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Reform

some people want to reform the military -- make gays completely welcome.

these same people claim US society in general is homophobic and must reform.

so, question: shouldn't the military be the last thing to reform?

why would you screw with such a mission-critical system, where life and death are on the line, which is in active use, when you haven't even gotten your changes to be implemented and prove their merit in a lower pressure scenario? shouldn't we reform things piecemeal, starting with easier and safer changes? then continue if we have success, and not if we don't (assuming in advance which reforms will be successful is irrational. we should be open minded and pay attention to how well it actually works).

are people who don't know anything about sane methods of reform qualified to reform anything at all?

Elliot Temple on December 14, 2009

Comments (3)

IMO this post doesn't address the retarding effect that 'Don't Ask, Don't Tell' (DADT) has. Its high visibility makes it more difficult to even TRY 'lower-pressure' reforms.

Let's say I'm in New Jersey, and want to get to the top of the Empire State Building. To do this, I need to take the ferry, the subway, and the elevator. But I can't 'play it safe' by doing the easiest bit first.

...okay, this metaphor breaks down quickly, but you see my point. :)

Also, what are the odds of a mission-critical failure being caused by repealing DADT? Yes, good point, to 'assum[e] in advance which reforms will be successful is irrational'. But I would still like to try and anticipate possible benefits and possible problems. You effectively are arguing that if DADT were repealed tomorrow, serious problems might result. My problem is, I can't actually think of *any*. What do you have in mind?

Um, finally, I feel obliged to point out that your last sentence is a textbook example of begging the question.

e at 11:38 PM on January 20, 2010 | #1966
> My problem is, I can't actually think of *any*.

It could lower morale and damage camaraderie. Some social interactions guys do are kinda homophobic and without them they will need to find new replacement interactions and they might fail to do that or the new ones might be less effective at bonding.

If you can't think of any potential downsides, or find any on Google, you aren't trying.


The last sentence spells out the conclusion/meaning of the previous arguments. Writing a conclusion is not begging the question.

Elliot at 11:47 PM on January 20, 2010 | #1967
Sorry - I was defining 'serious problem' as 'a problem with a significant chance to significantly impair the ability of the military to defend our country and its citizens'. I can certainly use Google to find *potential* downsides - remember when Rev Falwell blamed the gays for 9/11 and Hurricane Katrina? And true, both of those events were pretty bad. So maybe...

But okay, morale. More than a decade ago, there were studies which concluded the impact on morale would be negligible and temporary. Of course studies are only of limited use, but they're supported by the outcome of racial and sexual integration.

And yes, I see now how your final sentence was intended as a summary.

e at 2:18 AM on January 21, 2010 | #1968

What do you think?

(This is a free speech zone!)