The Pentagon's poll on "don't ask, don't tell" is beyond idiotic. Instead of asking whether the troops support repeal of DADT, the Pentagon asked only if they can learn to play nice with the gays.
Even more absurdly, the Pentagon polled all military "personnel" -- and their spouses! Only a small portion of what is known as "the military" actually does the fighting. The rest is a vast bureaucracy along the lines of the DMV.
Today's military features "victim advocates" and sensitivity training facilitators, the Defense Advisory Committee on Women in the Services personnel and a million other goo-goo positions. How did we ever take the shores of Normandy without a phalanx of "sensitivity training" counselors?
No one has any need to be reassured that the military's "social action" staff will enjoy working with gays. Whatever a career in "social action" entails, it better be gay-friendly. Frankly, it's appalling the Pentagon's poll of all military personnel and their families didn't produce better numbers for the gays.
We're interested in what the men who fight think. As the Pentagon study itself reports: "A higher percentage of service members in war-fighting units predicted negative effects."
So gays openly serving in the military will harm the "war-fighting" part of the military, but the "social action" part will thrive!
Naturally, Marines are the most resistant to overturning "don't ask, don't tell," with 58 percent of those in combat opposed.
Who cares if the Pentagon's sexual harassment task force supports gays in the military? The combat units don't, and they're the ones who do the job. The rest of us shouldn't get to vote on gays in the military any more than we get to vote on the choreography of "Chicago."
Military combat is a very specialized field comparable to nothing in civilian life. There has to be a special bond among warriors -- and only one kind of bond. The soldierly bond gets confused if some guys think their comrades are hot or if they suspect their superior is having a relationship with a fellow soldier.
It's the same confusion that results from putting girls in the military. When an officer makes a decision, nothing should enter into it except his views on the best military strategy.
The military part of the military has valid reasons for wanting to separate the idea of martial ardor and sexual attraction. Combat units can't have anything that interferes with unit cohesion, such as, for example, platoon members who are dating one another. Racial prejudice is not the same thing as sexual attraction, so please stop telling us this is just like integrating blacks in the military.A Military Times survey in 2005 found that nearly half of all women in the military claim to have been the victim of sexual harassment -- ludicrously more than women in civilian life. By contrast, two-thirds of minorities said they were treated better in the military than in society at large.
The Pentagon's report found that service members "repeatedly" said that allowing gays to serve openly would "lead to widespread and overt displays of effeminacy," as well as "harassment" and unwelcome advances. (To which I would add, "and the occasional leak of massive amounts of classified documents.")
Gays in the military understand this better than heterosexuals in civilian life. According to the Pentagon's survey, only 15 percent of gays currently serving said they would want their units to know they're gay. (Also, 2 percent of gays currently serving giggled when asked about their "unit," which is down from 5 percent from last year.)
There are far more discharges for pregnancy and "parenthood" than for homosexuality. In the past five years, less than 1 percent of all unplanned military discharges (i.e. not due to retirement or completion of service) were for homosexuality.
Here's a record of the discharges for 2008, according to the Defense Department:
-- Drugs: 5,627
-- Serious offenses: 3,817
-- Weight standards: 4,555
-- Pregnancy: 2,353
-- Parenthood: 2,574
-- Homosexuality: 634
The main lesson from these figures isn't that we should have gays openly serving in the military, but that we need to get girls out of the military, inasmuch as they are constantly being discharged for pregnancy, parenthood and weight issues.
According to a 1998 Department of Defense report, most discharges based on homosexuality involved "junior personnel with very little time in the military" and "the great majority of discharges for homosexual conduct are uncontested and processed administratively." More than 98 percent of discharges for homosexuality were honorable.
Why can't the Army and Marines have their own rules? Why does everything have to be the same? Whatever happened to "diversity"?
Maybe we could have an all-gay service! They'd be allowed to wear camouflage neckerchiefs (a la Paul Lynde) and camo capri pants. To avoid any sexual harassment claims, they'd have to have their own barrack, which we could outfit with a dance club, a cosmo bar and a counseling center called "The Awkward Place." Their band would mostly play show tunes, and soldiers captured by the enemy would be taught to reveal only their name, rank and seasonal color analysis ("I am Private First Class Jeffrey Smith and I'm a 'winter.'")
They wouldn't be allowed in combat, however, for the same reason women aren't –- it takes them too long to get ready.
Most people have no clue what military life is like, least of all the opinion makers in New York, Los Angeles and the nation's capital. The military is not representative of the country at large. It is disproportionately rural, small-town, Southern and Hispanic.
We ask our troops to do a lot for very little money. Sometimes they die for us. The least Democrats could do is not pass grandstanding bills while self-righteously denouncing our servicemen as homophobes.