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McChrystal's Social Liberalism and the Integration of Gays in the Military


Well-known member
Dec 26, 2009
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Political Leaning
Slightly Conservative
The fact, revealed in Rolling Stone, that Gen. Stanley McChrystal voted for President Obama may well have been a planted nugget designed to show how receptive McChrystal was to Obama's worldview. But several people who worked for, and continue to work for, Gen. McChrystal say that it's true. McChrystal told his subordinates about his ballot choice in November of 2008. More surprisingly, this choice did not surprise them. McChrystal was a hard core operator, aggressive as hell, a JSOC ninja -- but he was also a social liberal who tolerated, nay, welcomed gay people into his inner circle, who disdained Fox News, and who grew increasingly frustrated with his reputation as Dick Cheney's hired assassin.

Maybe McChrystal is unique in the special forces (SOF) community, but I tend to think not. In fact, having spent quite a bit of time recently with current and former special forces soldiers, I find that McChrystal's views on gays seem to be the rule rather than the exception. Given the traditional outline of the gays-in-the-military debate, one might think that the special forces soldiers, guys from traditional military families who spend unusual amounts of time in close quarters, would be the most opposed to having gays serve openly. My admittedly limited experience suggests that this is not the case. As one former member of a special missions unit put it to me recently, "It's really about competence. If you're competent, it doesn't matter who you are." And then, switching instantly from an analytical posture to a machismo mode, he said, "If a guy saves my ass, he sure as hell can look at it."


"Oh, this guy we haven't seen for a while is in town, a really good buddy, but his partner is also in town and he wants to see him. So we were just complaining that he wanted to see his partner rather than hang with us."

So here's my take on the conversation:

You had two straight soldiers, bantering as they would in the barracks, the homo-social-machismo overtone, the negging involving gay sex acts ... in a conversation that validated the gay partnership of their friend. They wanted to see their friend.


McChrystal's Social Liberalism and the Integration of Gays in the Military - Politics - The Atlantic

Doesn't seem that there are many practical limitations to having gays in the military.
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