Night Owl Mk. II

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Boldfaced statements are parts of the original essay (or a subsequent reply) to which the respondent has directed his comments.

Italicized/emphasized comments
prefaced by (R) are those of the respondent and are presented unedited.

My replies appear under the respondent's comments in blue text and are prefaced by my initials (MB).

(R) hey, I really like your homepage, it has lot of material for arguing.
(MB) *grin* That's the whole point. I love a good debate and opportunities for them have diminished greatly since the practical demise of the BBS.

(R) You seem to say there is no way that an accurate study of performances of gays in the military can be done, since there is no identification of sexual orientation on the evaluation reports. I concur with that. Moreover, it seems that, just because gays are not openly allowed in the military, there is no way we can make statistics on them, because we do not know really know who is gay and who isn't. or, better, any statistics we are going to make is going to suffer of the problem of biased sampling, and therefore bound to produce insignificant results.
(MB) I think you're merging two separate arguments into one that reaches a conclusion that is considerably different from what I was trying to state. Let me break it down...
    First, my original comment addressed a claim that gays tend to rate "above average" on their evaluations. My rebuttal was on two points. One is that there is no identification of "gay" or "straight" on those evaluations so accurate data is impossible to obtain in this case. The other is that with the way the evaluation system works, almost *everybody* ends up rating as "above average". Therefore, trying to use this to claim that gays (or anybody else, for that matter) are "good soldiers" has no real meaning.
    Now, that doesn't mean that meaningful statistics or conclusions can *not* be reached about the service records and abilities of gays. However, just as with any job, one must use the proper tools. These tools primarily include the numerous studies that have been done on the effects and records of gays in the military. These studies have always found that gays have a higher rate of disciplinary infractions, cost the military more in medical treatment expenses, and are disruptive influences in units to a much higher degree than are heterosexual soldiers.

(R) if this is true, how can you make any of these statements:
o) The evidence is overwhelming that their presence causes more harm than good,
o) Homosexuality is just one of the many things that have been conclusively shown to adversely affect the mission.
o) Homosexuality is only one of numerous things that disqualify somebody from military service

(MB) In the first two cases, numerous studies conducted over three decades have always reached these conclusions. The last statement is directly from the Military Personnel Procurement Manual and is not a statistical matter.

(R) It seems that at this point you really have to substantiate those statements, and I think it would be only fair if you would tell us where you got these data, and how they can be significant, since we do not know how to collect an unbiased sample.
(MB) How many citations would you like? I have a bibliography of at least 200 publications, scientific studies and court cases that provide the solid support for the statements I have made.

(R) I am led to think that the issue of gay in the military arises out of ignorance, unjustified fear and prejudice. I honestly think that your arguments are not strong enough to support your thesis, and you may want to provide more quantitative data.
(MB) It's certainly anyone's right to dispute my conclusions. However, there is more than enough support for them and precious little in the way of objective facts to dispute them. It's easy to proclaim "prejudice" or "fear" on an issue such as this, but very difficult to support such claims.
    On the other hand, it's hard to claim that gay activists are being honest in their efforts. The AIDS Action Council protests against HIV testing in the military. Gay activist authors have urged gays to attempt to enlist in the military because of the medical benefits they can get. Books published by those who have been booted out of the military for homosexuality make it clear that the individuals value being gay more than being a soldier. On and on it goes... I really can't see how anyone can claim "fear" or "prejudice" are at the heart of any argument against allowing gays to serve in the military.

(R) I served in the italian navy as an officer (lieutenant) so I know what I am talking about and I have seen no signs of those disfunctional gay people you seem to have seen, starting from myself. I am a navy officer, I am an helicopter pilot, and I am a scientists with a very good reputation (feel free to ask around). I challenge you to find someone who could say that I am disfunctional:
(MB) Rather than get into anything personal (which I have no way to verify), let me use this opportunity to bring up a point about US allies that permit homosexuals to serve in their militaries. First, those countries allow gays to serve since their lack of available manpower will not permit otherwise. However, that does not mean that gays are desirable to them or serve without incident or restriction.
    Germany allows gays to serve, but their military regulations do not allow them to be promoted. Israel allows gays to serve, but refers openly gay service members to mental health officers and considers those soldiers to be security risks. Even in the very permissive society of the Netherlands there are problems. A 1990 study by the Royal Netherlands Navy found that gay sailors can drastically impair the working and living environment on ships.
    In Britain, one of four NATO nations that ban homosexuals from military service, men serve together for an entire career. Homosexuality in such regiments is considered to be "devastating to unit cohesion".

(R) when I left the navy they asked me to stay, without asking me whom I slept with. by the way, at that time I slept with girls, does that qualify me as straight? no, it doesn't: sexual behavior is one thing, and sexual orientation is another (you seem to assume this in your discussion about sodomy law) The military seem not to understand this, and they seem happy as long as you make up with girls, refusing to acknowledge the fact that sexuality is much more complicated than figuring out where you stick you penis into.
(MB) The US military is proscribing behaviors -- not sexuality. As far as pure sex acts go, heterosexuals can be charged and penalized for the same offenses that homosexuals can. Gay activists view those regulations and try to claim that they are "anti-gay". That, however, is akin to claiming that regulations against rape are "anti-male". Just because one particular demographic group is inherently more likely to commit a given offense does not mean that the regulations are targeted against that group.
There's much more going on here than simple (and unfounded) prejudice. It's too bad that the activists can't see the forest for the sake of their favorite trees.

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