Why does the US insist on using homophobia as a weapon?

Why does the US insist on using homophobia as a weapon?

Baghdad : Iraq | May 27, 2010 at 2:28 AM PDT
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What good reason could the Department of Defense and the Pentagon have to push against a quick repeal of 'Don't Ask, Don't Tell'? It's certainly not the fact that the President, retired Generals, and the vast majority of Americans don't want it - they've all made it crystal clear that they do.

Let's take a trip down memory lane - stay with me, now - when the McCarthy Era was in full swing and J. Edgar Hoover was Queen of the FBI. Hoover was long rumored to be a homosexual, and it was apparently an open secret in D.C. Hoover spent his days sniffing out secret Commie Pinkos (with fellow closeted homo Roy Cohn), while wearing ladies' undies and evening wear for gay orgies at night., according to Richard Hack, author of "Puppetmaster: The Secret Life of J. Edgar Hoover"

Hoover wielded so much power in Washington, it makes one wonder just exactly what he kept in his stash of blackmail material on D.C.'s elite. He was so powerful, in fact, that not even three presidents could get rid of him - Harry Truman, John F. Kennedy, or Lyndon B Johnson. All three presidents considered Hoover's ouster a huge political risk, according to Hack.

Perhaps Hoover's legacy isn't so much that he was one of the most hateful (and feared) closeted homosexuals of all time, but that the government's bitterness over Hoover's reign of power over national security has left a lingering impression on the FBI, the CIA, and pretty much the entire Department of Defense, particularly the Pentagon.

Did you ever hear the story in the mid-1990's that the CIA was working on a so-called "Gay Bomb"? Kilian Meloy at the Boston Edge wrote about it today. Such a bomb would theoretically release a chemical compound that would render opposing troops so irresistibly horny that instead of raising their rifles to defend their nations, they would all turn ravenously gay and raise something else entirely to have wild, passionate sex with each other. "As an added bonus," Meloy writes, "the burst of gay sex would leave enemy troops emasculated with shame."

I'm not sure if that's Meloy's assessment or the CIA's, but do you really think ALL the guys would leave them feeling emasculated with shame? Some of the guys might actually feel quite liberated afterward. But I digress.

But Meloy's article, titled "Did the CIA Prep Gay Porn Videos of Bin Laden and Hussein", references an article by Jeff Stein of the Washington Post, who said that in 2003, as the US was preparing to invade Iraq, the CIA once more looked at gay ideas to demoralize the other side. This time, however, instead of a chemical compound they debated different falsified videos they might use, including a faked film that would purport to show Saddam Hussein and a male teen having sex.

Stein says one film was actually shot, "showing actors playing Osama Bin Laden and his cronies, sitting around a campfire swigging bottles of liquor and savoring their conquests with boys." The actors were drawn from 'some of us darker-skinned employees,' according to Stein's anonymous CIA source.

However, the CIA eventually realized such a campaign was ridiculous: “Saddam playing with boys would have no resonance in the Middle East -- nobody cares," another anonymous CIA informant told Stein. "Trying to mount such a campaign would show a total misunderstanding of the target. We always mistake our own taboos as universal when, in fact, they are just our taboos.”

Which begs the question - why exactly is the United States so obsessed with using homophobia as a weapon?

Religion is usually the excuse most drawn upon for homophobic beliefs, remarks, or attacks. But religion gets a bad rap, because not all religious people are homophobic. In fact, in the United States, most gay people self-identify as Christian. And even among the religious in the U.S., there is large and growing support for the rights of LGBTQ people. It seems only a small fringe of fanatics, who hide behind the veil of religion, are the ones who are, ironically, the most visible and vocal.

But aside from religion, why does the DoD remain so homophobic? Better question - why does Secretary of State Robert Gates remain so homophobic? He's the one pushing for a " Don't Ask, Don't Tell compromise bill". He's the one who proclaimed, just after being appointed by President Obama, that a repeal of DADT would probably never happen, but changed his tune after a personal sit down with his Commander-in-Chief.

Could it be that Robert Gates and his cronies at the DoD (who are all remnants of the Hoover era and the Bush Gulf Wars) are the visible, vocal lunatic fringe making the U.S. appear to be obsessed with homophobia? Could it be we're not as homophobic as we think? Or that the military is finding a lack of homophobia among it's younger ranks, but is determined nonetheless to keep it alive, to keep using it as a weapon?

Let's not forget, 'Don't Ask, Don't Tell' was itself a compromise bill to help then-President Bill Clinton realize his goal of allowing gays and lesbian to serve in the military. But It quickly turned into a gay witch hunt, leading to the discharge of over 13,000 honorable men and women. Compare that to Hoover's Commie witch hunt, his numerous interrogations, everyone's paranoia at the time of being put on a list as a potential Communist, and the controversial executions of Julius and Ethel Rosenberg.

Homophobia as a weapon won't go away until it is no longer useful as a weapon. It's happening every day - people are becoming more familiar about LGBT issues, such as our lack of equal rights. And LGBT people are finding more support from the president, who, for the second year in a row, will name the month of June National Gay Pride Month. No other president has ever done that before. It's pretty amazing when you think about it.

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klynchsf is based in San Francisco, California, United States of America, and is a Stringer on Allvoices.
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