Although the Libertarian party has often pressed Congress on the repeal of the military’s Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell policy, a recent internal email from one of the party’s Board Members, Norm Olsen of Region 4, argues against the repeal, stating that, “The heterosexual soldier has a right to be free from unwanted sexual advances.” Here’s the full text of his “P.S.” remarks from a copy of the leaked email (all errors his own):
PS> This is written by a Libertarian individual who believes the that the ‘Don’t ask, don’t tell’ policy is fine and appropriate. I realize this will ruffle a whole flock of feathers. Please hear me out.
My son serves in the military, and is currently deployed in Afghanistan. While joining the military was his choice, the conditions of his deployment are not of his choice. With whom he is deployed is not his choice. I suggest that he and all other heterosexuals who have volunteered to serve for whatever reason have a right to be free from unwanted sexual advances. Under normal conditions, he could separate himself from such advances, or physically defend himself from such advances. Neither is appropriate or applicable in the combat situation; especially under those conditions where his physical safety is in jeopardy; specifically those case where he is dependent upon others for his survival.
The heterosexual soldier has a right to be free from unwanted sexual advances. It is said that the homosexual has a right to serve his country. In the ‘you and me alone in a foxhole situation’, you have two rights in conflict. You must solve to the highest level of morality. In the case of the heterosexual soldier, the morality is ‘I own my own body’. In the case of the gay soldier, the right is ‘I have a right to serve’. Which right holds the higher moral ground. No question in my mind.
The ‘Don’t ask,. don’t tell’ policy is a comprise here. If non-heterosexual individuals do not exhibit homosexual behavior in military situations, no one cares what their sexual proclivities are. If, however, they do insist on exhibiting sexual behavior in situations where such is militarily inappropriate, the right to serve loses to the higher moral ground: the right of those in a situation not of their choosing to own their own body. It could very well be that in certain cases this is not the manner in which the ‘Don’t’ ask, don’t tell’ policy is implemented, but improper implementation in certain cases does not invalidate the policy as a whole.
This is simply protecting the rights of the heterosexual soldier to be free from unwanted sexual advances in situations over which the heterosexual soldier has absolutely no choice or control; the only alternative being the firing squad for desertion. Further, the ‘Don’t ask, don’t tell’ policy is fairly liberal. Homosexuals are free to join the military, serve their country, and to improve their lives using the many benefits offered by the government to those who serve in the military. Heterosexuals are entitled to the same rights and benefits, without having to give up their right to own their own bodies.
Mr. Olsen’s statements are based upon a lot of assumptions/stereotypes. For example, he assumes that his son is so attractive to gay men that they cannot resist the urge to continually badger him with sexual advances. He also stereotypes homosexuals (and in his story he appears to specifically target gay men) by indicating that they will “exhibit homosexual behavior in military situations” because they do not have the ability to control themselves.
Apparently, Mr. Olsen is unaware of the current statistics regarding sexual abuse/assault in the military or that the Department of Defense developed the Sexual Assault Prevention and Response Program to confront the problems that currently exist. In fact, U.S. Secretary of Defense Robert Gates made this announcement about sexual assault in the military (even though the U.S. Military doesn’t currently allow openly gay people to serve):
The Department has a no-tolerance policy toward sexual assault. This type of act not only does unconscionable harm to the victim; it destabilizes the workplace and threatens national security.
Now, if Mr. Olsen’s complaints weren’t already a serious problem in our military would Mr. Gates needed to have address the problem? Would an agency such as the Sexual Assault Prevention and Response Program need to exist? No.
In 2009, there were 3,230 reports of sexual assault involving service members. That’s very nearly 9 assaults per day! A whopping 89% of all reported cases of sexual assault were made by women in the military, in spite of the fact that women make up only about 20% of the U.S. military. Of the total reported sexual assaults, only 2% were committed by female personnel.
Education goes a long way Mr. Olsen, discrimination goes nowhere.
H/T to reader, Brian Miller, for the tip.
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