Wed, 14 March 2007
One of the many possible outcomes from the Democrats' control of the Congress of the United States of America may well be the repeal of the military's "Don't Ask. Don't Tell" policy.
Instituted by President Clinton after his efforts to remove the military's ban on openly gay servicemembers met with strong opposition, the policy was intended to stop servicemembers from being subjected to "witch hunts" if their superior officers suspected they were gay.
What has actually happened is that the military is dishonorably discharging thousands more servicemembers than it did prior to the policy. This has hurt the military, particularly as many of the discharged servicemembers were specialists in Arabic languages, medical personnel, and other vital support members. In other words, the people we need most at a time we are in the Middle East are being driven out by a policy that was supposed to stop that kind of thing from happening. Apparently, somebody didn't read the policy's "Dont Ask" provision too well?
Well, now that we have had some time to see that the policy has not worked, it is only logical that it is time to look at other options. The policy is broken, and it must be fixed or replaced.
Recently, Marine Sergeant Eric Alva (Ret.), the first servicemember wounded in the current Iraq war broke his silence and announced to the world that he was gay. He has since then joined the effort to repeal "Don't Ask. Don't Tell," and he seems the perfect person to join in these efforts. He looks like a poster-boy for the Marines, and yet had his orientation ever been known, he might likely have never been allowed to serve his country (and, ironically, he would never have been wounded in combat). His efforts, and the efforts of others have not been welcomed with open arms.
On Monday, General Peter Pace, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff of the armed forces, told the Chicago Tribune that he supports the ban on gay servicemembers, because he considers being gay to be "immoral." He actually went as far as to say that he likened it to having an adulterous affair with the spouse of another servicemember. Huh? In order to commit adultery, one or more of the people doing the deed must be married to somebody else. Unless they are from any state that recognizes same-sex marriage or civil unions, this is not possible with a same-sex couple, as the majority of state constitutions now ban legal recognition of a same-sex marriage.
This statement by Gen. Pace reveals an ugly truth: the hatred and discrimination that gays experience comes all the way from the top. While Gen. Pace may take time to change his attitude about gays (assuming he does at all), his hatred for gay people can not be allowed to write policy for the military. As far as we know, no gay people were ever responsible for Abu Ghiraib, Gitmo, or any of the atrocities that we have found were being done in the name of the United States. In fact, it was straight people every time, and the woman who became famous for posing in the Abu Ghiraib photos had sex with the man in charge and got pregnant out of wedlock. I wonder how THAT would register on the "immorality" scale of Gen. Pace?
I am a supporter of our men and women in uniform, and it follows that I would include the GLBTQ members as well. I support lifting the ban on the military. Much has changed in the last few years, and a recent poll showed that the majority of servicemembers polled said they did not believe that knowing a fellow servicemember was gay would have any impact on troop morale or that servicemember's ability to perform his/her duties.
One of my fellow podcasters, David Ippolito, is the host of the show I Love the Company. Every Wednesday he dedicates his episode to what he calls the "Wednesday Wakeup Call," where he discusses the current political situation in our world, usually featuring some area where things could be much better than they are. On this week's episode, David features the sound clip from Gen. Pace, and discusses the ridiculous nature of the general's comments. I would encourage any of you reading this blog entry to follow this link to listen to Episode 220 of I Love the Company, and then call in to David's voicemail line and leave comments. David is wanting to see how many people he can get to chime in with their feelings about the issue of gays in the military. He said no matter what your position, he wants to hear from you. So, give it a listen, and then give him an earful, because he does "love the company."
Thanks a bundle, David!
Category:Extras -- posted at: 12:28am EDT