Saturday, May 29, 2010

Reassuring the Troops

I am constantly amazed. I guess that is one of the joys of getting old; watching with astonishment the antics of the younger generation. I served in the Navy, but I’m not sure that today’s generation would have survived the conditions we served in.

For one thing we served with some gay guys, although we didn’t call them that at the time. While they didn’t openly announce it or wear signs, it was never any big secret. It didn’t adversely affect our “unit cohesion" or "readiness” or, if it did, we would have been awesomely effective indeed without those guys, because we were damned good with them.

Did it cause some friction? Sure it did. So did that idiot who kept flapping his mouth about what an awesome Italian he was, and how many women his Italianness allowed him to… Never mind.

Our superiors never asked us our opinions about much of anything. I don’t recall the ship ever leaving port and the Captain asking us where we wanted to go; he just said things like, “Left ten degrees rudder, all ahead standard.” He always had his own plan in mind, and never much shared it with us. Sometimes when we got back we didn’t know where we’d been; submarines don’t have windows.

But today Congress passes a bill about gays serving in the military and the Secretary of Defense freaks out and has to reassure the military that he has their back, so to speak, and that he won’t let anything happen until every member of the military has had a chance to provide an opinion about military policy regarding serving with gays.

"Every man and woman in uniform is a vitally important part of this review. We need to hear from you and your families so that we can make these judgments in the most informed and effective manner," Gates said. "So please let us know how to do this right."

"Please let us know how to do this right." If I had ever gone to my division officer and said “let me tell how to do military policy right,” he would have called for a straight jacket. He certainly valued my knowledge of the inner workings of an electrical switchboard, but the idea of me providing input to the command structure as to military policy would pretty much have sent him into hysterics.

The posturing seems to be about willingness to serve alongside gays.

This “finest military in the world” must be a bunch of real candy asses if they are afraid of a few gay guys and women, and they also must be stupid as hell if they don’t realize that gays are already serving in the military. The question isn’t about gays serving, you morons, they are already doing that, as the present law allows them to do. The issue is about whether or not gay people who are presently serving legally in the military will be allowed to admit they are gay.

Perhaps the issue is that our troops are willing to serve alongside gays if they don't know that they are gay, but are not willing to if they do know that they are gay. What? This is going to be difficult to say without sounding homophobic, which I’m actually not, but how does that make any sense?

If I were worried about having someone “checking me out” in the shower, I would want to be sure that gays are serving openly in the military and not concealing their gayness, because I would want to know who they are so that I can be sure not to shower with them. As long as they are “in the closet” and I’m showering with a bunch of guys, I have no idea who might be checking out my, you know, whatever, and I’m never going to know when it is safe to pick up the soap that I just dropped.

If the military is so concerned regarding the effect on morale created by the policies they implement, why did they never conduct a “peer review” on the “stop loss” policy; the policy that says that the military can keep you in service after your enlistment period expires?

No comments:

Post a Comment