A veteran’s view on gays in military
This weekend may sound the death knell for the ban on gays serving openly in the US military. And if that death song is sung, it will be a detriment to the finest fighting force in the world.
Polling now shows a majority of Americans think it’s time to repeal the ban, but less than 10% of American citizens have ever served in the US armed forces. I served four years in the United States Marine Corps, in a unit that heralded itself as the “tip of the spear,” meaning we were the first to go in when Marines from our division were called. In two overseas deployments, our vehicles were always staged and ready to hit the beach when called. In my conversations with those who served before me, those who served with me, and those who served after me, I’ve come to know my views are not anomalous in the combat arms of the US military.
I’m not denying anyone, veteran or not, their right to an opinion on this matter, but I think the opinions of those of us who have served and are serving where the bullets fly and the blood splatters should carry a lot more weight than some protester on a corner at a college campus.
Those who want to repeal the ban often scream that an irrational fear or hatred of gays is the only reason anyone is against homosexuals serving openly. While I’m sure some of that exists, there are many other arguments to uphold the ban that any truly objective person can understand.
Let’s start with living quarters. Most people have never been in a position where they were forced to sleep or shower with someone they didn’t even know…unless they served in the military. In Marine Corps boot camp, everyone in a platoon showers together without stalls or privacy of any kind. The bathroom is one large room with toilets and urinals lining the walls, no stalls or privacy there. When I went through, Don’t Ask Don’t Tell (DADT) wasn’t even policy. Homosexuals were banned from serving period. When we showered, it never crossed our minds that someone might be sexually stimulated because homosexuals were banned from serving.
In the field, we were assigned to sleep in the same tent with another Marine. We didn’t get to choose who we slept with, but we didn’t have to worry about the guy next to us being gay and coming on to us. On Navy ships, we slept inches apart in a room with 40 men. We dressed and changed without privacy, but we never had to worry about attracting the sexual attention of another man because gays were banned from serving. Our quarters on the airfield in Mogadishu, Somalia consisted of a plywood, one-room building. Forty men slept shoulder-to-shoulder on the floor.
For all of you who think because you have a gay person who works in your office and things work fine, you don’t live, sleep, and shower with them. So, if you would feel the least bit uncomfortable working with that person under the above described conditions, you’re a complete hypocrite if you still think gays in the military are a good idea.
The second big argument I’ll make deals with families. The military has become much more of a family friendly organization over the past couple of decades, but it’s still a job that comes with frequent long deployments. Time away is already hard enough on wives and children left at home, but at least they don’t have to worry about the guy daddy’s with being gay. Imagine the added stress this would put on a wife at home, wondering if her husband is relieving his sexual frustration with his gay foxhole-mate. Stress at home destroys morale for deployed servicemen, and morale is essential when serving in combat zones.
The last case I’ll discuss involves the mission. It’s understood that serving in a combat zone is an extremely dangerous situation ALL the time. Those who’ve never been there don’t understand what that really means. It means you have to be on your toes all the time, you have to be focused and attuned to what’s going on around you always. Danger lurks everywhere and letting down your guard for an instant can get you and your buddies killed. Any distractions are dangerous. But we’ve never had to worry about sexual attraction creating that distraction on the battlefield because gays can’t serve openly in the military. If two guys are getting it on instead of getting the job done, things are going to get really bad really quickly.
I can hear it already, supporters of repeal screaming that just because someone’s gay doesn’t mean they’re going to be coming on to everything around them. It doesn’t mean that people who aren’t gay will suddenly fall to the lure of sex with their gay buddy. Maybe not, but are you willing to bet our national security on it? Are you willing to bet the lives of servicemen who will die because of that distraction that you don’t think will materialize?
Though President Obama has managed to get political a Secretary of Defense and a Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff to support repeal of DADT, top generals in both the Army and Marines both oppose repeal. These branches bear the brunt of combat operations and their leaders understand the risks better than Washington bureaucrats, and generals who worry more over their own political futures than the welfare of their troops.
“My suspicions are that the law will be repealed” eventually, Marine Corps Commandant James Amos told the Senate Armed Services Committee. “All I’m asking is the opportunity to do that at a time and choosing when my Marines are not singularly tightly focused on what they’re doing in a very deadly environment.”
Today “Taps” will likely sound for the ban on gays serving openly in the military. And if it does, the finest fighting force in the world–the combat arms units of the US military–will irreparably suffer. But our politicians, including some Republicans, are more concerned with their own reelection prospects than the lives of those brave young men who serve in the combat arms.
May the blood of every young warrior who dies because of this policy shift forever torment the politically correct legislators and low-life, politically motivated military officers who blind themselves to the realities of the battlefield and support this bill.
Tags: Combat Arms, Don’t Ask Don’t Tell, DADT, Military, Gays, Combat, Marine Corps, Army, USMC, Democrat, Republican, War on Terror
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