AIR DATE: Wednesday, February 3rd 2010
Mike Francis, writing an Oregonian editorial, said it "reverberated from central Portland to military bases in Iraq and Afghanistan." Last Tuesday night, Barack Obama announced that after promising to do so in his presidential campaign, he’s ready to seek the end of "Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell":
I got a phone call from someone at the show who remembered me from an appearance a year ago on Veteran’s Day. I was asked my opinion and experiences with DADT. I told her that I was against DADT, was supportive of its repeal, and that one’s standing in the military ought not be linked to one’s sexual preference.
On the website’s blog I posted the following comments.
I am prior Marine Corps and current Army National Guard. I am in full support of the REPEAL of Don’t Ask Don’t Tell (D.A.D.T.) and the allowing of members of the military to serve their country honorably without sexual orientation being an issue. As the Admiral said yesterday, it isn’t about command control but about leadership.
Our military has many virtues that many of us hope to live up to. One of them is integrity. It is impossible pretend to have integrity when a person must lie about their sexuality, or the institution of the military tries to avoid dealing with the issue.
This is NOT a social experiment, as so many right-wing types deem to call it, it is justice. I wonder if they would have also have termed some other advances in civil rights down the years as social experiments as well.
The downright truth of the matter is this. The military has a deep core of misogyny. The values that are culturally and socially supported within our branches are those of masculine traits. We are ‘hyper masculine’. The opposite of a good soldier/marine are also traits that are given to women. Soft, emotional (any emotion save violence), empathy, submission, tenderness, collaborative, and others are all negative traits for us.
Keep in mind the job that we must do. Kill. We train for war and combat is not a time to lose your cool. Emotional distancing can be very useful when patrolling a section of Iraq for a year.
However what is acceptable in our military culture is not so much the professionalism as is often expressed in various creeds (the NCO Creed of the Army for one) nearly as much as the pressure to be more masculine.
Never mind that women can be very competitive, goal driven, quick to anger, aggressive, take charge, decisive, and so on. These are, in our still infantile masculine culture of misogyny, masculine defined traits. Women in the military are not women, but lesser men trying to be as manly as the men are. For their efforts they are admired as much as they looked down upon. The mentality is ‘at least they are trying’.
No man that I’ve ever met in over twelve years of military service as ever expressed any amount of concern if a woman in the military was a lesbian. The problem comes from the notion of there being gay men. And the reason for this is that the men, who can really BE men (that is all the qualities of masculinity thought to inhabit a pair of genitals) are giving up this in order to be like women, therefore they are worse than women who are at least trying to be something. Gay men are an offense to the values of the imature masculine ideal and the misogynist culture that is predominant in our military fears and hates it.
A common sentiment among some of the men who are opposed gays in the military will often cite that they do not want men looking at them in the shower, or any unwanted sexual advances. This sort of behavior is an epidemic in our military concerning our women service members. Whereas a man can go jogging on a base in Iraq by himself, a woman is told to go with a buddy because of the elevated risk of being sexually assaulted. She is more likely to experience MST, military sexual trauma, than she is to be shot at in a warzone.
When I’ve asked these men, at other times, if they would object a woman seeing them in the shower, or their sexual advances, it rarely makes a difference if the woman is ‘attractive’ or not to the male. He has the power and is not threatened by it. He doesn’t care. But when I ask how does this differ from a gay man and he becomes defensive, angry, irritable, and falls back on the same tired excuses of ‘its just wrong’.
I am of the strong opinion that there should be seperation of church and state. We are not a white nation, but a nation of many peoples. We are not a Christian nation, but one of many religions and faiths. We share a dream of equal protection under the law, that no race or religion can dictate to the others what is moral or immoral, or holy or not. Marriage is not only a Christian idea and should not be legislated according to this. Freedom of religion also means freedom FROM religion.
I do not care if the person beside me is white, black, atheist, Christian, Muslim, homosexual or heterosexual or bisexual. I care only that they are competent in doing their job, that they love the higher ideals of liberty and equality that this country is still trying to aspire to and, hopefully, someday more fully achieve, and that this person has my back.
Concerning sexual assault in the military, it is underpenalized. We have women soldiers who are leaving the military from their ordeals, while the perpetrators are kept in because they are a ‘good soldier’ and that’s what men do. I am very proud of my uniform and this country for which I’ve fought in two wars. Yet our military, like our country, is not perfect and knowing this with humility we ought to take strides to ever keep working toward the achivement of those ideals which this country is founded upon…
…Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness.