. 20 years ago I could have told you more than you could have told me. I don't even ask my daughter because she won't tell me and I know that. She did tell me that got to watch a baby whale being born somewhere in the world. That's pretty cool :-)

rooster, "So how is it different if what you hold dear is your homophobia?" It isn't. If you've got a big defining personality characteristic along those lines it will be broken out of you as well. That's not the point. The point is the opposite situation where a gay defines himself as being an individual by virtue of that characteristic and the DI tries to break it out of him and the gay cries foul and now is protected by law for doing so. You have created a special class of individual.

Gary, talk about maggie's drawers, that last from you was the worst example of mass unaimed fire I've seen yet on this blog. Spray and pray worse than the Hajis....and you're on the KD range.

Re; your Amygdala articles, I find myself appreciating them as well written and relatively accurate. We are agreement on how the Afghanistan campaign is "going" and why it is going the way it is.

And Gary, don't think for a moment that I haven't applied my skills and training to you personally. "Three months of college, but look at what a great writer and analyst I am!" You have a big chip on your shoulder and it is a weakness that makes you vulnerable. It's obvious. Give your ego a break. You write well, OK? When that ego comes into play you start to fall apart and become emotionally driven and less coherent.

You doubt my credentials? Fine. I don't care.

Here's another individual with essentially the same outlook on this issue. http://www.turcopolier.typepad.com/

Look under 'catagories' and select either 'politics' or 'policy'. There are some recent posts on DADT. Oh, and don't forget to check his credentials. I'd say they are superior and impeccable. let me know what you think.

My daughter just stopped by to drop off some belated Xmass presents (she is on leave). I asked her what she thinks the repeal. A: "f___ing retarded". she went on to relate an incident in boot camp (Great Lakes Chicago) where a recruit in the shower asked to her soap her back (with sexual innuendo). My daughter says that it made her feel "grossed out" and that they "beat the hell out of her [the gay] that night". Exactly the sort of incident I expressed concerns about. My daughter had gone in with very liberal viewpoints on all of the issues.



Let me see if I have this right.


"They" (you don't say if your daughter was actually involved so I'll give her the benefit of the doubt) "beat the hell out of" someone for making an unwanted pass at them. And you think the problem here is the behavior of the person who got assaulted? Talk about blaming the victim. I'd be interested in hearing you explain the moral theory under which the behavior you attribute to "they" who did the beating is acceptable. I'm not a huge fan of analogies, but say that in 1950 a group of white soldiers had "beat the hell" out of a black soldier who made a pass at a white woman. Would you say that the solution was to keep black men away from white women?

Minor edit: for "making an unwanted pass at them" read "making an unwanted pass at someone". I think this actually sharpens the analogy.

she went on to relate an incident in boot camp (Great Lakes Chicago) where a recruit in the shower asked to her soap her back (with sexual innuendo). My daughter says that it made her feel "grossed out" and that they "beat the hell out of her [the gay] that night".

Well dude, that is pretty f**ked up. Seems to me that "Sorry, that's not my thing, plus, you know, no fraternizing" would have sufficed.

Exactly the sort of incident I expressed concerns about.

Perhaps you should explain to your daughter that she shouldn't be beating the crap out of other people for stuff like that.

What about military the wiki leaks guy, Braddley Manning? http://www.aim.org/aim-column/military-homosexual-scandal-tied-to-wikileaks-treason/

First, AIM are the folks who brought us the "Hillary and Bill killed Vince Foster" revelations. So, a grain of salt.

Second, let's assume everything in the piece is true. Let's say Manning is gay, pissed off, and that he did the wikileaks dump to get back at the US for DADT.

What that would tell us, if true, is that Bradley Manning is an irresponsible and childish person.

Extrapolating from that to any kind of conclusion about DADT would be like saying that the Nidal Hassan shooting demonstrates that Muslims should not be able to serve. Or, that doctors (Hassan was a doctor) should not be allowed to serve. Or, that guys with receding hairlines should not be allowed to serve.

So, that's what about the wikileaks guy.

What about your daughter, beating the crap out of fellow service people for a social faux pas? WTF is she doing still in uniform? Where's her commitment to unit cohesion and good order and discipline?

The problem ain't the gays.

Actually I don't know if my daughter did the beating or not. I didn't delve into the story any farther than what I wrote. We had other, more pleasant things to talk about.

Order and discipline. the gay should have known better than to make that sort of come on in that environment (i.e. military boot camp in a shower). It goes beyond sex. It goes to knowing how to behave appropriately in a situation. I goes to understanding unit cohesion. The beating, I would imagine, was more about teaching a lesson in paying attention to social and military mores than it was about picking on a gay.

In a way, the other recruits were giving the gay a chance to get with the program and become a sailor. Had they invoke the UCMJ the gay recruit's career could have been over right then and there.

"The NZSAS is another small special forces type outfit. As I have already said, the SOF have entirely different missions than larger forces like the USMC. How many gays - "poofs" their called by the Brit SAS - in the NZSAS? Do you have those stats? If not, what's your point?"

The argument is not whether special forces should be making an effort to recruit gay people, the argument is that allowing homosexuals to serve openly does not have an impact on the ability of soldiers to discharge their orders.

Of course since the SAS draws its recruits from the rest of the service, they will almost certainly have served at some point with openly gay people without wilting on the vine or quitting in a huff.

@avedis:

Someone like Rogers was apparently very openly gay and served well. Why do we need a repeal of DADT if we can have a Rogers being open to the point of being a gay activist and yet not being drummed out for this reason?

No. According to the linked article:

But Rogers was not identified as a gay man until gay friends came forward to salute his service, as well as his personal opposition to DADT.

So neither openly gay nor an activist.

A theme throughout our discussion has been that there are poor victimized gays who have been discharged despite fine service records.

Again, the article mentions another soldier who was outed by an evangelical roommate who had ‘baited’ him into admitting it. I'm not sure I'd use the inflammatory "victimized" there, but the gay guy wasn't the activist in that account.

Here's a question. How do we know that the gays that have been discharged based on sexual orientation actually were stellar servicemen and women?

The burden of proof is on you, I'd say. Put up some evidence, reliably sourced and statistically viable, about the service records of people subsequently discharged under DADT. Show that they were not good soldiers before their orientation came out. Or stop smearing people by category.

They used to say blacks would not, as a group, make brave soldiers, you know. Nor women neither. How's your daughter feel about that one?

Of course a gay being discharged is going to claim discrimination and that is one of my points against the repeal. Now they can raise the spector [sic] of discrimination whenever they are disciplined up to and including discharge.

That presupposes that the armed forces won't be able to reform military culture to the point where an accusation of homophobia won't stick. We're back to that point again, and I still say, if they can't do that, they're a failure. They betray us and themselves.

But you know what? I think the armed forces are capable of more than you do. I think they can make homophobia something other than the default. I think they can do enough that accusations of discrimination against gays can be evaluated on their merits.

(Indeed, on the ground, the experience of gays already varies, as the article russell links to shows. One closeted man wins medals. Two decline to lie and continue to serve. And one is outed on ideological grounds. Shifting the legal penalties changes which side of the mixed picture is officially supported.)

the gay should have known better than to make that sort of come on in that environment (i.e. military boot camp in a shower).

No doubt. Assuming the situation was as your daughter described it, that's inappropriate behavior.

It goes beyond sex. It goes to knowing how to behave appropriately in a situation. I goes to understanding unit cohesion. The beating, I would imagine, was more about teaching a lesson in paying attention to social and military mores than it was about picking on a gay.

The less it was about "picking on a gay", the less it is relevant to the issue of DADT. It was just somebody acting out of line, in one of the 10,000 ways in which someone can act out of line.

Which, in the end, is sort of my point.


Order and discipline. the gay should have known better than to make that sort of come on in that environment (i.e. military boot camp in a shower). It goes beyond sex. It goes to knowing how to behave appropriately in a situation. I goes to understanding unit cohesion. The beating, I would imagine, was more about teaching a lesson in paying attention to social and military mores than it was about picking on a gay.


In a way, the other recruits were giving the gay a chance to get with the program and become a sailor. Had they invoke the UCMJ the gay recruit's career could have been over right then and there.



Seriously? This is your defense of beating someone up?


You know, there are lots of things that are socially inappropriate, and even illegal, and yet somehow society generally gets along pretty well without the response to them being a beatdown. Certainly, if I were foolish enough to sexually harass a colleague (and, btw, a single pass, even in the shower, does not come anywhere near this bar), I would far rather be fired than have my colleagues decide to beat the hell out of me. I wonder whether this particular recruit felt that they were being given "a chance". Do you think they were asked "would you rather be reported or beaten up?" And while we're on the topic of the UCMJ, would you happen to know what it says about beating the hell out of your squadmates? Is there some special exception if they're gay and made a pass at someone?


Again, I'd be interested in hearing exactly what moral theory you're operating under that says that vigilante violence is an appropriate response to behavior that is at worst socially inappropriate.

Actually I don't know if my daughter did the beating or not.

You don't even know whether your daughter was really being harassed, or whether she misinterpreted things and got the other woman beaten up for nothing. Ir wouldn't the the first time.

russell, you make some good points and i am going to think about them.

You are correct that this all comes down to the military's willingness and ability to change. I say it is unwilling and unable to do it. I am serious when I say I could be wrong.

I do disagree that, as you assert, that it was unknown that Rogers was a gay activist. The link, supplied by you, states that he was a gay activist. He was also in intelligence. If he himself did not openly reveal his orientation the intel command would have known. They watch these things more closely than you'd imagine. Their "watching" would even include knowing his IP address and following emails and internet activity.

..or that it happened to his daughter at all and isn't unit or service folklore that's passed on, personalized and repeated as an example because it expresses a truth about the military even if it never happened or happened differently to someone else.

No way to tell.

Maybe the recruit said "Watch my back" instead of "Wash my back".

So much for unit cohesion.

It occurs to me that the sheer amount of raping and unwanted funking and coming-on in the American armed forces testified to in this thread should lead to massive amounts of bloody violence on bases across the planet given the ready availability of firepower and ordnance on hand.

I don't know that I would want to fu*k with the formidable daughter here. Despite avedis' contention that women in the armed forces aren't worth the trouble, I'd send her and the fellow deadly gangshowerers over to the Afghan/Pakistani border to kick a little Taliban and al Qaeda butt. Though I suppose the enemy would have to sashay, or is it swish, out of their caves and blow kisses across the mountaintops for this particular unit to get really pissed off and battle-ready.

Then again, as the evidence mounts, maybe the daughter couldn't beat the sh*t out of teh gay all by her naked lonesome and required an armada to do the job.

I do think it's cute about the baby whale being born.

Killer whale, was it?

[...] Re; your Amygdala articles, I find myself appreciating them as well written and relatively accurate.
Thank you, avedis. I appreciate that, and it means something coming from you.
Why do we need a repeal of DADT if we can have a Rogers being open to the point of being a gay activist and yet not being drummed out for this reason?

Why do we have to have DADT, when we have perfectly decent gays in the service?

Gays that don't fit in in the service well, won't. And probably don't, already. Might as well get it out in the open, no?

Some of you continue to display appalling lack of understanding or respect for military culture.

My daughter is not a fist fighter. It is entirely possible that she could not have beaten up the gay by herself had she wanted to. Who cares? That is not the point.

The beat down had to be done as a unit to show the offender that the entire unit was displeased and was demanding of conformity to its norms.

Individual v individual beatdown would have served no purpose.

This has been a thrilling thread.

However, I don't believe avedis' comparison early on between homosexuality and necrophilia has been adequately addressed.

In fact, I'm now concerned, given the seemingly natural and logical fit between the military's killing machine and necrophilia, that we must be experiencing a silent "influx" of necrophiliacs into the armed forces. I mean, with all of that death and the bodies around, can the necrophiliacs be far behind?

Do THEY swish? Or do they practice another sort of funny walk, say, the traipse, or the zombie stagger? How can you tell if you are serving with a necrophiliac? Do they take out the machine gun nest, and then wounded, spend a little extra time enjoying the fruits of their labor before humping their wounded comrades back to friendly ground?

The upside of necrophiliacs in the military, of course, is that you needn't fear showering or bunking with them. Dying in their presence is another matter.

But then, so what, considering most of the damage has already been done? C'est le guerre! Or is it c'est le vie?

Regarding the radical Christianinst persuasion of some in the military, what bothers me about serving with them is their take on the Marine mantra: "This is my rifle; this is my gun --- this is for fighting; this is for fun". (with all the attendant pointing at said weaponry)

The radicals seems to get too much of a Jones on about the rifle/fighting bit, but then they go all preachy and uptight about the gun/fun equation. I'd like to see a little more enthusiasm about the gun/fun end of the deal. I CAN'T HEAR YOU!

Until of course they return stateside and become lay pastors/tea party/hate radio hosts and/or Republican politicians and all of a sudden, without diminishing the stress on fighting, they start fu8king everything in sight, whether its prostitutes, their girlfriends, their mistresses, their parishioners, their boyfriends and the odd goat or two. Without, of course, relinquishing the smarmy preachiness.

And they use terms like "gun show" and gun store" and some of the war-lovers even use the term shotgun to describe whatever battery-operated device their wife is going to hand them to shoot Census workers. One wonders about these bulletheads' conception of fun.

Plus, if they've been in the Air Force they are always saying "I'll roger that", which I find annoying, if not alarming. "Would you like a sandwich?", you ask innocently and they inevitably say "I'll roger that!" or they and 12 other grunts beat the shit out of you for suggesting a sandwich.

What's with that?"

russell, you make some good points and i am going to think about them.

Can't ask for more than that.

I do disagree that, as you assert, that it was unknown that Rogers was a gay activist

That was in the article I linked to but it wasn't my assertion. I brought Rogers up only to indicate that gay folks serve effectively and with distinction, DADT or not.

Some of you continue to display appalling lack of understanding or respect for military culture.

lack of understanding no, lack of respect -- in this instance -- yes.
"Appalling"? No.

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Whatnot


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