Sunday, February 3, 2008

DADT Proponents Dismissive of Our Allies

Many advocates for the ban against homosexuals in the military blithely dismiss the evidence from our Allies who allow gays to serve in their forces without a breakdown in "unit cohesion". One such example came from Congress Duncan Hunter on a recent 60 Minutes program, that was very insulting to the sacrifices our Allies have made in both Afghanistan and Iraq. Over on the forums at Military.com, I came across this dismissive attitude last month and below is my response (slightly edited for clarity):

The Armed Forces of our Allies that have an 'open 'gay'' policy have not had their forces engaged in anywhere near the combat violence that our forces have been engaged in.

No one said they had been. None of them are able to project force like the United States is capable of, but this doesn't mean their contribution is anything to ignore or dismiss.

Their policies have not been tested in the prolonged exposure to fire that ours have.

That's simply not true. I will grant you that for countries like the UK it was on a much smaller scale, but proportionally they have suffered as many casualties as we have - mostly from hostile fire. In fact, the source you yourself provided indicates otherwise so let's look at the numbers for the 3 countries that have been mentioned the most:

Iraq

United Kingdom:

Hostile fire – 132 (75.9%)
Non-combat related – 42 (24.1%)

Australia:

Hostile fire – 2 (100%)
Non-combat related – 0 (0%)

Canada has no troops in Iraq.

Afghanistan

Non-Afghani Coalition forces are estimated to be around 43,000 of which 8,000 are from the United States. I couldn’t find a breakdown by country for the rest. As for casualties…

Australia: 4 (all hostile fire)
Canada: 73 (60 hostile; 5 friendly fire; 8 non-combat related)
United Kingdom: 86 (60 hostile fire; 26 non-combat related)
United States: 473 (277 hostile fire; 196 non-combat related)

I don't have the time to find a reliable source on the numbers of troops they have contributed to both theaters since 2001. Perhaps someone can do so and give us further percentage breakdowns.

The governments of our allies haven’t seen fit to make anything close to the commitment in boots on the ground in the dangerous places of these two countries.

Yep, makes one wonder why we bother with things like NATO sometimes. It's no secret that most of Europe is incapable of projecting force overseas and what little they bother to send have to rely upon us to get there. Yet even in that situation they have proven to be scrappy fighters when unleashed, especially the Brits, and the presence of gays hasn't hindered them.

If and when they do start taking casualties like we have in Iraq and Afghanistan then they can begin to gauge how their ‘open gay policy’ has contributed to the morale of their forces.

You said that you were there in 2003, did you forget about what the Brits at least did in support from the early days? I grant you that our forces vastly outnumbered them, but are you really saying that they haven't fought with us in Afghanistan? You can dismiss the Brits as being mere "garrison soldiers" all you like, but that's total BS and you know it. We relied upon them in several battles and operations which if the unit cohesion argument was valid, makes our commanders positively stupid for doing so. After all, if the presence of gays eroded unit cohesion, one would think that our allying with the Brits would have endangered our soldiers. Somehow though, their gay soldiers wasn't a factor. One wonders why...

2 comments:

pedegars said...

The people who think other countries who let gays serve openly basically have their troops sit around doing their nails should look at Israel. It has had gay military acceptance for years and their troops undergo some of the most intense training of any country and every inductee is prepared for the real possibility of kidnap & torture (and by people who think the Geneva Convention instructions are more akin to country club regulations). I think their military is a model for how modern military organizations can be effective and inclusive in the 21st century.

John said...

Agreed. Of course there are other countries that are fighting with us now and are not just "garrison soldiers". This would include the UK, Australia and Canada - all of which allows gays to openly serve in their militaries.