Monday, November 22, 2010

ROTC and Gays In The Military

More from Stanford:
The faculty committee charged with considering ROTC’s return to Stanford has recently requested comments from the university community. The response has been a little underwhelming: less than 20 emails and 6 phone calls according to an article by the Stanford Daily. The contact information has been published fairly widely, both in the Daily and in the Stanford Review, as well as here on Fiat Lux.

Interestingly, it was noted that the majority of responses have been positive toward ROTC, a possible surprise given the recent spate of negative editorials condemning its return. It seems that students are quite apathetic about the issue – from both sides of the debate.

Two of my "pet peeve" issues are ROTC on college campuses and the forced overturning of "don't ask, don't tell" merely for political reasons (as opposed to actually determining beforehand that it won't materially affect readiness)--and the former is supposedly influenced by the latter. I believe that opposition to ROTC is anti-military and perhaps even anti-conservative, and that the gay issue is merely a cover; I don't see schools welcoming ROTC back with open arms when gays are allowed to serve openly. Oh, Harvard may have to open the door immediately, given the recent statements of its president, but if we accept my premise that opposition to ROTC in particular and to the military in general isn't based on the gay ban, then don't expect to see any changes in attitude once the ban is lifted.

And remember, it's not "the military's" ban, the military is following the law passed by Congress and signed by President Clinton.

Update, 11/23/10: One of the best comments I've read on the topic in a long time:
The opponents to ROTC need to be remembered next time some “anti-war” activist feigns concern that the sons and daughters of the rich aren’t in the military.


Ellen K said...

If the Joint Chiefs overturned don't ask, don't tell tomorrow, the next day there would be another excuse by radical university administrations to prevent ROTC units from recruiting. Don't ask, don't tell is just today's convenient excuse.

maxutils said...

You're wearing me out.

1) You may *believe* that the bans on ROTC are anti military and anti conservative, and you may be right -- but you won't *know* that until DADT is gone.

2) Let's assume that you're right, for a moment -- what's wrong with a private institution being anti military and anti conservative? Stanford and Harvard don't do anything to hide the fact that they don't have ROTC, so those who disagree with their stance can make informed decisions and not go there.

3) If it really is a question of studying whether it would affect military readiness, then, why don't we study it?

4)Another way of looking at a potential decision on Harvard's part of reinstating ROTC once DADT falls would be that the dean actually meant it when she said that she would reinstate it when that condition was met, and then, she followed through on her word.

Darren said...

Max, the fact that ROTC was eliminated at so many universities in the early 1970s (Vietnam War) and *not* in response to issues with gays' serving is all the evidence I need that the animus is anti-military and not anti-DADT.

Additionally, I never once said that private institutions couldn't be anti-military and anti-conservative. You may have inferred that, but I never said or implied it. Their *choice* to be such, though, is certainly open to derision.

As for studying the effect on readiness, it's being studied even as we speak. The report is due out in a couple weeks.

And the Harvard president may very well be sincere about allowing ROTC back when the ban is lifted. I wonder, though, why she doesn't complain about the ban on fat people serving. After all, there are surely jobs in the military that *can* be done by fat people. Or handicapped people. Or really stupid people. All of whom are discriminated against in recruiting.

Anonymous said...

In the UK everyone in the army is firstly a combat soldier. Is it not the same in the US? Because if it is, then fat people could not do the job. Can you name ANY role that a homosexual person could not fill in the military?

maxutils said...

I'm glad the process has started, but I have to admit . . . I'm curious as to how you test the effect on military readiness, especially when gay soldiers already serve . . ."Private! You're bunkmate's a homo! How do you feel?!" "Sir, I feel ooky, Sir! Don't think I can fight!" . .
Of course, I'm sure it will be much more scientific than that.

Darren said...

Your ignorance about the military shines like a beacon in the night.

Darren said...

Anonymous, I love the British Army (heck, my grandmother was in the ATS during WWII), but let's be honest--fighting force? More like a reinforced brigade nowadays. From my experiences at Sandhurst (admittedly 24 years ago):

Can soldiers still retire as privates, having been someone's driver for their entire careers? In the US we have an "up or out" system.

Are women still segregated into the WRAC?

Do men still outrank women of the same rank?

Is it still the case that, and I quote exactly here, "A woman cannot command a man unless the man is doing women's work, like typing"?

I'm sure fat people can drive and type.

And there's a lot more that goes into fighting than just physical ability. I've met plenty of women who were physically capable of being infantry*men*, but I'm glad they're not in the infantry.

You make an interesting inference in your comment, though. I don't feel inclined to defend the current policy, but I'm not support outsiders' changing it for merely political reasons without taking into account its effect on the ability of the force to do its job.

Anonymous said...

OK.. in your world, the SAS and the Royal Marines are not a "fighting force". But it is OK, because you base your claim on knowledge from 24 years ago. Well.. that is fascinating.
Now, is there ANY job in the military that being a homosexual prevents a soldier from performing?

Darren said...

Anonymous, the Royal Marines are not the British Army. I don't think the SAS is part of the British Army, either, given that big "A" in their name, but I don't care enough to look it up.

As they used to say at West Point: RTP. (Read the problem.) RTFP.

BTW, are my observations from 24 years ago still valid today?

Bottom line is that you haven't addressed a single thing I mentioned. I'll not address yours.

Anonymous said...

No. Your points are not valid today. And the SAS are part of the army. Are there any military roles that being a homosexual would make impossible?

Darren said...

Oh yay, the Brits have changed. Were these changes imposed politically for points or were they imposed with thoughts about how they'd affect the warfighting ability of the current force?

See, I don't have a problem with gays serving openly. I have a problem with it being imposed heavyhandedly from above without enough thought given to the immediate impact of the changes, especially in wartime. Because in the military, it isn't all about the individual, it's about the unit and the mission; if anything screws with that, it's gotta go.