Saturday, November 15, 2014

Another battle in the culture war: Army chopper lieutenant colonel vs. federal homosexualism

U.S. Army Lieutenant Colonel Christopher Downey may be forced to retire after 24 years for "preventing photos of lesbian couple kissing."

Kissing and more, in uniform, in public, so Army regulations applied as they do to normal couples. Guess rules don't apply when you're among the new chosen people. It's not about equal rights. Plus... "Diversity!" That is, this tomfoolery makes a better fighting force, uhhhhh, BECAUSE, OK?

While martial values and conservative ones work well together, so since the Sixties, conservatives have tended to think of our servicemen as knights defending Christendom and the old America, which appeals to me (I'm wearing a Navy/Marine flight jacket as I type), a lesson I learned secondhand a while ago is as part of the U.S. government, the military is NOT conservative. (Sure, it's supposed to be nonpartisan, but I mean even culturally, the liberalism > its mission.)

By the way, rewatch "Dragnet." That's not really conservative either. It's about enforcing the law, whatever the politicians say that is.
Commenter: I grew up in a very liberal home so I never suffered from that delusion.
Liberals have a love/hate relationship with the military. Nobody seems to remember that Vietnam was a liberal though anti-Communist crusade. ('60s establishment liberals ≠ today's liberals.) Today's liberals buy into the Sixties' anti-military attitude but still get weirdly nostalgic about most of THEIR wars, such as World War II. Real conservatives are isolationists, just like any serviceman who's actually been in a war doesn't want another one.

Retired Navy officer (Vietnam veteran turned submariner):
A federal lawsuit is not enough. LTC Downey should appeal his "conviction" in a lowly Article 15 all the way up the legal chain (to the U.S. Surpreme Court). He also should have requested a court martial instead (the penalties upon conviction are higher, though), but clearly he got railroaded. Assuming he wins on appeal he should then get out. His career is shot anyway and who wants to serve with people like this? No, I am not talking about lesbians.

Oh, and the action he took at those two offending females would have been the exact same action if a man and woman in uniform were "getting it on" in public.
Another commenter:
Top brass, who set the agenda for the military, are appointed by the President. So military culture and policy tend to reflect incumbent agendas, but it also tends to be dynamic. Mid-level officers in a position to do so often leave the military under administrations that they find onerous, which reenforces the cultural shift du jour.
As I understand it, enforcing the ban on homosexuals was always really at the discretion of local commanders. If a serviceman did his job and stayed out of trouble, some would look the other way. (Put in submariners' terms, what a sailor did on leave was his business, as long as he didn't cause trouble on the boat.) Made sense for more civilian-like services such as the peacetime Coast Guard (lifeguards and seagoing cops) and the celebrated case of Margarethe Cammermeyer, the Vietnam-veteran nurse who was the head nurse of the Washington State National Guard. I've read her book. Clearly the lady wasn't a problem so she deserved to be reinstated and to retire with full honors and benefits. But back in the wartime Navy, get caught and you'd do time at Portsmouth (the Navy's Leavenworth).

Also, I understand there's always been a hardcore minority of gays who are career military, a good job to hide in, like working on an oil rig. Get transferred a lot, serve for many years, and nobody asks why you never got married; makes sense given the lifestyle.

Brian Mitchell is one of those officers who quit, a West Pointer who had hoped to be career Army but objected to affirmative-actioning women into front-line roles, compromising the military's mission.
Retired Navy: I am not opposed necessarily to people with same sex attractions serving in the military. They have been there for 2,000 years (probably even further back!) anyway. Women in combat? Well that's another matter. It looks nice and clean for women to fly combat aircraft and serve or even command ships of the line, but in the down and dirty mud? I dunno. Oh sure, I think a female can be just as violent as a male (but I cannot prove this), but in terms of unit cohesion and physical strength (yes, there will always be exceptions), I have my doubts. Sorry, ladies!
Exactly Mr. Mitchell's point regarding women in combat (his 1990s book Flirting with Disaster). They compromise the military's mission; it does NOT make it a better fighting force. The Navy's first woman carrier pilot was affirmative-actioned through flight school (Pensacola), crashed, and died. It now takes five people to do what four military-fit men could. It's easier for women to cry their way to being discharged if they don't like it. And ships with co-ed crews (as even the Nimitz now does) have lots of pregnancies and I think VD too (again compromising operations and thus the mission).
Retired Navy: I don't get into folks' private lives or at least I don't choose to. There were occasions, however, when I was thrust into the private lives of a few of the enlisted sailors who served with me and under me because of problems in the work place. I HATED having to deal with these issues. They were so difficult to resolve.
Back to the military not really being conservative, even though many servicemen naturally are: I had a friend who said his social liberalism (such as feminism) came from his 18 years in the Air Force.

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