Saturday, February 14, 2009

A Modest Proposal *

Government-sponsored homophobia in this country has now officially jumped the shark.

SHE WASN'T ASKED AND DIDN'T TELL.... Amy Brian, as a Kansas Army National Guard lieutenant, served honorably in Iraq. She was part of a convoy that was hit by an IED; she worked 12-hour shifts at Camp Anaconda; and her superiors asked her to narrate award ceremonies.

By all appearances, Amy Brian is the type of proud, patriotic American we would all want to wear the uniform. Upon returning home after a tour of duty, Brian was given a job reorganizing the Kansas Army National Guard's government purchase card program. Except now she's been discharged -- because someone found out Brian is gay.


She joins nearly 12,500 other lesbian, gay and bisexual service members who have been discharged by the Pentagon from 1994 through 2007.

And in the New York Times, a Marine who served two tours in Iraq explains why he has changed his mind about DADT and now opposes it.

In addition, six years of war have clarified priorities. The battlefield has its own values, starting with courage. Sexual orientation falls somewhere below musical taste. What a person chooses to do back stateside, off-duty, in his own apartment is irrelevant in a fight. For months I lived with 12 other American advisers on an Iraqi outpost. There was a single pipe shower next to a hole that masqueraded as a sewer. But the reality of combat dominated personality quirks — nobody wondered about sexual orientation.

A 2006 poll of Iraq and Afghanistan war veterans showed that 72 percent were personally comfortable interacting with gays. Bonnie Moradi, a University of Florida psychologist, and Laura Miller, a sociologist at the Rand Corporation, summarized the study this way: "The data indicated no associations between knowing a lesbian or gay unit member and ratings of perceived unit cohesion or readiness. Instead, findings pointed to the importance of leadership and instrumental quality in shaping perceptions of unit cohesion and readiness."

The other readiness argument concerns recruiting. To fill its swelling ranks, the military now grants one in five recruits waivers for disqualifications that run the gamut from attention-deficit disorder to obesity to armed robbery convictions. In a press conference last fall, Maj. Gen. Thomas Bostick, the head of Army recruiting, said the relevant question in considering such applicants was, "Does that person deserve an opportunity to serve their country?" That's exactly right. And to choose a felon over a combat-proven veteran on the basis of sexuality is defeatist. Ask any squad leader.

In the end, however, there is one factor that outweighs public opinion, troop morale and recruiting combined. The military is a dictatorship, not a republic. It is built to win in combat. Its strict codes of conduct ensure good order and discipline.

If "don't ask, don't tell" is rescinded, military leaders will ensure smooth compliance, as the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Adm. Mike Mullen, has said. Cohesion depends on leadership. Our troops will follow the lead of our combat-tested professionals who base their opinions on what a soldier brings to the fight, and little else.

So here's my proposal: reinstate the draft, expanding it to include both men and women, age 18 to 50, but restricting military service to homosexuals. Only homosexuals. No more heterosexuals in the Army, Navy, Marines, Air Force, Coast Guard, National Guard or Reserves. Bonus: no more inconvenient pregnancies in the all-gay Armed Forces!

Why stop at the military? Let's ban heterosexuals from the government benefits of marriage, too. Seriously, they've had it to themselves for 5,000 years and have completely fucked it up. Gay-only marriage can't possibly make it any worse, and might even improve it.

Gay-Only Adoption. No more subjecting orphans to the twisted values of so-called straights.

And I can't imagine someone barred from serving in the military, from state-sanctioned marriage, from adopting, passing an FBI background check for a federal job.

Think of the political campaigns! Spying on candidates, trying to get pictures of them embracing someone of the opposite sex, the interviews with tearful gay spouses, the denials of heterosexual perversions.

Certainly no more ridiculous than the self-defeating anti-gay idiocy we've got now.

* With apologies to Jonathan Swift.

Cross-posted at They Gave Us A Republic.