Saturday, December 18, 2010

Don't ask, don't tell OR hear no evil, see no evil...

So today, by a vote of 65-31, the Senate repealed the military's policy of "Don't ask, don't tell".

Since this is one more step towards the moral degradation of society, implemented by unqualified lawmakers, who will not have to live with the fallout of this legislation, I can only hope, the military makes at least ONE right decision, and allows all members currently serving, a chance to get out of the military as a conscientious objector, with honorable discharge, no strings attached, if they feel they cannot live with this new policy. Lives are at stake, not just one historically unpopular Congress' approval rating, but real men and women, husbands, wives, children, parents. If this is going to be the new law of the land, a game-changing rule, mid-game, then let the players have a chance to opt out before it comes crashing down. At least then, you will have members who chose to stay and assume the difficulties presented by the new legislation, and then can work to make it work at the deckplate level, where lawmakers fear to tread.

Here are some fundamental issues that our legislature and the military are going to have to address (in the long-standing spirit of our government passing laws first, then figuring out how to implement them and deal with the consequences later).

First and foremost, the Pentagon performed a survey, in which 115,000 military personnel were surveyed and 70% said they felt serving with openly gay service members would not affect their unit's ability to function. They said the Marines and Army combat units had a lower result, but ironically, did not say what percentage that was (ironic, because they flaunt the 70% in the face of opponents, but throw out a magical un-quantified number, that hurts their cause - a typical media and political ploy).

A Pentagon study released earlier this month concluded that allowing openly gay or lesbian troops to serve in the military would have little lasting impact on the U.S. armed forces. Opposition to the change was much higher in Army and Marine combat units than in the military as a whole.
So how does that 115,000 stack up to the total military size?

As of September 30, 2010 1,430,895 people are on active duty in the military with an additional 848,000 people in the seven reserve components.
That is 2.3 million, so the survey considered roughly FIVE PERCENT. Well, why is this bad? You might say this is a good number, considering most national polls survey a few thousand, out of hundreds of millions? WELLLL it's because while the mysterious number of Marine and Army Combat unit members that they kept a secret from us in their articles, DID indicate opposition to this measure, the MAJORITY of people surveyed were not the men and women fighting in the trenches, marching down streets in Iraq, or located remote bases in Afghanistan mountains... those would be too hard to get to. So where do you get 5% of your feedback in under nine months? Yeah, state-side units, reservists, shore duty, or maybe a survey distributed on a ship/boat by the Commanding Officer (no intimidation factor there... don't make the boss look bad or it's your career).

The point being, a state-side supply or administrative unit may not be affected by serving with openly gay members, but men and women in the trenches, fighting and dying, DO FEEL that this would impair their ability to fight. Does it matter if someone can't file a form properly? No. Does it matter if people can't trust someone to fight by their side, and that their COMBAT unit's ability to effectively perform is impaired? Hell yes it does. The military is about combat, not administrative finesse. If the combat sector feels this is going to detrimentally impact combat operations, then that should be the number being looked at, NOT the overall whole number supporting this legislation.

Next of course, is the manner in which this bill was pushed through:
Obama and fellow Democrats were pushing for a speedy repeal, before the more conservative incoming Congress is seated the first week of January. Gates warned that court challenges to "don't ask, don't tell" could force an abrupt repeal of the policy, rather than the process in the legislation that would allow the military to manage the change on a longer timetable.
So, you get your ass handed to you in the mid-term elections, then quickly, in a lame-duck session, try to shove your liberal agenda down the throats of not only the men and women serving and risking their lives, but also down the throat of the American people that just sent the liberals a huge message (a provervial "middle-finger" if you will) in the elections, not even two months ago...

I am tired of reading about what surveys say. "Random" surveys are crap. We do not know the demographic, who got selected, how or why, and who was excluded and why. We do not know how many were sent out, and who chose not to respond. If surveys were a legitimate form of government, we would not need to vote, because CNN, NBC, and FOX news could just do a brief survey of a "representative" population, and just go with that. Remember when John Kerry was supposedly beating George W. Bush in the exit polls on election day? How did that work out for him? You can make statistics say anything you want to, with the proper manipulation, inclusing, exclusion and interpretation of data. That's why statistics doesn't fall under a math major in college, but is it's own field of study... BECAUSE IT IS NOT MATH.

I passed up an exit poll on Bush-Kerry election day, because some hippie looking girl with crusty dreadlocks, sitting on the hood of her car that was all plastered up with bumperstickers promoting peace, every Democratic candidate in the last 20 years, the environment, anti-war, anti-establishment, and anything else liberal you could imagine, stopped me on my way back to work, to ask me if I would talk to her about who I voted for. I passed... I imagine welfare-moms, the unemployed, liberal college kids and the otherwise outspoken albeit misguided liberal activists, couldn't pass up an opportunity to tell someone what they thought, but some of us had work to get back to, and are a bit more grounded in reality. There's your first error margin in your "random survey".

More significantly, however, is the risk any service member would take, by actually stating their opinion on the matter. State you are against gays in the military, and a few months down the road, get a few openly gays in your unit, reporting to you... anytime they get disciplined or written up (a fairly frequent occurrence in the military) it's now because you are anti-gay. You recommend someone else for a promotion, or give someone else better evaluations, and again, you are discriminating. No intelligent soldier/sailor, with any amount of foresight, would put themselves in a position to be rail-roaded later on, for stating their honest-to-god opinion... their careers would be over being honest in a random survey. There is your other error margin in your "random survey".

I like how Hillary Clinton said:

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton called Saturday's vote a "historic step forward ... toward a more perfect union and a more perfect reflection of our core values."
In other words, a politician who NEVER served in the military, NEVER risked her life (unless you count the fabricated story she told a few years back about arriving on an airfield, under fire, having to run for cover... that COULD have been very scary if it were true) and knows absolutely NOTHING about military life and values, can make broad statements like this and feel justified in doing so. Wasn't her husband a draft dodger? Just saying...

From the link above:

In the 111
the 110
Reserves and the National Guard. Several members, in both the House and the Senate, are still
serving as Reservists. As noted above, one Senator is a former Secretary of the Navy.
The number of veterans in the 111
Representatives, 69 Senators) in the 91
th Congress there are 120 members who have served in the military, six fewer than inth Congress.The House has 95 veterans (including one Delegate); the Senate 25. These members served in World War II, the Korean War, the Vietnam War, the Persian Gulf War, Afghanistan, Iraq, and Kosovo, as well as during times of peace. Some have served in theth Congress reflects the trend of a steady decline in the number of members who have served in the military. For example, there were 298 veterans (240 Representatives, 58 Senators) in the 96th Congress (1979-1981); and 398 veterans (329st Congress (1969-1971).

 I will blog later about the lop-sided balance in government and lack of actual representation later, but this one was pertinent to the discussion.

Lastly, from the USAtoday article linked earlier, Secretary of Defense, Robert Gates said: 
"...the military is not a democracy. Sixty-three years ago, the question was
whether to racially integrate the armed forces. About 80% of servicemembers opposed the idea, but President Truman enforced the shift by executive order in 1947. A segregated military is now unthinkable. Today, the troops are far more accepting of change, but some lawmakers are blocking the move for reasons that smack largely of politics or prejudice."
Really, not a democracy? What about that gay judge from California earlier this year, that thought he had the power to strike down the military's gay ban, on the grounds it violated Constitutional rights? Did someone forget to tell this judge, who also did not serve in the military, that servicemembers voluntarily give up their Constitutional rights, and submit to the Uniform Code of Military Justice (UCMJ) during their time in? Gay judge overturning federal policy, California activist, yeah... that's not "politics or prejudice" is it?

But if the military was "not a democracy", why bother doing the survey to begin with? What if the portion of the survey that the Pentagon is trying to claim as justifying the repeal (that bogus 70% number) presented results to the contrary? Would the Pentagon and the government continue with their repeal? You bet your ass they would. They would trump up some other claim about how they will give sensitivity training to the 70% that were opposed (hypothetically) and make some grand statement about how equal rights is not a measure to be voted on... worked out great right up until the Civil War started (more lives lost than all other American wars/conflicts combined). The legislature just passes the laws, and everyone else has to clean up the mess.

At issue, is not how someone was born. There is no argument, that you cannot choose skin color, ethnicity, eye color, hair color, etc... you cannot be discriminated against for that. Sexual orientation IS a choice (regardless of what all those liberal university professors and activist media types would have you believe). The reasoning? If a child is born with a deformity, cancer, or other congenital birth defect, we try to treat it, correct it, make it normal. We don't pass laws protecting their cancer, as a birth condition, and leave it be until the child is old enough to decide if they want treatment or not. But if you are born homosexual why don't we treat that? IF you are born that way, it goes against what the very nature of life is (eat, breathe, survive, promogate the species). But if we say sure, you WERE born this way, and did not choose it, then let's try to treat it. Oh wait, you can't do that, because they are proud of their CHOICE and think it should be protected.

The military is one of the worst offending organizations, of promoting discrimination. They give bonus credit to recruiters (towards their monthly and annual quotas) for recruiting a woman or someone who does not qualify as "white, not of hispanic origin" on their application to join. When I served onboard a submarine, in the nuclear propulsion field, we had a grand total of THREE nuclear operators over four years, get selected for officer programs. A black man, a latino man, and an arabic man. None of these three were anywhere close to being the hot-runners, best-of-the-best, or otherwise close to the top of their class (the black sailor, was actually an immature head-case, frequently in trouble for disrespecting authority and not performing assigned work). But they WERE the right skin color, so wave the military's magic wand, and presto, officer extraordinaire.

And my last point... why don't men and women in the military shower or bunk together? Why can't women walk through the gymnasium topless as well as men? Why don't men and women use the same restrooms? Because it would be uncomfortable for the women, and there WOULD be sexual harassment claims and allegations. Women would feel intimidated in the shower, naked, with their male counterparts (men might feel uneasy too). So how does this not apply to the homosexual man or woman? If a straight man gets in the shower, and a gay man jumps into the shower next to him, how is the straight man's feelings of intimidation (or the gay man's) any less viable than the woman/man in the shower scenario above? Do we now need a straight mens bunkroom, a straight womans bunkroom, and then gay equivalent of each as well? How will that work out in the limited confines of a submarine?

A gay man likes men, a gay woman likes women. You can't argue away their "biology" by saying they simply aren't attracted to the other men in the shower, so no big deal. If it were that easy, you could put men and women together in bunks and showers, and have the men say there weren't attracted to the women, so no harm, no foul.

So now where does this leave us, since we already know the military is not a democracy? There are people who have shown that they feel it would impact their unit, and others who even in the minority from the "survey" feel this as well. There are religous implications as well, people who view homosexuality as a sin, but may be in a position to have to supervise/direct, or report to, people they feel are living in mortal sin? If 30% feel it WOULD impact their unit, where does this leave them? Would the government allow a tainted food product to reach the public if there was only a 30% chance of people getting sick? Would it allow an old bridge or damn to stay standing if there was only a 30% chance of it collapsing? Of course not.

Or maybe so...

That means, out of 540 members in the House, Senate, and including the President, only 120 have any military experience. Let me do the math for you - that is 22.2%, or roughly only ONE IN FIVE. These are the people dictating policy to the military and have the power to declare and wage war??? Even more sad, is that in'69-71 there were almost 400, and almost 300 in '79-81. Today, we are closer to one-fourth of the early 70's amount, and one-third the early 80's amount. We have plenty of lawyers though, almost half the House and Senate.

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