Thursday, July 24, 2008

Gays in the Military

Hilzoy makes one of the best arguments for gays being allowed to openly serve in the military.

I imagine that it often happens that soldiers who are part of the same unit do not like one another. Sometimes, a soldier might even despise another member of his or her unit, or think that other soldier immoral or contemptible. And yet, when these feelings do not have to do with sexual orientation, we routinely expect soldiers to put their personal feelings aside and do their jobs. And when they don't, we assume that they, not the people they endanger, should be disciplined.

If, for instance, a soldier is racist, and cannot find a way to work with African-American soldiers, we do not discipline or expel the African-Americans. If a soldier dislikes another and cannot put her feelings aside and do her job, we do not punish the soldier she dislikes; we punish her. In all other cases, we assume that given a choice between two soldiers, one of whom is trying to complete his mission to the best of his ability, and one of whom is unable or unwilling to put his animosity aside and do his job, we choose the first. We expect this of our men and women in uniform, and we also expect that they will be given the training and the leadership they need to act like professionals.

I have never understood why it's different when gay men and lesbians enter the picture.

With any luck this appalling law will soon be repealed and gay people will be allowed to openly serve our country.

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