by digby

Greenwald, finds the very serious Michael O'Hanlon opining on the lifting of DADT:

Michael O'Hanlon of the Brookings Institute said the real test will be in the barracks, with the rank-and-file members of the military.
"We can talk about this delicately or we can just be fairly direct," O'Hanlon said. "There are a lot of 18-year-old, old-fashioned, testosterone-laden men in the military who are tough guys. They're often politically old-fashioned or conservative; they are not necessarily at the vanguard, in many cases, of accepting alternative forms of lifestyle."

Glenn makes three excellent points about this comment: O'Hanlon sounds like the moral majority circa 1980, his arguments are the same as those used against racial integration and as a leading chickenhawk he is not in a position to argue with the military leadership, who are now supporting the lifting of the ban.

I just wanted to add one more point: when was the last time he talked to an 18 year old? Young people are far less likely to be homophobic than anyone else in society, not more and I don't see why the 18 year olds in the military would be substantially different. Here's a polling memo from the Pew Trusts:

Young Americans show strong levels of support for tolerance and equality toward homosexuals, and majorities say gays and lesbians should be able to form legal civil unions and get legally married, according to a new national survey of 15-25 year olds. And young people overwhelmingly support equal protection when it comes to housing, employment, and hate crimes. By six-to-one margins, American youth support gay rights and protections related to housing, employment, and hate crimes and those sentiments are held by all ideological, partisan, racial, geographic, and religious groups. One out of two respondents said they know someone who is gay; knowing a gay person has a significant impact on attitudes.

“The breadth of overall support demonstrates that young adults are doing more than showing simple support for fairness and tolerance toward homosexuals,” according to a report on the survey issued by Lake Snell Perry, which conducted the survey. “For them, these values transcend the realm of gay issues and have become part of their larger view of the way America should look.


Contrary to conventional wisdom, African American and Latino youth are more supportive of extending equal protections to gays on housing, employment, and hate crimes than whites. And majorities of these young people, although less intense, support civil unions, marriage, and adoption.

Majorities of Republican, conservative, and Born-Again Christian youth also support protections on housing, employment, and hate crimes, although they oppose gay civil unions, marriage, and adoption.

“These findings compliment other research we’ve done showing that young people are more socially tolerant than older generations,” said Peter Levine, CIRCLE’s Deputy Director. “This survey adds clear and detailed evidence that the DotNet Generation is the most tolerant and respectful of diversity in American history.”

It would seem that O'Hanlon's dreamy "18-year-old, old-fashioned, testosterone-laden men in the military who are tough guys" are actually very unlikely to  hate gays. He's just going to have to figure out how to think about those young warriors in a way which doesn't require them to be straight and homophobic.

If the head of the joint chiefs believes that this is wrong and finally says that it's time for the military to adjust, the 18 year olds are going to be the least of his problems. And thank gawd for that.