Re: Backdoor To Gays In The Military

1

I would have gone with "gay enter military through the backdoor" or perhaps "to serve their country, gays reach around command structure", or even "gays ride private contractors to danger zone" or possibly "Tom Cruise! Tom Cruise!", but still: nicely done.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 02-20-08 1:20 PM
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Isn't the shibboleth for conservatives something like "unit integrity" or "fighting effectiveness"? Maybe they would argue that the sort of services that would be privatized -- dishonestly whistling past the many, many, many private mercenary forces employed by the U.S. -- are distinguishable on that basis.


Posted by: Flippanter | Link to this comment | 02-20-08 1:21 PM
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Ooh: "Gays cruising past obstacles to service: some hard numbers for GOP to swallow"


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 02-20-08 1:22 PM
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This is probably rampant pollyannaism, but I'd bet internal opposition in the military to allowing gays to serve openly is a lot less settled than those figures would make it look. Don't you think they probably reflect a whole lot of 'whatever is, is right', loyalty to the current regulations, and if the regulations were changed, in a year no one would mind? (I don't think this was true in '92, but I'd guess it's true now.)


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 02-20-08 1:24 PM
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"war porn now pay-for-gay"


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 02-20-08 1:24 PM
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6

I don't know how gay-friendly Blackwater is, but they certainly are bad for "unit cohesion" & order & discipline.


Posted by: Katherine | Link to this comment | 02-20-08 1:24 PM
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Soon they'll be saying that the continued existence of anti-gay policies in the military is more evidence that government can't do anything right and we should just outsource everything.


Posted by: Not Prince Hamlet | Link to this comment | 02-20-08 1:28 PM
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4: Depending on how the question was asked, it could just mean "no, I don't think our recruiting problems alone justify changing policy on gays in the military", which strikes me as a reasonable position. That is, the reason there is a such massive shortfall in recruiting has nothing to do with not permitting gays to serve and everything to do with no one wanting to go to Iraq. And gays should be allowed to serve because sexual orientation shouldn't be an issue, not because there's hundreds of thousands of wannabe gay soldiers turned away that could go to Iraq.

"As a means of bolstering recruitment" might be doing some work here.


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 02-20-08 1:30 PM
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6: I certainly didn't use "shibboleth" in order to imply a profound respect for any such argument.


Posted by: Flippanter | Link to this comment | 02-20-08 1:30 PM
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That is, the reason there is a such massive shortfall in recruiting has nothing to do with not permitting gays to serve and everything to do with no one wanting to go to Iraq.

Although, people keep on bringing up some odd story about some ridiculous percentage of Arabic translators being turfed out for being gay. (A) I can't figure out why more Arabic translators than anyone else should be gay but (b) it seems like an area where the rule is harmful.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 02-20-08 1:39 PM
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11

My pet theory is that if I spoke Arabic and had to go torture someone I'd probably turn gay on purpose.


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 02-20-08 1:43 PM
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I can't figure out why more Arabic translators than anyone else should be gay....

Sir Richard Francis Burton, please pick up the white courtesy phone in the Sotadic Zone.


Posted by: Flippanter | Link to this comment | 02-20-08 1:44 PM
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11: Makes me wonder, how long would the gay policy hold if there were a draft? Or would the draft board demand you prove your homosexuality right then and there?

There's an old joke about a man whose number comes up. The night before his medical examination, he has someone insert a pint of creamy peanut butter up his anus. During the examination, the doctor recoils: "Jesus Christ, what the hell is that?!" The man sticks his finger back there, takes a big lick, and says, "Mm, tastes like peanut butter to me!"


Posted by: Minivet | Link to this comment | 02-20-08 1:49 PM
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12: Oh, man, that reminds me of picking up The Seven Pillars Of Wisdom once and finding this:

The Arab was by nature continent; and the use of universal marriage had nearly abolished irregular courses in his tribes. The public women of the rare settlements we encountered in our months of wandering would have been nothing to our numbers, even had their raddled meat been palatable to a man of healthy parts. In horror of such sordid commerce our youths began indifferently to slake one another's few needs in their own clean bodies--a cold convenience that, by comparison, seemed sexless and even pure. Later, some began to justify this sterile process, and swore that friends quivering together in the yielding sand with intimate hot limbs in supreme embrace, found there hidden in the darkness a sensual co-efficient of the mental passion which was welding our souls and spirits in one flaming effort. Several, thirsting to punish appetites they could not wholly prevent, took a savage pride in degrading the body, and offered themselves fiercely in any habit which promised physical pain or filth.

"Sexless and even pure"? O RLY?


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 02-20-08 1:49 PM
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...a sensual co-efficient of the mental passion which was welding our souls and spirits in one flaming effort....

Or, "This! Is! ARABIAAAAAAAAAA!"

Way to live the stereotype, public school boy.


Posted by: Flippanter | Link to this comment | 02-20-08 1:58 PM
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"Uncle Tobias, where did Maebe come from?"

"Well, George Michael, when a man and woman love each other very much, and the man shuts his eyes and concentrates as hard as he can, occasionally he is able to..."


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 02-20-08 2:11 PM
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10, 11: My guess is that anyone in the army who speaks Arabic fluently gets assigned to a job as a translator, gay or straight, but who knows.

13.1: that's a large part of why I've been confident there wouldn't be a draft. In this enlightened, cosmopolitan, slightly-less-homophobic day, so many men would be willing to pretend to be gay that DADT and/or the draft would end very quickly.


Posted by: Cyrus | Link to this comment | 02-20-08 2:16 PM
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I can't figure out why more Arabic translators than anyone else should be gay

Aside from canned responses of "because {Arab dudes,foreign languages} are hottt," I'm guessing it's plain ol' networking. If one finds that one is gay and in the military and in a specialized field one probably goes looking for other gay guys to populate the local dating pool.


Posted by: Robust McManlyPants | Link to this comment | 02-20-08 2:20 PM
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19

Yeah, founder effects probably do explain it.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 02-20-08 2:27 PM
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13: That may be a true story about a guy I knew.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 02-20-08 2:28 PM
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20: Actually, I wonder what the actual SSS policy was in the Vietnam era for people brazen enough to cite being gay. Illinois apparently repealed its sodomy laws in 1962.


Posted by: Minivet | Link to this comment | 02-20-08 2:51 PM
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14: I bet they all wrote to each other's girlfriend beforehand and said they might need to slake their few needs in the other's clean body. The women went along with the joke and replied in the affirmative.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 02-20-08 2:52 PM
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14: OMG -- "the quivering together in the yielding sand" was always my FAVORITE. Also, intercrural.


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 02-20-08 2:57 PM
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21: Here is a short article from planetout. It was certainly "folk wisdom" that you would be rejected (I'm only eighteen, I've got a ruptured spleen and I always carry a purse.) and I believe the official policiy was not to screen gays out. The article includes this story:

Stateside, other gay men did everything in their power to avoid military service. Rey Rivera (a.k.a. Sylvia Rivera, one of the transvestites arrested at the Stonewall riots) was drafted in 1967 at 18 and decided to report to the local draft board in full drag - high heels, miniskirt, and red nails. The sergeants in charge assumed Rivera was a woman. But Rivera corrected them and was promptly sent to the psychiatrist, who asked if there was a problem with his sexuality. "I don't know. I know I like men," Rivera replied. "I know I like to wear dresses. But I don't know what any (problem) is." The doctor quickly stamped "HOMOSEXUAL" in red across Rivera's draft notice.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 02-20-08 3:03 PM
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I was in college before I realized that Corporal Klinger was not trying to be discharged from the army for being crazy, but for being gay.


Posted by: rob helpy-chalk | Link to this comment | 02-20-08 3:07 PM
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I was just talking about this with my father, who was in the Army in Korea after the shooting stopped, and apparently at the time he was in (maybe 58-60? I could be a couple of years off), being identified as gay got you disappeared without a trace instantly -- people were tossed on the next plane home. I don't know if the Klinger story was unrealistic, or if the standards for straightness were loose while combat was going on, and tightened up again once things were peaceful.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 02-20-08 3:10 PM
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24: I believe the official policiy was not to screen gays out


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 02-20-08 3:17 PM
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Let me correct that. Of course the Klinger story was unrealistic, but I don't know if someone openly claiming to be gay would have been allowed to remain in the Army during the Korean War.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 02-20-08 3:17 PM
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Of course the Klinger story was unrealistic

What, you don't get all of your information about modern warfare from M*A*S*H*?


Posted by: rob helpy-chalk | Link to this comment | 02-20-08 3:22 PM
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I don't know if someone openly claiming to be gay would have been allowed to remain in the Army during the Korean War.

I am old, but not so old as to be able to say first hand, but I imagine that the combination of (1) people doing whatever was needed to get out of combat and (2) the practicalities of war meant that simply claiming to be gay was not enough to get you sent home. The don't ask don't tell was the de facto policy during my time on active duty (1974 - 2004) even though the official policy mostly was not. In my experience, people in the military are much less excited about this issue than some (on both sides of the gay in the military debate) would have it seem.


Posted by: Idealist | Link to this comment | 02-20-08 3:30 PM
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31

I would have buttsex in a recruitment center to avoid going to Iraq.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 02-20-08 3:31 PM
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In my experience, people in the military are much less excited about this issue than some (on both sides of the gay in the military debate) would have it seem.

Ideal! How much do you think it is, "Can we please not fuck with something that basically seems to work? Especially during a war?"


Posted by: SomeCallMeTim | Link to this comment | 02-20-08 3:31 PM
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33

But then I'd have buttsex in a recruitment center to win a year's supply of free coffee.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 02-20-08 3:33 PM
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34

There are coffee recruitment centers? I would enlist a Coffee Army.


Posted by: Walt Someguy | Link to this comment | 02-20-08 3:34 PM
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"Can we please not fuck with something that basically seems to work? Especially during a war?"

I once told a friend that in the case of a draft I would show up at the draft board in a dress made from the Canadian flag. I would take any posted list of actions that would make one undraftable as a set of instructions.


Posted by: Robust McManlyPants | Link to this comment | 02-20-08 3:36 PM
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33: would you have buttsex for a year in Iraq in order to win a year's worth of free coffee at your local recruiting center, though? That's the real question.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 02-20-08 3:36 PM
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Sifu, simple Googling would tell you that the buttsex in Iraq for free coffee exchange rate is twenty-seven days of buttsex in Iraq = one year of free coffee.


Posted by: Walt Someguy | Link to this comment | 02-20-08 3:43 PM
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Okay, 13 years of free coffee.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 02-20-08 3:46 PM
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39

How much do you think it is, "Can we please not fuck with something that basically seems to work? Especially during a war?"

Which it, resistance to changing the official rules or lack of interest in enforcing them? Certainly the latter. Even in the peacetime Army of which I was a part, people mostly did not care about whether someone was gay. However, if a gay soldier was out, forcing a commander's hand, or if they got in trouble for something else and a commander wanted to pile on, to make sure they definately got kicked out of the Army, then the rules got enforced. Otherwise, people mostly did not care about such things, having other, more important, concerns (obviously, one could find exceptions, but I never personally witnessed one).


Posted by: Idealist | Link to this comment | 02-20-08 3:49 PM
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"Can we please not fuck with something that basically seems to work? Especially during a war?"

Has no one in any of the armed services ever read Catch 22? Is it Once An Eagle or nothing?


Posted by: Flippanter | Link to this comment | 02-20-08 3:49 PM
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Otherwise, people mostly did not care about such things, having other, more important, concerns

I have a friend who is gay and in the military. He crosses state lines to go on dates and basically lives in constant fear. It makes me wonder whether the relaxation of society's attitudes overall have caused those in the military for whom it is a real issue to really amp up the phobic atmosphere (as opposed to the simpler explanation, which is that where he is posted right now is a really terrible place to be gay whether in or out of the military).


Posted by: Robust McManlyPants | Link to this comment | 02-20-08 4:04 PM
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41: There's also the "it only takes one asshole to screw you" kind of problem. Assuming Idealist is right, and my JAG friend says the same thing, most people in the Army really aren't looking for gays to hound out of the service. But, if you are gay, and it's an open secret, you're still vulnerable to anyone who wants to make an issue of it -- the difference between 'open secret' and 'out, forcing a commander's hand' could easily be a third party making a stink.

So you'd end up with a whole lot of justifiable constant fear anyway.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 02-20-08 4:08 PM
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It makes me wonder whether the relaxation of society's attitudes overall have caused those in the military for whom it is a real issue to really amp up the phobic atmosphere (as opposed to the simpler explanation, which is that where he is posted right now is a really terrible place to be gay whether in or out of the military).

Of course it could be either, or both. And if I wasn't clear, I'm not saying that there weren't times and places where idiots were in charge and they cared about finding and discharging gays. I meant only generally and in my experience it was rare. Small consolation for your friend, of course. It is a stupid and sometimes destructive policy (even though I understand its basis).


Posted by: Idealist | Link to this comment | 02-20-08 4:11 PM
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forcing a commander's hand' could easily be a third party making a stink.

Certainly true.


Posted by: Idealist | Link to this comment | 02-20-08 4:13 PM
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45

when i was a med student there were ads at our school recruiting volunteers to work in the ebola epid centres, i know noone who actually went there
and what they were promising in return though


Posted by: read | Link to this comment | 02-20-08 4:17 PM
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it only takes one asshole [...] making a stink


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 02-20-08 4:37 PM
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if a gay soldier was out, forcing a commander's hand

Heh.


Posted by: Jesus McQueen | Link to this comment | 02-20-08 4:48 PM
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25: Klinger was emphatically not trying to get out gay; he was offered that once by a visiting general and quickly turned it down.


Posted by: | Link to this comment | 02-20-08 5:17 PM
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What, you don't get all of your information about modern warfare from M*A*S*H*?

The only way I can remember military hierarchy is by thinking about the characters on M*A*S*H. (Let's see, lieutenant must be higher than captain because Frank Burns was always lording it over Hawkeye.)


Posted by: Sir Kraab | Link to this comment | 02-20-08 5:35 PM
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You've cocked up a major premise there, Kraab. Which is probably enough to warrant a general discharge.

Ooh. I should send these into the Jumble.


Posted by: Golza | Link to this comment | 02-20-08 6:26 PM
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48: You are obviously not familiar with the advanced techniques of Reading a Queer Subtext into Everything. One of the first rules is that explicit denials of the queer subtext are further evidence for the queer subtext. This is a useful technique the Queer Studies people learned from Freud.

Seriously, though. There are all kinds of ways to act crazy. Why did Klinger always choose the ones that involved cross dressing? I can imagine a later episode being written to deny the subtext once discussion of it had become public. But that one episode doesn't make up for the total queerness of all the others.


Posted by: rob helpy-chalk | Link to this comment | 02-20-08 6:36 PM
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Besides, it's hardly crazy to cross-dress. It gets quite warm in Korea, and sundresses let in a wonderful breeze.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 02-20-08 6:39 PM
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51: But he didn't always choose the ones that involved cross-dressing; he was hardly cross-dressing at all in the later seasons, but he was still playing crazy.

In any case, being offered a way out and refusing it is pretty conclusive proof that that wasn't the way out he was aiming for. You can argue that it was subtextual on the part of the writers, but it definitely wasn't the character's intention.


Posted by: M | Link to this comment | 02-20-08 7:03 PM
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53: unless the network censors got worried people were on to the subtext, and made them put that in there to defuse suspicion!

Wheels within wheels, man.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 02-20-08 7:06 PM
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That wouldn't have any effect on what the character of Klinger was aiming for, though. He specifically and explicitly turned it down; whether or not that's because the writers caved is irrelevant, it's outside the text.


Posted by: M | Link to this comment | 02-20-08 7:32 PM
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You can say authorial intent doesn't exist anywhere else, but leave me M*A*S*H, damn you!


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 02-20-08 7:38 PM
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One of my dad's best friends when he was in the army was gay. When this came out, there was a S/pecial B/ranch investigation as the fact that my dad knew he was gay and hadn't reported it [and had also helped him put up posters for some gay-rights event] was tantamount to being gay himself. This included agents visiting my mother. On finding that she was about 6 months pregnant [with me] they dropped it.

It was definitely treated as a serious thing.

However, my dad says that it was fairly widely known that this guy was gay and most of his colleagues really didn't care and it wasn't a complaint from one of his fellow soldiers that sparked the investigation.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 02-21-08 12:56 AM
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"Remember those lads we had over from Delta? Remember Gayboy Billy?"

"Yeah."

"Well - he was gay."

"Gayboy Billy was gay? Shit, I thought he was just cheerful."

-- Kev


Posted by: | Link to this comment | 02-21-08 6:25 AM
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