The Spectacle Blog

Exempt the Marines

By on 11.10.10 | 5:01PM

Of all the military services, the United States Marine Corps is the most politically incorrect, the most militarily certain, the most intellectually engaged and open-minded, and the most faithful to its raison d'être as a fighting force.

This is worth remembering today, on this the Marines' 235th birthday: Because once again, the Marines find themselves out of favor with America's ruling class elites and popular culture. And once again, the Marines are in the right.

I refer, of course, to the issue of open homosexuality within the military and whether the armed forces will be forced to accommodate openly gay service. The popular culture and ruling class elites all think this is a moral imperative; the Marines disagree, and overwhelmingly so.

The popular culture and ruling class elites think (or at least purport to think) that human sexuality is a benign or irrelevant force that can be controlled and contained without incident or effect. The Marines, by contrast, recognize that sexuality is a tremendously powerful behavioral characteristic, which can and does shape human action, and in profound and often unpredictable ways.

For these reasons, the Marines have been pushing back against the requirement to accommodate open homosexuality within the ranks. They recognize that if and when the Marines become know as "the few, the proud, the homosexuals," that the Marine Corps will, in effect, cease to exist.

"I think that the current policy [of 'Don't Ask, Don't Tell'] works," Marine Corps Commandant Gen. James. T. Conway told Congress earlier this year. "My best military advice to this committee, to the secretary, to the president would be to keep the law such as it is."

Conway just recently retired, but has said, correctly, that the vast majority of Marines -- including his successor as Commandant, Gen. James F. Amos -- agree with him.

"There's risk involved… [to] unit cohesion [and to] combat effectiveness" from changing the current 'Don't Ask, Don't Tell' policy, Amos told reporters last week.

The Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Adm. Mike Mullen, said that he is "surprised" at Amos's comments, and surprised as well that Amos spoke publicly about the matter. Indeed, according to the Canadian Post, Mullen

said the heads of the military services had committed to "look at the data and then make our recommendations privately."

That amounted to a mild rebuke of Amos. Mullen said he had not spoken to Amos about the remarks.

With respect to the Chairman, I think he is seriously mistaken.

As I have argued here at the The American Spectator and elsewhere, in our constitutional democracy, the people are sovereign. They thus have a right to hear what their military leaders think about big, important and contentious public-policy issues, That way, we the people can weigh in on these matters; and our elected representatives can make wise and informed decisions.

So instead of chastising the military service heads for speaking publicly about "Don't Ask, Don't Tell," Adm. Mullen ought instead, it seems to me, be encouraging them to speak out and to be heard -- so that they can help educate the public.

Moreover, the studies or "data" that the Department of Defense is gathering are ultimately useless and mostly a waste of time.

"Feelings," after all, are ephemeral; they can and do change. And given the cultural indoctrination that has taken place during the past two decades, and that is continuing apace, the day is not far off, I suppose, when even our servicemen and women give the politically correct response to questions about homosexuality.

Sexual yearnings, by contrast, are a much more deeply rooted behavioral impulse; they are thus far harder to alter and change. The problem with openly gay military service is that it puts the full force of the law -- the full power of the state -- behind an overt sexual dynamic while dishonestly pretending that sexuality doesn't affect human behavior.

So the Marines are pushing upstream against a very powerful political and cultural tide. The problem is that our popular culture and ruling class elites have convinced themselves that openly gay service is a moral imperative which must, therefore, be foisted upon the U.S. military.

Compromise Measure. Let me propose, then a compromise measure: Leave the Marines alone. Let them be the one military service that is not forced to accommodate open homosexuality within the ranks. That way, openly gay men and women can still serve, just not in the Marine Corps. They certainly can serve, though, in Admiral Mullen's Navy, and in the Army and Air Force.

In this way, we can achieve true "diversity." We can have military services and units whose celebration of diversity includes a strong affirmation of homosexuality; and we can have at least one military service, the Marine Corps, that does not.

The Left purports to believe in diversity. Well, here's their chance to prove it. If they really do believe, as they say they do, in "letting a thousand flowers bloom," then they'll agree to let the Marines adopt a different policy, one that is more in accordance with their values and traditions.

This also will allow policymakers and the public to see how open homosexuality within the ranks might affect recruiting.

If, after all, homosexuality really doesn't matter to our servicemen and women, then the Marines won't do any better with their recruiting efforts than the Navy, Army and Air Force.

If, by contrast, homosexuality is something that many of our servicemen and women don't wish to be forced to accommodate or to accept, then they'll tend to steer away from the Navy, Army and Air Force and migrate instead toward the Marine Corps.

There is, of course, precedent for exempting the Marines from some of the strictures and requirements of the other three military services.

The Marine Corps, for instance, is the only military service that has separate entry level training for men and women. That's because the Marines recognize that sexuality is a powerful and disruptive force which most certainly would wreak havoc with their training and indoctrination process.

For 235 years, the Marines have always been there for America. It is high past time for America to return the favor. Policymakers should recognize again, as they have before, that the Marine Corps is a unique institution filled with a special group of people.

Indeed, the Marines aren't like most other servicemen and women; they're different. And so, in the name of diversity, they should be allowed to adhere to different standards and different requirements. Open homosexuality for all of the military services -- except the Marines.

Let a thousand flowers bloom. Let the Marines thrive and prosper for another 235 years. Semper Fi.

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