20 responses

  1. MirrorMan
    July 8, 2008

    Hmmm. Basically, just what has been said all along. Way to get the big light bulb, guys!

  2. Steve Krotz
    July 8, 2008

    This is an excellent and highly informative article. Having served in the Air Force for four years in the early sixties, I can attest to the very disturbing feelings of hypocrisy and dishonesty. Especially when I first joined (at 17 with parental consent) and had to answer the question of whether or not I was a homosexual on the initial paperwork.

    I spent four years hiding who I was from everyone around me and trying desperately to ignore it myself. I served honorably, had numerous letters of commendation, was very active in the base theatre group and became President of the Base Airman’s Council, among quite a few other things that I had become involved in. I was the kind of airman the Air Force wanted to keep. But, ultimately, the emotional turmoil of being “different” and constantly afraid that someone would discover me, led to my first lame attempt at suicide.

    Had I been able to discuss my feelings with a chaplain or psychiatrist or even someone else who was gay very probably would have helped me avoid that attempt and a second one that came a few years later.

  3. Ben in Oakland
    July 8, 2008

    It is enough to make you think that maybe this really wasn’t about military preparedness and unit cohesion at all.

    Maybe it was just really about plain old prejudice.

  4. Ephilei
    July 8, 2008

    Please remember that transgender people are also discriminated against under DADT. I’m sad that we’re never included in the conversation that equally affects us as well.

  5. Jim Burroway
    July 8, 2008

    Ephilei, I agree. It is sad. Unfortunately, the authors really didn’t discuss transgender people in their report.

  6. SMSgt Mac
    July 9, 2008

    I guess we can redefine the word ‘study’ to now include: “A data-free pile of psycho-babble wrapped in an appeal to authority, produced by an recently renamed advocacy house.”
    Show me the data.
    Show me the methodology.
    Otherwise this ‘study’ is propaganda writ large.

  7. Scott
    July 9, 2008

    “SMSgt” Maybe try clicking on the PDF link of the report and reading it. Things are spelled out quite nicely there. Unlike “exgay” groups the military is quite capable of facing facts.

  8. Timothy Kincaid
    July 9, 2008

    SMSgt Mac,

    The methodology was “examining the key academic and social science literature on the subject and interviewing a range of experts on leadership, unit cohesion and military law, including those who are training our nation’s future military leaders at the service academies.”

    As for the data, I’m sure it is available to any qualified researcher that wants to verify the conclusions.

    While this study may not meet your standards (which I suspect has more to do with your biases than any evenly applied criteria), it completely trumps all presentation to the contrary.

    Because, Sgt Mac, there is no study whatsoever in any form that supports the notion that openly gay servicemembers pose any threat to military preparedness or unit cohesion. Surely you would concede that policy based upon this study would be vastly better than policy based on guesswork or bigotry.

  9. SMSgt Mac
    July 9, 2008

    Scott,
    Thanks, I read the ‘report’ first. Anecdotes do not equal data, and IMHO most ‘social science’ (read soft science) research falls well short of ‘rigorous’ in comparison to the hard sciences. I receive multiple Human Factors surveys for various research projects every month, and the typical quality (or rather, lack thereof) and inherent bias of the questionaires is usually stark and staggering. When I receive courtesy copies of the findings, I rarely find the researchers did not find exactly what they were working to ‘find’. (Surprise! Garbage in = garbage out).

    Timothy,
    Methodology as in HOW they examined “the key academic and social science literature on the subject and interviewing a range of experts on leadership, unit cohesion and military law, including those who are training our nation’s future military leaders at the service academies.”

    Your sad ‘appeal to authority’(look up ‘logical fallacies’) concerning the availability of the data, as in “I’m sure it is available to any qualified researcher that wants to verify the conclusions” is noted. Good science isn’t about verifying, it is about skepticism.

    Don’t think I don’t ‘appreciate’ your oblique, unsupported, and rather clumsy insinuation of bigotry either. I’ll resist the urge to slap you around over it for the moment: maybe I’ll have fun with your comment at my place later. I AM certain you have no freakin’ idea of my positions on the subject, nor (and more importantly) even WHY they are my positions. I’m certain you wouldn’t like them either, but they would surprise you. Hmmm…I wonder how much disagreement we can have before you feel free to label it ‘bigotry’?

    Anyhooooo…Let’s just say for now that in this case, the majority of my beef is with pseudo-science, psycho-babble and PR releases masquerading as science.

  10. Timothy Kincaid
    July 9, 2008

    Sgt Mac,

    If you have an example of a non-pseudo-science, non-psycho-babble study that indicates that openly gay servicepersons are a threat to the military, please provide it. If you have evidence that the current policy is based on something other than biases and guesswork, please provide it.

    If you have any questions about the mechanics of evaluation or of the source data in the study cited above, you’ll have to inquire with those who conducted the study.

  11. Jason D
    July 9, 2008

    Sgt Mac,
    uh, it’s not a fallacy to tell you to ask the source. You said “show me the data” Timothy replied with “I’m sure it is available to any qualified researcher that wants to verify the conclusions”

    That’s not an appeal to authority, that’s an appeal to you to seek out the data for yourself. BTB does not have the data, and therefore cannot show you the data.

    But upon scanning the article (mind you, I have not read it) I see beginning on page 3 they have footnotes indicating the sources for their statements/conclusions that would be the first place to look for the data in question.

    One thing about this particular “logical fallacy”, it does not mean the conclusions are not true. After all, we rely on the authority of our doctors to recommend treatment for illnesses, our very lives depend on it in some cases.
    The true test of this logical fallacy is if the results stand on their own.
    For example, finding number six “”Don’t ask, don’t tell” has compelled some gay, lesbian, and bisexual service members to lie about their identity.” is true. My parents and I have known several gays and lesbians who fit this finding.
    Looking over the findings, I have not seen one that is not true.
    People often think that pointing out that an argument has some sort of fallacy involved automatically means that whatever conclusion reached is therefore invalid. Logical fallacy simply means the logic is unsound and does not stand on it’s own, that does not mean that the conclusions reached are not valid.
    Pointing out a logical fallacy is not a magic trump card, especially in this case. You could actually try arguing with the findings or sources.

  12. SMSgt Mac
    July 9, 2008

    RE: That’s not an appeal to authority, that’s an appeal to you to seek out the data for yourself.

    I suppose as a standalone statement one might be able to interpret it that way, but in the context of the comment it clearly comes across as ‘leave it to the experts’. So, while you provide Timothy with an ‘out’ I might have found it credible if he said it himself.

    RE: “Surely you would concede that policy based upon this study would be vastly better than policy based on guesswork or bigotry.”

    First. With the combination of the terms ‘guesswork and bigotry’ you create a sort of “99% of husbands, have a job, like football, and beat their wives.” statement, so I wouldn’t rise to that strawman, even if it were relevant. Even if I accepted the assertion of DADT being based upon guesswork, I reject categorically the assertion (or mere mislabeling)of opposition to its removal as ‘bigotry’.

    Second, you are committing the ‘burden of proof’ fallacy. I am not the one making an assertion for change, the ‘researchers’ are. The state of the argument is that DADT is an existing mechanism that is in place because it ostensibly supports good order and discipline. The burden of proof rests with those seeking to change the paradigm.

    Now, gathering opinions on the impact of changing the paradigm on this kind of topic IF DONE CORRECTLY merely increases the probability of being ABLE to interpret the responses correctly with no guarantee that the interpretation WOULD be interpeted correctly.
    Wait! It gets better!
    You can measure what ‘is’ quite well with these kind of tools when you can control bias, but they absolutely suck at telling you what ‘will be’ under the best of conditions.

    Even if the surveys were well executed, even if the ‘data’ collected was valid, and even if the so-called researchers ‘interpreted’ the data correctly, it is STILL just a summary of opinions about what the future would hold IF the change occurred. The alleged ‘research’ cannot account for the law of unintended consequences, the changing opinions that would occur AFTER the change (either way), the existence of an unseen “Bradley Effect”-equivalent, nor of course the actual impact on good order and discipline in the end…i.e. until well AFTER an irreversible change occurs.

    This deficiency is not peculiar to the issue. Definitive findings in the soft sciences are few and far between. Don’t get me wrong, I got more of my respect for the power of stats in Psych classes than I did in Statistics classes, but with the possible exception of Economics, Psych and Medicine have more people than any other field I’ve seen, who can’t differentiate at all between ‘possible’, ‘probable’ and ‘certainty’.

    I will concede these kinds of surveys are really useful and effective in evaluating how well your spin, angle, position, advocacy or propaganda/PR machine is penetrating the mind of the target population.

    As much as I don’t care for DADT, it has proven to be workable for the military’s overall “good order and discipline”…so far: and this, as it should be, is the only thing the military cares about.

    Finally, I almost don’t have the heart to point out that the only people who are impressed with a largwe number of generals’ opinions on anything not directly related to killing people and breaking things obviously haven’t known many generals.
    Fact is, the number of intellectuals and scholars who have dedicated all that much time and grey matter on the more esoteric aspects of force structure were far and few between when I was on active duty. After the force-gutting of the mid 90′s, they are scarcer than hen’s teeth.

    Thanks to our gracious host for the use of bandwidth.

  13. Timothy Kincaid
    July 10, 2008

    Sgt Mac,

    We are still waiting for any evidence to support the following:

    1. DADT has proven to be workable for the military’s overall “good order and discipline”.

    2. the existance of an example of a non-pseudo-science, non-psycho-babble study that indicates that openly gay servicepersons are a threat to the military.

    3. that the methodology by which DADT was incorporated into law was not the product of bigotry and guesswork (You may wish to read a bit more about the Congressional hearings and debate).

    4. that the examples of our allies cannot be used to make educated predictions.

  14. Gary
    July 10, 2008

    March 10, 1778:
    George Washington approves the dishonorable discharge of Lieut. Frederick Gotthold Enslin for “attempting to commit sodomy, with John Monhort a soldier”.

    March 1956:
    Thomas Dooley was accused and investigated for participating in homosexual activities, and was forced to resign from the Navy.

    1957: the “Critenden Report” finds that gay-identified people were no more likely to be a security risk than heterosexual-identified people, and found there was no rational basis for excluding gay people from the Navy.

    January 1981: The DOD Directive 1332.14 (Enlisted Administrative Separations)”Homosexuality is incompatible with military service. The presence in the military environment of persons who engage in homosexual conduct or who, by their statements, demonstrate a propensity to engage in homosexual conduct, seriously impairs the accomplishment of the military mission. The presence of such members adversely affects the ability of the armed forces to maintain discipline, good order, and morale; to foster mutual trust and confidence among service members; to insure the integrity of the system of rank and command; to facilitate assignment and worldwide deployment of service members who frequently must live and work in close conditions affording minimal privacy; to recruit and retain members of the armed forces; to maintain the public acceptability of military service; and to prevent breaches of security.”

    During fiscal years 1980 through 1990, approximately 17,000 servicemen and women (an average of about 1,500 per year) were separated from the services under the category of “homosexuality.”

    October 1992: Allen R. Schindler, Jr. is brutally murdered in a public toilet in Sasebo, Nagasaki, Japan by shipmate Terry M. Helvey. Schindler had complained repeatedly of anti-gay harassment to his chain of command in March and April 1992, citing incidents such as the gluing-shut of his locker and frequent comments from shipmates like “There’s a faggot on this ship and he should die.” At the wake in the family’s home in Chicago, his mother and sister could only identify him by the tattoos on his arm as his face was disfigured. During the trial Helvey denied that he killed Schindler because he was gay stating “I did not attack him because he was homosexual” but evidence presented by Navy investigator, Kennon F. Privette, from the interrogation of Helvey the day after the murder showed otherwise. “He said he hated homosexuals. He was disgusted by them,” Privette said. On killing Schindler, Privette quoted Helvey as saying: “I don’t regret it. I’d do it again. … He deserved it.”

    May 19, 1992: a bill to prohibit discrimination by the armed forces on the basis of sexual orientation was introduced.

    June 12, 1992: the United States General Accounting Office published a report entitled Defense Force Management: DOD’s Policy on Homosexuality. The report stated “Major psychiatric and psychological organizations in the United States disagree with DOD’s policy and believe it to be factually unsupported, unfair, and counterproductive. In addition, two DOD / service – commissioned study efforts have refuted DOD’s position on the potential security risk associated with homosexual orientation as well as disclosed information that raised questions about the basic policy. Further, the Secretary of Defense and the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff have recently acknowledged that homosexual orientation is no longer a major concern”.

    1992: Presidential candidate William Jefferson Clinton, promises to lift the military’s ban on homosexual and bisexual people.

    1993: The Rand Study ,commissioned by the Pentagon states that “A policy that focuses on conduct and considers sexual orientation, by itself, as not germane in determining who may serve was judged to meet the President’s criteria and to be most consistent with the research findings. Such a policy emphasizes actual conduct, not behavior presumed because of sexual orientation, and holds all service members to the same standard of professional conduct. It requires tolerance and restraint to foster the good of the group, but implies no endorsement of a “homosexual lifestyle.”

    1993: Opposition to lifting the ban on gay and bisexual people in the armed forces was led by Democratic Senator Sam Nunn of Georgia. Charles Moskos coined the phrase “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell,” and attached it to the controversial compromise policy he developed for the Clinton administration on gays in the military.

    1993: “Don’t Ask Don’t Tell” is approved by President Clinton who, while campaigning for the Presidency, had promised to allow all citizens regardless of sexual orientation to serve openly in the military.

    1999: The secret “FORSCOM regulation” (Regulation 500-3-3) allows the active duty deployment of Army Reservists and National Guard troops who say that they are gay or who are accused of being gay.

    2000: Charles Moskos tells the academic journal Lingua Franca that he felt the “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy will be gone within five to ten years. He went on to debunk the unit cohesion argument, the most frequent rationale given for the continued exclusion of gay service members from the U.S. military, instead arguing that homosexuals should be banned due to the “modesty rights” of heterosexuals, saying: “Fuck unit cohesion, I don’t care about that…I should not be forced to shower with a woman. I should not be forced to shower with a gay.”

    September 13, 2005: The Center for the Study of Sexual Minorities in the Military (now the Michael D. Palm Center) reveals the secret “FORSCOM regulation (Regulation 500-3-3)”. U.S. Army Forces Command spokesperson Kim Waldron later confirmed the regulation and indicated that it was intended to “prevent Reservists and National Guard members from pretending to be gay to escape combat”.

    Between 1993 and 2008, more than 12,000 vital service members have been discharged under “Don’t Ask Don’t Tell”.

    2008: Democratic candidates across the board vow to repeal DADT. Republican candidates vow to uphold DADT. Sam Nunn “Mr. Submarine” is in contention for a democratic VP.

    July 08, 2008: Yet another study concludes that there’s no rational excuse to discriminate against gay people in the military. . .nothing new, we’ve heard this since 1957.

    Yet, Sam Nunn want’s another study so we can debate the obvious for another 30 years.

  15. Priya Lynn
    July 10, 2008

    After reading Sgt Mac’s lengthy babble its clear he can’t see the forest for the trees. Newsflash Sgt Mac – other countries have allowed gays in their militaries and there’s been no problems.

  16. Jason D
    July 11, 2008

    “As much as I don’t care for DADT, it has proven to be workable for the military’s overall “good order and discipline”…so far: and this, as it should be, is the only thing the military cares about.”
    Care to back that up with anything other than speculation?

    And again, you like to point out fallacies, but you fail to show how said fallacies lead to invalid conclusions. I reiterate, a fallacy indicates flawed logic, not flawed conclusions.

  17. Ben in Oakland
    July 11, 2008

    SM SGT MAC: What I find interesting is a comment of Colin Powell’s, something to the effect that gay people can be both patriotic and great soldiers, but nonetheless, could not serve their country.” So it’s not about fitness to serve. DADT allows for gay people to serve as long as nobody knows they’re gay. So it’s not about the presence of gay people, or their ability to live with straight people even if those people know, guess, or assume that the gay people are gay. (And I don’t buy for a minute that people don’t try to figure out the sex lives of other people they live and work with).

    In short, as we already know, gay people are kicked out of the military for no other reason than that they are gay– not for doing, on average, anything that a typical straight soldier might be kicked out for.

    In short, it’s not really about gay people at all, but as usual, about how much the very existence of gay people bothers some straight people.

    (And those straight people (or wanna-be-but-ain’t) are willing to express mail our country to hell in a hand basket to prove their point. Firing scarce Arabic translators because they like dick? That doesn’t make any sense.)

    When the anti-gays are honest, and they often have been, they will admit that this statement is true: “I so disapprove of/am wigged out by/hate/dislike/judge moralistically/etc. homosexuals that I could not possibly give up my prejudice, not in the name of tolerance, not in the name of compassion, not in the name of freedom, not in the name of fact and logic and experience and reason—and certainly, not in the name of UNIT COHESION.

    Yet, so many people have, both in and out of the military, They find out it just doesn’t matter. It’s not important. I they have a little less negative and a lot more positive in their lives.

    In short– yet again– and I’m actually coming to my point: it is all about BIAS, and nothing but bias.

    And frankly, I do not find that prejudice, bias, dislike, fear, intolerance, hatred, stupidity, and ignorance, or the insistence that those are good qualities to have, that somehow, finally, you have it right about which group of people need to be hurt or kept in their place– constitute a good basis for social policy, law-making, military preparedness, or anything else that might benefit our country.

    I don’t need a study to tell me this. I just need to read a history book. It has not helped our society ever– racial, religious, ethnic, lingual, whatever prejudice is du jour– and this case is NO DIFFERENT. I repeat: Firing scarce Arabic translators because they like dick? Straight soldiers are dying for that reason. It doesn’t make any sense. 25,000 moral waivers to convicted felons, but upstanding talented patriotic gay people need not apply because it is GOING TO MAKE SOME BIGOTED, IMMATURE, FEAR RIDDEN STRAIGHT BOY UPSET????!!!!

    Who exactly is causing the problem?

    The unit cohesion argument is just another version of Stanley Kurtz’s lame argument that if gay people are allowed to marry, straight people stop having babies, or some such nonsense. The argument shifts subtly and suddenly from gay people getting married to how straight people feel about that. what’s interesting to me is that in both cases, straight people act very badly (they stop having babies or can no longer fulfill their mission because they can’t get over themselves), and gay people get blamed for it, and must pay the price.

    I think this is a very accurate description of the situation. So, if you want studies, be my guest, but it won’t change what appears to me to be a very obvious reality.

    soldiers die, our country suffers, George bush gets elected, talent is lost, time, energy and money are wasted that could be devoted to making our world and country better,
    and all in service to a prejudice.

    maybe you could find a study that would justify that.

  18. SMSgt Mac
    July 17, 2008

    Priya Lynn,

    1. All militaries are not created equal. They do not do the same things, and they do not operate at the same levels of effectiveness. I would argue that unless you produce a military of comparable complexity, capability and effectiveness as the US, your argument is specious.

    2. All Nations are not the same. I happen to subscribe to the concept of American Exceptionalism and am unimpressed with the idea that the US should be dragged down to the level of other and lesser nations in many things. This is one of them. (Yes, I realize this could open another area of contention, but don’t feel compelled to argue it here.)

    Your argument is essentially ‘But all the other kids are doing it!’. So What?

  19. Ben in Oakland
    July 24, 2008

    more accurately– dragged UP to the level of other nations.

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