• excathedra

    Just a note on historical inaccuracy and misleading writing.
    Koehl writes:
    There is just one noteworthy example of open homosexuality in military service—the Theban Sacred Band, 150 pairs of homosexual lovers who swore an oath to stand by each other to death (and who were wiped out by Alexander the Great at Cheironeia). So even fairly tolerant societies found homosexuality unacceptable in the army, for the same reason that women were unacceptable:  they introduced sexual tension into small group dynamics, undermining unit cohesion.
    The Battle of Cheironia in which the Sacred Band was “wiped out” in 338 BC was part of Philip II of Macedon’s decisive war with Thebes and Athens, not Alexander’s. Alexander may have taken part in the battle (he was 18 at the time) but his father was still king and leader of the battle.
    Koehn’s sentence placement may give the impression that the  Band was wiped out because “Alexander” (of all people, the lover of Hephaistion and Bagoas) “found homosexuality unacceptable in the army”.  This could not be true, since Philip, who actually led the battle, famously pronounced: “Perish any man who suspects that these men either did or suffered anything unseemly.”
    A minor point about “wiped out”. It is not clear whether all 300 men died, since excavations revealed only 254 skeletons. But the Band was no more after that.
    As well, there were also well known pairs of lovers among the Samurai for centuries. Like the Greeks, they were age-graded, with a younger and older man together.
    These points are not essential to the argument Koehn makes, of course, pro or con, and there is no room for such pair-bonded soldiers in the US military. But the inaccuracy irritated me.

  • http://bookwormroom.com Bookworm

    Thanks for the accurate info, excathedra.  I agree with you that this kind of inaccuracy is irritating.

  • 11B40

    My analysis of the article’s focus is both shorter and longer.  For me, it starts with who’s pushing these two ideas and my assessment is not friends of the military.  The other aspect, which the article does not address but is crucial to me is the abolishment of the military draft.
    The women in the military push came from the leftist/feminist end of the political spectrum in another ill-thought subterfuge to bolster their “equality of the sexes” argument.  The same groups who caviled about “old men sending young men to war” during the Viet Nam war had no problem altering their political course to have “old women sending young women to war” because they knew it wouldn’t be many of their daughters who would be safely tucked away in the colleges and careers to which their legacies entitled them.  I was working for the Navy back in the late seventies as a civilian printer.  One day, I was checking out the copy provided for a manual we were to print when I came across an illustration of the Navy’s “pregnancy uniform”.  At that point, I realized that the military had seriously gone off the track.  Nowadays, we have the joy of families with both adult members in active duty service.  Can our Congressionally-approved military leaders really believe that this is somehow advantageous to our military?  Or is it that it’s advantageous to our rulers?  I’m pretty much a “you don’t eat your seed corn” type of guy.  Women in the military at the current levels (approx. 14%) is a disaster waiting to happen.  Jessica Lynch of recent Iraq war fame was about the same size as the rucksack I carried as a combat infantryman.
    As for the homosexuals, this is just more of the continuing need of their political leaders to bend society to fit the needs of their sexual disorientation.  They’re okay, it’s society that’s all messed up and the sooner we let them re-order it the better off we’ll all be.  Must be the insight of the oppressed or some such.  I read an article by a guy named Bernard on the “American Thinker” a while back.  His analysis dealt with what he called “sexualized zones” and “non-sexualized zones” and the need for social taboos to keep  them separate.  Maybe, someday soon, we will have a “Military Pride Parade” to look forward to.  Or maybe a military “Up Your Alley Fair.”  But please don’t worry or pay too much attention.  Like our Congressionally-approved military leaders, try humming that old Beatles’ song, “We Can Work It Out”.
    Underlying both these headaches is the fundamental problem that started way back when our Congressional “brill-yentos” decided to do away with the military draft.  When a society goes on record to tell its menfolk that they don’t have an individual responsibility to step up and protect the society that gives them succor, it has ignored thousands of years of human experience.  The whole “volunteer” military concept that was going to be so much better needs that 14% women to fill its seriously undermanned ranks.  Ask yourself, “What would the military do without them?”  How would our Congressionally-approved military leaders work that one out.
    When I first went to Viet Nam, I had some trepidation.  When I went to the bush to join my infantry company, my fear level moved upwards.  But, after I was wounded (and they weren’t trying to wound me) and I went back to my company, that fear level was way up, because now I had seen the beast.  In our very recent history, we have rotated our military volunteers in and out combat zones with increasingly shorter rest periods due to the shortage of personnel.  Since 2001, I have watched our political and military rulers dodge their responsibilities to protect our country and our troops adequately.  Yet, there is no media discussion about re-instituting the military draft.  We do have the time and the ink and the paper to use to try to make a silk purse out of the sow’s ear that our current military policy requires.   These two issues are purposeful distractions.  I am convinced that those who propose and defend these ideas want our country brought to its knees.
    One of the fundamentals of my work managing printing companies, is what I refer to as eliminating problems, kind of a corollary to the “digging holes” paradigm.  Well, combat is management to the max.  Anyone who thinks it wise to make changes because the resulting problems can be managed is not thinking at all.