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Argument: Gays in the military undermine unit cohesion and morale

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John McCain in a Letter to Servicemembers Legal Defense Network, April 16, 2007: "[DADT] unambiguously maintains that open homosexuality within the military services presents an intolerable risk to morale, cohesion, and discipline….I believe the polarization of personnel and breakdown of unit effectiveness is too high a price to pay for well-intentioned but misguided efforts to elevate the interests of a minority of homosexual servicemembers above those of their units. Most importantly, the national security of the United States, not to mention the lives of our men and women in uniform, are put at grave risk by policies detrimental to the good order and discipline which so distinguish America’s Armed Services. For these reasons, which have nothing to do with my personal judgments about homosexual behavior, I remain opposed to the open expression of homosexuality in the U.S. military."


1981 Department of Defense policy statement on gay ban in the military (DOD Directive 1332.14 (Enlisted Administrative Separations), January, 1981): Homosexuality is incompatible with military service. The presence in the military environment of persons who engage in homosexual conduct or who, by their statements, demonstrate a propensity to engage in homosexual conduct, seriously impairs the accomplishment of the military mission. The presence of such members adversely affects the ability of the armed forces to maintain discipline, good order, and morale; to foster mutual trust and confidence among service members; to ensure the integrity of the system of rank and command; to facilitate assignment and worldwide deployment of service members who frequently must live and work in close conditions affording minimal privacy; to recruit and retain members of the armed forces; to maintain the public acceptability of military service; and to prevent breaches of security.


James Wallace. "The Military's Ban Against Homosexuals Should Remain". The Complete Heretic. July 25, 2009: "Military units are worse than small towns. Everyone was aware of the situation. My roommates' affair had pushed our unit out of its normal rhythms. The feeling of trust had been violated. My roommates became the focus of unit discontent.

The presence of known homosexuals is disruptive to the good order and discipline of military units. When my roommates became a couple, they ceased to be members of our unit in a social and emotional sense. They became so obsessed with one another and their relationship that they couldn't or wouldn't fulfill their responsibilities to the rest of us. Their commitment to one another negated the required loyalty to the Army and to their fellow soldiers. They willfully violated the regulations and policies of an organization that they freely joined. Not only were they abusive to me, they were defensive and confrontational with other members of our unit. They acted as though we and the Army were the ones who were wrong. For our part, we others couldn't and wouldn't accept their relationship. This exacerbated the situation and turned it into them against us. This state of affairs was intolerable."


"Barack Obama's Military Adviser Says to Stick With Gay Ban." US News and World Report. October 31, 2008 - Retired Air Force Gen. Merrill McPeak, who backed Obama early in the primaries and lent him credibility on national security, tells Whispers the ban should stay.

McPeak says he wants Obama to stick with "don't ask, don't tell," a compromise the general helped hammer out with the newly elected President Clinton when McPeak sat on the Joint Chiefs of Staff in 1993. The policy lets gays serve as long as they keep their sexuality private.

McPeak answered with an abrupt "no" when asked if he supports Obama's plan. "The issue is unit cohesion in combat units," says McPeak, a former fighter pilot. "I think with combat units the question of cohesion is crucial. It is a war-winner. . . . My judgment is declared homosexuality in combat units will not contribute to unit cohesion. In fact, as near as I can tell, it would be inimical to it."


Robert Maginnis. "Gays in the Military Debate". Human Events. October 4, 2007 - In civilian life, no one would lump drug use, obesity and homosexuality in the same category. But in the military, they are all factors that affect the bottom line: unit cohesion and combat effectiveness. So they have to be dealt with in similar ways.

Military service requires a unique blend of skills, ethics, culture, and bonding to ensure an effective fighting force. Soldiers must be constantly available for worldwide deployment to a combat environment. There is often no escape from this structured environment for weeks and sometimes months on end. Active service places demands and constraints upon its soldiers, not the least of which are bathing and sleeping in close quarters.

The uniqueness of military life knows few bounds. It begins on the first day of boot camp and continues until the soldier is discharged. Their conduct is subject to the Uniform Code of Military Justice at all times -- on and off base and on and off duty.

Combat effectiveness grows in this unique medium by building ready and cohesive units. These units are built and sustained through constant and close associations over long periods. Unquestioned trust and confidence are essential to them. They are sustained on a diet of fairness and absence of favoritism.

Cohesion is the indispensable glue that holds units together. It’s the single most important factor in a unit’s ability to succeed on the battlefield. In 1993, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff General Colin Powell told Congress:

To win wars, we create cohesive teams of warriors who will bond so tightly that they are prepared to go into battle and give their lives if necessary for the accomplishment of the mission. … We cannot allow anything to happen which would disrupt that feeling of cohesion within the force.

Sexual tensions and sex-based favoritism in intimate settings destroy cohesion, whether they involve opposite- or same-sex attraction. If we respect women’s need for privacy from men, then we ought to respect the same need on the part of heterosexuals with regard to homosexuals. Protecting privacy in a military with open homosexuality would necessitate recognizing essentially four sexes and would severely disrupt units.

The military has successfully put soldiers from very diverse backgrounds into long term close quarters situations. Behavior, especially sexual behavior that deviates from the norm, undercuts the cohesion of the group. Therefore, most military professionals consider such behavior detrimental to the development and maintenance of cohesive units.


Robert Maginnis. "Gays in the Military Debate". Human Events. October 4, 2007 - "Behavior, especially sexual behavior that deviates from the norm, undercuts the cohesion of the group. Therefore, most military professionals consider such behavior detrimental to the development and maintenance of cohesive units."


John Luddy. "The Military Gay Ban: Why Don't Ask, Don't Tell Don't Work". Heritage Foundation, Executive Memorandum #359. July 1, 1993] - 1) Unit cohesion is weakened. [...] Unit cohesion is the social bond that gives rise to that intangible feeling which causes a man to dive on a grenade to save his buddies, or to risk his life simply because his leader tells him to. It requires the soldier to place the needs of the unit ahead of his self-interest and individual identity. He will do this, however, only if he trusts that his comrades and commanders are doing likewise. While cohesion requires a strong degree of mutual affection, sexual emotions are rooted strongly in self-interest. They can be distracting and even disruptive, and often lie beneath the surface, not indicated by any overt action or statement.


Rudolph Giuliani said on CNN on April 4, 2007: "I think [DADT], we should leave alone. We are in a time of war…When we get out of the crisis, when we get out of the situation, we can consistently review it and look at it -- but it shouldn't be done right now. It would be a very big mistake to re-raise that issue right now when we are dealing not just with Iraq, but this entire war on terror."

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