There’s No Word For This Except “Stupid”.

Openly Gay Army Sergeant Discharged Under ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Decorated Army Sergeant Darren Manzella has been discharged under the ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’ law banning lesbian, gay and bisexual Americans from military service, effective June 10. The Iraq war veteran was one of the first openly gay active duty service members to speak with the media while serving inside a war zone. In December 2007, Manzella was profiled by the CBS news magazine 60 Minutes. He told correspondent Lesley Stahl that he served openly during much of his time in the Army, with the full support of his colleagues and command.

Discharging him because he was on the media? Look, we face a real personnel shortage in the military. I get the cultural issues – but I’m willing to bet that when you get to the 20-somethings like my son – they are not such major issues. I haven’t asked him, but knowing him, I’d say he just wants to know that whover he’s standing beside knows how to apply battle dressings and start an IV.

We lose translators, intelligence specialists, medics, and – I’ll bet – some pretty good trigger-pullers. How about declaring a moratorium on this for a while, until we manage to figure out the staffing issues?

38 thoughts on “There’s No Word For This Except “Stupid”.”

  1. Discharging him because he was on the media?

    Well, he wasn’t discharged for talking to the media. He was discharged for openly violating the policy of the United States Armed Forces, on television no less. He did so fully understanding that he could be discharged for his action. He may have believed that the Army would not dare to enforce the policy. As a soldier, even a decorated soldier, he was not entitled to that confidence.

    And the Army does not have a choice whether to enforce the policy or not; the policy is dictated by law. Law made by the military’s civilian masters. Civilians are entitled to make stupid laws, but neither the Army nor Sgt. Manzella are entitled to ignore them.

  2. It’s a stupid policy.

    I can’t speak for the culture of the military directly, and won’t even try. I can speak, anecdotally, for the related culture of military contractors. In brief:

    Old people might care.
    People my age usually don’t.
    Youngsters typically don’t care.

    And the farther down the age scale you go, the more likely people are to be offended by the stupidity of the policy. Hell, fifteen years ago when I started contracting, a friend of mine swiped a french fry off my plate in the cafeteria lunch line, and I jokingly told him not to do that, he ain’t my girlfriend. He was scandalized. (Really not my intent– I intended a mild rebuke.)

    Today, I guarantee you, that culture is changed. Even the people my age are looser laced, and the youngsters would take that… exactly the way it’s intended, not as some mortal insult to machismo and masculinity.

    Congress can change the law, and the old guys in the military can get over it.

  3. Let’s see:
    Don’t ask;Don’t tell!
    Gee that’s been policy for well over 10 years now. You’d think members of the Armed Forces would be aware of said policy by this time!

    It’s a real no-brainer, you want to continue to serve, don’t go public re: your homosexuality!

    Almost all “tellers” want out of the military with the least possible consequence, the rest think they are making some sort of civil rights statement, but still, bottom line, want out.

    Moratorium while staffing issues are sorted should be the wanna get out people keep their public mouth shut, except, they do want to get out.

    They’re all self-created and self-defined martyrs, which is who they’d rather be than a valuable member of the Nation’s Armed Forces!

  4. Marcus:

    Congress can change the law, and the old guys in the military can get over it.

    So ask Congress to change the law, but I wouldn’t hold my breath. From their point of view, the present policy is politically ideal. It allows gays to serve in the military without causing confrontations within the military, and the latter is extremely important, since the military is not the place to go to enjoy unfettered expression of one’s individuality.

    Above all, it makes the military the bad guy in cases like this, because people who should know better blame the military for it. Nobody is busting Congress’s chops over this, and that’s the way Congress likes it.

    Under DADT, nobody can run you out of the military for being gay except yourself. If you are determined to run yourself out of the military in this way, nobody can save you. The Secretary of Defense cannot legally intervene on your behalf, nor even the Commander in Chief. The law disposes of you, because the law is the law.

    It is very unfortunate what happened to Sgt. Manzella, but it could not have been otherwise, and he could not have failed to know what the inevitable consequences of his actions would be. Armies – and democracies – must operate on the principle that no man is indispensable.

  5. Gee, you don’t think Sgt Manzella went public because he thought it would hasten the end of this dumb-as-dirt policy?

    Let’s put it this way: when no one on WoC wants to defend keeping gays out of the military, the policy isn’t going to last much longer.

  6. “Under DADT, nobody can run you out of the military for being gay except yourself.”

    “Thing it, it’s more than just really DADT.”:http://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/10/654.html

    bq. That the member has engaged in, attempted to engage in, or solicited another to engage in a homosexual act or acts unless there are further findings, made and approved in accordance with procedures

    “This is what happened”:http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/14052513/

    He’s only left guessing as to if it was his own actions. You could piss off someone, and be left with an investigation. What the person mentioned above did, 60 minutes, that is something else.

  7. That is not a correct statement of the law (and its implementation).

    I quote:

    A commander may initiate an investigation upon receiving credible information from a reliable source that a service member has engaged in the following activities defined as homosexual conduct:

    1) made a statement that he/she is lesbian, gay or
    bisexual;

    2) engaged in physical contact with someone of the
    same-sex for the purposes of sexual gratification;
    or

    3) married, or attempted to marry, someone of the
    same-sex [there goes Cal. and Mass.].

    (See DOD Directive 1322.14).

    Notice that a statement is treated as a form of conduct. There is no limit on who the statement is made to – so your Mom counts as much as your Commander or a buddy.

    Imagine going through your entire career without mentioning who you share your life with or what you did last weekend.

    Women are 15% of the force, and almost 50% of the discharges in 2007.

    It is true that people (gay or straight) can try to get out with this, but I also know people who wanted to stay in Iraq but were sent home – one was an 11B EOD trainer in an infantry unit!

    It is long past time that Congress repeal this.

  8. I like the poster that said women couldn’t go two minutes without blabbing every detail of their personal lives to their army buddies even if that meant that they then get kicked out of the military for being stupid enough to tell others how they violated the law set by Congress.

    morons.

  9. Don’t Ask Don’t Tell may be bad policy, stupid, bad for the military, and bad all around, but the rule emanates from the civilian command authority over the military.

    In my opinion, Sgt. Manzella is justly discharged, not for being gay but for violating standing orders by talking to the media. Is this suppression of free speech — you betcha it is, along with the suppression of the free speech of our men and women in the military about a whole lot of other issues, again to establish civilian command authority over the military, not to mention maintaining the within-military chain of command.

    The reason the good sergeant talked to the media is that he has a grievance with the Don’t Ask Don’t Tell policy. So, he is open about being gay with his unit and CO and they never had any problem with that, so the policy is a hypocrisy? The military, I imagine, is replete with rules, even stupid rules, that comrades and commanding officers look the other way on in the interest of carrying out their mission. The only reason to talk to the TV media about this is to lobby the political process regarding the policy.

    The one circumstance I would have sympathy for Sgt. Manzella were if an embed or other reporter, say, one of the two Michaels, ran a story “Hey, here is this crackerjack unit in Iraq that has the enemy on the run, and their best soldier, Sgt. X, is open about being gay and his comrades and CO are OK with that, and hey folks at home and in Congress, Don’t Ask Don’t Tell is a crock.” Suppose, hypothetically, that this story led to a “witch hunt” where Sgt. X was revealed to be Sgt. Manzella. In that case I would be screaming “witch hunt” and bloody murder, but this is not the case here.

  10. I think everyone who has posted here on this subject seriously underestimates the very real practical problems that arise from having open homosexuality on display within the confines of the armed services. If homosexuals are allowed to serve openly does this mean that two men may dance with other and kiss at the New Year’s party at the officers club? What about the children of “straight” parents in married housing when they ask the inevitable question: “Mommy, why are those two men in the swing on the porch next door hugging each other?” How about two men holding hands walking down the street? Quite aside from those who would strenuously object for reasons of Religious beliefs, etc., such blatant outward manifestations of sexual desire between people of the same sex often is seen as highly objectionable by reason of assault on child-rearing beliefs in general.That things such as these can affect the morale and retention rates of “straight” personnel goes without saying.

    Secondly, there is, it seems to me, an almost willful denial of the reality of the very real and well documented rates of sexual predation of senior officer’s and NCO’s on their junior counterparts. This predation problem is especially rife within the jr. enlisted ranks–especially during basic training. Among the officer ranks a “he said–he said” quandry exists if unwanted advances are made–if formally complained about the reaction of most commanders is, absent firm proof, a “pox on both your houses” response which expels both men–so the aggrieved party must suffer the indignity in silence or risk his career. No serving officer should ever have to be put in such a position.

    Finally, as we have seen in the civilian world, where the Calif. legislature, under pressure from homosexual pressure groups, attempted to put into effect a law that extolled the virtues of homosexuality in school text-books while eliminating terms such as “Mommy” and “Daddy” from these same texts, the old saw that: “What the law does not forbid, it will eventually promote,”will, I am afraid, ring all too true for a present-day armed services already shot thru and thru with PC MAX.

    Serving one’s country in the Armed Forces is a privledge, not a right. And while #4 is correct about the changing “tolerance” of the younger generation, he is talking about an open society in the civilian world. Once the closed 24/7/365 world of the armed services is entered, the more openly and forcefully militant will be the actions of those wishing to propagate such as life-style under a legalized regime–with serious morale, retention, and discipline problems to follow as night from day.

    Trust me on this sports-fans, I’ve seen these problems “up close and personal” from the inside–and they ain’t pretty. Homosexual pressure groups to the contrary, the vast majority of the medical studies in refereed peer
    review publications puts the homosexuals at approx. 3% of the general population. Let’s not let the tail wag the dog here.

  11. PS: Anyone doubting the statistics google “link”:http://www.familyresearchist.org/FRI_AIM_TALK.html-45k (or Google:”The numbers game:What percentage of the population is gay?”
    Alternatively, “link”:http://www.answers.google.com/answers/threadview?id=478685-26k (or Google:
    “Google Answers:Incidence of male homosexuality”)\\

    [Please do not post bare URLs here. It messes up the formatting of the blog. Guidelines for formatting live links are presented in the text found above the comment entry fields. Two bare URLs fixed for you, this time. –NM]

  12. While the wisdom of the policy might be open to question it would be enormously destructive for command/control to simply “overlook” the implications of “don’t tell” in such a situation. The simplest way to resolve the dilemma is to just insist on the letter, and dismiss those who “tell.” That clarifies any nascient ambiguity.

    Also, Virgil is right… we’re beginning to show signs of allowing the tail to wag the dog. The percentage of homosexuals (I don’t like the term “gay” because I have homosexual friends who point out it implies moral laxity) is around 3-4%. Even if potential problems were minimal that wouldn’t necessarily demand a change in the current rules (which were, after all, established under a Democrat regime).

    At any rate, there ought to be no problem hiring such a high quality performer in the private arena (or in the public arena for that matter). He won’t be out of work for long.

    Andrew J #8:

    when no one on WoC wants to defend keeping gays out of the military, the policy isn’t going to last much longer

    Now that really cracked me up. I’d sure like to think we’re the fulcrum on this sort of policy dilemma, but somehow I doubt it.

    I attended a Military Academy during my formative years that had a number of in-the-clost homosexual cadets, as well as a very small number of coeds (mostly faculty daughters). When we had our recent reunion I met what I thought was a former coed from the academy that I didn’t recall (and that’s odd given there were so few). Turned out this was actually a former male classmate cadet who had had a sex change. He/she had attended West Point in the mean time, and served as an officer in the military briefly, and he/she is a brilliant cum laude scholar who also was a superb athlete. She now serves as a consultant to the military, so works as vital civilian support. I don’t see anything wrong with this arrangement, and neither does she. There are plenty of places for people in this category. Moreover, they’re likely to make much better money as civilian consultants anyway.

    It really isn’t the raging problem it’s presented as being.

    I also oppose same sex marriage, but compared to other cultural issues we face it’s relatively minor. Moreover, I think there’s a kind of American Pragmatism (if you’ll forgive the Dewey reference) that precludes turning such marginal issues into political gold for the Democrats. They really don’t have much of an option, other than to get on the right side of the debate. Their reliance on factional disputes isn’t, well… all that wise.

  13. Virgil Xenophon. Hmmm. Someone whose nom de blog is half Roman half Greek is warning us about the problems of homosexuals serving in the military. Like Hadrian? Alexander of Macedon? Almost ineffably ironic.

  14. To the up from the dead one: Yes, isn’t it though?
    That’s the risk one runs when opining on such matters.(sigh) But as long as we are on the subject of the Greeks, I might point out that the some two to three hundred years when perhaps up to one-third of all combat age males were active homosexuals is proof positive of cultural reasons as well as genetic ones for explaining the existence of homosexuality. As I’m sure you sir are well aware, more than just the Greek idolization of the human form was at play here–the Greeks believed that lovers fought all the more fiercely to protect each other, and were often chained together at the ankle while fighting from the Phalanx formation–homosexual love being officially encouraged by the state as a battlefield fighting edge. That cultural pressures may distort human sexuality as demonstrated by the the Greeks is one reason that many argue for keeping homosexuals out of leadership positions in the Boy Scouts, etc.

    By the way, I chose my “name de blog,” a combination of a first-rate poet cum historian
    with a first-rate General and more than passing fair historian for two reasons: First, they make a great tag-team combination of intellect and action; secondly, my middle name is Virgil, so a play on words as well.

  15. To NM: Sorry, I really stepped on my foreskin on the links matter–just forgot in haste–won’t happen again.

  16. *Marcus Vitruvius*
    _Congress can change the law, and the old guys in the military can get over it._

    That’s funny. If I’d stayed in the service I would be an old guy – I enlisted in 1985.

    I don’t think I’m so different from my peers. The sexual preference of a service member ain’t none o’ my business and no reason why they can’t serve.

  17. There are very, very sound reasons to forbid gays in the military: combat.

    Would a unit with several gay members be confident that they are not “expendible” compared to ones with none? How about a gay officer sending out men on a mission to rescue a lover? Or perhaps not sending out someone he has romantic interest in?

    Comradeship is fragile, needs constant care, and must not be compromised by links of affection, straight or gay, in the expectation of a brotherhood in arms.

    For this reason, sexual relations between subordinates are forbidden in the military, and remain court-martial offenses (Corp. Grainer was charged with that, among other things). Even though they are permitted and indeed celebrated among the civilian world. These are the considered and consistent views of Pentagon staff.

    I find it interesting that Andrew J. Lazarus finds himself better informed on this subject than the “prior Commandant of the Marine Corps”:http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2007/03/12/national/main2561669.shtml or the “current Commandant of the Marine Corps”:http://query.nytimes.com/gst/fullpage.html?res=9E0CE1D8113EF935A1575BC0A964958260 .

    Gen. Peter Pace, former Commandant, may have been punished for saying what he really thinks, but he is a decorated combat veteran. Presumably he knows a thing or two more than Lazarus. The current Commandant of the Marine Corps, Gen. Carl Mundy Jr., praised Chaplain Ellis’s report and circulated it among his staff.

    I would be interested to find Lazarus’s level of expertise on this matter, and why we should take his view over that of the current and prior Commandant of the Marine Corps.

    Given that no one in the Pentagon is more clearly pressed by both ongoing combat operations (in Iraq and Afghanistan) and has the smallest force to work with (the Army dwarfs the Marines size), I would think that the considered opinions of both the prior and current Commandant of the Marine Corps, responsible for the lives of his men, would count more than the moralizing of those who do not have command responsibility.

    But that’s just me.

  18. Mike –

    bq. They’re all self-created and self-defined martyrs…

    You got that right. Choosing to join the defined class of the perpetually outraged perhaps? Which, in my book, makes them political.

    Way back when I served, it would have been a mute point. Any PDA’s were frowned upon. Male to female not excluded. And I think this is the crux of the argument. Discipline is required for the military to function. This cuts both ways – all overt sexual activity should be frowned upon not just the gays.

    The policy of don’t ask, etc is determined as a pretty good compromise. That is what the politics on the civilian side say that they want.

  19. The other issue concerning “open homosexuality” in the military that I haven’t seen discussed yet concerns same-sex marriage.
    The military is one of the few institutions where your marital status effects your pay, and the difference btween single and married is greater in the lower ranks. Actually, it’s not the servicemembers *_PAY_*, but their Base Allowance for Quarters (BAQ, or rent money) that’s effected. This does not apply for “living together” or any other domestic partnerships; you must *prove* your marital status by actually producing a legal document, i.e., marriage license.
    _*SO*_, if you allow homosexuals to openly serve in the military, and they went to California or Massachusetts with their partner to make things legal, they would _*HAVE*_ to be paid at the higher rate.
    And when their partners are given the status of “spouse,” they also gain all the benefits, such as free health-care at military facilities, shopping at low-cost, tax-free stores on post, etc.
    Such major changes in policy are never as simple as some people think…

  20. I agree. It is a stupid policy and law that needs to be changed so openly gay soldiers can serve without the fear of separation over being ‘outed’, whether by others or themselves. I also wouldn’t mind closing the loophole for any soldiers, who in a moment of weakness of character, try to use it as a backdoor out of their commitment.

    I don’t blame SGT Manzella for using a form of ‘civil disobedience’ to challenge a law that is unjust. I don’t blame a military official for following a bad policy. I applaud SGT Manzella’s comrades and superiors for overlooking his sexual orientation as much and as long as possible for a good soldier. I do blame Congress for not addressing this issue and law ASAP.

  21. *Jim Rockford*
    _There are very, very sound reasons to forbid gays in the military: combat._

    Those are valid points you raise. Most of them are issues they’re dealing with right now. Subordinates and superiors have sexual relations. Service members are certainly not celibate and frequently the object of desire is the male or female in the same work section.

    Sure, these aren’t combat arms units. But these are units that will see combat.

    It’s inevitable that the ban will be lifted. Time to get ahead of the game now, and figure out how we’re going to improvise adapt and overcome.

  22. It certainly isn’t surprising that the topmost-level brass is in favor of the status quo. Not the first time.

    1945-50 The Marine Corps’ postwar attempt to adhere to a policy of rigid racial segregation remained in effect until the Korean War. It ultimately established a numerical quota of 1500 blacks, most of whom the Corps tried to assign to the nonwhite Steward’s Branch. Few recruits signed up for such duty, while those men already in that branch constantly sought transfers to general duty. Not only did this continual pressure cause problems for the USMC, but the unwillingness of most U.S. communities to accept “a large segregated group of black marines…was infinitely more difficult.” [snip]
     
    1949 The Marine Corps Commandant defended the USMC’s segregated racial policy by arguing that the armed forces should follow society’s lead in this area, not vice versa.

    Racial segregation was, I dare say, popular with the Corps from top to bottom and was eliminated by external forces. Service by open homosexuals is, judging from the story of Sgt Manzella and many others, not an issue for most of the younger members of the Armed Forces, which is why the stupid DADT policy is on the way out.

  23. Uh, Jim – are you paying attention to what’s been going on in Iraq and Afghanistan – where women are increasingly serving (successfully) in roles that sure look like combat to me?

    Are you suggesting that our fighting forces are substantially less effective because of that?

    Want to make that point to “SGT Leigh Ann Hester”:http://www.windsofchange.net/archives/006564.php ?

    I’m all about effective fighting forces. It appears that we have one that is successfully integrating women into combat roles (fighter pilot, helo door gunner, MP, Civil Affairs) where they are physically capable (no one is suggesting that a woman is likely to carry a 100# combat load on a foot patrol). last time I checked, gays were about as physically capable as straights (in fact, based on what I see at the gym, I’d say possibly more capable).

    But projecting unlikely scenarios doesn’t overcome both the real need for as many good troops as we can muster and the very real – and unwarranted – discrimination you’re suggesting.

    A.L.

  24. AJL:

    Racial segregation was, I dare say, popular with the Corps from top to bottom and was eliminated by external forces.

    Why, because they’re all racists?

    I don’t think civil society, from the Revolution to the present day, is in a position to preach racial tolerance to the military. The soldier has been a good generation ahead of the civilian in this regard, and the military achieved levels of integration that society never has.

    Of course it was external forces that desegregated the military. It was external forces that segregated it in the first place. At the risk of repeating myself, it is civilian politics that makes such rules.

    And in our wonderful non-warmongering civilian society, we recently saw a racist preacher make a vile segregationist speech – to the NAACP, no less – and get cheered for it. Segregation is alive and well in our world, it just goes around in fashionable new guises.

  25. Glen: The Armed Forces were disproportionately Southern, going back to pre-Civil War traditions. Do you really think it’s a weird accident that the Marine Corps training facilities were in segregated states? Go to the link I gave. All of the services dragged their feet on implementing desegregation even after instructions came down from the President and SecDef. Where credit is due is that once they did so, they did it better than most other American institutions.

    I suspect you know all this, and just can’t pass up a dishonest shot at liberals. Plus the whining about how it’s so hard to be a white male nowadays.

  26. #7 from Glen Wishard at 1:47 am on Jun 28, 2008

    The country was founded and built upon challenging unjust laws. Are heterosexual soldiers under the “Don’t ask don’t tell” policy, as well?

    #17 from Andrew J. Lazarus at 10:51 pm on Jun 28, 2008

    Virgil Xenophon. Hmmm. Someone whose nom de blog is half Roman half Greek is warning us about the problems of homosexuals serving in the military. Like Hadrian? Alexander of Macedon? Almost ineffably ironic.

    I wonder what the 300 Spartans were doig on R&R :)

  27. AJL:

    I suspect you know all this, and just can’t pass up a dishonest shot at liberals.

    Which “liberals” are those? The ones who courageously stand up to everybody’s chauvinism except their own? Is Jeremiah Wright such a liberal paragon that criticism of him is a dishonest shot at you all?

    Plus the whining about how it’s so hard to be a white male nowadays.

    Is that me that’s making the whining noise in this thread? Jeez, I’m sorry.

    Do you really think it’s a weird accident that the Marine Corps training facilities were in segregated states?

    I have no idea, because this weird accident didn’t happen in my universe. I know “San Diego” sounds like it might be in Texas, but it’s actually in California.

    The other Marine recruit depot is Parris Island, South Carolina, which – gasp – is indeed down south. Parris Island was captured by the Union in 1861 and became a federal military facility after the war thanks to Congressman Robert Smalls, who was a former slave.

  28. Interesting point by TOC… Alexander seems to have done alright especially. One wonders what he might have accomplished without Hephaestion dragging him down. Might have made something of himself.

  29. I see from some recent posts that the death of common sense, logic, knowledge of history and geography is still playing out. The reason most training bases of *ALL* branches of the armed services are located in the South and Southwest is due to *WEATHER* so as to maximize training days. *PERIOD* Examples of exceptions are those for cold weather training such as Fort Drum in upstate NY where the 10th Mountain Inf. Div. trains and Fairchild AFB in State of Washington where AF has it’s cold weather survival school.

    About women in the armed services? This to AL: Yes, women do degrade combat effectiveness in a number of ways. First is the problem of morale and unit cohesion caused by sexual tension, i.e., everyone always wondering “who’s gittin it.” The wives at home also worry too. The result is that droves of o-3’s(Capt.) and senior NCO’s are putting in their papers faster than they can be replaced–and this cohort is the heart of the future. Also, the “affirmative action” that has promoted many women passed more qualified peers is highly resented. We used to laugh at the old SU who had _political_ officers as co-commanders at every eschelon of command. Today the Armed Services are so PC that they make the old SU look downright meritocratic by comparison. The only reason senior officers make the approving sounds they do is because they are scared shit-less that a liberal, feminist, energized democratic Administration and Congress will retaliate by zeroing out needed weapons systems in a fit of oique(something the Dems have already demonstrated they are more than capable of) which could spell utter disaster down the road–thus they tolerate women

    For a really good study of the impact peruse the book: “The Kinder and Gentler Military: Can America’s Gender-Neutral Fighting Force Still Win Wars?” by Stephanie Gutmann.Read the reviews at Amazon of her “devastating critique” of the feminization of the Armed Forces. Also the review by “Highlander” which pretty much gets to the heart of the matter.

    BTW most female pilots do not have the upper-body strength to withstand 9-G turns in dog fights–thus must be put on special program to bulk them up(AT a 9-g turn the human head+helmet weighs approx 90lbs, most women’s heads are pinned against the canopy as their neck muscles aren’t strong enough to maintain proper aircraft control). Also, their spines are smaller, so AF is on crash program to find a “gentler” ejection-seat charge so their spines won’t be crushed–all of which costs extra dineros.(These points _not_ found in Gutmann’s study)

    I could rant on, but I won’t; simply read Ms. Gutmann’s book.

  30. *Andrew J. Lazarus*
    _Do you really think it’s a weird accident that the Marine Corps training facilities were in segregated states?_

    Don’t be silly.

    The military establishes training facilities in a whole bunch of places. Usually where land is cheap or otherwise not being used. You need a lot of room – not just firing ranges but to run troops all over the place. Other factors are environmental – if your range is closed due to inclement weather five months out of the year, your training budget is shot.

    Other reasons for siting bases where they are include accidents of history. The Army seizes a bit of land, establishes a fort. Years go by and more infrastructure is built up. An influential congressman likes the bucks the base brings and sees that the facility is expanded.

    Some of these factors caused the Marines to establish bases in North Carolina, South Carolina, and Virginia. Also Arizona, and California. For similar reasons the Army has bases in North Carolina. And California, Washington, Colorado, Kansas and Wisconsin. And Hawaii. And Alaska.

    Institutional racism is about the least likely reason to site a base where it is.

  31. Can anyone give Virgil a reason other than women that officers might be leaving the armed forces? (Four letters, ends in Q?)

    BTW, Mark B., TOC is quoting me on Alexander.

    Rather than talk about where military bases are located (sorry I mentioned it, I guess), I see no one is in the mood to talk about the Southern martial tradition and its connection to the resistance to an integrated army. Well, you can go to that same link and read about a Senator of the United States offering legislation to guarantee soldiers the right to serve in segregated units, and he was from the South. FWIW, of course he was a Democrat.

    There were incidents in the South where German POWs were allowed to eat in restaurants and black soldiers weren’t. In maybe ten years, Sgt Manzetta’s story will sound as creepy as that one.

  32. Vigil: I want to point out that the degradation of armed services is sheer woman alone. Boot camp has basically been watered down, not because of women, but because the army and national guard are terrified of losing recruits. As a result, the army has a caused a massive changes in “basic training”:http://www.theatlantic.com/doc/200706/mockenhaupt-army
    that seriously degrade the combat-readiness of our troops.

    I think this is a more serious issue for the military than women serving, or homosexuality, or both.

  33. *Andrew J. Lazarus*
    _Rather than talk about where military bases are located (sorry I mentioned it, I guess)_

    Yes, but you learned something – that’s always worthwhile.

    _I see no one is in the mood to talk about the Southern martial tradition and its connection to the resistance to an integrated army._

    Resistance to integration was not exclusive to states below the Mason-Dixon line. Some of the worst reactions to forced busing happened in Boston, iirc. In many cities in Wisconsin it was flat-out illegal to live within the city limits if you were black – right up to the early 1970s.

    Racism wasn’t just a Southern thing – it was (and continues to be) a national thing. The North just handled it differently and pretended it was a problem exclusive to the South.

    I think you are failing to grasp the big picture wrt to integration problems in the armed forces.

    Bias warning: I grew up in Oklahoma, lived in North Carolina and Texas, and have lived in Wisconsin for nearly six years.

  34. Alchemist: You are pretty much correct. But I might add that another unexpected result of changes in society and how they affect basic tng is the fact that so many of today’s youth have grown up in nothing but tennis/running shoes that their feet at first cannot withstand the rigors of basic training in combat boots, and thus many segments have to be conducted in tennis shoes.

    One little gem of information that comes out in Ms. Gutman’s book is that 50% of all women trainees in basis infantry training cannot throw a hand-grenade far enough to keep from being killed or injured by it’s blast.

    I agree with the walking dead man about the existence of a Southern martial tradition, just disagree about it’s total ramifications–even Southern blacks volunteer at higher rates than Northern ones. As one Army DI(Drill Instructor) is once famously supposed to have said:”There are only three kinds of people in this man’s Army–Southern Whites, Southern Blacks…and everybody else.” (My Father-in-law, a Louisiana Creole, was one of five brothers–one each in USMC, USAF, USN, and two in Army–who _volunteered_ in WWII, and all saw action overseas–and all survived. I still have a picture of all five together in their dress, Class A uniforms. My Father-in-law saw action with Patton in Artillery Corps from North Africa straight through Sicily, Then his unit detached to serve in the 5th Army under Mark Clark in Italy, then again with Patton in France and Germany until the end of the war).

    And thanks Brian Dunbar for expanding so well on the base location bit, I should have, but didn’t.

    Again to Lazarus in #36. Iraq is a factor among enlisted types mainly due to separation from complaining spouses. This (wives)is one of the down-sides of a volunteer Army. In the old days the attitude was: “If the Army had wanted ya to have a wife, theyedah _issued_ ya one!” (By the way, a dirty little secret is that the scandalously low pay and allowances for enlisted personnel are the result of still being based on the old single-male draftee model–a fact Congress turns a blind eye and a deaf ear to as a fix is so costly) As for officers, separation is a factor, but not the main one. The main reason is disgust with a lawyer-dominated command structure shot thru and thru with PC and a downsizing which delays promotion in grade.

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