Social Question

tedd's avatar

Why do people think gays in the military will effect unit cohesion?

Asked by tedd (14048points) September 21st, 2010

It doesn’t make any damn sense. I’ve talked with people who have served in Afghanistan and Iraq (friends of mine mostly from high school), and they KNEW some members of their units were gay. None of them cared, and they still did their job just fine. People are spewing crap on yahoo in the chat sections under the latest news about repealing don’t ask don’t tell, about how we’d have a military full of freaks and they don’t want their husbands serving with gays.

The pretty much undeniably most bad ass fighting force in the history of our planet was the Spartan soldiers. They’re the ones written about in the book/movie “300” who fought off the masses of Persian soldiers at the battle of Thermoplyae. They were taught to fight from a very young age. Well their homosexuality and bisexuality (probably from being stuck in a barracks full of men for their whole lives) was SO strong that before marriage the bride to be would have her head shaved bald and would be dressed in a mans clothes. Then she’d wait in a dark room for her husband to visit her at night. This carried on for sometimes years, often until the first pregnancy.. all the while she still lived with her parents, and he still lived with a bunch of guys in a barracks. They did this so that they could make women APPEALING to the men, because they apparently didn’t find females attractive.

Rant over, discuss.

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37 Answers

Seaofclouds's avatar

I don’t understand what the problem is either. I don’t have a problem with it. I can see some guys being uncomfortable sharing living space with a gay soldier, but that is their issue that they need to come to terms with, not the gay soldiers issue.

If I was worried about my husband cheating, I’d be more comfortable with him around gays than I would with him being around women (luckily I trust my husband and have faith in our marriage). I don’t get why any wife would say they don’t want their husband serving with a gay soldier.

I can’t wait for people to get over their fear and hate of other people.

marinelife's avatar

Make me a third person who does not understand. There should be no effect on the unit’s performance because some members of it are gay.

iamthemob's avatar

Unfortunately – they think it because it will cause an issue with unit cohesion. People seem to argue against this when it’s something that we should assume is correct. Then you just say:

(1) there isn’t any clear evidence and cannot be the extent to which there will be a problem;

(2) there is no indication that this will not be resolved quickly, and it is unreasonable to assume that it will be a permanent issue;

(3) the arguments would be similar at the time blacks were allowed to enlist and progress in the military, and women, and we continue to have the largest standing volunteer-only military in the world (it may waiver in that position, but the way the world goes I doubt it will ever be vastly outpowered);

(4) we should expect our military service members are people able to exhibit a profound ability to quickly adjust to changing situations, as this is a quality beneficial to members in combat situations;

(5) the hurt feelings or moral objections of the current members of a group that is part of the democratic structure should not be a reason to discriminate against minority groups who seek access to that group, as that is the definition of anti-democratic.

Blackberry's avatar

There are still ignorant, super macho idiots in the military, I have worked with them. I have known one or two people that wouldn’t surprise me if there were an incident involving violence towards gays and them, but it is a small group of people that wouldn’t risk their jobs to make trouble.

Austinlad's avatar

Discrimination against anyone because of race, religion, nationality or sexual preference is bad enough, but when the target is men and women who are risking life, limb and sanity for their country, and who just happen to be gay, is unconscionable. It sickens me.

Ben_Dover's avatar

They worry that when someone shouts out, “Incoming, Get Down!” the gays will stand up and begin dancing, hugging and kissing.

wundayatta's avatar

Isn’t it the same as any other form of homophobia? Gays are powerful and evil. They will convert your children. They will destroy your army. They will be wanting sex with every man in their unit. They will “convert” straight men to their evil ways.

Most of these people probably have a long history with proselytization, and place great faith in its power. They know they can convert people. They believe gays are the devil, and are out to convert the rest of the world.

It’s not a rational response. It’s a gut response and it has to do, I think, with the visceral disgust that some people have about sexual acts like fellatio and anal sex. These things are the image of domination, and they think the gays will dominate their poor, defenseless spouses who will succumb to the temptations of gay sex at the first opportunity.

Homophobia is rampant in this nation still. It will take more time to educate folks and reduce the number of people with these irrational fears. Change will come, though. Change will come.

Ben_Dover's avatar

@wundayatta If that were so, gays would be welcomed into the military. We would st our gays up with their gays and may the best gay party win the war!

thekoukoureport's avatar

This has and will continue to be an argument for old white people, Brass and House and Senate. I served in the Eighties and I can tell you that almost a third of my friends where gay. So this argument is just as silly as most of the other right wing arguments. In fact this dumb ass policy has cost us greatly in the war on terror as alot of the Arabic translators where found out to be gay and where summarily dismissed. Soooo whos gonna translate Arabic for us now?

mowens's avatar

I would really be interested to see someones rational argument against it.

robmandu's avatar

@Blackberry summed it up best: Aggressive bigots will make a problem out of it.

However, while I can understand that point being made as a rationale, I wholeheartedly disagree with it. In my opinion, aggressive bigoted assholes will always find a way to make problems.

If it’s not someone being gay (or black or a woman), then it’ll be for some other completely arbitrary and capricious reason. The solution is simple, no tolerance for no tolerance. Punish the jerks.

To me, it’s like the flip side of the coin about not negotiating with terrorists/kidnappers ==> because if you do, then you’ll incent more miscreants to try the same thing.

Well, don’t let the bigots win. America is a melting pot. And her military should reflect that.

john65pennington's avatar

Theouk, this is an old white person and i do not have that arguement. a persons sexual preference is personal. as long as they meet the mental and physical standards presented for the military. i have worked with several gay police officers. i will say this, these guys were there for me, when i needed them and never backed down in my defense. today, i compare gays with the back days of blacks in the military. black men fought right beside the white man in several wars, defending our country. i could see no color then and i see no color today. once the air is cleared about being gay and everyone knows their place, there should never be a problem. i am straight as an arrow, but some of my best friends are gay. we are friends and there is nothing wrong with that or being in the military. their blood bleeds red just like everyone else’s.

thekoukoureport's avatar

@john65pennington I did not mean to imply that all old white people, just the Generals and the senators and the representatives of this country. Those individuals are mostly old and definitly white.

robmandu's avatar

@thekoukoureport, it’s not a “right-wing argument”, as today’s blockage in the Senate demonstrated that even folks on the left are willing to procrastinate on moving this issue forward.

Bigotry is also not limited to the “old and white”... I don’t care where they work.

thekoukoureport's avatar

yeah it pretty much is. and if you don’t think so it’s probably because?

iamthemob's avatar

(those folks on the left are, for the most part, old and white though too…)

robmandu's avatar

@iamthemob and @thekoukoureport, here’s just one example countering the argument that “old and white” have cornered the market on bigotry. Don’t even make me play the Middle East card.

Let’s quit pointing fingers at entire demographics and instead work on fixing the problem one person, one politician at a time.

thekoukoureport's avatar

Really? Black pastors are not in the Military Heirachy. How many black senators voted against dadt today? subterfuge pure and simple.

iamthemob's avatar

@robmandu

It’s not an issue of exclusivity. You can’t point to anecdotal evidence as support for the assertion that the argument on this topic is overwhelmingly championed by a certain class of people.

Yes, bigotry is not exclusively the domain of any one race, creed, class, color, nation, sex, sexuality, age, region, planet, level of existence. However, the bigotry associated with certain issues can often be associated with certain demographics, and this should be part of the conversation. Not as a mechanism for blame. Rather, it can be useful to show consistency in maintaining support for bigoted concepts, and to determine why they would support it.

thekoukoureport's avatar

Lets keep pointing fingers till this bullshit stops, with all the hatred and the bigotry and prejudice we need to continue to draw attention to these people until they either retire or die. It is clear that the generation that is following us no longer cares about this petty bullshit. When are we going to catch up?

robmandu's avatar

@iamthemob, fair enough. Well said.

Response moderated (Flame-Bait)
augustlan's avatar

I don’t understand this at all. I mean, there have always been homosexuals in the military. And from what I understand, in today’s military, many are ‘out’ to the guys in their unit, just not to the higher-ups. If the actual troops never had a problem when they didn’t know, and they aren’t having problems now that they do know… what’s the actual problem?

chocolatechip's avatar

@augustlan

He’s using logic! Get him!

downtide's avatar

There shouldn’t be a problem, but I think the military is so full of fundamentalist religious homophobes that problems are inevitable.

iamthemob's avatar

@augustlan: Don’t be a fundamentalist genderphobe

lonelydragon's avatar

Because they themselves aren’t comfortable with the idea of serving alongside a gay person. But in life or death situations, people tend to forget their differences and band together.

john65pennington's avatar

Lonelydragon tell it like it is. when the chips are down, a persons sexual choice has no bearing on the situation at hand. good answer.

Nullo's avatar

@downtide You fail to realize that homosexuality is an unsettling concept for many. And if you think that the military is full of religious fundamentalists, you’ve got another thing coming.

The military isn’t a social reform program, it’s the military. Unit cohesion is very important, certainly more important that the Pea Sea, and it’s considerably more efficient to maintain “don’t ask, don’t tell” than it is to program more tolerance into the soldiers.

thekoukoureport's avatar

@Nullo You fail to realize that it is all around you and it is not contagous. When bullets are flying do you actually think a soldier, not an officer in the rear (no pun intended) would give a crap? When I was in the military I was called a homosexual for holding another privates hand (female) because she is a soldier, not a woman….. Of course that was an officer trying to break my balls in AIT, but you get the idea.

Nullo's avatar

@thekoukoureport Actually, I’ve know that for some time. My point still stands.

downtide's avatar

@downtide It is only unsettling to those who either don’t fully understand it, or who think it is in some way immoral or evil. I’d bet that close on 100% of people who think homosexuality is immoral, think so for religious reasons. I have never heard of an argument for the immorality of homosexuality that wasn’t on religious grounds of some sort. Admittedly not always fundamental Christian but there are plenty of people of other religions, even people who are only moderately religious, who think the same way to the degree that they’re unsettled by the presence of a gay person. And of course that’s going to cause issues in the military.

thekoukoureport's avatar

They were unsettled by women, seemed to work out. They were unsettled by Blacks seemed to work out. They were unsettled by Asians, seemed to work out. It’s always the same argument, just a different minority. Time to grow up boys and girls and let bygones be bygones. (to borrow a southern phrase)

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