Wednesday, June 2, 2010

"Don't Ask, Don't, Tell" - Don't Get Me Started

This is a commentary on the Universal Life Church's article:  "DADT Repeal, Military Chaplaincies, and Religious Conscience."
It can be read at:

It's really time for the US to join the rest of its NATO allies in letting gay and lesbian service members have the equality they've EARNED in every single war since the inception of the nation.

We're a decade behind 25 of our allies, and the same tired arguments against inclusion were used when Truman integregated the military in 1948.   A cadre of retired generals rails with outrage against the notion of "those people" having to live, sleep, eat, and shower with the regulars.  The communal shower element, especially, has been raised as a specious and speculative topic of concern.

Our allies already know what our own brass are only now pretending to discover:  GLBT personnel are already serving (with honor) - and have been for decades. Why deny participation by a group that's the first to be "stop-lossed" in time of war? Replacing a skilled translator, interpreter, or special forces unit leader with an ill-equipped replacement certainly erodes the unit cohesion and morale.

The present situation is monstrous.  We are fighting a war against extremist terror in Iraq and Afghanistan.  Pakistani and Yemeni fanatics continue to export operatives targeting the American homeland.  We need every qualified service member to continue fighting for our freedom at home. Continuing to discard some of our best military personnel under these conditions creates the kind of chaos that our enemies relish. They, too, exclude LGBT people from serving; they kill them. We're a shade more compassionate: we discharge them. Until recently, we gave them "dishonorable" discharges that created barrier to their civilian employment.

All this aside, our troops deserve the best. Disrupting their mission by removing key personnel does not help them. In fact, it's tantamount to giving aid and comfort to our enemies.

The military members we've discarded recently have spoken out. The majority would gladly re-enlist again for one reason:  to serve their country.

We would do well to consult our closest allies, especially the United Kingdom, which eliminated its own ban in 2000. We can learn from their example how to deal with the many issues that are being raised by worried conservatives and concerned citizens alike.

A decade after opening its doors to LGBT members, British servicemen and women from all three services now march at Gay Pride in uniform. The head of the British Army, General Sir Richard Dannat, addressing a Lesbian, Gay, Bi-sexual and Transgender conference, stated, "Respect for others is not an optional extra."

January 2010's British Armed Forces 'Soldier' magazine had as its cover a decorated veteran, still serving with honor.  

His name is James Wharton.  Lance Corporal Wharton, a member of the Household Cavalry (an old and honorable regiment responsible for guarding the present Queen), lives openly as a gay man.

When Wharton, 23, married his same-sex life partner (Thom McCaffrey, 21), members of Wharton’s regiment were in attendance to show their support. 

The 'Soldier' cover caption? 'Pride.'

Show some, America. This 'scared the queers will peek at me in the shower' pretence is unbecoming in any soldier. Scared straights, not lusting gay grunts, are the real detriment to unit cohesion and morale.

Man up!

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