There’s a disturbing and short sighted trend in modern thinking: That human behavior is spawned and exists in a vacuum. That an activity has no effect on other activities. That there is neither an Alpha nor an Omega.
Earlier this year, retired Marine Corps general John Sheehan testified before Congress that he believed the liberalization of the armed forces would result in the decline of its ability to fight.
Democrat Representative Carl Levin of Michigan hits Sheehan with predictable and very modern arguments. They are all prefixed with: What if? What if it can be shown that there is no decline in our military’s ability to fight, should gays be allowed to openly serve? Of course we must also ask: What if it can be shown that our ability to fight is mitigated by allowing open gays in?
Levin of course believes that serving in the military is a right. I should like to see some of the things that are done in the military–all for the cause of maintaining good order and discipline–enacted on say, workers at a local supermarket. Maybe the shift supervisor can come and inspect their apartment at any time (1st Sergeants can inspect barracks and housing). Maybe they have to do pushups as punishment for breaking some eggs while stocking the shelves (It’s called CAPE–Corrective Action Physical Exercise and it can be used for small lapses in attention to detail). Perhaps we can force them to work five additional hours per night because they were arrested for DUI two months ago and after a short hearing, the boss decided this was proper punishment. After an article 15 is issued to a Soldier, he can be required to perform “extra duty” for several weeks, this includes weekends, and usually amounts to picking cigarette butts out of the cracks in parking lots, sweeping and mopping floors, mowing lawns and other menial though tiring work.
In Sheehan’s testimony he speaks of some of the things European armies did in order to make the military “fair.” The Dutch brought in unions and allowed gays to serve. Other European Armies did similar things. Germans of college age must choose between community service or 9 months of military service. All of this has served to water down the martial atmosphere that warriors throughout all ages cultivated. Rights of passage, ceremonies, formations, marching, uniforms, all serve to remind each Soldier of his sacred heritage. Aside from the British, most European armies amount to police units, barely trained for peace keeping missions and lacking the public spine any army needs to fight without quitting. The Dutch recently decided it was time to quit in Afghanistan and voted to remove its 2000 representative NATO troops. Even the Israelis seem to be faltering. I recently read an article about the lax dress code for female Israeli soldiers. One Israeli female openly admitted that American troops are much more professional than their Israeli counterparts. Recent engagements with Hamas and Hezbollah may be the harbinger of future problems that Israel faces. Gays serving openly, civilian like attire and mandatory service, in Israel’s case, are as much because of a severe lack in manpower, as because of a movement to liberalize the military. The imminent danger that Israel faces daily may well prevent a complete softening. But Europe and America no longer have the Soviets to keep them honest. Fantasies about what the military ought to be are allowed to grow because harsh reality no longer keep the dream in check.
Back to the idea that individual behavior and habits exist in a vacuum. I saw how wrong this type of thinking was when I was a police officer. For instance, I could be driving down a particularly crime-ridden street while on duty. I may see someone wearing a particular type of clothing, talking with a known criminal, listening to hard-core Rap, while he smoked a cigarette. Perhaps he stares too long as I drive by. Perhaps he glances away too quickly. He’s got a tatoo on his neck, too.
After almost a decade of police work, I’d have been suspicious of the above-described person. Were any of his activities illegal? No. Taken separately and philosophically sifted, there isn’t a problem. But my brain, after having dealt with hundreds, if not thousands of criminal types, tells me that this is someone I at least ought to look out for in the future. As much as I may have rebuked myself for “profiling”, my brain just wouldn’t ignore the patterns that reality offered.
But studies show that individual traits do reveal a greater whole. Tattoos and body-piercing are highly correlated with risky and illegal behavior in teenagers. So is smoking, which made my Spidey-Sense tingle on any car stop. Smoking a cigarette while driving at night indicates a higher chance of a drunk driver. Did I arrest the guy for puffing his Marlborough? Nope. But I looked for indicators of drunk driving. My instincts would begin to place the puzzle together before my higher brain could react. Oh yeah. The military has rules concerning tattoos, too.
So does homosexuality mean someone can’t function in the military? No. But it does correlate with many other types of risky behavior, and behaviors that are detrimental to a martial spirit. It’s difficult to separate the homosexual from the complete paradigm that is that lifestyle. Liberals will call them stereotypes. I’ll call them stereotypes that I think are true. With homosexuality comes a whole truck load of problems, not just a regular guy who prefers to have sex with other men. This is not an essay about the causes of homosexuality. But I will say that we are incredibly complex creatures. To imply that upbringing, genetics, luck, or choice are individually and solely responsible for who we are is intellectually dishonest.
There are always the exceptions to the rule. Every rule. But we should not ignore the rule for the exception. The military is not a place for social experimentation, activism or just a place to find work. But neither is it close minded. The military was the first American institution to desegregate, for instance. I have nothing against working at a regular, civilian job with gay people. While I find their lifestyle abhorrent, I fully recognize their constitutional right to engage in it and I am sworn to defend their right to do so. But I need not endorse it. And the Army has no obligation to accept all things as being equal, especially when they’re demonstrably not equal. Should this administration remove DADT, it will be as much a symptom of the problems our military faces as it will be a cause. Our mind-set will have changed. We will have become as the Europeans: Striving to make all things equal while forgetting that each organ serves a particular function. Kidneys don’t make good hearts.