Should We Have an All-Gay Military?

That would be fine with me if military experts and experienced fighters on the ground came to believe that an all-gay force would bring the best possible combination of lethality, endurance and courage in combat. Likewise, I would support  an all-female force, an all-male force, an all-black force, or an all-fill-in-the-blank force if those troops made up a superior fighting machine.

Why? Because, at the risk of being tedious, that, at bottom, is what the military is for–fighting. It is not primarily a jobs program; it is not primarily a vehicle for advancing causes, however worthy; it is not primarily a giant, green-clad social service and village- reconstruction organization.

Yes, the military may serve those goals secondarily, and sometimes it should,  but we can never lose sight of the reality that in this fallen world, the military’s main raison d’etre is “to break things and kill people, ” in Colin Powell’s phrase.

It would be wonderful if,  starting this afternoon,  no military ever again broke things or killed people, but until the dawn of that peaceable kingdom, force is a reality.

Having never served in the military, I’m more deferential to what the troops and the brass want than are many of my noncombatant pals. If the people wearing those boots on the ground say that it’s time to integrate openly gay men and women into the service, and their presence will be a net plus in accomplishing military goals, that’s fine with me. If they say let’s go just a bit slower just a bit longer, again, I defer.


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