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Politics And Military Morale...  
User currently offlineJGPH1A From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Posted (7 years 1 month 2 days 19 hours ago) and read 1433 times:

From a thread in MilAv regarding the naming of US Navy aircraft carriers and other ships (in which I have had my ass comprehensively handed to me for daring to suggest that naming ships after politicians might be misinterpreted politically), the subject of military morale and the effect of political leadership on those who serve, has arisen, and I thought I'd bring it over here to NonAv to discuss further...

The discussion ran as follows:

Quoting RedFlyer (Reply 50):
Your argument makes little sense (I don't mean that disrespectfully, by the way) because what you are implying is that by virtue of the Office of the President, anyone who is President should have an equal shot at having a capital ship named after him or her. The fact is, the President is Commander-in-Chief, which is to say he/she is the supreme commander of all armed forces. So, by analogy, think of him/her as a supreme general. Well, throughout history we have had good generals and we have had bad generals. But we do not honor generals that have proven to be bad military leaders or whose conduct has proven detrimental to the well-being or morale of the service. You'll never see the names Benedict Arnold, George B. McClellan, or Lloyd Fredendall honored in any way even though they were all commanding generals. So why should we honor Presidents who have proven to be bad commanding generals (Commanders-in-Chief) for the military?

Your argument is persuasive, however, as has been indicated by other posters, the opinion as to who is a "good" Commander in Chief and who is a "bad" Commander in Chief, is often a subjective one. What are the yardsticks of "goodness" ? Success in war ? Fair enough. Should only "wartime" Presidents have the honour ? What constitutes "wartime" ? A state of war declared by Congress ? I'm not suggesting any of these should actually be the decision criteria, my point (and my criticism) is that the selection criteria could be perceived (and perception matters) as politically motivated (even if they aren't).

Quoting RedFlyer (Reply 58):
"Subjective" means personal. I can assure you that the military's impressions of certain Commanders-in-Chief are hardly subjective. William Clinton had a deleterious affect on the morale of the armed forces. I can assure you that morale was not "subjective" under his presidency. And I can also assure you that morale is one of the most important factors in fighting -- and winning -- wars. You can have the best equipment in the word, but without high morale and confidence -- the willingness to fight and die for the decisions of those who lead you -- all the hi-tech equipment in the world won't make a difference.

So to continue...

At the risk of sounding brutally uncaring, surely it is not for the military to decide whether or not it wants to fight for those who lead it - it's about following orders, not so ? Budget cuts and job losses in any organisation are hard on those who remain, but consider this (and I'm not wishing to start a whole fight about the morality of military service or any such thing) - in an ideal world, nobody would NEED a military. Therefore it is to be expected that as we progress as societies in this world to the point where military force is no longer required to further diplomacy by other means, military forces will shrink and be disbanded. This sounds hopelessly utopian, no doubt, but I hope this is what we are all striving for, at least.

Therefore, is it reasonable for military forces to hold in contempt their political masters for pursuing policies that might reduce the need for militaries to exist at all ? Similarly, and this also in response to points raised in the other thread, is it reasonable for military forces to take objection to political steps taken to bring the military into line with the social model that politicians would like to see in greater society ? I am referring here particularly to the "Don't ask, don't tell" policy in the US Armed Forces. As a reflection of society, and paid for by society, should not military forces reflect what is best and noblest about society, including inclusivity and equality of opportunity for all citizens ? I am sure I will hear arguments about combat suitability and morale, but can these considerations be all that guides how the military is run ? If that were the case, there would be no "rules of engagement" or "military justice", it would just be about winning at any cost - is that what we want ? Morale and combat effectiveness is important, but should a loss of morale resulting from a politically-inspired opposition to intolerance really be justification for maintaining and supporting prejudice ?

This will no doubt call down coals of fire on my head from our more gung-ho contributors, but I think this is a debate worth having.

I will now put on my tin helmet...

44 replies: All unread, showing first 25:
 
User currently offlineCfalk From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 1, posted (7 years 1 month 2 days 19 hours ago) and read 1424 times:

Quoting JGPH1A (Thread starter):
in an ideal world, nobody would NEED a military. Therefore it is to be expected that as we progress as societies in this world to the point where military force is no longer required to further diplomacy by other means, military forces will shrink and be disbanded.

You are describing Utopia. But as you probably know, Utopia litterally means, 'no-place'.

There will always need to be a military, even if only for deterance.


User currently offlineJGPH1A From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 2, posted (7 years 1 month 2 days 18 hours ago) and read 1419 times:

Quoting Cfalk (Reply 1):
There will always need to be a military, even if only for deterance.

Only if someone else has a military.

Yes it is Utopian, but if we are not working towards a world where war is unnecessary, what are we doing ?


User currently offlineUsnseallt82 From United States of America, joined Jan 2004, 4891 posts, RR: 52
Reply 3, posted (7 years 1 month 2 days 18 hours ago) and read 1411 times:

Quoting JGPH1A (Reply 2):
Only if someone else has a military.

In the world we live in, and the world that will continue to be, we will ALWAYS have someone with a force, either be it a traditional military or an unconventional force, out to overpower us.

As already mentioned, what you describe is an unrealistic idea.

Quoting JGPH1A (Reply 2):
Yes it is Utopian, but if we are not working towards a world where war is unnecessary, what are we doing ?

Protecting our ass.

That's as simple and real as it gets.



Crye me a river
User currently offlineJGPH1A From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 4, posted (7 years 1 month 2 days 18 hours ago) and read 1403 times:

Quoting Usnseallt82 (Reply 3):
Protecting our ass.

And the idea that this should go indefinitely, doesn't bother you ? That thousands of years from now, your great-great...great grandkids will be doing exactly the same thing ? I thought the point was to fight for a better world, not just to keep it the same.

But we're not answering the question. Should efforts to reduce the need for war be legitimate grounds for loss of morale amongst serving military personnel ? Should efforts to introduce social change into the military as a reflection of similar changes in broader society be prevented because of their short-term effects on morale ?


User currently offlineLowrider From United States of America, joined Jun 2004, 3220 posts, RR: 10
Reply 5, posted (7 years 1 month 2 days 18 hours ago) and read 1398 times:

Quoting JGPH1A (Thread starter):
Therefore, is it reasonable for military forces to hold in contempt their political masters for pursuing policies that might reduce the need for militaries to exist at all ?

Yes, but acting on that contempt is not usually a reasonable or responsible course of action. You don't have to look far to find examples of soldiers who have wished thier job was not necessary. Omar Bradley and Dwight Eisenhower come to mind. I think John Adams reflects this sentiment when he says," I must study politics and war that my sons may have liberty to study mathematics and philosophy." No one I know in the US military currently, or retired from, actively craves war or combat to justify thier existence or as a means to increase thier power or budget. They much prefer the role of deterent. They understand that the existance of the military is required by the state of our imperfect world. At one point or another, every soldier and even every tax payer thinks about what else we could do with the resources that are currently allocated to defense.

Quoting JGPH1A (Thread starter):
Similarly, and this also in response to points raised in the other thread, is it reasonable for military forces to take objection to political steps taken to bring the military into line with the social model that politicians would like to see in greater society ?

Yes. The military is not a place to conduct social experiements or modeling. It is not a place to impose someones' concept of social justice. Such a thing is secondary to the purpose and mission of the military. It detracts, distracts, and insults those who have no choice but to take part. It need not even reflect the larger society that it protects, because I know many people who have no desire to live in such a structured environment, but such an environment is effective in the furthering military missions. Now if you could demonstrate that a particular social model would increase the effectiveness or efficiency of the military, then you would have a case for implimenting it.

Quoting JGPH1A (Thread starter):
I am referring here particularly to the "Don't ask, don't tell" policy in the US Armed Forces. As a reflection of society, and paid for by society, should not military forces reflect what is best and noblest about society, including inclusivity and equality of opportunity for all citizens ?

At the heart of this policy is the question of, "does the military need to be involved in the sex life of its soldiers?" I think the policy, is an effort to stay as far from the bedroom activities of the troops as possible. There are certain cases where involvement is necessary; sex between subordinates and superiors comes time mind. It is not a perfect solution, but no solution out there will please everyone.

Quoting JGPH1A (Thread starter):
Morale and combat effectiveness is important, but should a loss of morale resulting from a politically-inspired opposition to intolerance really be justification for maintaining and supporting prejudice ?

Do you have actual proof that this is taking place, or is this just rhetorical?



Proud OOTSK member
User currently offlineMDorBust From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 6, posted (7 years 1 month 2 days 18 hours ago) and read 1395 times:

Quoting JGPH1A (Reply 2):
Only if someone else has a military.

There was a television show that used to run in Japan called Mobile Suit Gundam. In one of it's variations, after years of horrible warfare, mankind collectively decided to destroy all their weapons and live forever in peace. The concept lasted only until the one guy who hadn't destroyed his weapons decided to take over the world. Ooops.

Yeah, it's a TV show, but the concept is exactly the same. It only takes one asshole to screw up the game, and there will always be at least one asshole on the planet.


User currently offlineJGPH1A From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 7, posted (7 years 1 month 2 days 18 hours ago) and read 1395 times:

Quoting Lowrider (Reply 5):
Yes. The military is not a place to conduct social experiements or modeling. It is not a place to impose someones' concept of social justice. Such a thing is secondary to the purpose and mission of the military. It detracts, distracts, and insults those who have no choice but to take part.

But if the military is supposed to be supporting and defending the values of society, shouldn't it reflect the best possible values of that society ? It isn't the mission of the military, but how is it insulting to insist that a publicly-funded military reflect the values of the society it is defending ? Should the military have some kind of automatic immunity from the sometimes awkward but inevitable process of social enlightenment ? No doubt many felt that the military discipline of the Royal Navy would suffer when the stopped flogging sailors for breaches of discipline, but society had moved beyond that form of punishment, and the military had to reflect that.

Quoting Lowrider (Reply 5):
No one I know in the US military currently, or retired from, actively craves war or combat to justify thier existence or as a means to increase thier power or budget. They much prefer the role of deterent. They understand that the existance of the military is required by the state of our imperfect world. At one point or another, every soldier and even every tax payer thinks about what else we could do with the resources that are currently allocated to defense.

I hope you're right.

Quoting Lowrider (Reply 5):
Do you have actual proof that this is taking place, or is this just rhetorical?

I can't quote specific examples, but the quote from Redflyer in the threadstarter at least implied that the "social engineering" implemented by President Clinton had caused active resentment among service personnel - this may be just his personal experience, I don't know to what extent it reflects the experience of other military personnel, and I would be interested to hear others' opinions.


User currently offlineUsnseallt82 From United States of America, joined Jan 2004, 4891 posts, RR: 52
Reply 8, posted (7 years 1 month 2 days 18 hours ago) and read 1390 times:

Quoting JGPH1A (Reply 4):
And the idea that this should go indefinitely, doesn't bother you ?

Of course it isn't the most desirable concept in the world, but its REALITY. As long as there are people out there who want power, there will be the need to limit their power and protect ourselves.

Quoting JGPH1A (Reply 4):
I thought the point was to fight for a better world, not just to keep it the same.

2 years in the military and you didn't at least come out with the realization that fighting for a better world includes protecting yourself from those who wish to destroy it?

Come on now....you know you're in a utopian mindset and know that this isn't possible in the world we live in.

Quoting JGPH1A (Reply 4):
Should efforts to reduce the need for war be legitimate grounds for loss of morale amongst serving military personnel ?

Here is where you STILL don't seem to understand.....efforts to reduce the need for war include eliminating those who wish to destroy that set of ideals. Do you honestly believe that if war was thrown out of our vocabulary around the world, all future disagreements would always be solved peacefully without any armed conflict?

If you honestly think that, what do you propose we do to those who don't wish to follow the international community and seek power regardless of the means used to achieve it? Should we just send a memo expressing our sincere disgust? How far do you REALLY think that will go?  irked 

Quoting MDorBust (Reply 6):
It only takes one asshole to screw up the game, and there will always be at least one asshole on the planet.

Exactly.  checkmark 



Crye me a river
User currently offlineLowrider From United States of America, joined Jun 2004, 3220 posts, RR: 10
Reply 9, posted (7 years 1 month 2 days 18 hours ago) and read 1387 times:

Quoting JGPH1A (Reply 7):
But if the military is supposed to be supporting and defending the values of society, shouldn't it reflect the best possible values of that society ?

Only to the extent that it aids the military in accomplishing its mission. Taken to an extreme, it would not work to have a military reflect the values of a pacifistic society. It is generally good to be peaceful, but not if your purpose is to defend others. To look at it from the reverse angle, most of the training in the military revolves around, killing, destroying, deceiving and subduing an opposing force. These skills and values are good to the extent that it aids in accomplishing a mission, but not always desirable in wider society.



Proud OOTSK member
User currently offlineJGPH1A From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 10, posted (7 years 1 month 2 days 18 hours ago) and read 1383 times:

Quoting MDorBust (Reply 6):
Yeah, it's a TV show, but the concept is exactly the same. It only takes one asshole to screw up the game, and there will always be at least one asshole on the planet.

Or to put it another way "the price of liberty is eternal vigilance" - yes, agreed, nobody ever said it was easy, or that it would happen, but universal peace is a laudable goal.

Quoting Usnseallt82 (Reply 8):
2 years in the military and you didn't at least come out with the realization that fighting for a better world includes protecting yourself from those who wish to destroy it?

The "better world" for which I was supposedly fighting involved strictly enforced racial segregation, and the constitutional disenfranchisement of 85% of the population, as well as (incidentally) maintaining an illegal control over an entire other country (Namibia). You can understand my reluctance to put my heart and soul into it, I'm sure. "Destroying", and what is being "destroyed" is, in some cases, a question of point of view. It is the same with power, and who is trying to take it.


User currently offlineUsnseallt82 From United States of America, joined Jan 2004, 4891 posts, RR: 52
Reply 11, posted (7 years 1 month 2 days 17 hours ago) and read 1378 times:

Quoting JGPH1A (Reply 10):
The "better world" for which I was supposedly fighting involved strictly enforced racial segregation, and the constitutional disenfranchisement of 85% of the population, as well as (incidentally) maintaining an illegal control over an entire other country (Namibia).

So when people decide to do this, what do you think is the main motivation that powers them to change?









(I'll give you a hint....it probably has something to do with the fact that someone will blow their ass away.)



Crye me a river
User currently offlineDL021 From United States of America, joined May 2004, 11447 posts, RR: 75
Reply 12, posted (7 years 1 month 2 days 17 hours ago) and read 1371 times:
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NUmber one....I know for a fact that there are a large number of homosexuals serving in the US Armed Forces. I know of two that have earned medals for valor (one an ARCOM with V, the other Bronze Star with V and Purple Heart). I also know that most of them don't let their orientation out while serving. The ones that do seem to be either careless or intent on making a political statement. Only one I have heard about has used it to avoid hazardous duty....and there are plenty of hetero soldiers avoiding that by practicing their own sexuality and getting pregnant. Being homosexual doesn't impact ones ability to be a soldier. What it impacts is unit cohesion and morale, which impacts a unit's ability to accomplish the mission with minimal casualties.

Quoting JGPH1A (Thread starter):
I am referring here particularly to the "Don't ask, don't tell" policy in the US Armed Forces. As a reflection of society, and paid for by society, should not military forces reflect what is best and noblest about society, including inclusivity and equality of opportunity for all citizens ? I am sure I will hear arguments about combat suitability and morale, but can these considerations be all that guides how the military is run ? If that were the case, there would be no "rules of engagement" or "military justice", it would just be about winning at any cost - is that what we want ?

Its difficult to say what is right and wrong as far as social behaviour and interaction goes, since much of what we tolerate is defined by our societal mores, and those are constantly changing.

If you're specifically discussing the current policy regarding sexual orientation and perhaps comparing it to other "social engineering" such as racial integration of the armed services then I believe there is a real difference.

For the same reason men and women are kept apart during basic training, and in the quarters/barracks, open homosexuals are a problem for many in the service. If you can answer for me why men and women are assigned separate showers and latrines, and why they aren't assigned as roommates in the military, then you can answer the question concerning open homosexuals serving in military units. I knew a couple of guys who were homosexual in my unit. One got drunk at a party and tried to give his unconscious buddy oral sex (known as the ether bunny treatment), and he was reported for not only assault but homosexual acts. He was tossed out. The other one never allowed himself to display his behaviour and no one was the wiser, and he served his tour and was released honorably at his ETS date. The unit was seriously distressed by the incident with the guy who acted out. Guys were uncomfortable in the showers (communal showers) and soldiers spent more time looking to see if their roomies were looking. All because unwanted sexual attention is a problem to morale and unit cohesion. Our unit suffered. Because of behavioural based issues. The guy who did not act out served and even though there were some questions about him (since he lived off-post in an apartment with a male roomie and he was...shall we say...delicate?" and there were no problems because we could separate the ideas of 'definite' and 'possible'.

Racial segregation was wrong because a man can't help being black, and the other races/ethnic groups weren't being segregated (Asians and Latinos had already been integrated). There was no question of potential sexual tension or aggression as a rule....although there were certainly incidents. The difference is one of behaviour. Sexual orientation involves behaviour and tension, and that's a distraction to say the least.

I guess we may evolve past the point that men and women can't shower together in the military, but until that happens....or the military decides to let the heteros shower with the homos of the opposite sex then we're probably stuck with non-disclosure being the rule of the day that safeguards morale and welfare of the troops and ensures combat effectiveness. Because that's the main point of having a military.

Quoting JGPH1A (Thread starter):
Morale and combat effectiveness is important, but should a loss of morale resulting from a politically-inspired opposition to intolerance really be justification for maintaining and supporting prejudice ?

It's not just political opposition. It's societal mores based on naturally defensible and instinctively ingrained issues. Sexuality is rooted in the need to procreate, and we've turned it into sport (one which I enjoy and intend on practicing as long as my equipment functions) so the point is do we punish the military by forcing a situation that weakens unit cohesion? Remember....the reasoning is more logical than racial issues ever were. Black men were seen to perform as well as white men in the military, at which point the barriers of unreason succumbed to logic and fairness. It was the right thing to do and it increased combat effectiveness, while increasing the available number of men to serve. It was logical all around.

Quoting JGPH1A (Reply 2):
Quoting Cfalk (Reply 1):
There will always need to be a military, even if only for deterance.

Only if someone else has a military.

Yeah.....and that's going to be for a long while.

Quoting JGPH1A (Reply 4):
And the idea that this should go indefinitely, doesn't bother you ?

It won't. At some point in the next couple hundred years we'll be at the point of planetary government, and the military will become a gendarmerie that spends most of it's time in Afghanistan and Palestine putting down insurrections and factional violence. Until the Proxima Centaurians arrive en masse with their colonization fleet and we're forced to organize Space Marines and an Interstellar Fleet to take the fight to the evil buggers. I desperately pray that the Alpha Centaurians arrive in time to give us the technology necessary to preserve our way of life, then, because restarting a military will be a bitch.

Quoting JGPH1A (Reply 4):
That thousands of years from now, your great-great...great grandkids will be doing exactly the same thing ?

See above. In thousands of years we'll be fighting with our outlying colonial worlds that have gradually moved away from earth politically, angry about taxation without representation and demanding to know why they should have to wait three years for communications from Earth before they can ratify laws. Plus they'll be pissed about sending their resources back to Earth which will by then be occupied by mostly the folks who couldn't leave and are involved in the next ice age.

Quoting JGPH1A (Reply 4):
But we're not answering the question. Should efforts to reduce the need for war be legitimate grounds for loss of morale amongst serving military personnel ?

How did we get to this question? Why would a reduction of the need for war be a morale loser for the military. Most of my buddies would be pretty happy to have no need for war. They'd need new jobs, and the pilots would be pissed since they couldn't fly the cool toys anymore, but we'd all be happier overall. And we could devote our resources towards getting our asses off of this planet to avoid mass famine from the population overpowering the Earths ability to produce food and water enough to sustain us.

Quoting JGPH1A (Reply 4):
Should efforts to introduce social change into the military as a reflection of similar changes in broader society be prevented because of their short-term effects on morale ?

No....but the effects of introducing individuals who's known sexual desires will present problems in unit cohesion is not a short term deal. You can't overcome the concern that Tom will fall in love with Bill and either cause a problem with Bills girlfriend/boyfriend and that start distractions and conflict.

Quoting JGPH1A (Reply 7):
implied that the "social engineering" implemented by President Clinton had caused active resentment among service personnel - this may be just his personal experience, I don't know to what extent it reflects the experience of other military personnel, and I would be interested to hear others' opinions.

His social engineering also involved making it difficult for the military trainers to use previous training methods because they were deemed too harsh. He and his administration sought to pussify the military, and make things there "fair" in ways that had nothing to do with equal opportunity. They did this while demanding more and supplying less to the military, and having it openly known that he despised the military (pull his letter to the guy who got him out of the draft), along with many in his administration who sought military funds for social welfare programs seen as a waste of money to buy votes.



Is my Pan Am ticket to the moon still good?
User currently offlineJGPH1A From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 13, posted (7 years 1 month 2 days 17 hours ago) and read 1371 times:

Quoting Usnseallt82 (Reply 11):
So when people decide to do this, what do you think is the main motivation that powers them to change?

I'll give you a better hint. It wasn't any kind of military threat or intervention that changed South Africa. The so-called "armed struggle" was going nowhere, the SA military and police were well equipped and could have held out indefinitely (the arms embargo had almost no effect on military preparedness). The economic sanctions had an effect (it took a while), but it was changing social attitudes and shear practical politics, combined with the need to end domestic unrest and the associated economic disruption. In this case, it was not a military problem nor was it a military solution.

Namibia is another story, but it wasn't the armed struggle that brought about Namibian independence either, it was the cost of the military engagement in financial terms more than anything, and the realisation that the situation could not go on forever. Militarily, SA could have held on to Namibia forever, there was never a question of any credible threat from the international community to intervene. Kind of like Zimbabwe and Darfur now.

A military threat isn't always the best solution to a political problem.


User currently offlineTheCol From Canada, joined Jan 2007, 2039 posts, RR: 6
Reply 14, posted (7 years 1 month 2 days 16 hours ago) and read 1357 times:

Quoting JGPH1A (Reply 2):

Yes it is Utopian, but if we are not working towards a world where war is unnecessary, what are we doing ?

Maybe you should consider Tolkien's philosophy. As long as there is political power to be had, corruption is inevitable.

Quoting JGPH1A (Reply 13):

A military threat isn't always the best solution to a political problem.

Yes, but that doesn't mean a nation should put their armed forces on the back burner.



No matter how random things may appear, there's always a plan.
User currently offlineJGPH1A From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 15, posted (7 years 1 month 2 days 15 hours ago) and read 1340 times:

Ian, thanks for your intelligent and reasoned response, you raise exactly the points I was hoping to discuss

Quoting DL021 (Reply 12):
What it impacts is unit cohesion and morale, which impacts a unit's ability to accomplish the mission with minimal casualties.



Quoting DL021 (Reply 12):
For the same reason men and women are kept apart during basic training, and in the quarters/barracks, open homosexuals are a problem for many in the service.

And yet women are being integrated, and (apparently) integrated well into military units, even combat units these days, and the behavioural problems you attribute to homosexual personnel must surely apply equally to heterosexual personnel of opposite genders. They too operate in close confinement for long periods, what's to stop them "acting out" ? Nothing except their professionalism and their understanding that such behaviour puts themselves and their unit at risk. I'm sure there will always be lapses in this regard, but why should it be worse, or less tolerable, when it is not heterosexual ?

Quoting DL021 (Reply 12):
It's not just political opposition. It's societal mores based on naturally defensible and instinctively ingrained issues.

Societal mores are not necessarily always defensible - and they do change, we hope for the better. Is it defensible therefore for an organization as respected as the military, to whom people look to find standards of decency and honour, to pander to what amounts to an outdated and nowadays irrelevant prejudice ? Just as it is not right to assume that women integrating with a previously majority male military would create an unavoidable and deleterious distraction and reduce combat efficiency, why should it be right to assume that homosexuals will be any worse ? You say yourself there are many already serving, who presumably manage to restrain themselves in the showers, contrary to stereotype.

Quoting DL021 (Reply 12):
I guess we may evolve past the point that men and women can't shower together in the military, but until that happens....or the military decides to let the heteros shower with the homos of the opposite sex then we're probably stuck with non-disclosure being the rule of the day that safeguards morale and welfare of the troops and ensures combat effectiveness.

I guess the same applies to men and women sharing facilities too - is it physically impossible for a healthy heterosexual male to share a shower with a healthy heterosexual female without them jumping on each other ? I'm pretty sure it is - this isn't the giggly, innuendo-laden 70's any more, haven't we moved to a point where respect and professionalism can overcome such adolescent prurience ? Time to give everyone a little credit, and take the risk that gender equality really can be just that.


User currently offlineDL021 From United States of America, joined May 2004, 11447 posts, RR: 75
Reply 16, posted (7 years 1 month 2 days 15 hours ago) and read 1325 times:
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Quoting JGPH1A (Reply 13):
A military threat isn't always the best solution to a political problem.

No, it isn't. However, it's often part of the solution and provides the environment whereby a political solution can be found by denying a group the opportunity to dominate militarily, thus forcing them to negotiate and engage in peaceful diplomacy......(with war being violent diplomacy).

Quoting JGPH1A (Reply 15):
And yet women are being integrated, and (apparently) integrated well into military units,

Well is a debatable term to use here. Combat units require more supervision when they are integrated sexually, since it's natural for relationships to develop, and they do! It's a serious problem for the US military, albeit not often discussed for political reasons.

Quoting JGPH1A (Reply 15):
even combat units these days,

Mostly MP units, which are combat support, and service and support units who have been pressed into combat situations due to exigencies of the service. These units are still segregated in their cantonment areas, and have separate facilities and requirements physically.

Quoting JGPH1A (Reply 15):
behavioural problems you attribute to homosexual personnel must surely apply equally to heterosexual personnel of opposite genders.

Except that in the case of most heterosexual men the reaction to an expressed or perceived overture from a homosexual often goes beyond unwanted and into absolutely untolerated. Since many view sexual roles in the sense of natural selection they see homosexuality as an abberation of normalcy. Further they have their sexual identity secure until threatened by unwanted outside interest, which causes resentment and polarization in a group of people that are supposed to be on the same team. It goes beyond racial issues, as I expressed above, and into issues that are difficult to discuss without delving into philosophy.

If you look at logic, then you say man+woman sex equals child. man+man sex equals ... well...nothing naturally occurs from that other than possibly orgasm if you swing that way (now...to be open about it....for many of the man+woman sex orientation the idea of woman+woman sex is perfectly ok as long as they are hot). And you can't prove otherwise. You can have theories, and show statistics saying "well, it's there!" but you can't logically argue it out with the people who believe it's not normal.

I'm not insinuating that I believe its abbie-normal, but I don't swing that way. And I'd have a problem with a guy in my squad announcing that he's gay as it would upset the balance of the male-bonding relationships absolutely required in a combat unit.

Quoting JGPH1A (Reply 15):
Societal mores are not necessarily always defensible - and they do change, we hope for the better.

Yeah....but some are less easily disposed of by force than others. Sometimes force is not the way to effect the changes you desire. Have I heard that somewhere else today?

Quoting JGPH1A (Reply 15):
They too operate in close confinement for long periods, what's to stop them "acting out" ? Nothing except their professionalism and their understanding that such behaviour puts themselves and their unit at risk

Seriously....a group of 19 year old enlisted men and women are never....ever....EVER...going to be asexual in their relationships when put in close quarters . The hormones are running, and the smells will light fires, and the length of time and distance from home will lower barriers and reduce reasoning that prevents lapses of professionalism. THe human animal is designed to procreate, and as civilized as we want to be, we're still animals intent on propagating the species. Especially when we're young and healthy, which by definition most enlisted and junior officers are.

Quoting JGPH1A (Reply 15):
why should it be worse, or less tolerable, when it is not heterosexual ?

It's different, and I hate it for you that it is, but there you are. The sexual behaviour variable here is what's different. You're threatening the primal instincts (ok...sociologists....go ahead and tell me instinct doesn't exist in humans) of men and women who are looking at it much differently than you. And you can't say that it's a superficial thing. Would you want to serve with cannibals? Would most people? It's a behaviour issue...not an orientation issue. Orientation is not asked anymore....what is demanded in this organization is behaviour.

Quoting JGPH1A (Reply 15):
You say yourself there are many already serving, who presumably manage to restrain themselves in the showers, contrary to stereotype.

Sure....and that's not an issue, unless their orientation is become known. Then you have the same problems with letting women in the showers.....something is going to happen whether it's sex or suspicion.

Quoting JGPH1A (Reply 15):
Just as it is not right to assume that women integrating with a previously majority male military would create an unavoidable and deleterious distraction and reduce combat efficiency,

Women in combat is inefficient. Men tend to be more protective of women, especially the ones to whom they are attracted. Fact of life. The military is forced to go to extremes to try and suppress this....but I've gotta tell you that women in Iraq are under extreme pressure all the time sexually speaking. And sex is happening ALOT.

Quoting JGPH1A (Reply 15):
why should it be right to assume that homosexuals will be any worse ?

It's not right to assume anything but the worst case because when looking at the situation you have to account for the lowest common denominator of behaviour and expectation. Why is it right for you to assume that homosexuals will behave themselves? In a combat infantry, engineer, signals, artillery or cavalry unit you won't find females. Because these troops are always together in the field, and you have to assume that the women are going to be weaker in general physically, you have to assume that the women are going to need extra medical maintenance once a month, and you have to assume that 90% of the guys there will be trying to get in their pants, or defending their honor. Often both.

Support units get away with having females more because they're generally housed in segregated facilities and their missions allow them more leeway in how females can be given the additional attention they'll require from the command and supply structure.

Quoting JGPH1A (Reply 15):
is it physically impossible for a healthy heterosexual male to share a shower with a healthy heterosexual female without them jumping on each other

Yes. I know it's tough to believe, but if I've been in the woods or desert for a couple of weeks, been scared shitless and shot at, and am coming back to unwind....I'm going to try and copulate with the first female I see...and to put me in the shower with a nude female is too much to ask. THere's not enough saltpeter in the world to stop the copulating. It'd be like a warren of rabbits being fed viagra and coffee.

Quoting JGPH1A (Reply 15):
I'm pretty sure it is - this isn't the giggly, innuendo-laden 70's any more, haven't we moved to a point where respect and professionalism can overcome such adolescent prurience ?

No....sex is not about adolescent prurience at its root. It's about procreating, and it's instinctive. I imagine that it's fun because we're supposed to be doing it often to ensure that our species propagates. Only in the last 100 years has it become fashionable to use contraception so we can have sex without producing children. Only in the last 50 or 60 years have we in the west become worried about overpopulation.....christ...the Chinese didn't start worrying until the great famine of the 60s. You don't need alcohol and disco lights to want to screw......I had a very short relationship with a female intelligence sgt one weekend when we were both in DC to send a Frog parachute regiment home. It was fairly common, and it wasn't about the sexual revolution. It was about two young people in close quarters away from home and finding enough common ground to express our desires physically and keep company. We didn't continue it for long upon returning to Bragg.....but it happened and happens all the time in all sorts of situations.

Hell, that was when I was in a combat unit and we merely interacted with the intel unit a couple of times. In PLDC (an nco school) they were screwing in the woods on bivouac (laager to you SADF types) during training maneuvers. I waited until we got back and got a motel room over the weekend with a female nco who had previously had a relationship with the CWO over her platoon.

Quoting JGPH1A (Reply 15):
Time to give everyone a little credit, and take the risk that gender equality really can be just that.

Sorry, but I think you assign too many others the same set of mores you've aspired to for yourself. It's too great a risk in the military. Try it in college, first. Try it somewhere else so society changes allowing the military to mitigate that risk.



Is my Pan Am ticket to the moon still good?
User currently offlineN1120A From United States of America, joined Dec 2003, 26493 posts, RR: 75
Reply 17, posted (7 years 1 month 1 day 5 hours ago) and read 1263 times:

Quoting DL021 (Reply 12):
Being homosexual doesn't impact ones ability to be a soldier. What it impacts is unit cohesion and morale, which impacts a unit's ability to accomplish the mission with minimal casualties.

If that is the case, then we need to look deeper into the quality of person we allow in the armed forces.

Quoting DL021 (Reply 12):

Racial segregation was wrong because a man can't help being black, and the other races/ethnic groups weren't being segregated (Asians and Latinos had already been integrated). There was no question of potential sexual tension or aggression as a rule....although there were certainly incidents. The difference is one of behaviour. Sexual orientation involves behaviour and tension, and that's a distraction to say the least.

A person can't help being gay either, so I don't see the point.



Mangeons les French fries, mais surtout pratiquons avec fierte le French kiss
User currently offlineHalls120 From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 18, posted (7 years 1 month 1 day 3 hours ago) and read 1254 times:

Quoting JGPH1A (Reply 2):
Yes it is Utopian, but if we are not working towards a world where war is unnecessary, what are we doing ?

Surviving. Only a naive fool believes that we can reach a utopian future overnight. Since it is going to take some time before we get to Utopia, we will need the ability to protect ourselves.

Quoting JGPH1A (Reply 4):
Should efforts to reduce the need for war be legitimate grounds for loss of morale amongst serving military personnel ?

Why aren't you asking the question this way - Should efforts to reduce the need for crime be legitimate grounds for loss of morale amongst serving law enforcement personnel ?

Your original question makes me wonder if you really did serve in the armed forces of any country.

Quoting JGPH1A (Reply 4):
Should efforts to introduce social change into the military as a reflection of similar changes in broader society be prevented because of their short-term effects on morale ?

Generally, I'd say no.

Quoting JGPH1A (Reply 7):
But if the military is supposed to be supporting and defending the values of society, shouldn't it reflect the best possible values of that society ?

Actually, it already does. In the U.S. at least.

Quoting JGPH1A (Reply 7):
I can't quote specific examples, but the quote from Redflyer in the threadstarter at least implied that the "social engineering" implemented by President Clinton had caused active resentment among service personnel

The reason the military disliked Clinton so vehemently was not just don't ask don't tell. It was lack of principled leadership (parsing the intercourse issue) and his general disdain for the military's value system that permeated his tenure as Commander in Chief. Hell, if he had just followed Truman's lead and banned discrimination against homosexuals outright, maybe a large percentage of the active duty population would have been pissed off, but they would have followed his orders. He would actually have eventually been respected for having the courage to make a difficult decision.


User currently offlineJGPH1A From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 19, posted (7 years 1 month 1 day 2 hours ago) and read 1248 times:

Quoting Halls120 (Reply 18):
Your original question makes me wonder if you really did serve in the armed forces of any country.

What possible reason on earth could I have to lie about it ? I hated every second of it, more or less, but I did it. The military mindset of blind unquestioning obedience failed to take hold, as I resent being told what to do and how to do it by people of diminished intellectual capacity - I like to have a better reason than "because I said so". It was no picnic, but I wasn't required to shoot at anybody, and I learned how to send ICAO messages, and I got to fly on Hercules and C160's, so it wasn't a complete waste of time.

Quoting Halls120 (Reply 18):
The reason the military disliked Clinton so vehemently was not just don't ask don't tell. It was lack of principled leadership (parsing the intercourse issue) and his general disdain for the military's value system that permeated his tenure as Commander in Chief. Hell, if he had just followed Truman's lead and banned discrimination against homosexuals outright, maybe a large percentage of the active duty population would have been pissed off, but they would have followed his orders. He would actually have eventually been respected for having the courage to make a difficult decision.

See now that is interesting, is this an opinion you came across in your own experience ? It certainly paints a different picture of the situation.


User currently offlineHalls120 From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 20, posted (7 years 1 month 1 day 1 hour ago) and read 1229 times:

Quoting JGPH1A (Reply 19):
Quoting Halls120 (Reply 18):
Your original question makes me wonder if you really did serve in the armed forces of any country.

What possible reason on earth could I have to lie about it

I have no idea what your motivation is. But to ask some of the questions you've asked makes me wonder if you've really ever served, the questions are so naive.

Quoting JGPH1A (Reply 19):
Quoting Halls120 (Reply 18):
The reason the military disliked Clinton so vehemently was not just don't ask don't tell. It was lack of principled leadership (parsing the intercourse issue) and his general disdain for the military's value system that permeated his tenure as Commander in Chief. Hell, if he had just followed Truman's lead and banned discrimination against homosexuals outright, maybe a large percentage of the active duty population would have been pissed off, but they would have followed his orders. He would actually have eventually been respected for having the courage to make a difficult decision.

See now that is interesting, is this an opinion you came across in your own experience ? It certainly paints a different picture of the situation.

Yes. Almost 22 years on active duty.


User currently offlineUsnseallt82 From United States of America, joined Jan 2004, 4891 posts, RR: 52
Reply 21, posted (7 years 1 month 1 day 1 hour ago) and read 1221 times:

Quoting JGPH1A (Reply 13):
A military threat isn't always the best solution to a political problem.

No, but sometimes its the only solution. Who do you think would have taken up arms if your government had not changed?




(the people)

Quoting N1120A (Reply 17):
If that is the case, then we need to look deeper into the quality of person we allow in the armed forces.

Says the one who has never lifted a finger to defend anything.  irked 

Quoting N1120A (Reply 17):
A person can't help being gay either, so I don't see the point.

They can help being in the military.

When lives on are the line and you have to protect the men you serve with, the military doesn't have time to make sure every person's sexual orientation is catered to. We live in a society that is becoming very centered around people's feelings and whether or not they're offended. This doesn't work in a war zone.



Crye me a river
User currently offlineHalls120 From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 22, posted (7 years 1 month 1 day 1 hour ago) and read 1216 times:

Quoting Usnseallt82 (Reply 21):
Quoting N1120A (Reply 17):
If that is the case, then we need to look deeper into the quality of person we allow in the armed forces.

Says the one who has never lifted a finger to defend anything.

Why is it always those that have never served who are those that crow the loudest about the failings of the military?


User currently offlineLTBEWR From United States of America, joined Jan 2004, 13113 posts, RR: 12
Reply 23, posted (7 years 1 month 1 day ago) and read 1208 times:

On this issue, to me the real problems are when the military has to carry out orders, such as in Iraq, without sufficient and accurate intelligence, without enough troops, without enough needed equipment like armoured vehicles, against an undefined enemy, locals that hate your occupation, with politicalized leadership (like under Rumsfeld), allowing the CIA to interfere (like at Abu Garath prison), few successes and without an 'exit plan'. Add to that: the financial crises many families suffer from their breadwinner being stationed for several and extended tours in harms way in Iraq or losing their jobs while deployed, the gutting of the National Guard in the USA putting us at risk at home if there is a major terror or natural disaster, the lack of and terrible conditions of facilites for seriously injured soldiers and what seems to be a complicated and apparently never-ending situation in Afghanistan (especially as to Pakistan). Of course, you have politicians more worried more about military contracts going to their districts then the need for the product, and if a deal is made, components have to be made all over the USA to keep the politicians happy even if it is terribly inefficient and raises the costs or back a war in Iraq to placate their major, military company campaign contributors and keep their district's citizens employed.
All that just has to sap the morale of many in the military from the buck private to the 4 star generals.


User currently offlineJGPH1A From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 24, posted (7 years 1 month 23 hours ago) and read 1202 times:

Quoting Halls120 (Reply 20):
But to ask some of the questions you've asked makes me wonder if you've really ever served, the questions are so naive.

How do you mean, naive ? I haven't served in the US military, which is what these questions are about primarily - the SADF was big etc but was not the complex global multi-trillion dollar enterprise that the US military is.

Quoting Usnseallt82 (Reply 21):
No, but sometimes its the only solution. Who do you think would have taken up arms if your government had not changed?

(the people)

They already had, this was what the armed struggle was all about, but it was getting them nowhere, they didn't have the wherewithall or the support to effect change by military or offensive means. The armed struggle had been going on for 30 years at least. They had support from all the neighbouring states, and arms from Russia, China etc, but they were making no real headway, because the SA Defense Force was simply too strong, too well armed and too well informed. There were bombs and incidents, but no major military target was ever hit successfully. There was extensive cooperation with the Rhodesian Defence Force in their guerilla war, and so there was a great deal of experience in successful counter-insurgency. SA had a fully-fledged armaments industry that was able to produce tanks, world-beating artillery (G4, G5), attack helicopters and (with a little help from Israel) fighter aircraft. SA even had nuclear weapons (a couple, anyway), but voluntarily relinquished them in the late 90's when minority rule ended.


25 Post contains images DL021 : If he didn't then he knows all the right things to say about his service. I believe he was a signals guy in the service....I think that service was c
26 JGPH1A : You never met them - trust me on this ! OK not all of them, but the smart ones never issued unreasonable orders, they gave you a reasonable, worthwhi
27 Post contains images DL021 : Ah....so we reach the root of your dishevelment with the military!!!! There is something to the theory that everything you do affects everything else
28 Post contains images JGPH1A : Oh please, you don't seriously believe that ? It's just an excuse to give you shit, like every other stupid military requirement. I don't need to run
29 Post contains images DL021 : To a degree, I absolutely do. After that degree it becomes chickenshit....the line between chickenshit and purposeful is often blurred and arguable.
30 Post contains images JGPH1A : If someone takes 5 minutes to EXPLAIN the necessity for the weather station in the Gobi desert, it makes sense and everyone's happy. And knowing abou
31 Post contains images Halls120 : the answers to your questions have nothing to do with the size of a military organization. There are many people who will be glad to tell you that I
32 DL021 : Oh...and please don't mistake my feelings about his rights....I am offended by what he said, and will emphatically express those feelings in person a
33 JGPH1A : No but possibly to do with the society that that military serves. Well that is quite possible, although possibly the abuse and crap was some kind of
34 Usnseallt82 : And usually without any substantial crumb of anything to back ANY of it up. Another lawyer....need I say more. 2 years probably wasn't enough time fo
35 Post contains images JGPH1A : Maybe if applied correctly - as I said, I don't think this was an effort to instil attention to detail, it was a mind-fuck attempt to turn us into ob
36 Post contains images ANCFlyer : Damn skippy. JGPH1A, what Ian said above about the organization and the attention to detail is spot on. Now I fully concur with his other point as we
37 PPVRA : I think the purpose of the military is to be used if and only if needed, not pursued. A leader who avoids a war is as good as one who wins a war. Tha
38 DL021 : A-freaking-men.... I despise the "leader" who singles out people for special attention due to his personal likes and dislikes. A soldier in need of c
39 Post contains images ANCFlyer : Better be glad I wasn't his 1SG or CSM . . . Better believe it. One standard my first Battalion Commander had . . . . DL021 will remember the CTT Tas
40 Post contains images JGPH1A : I won't argue with your experience, but my experience, limited as it was, classified it more as "collective punishment" than "team-building". Again,
41 Post contains images Usnseallt82 : You're right, I didn't catch that. It does make a difference, but instead of hating all things military, you could try to see the beauty of the machi
42 JGPH1A : I don't hate all things military, at all. I have certain philosphical problems with some aspects of the military mindset, but that doesn't mean I don
43 Halls120 : That it is. If he could just shed that incessant need to be an expert at everything, he'd be a great guy. Whatever success I enjoyed as an officer I
44 DL021 : Because when there's more than one of us around it becomes necessary to prove who is smarter.....
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