The Spectacle Blog

Guardiano Misunderstands Goldstein

By on 12.20.10 | 9:57AM

This morning I read John Guardiano's response to my post over the weekend in support of the repeal of DADT.

Where do I begin?

Well, let's start with Guardiano's premise that allowing the presence of openly gay military personnel "can wreak havoc with a unit's military effectiveness and mission accomplishment." He elaborates on this premise further:

What is at issue is the introduction of an overt sexual dynamic - backed up by the full power of the state, the full force of law - into small-scale military units. And that sexual dynamic is inherently disruptive and detrimental to military effectiveness, mission success, unit cohesion, and good order and discipline within the ranks.

Evidence please.

Let us see some hard empirical evidence to back up that statement. Of course, Guardiano cannot back up that statement because there is no empirical evidence that supports his contention that military forces which allow openly gay soldiers to serve are "inherently disruptive and detrimental to military effectiveness, mission success, unit cohesion, and good order and discipline within the ranks." 

Of course, the inclusion of openly gay soldiers in various western democracies is a relatively recent development.  Now if there were studies that conclusively demonstrated that the presence of openly gay soldiers were "inherently disruptive and detrimental" then I would take that evidence under consideration. But absent that information, Guardiano can offer us only an opinion based on his negative perception of gays and lesbians.

Guardiano then expresses his frustration with my argument:

But what's most frustrating about Goldstein's post is that he blames U.S. military personnel for any problems that might result from openly gay service.  The problem, you see is them, those who "have reservations about homosexuality"!

Why, some of our servicemen and women are "uncomfortable with those who are openly gay," Goldstein writes.  And this "says more about the character of uncomfortable military personnel than it does about the soldier who is openly gay.

With respect to Goldstein, his comments here say more about the modern-day liberal prejudices he harbors than they do about the issue at hand.

But it is the issue at hand. If Guardiano sincerely believes the presence of openly gay military personnel is inherently disruptive and detrimental then presumably he believes their presence is disruptive and detrimental to their heterosexual counterparts. Let us say there is a soldier within a unit who is known to be openly gay but does the job that is expected of him. Furthermore, he makes no effort to harrass his fellow colleagues, sexually or otherwise. Yet the mere presence of the gay soldier is enough to cause consternation amongst the rest of the unit. Who has the problem? Surely not the gay soldier. 

Guardiano states, "And again, a gay soldier needn't be attracted to "every single member of the same sex" to cause a problem. A gay soldier need only be attracted to one soldier in one unit to cause one serious problem." If a gay soldier should make advances to a straight colleague and said straight colleague makes it abundantly clear he is not interested in those advances and yet the gay soldier persists with his pursuit then his straight colleague has grounds to file a complaint of sexual harrassment against the gay soldier. If accusations of sexual harrassment can be substantiated then the gay soldier should be subject to disciplinary procedures up to and including a dishonorable discharge. But if the openly gay soldier is otherwise doing his job then how is his presence disruptive and detrimental?

As for "traditionalists and religious believers who harbor sincere and good-faith objections to homosexuality" let me remind Guardiano there was a time in this country not so very long ago when traditionalists and religious believers harbored sincere and good-faith objections to serving with those whose skin color was different from their own.

Now let's consider Guardiano's final argument:

Finally, the military obviously does not value "sexual orientation over competence and character." That's why - again, as I've observed here at The American Spectator many times -- military commanders are "loath to initiate separation procedures against a gay service member unless and until that service member makes an issue of his sexuality."

In fact, gay soldiers, sailors, airmen and Marines serve now, with honor, and without incidence (sic) or disruption: because under DADT, commanders don't ask, and service members don't tell.

So should a gay soldier from Massachusetts were to casually mention that he has been happily married to his male partner for five years does that constitute making an issue of his sexuality? If Guardiano is telling me that a singular remark is enough to disrupt his unit's military effectiveness and ability to complete its mission successfully then he's telling me our military cohesion isn't that strong in the first place. If that is the case then I have a lot more confidence and faith in the men and women of our armed forces than Guardiano does.

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