As Joe Biden might say, a lax military is inevitable.
The proponents of a lax military professed shock this week at an illustration of it, after news reports emerged that the inaptly named naval captain Owen Honors had participated in “raunchy and ribald” videos aboard ship. The odd admixture of relativism and rigidity that now defines political correctness in the military guaranteed his firing, though it took public exposure several years after the event to trigger the termination.
Obviously, Honors has dishonored himself. But it is not at all clear why advocates of open sexuality in the military should be so appalled by his behavior. Do they really find “raunchy” behavior shocking? If so, why do they endorse gay pride parades that exhibit the same juvenile and licentious behavior? According to the media, the videos of Honors contain “homoerotic” skits that satirize the Navy’s “water conservation” efforts. The only part of that which should bother the proponents of an openly gay military is the poking fun at water conservation.
The actress Glenn Close, who prefers to appear in risqué movies on her own terms, let it be known through her publicist that she was terribly offended by the videos, which made use of footage of her visiting the USS Enterprise. Spokesmen for military groups representing gay soldiers also expressed dismay at the conduct of Honors. These groups appeared very eager to prove their disciplinary bona fides and apparently saw in this episode, which involved “anti-gay slurs,” a propagandistic chance to appear pro-gay and pro-discipline at the same time.
None of this moral outrage, however, is very convincing, for the philosophy underlying political correctness in the military is on the side of permissiveness and aberrant sexual expression. The whole point of the gay rights movement is to say that “no one chooses” their sexuality and thus it is an inherently undisciplined area of life. Since the now-officially approved moral philosophy of Obama’s military says that disciplining one’s sexual desires means “living a lie,” we should expect many more “expressive” episodes in the military’s future.
The left has always regarded the military as an undemocratic and hidebound repository of passé standards of discipline. It wants the military to be as dysfunctional as domestic society. So why should it care about immoral hijinks in the military? Where is the Washington Post’s Richard Cohen, that reliable if rusted weather vane of the coastal elite, when Honors needs him? Cohen was arguing just a few weeks ago that the head of the Marines needed to “go” for failing to appreciate America’s embrace of the sexual revolution. General Amos, wrote Cohen, is too out of step with contemporary mores to empathize with members of a new military culture in which sexual mischief and “plain hooking up” are bound to occur.
It appears that political correctness in Obama’s military, like political correctness on Ivy League campuses, will assume a paradoxical character and be at once permissive and puritanical, endorsing liberation from traditional morality while arbitrarily regulating the terms of that release. In Obama’s Animal Farm, some sins are more equal than others, and homosexuality is chief among them.
No sooner had the policy of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” fallen than Joe Biden was blurting out happily that “gay marriage” is “inevitable,” which removes any doubt about Obama’s actual position on the subject. Biden’s comment exposes Obama’s stated opposition to gay marriage as nominal and meaningless — a temporary opposition on cravenly political, not philosophical, grounds. He favors gay marriage, but the coast isn’t quite clear enough yet for him to endorse it formally.
And it didn’t take long after the repeal of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” for the Washington Post to let a member of the Navy publish an Op-Ed arguing for the Pentagon to surmount another hurdle of progress and embrace gay marriage on military bases: “It is, for example, one thing to hand a gay junior sailor a paintbrush and point him toward a rusty bulkhead. But can that gay sailor, if he has a partner, collect the same housing allowance his married counterparts do? Can a lesbian sailor request to be stationed where her partner is? Will the military recognize a marriage between two service members that is legal in one state but not in another?”
As these demands grow more insistent, as it goes from informal “homoerotic” skits to open gay pride parades, the Navy will find itself grappling with bigger problems than the scandal of Owen Honors.