Close window  |  View original article

Don't Ask, Don't Tell, and a Scary Speculation

The Law of Unintended Consequences might be about to strike.

By Petrarch  |  December 22, 2010

Well, the forces of lefty libertinism and debauchery have at long last triumphed, defeating the last remaining major holdout in American culture.  The defeated lame-duck Congress, with President Obama's enthusiastic support, has repealed the Clinton-era "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" law which declared open homosexuals to be ineligible for military service.

Progressives, as their name implies, view this as the inevitable march of progress.  Conservatives lean more towards feelings of certain doom, but looking at the polls, the Democrats would appear to be on the side of the people.

In concentrating on their own base, though, both sides are overlooking essential details and the lessons of history, which could - could - potentially lead to devastating consequences.

Majority Doesn't Always Rule

Welcoming homosexual soldiers with open arms, Democrats are making two major assumptions:

On the questions as stated, the Democrats are right.  Any number of polls demonstrate that a majority of Americans do, in fact, believe that homosexuals should have full rights and respect for their behavior; and two hundred years of history strongly argues our military's dedication to civilian authority.

The first point is irrelevant except politically.  While political advantage may be the only thing Democrats care about, it is not the only source of power.

No doubt if we polled Americans asking "Are you, personally, willing to risk your life today to kill America's enemies?" a majority would answer "No."  Would that justify eliminating our military?  Of course not!

The whole point of a volunteer military is that each and every individual in it freely chose to be there.  America is the land of individuals; some people want to play Rambo where others would rather be Barbie.  In a free country, that's the way things ought to be.

If you aren't in the military yourself or involved in civilian political authority, however, who cares how you think the Army ought to be run?  Far more important is what our actual combat soldiers think; and on this matter, their opinion is clear:

Cross-tabbed data displayed on the 2010 DADT Survey website indicate that among Army combat arms personnel, 21.4% would leave sooner than planned, and 14.6% would think about leaving–a total potential loss of more than a third (36%) of those valuable troops.

Marine combat arms would be weakened even more, with 32% of Marines saying they would leave sooner than planned, and 16.2% considering an early end to their careers, totaling almost half.

Our population is perhaps 1% active homosexuals, the vast majority of whom have no interest in military service.  How are the ranks of the alternatively-lifestyled supposed to replace between a third and half of current troops who do not wish to share the intimacies of barracks life with ogling homosexuals?  The military has enough problems with illicit relationships between opposite-gender troops who are normally segregated into their own housing units.

Will the military obey orders?  Of course they will - but, as the polls make clear, only as long as they have to obey before they can leave the service.

So far, this starts to look like yet another lefty plot to destroy our military as a fighting force, and perhaps it is.  Yet the left has overlooked another truth: the Federal government is not the only military authority in our republic.

Del. Bob Marshall, R-Prince William County, plans to introduce legislation in the 2011 General Assembly that would make DADT the rule in the Virginia National Guard...

In a written statement, Marshall, a conservative Republican who was the sponsor of the bill that banned gay marriage in Virginia, said allowing openly gay people to serve in the military "will weaken military recruitment and retention, and will increase pressure for a military draft.

"After 232 years of prohibiting active, open homosexuals from enlisting in our military, President Obama and a majority in Congress are conducting a social experiment with our troops and our national security," Marshall added.

His bill would continue barring actively and openly gay people from serving in the Virginia National Guard.

This particular bill may not pass; the governor says he opposes it.  There are, however 50 states; when half the states are suing over Obamacare, it's not hard to imagine that some might choose to go their own way regarding homosexual soldiers as well.

And then what?  Let's indulge in some rank speculation, based on a few reasonable assumptions.

For State or Country?

It's a fact that a majority of Americans don't mind homosexuality, at least when it's not shoved in their face.  It's also a fact that the majority of Americans who are interested in military careers do mind homosexuality, a lot, partly because they know that in the intimacy of barracks life and in combat, it will be shoved in their faces.

What would happen if we have a politically-correct, homosexual-friendly (which, in today's political climate, means homosexual-promoting) national military, coexisting with certain state National Guards run according to the old school?  Obviously, many of the most effective and dedicated would-be soldiers would gravitate to their state militias instead of the federal army.

For decades, enlistees have intentionally been mixed around so as to avoid having entire units from one geographic area.  This has made for an effective and unified force, but it also was a precaution against civil war.

In the runup to the Civil War, federal military units were divided by state origin of their members, making it relatively easy for the Virginian divisions to join the South and the Massachusetts divisions the North.  If they're all mixed together, this is much harder.

If your best soldiers are in the state militias, however, they are already divided up by state - and if conservative fears are correct, the national military might become a bloated, bureaucratic, and ineffective fighting force as we see in so many European countries.

We've looked with concern on the ever-increasing gulf between the political left and the political right, the vast and irreconcilable differences between them, and the fact that many on both sides hold the other side's views to be treasonous and deadly to the Republic.  Yet an actual civil war seemed difficult to imagine; the national army is a unified force, splitting it would be exceptionally difficult and messy, and there are no state-level leaders used to having a real military to run.

By repealing "Don't Ask, Don't Tell," the Left may inadvertently have removed this anti-civil-war protection.  It will take years for the full consequences to be known - but if it comes to a fight between the First Virginians and the San Francisco Gay Blades, we're betting on the former.