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Feb 02 2010

The View From the Rear View Mirror

To Senator McCain – want some cheese to go with that whine? You could have gone down in history as the guy who stood up to a bad law that’s cost us 13,000 service members in its 17 year history. Instead, you’ll just be the cranky old guy we left in the 20th century. That small speck receding in the rear view mirror is you.

Meanwhile, some media outlets have had Peter Sprigg from the Family Research Council on to denounce the impending repeal of DADT and call for criminalization of homosexual behavior. On Hardball, Sprigg invoked the horrors of service members being forced to shower with gays. With his detailed predictions of what gays will do to the military, surely he must be drawing on his own vast military experience. Sadly, no. He has none. Zero. But he has written a couple of poorly sourced books on how awful gays are. Oh, and he’s a Baptist minister, which I’m sure has not biased him in any way.

Wait a minute… Sprigg’s bio on the FRC website says he spent 10 years as a professional actor. Surely you don’t think there were any gay people in the theater…

48 comments

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  1. 1
    Tyler Olsen

    Well, at least the man's wife and daughter are strong supporters of gay rights. If common sense can't get McCain to change his mind perhaps his family eventually will.

  2. 2
    JD

    You know I'm not exactly thrilled with Obama or the democrats in general but this underscores why McCain simply could not have been elected the president when the social zeitgeist was clearly embracing change and transition.McCain would have best served the nation by defeating Bush in the 2000 primaries and likely would have made a far better president… but alas he failed to do so.

  3. 3
    tracieh

    Don't Ask-Don't Tell is a slap in the face to those serving who are gay and lesbian. We hear so much from Conservatives about supporting the troops. But gay or lesbian troops? Screw 'em.I participate in another atheist forum where someone just posted about all the Christians serving in the military, and how we should support any military action, in order to support the troops. I have no doubt this same person, based on their views expressed in their post, would NOT endorse supporting gay and lesbian troops who want to be open about their sexual orientation.Don't Ask, Don't Tell is the same pressure put on the gay and lesbian community that is put on the atheist community. If I can get you to shut up, then you don't count, and I can just pretend you don't exist. Only good straight Christians are serving in the military.That pretense can only be put forward if we can't have open demographics about nonbelievers and gays and lesbians in the military.It's a numbers game. I've said many times that apologists aren't interested in truth, but in number of converts. Their tactics illustrate that. They'll use a well-rebutted argument over and over, just hoping the new person they approach doesn't know the rebuttal. If they cared about truth, the fact _they_ know it's been rebutted would be sufficient to make them stop using it.It's a huge argument from popularity going on with them. I have more to say on that, but will save it for an actual post, rather than comments.

  4. 4
    Ing

    "Well, at least the man's wife and daughter are strong supporters of gay rights. If common sense can't get McCain to change his mind perhaps his family eventually will"Oh I think McCain actually agrees with his wife and daughter…he hasn't changed his mind from the past, he's just taken the Faustian offer proposed by Beckistopheles and the other tea party demons. 'Accept our insane moral standards and bigotry and we'll support you….we are a vast horde…call us legion for we are many!' Same reason the GOP is keeping Palin on-board as their booth babe while she clearly should be seen as an albatross around any sensible institution. I am fairly liberal, but ultimately i want to go with what works over ideals or motives, so in the 2003 season I started out supporting McCain because of his experience, past disagreement with Bush, and positive spin…then came along Palin and the campaign turned into "we are Bush 2, yet we also oppose him cause we're such MAVRIKS" and I threw up a bit in my mouth. His VP pick and this is why McCain is compleatly unqualified, IMHO, for ANY public office. He's willing to make bad decisions, mind blindingly idiotic bad decisions, if he thinks they'll be popular. You can't put your safety and rights in the hands of a lap dog who'll sell you out for a snausage treat.

  5. 5
    Ing

    "You know I'm not exactly thrilled with Obama or the democrats in general but this underscores why McCain simply could not have been elected the president when the social zeitgeist was clearly embracing change and transition."As my friend Ben and I were saying at work, apparently getting nothing done is still a great enough improvement from the last administration that it deserves a Nobel Prize.The international community literally told us that complete and utter inactivity is a phenomenal improvement to Bush.

  6. 6
    George From NY

    Wait a minute…gays in the theater?!

  7. 7
    DavidCT

    The DADT rule has always seemed one of the worst examples of a committee design – something like the Pontiac Aztec – poorly functional and damn ugly. It was always an attempt to push the issue out of the spotlight to avoid dealing with it. It has left underlying assumption that being gay is wrong. It seems that McCain still believes this at some level and buys into the slippery slope fallacies about the detrimental effects on the military. The argument that troops (straight Christian) would be forced to shower with gays ignores reality. This is the de facto case already. This sort of argument keeps coming back in different forms. When HIV was still new, there was a protest among some health care workers, wanted to refuse to treat these patients. The most rational argument against this was that the protesters were already working with HIV patients who had not been identified and the only way to avoid them would be to not treat anybody. In spite of this reality, I still have colleagues who will avoid the risk they know and ignore the risk they don't. I find Obama to be disappointing. I wonder if I will be given a choice next time.

  8. 8
    Neutron

    With apologies to Jen, I don't think DADT has been a bad thing at all, for reasons I'll detail below.The fact is that there is a percentage of people who are uncomfortable around gays/lesbians. There is some percentage of those who would be vocal about it. There is also, sadly, a percentage of reprehensible people who would be abusive, mentally and/or physically. As much as we can wish that wasn't the case, it is a reality that we'd be asking the military to deal with.A military unit is forced into close proximity with one another and has to trust and be concerned for the welfare of one another. Arguably, anything you can do to promote and maintain that level of cohesion is a good thing.I can't see DADT as a slap in the face, as Tracie does, but rather as a way to avoid potential problems.Having said all of that, I also have to say that I don't believe DADT can or should endure forever. Just as an essentially all-white military had to learn to integrate non-whites and deal with those problems, they're eventually going to have to do the same with gays and lesbians.I would ask that you at least consider the possibility that the motivation of supporters of DADT is not necessarily suppression of gays and lesbians, but rather concern over whether this is the right time to put even more pressure on the military.I think it's been a useful bridge to a more-tolerant time; I just question whether now is the time to take the next step. You may rightly ask, "If not now, when?", and I'll concede to being unable to give a good answer. I realize that there will *always* be those who'll claim this is not the right time. (And I wouldn't count on a Baptist minister for a rational viewpoint on *anything* …)Oh, and I never served in the military, so I'll give you that club to wield against me on this subject.

  9. 9
    Matthew C. Pickard

    If I recall correctly, t he same arguments being used against GLBTS in the military are the same arguments that were used against women serving in the military…"too risky for social experiment" that sort of thing. The military is chugging along just fine if you ask me.

  10. 10
    Raymond

    Neutron said"The fact is that there is a percentage of people who are uncomfortable around gays/lesbians. There is some percentage of those who would be vocal about it. There is also, sadly, a percentage of reprehensible people who would be abusive, mentally and/or physically."That is such a lame excuse and an old argument. Insert "Blacks","Jews","Atheists" or any minority of your choice instead of gays/lesbians and what do end up with?Lets just pander to the bigots rather than expose them for what they really are.

  11. 11
    Rational Jen

    Neutron – I knew it wouldn't take long for a clueless concern troll to show up."A military unit is forced into close proximity with one another and has to trust….blah, blah, blah."Wait, are you actually lecturing me about how military units live? Are you fucking serious?Let me clue you in on what negatively impacts unit cohesion. It's claiming integrity as one of your highest values, then telling some of your soldiers to lie about who they are to avoid making the bigots uncomfortable."I can't see DADT as a slap in the face, as Tracie does, but rather as a way to avoid potential problems."And what exactly would those "potential problems" be? I can point to actual problems DADT has caused the military, like soldiers being beaten to death with a baseball bat in the barracks. Like women being raped by men who threatened to tell everyone they were lesbians if they didn't agree to sex. What "problems" do you think will result that compare to murder and rape, and what evidence supports your claims?"I would ask that you at least consider the possibility that the motivation of supporters of DADT is not necessarily suppression of gays and lesbians, but rather concern over whether this is the right time to put even more pressure on the military."Fuck you. In 1993, I witnessed Congress and DoD reject in favor of DADT a conduct standard that would have made policy fully consistent with our stated values. They did this, not because allowing gays & lesbians to serve openly would "put pressure" on the military, but because the conduct standard would have resulted in the discharge of more heterosexual males than any other demographic. DADT is 100% about suppressing gays and lesbians.There are always those who wring their hands with worry about whether this is the "right time" to repeal DADT. They always have some weird fantasy that having gays in the unit is somehow the worst possible thing that could happen. I really don't know where this comes from, other than personal prejudice, because no studies validate this fear. But I do agree that this is not the "right" time – it's long past time this policy was repealed. We've not only lost qualified service members because of this policy, we lowered the standards for new recruits. You can be a convicted felon and still serve, you just can't be gay or lesbian. Personally, I'll take a brigade of flaming queens over one with just one sociopath any day.

  12. 12
    Pawel

    Neutron, I am so sick of hearing arguments like that. My only response to that kind of nonsense is this: Justice delayed is justice denied.

  13. 13
    Ing

    @ Neutro (HE DOESNT KNOW GOOD OR EVIL!!!!)I remember on the NP Matt telling a story about how DADT forced him to discharge a competent man due to the pissy weasling of a dick cheese. When our nation is firing translators when we HAVE A SHORTAGE OF TRANSLATORS because they are gay, we can dispense all arguments of practicality. The DOD has decided that DADT is MORE important than the war on terror. The arguement that some soldiers would be uncomfortable, um…isn't basic training intended to condition them out of confomfort? What, we expect them to inhale tear gas and crawl through barb wire mazes but TEH GAY is too much to expect from our soldiers?may I remind you the military is inevitably going to have to spend lives? send troops in knowing they'll be gunned down or some will be lost. Are you telling me the DOD is willing to have their soldiers die for their country, won't expose them to teh gay? Even for the mission? HOW IS THAT SANE? Our military is willing to kill, maim and torture but the Indigo girls is where they draw the moral line in the sand!?To quote every Drill Sargent in the movies "Suck it up, maggot, this ain't the boyscouts"

  14. 14
    Ing

    @ Neutro againHell, if the argument is to ease them into it, why not do what we did with african americans and start out with an all gay unit.Ok, show of hands who giggled at 'gay unit'?

  15. 15
    Ing

    "But I do agree that this is not the "right" time – it's long past time this policy was repealed. We've not only lost qualified service members because of this policy, we lowered the standards for new recruits. You can be a convicted felon and still serve, you just can't be gay or lesbian."On Infidel Guy a while back they were talking about a problem with Neo-Nazis joining up to get the training. So to recapNazi=fineGay=NO WAY!

  16. 16
    George From NY

    Neutron,We can, I presume, make a distinction between sexual preference versus actual behavior?So long as a soldier's behavior is not a problem, can you give a good reason why he should be thrown out of the army or held to a different standard than straight soldiers simply for being gay?And no, "a lot of people don't like gays" is not a good reason. It never has been.There's enough information about the formation and adoption of the DADT policy to vitiate any charitable indulgences about it being "a bridge to more tolerance," or what have you. It was and remains a cynical, depraved pandering to bigotry. That was the whole point of it.I never served, because I am a big, fat loser. :) Tremendous thanks and respect to Jen and those who have worn the uniform.

  17. 17
    Neutron

    You know, I like watching you folks on AETV … I'm really uncomfortable with the thought of making enemies of you here.@Raymond: "That is such a lame excuse and an old argument." The paragraph you quoted is a simple statement of facts. I'm not pandering to the bigots, just suggesting that bringing them around gradually is perhaps a better strategy than simply forcing the two sides together and letting them fight it out.@Rational Jen: "I knew it wouldn't take long for a clueless concern troll to show up." Thanks; I'll take that in the calm and rational spirit in which I am sure it was intended. Whether you agree with the reasoning or not, a 337-word response that demonstrates some familiarity with the issue doesn't fit my definition of either "clueless" or "troll". Your mileage may, of course, vary."… are you actually lecturing me about how military units live?" Why do you assume that I've read your bio and am familiar with your past? What I was doing was providing contextual background for my comments. If what I've said is wrong, point it out."I can point to *actual* problems DADT has caused the military …" And is it your considered opinion that no similar problems would have occurred had the soldiers been free to openly declare their sexual orientation when they joined the unit? Permit me to doubt that without having actually conducted any controlled clinical trials.In any case, I never said DADT was problem-free. And I don't think you can seriously maintain that repealing it will be problem-free, either."Fuck you." Sigh. I am reminded, yet again, of the near-impossibility of discussing an issue sensibly and civilly with liberals. Somewhere, they must have a manual that vastly over-emphasizes the devastating point-scoring capability of insult and nastiness."They always have some weird fantasy that having gays in the unit is somehow the worst possible thing that could happen." I'm sure I have weird fantasies, but this isn't one of them."… no studies validate this fear." I'm not quite sure how to square this with your own statement about "… soldiers being beaten to death with a baseball bat in the barracks" unless you were alluding to gay soldiers beating non-gays to death.@Pawel: "Justice delayed is justice denied." I agree with this completely; my point, however, is not about justice, but rather about the fact that prejudices exist and are not going to be cured overnight.@Ing: "(HE DOESN'T KNOW GOOD OR EVIL!!!!)" Oh, yeah, I do. I'm an atheist, remember? I think that, collectively, we see good and evil a lot more clearly than any Christian ever could.Incidentally, being atheist also means that I'm quite aware of prejudice myself, though not, certainly, to the same extent as the gay community.@Ing: "Nazi=fine; Gay=NO WAY!" I agree with you that this situation is patently unfair, but I think the comparison fails because the Nazi is not going to be allowed to hang a swastika over his bed or otherwise advertise his Nazi beliefs.Life's not fair, folks, as much as we'd like it to be. It's certainly unfair that openly-gay people cannot join the military; more than that, it's WRONG. But prejudice is real, and must be dealt with; reasonable people on both sides can differ about the means. DADT served as a bridge to an arguably somewhat more-enlightened time; perhaps that time is now. Personally, I have no problem with DADT, but I have no problem *without* it, either.My only point in replying was to state that not everyone who favors DADT is a gay-hater, but mostly what I got was hate in return. That's rather ironic, if you think about it.

  18. 18
    Neutron

    OT: does anyone else here have the problem that the first attempt to publish a comment always fails due to an inaccurate word verification? Even when the verification word is clear and unambiguous, it flat *never* works for me the first time …

  19. 19
    tracieh

    It is absolutely a "slap in the face" to ask someone to put his life on the line for you, but ask them to hide and misrepresent who they are because they're second-class citizens in our society. If they're good enough to die on my behalf, I can at least show them some dignity and respect–and gratitude.

  20. 20
    Neutron

    @George From NY: "We can, I presume, make a distinction …" Actually, behavior, as long as we're not talking about inappropriate sexual advances (which are wrong whatever the gender) shouldn't be an issue, either. That's something teveryone simply has to learn to accept. Of course, in a group setting, there are reasonable limits to *any* form of disruptive behavior, gay or otherwise (which is NOT to say that "gay behavior", whatever that might be, is inherently disruptive)."… "a lot of people don't like gays" is not a good reason." It isn't a *good* reason, but it *is* the reason for the situation we have now. Regardless of the stated or unstated intent of DADT, its *effect* has been to get us to this point, where its repeal, supported by an ever-increasing percentage of the population, achieves the desired effect. That bridging, I think, is an important point that is being missed in all of this."Tremendous thanks and respect to Jen and those who have worn the uniform." I completely and wholeheartedly agree.

  21. 21
    Raymond

    "The fact is that there is a percentage of people who are uncomfortable around gays/lesbians. There is some percentage of those who would be vocal about it. There is also, sadly, a percentage of reprehensible people who would be abusive, mentally and/or physically."@Nuetron. You say that above paragraph is a simple statement of facts. I don't doubt that there are people with these attitudes.It is your reaction to these facts which bother me.You use the words sadly & reprehensible to show your distaste for these attitudes but you would do nothing to make any real change to them. If anything your gradual strategy is complicit in sustaining the bigots. It institutional bigotry.The British military only changed its policy in the year 2000 after losing a court case and the anti-gay recruitment policy was declared illegal under European law.Quick and sudden change can happen.

  22. 22
    George From NY

    Neutron, Here's my point of contention: It's been my experience that people cannot be gradually reasoned or coaxed out of irrational prejudices, not having arrived there through reason or moderation to begin with. There's no place on their side to anchor that 'bridge' of yours.What we can (and eventually, must) do is convince those who can be swayed, acquire social and political power and then present the recalcitrant with a fait accompli."Times have changed, pal. Gay people are no longer marginalized as they once were. Deal with it."The bridge-building was done throughout the 70s and 80s (with better dance music in the 70s, btw), those who COULD be reached WERE reached, leaving us at the end-game when Clinton shamefully acquiesced to DADT and his other despicable bigot-pander, DOMA.I understand your point about politics sometimes necessitating tactical compromises; my counter is that DADT was no such thing – rather, it was cowardly can-kicking.Alliteration FTW!OT – I have the exact same problem with the word verification process.

  23. 23
    Mark B

    Neutron: I am reminded, yet again, of the near-impossibility of discussing an issue sensibly and civilly with liberals.Considering the topic and your ham-handed addressing of it ("I don't think DADT has been a bad thing at all"), you might consider that you've leaned a pretty sharp elbow into a particularly sensitive nerve cluster.So maybe you could lay off the whopping over-generalizations?OT: When you preview a post prior to publishing it, the verification resets. Annoying.

  24. 24
    Neutron

    @Raymond: "If anything your gradual strategy is complicit in sustaining the bigots. It institutional bigotry. [ ... ] Quick and sudden change can happen."That is a fair criticism, and one I accept. However, I would point out, by Jen's own account, quick and sudden change was *on the table* in 1993, and didn't make it. What we got, instead, was a small step in the right direction: gays in the military were no longer illicit, but still had to remain secret.@George From NY: "It's been my experience that people cannot be gradually reasoned or coaxed out of irrational prejudices, not having arrived there through reason or moderation to begin with."This isn't a topic i really study, but back in the day when there were all-black units in the military, and they served with distinction, don't you think that circumstance changed at least a *few* minds?@Mark B: "Considering the topic and your ham-handed addressing of it …" I refuse to concede that a simple and straightforward statement of my point of view qualifies as "ham-handed". I suppose I could have bothered to couch it in flowery language to ease you all into my opinion, but the major point of this thread has been to debunk the idea of "easing in", so I don't know that I would really have accomplished anything."So maybe you could lay off the whopping over-generalizations?" Oh, please. Name-calling and offensive vitriol have been a STAPLE of the left for years. This site itself offers ample proof of that. If I went back a few years and grabbed some of the far-left name-calling of George Bush and turned it around to apply to Barack Obama, you'd be ready to have me boiled in oil. I occasionally read conservative web sites (you're probably not surprised by that), and there is nothing *like* the same thing in those places. You may, of course, take that for the anecdotal evidence it is.OT: "When you preview a post prior to publishing it, the verification resets." True, but that's not what I'm talking about.

  25. 25
    George From NY

    "Oh, please. Name-calling and offensive vitriol have been a STAPLE of the left for years."Neutron is right on this point.As someone of Conservative (a la Barry Goldwater, not Glenn Beck) bent, I have lost track of how many times I've been called a fascist, racist, whatever-ist.(Fortunately for me, I love to argue and had great fun in college during the late 80s when the Leftist "PC" mindplague hit full-force. Good times. :) )That said, Neutron, even I have a problem with you proclaiming any benefit from DADT unless you're very clear about what you mean. Not because I think you're some gay-bashing, kitten-eating, Right-Wing space monster, etc. but simply because I find DADT to be appalling in both theory and practice and I think the facts back me up on this.

  26. 26
    Ing

    "@Ing: "(HE DOESN'T KNOW GOOD OR EVIL!!!!)" Oh, yeah, I do. I'm an atheist, remember? I think that, collectively, we see good and evil a lot more clearly than any Christian ever could."It's an obscure reference joke to a Web comic."Blogger George From NY said… "Oh, please. Name-calling and offensive vitriol have been a STAPLE of the left for years." Neutron is right on this point. As someone of Conservative (a la Barry Goldwater, not Glenn Beck) bent, I have lost track of how many times I've been called a fascist, racist, whatever-ist."Bullshit. Everyone does some name calling, but considering the right has written a fucking book calling liberal fascists I think you should stop your whining.

  27. 27
    Ing

    @ George and NeutroPeople, can we please take a minute to remember the rules of fight club (so to speak) Don't act so freaking persecuted, jebbus sake.If you say something stupid expect a dog pile. Deal with it, it's part of running with the big dogs. All of us get it too. Hell, for one of my comments I got off insanely easy and SHOULD have been chewed out more. Please, don't even GO near the martyr card. You can still post here and everything but with the DADT bs, expect a tidal wave of snark. Seriously don't complain about the same stuff you'd find amusing when piled on someone else. Stupid is stupid and will be dealt with extreme prejudiced. It's NOT about being conservative…

  28. 28
    Ing

    That said, I think DADT's insanity comes down to the military being perfectly fine with asking a soldier to look into a man's eyse as he rings his neck for god and country but see a gay man.besides it would make an AWESOME biopic if we can get a future famous general who is equal parts Chesty Puller and Oscar Wilde.

  29. 29
    Rational Jen

    What we got, instead, was a small step in the right direction: gays in the military were no longer illicit, but still had to remain secret.And this is yet another piece of evidence that you really don't know anything at all about this issue. Don't ask, don't tell was the de facto policy in the military prior to 1993. What DADT did was write it into law. Let me break that down for you – for the first time in the history of the US military, it was illegal to be gay. You could continue to serve only if you didn't engage in homosexual activities and never told anyone you were gay. And if no one ever accused you of being gay. This was not a bridge toward a more tolerant policy. It was open season on gays in the military.What we got out of this policy was a dramatic spike in discharges for homosexuality and command policies that were absolutely toxic to gay soldiers. The beating death of Barry Winchell at Ft. Campbell was an example of this. For months, his chain of command did nothing to stop his harassment. Their attitude was that being gay in the Army was illegal, and if he was gay, he deserved what he got. Some of the members of his chain of command even directly cited DADT as justification for their (in)actions.Why do you assume that I've read your bio and am familiar with your past?In light of your vast experience with the military, I should have phrased that differently. Why would you presume to lecture anyone about how military units live? Do you have information about how military units live that would be unavailable to any civilian? Oh, and in response to your request to point out where you're wrong – pretty much everything you've said here has been wrong.And is it your considered opinion that no similar problems would have occurred had the soldiers been free to openly declare their sexual orientation when they joined the unit? Permit me to doubt that without having actually conducted any controlled clinical trials.Controlled clinical trials??? How exactly would you go about doing "controlled clinical trials" on the effects of gays serving openly in the military? Never mind.It is not only my well-informed opinion that problems similar to those I cited would not have occurred if we'd just ended the ban in 1993, I have actual facts to back it up. The RAND study that Clinton requested prior to DADT said nothing adverse would happen. The experiences of some 35 other armies verify that if you end a gay ban quickly and cleanly, there are no adverse effects on unit efficiency or cohesion. Repealing DADT will be vastly less problematic than living under it ever was – for gay or straight soldiers.In every situation involving a serious crime committed against a gay soldier, a toxic command climate has been a major contributing factor. Without DADT's cone of silence, commanders will have to address criminal behavior for what it is. Sigh. I am reminded, yet again, of the near-impossibility of discussing an issue sensibly and civilly with liberals.Given my understanding of this issue, including the motivation of those who enacted DADT, and your complete lack of understanding of even the basics of this policy, I think "fuck you" was the appropriate response to your bleating that I should "at least consider…." I lived under it. The reason I said what I said to you is because I know what I'm talking about. You do not. But if you need to feel like it's because I'm a liberal, don't let me deprive you of your ad hominem.You know, the thing I find the most infuriating about this conversation is your very low regard for the troops. The bigots and sociopaths are few and far between, and the rest won't be sorry to see them go. The vast majority of service members are exceptional men & women, and it was my great privilege to serve with them. Never underestimate them. There's a reason they're the best in the world.

  30. 30
    Ing

    "Sigh. I am reminded, yet again, of the near-impossibility of discussing an issue sensibly and civilly with liberals."May I point out that you're the one who brought up the liberal/conservative thing? Before this was about DADT reality v misconception. Hell, why do you even assume that the people disagreeing with you are liberals? I don't know how Jen leans politically save for clearly DADT. Martain and Russel are open lefties, but no one attacked you for being a conservative, they responded to stupid shit you said. The fact that people get mad when you say dumb shit without realizing it does not mean that they're not sensible. What is non-sensible is poo pooing criticism with "well liberals are just impossible to talk to". That's not conservative that's doucheyness. I mean this really bugs me especially seeing George's knee jerk response agreeing "OH yeah those liberals just call everyone names" when…you know he SAW what happened, what the hell man? Are the liberal people here impossible to talk to? I don't see them harassing you for politics or calling you Colonel Kurtz or whatever? Where's that accusation come from?

  31. 31
    Martin

    [takes deep breath, hefts Loving Mallet of Correction onto shoulder]Okay, gang. Let's all count to ten and tamp it down before it spills headfirst into flamewar territory. Argue points, attack positions, not people. Views the majority here disagree with are welcome, even when they're infuriating. Take the emotions off the boil and put the reason back on. Hugs.

  32. 32
    George From NY

    Ing, I think Neutron is just plain wrong about the DADT issue, but I agreed with him in passing that invective is, in fact, a staple of Leftist discourse.You can of course reply the same about the Right – albeit risking tu quoque, eh?Based on that one passing remark from me, you wrote:"you should stop your whining.""Don't act so freaking persecuted, jebbus sake.""Please, don't even GO near the martyr card." "I mean this really bugs me especially seeing George's knee jerk response…"And you ended with:"Are the liberal people here impossible to talk to?"Well, you tell me. :)Neutron,While we seem to have pressed one of Ing's buttons, he is correct to distinguish criticism for CAUSE as opposed to a purely ideological or party-line condemnation.OK. That will be my last "debate the debate" comment for now. Now, taking Martin's sage counsel – although I do not "flame" people, with the exception of those who remained fans of AC/DC after Bon Scott died or Linux cultists – I shall go hug some kittens and wish happiness and peace upon all mankind.

  33. 33
    Neutron

    @Jen: "In every situation involving a serious crime committed against a gay soldier …" As you say, these were *crimes*. DADT is not a shield against criminal behavior, or the condoning of it, though some may have tried to use it as such."Without DADT's cone of silence …" Commanders may have used DADT as a justification, but I rather suspect that that's only because it was a handy tool. Without DADT, they'd have come up with some other rationalization for their "toxic command structure", which is the real culprit.DADT didn't compel such failures of command.As you've said yourself, DADT was codification of de facto policy. As such, it should have been neutral in effect. That it was not is not the fault of DADT itself, or of the people (regardless of their motivation) who crafted it. I don't buy your analysis that DADT was an enabler for crimes against gays in the military, and, obviously, there are others, even among those who have served in the military, who don't buy that analysis either."… problems similar to those I cited would not have occurred if we'd just ended the ban in 1993." I'll grant that as possible. But this just says that it was failure to end the ban, rather than DADT, that was the cause of the failure to prevent those problems. I don't think ending the ban was politically possible in 1993, and apparently Bill Clinton didn't think so, either."… the thing I find the most infuriating about this conversation is your very low regard for the troops." To the contrary, I hold this nation's service personnel in the highest regard. I have friends and relatives who served in the military, and I have nothing but respect for all of them for doing so."The vast majority of service members are exceptional men and women …" I am in full agreement here."Never underestimate them. There's a reason they're the best in the world." Absolutely without question.

  34. 34
    Martin

    George: Dude, what's wrong with Back in Black? Now, Garth Brooks fans, they're deserving!That was your pointless off-topic digression of the day. We now return you to your regularly scheduled thread.

  35. 35
    Neutron

    @George From NY: *Linux cultists*? LINUX CULTISTS??? What's wrong with *us*, other than a wholly-justified refusal to put up with the great steaming pile of green donkey dung that Microsoft pushes?

  36. 36
    George From NY

    Go tell it to rms, you damned hippie.;)

  37. 37
    Rational Jen

    I hold this nation's service personnel in the highest regard.I don't believe you. Not when you said this earlier:The fact is that there is a percentage of people who are uncomfortable around gays/lesbians. There is some percentage of those who would be vocal about it. There is also, sadly, a percentage of reprehensible people who would be abusive, mentally and/or physically. As much as we can wish that wasn't the case, it is a reality that we'd be asking the military to deal with.In other words, Canadian soldiers, British soldiers, French soldiers, Israeli soldiers – they can all handle serving with openly gay service members, but not our troops. Let me give you something to think about – if soldiers in my unit were harassing another soldier by calling him nigger or wetback, what would you expect me to do about that? Would it be okay with you if I just looked the other way and pretended that nothing was going on? I can tell you what would happen – UCMJ gives me everything I need to put a stop to that behavior.Furthermore, I can't envision any scenario in which a chain of command that ignored overt racism in the ranks would be given a free pass, especially if a soldier was killed as a result. The chain of command is responsible for good order and discipline in the unit, end of story. Except, of course, in the case of what happened at Ft. Campbell. The only difference between my racism scenario and the Ft. Campbell murder is that the soldier was called "faggot," and the prejudice that allowed that tragedy to occur was codified into law. I just want you to understand exactly what you're defending – and that the chain of command had every tool they needed to prevent that murder at their disposal.I fully expect that you will continue to defend the indefensible, which is what DADT is. That being the case, I really don't have time to waste on someone who thinks that codified sexual prejudice is some kind of bridge to get us to a more tolerant place.When I get a bit more time, I'll put up another post about DADT for those who care about what it really is, why it came to be, and why it's been so detrimental to the military. I don't expect you'll get much out of it.

  38. 38
    George From NY

    "I can tell you what would happen – UCMJ gives me everything I need to put a stop to that behavior."UCMJ… I think my cousin did his post-grad there.ba-DUMThat's the kind of quality comedy I deliver, folks. No charge.

  39. 39
    Neutron

    @George From NY: "Go tell it to rms, you damned hippie." My apologies, sir. I made the mistake of presuming that you, like many, take "Linux" as an overarching term for UNIX. I am a FreeBSD user myself, and EMACS and gcc are the tools of my everyday life. I have met rms, and thanked him personally for the profound effect he has had on my life in computing.

  40. 40
    Neutron

    @Jen: "I don't believe you …" I am sincerely sorry that you have come away with that impression of me."… if soldiers in my unit were harassing another soldier by calling him … UCMJ gives me everything I need to put a stop to that behavior."It may surprise you to know that I *do* have enough familiarity with things military to know what UCMJ stands for *without* googling it. Do I understand you correctly that, because of DADT, UCMJ does not apply if you see soldiers harassing another soldier by calling him "faggot"? If DADT specifically states that, then it *is* wrong."… the prejudice that allowed that tragedy to occur was codified into law."That's only true in some inside-out and backward sort of sense."… the chain of command had every tool they needed to prevent that murder at their disposal."DADT didn't authorize failure to use those tools."I fully expect that you will continue to defend the indefensible, …"That DADT is indefensible is your opinion, which you have every right to hold, espouse, and defend. Not everyone agrees with that opinion."When I get a bit more time, I'l put up another post about DADT … I don't expect you'll get much out of it."I look forward to reading it. My opinions are just that — opinions. They are not set in stone.Let me put it this way:DADT is a tacit acknowledgement that there are gays in the military, as law. I see that as a step forward from the law as it existed previously. "We won't ask if you're gay; you don't have to tell us if you're gay." You seem to be asserting that what DADT *really* means is "If you find out I'm gay, it's OK to harass me and even kill me, despite UCMJ (or even the bounds of common decency)." If I have misstated your position, I apologize, but it is THAT assertion with which I disagree.I'd like to also repeat that I don't think DADT should exist forever; if it went away tomorrow, that would be fine with me.

  41. 41
    Ing

    "When I get a bit more time, I'll put up another post about DADT for those who care about what it really is, why it came to be, and why it's been so detrimental to the military."I actually am interested in this. In college I knew several soldiers of various branches, some of which were in fact gay. In one case he and hsi boyfriend were in the same unit and the unit in the true spirit of all that seimper fai stuff covered for them and watched their back so brass wouldn't discharge them.

  42. 42
    George From NY

    Whatever, Neutron, I still blame you for the failure of BeOS.Hippie.

  43. 43
    Ing

    @ GeorgeThe reason why Neutro pushed my buttons with that is mostly because I think you are a decent bloke and would/are insulted and distressed if you really thought that the more left or moderate people here were that unreasonable and 'impossible' to talk to. I don't care a bout Neutron, he's a moron. (IRONY!) but for reasons completely unrelated to his politics.

  44. 44
    George From NY

    Ing,While I do agree with Neutron that invective is a staple of modern Left discourse*, I don't assume a priori that all politically Left(ish) people are impossible to talk to.I also think Neuron rather jumped the gun following Jen's response. If he thought he was being misunderstood/misrepresented he should have clarified himself first, rather than resorting to "Oh there you Liberals go again, there's no talking to you people."BTW, the news of late has been filled with reports of high-ranking military officers admitting DADT is a complete joke and should just be dumped.C'mon, President Obama, we're not talking about amending the Constitution here. You could end DADT with a signature.DO IT! GET TO THE CHOPPA!……*Yes, the Right(ish) are guilty of it, too.

  45. 45
    Kazim

    While I do agree with Neutron that invective is a staple of modern Left discourse**Yes, the Right(ish) are guilty of it, too.George, I'm curious… if you think both sides of it are guilty then why even bother to specify "Left" first? Why not just say "invective is a staple of modern discourse"?

  46. 46
    George From NY

    … Because I was responding to what Neutron said.

  47. 47
    Ing

    @ GeorgeI'm glad we found an understanding and all, but I still have to question that as I don't get agreeing with Neutron there. What he said was ""Sigh. I am reminded, yet again, of the near-impossibility of discussing an issue sensibly and civilly with liberals." And you agreed with that sentiment which was observing that people here which he thought of as liberals were 'near impossible to talk to'. My response was agreeing with you that everyone does that and pointing out to Neutron that singling it out on the left is myopia. So agreeing with him created the illusion/perception of you joining in taking an unfair jab. I mean I don't doubt people were nasty to you, people are nasty animals at times; but no one was attacking Neutron for being a conservative. We were trying to explain how bat shit stupid his assessment was. He gave an opinion on something he admits he has no experience or knowledge about (a reoccurring theme in the Climate Change Thread) and then gets upset when people point out when he's wrong of fractually wrong. Now that he's spoken more, yeah I do think he's an idiot, but because he's so entrenched in an idealized conservative mindset it's like a religious belief (yes that's unfair but…yeah). When your first thought on any issue is not "what are the facts" but "what's the left say, I should disagree with that probably" then you're either unwilling or incapable of doing critical thinking. Thus why I think Neutron is…er…special and not worth talking too. I'm rambling and said stuff everyone knows, but yeah that pushed my buttons because I have trouble seeing you buying into such bullshit (the myopia/wearing celery for shoes insanity, not the conservatism).

  48. 48
    Ville from Finland

    I realise that this topic, by now, is pretty much dead, but having read it I felt compelled to actually create an account and respond to it.I do not claim to be a subject matter expert on this or any other US domestic policy, but having actually served in the finnish army alongside openly homosexual people I feel comfortable saying that I have some insight on the matter.According to my experience having homosexuals, or any other minorities for that matter, in the army is not a liability but, on the contrary, an asset.Neutron described some issues that homophobia could raise among the troops but personally I have to say that it was quite the opposite. The people that were homophobes when entering service were, at least in my opinion, much less so having served with gays.I would argue that prejudices are derived from ignorance and the best and possibly only way to overcome them is to educate one self of them. Due to constant interaction and co-existance with people with different ideologies, opinions and sexual orientations and also people with ethnic background different than my own, I for one can say that I developed more toletance towards all of them in my army days.Furthermore having had both gays and lesbians as my superiors, peers and subordinates I can say that sexuality does not really matter in the army anyway. When one is crawling under a barbed-wire training course one is not thinking: "Is that damn fairy crawling behind me cheking out my ass?", but rather "Holy shit my muscles are killing me! When's lunch?"Basically when in the barracks or in training I for one was canstantly too tired to even think about my own sexuality not to mention someone else's. That's what leaves are for.Being that Finland has not been in a war since WWII I have no actual combat experience. But when it comes to homosexuals in battle conditions I have no reason to doubt their value and capabilities. Why would I? Every single gay and lesbian I met in the army always pulled their weight. The fact of the matter is that no-one can predict how a person reacts when under enemy fire, but I am certain that the said person's sexuality is not a factor. All in all when it comes to combat situations I would agree with Jen, for I too would "take a brigade of flaming queens over one with just one sociopath any day."And since it's always good to end with some humour here's the phrase (roughly translated from finnish) one of our instructors, am openly homosexual man in his mid-thirties, coined: "Come on! If an old faggot like me can do it, young guys like you should be able to do it twice as fast!"Here's hoping that the fact that english is my fourth language is not too painfully obviousVille W.Second lieutenant (currently in reserves)

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