Don't Ask, Don't Tell, Don't Act

The ongoing touchy and burning question is whether or not homosexuals are “entitled” to serve in the military, and, if so, whether or not they should be required to keep their sexual orientation to themselves.

Let me start by saying that I have no interest in what consenting adults choose to do so long as those activities do not result in corpses, do not scare the horses, and are not otherwise harmful to society in general. Many of us are attracted to individuals that bewilder our friends and relatives.

The question before us is whether or not some sorts of behavior and traditions should be changed to meet the desires of less than two per cent. of the population. I have no difficulty with same-sex couples who want to “live in sin,” a very old term for cohabiting without marriage, although I am against that for heterosexual couples because we all know the enormous damage done to our society by the increase in illegitimate children. In the nineteen fifties the white illegitimacy rate was 5% and that of blacks was 25%. After half a century of welfare the rate for whites is 25% and that of blacks 80%, to the widespread detriment of all of the little bastards, to use the technical term deliberately for shock effect. Does it strike you as odd that the technical term is still one of the strongest insults in our society, while no social force is leveled against those who bear children out of wedlock? Perhaps mandatory health insurance would solve the argument that gays should be allowed “to marry,” a perfectly straightforward infinitive that has never referred to anything other than heterosexual unions for the purposes of procreation, preservation of capital and family power, and perhaps even happiness.

In particular, the questions are whether or not those who are openly gay have a “right” to serve in the military if they wish, with others questioning whether our fighting forces would be better or worse for their inclusion. The arguments are that a sexual deviant can be just as patriotic and competent as anyone else and they should not be denied permission to join the Marines if they want to and can get through Parris Island successfully. I’m quite willing to admit that military prowess and even genius may be — even probably are — independent of sexual orientation. As I recall, Gaius Julius Caesar was at least AC-DC, and many ancient Greeks were of the opinion that a man will fight harder under the eyes of his lover. (If we’re going to take society of two millenia ago as our standard, should modern mothers tell our sons, “Come back with your shield or on it?”)

On my angle of the argument, after a life of having been the wife, daughter, sister, aunt, cousin, niece, and daughter-in-law of career military officers, I keep running into the ancient proscription against “conduct prejudicial to good order” and another about “conduct unbecoming an officer.” There are very clear rules against “fraternization” between officers and enlisted men/women, and against after lights out trysts in the barracks. More recent rules involve “sexual harassment” and rendering one’s self unfit for combat by becoming pregnant, neither of which were an issue when all the ships at sea were manned, period. I think all of us can agree that we would find it uncomfortable to shower in mixed groups, whether that meant those of both genders or those of our own who saw us as sex objects. The situation will be even worse on submarines, where quarters are always tight and it can be difficult to pass someone without touching, a situation that could lead quickly to those so inclined taking advantage of others who did not appreciate being touched inappropriately. Surely we have had enough scandals and ruined careers without openly setting up situations where charges will arise.

I consulted three military men tonight. The gentleman reared in Romania, where mandatory service is required after high school, said in outrage that he thought all homosexuals should be shot, which does seem a little severe, given easier solutions. The former, ah, “black ops” type said firmly that he didn’t want to risk his life in tight situations with someone who saw him as desirable, and Charles spoke bitingly of the Wisconsin and the Wikipaedia mess. If you aren’t familiar with the little emotional tiff, which led to death and destruction, a jealous lover rigged the large gun his boyfriend served to blow up. Such an occurrence can happen, obviously, even under “Don’t ask, don’t tell.” Needless to say, both men had broken several regs, and shipmates who were innocent died. Can heterosexual unions end as badly? Of course they can, but have I indicated in any way that I am in favor of mixed crews living together in cramped, dangerous quarters? There are many military jobs that women can do better than men, including being jet pilots. One of our top snipers is a gorgeous little blonde with a sweet smile and a wholesome look about her. Obviously we can handle Air Traffic Control, analysis, and logistics, and even serve in motor pools.

The problem is, do we allow gays to serve on the premise that women can? Do we go to open segregation, with a Lysistrata Corps? I can imagine the furor if anyone suggested that. The Romanian astrophysicist demanded indignantly several times to know if gays would be required to wear an insignia (perhaps the ancient pink triangle?) to identify themselves plainly. My friend from Dracula land is a brilliant, fascinating man with an authentic accent, and he asks good questions. We require military infantry, engineers, pilots, Master Sergeants, and Admirals to wear insignia identifying their specialties and rank, after all. I can’t think of an army in at least a thousand years that has not done so.

We need to figure in the results of several surveys that indicate that something on the order of 40% say they will resign if open homosexuality is practiced, a number very close to the number of doctors who speak of going out of practice under Obamacare. What is the likelihood that there would be increased fragging in combat? In other words, what is the best policy for our military services and our country? How will we handle all the probable lawsuits for Bad Conduct Discharges, demanding back pay for twenty or thirty years?

If all rules are subject to question, why should anything be allowed as a disqualifying factor for military service? I am being discriminated against by a cut off of age 35 to join the Army or Navy, when I feel I have a great deal to offer as Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. I wouldn’t be surprised if I know more about tactics, strategy, and military history than Admiral Mike Mullen does, and I have a lot more guts when it comes to standing up for what I believe and analyzing consequences. I don’t yield to political expediency; I say what I think before reading audiences of nearly 500,000, and sign my full name to everything I write. I’d make a terrific General, and it is only sheer, blind prejudice that prevents me from serving my country!

Linda Brady Traynham
Whiskey & Gunpowder

December 20, 2010