19 December 2010

The fall of DADT -- reactions

I have long thought it ironic that if Alexander the Great (one of the greatest military leaders in history) were alive today, he would not be allowed even to enlist in the US Army. After all, he never made any effort to hide his sexual orientation.

Now, however, the twenty-first-century United States is finally about to catch up with fourth-century-BC Macedonia on this point.

The Huffington Post has an early round-up of statements on repeal from prominent figures; Christian Right leaders and politicians beholden to them are predictably hostile, with most others being supportive. Josh Gerstein sees the vote as inevitable bowing to a massive cultural shift. Andrew Sullivan takes a similar view and sees it as vindicating Obama's long-game strategy. PoliticusUSA echoes Rachel Maddow's call for the ideological left to start giving Obama some credit. And PZ Myers reminds us that the crazies never sleep.

From the Left lists who voted how in the Senate; FiveThirtyEight analyzes possible motives of Republicans who voted for repeal. West Virginia DINO Joe Manchin's decision not to vote at all is earning contempt from all sides. Prop 8 Trial Tracker looks at the next steps.

Liberal bloggers celebrate: Progressive Eruptions, Hello Mr. President, Mauigirl, Politics Plus, Oliver Willis, Wonkette, and doubtless many others who will post today.

On the right, Frum Forum seems sympathetic to repeal, but the comments thread here -- and at NRO and American Spectator -- suggest a right wing deeply divided between pro-repeal thinkers and the anti-repeal troglodyte element. Regulars at The Crossed Pond (libertarian) side with the former.

My own view: Once DADT has been gone for a while and everyone has gotten used to the fact of some soldiers being openly gay, and none of the predicted disasters have materialized, it will become difficult to find any politician (outside the hard-core fundie crowd) who wants to advertise the fact that he ever opposed repeal. But that won't stop them from being just as obstructionist, the next time an opportunity arises to block progress.

Update 1: A few more blogger reactions: Rmuse at PoliticusUSA, The Immoral Minority, and (on the right) Bungalow Bill.

Update 2: More from Skepchick, Mario Piperni, and 365gay. Right Wing Watch has a round-up of Christian Right reactions (found via Republic of Gilead, which has more).


Blogger Ahab said...

The arguments that LGBT soldiers would be a "distraction" is hollow. People in the military have been serving alongside others who are different from them for years. Unit cohesion depends on unit members being able to LOOK PAST their differencs and work effectively as a team. We'd be disgusted if a white soldier refused to serve alongside a Hispanic one, so why would we suffer a straight soldier who refused to serve alongside a gay servicemember?

Seriously, the homophobes need to grow up. I'm glad the DADT repeal measure got through the House and Senate, and I hope Obama signs it.

19 December, 2010 09:31  
Blogger magpie said...

That's an interesting remark re Alexander the Great...

Come to that, the Spartans routinely had homosexual liaisons as an enforced social norm, and their great stand at Thermopylae - via Steven Pressfields's "Gates of Fire" - is on the recommended reading list at Quantico, West Point and Annapolis.

20 December, 2010 01:48  
Blogger Ranch Chimp said...

Commie Tommie (aka Ranch Chimp)Greeting's Infodel!

I love how you open this posting Infodel ... as far as Alexander the Great and catching up with a couple thousand year's ... hilarious! :) Aint that called "missing the boat" or somethin? :)

Well ole Alexander may not be worthy of US military service in 21st century ... but worthy enough to praise in the history book's of their kid's ... opp's I did it again. :)

20 December, 2010 05:42  
Blogger Infidel753 said...

We'd be disgusted if a white soldier refused to serve alongside a Hispanic one,

Exactly so. In such cases it's long been clear that it's the bigots, not their targets, who are the problem. I guess people are starting to realize that in the case of gays as well.

Magpie: Forms of homosexuality were widely accepted in that society -- and in ancient Rome and Persia too, at least among the educated classes. Of course, that was before the Abrahamic religions became dominant.

RC: Well ole Alexander may not be worthy of US military service in 21st century ... but worthy enough to praise in the history book's of their kid's

They'll just be very careful not to mention Hephaistion or Bagoi.

20 December, 2010 06:42  
Blogger mendip said...

I would add a fair portion of the Prussian officer corps to the Spartan and Persian examples already mentioned. I don't know whether to be amused or disturbed by the arguments used against gays serving in the military. Anyone who was around in the mid-70's will remember the EXACT same points brought up against allowing women into the U.S. military academies, (and used again years later when it came time to attmept to open the Confederate versions - VMI and the Citadel). And if one goes back to the 40's and early 50's, they'll find the same bleatings used against Blacks being fully integrated into the military. Each time, it was an affront to morale, discipline, unit cohesion, the American Way, and god.

21 December, 2010 10:08  
Blogger Robert the Skeptic said...

There are a lot of volatile topics out there washing around... this one causes my eyes to glaze over. I just can't get excited about it either way. I am like that about the Arab-Israel conflict as well. I guess I pick my causes.

21 December, 2010 10:34  
Blogger Infidel753 said...

Mendip: I hadn't heard that about the Prussians, except insofar as every army in history presumably included some closeted gays. Given the morés of the time, I would assume that they were far from open about it, unlike the Greeks and their contemporaries.

It's true that resistance to progress always tends to sound alike, no matter which decade and which specific instance we're talking about.

RtS: Chacun à son goût.

21 December, 2010 16:04  

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