So we're talking about a policy that a majority of the voting public doesn't want, the House of Representatives has voted to repeal, the President wants to repeal, the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs thinks is bad, and a federal judge has ruled unconstitutional...and a handful of Senators may very well be able to keep in place.

This is a much bigger problem than whether or not gay people can serve openly in the military.


chris said...

Am I the only person that doesn't understand why you need to be openly anything in the military? It's a job. You are not an individual. You are not a beautiful or unique snowflake. You are a tool. A tool of war. And war doesn't care if you like a sausage in your bunky.

Brian said...

I don't think it's fair (or correct) to frame this as an issue of individual expression while in the employ of the military. It's actually much more mundane than that. You're asking people (particularly those that are partnered) to actively conceal some really basic domestic details in order to remain employed, and to exist with a sword of Damocles hanging over their heads if anyone with a beef decides to out them.

Neither of which strike me as being terribly good for morale.

Dave said...

The military is not primarily an employer. It certainly employees people, but its combat mission justifies excluding all sorts of people because these people might hamper combat effectiveness. So I don't think B's characterization of the military as employment nor C's statement that its a job are accurate. Should DADT be repealed? Who knows...but certainly that decision should be made in the context of what best for the military's combat effectiveness, and not in context of fairness to individuals' employment opportunities. Can you make the argument that repealing DADT increased the recruiting pool and improve morale of previously closeted members? Sure. But you can also make the argument that open homosexuality would undermine unit cohesiveness, especially among junior personnel who live in relatively close confined quarters. So once the equal employment lens is set aside, I don't think this issue is nearly as obvious as some civil libertarians would suggest. And I would submit that those who seek to overturn DADT bear the burden of proof in this discussion.

Brian said...

Obviously I won't pretend to understand the perspective of the military rank and file, but...

If that argument wasn't good enough to justify racial segregation in the military, why is it enough to justify daft?

Brian said...


Sorry, I was typing from my phone. I meant "daDt". (Though it could be called daft as well...)

I don't think I've ever made this an issue of whether one has a "right" to be in the military. As far as I'm concerned, it is a question of whether the military (as an arm of the government) has a right to exclude on the basis of anything not directly related to fitness for service. I don't think we disagree on this point, but rather on whether homosexuality undermines fitness for service is a settled question.

As far as the burden of proof goes, that seems an impossible standard. How can you really know whether it actually makes a difference until you actually have openly gay servicemen?

I mean, I suppose you can poll ranks (ahem)...but since when was the military a democracy? Moreover, as I alluded above, I'd be willing to bet if you asked servicemen in the 1940's whether they would be OK serving alongside black soldiers, you'd probably find enough reason to never integrate. Would that have been the right thing to do?

Anyway...I actually didn't mean to re-open the debate about DADT. I just find very unsettling the fact that a policy broadly opposed by nearly everyone that counts (and most importantly, that has been credibly ruled unconstitutional) is remaining in place due to the arcane rules of procedure in the senate.

I know checks and balances are integral to the system, but I don't thing Madison et al. ever intended to give individual senators that kind of power.

Gino said...

you know where i stand on the issue.

and i agree that madison didnt give individual sentors that kind of powers. but when they group together into a collective of individual senators, like this case, i think that was the whole point of the process.

this was all about politics in an election year, imo, and had nothing to do with affecting a policy.

Dave said...

I'm actually rather ambivalent about DADT. Frankly, I don't think it makes a big deal either way. With regards to the senate, in this matter I think that it is operating as designed. If we're only concerned with immediate popular will, we could just have a unicameral House.
But I am strongly opposed to this issue, like many other controversial issues, being decided by judicial fiat.