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More On Feeble Ex Post Facto Justifications For Homophobia


A comment below by R. Stanton Scott seems worth highlighting:

Those who argue that some citizens should be excluded from military service because their presence would hurt “unit cohesion” are saying that current soldiers should be able to decide with whom they serve. This is bravo sierra–the military is not a country club whose members should be able to blackball undesirables.

As a tank platoon sergeant I faced a variety of obstacles to unit cohesion, including affairs and arguments over women, unpaid gambling debts, racism, gang membership, laziness, and simple personality conflicts. The biggest one was the constant squabble between single junior enlisted troops who lived constricted lives in the barracks (daily inspections, etc), and the married soldiers who lived off post and lived much more freely (and also got time off for things like sick family members).

The point is that conflicts will always arise among any group of people large enough to complete a destructive military mission, and leaders–like General Pace–have the mission of solving these problems. This turns out to be easier than one might think, since most soldiers, even when slighted, know when they are being treated fairly and when they are not, and they know good leaders when they see them. Good leaders can create cohesive, effective units from diverse raw materials. Saying that military units cannot integrate homosexuals into cohesive units is the same as saying that our armed services have too few effective leaders.

What strikes me as most interesting is not that General Pace is comfortable classifying a non-trivial number of his own troops as immoral. It is that there is a mission that he can’t or won’t complete because of morality or ethics, but this mission has nothing to do with killing thousands of innocent civilians or breaking the Marine Corps he leads. It regards instead his refusal to validate sexual preferences his religion demonizes.

Who is the immoral one?

Right. It should be obvious that the solution to somebody failing to do their job because of their petty prejudices or immaturity isn’t to violate other people’s writes to accommodate them, but to tell them to grow up and if they can’t find people who can, and supervisors willing to indulge this behavior are similarly guilty. And as I’ve said before, somebody who isn’t willing to do his job because of his obsession with someone else’s sex life isn’t exactly somebody I’d be anxious to share a foxhole with. As Rob says, this “unit cohesion” stuff–which has been used to challenge not only gays but women and segregation in the military–is just a transparent pretext to justify exclusionary policies political and military leaders support for other reasons in any case.

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