Kn@ppster: “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” — A Threat to National Security

Posted by Tom Knapp at Kn@ppster:

Captain Joan E. Darrah (USN, Ret.) served as a naval intelligence officer for nearly 30 years.

Prior to her retirement, Captain Darrah served as chief of staff and deputy commander at the Office of Naval Intelligence.

Captain Darrah is a lesbian.

She describes the effect of “don’t ask, don’t tell” in an op-ed piece published yesterday on CNN Opinion.

Captain Darrah’s article describes the actual impact of the policy on her — and it’s not pretty — but it doesn’t describe one of the potential impacts of that policy on any airman, soldier, sailor or Marine who’s forced by the policy to live a secret life, and that potential impact’s corollary impact on national security.

If you’re forced to keep a secret from your employer, you’re vulnerable to extortion.

And if you’re vulnerable to extortion, your employer is vulnerable to you.

Dose of reality number one: Homosexuals have been serving in the US armed forces since the Revolution. They’re serving in the US armed forces now. And they’ll be serving in the US armed forces as long as the US armed forces exist.

Dose of reality number two: Homosexuality is no longer the taboo or stigma that it once was. That’s not to say that the age of gay-bashing and shunning is completely over, but it’s certainly moving in that direction.

It’s now possible for gay men and lesbian women to live reasonably “normal” lives in modern America. To date openly. To marry in some states (soon to be all of them). To maintain legal arrangements similar to marriage in states that haven’t caught up with reality yet. To adopt.

Unless they’re in the military.

If they’re in the military, then they are vulnerable — not because of their sexual orientation, but because of the military’s policy of requiring that that orientation be kept secret on pain of discharge.

Because they are vulnerable, the military is vulnerable. “Don’t ask, don’t tell” makes every man and woman in the military — of any sexual orientation, because a false allegation can be just as much a career-killer as a real one — a potential vector for infiltration by foreign intelligence services.

“You can bring some documents home in your briefcase for us to photograph, or your commanding officer can receive an anonymous letter that says you are a homosexual.”

“You can dial the phone number I give you when your unit is mobilized, or I can post pictures of you at a gay bar on the Internet.”

If conservatives really cared about “national security,” they’d be raising holy hell for a policy of “we couldn’t possibly care less about your sexual orientation.” That they’re willing to create thousands of potential George Trofimoffs and James Hall IIIs in order to maintain a dying form of bigotry as a military institution makes it clear that “national security” is way down their list of priorities.

11 thoughts on “Kn@ppster: “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” — A Threat to National Security

  1. Eric Dondero

    And what about the inherent discrimination involved with allowing Gays to openly serve in the Military?

    Fair for Gay dudes to be able to shower, shit and shave in the same berthing compartments at Straight guys, but not allow Straight guys the same rights to be able to gawk at females in their berthing compartments?

    Allowing Gays in the Military is inherently Sexist.

  2. Daniel Morrison

    There is nothing “sexist” about it. When you put on that uniform, you give up your rights as a civilian, and you belong to the U.S. Government.

    Fraternization is against the rules, and gay people are very well aware of those rules. All of them. I doubt you’ll have any problems with a homosexual trying to hump some guy’s leg in the shower.

    Bottom line, they have a job to do. The thought of building separate showers/facilities for gays is ridiculous, and reminds me of the segregation days of the 60’s. Unit cohesion is the most important, as any member of the military will tell you. Segregation will only disrupt this.

  3. Erik Geib


    Clearly you’ve never played a sport or lived communally (such as in a dorm). The idea that gay men are a disruption in the shower is absurd. If anything, it’s the homophobes who make the larger ruckus.

  4. paulie Post author

    Supposing there was some problem with military showers, how does people being closeted about their sexuality solve it?

  5. Jill Pyeatt

    Dondero: You’re not only an idiot, as Thomas Knapp pointed out above, but you’re also a bigot. Just so you know.

  6. Maikeru48

    Dondero, odds are that there are going to be at least one or two gay servicemen showering, shitting and shaving in the same berthing compartments as straight servicemen regardless of whether DADT is repealed or not. I’d wager that most straight servicemen have the good sense not to care about that, and would rather shit/shower/shave with a gay man who can pull his weight than a straight shitbird who can’t.

    And I’d also wager that most straight servicemen would have a far easier time fending off any unwanted sexual advances from gay men than would be the case with women vs. straight men, because (1) gay men for obvious reasons would be far less likely to make sexual advances, unwanted or otherwise, and (2) there’s a huge general difference in physical strength between women and men that just doesn’t exist between gay/straight men. The rationale for women bunking separately is obvious–as it is, even with women berthing separately, sexual harassment and assault against women are endemic in the military. Bunking women with men is apples and oranges compared to bunking straight men with gay men.

  7. Bruce Cohen

    The Israeli Military (IDF) doesn’t separate genders in barracks, showers or restrooms.

    They do just fine.

    The Dondero should know the IDF is always right, like Knight Cohen the Jewboy Libertarian.

  8. Alessandra

    “From 1992 to 1994, I served as chief of the Army’s Criminal Law Division at the Pentagon. During that time, President Clinton ignited a firestorm when he tried to force the Department of Defense to admit known homosexuals into the military. Key obstacles were the Uniform Code of Military Justice (UCMJ ) and department regulations stating that “homosexuality is incompatible with military service.” The uniform code prohibits indecent assaults, indecent acts, indecent liberties with children and sodomy. Each of those rules makes good sense in the unique military environment.

    Even as Congress was wrestling with Mr. Clinton’s proposal on homosexuals, officials were dealing with a major homosexual scandal at Fort Hood, Texas. Homosexuals had advertised a Fort Hood restroom as a gathering spot for casual sex. In just seven days, criminal investigators observed 60 men publicly committing serious acts on post. Officers, noncommissioned officers (NCOs) and enlisted personnel participated. Many wore uniforms displaying their insignia of rank.

    The Army dealt with the matter discreetly, and the chief of public affairs referred to it as a “potentially explosive issue.” It was “explosive” because it contradicted the administration’s campaign to portray gay GIs as “perfect gentlemen – a boon to the force.”

    At the Criminal Law Division, facts contradicted that party line. Worldwide criminal reports documented serious offenses being committed frequently by homosexual GIs. To be certain, homosexuals weren’t the only soldiers committing crimes, but the administration’s proposals would have placed homosexuals in situations of forced intimacy, where same-sex attractions invite serious trouble.

    Activists claim the risk of crimes from same-sex offenders is no greater than it is between servicemen and women. They are wrong. Women are not required to sleep and shower under the watchful eyes of men.

    Homosexuals dismiss concerns regarding privacy in showers and in the barracks. But the risk is high. At Fort Sill, Okla., in 1991, two homosexual recruits caught a lone soldier showering at night. They violently sodomized the soldier, forcing him to submit by strangling him with a bath towel. At the time of trial, the victim was hospitalized under psychiatric care.

    Recruit training is especially problematic. Male recruits had to physically subdue one homosexual drill instructor at an Army base to keep him from raping a male recruit as that recruit struggled to escape out a second-story window. At Marine boot camp, an aggressive female recruit was discharged for sexually touching and soliciting fellow Marines. Her intimidating manner caused fear and distrust throughout her platoon. At Marine Corps Base Quantico, Va., a company gunnery sergeant sexually attacked a young officer candidate who had stayed back at the barracks while his platoon was out training.

    Rep. Ike Skelton, Missouri Democrat, chairman of the House Armed Services Committee, spoke firmly against dropping the ban on homosexuals, stating that it would cause “disruption” and “serious problems.” Mr. Skelton is correct.

    Assaults aren’t the only problem. Few things threaten unit cohesion more than consensual sex between homosexuals while others are present. The Fort Hood incident demonstrates how public sex among homosexual officers, NCOs and enlisted men destroys respect for rank. How would men respond to such officers and noncoms in battle?

    If widespread misconduct of that severity could happen with the prohibitions now in effect, how much worse would it become if consensual homosexuality were lawfully sanctioned – and made the subject of sensitivity training?

    Discipline will suffer if gays are permitted to serve. I learned the importance of discipline on the Marine drill fields of Parris Island. S.C., and during fierce fighting with the 1st Marine Regiment. Later, in the disciplinary collapse following the Vietnam War, I spent many years helping rebuild discipline in the Army. Experience shows that highly disciplined units are important in garrison – and vital in battle.

    Mr. Clinton practically brought down his presidency trying to lift the ban. After an exhaustive national debate, the House of Representatives determined that homosexuality is incompatible with military service. Congress then enacted Title 10 U.S. Code Section 654, which states that homosexuals are ineligible for military service. That ban is an essential element of military discipline. It must be retained.”

    Richard H. Black, retired from the U.S. Army, was chief of the Army’s Criminal Law Division.

  9. Alessandra

    to Bruce Cohen:

    I find the obsessed meme that “there are NO problems with homosexuals (or bisexuals) ANYWHERE in the world concerning ANYTHING in the military” too ridiculous. It just shows explicitly what level of fanaticism we’re dealing with in this question.

    A Belkin, M Levitt – Armed Forces and Society, 2001: “According to Professor Charles Moskos, one of the principal architects of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell,” there are no known gay and lesbian soldiers in combat or intelligence units of the IDF. During testimony before the Senate Armed Services Committee in 1993, Moskos stated that known gay soldiers were not assigned to elite combat units, did not work for intelligence units, and did not hold command positions in any branch. In later work, Moskos reaffirmed that “gays are excluded from elite combat units, and most sleep at their own homes rather than in barracks.”

    When and where has all of this changed in Israel? The above information contradicts the rosy picture you painted in the IDF.

    ibid: “No statistics have been collected on the number of incidents of harassment of known homosexual soldiers in the IDF.”

    Easy to say there are no incidents and no problems like this, isn’t it? Let’s apply this data collection approach to other issues in society. Let’s not collect any data on child abuse and then say there are no cases of child abuse. Problem solved.

    What is most sad is that such militaries are under tremendous political pressure to profess they don’t have problems, period, and internally, they go to extreme lengths to put a lid on all types of problems, of which anything that relates to sexuality is only one type. There is pressure on the outside and on the inside to keep all sorts of problems confidential and certainly out of the public sphere, especially if it goes against any PC dogmas about homosexuality

  10. Alessandra

    Dondero: “Fair for Gay dudes to be able to shower, shit and shave in the same berthing compartments at Straight guys, but not allow Straight guys the same rights to be able to gawk at females in their berthing compartments?”

    At least one person who is not lying to themselves!

    There’s been a ton of problems with the integration of women in the military, including all kinds of inappropriate behavior, harassment, rape, and pregnancies. All of this, with all the laws and regulations forbidding everything, and with women and men NOT sleeping or showering together.

    Assuming that human beings keep their sexuality to their “bedroom” is one of the today’s greatest fallacies. They don’t and a troubled work environment is the result.

    Corporations would do much better to investigate such problems, because closeted homosexuals and bisexuals constantly make unwanted advances towards others, with varying degrees of aggressiveness, and they create all kinds of relationship problems for people in the workplace.

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