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Wherein I agree with Bryan Fischer about special rights

Timothy Kincaid

December 24th, 2010

When it comes to anti-gay activists, there are few people nastier than the American Family Association’s Bryan Fischer. Yes, there are plenty who share his aversion to any policy, practice, or social attitude which does not presume that gay people are vile creatures deserving of derision and harsh abuse, but Fischer is among the few who boldly use language that others reserve for the private company of those who share their animus.

And it is primarily due to Fischer and his nasty rants that the AFA has earned the rare distinction of being added to the short list or organizations recognized by the Southern Poverty Law Center as an Anti-Gay Hate Group.

But on occasion, even certified haters say something that rings true. And while Fischer makes his point using contemptuous stereotypes and sneering smugness, I think he makes a good point:

If a homosexual signs up now, he’s stuck with the whole magilla. Go to your superior officer now and say, hey, I’m a flaming homosexual, I hate the army, let me out of here, the superior officer will say, tough darts, those days are gone. You’re stuck with us now, Nancy-boy.

The more this message resounds, the fewer homosexuals will want to enlist. It’s one thing to be gay, and say, hey, I’ll give it a few weeks and then bail if I don’t like the food, can’t get enough action in the barracks, or thought I’d enjoy ogling male soldiers in the shower more than I did.

Those days are now shortly to be a distant memory for our homosexual friends. They enlist, they’re stuck with the whole program just like everybody else.

In other words, they had preferential treatment and special privileges, a status and privileges and an exit strategy denied to their honest and straight counterparts. And homosexuals just bargained it away. Now, they will discover to their dismay, they’re back to having equal rights instead of special rights.

Besides the palpable hatred, Fischer also plays a lot with insinuation, equating “basis of statements by the Service member” – which could simply mean that the servicemember wasn’t caught in the act, so to speak – with “throwing themselves out”. Further, he entirely dismisses the idea that servicepeople may wish to be honest, a principle about which he knows nothing.

But he’s right. One of the things that bothered me about the administration of DADT was that it truly did give unhappy gay and lesbians soldiers an advantage. Once a DADT expulsion became an Honorable Discharge, then the policy harmed committed soldiers wishing to continue their noble service and rewarded those who just wanted out.

Now I doubt that many soldiers considered a policy that demeaned their existence and forced silence and dishonesty on them to be “preferential treatment.” And from what I’ve read, many revealed their orientation only after enduring unbearable treatment by homophobes, from which they had no recourse.

But to the extent that there were gay people who saw their orientation as an escape clause from a poorly chosen contract, that “special right” is gone. Once DADT is fully dead, everyone will be treated the same.

And I think that’s a good thing.

Comments

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cooner
December 24th, 2010 | LINK

What — fft — guh — brrrzt — aggh!!

God, I hate this insinuation I’ve been seeing lately, about how gays won’t have their “easy out” for discharge anymore, or how if there’s a draft gays will lament losing their “get out of draft free” card, now that DADT is finally going away …

The insinuation being that gays who join the military are somehow necessarily more tepid or catty in their dedication … or that gays are the only people who will be trying to dodge a draft if it ever comes to that again. (How many recent Republicans weaseled their way out of serving again?)

I’ve never been in the military myself, but my parents are both heavily involved leadership in the VFW and many of my younger friends are currently serving or going through training, and looking forward to DADT ending so they can serve honorably. I’d think we can all agree that anyone serving, gay or straight, deserves respect for taking that job; and anyone to takes their service less than seriously, gay or straight, doesn’t need to be there.

Tom
December 24th, 2010 | LINK

Bull! … it is very well known that many heterosexuals tried getting out by claiming that they were gay. Not at all accurate to say it was a ‘special right’.

Eric in Oakland
December 24th, 2010 | LINK

Tom is right. It isn’t a special right if anyone (gay or straight) can get out by claiming they are gay. It is not as if people being discharged under DADT had to be PROVEN homosexual. Hearsay, circumstantial evidence, and emails have been more than sufficient grounds.

mikenola
December 24th, 2010 | LINK

I am a retired U.S. Navy Chief and the author has a few misconceptions about DADT Discharges codes and statuses.

1) Discharges under DADT are generally NOT HONORABLE DISCHARGES, they are usually General (under other than honorable conditions) or Other Than Honorable (OTH) discharges.

There are a very few exceptions to this.
.
For Grades E1-E6 the norm is an OTH or General (under oth conditions). The service member would have to have been awarded a Purple Heart or other serious PERSONAL Military Award to get an ReR1 discharge(ReR1 is the re-enlistment code for an Honorable Discharge).

For E7-E9 and all CWO ranks it takes a specific act of congress to reduce them in rank or force-ably separate them from the service. These people are generally senior enough to retire and are allowed to put in their papers. If their command is particularly rabid about court maritaling them they still can’t boot them out just on the court martial, it must go to congress.

01-05 normally get OTH or General (under OTH conditions) and their commissions are revoked. There are certain circumstances where an 04 or 05 who was prior senior enlisted and has sufficient points to retire are allowed to put in their papers and given a conditional discharge that prevents them from maintaining status in the Reserves which most officer ranks do.

06 and up can only be stripped of their commission only by congress same as E7 and up.

If you want to read more about the discharge processes and considerations for discharge under DADT
you can find that information in:

DoDI 1332.14, August 28, 2008 (updated March 2010)

at this link

http://www.dtic.mil/whs/directives/corres/pdf/133214p.pdf

The second issue is that this crap by Fischer is completely out in left field. LGBT people do NOT regularly join the military as a “try it for minute” option.

Gays do not sit around speculating on how ‘easy they have it to avoid combat’.

Gays who have been outed during war times since WW II were typically held on active service through general stop loss orders until such time as they rotated back state-side and unit readiness was evaluated as positive for being able to replace them. Basically put, most of the time gays were just stuck if they tried to get of going to war because of being gay.

The case of the Arabic Linguists is very specific in that 1) they had a rabid homophobe for a commander at the Defense Language Institute (DLI) and 2)they were considered unable to hold the highest level of security clearance because they were gay and the DLI commander considered that to make them susceptible to blackmail.

Of the almost 14K discharges under DADT the majority happened in the first 6 years and almost all under stop loss orders under rotated state side. There were a few rare ones that were taken off the battlefield but not many.

Fischer and the other haters like Coulter are trying to create distractions and enmity to keep their fame and fortune going.

Don’t rise to their bait! Laugh at them for being ridiculous and whiny but DONT let them get you angry enough to say stupid shit! They are a bunch of liars and we all know it, act accoridingly

truthteller
December 25th, 2010 | LINK

Timothy,

The tone of this whole post makes me want to puke.

Whether you are aware of it or not, your post has an underlying theme that says gays are not manly. It implies they cannot possibly be as brave, hardworking, courageous as heterosexuals and that the discriminatory DADT was an escape route for their cowardness. It also implies gay soldiers were not as honorable and as able to keep commitments as heterosexuals.

The hater, Bryan Fisher, is wrong, and so are you.

BlackDog
December 25th, 2010 | LINK

As an Air Force veteran myself (1993-1996, 410th Security Forces Squadron then 5th SFS respectively) I can honestly say I never saw anybody in the military who wasn’t serious about being there. Granted, DADT was the new thing when I went in but I don’t recall all that much homophobia, racism, or anything of the sort.

For me, being from a small, redneck town where racism and homophobia were everyday things it was a bit of a culture shock that so many of the people in my flight at Wilford Hall (Lackland AFB, TX) were black or hispanic. Also, the sort of BS that I heard from people I knew back home just wasn’t tolerated. Everyone in Basic Military Training has a serious mentality, you have to just to make it. I certainly don’t see that reflected in Bryan Fischer’s comments.

I don’t know for sure, but judging from the tone of his comments, I’d say Bryan Fischer isn’t a veteran.

Like a lot of “Big-C” Conservatives and Christians who don’t serve he seems to have an idea of what the Military does, or is, that’s just not so.

Unlike the politicians and reporters (and occasionally as in the Air Force Academy scandals, Preachers) who DO politicize what the military does…that’s not what it’s about. I can’t think of anybody who joined up to get famous or gain power. Since 1973, we’ve had a volunteer force. No one is there who doesn’t want to be. Everybody’s there to do their duty, respect for people is important, and politics and religion are supposed to take a back seat. They don’t always, but they’re supposed to.

Anybody who thinks somebody would join the military in this day and age and leave because “they don’t like the food” doesn’t know shit from shinola.

Bryan Fischer is just plain ignorant.

John
December 25th, 2010 | LINK

Just how many gays who signed up under DADT actually used this “escape clause”? Not nearly as many who were involuntarily discharged under DADT, I’m willing to bet. I seem to recall straight people trying to use this to get out, though.

Rossi
December 25th, 2010 | LINK

Nice post, mikenola.

Regan DuCasse
December 25th, 2010 | LINK

Some have voiced my shared opinion that Fischer is assuming it’s gay people who benefited from the DADT policy if they changed their minds about serving.

Fischer is only right that it can’t be used by any soldier gay or straight.

But he’s wrong about who would utilize it or who already did utilize it.
Predictably, the onus of who most abused something was put on the gay soldier, and Fischer is pulling out every stereotypical attribute he can imagine and name.

But when it’s all said and done, besides eliminating the opportunities for blackmail and unfair and unhealthy emotional pressures that staying silent would bring, this other benefit from eliminating DADT is good too.

People like Fischer only list chapter and verse all the downsides and conjecture all kinds of disasters.

But, there are ALWAYS long lists of upsides to equality and it’s fair to name them.

Hunter
December 25th, 2010 | LINK

I have to confess I’m more than a little surprised to see this post coming from you. Fischer’s screed is, as usual, condescending at best, factually challenged, plays to negative stereotypes, and, under the category of unforeseen consequences, has the end result of expressing his contempt for the military and those who serve as a group.

Your conclusion is correct — equal treatment is all we’ve ever asked — but to hang it on another vicious diatribe from the likes of Bryan Fischer — well, the sense of that eludes me.

Clifton
December 25th, 2010 | LINK

“Now, they will discover to their dismay, they’re back to having equal rights instead of special rights.”

FINALLY, Ficsher gets it. The so-called ‘gay agenda’ is all about EQUALITY

swampfox
December 25th, 2010 | LINK

Timothy do you have any second thoughts about this opinion piece?………..The easy out!

Timothy Kincaid
December 25th, 2010 | LINK

swampfox,

Oh how boring BTB would be if we only published those commentaries that were guaranteed to find universal agreement.

Lymis
December 26th, 2010 | LINK

The flaw in the “preferential treatment” idea regarding the “get out of service free” is that the circumstances for gay and straight people who are serving are not remotely equal to begin with.

Straight people signing up might find that they don’t like the food, don’t like the duties, etc, etc. While gay people might find the same circumstances, they also deal with the reality that they cannot date, cannot form intimate off-duty relationships, cannot tell the truth about their lives, and in many cases, that if someone does discover or suspect, that they are literally at risk of assault or death from their fellow servicemembers. Straight soldiers and sailors only have to deal with the duties, not the effects of homophobia.

The “agreement” under which gay servicemembers join at present is essentially, “if you don’t tell, and are circumspect about your behavior, we will leave you alone.” There is no discussion of “and you will have no recourse if someone decides to single you out and threaten you. Report it and we’ll pitch your ass out.”

Claiming that having an additional emergency exit under conditions that involve the potential for serious additional emergencies is some sort of “preferential treatment” is a horrible misuse of the concept.

It’s not unlike the people who complain that jurisdictions that allow civil unions or domestic partnerships but not marriage for same sex couples and “only” marriage for opposite sex couples are giving preferential treatment to the same sex couples.

“Hey, the gay people have mixed nuts and flat soda on the only table they are allowed to eat from, but our seven course buffet doesn’t have nuts on it! That’s unfair! To us!”

justsearching
December 26th, 2010 | LINK

Not directly on the topic of this post, but here is a whiny interview given by someone in the army who is asking to be relieved of his duties because of the repeal of DADT. As I expected, WND covered the story and I’m guessing we can expect more of the same in the year to come.

http://www.wnd.com/index.php?fa=PAGE.view&pageId=243213

My favorite line from this military figure is the following: “When you start trying to attract people who are so self-centered that they put living their lifestyle out in the open above the needs of their country and national defense, then you have a really dangerous combination.” I’m a bit lost on the logic of the statement too…

Also, amusingly, the article insinuates that when we let gays be open in the army then we can expect the same sort of behavior as was demonstrated by Bradley Manning, a gay solider who probably leaked information to Wikileaks.

Timothy (TRiG)
December 26th, 2010 | LINK

I’m not at all convinced that anyone in the US military is honourable. At least the Irish army is generally a peacekeaping force, not an invasion force. Our army works with the UN in the Lebanon and a few other places.

TRiG.

Ray
December 26th, 2010 | LINK

Brian’s BS would make great fodder for The Onion.

Something like:

Gay Marine laments repeal of DADT

Bagram AB, Iraq: 12/26/10.

Gunnery Sergeant Dirk Butler says he wants DADT reinstated. The 15 year veteran who twice was awarded the Bronze Star says he was banking on “coming out flaming” at some point when he’d had enough of chasing the enemy across the desert.

“I was holding DADT as my ace in the hole and now I’m stuck,” the Omaha, Nebraska native said. Butler sorted through a footlocker full of sequined evening gowns, stilletto heels and rhinestong tieras as he told our reporter how he’d made a last ditch effort to drum up anti-gay sentiment during the Pentagon’s service-wide survey of military personal that was to play an important role in the repeal of the 17 year old law.

“These jerks ruined my chance,” Butler said as he emptied the contents of his foot locker in a nearby dumpster. “Now I’m just an everyday jarhead and my First Sergeant is hitting on me, saying he wants to marry me. I’m on to him. He’s just trying to get me to re-up. I’m totally screwed.”

swampfox
December 26th, 2010 | LINK

Ray, very funny. Thanks. And, as someone else has said the DADT option of being discharged from the service could just as well have been used by straight service members. During the draft years all you had to say that you were gay, and you were out. I am sure it was a bit harder than that but the option was there.

justsearching
December 26th, 2010 | LINK

Sadly, satire and right-wing lunacy might appear awfully similar in this coming year.

swampfox
December 27th, 2010 | LINK

“I’m not at all convinced that anyone in the US military is honourable. At least the Irish army is generally a peacekeaping force, not an invasion force. Our army works with the UN in the Lebanon and a few other places. – TRiG.”

Yep, the bloody UN is a real effective peacekeeping force. And, may I thank the Irish for being neutral during WWI and WWII …………… and nearly every other conflict in the world. It must be nice to sit back and not have the national expense of an effective military. When the American Military arrives on a natural disaster scene and rescues some poor Irish soul, would please think about writing them a thank you note. It is about time the Irish to stop complaining about having been under British rule.

Chuck Mielke
December 27th, 2010 | LINK

The repeal of DADT has nothing to do with “special rights” — except the special rights of straight people to abuse and manipulate a minority.

As far as “an easy out,” it’s an asinine claim simply because, as elsewhere noted, heterosexuals could use the same excuse. More than that, heterosexuals have access to a good many other “easy outs” like claiming to be mentally ill. “Klinger,” from “M.A.S.H.,” is a cartoon for a very good reason, as are “Sad Sack,” “Beetle Bailey” and other comic characters in military settings; they reflect a reality that all recognize — and no one has ever claimed that any of these characters are identified with any specific minority.

The fact that a very few might abuse the system as a “special right” is no claim either against the honorable majority or a reason to reiterate the hatred of one of our enemies.

Jimmy
December 27th, 2010 | LINK

Fischer doesn’t have a clue what honor is all about. The thought processes he ascribes to members of the military show his contempt for those who serve. It is only cowardly people like him that even consider things like easy outs.

Timothy (TRiG)
December 27th, 2010 | LINK

@swampfox

An objective case could be made that the US military does more harm than good in the world. A similar case could not be made about the Irish military.

(And I’m English, Greek Cypriot, and Polish by blood, with no Irish in me at all. I’m not remotely nationalistic, and tend to consider myself European first and then Irish. But this is my country. And I like it.)

TRiG.

swampfox
December 28th, 2010 | LINK

The the Irish Army could not really defend itself from a full-blown invasion is a given. After Europe could not stop the ethnic cleansing in what used to be Yugoslavia, American Military power was brought to bear. The result, peace. After WWII the Cold War between the Soviets and the West (led by the United States Military) came into being ………….. the result was the collapse of the Soviet Union. I am old enough to say that we have made mistakes, but have at least acted, when needed. We have invaded Iraq and Afghanistan to end two horrible regimes, but have no intention of remaining as conquerors. Frankly, I am a bit tired of the USA being the world’s policeman and getting kicked in the shins by those who are relaxing on the beach and drinking a whiskey sour, knowing there friends, relations, fathers and sons will not have to get involved and perhaps make the ultimate sacrifice. Would you feel better if China took over the roll of the United States Military?

Priya Lynn
December 28th, 2010 | LINK

Swampfox said “Frankly, I am a bit tired of the USA being the world’s policeman and getting kicked in the shins by those who are relaxing on the beach and drinking a whiskey sour, knowing there friends, relations, fathers and sons will not have to get involved and perhaps make the ultimate sacrifice.”.

The U.S. is a global bully with little sense of apropriate involvement. It had no business invading Iraq and when the genocide was going on in Rwanda made all sorts of excuses for not acting. The U.S. is a damn poor “world’s policeman”, if it didn’t attempt to play that role at all its doubtful the world would be any worse off.

Swampfox
December 28th, 2010 | LINK

So you think that the United States is just a global bully “with little sense of appropriate involvement.” And, it had no business invading Iraq. Saddam disobeyed nearly every UN sanction concerning WMD and gave every credible intelligence service in the world that he had them. That is the reason for or the invasion and our involvement in Iraq. I can’t wait until we can finally leave, but the world must pray that another Saddam doesn’t rise from the ashes of that hell hole. As for Rawanda we were tied down in Iraq at the time when the Irish Whiskey drinkers dialed 911. Certainly they those Irish Whiskey drinkers could have amassed a force that could have stopped the bloodshed there. But they were too busy kicking us in the shins for dealing the a madman in the Middle East. And, I am sure you going to just love it when Iran gets its nuclear arsenal with the mad holy mullahs in charge……………send Russia a thank you note for selling them the technology.

KZ
December 28th, 2010 | LINK

“You’re stuck with us now, Nancy-boy.”

This is the same idiot who supported Scott Lively’s theory that the Nazis were homosexuals. Funny how we are aggressive, ruthless sexual predators and then become weak, sissy faggots whenever it suits the haters.

Priya Lynn
December 28th, 2010 | LINK

Swampfox, there was no credible evidence of WMDs in Iraq and Saddam was cooperating with weapons inspectors at the time the U.S. started fabricating stories about there being WMDs there and used that as a pathetic excuse to invade. When the U.S. lies and breaks the rule of law to punish people it doesn’t like it looses all credibility it might have had.

The U.S. was NOT tied down at the time. The Rwandan genocide took place in 1994 while the first gulf war took place from 90-91 and the second gulf war took place from 2003 on. The U.S. simply couldn’t be bothered by a humanitarian disaster where there was no oil involved and it simply didn’t care about black people being slaughtered. If oil had been involved the U.S. would have been all over “protecting its strategic interests” but as it was it fabricated one excuse after another to avoid getting involved where millions were being killed.

It’s actions and inactions like this that have resulted in the U.S. having no moral authority whatsoever around the world and it being despised globally.

Jimmy
December 28th, 2010 | LINK

@Swampfox – The US lost the moral high ground the moment it unilaterally invaded Iraq, a nation that did not attack it. American exceptionalism vanished in that moment. If you don’t think that American’s view of themselves has not been damaged by the Iraq war, you are fooling yourself. All your jingoistic BS won’t change reality.

Here is where people like Fischer are no different from run of the mill right-wingers. Both are unable to accept objective reality.

Timothy Kincaid
December 28th, 2010 | LINK

Ahem… i think we are straying a bit from the topic.

Timothy (TRiG)
December 28th, 2010 | LINK

Dialling 911 wouldn’t do you much good in Ireland. We use 999 and 112, like the rest of the world.

TRiG.

Jason D
December 28th, 2010 | LINK

I went to college with an older student, a straight man who openly admitted to using DADT to get out of the service.

Swampfox
December 28th, 2010 | LINK

“Ahem… i think we are straying a bit from the topic. – Timothy Kincaid.”

I agree. We are just having a spat over what Trig said, “I’m not at all convinced that anyone in the US military is honourable. At least the Irish army is generally a peacekeaping force, not an invasion force. Our army works with the UN in the Lebanon and a few other places.”
I strongly disagree.

And, for those who only think a nation has the right to go to war because it is under attack, grow-up.

This will be my last post on this subject.

Priya Lynn
December 28th, 2010 | LINK

Swampfox, no one, no nation has a right to respond with violence when none has been threatened or undertaken first. That’s one of the most fundamental rules of morality.

Swampfox
December 28th, 2010 | LINK

“Swampfox, no one, no nation has a right to respond with violence when none has been threatened or undertaken first. That’s one of the most fundamental rules of morality.” – Priya Lynn

If one nation cuts off access to a vital resource to another nation or group of nations does the nation who is damaged have the right to go to war?

Do you believe as Trig who said, “I’m not at all convinced that anyone in the US military is honourable”?

I think it is great that gays and lesbians now have the right to serve openly in the United States Military, which I can only pray does more good for this world than bad. Let’s all celebrate the end of DADT.

Priya Lynn
December 29th, 2010 | LINK

Swampfox, what constitutes a threat of violence is open to debate. The fundamental rule of morality regarding self-defense is not.

SA
December 29th, 2010 | LINK

“But he’s right. One of the things that bothered me about the administration of DADT was that it truly did give unhappy gay and lesbians soldiers an advantage.”

How shameful of you Timothy Kincaid. As much as you try to hem and haw your way out of it with your qualifiers, it looks like Bryan Fischer has managed to hoodwink you into agreeing with him on some bogus point based on his completely inaccurate facts and logical fallacies. No matter how you want to try to twist it, there is no evidence to support the statement that DADT “truly did give unhappy gay and lesbian soldiers an advantage.”

Priya Lynn
December 29th, 2010 | LINK

I agree SA, straight solidiers were just as able to use DADT as an excuse to get out of the military – there was no advantage for gay and lesbian soldiers.

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