Donald R. McClarey has a problem. Well, he probably has many problems, but this one is kind of all of our problem since McClarey wants to make an issue of it without actually using facts to back up his assertions. McClarey doesn’t like gays in the military. He recently wrote an op-ed in The American Catholic called “Obama’s Gay Military” in which he starts off with an apocryphal comment by some supposed gunnery sergeant which says “When I joined the military it was illegal to be homosexual, then it became optional and now it’s legal. I’m getting out before Obama makes it mandatory.”
McClarey’s beef right now is the fact that, according to one report, US soldiers in Afghanistan are using Craigslist in order to meet up and have sex with each other at their bases. These hook ups are, indeed, as pointed out by a Colorado newspaper, illegal under the Uniform Code of Military Justice. The military’s commanders forbade such hook up in the combat zones.
The newspaper also pointed out that the vast majority of the soldiers seeking these hook ups are men seeking other men. This also comes as the military is banning pornography on base.
Of course, you only have to look further down the article to catch that, and all McClarey appears to have read is the first paragraph because he goes on to write this rather inane paragraph:
Any officer or non-com who acts against this will be taking their career in their hands as it will surely be a strike against them in the eyes of the gay friendly powers that be. Therefore most of them will turn a blind eye to this as sexual relationships rip apart units and gays form an ever more powerful lavender mafia in the military.
Had McClarey read the whole article, he would have read that soldiers ‘have long solicited sex while overseas – both from local prostitutes and from each other.’ Colonel Dr. Elspeth Cameron Ritchie (ret), a former Army psychologist, offered that up to the Marine Corps Times along with stating that “When detached from home, without the ability to openly exercise relationships in a combat environment and with a fatalistic attitude, military members would be inclined to embrace risk-taking. These young men have high testosterone and, with the inability to quietly have a relationship, it is not surprising that they are willing to put themselves into that situation.”
Craigslist is just making this happen a lot faster.
In other words, this has been going on for a very long time and the repeal of DADT has nothing to do with it. Commanders probably turned a blind eye to it in the last decade because of the nature of the infraction and the need to retain as many soldiers as possible. As the military faces cut backs, they are taking this issue more seriously.
Of course, McClarey kind of doesn’t want to think about the wider picture- just vilifying gays.
Because his next thing is to talk about the “growing” problem of sexual assaults on male troops.
McClarey quotes First Lieutenant Adam Cohen, who was raped by a superior officer “It’s easy for some people to single out women and say: ‘There’s a small percentage of the force having this problem.’ No one wants to admit this problem affects everyone. Both genders, of all ranks. It’s a cultural problem.”
Of course, this is incorrect. Several sites, including LezGetReal, have noted the number of sexual assaults on male soldiers. Service Women’s Action Network (SWAN) has also pointed out that these assaults occur. The documentary Justice Denied deals with male sexual assaults on men in the military. Roughly 53% of the cases of sexual assault in the military are on men.
One infamous case involved disgraced Congressman Eric Massa (D-NY) who allegedly assaulted several men under his command while he was a captain in the navy. Massa is a Roman Catholic, just for the record.
So, why does the debate on sexual assaults in the military focus on women? McClarey notes one of them- women come forward more often then men. This is a cultural issue. Basically, the way our society sees men makes it nearly impossible for men to come forward to report being sexually assaulted. This is part of why pedophiles will target boys instead of girls. Boys are not taught strongly enough to come forward and report being molested.
These cultural attitudes also mean that it is easier to talk about sexual assaults on women than on men. Because of the societal impetus to protect women as helpless exists, it is easier to use women as the victims of sexual assault in order to sway people into doing something about it.
There is also the fact that, while it is true that 53% of the sexual assaults in the military are against men, that number represents a much lower number of men who have been assaulted in the military than women. Women make up only about 15% of the total military, but roughly one third of women in the military will be sexually assaulted (according to what I could find).
What is more, men who do report being sexually assaulted more often have their cases resolved rather than ignored, according to one report.
McClarey, of course, is ranting about the repeal of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell despite the fact that the repeal is likely why the spike in reported sexual assaults occurred. This is not why the assaults occurred, but rather the reporting.
Part of the reason why Eric Massa got away with sexually assaulting sailors under his command was because of DADT. They were afraid to come forward and report that their superior officer had assaulted them.
Of course, this whole screed from McClarey just has to do with his hatred of gays. He concludes with “When our military suffers a devastating loss in a future war, I guess we take consolation in the fact that while we may no longer have an effective military, we certainly have the gayest.”
Of course, he offers no rationale for why we lost in Vietnam, and our ‘victories’ in Iraq and Afghanistan were far from being total or even anywhere near actual. As for having the ‘gayest’ military in the world…Israel, the United Kingdom, Australia and Canada all allow lesbians, gays and bisexuals to serve openly, and did so long before the US did.
Which just makes me think that McClarey doesn’t care about facts standing in the way of spreading his hatred.