Thursday, June 24, 2010

"If a guy saves my ass, he sure as hell can look at it."

Marc Ambinder at The Atlantic offers a fascinating look at the current level of acceptance of gays in the military. You may be quite surprised at straight soldiers' attitudes, especially as one of Ambinder’s examples involves Special Forces. Plus, did we gays just lose an important end-DADT ally with McChrystal’s removal from command?*

Maybe McChrystal is unique in the special forces (SOF) community, but I tend to think not. In fact, having spent quite a bit of time recently with current and former special forces soldiers, I find that McChrystal's views on gays seem to be the rule rather than the exception. Given the traditional outline of the gays-in-the-military debate, one might think that the special forces soldiers, guys from traditional military families who spend unusual amounts of time in close quarters, would be the most opposed to having gays serve openly. My admittedly limited experience suggests that this is not the case. As one former member of a special missions unit put it to me recently, "It's really about competence. If you're competent, it doesn't matter who you are." And then, switching instantly from an analytical posture to a machismo mode, he said, "If a guy saves my ass, he sure as hell can look at it."

Read the rest; it actually offers hope.

*For the record, Obama really had no choice but to relieve McChrystal of his command. But one wonders what influence McChrystal may have had on the ongoing debate about DADT if he'd been able to stick around.

"McChrystal's Social Liberalism and the Integration of Gays in the Military" (The Atlantic)


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