Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Is Homosexuality in the Military Really That Big a Deal?

I've been kind of aimless in what I want to do with this blog recently. Since leaving the cubicle behind, and working as hard as I want to at jobs I volunteered for, I haven't felt any particular need to vent. I'm not on that edge of aggravation that I used to live on.

Having said that, I want to say a few words about the situation with homosexuals not being able to serve openly in the military. It's been awhile since the Clinton administration enacted "Don't Ask Don't Tell" as a compromise between the then extant ban on homosexuals serving and their being able to serve openly. When people say they want to repeal "DADT" I don't know if they mean they want to go back to the ban or to allow homosexuals to serve openly. Personally, I think the ban should be done away with.

I remember when I reported to the Naval Hospital at Yokosuka, Japan, in September, 1967, and during the check-in process the protestant chaplain spoke at length about being careful because the Naval Intelligence Service (pre-Mark Harmon) periodically swept for homosexuals. I was just two years off the farm, and less than a week out of the US, and had no idea what that had to do with me or the chaplain, or whether or not there was a big homosexuality problem I didn't know about. I did not go to services at the hospital chapel.

Anyway, as I read the Times OpEd by General McPeak that Kay referenced yesterday morning, I was reminded of the denial that the military seemed to live under at the time. There were homosexual sailors at Yokosuka, and in Ranger, and at Miramar, etc., and there probably always had been, but in the "boys will be boys" military of the era there was denial that some of the boys preferred boys.

I always wondered at the degree of homophobia by some of the darnedest people. There was a sailor who worked for me in San Diego who I thought everyone knew and accepted was homosexual, but he was outed when he was arrested for a DUI. One co-worker who shaved his body "to be more aerodynamic while bicycling" - but who never raced on his bicycle - was aghast(!) at the news. Guys in their beers would go on about what they'd do if they were hit on by a homosexual, but I have never to this day been hit on by a guy. Go figure.

It's 2010 and women are serving in ships - submarines now (good luck with that) - and in forward operating areas. Commanders are speaking out on banning pregnancy. It's time to clear the decks and accept that people in the military are sexual beings, set boundaries for their conduct consistent with good order and discipline, and get back to work. There's a freaking war on.


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Tuesday, May 18, 2010

A Word for HM3 Zarian Wood

Petty Officer Zarian Wood, 29, of Houston, Texas, died May 16, 2010, in Helmand Province, Afghanistan, of wounds sustained from an improvised explosive device blast while on dismounted patrol.

Doc Wood was assigned as a hospital corpsman to Third Battalion, First Marine Regiment, First Marine Division, I Marine Expeditionary Force.

Semper Fi

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Monday, May 03, 2010

World Press Freedom Day

I just wanted to take a moment this morning to take note of World Press Freedom Day celebrating "Freedom of Information: the Right to Know" today. UNESCO's celebration intends to "highlight the importance of freedom of information as an integral part of freedom of expression and its contribution to democratic governance" and to "foster reflection and exchange of ideas on freedom of information to advance empowerment, transparency, accountability and the fight against corruption, as well as on the key obstacles that the effective exercise of the right to know faces in today’s digitalized world."

As I watch the evening news now I sometimes try to picture Walter Cronkite or Edward R. Murrow "reporting" on Tiger Woods' infidelity or who was voted out - left out, actually - last night on "Dancing With the Stars." It's probably good that the networks are getting away from using journalists as news anchors, and I suspect it's less embarrassing for the journalists, too.

The thing is that I miss the news. Heaven only knows what is going unreported, and that's kind of scary, too.