Realism: The practice of accepting a situation as it is and being prepared to deal with it accordingly.

Saturday, March 20, 2010

On Gay Soldiers and Negative Charisma

Queer as a three-speed walking stick and as bent as a nine bob note.

By Toby Young from the Telegraph, u.k.:

"I was shocked by General John Sheehan’s remarks about “open homosexuality” in the Dutch Army being to blame for the 1995 Srebrenica massacre. (He was testifying in the Senate against President Obama’s plans to end the ban on allowing gays to serve openly in the US military.) Not shocked by his bigotry, but by his ignorance of his own profession. Isn’t the General aware that some of the finest soldiers in the history of warfare have been “openly homosexual”? As Churchill himself said, the three time-honoured traditions of the Royal Navy are rum, buggery and the lash.

I’ll give just one example here, a personal hero of mine: Orde Charles Wingate. Born in 1903, he was educated at Charterhouse and the Royal Military Academy, Woolwich, before being commissioned in the Royal Artillery in 1923. He had what I call “negative charisma” — almost everyone he came into contact with took an instant dislike to him. “As he shambled from one [office] to another, in his creased, ill-fitting uniform and out-of-date Wolseley helmet, carrying an alarm clock instead of wearing a watch, and a fly-whisk instead of a cane, I could sense the irritation and resentment he left in his wake,” wrote Wilfred Thesiger, who served under him in Abyssinia. Thesiger, incidentally, was as gay as they come, yet he won a DSO after forcing 2,500 Italian troops to surrender to him." More fun Wingate history

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