The long awaited DADT Report and Hearings on CSPAN

 
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White House Protest

Servicemembers: “We have a gay guy [in the unit]. He’s big, he’s mean, and he kills lots of bad guys. No one cared that he was gay.” “I believe this is not the time for us to make huge changes in the military. We are at war and our men and women overseas do not need any more distractions. This issue should be addressed at the appropriate time. That time is not now.” Unless you've been living under a rock, you know that the DADT Policy Review has come out. Technically it is called "Report of the Comprehensive Review of the Issues Associated with a Repeal of 'Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell'" and if you have a spare 6 hours to read all 256 pages, have at it. Every time I write about this issue, everyone gets fired up, from both sides. Unsurprisingly, the report has folks in the military who run the gamut as well. You saw the two quotes at the top, and these are just some of the great comments. Let me share a few others. First, from those that support the DADT Policy:
“I do not have to shower or sleep in a room with men so I do not want to shower or sleep in the same room as a woman who is homosexual. I would feel uncomfortable changing and sleeping as I would if it was a man in the room. I should not have to accept this." “I cannot rely on someone who I don’t feel comfortable with, nor can they trust me. A lack of trust turns into a lack of cohesion which eventually leads to mission failure.” “The problem is dealing with people’s background or moral teachings and there are a percentage of Marines who have a religious basis for being against homosexuality, and you cannot ask or force people to go against something that have been taught.” “You don’t ask you don’t tell, you come to work and do your job. It is not broke so don’t fix it.” “The bottom line is the timing is wrong. We’re getting ready for another surge in Afghanistan, and it’s not the right time.”
Those who oppose DADT are equally reasonable and outspoken:
“In the unit that I am in now there are individuals that are homosexual. Of course they aren’t able to come out and say it but we know. I really don’t see an impact in my unit. We haven’t had any issues thus far and these soldiers have been deployed numerous times with the same people.” “As Battalion Commander for a unit that recently completed 12-month combat deployment to Iraq, I can say unequivocally that gay/lesbian Soldiers are integrated across our force, at the lowest tactical levels, with no negative operational impacts. In fact, my unit was far better, particularly technically and from a leadership perspective, with these Soldiers in positions of operational and organizational significance.” “Gays and lesbians have been serving in the Armed Forces since the inception of our country. They love this country just as much as heterosexuals. They have been ‘outed’ while serving, humiliated in front of their peers, beaten up and given dishonorable discharges in the past (and even present day). This must end. This is NOT what our country is about.” “Kids growing up now, it is not a big deal. In this room the average age is 30. The values most of us were raised with are different. You look at younger guys born in the 80s, some of these guys their tolerance level is different than mine is.” “I think if it is lifted not a lot of members will come out. They are your coworkers and things will stay where they are. If we didn’t know you were gay by now, it is unlikely that you will tell us.”
Now, admittedly I cherry picked the already cherry picked quotes, but both sides seem to have some reasonable concerns. It would seem to me that the most important thing is how this would affect our ability to kill people and break things. So, what does the study inform us on that? Well, a lot of things: Question 68a:
If Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell is repealed and you are working with a Service member in your immediate unit who has said he or she is gay or lesbian, how would it affect how Service members in your immediate unit work together to get the job done?
29.6 percent say it would affect it negatively or very negatively. Question 68c:
If Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell is repealed and you are working with a Service member in your immediate unit who has said he or she is gay or lesbian, how would it affect how Service members in your immediate unit trust each other?
33.1 percent say that it would affect it negatively or very negatively. Question 71:
If Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell is repealed and you are working with a Service member in your immediate unit who has said he or she is gay or lesbian, how, if at all, would it affect your immediate unit’s effectiveness at completing its mission?
Of "Respondents with combat deployment experience since September 11, 2001" the negative/very negative number goes up to 44.3 percent. So, I guess it is a bit of a Rorschach Test, people are going to see what they want. I am listening to the Senate Hearing on this issue right now, and I just heard Senator Levin say that anyone that thought a removal of the DADT would have a detrimental affect on our fighting force needs to read the report. Well, I did. And the reports specifics seem less clear than he intimated. It comes down to this, there are folks who will always oppose gays in the military, and those that want them to serve openly regardless of the disruption. For those who find the policy discriminatory, the question remains: what is the cost in terms of disruption we are willing to pay for that? So, if 44 percent believe that having openly gay individuals in their unit in a combat situation would have have a negative impact, is that too steep a price? It is even more striking when you start looking at combat units, as Senator McCain just noted in the hearing. Go to the report and look at Table 16 on page 75. That chart alone is very frightening. So, what is The American Legion's current position on the DADT policy and the study? Well, we've only had a chance to give it a quick perusal, but we've been pretty consistent in our policy. The American Legion appreciates that Congress has delayed consideration of this issue until after the report has been presented. We caution against hasty action in the final hours of a lame-duck Congress to overcome a changing political environment. Any change must be carefully considered in order to guarantee as minimal of an impact to morale and troop readiness as possible. The American Legion opposes inclusion of the “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy in the National Defense Authorization Act for 2011. We feel strongly this legislation should remain “clean” and a policy change as significant as “Don’t Ask Don’t Tell” deserves a full debate and consideration as a “stand-alone bill.” In doing this, we lead it to be a vote on just this issue. Moreover, we don’t hold up the funding of our Armed Forces with this issue. The American Legion has always supported the leadership with DoD and will continue to do so. However we are concerned whether the political necessity to address this issue may be clouding the current mindset. We remain skeptical that a six-month study can determine all the nuances this dramatic change might have. If Congress deems action is necessary to repeal the proactive nature of the courts, they must ensure, no repeal of DADT be enacted until a clear and concise plan of implementation is developed and presented by DOD to the members of Congress which will insure the safety, personal dignity, and good morale of all members of the military. Have they truly addressed the concerns and reservations expressed by senior Marine Corps leadership including the Commandant? Have they vetted the impact on the chaplains and other military and veteran related benefits? Command authority may not resolve delicate birthing and shower concerns. For example, at the nation’s military academies, an open door policy is in place whenever members of the opposite sex are in a room. Can this rule be enforced without adversely labeling gay and lesbian military members? I will have more later, as the hearing continues. Gates from his opening statement also agrees that implementation needs to be fully vetted and planned for prior to any change. That is completely in line with what TAL has been saying. A coworker sends along this article from WaPo that shows some of the problems that might come up:
In the Pentagon's 300-plus-page report on the proposed repeal of its "don't ask, don't tell" policy, the authors singled out one group whose strong views merited special attention: the chaplains. The report found that 70 percent of service members thought there would be little or no negative impact to military readiness and unit cohesion if the government were to end the ban on gays serving openly in the military. But no group had such strong - or sharply divergent - views as the military's 3,000 chaplains, who provide spiritual guidance to the men and women in uniform. The debate highlights the delicate position of the chaplains, who must balance the demands of their faiths with the reality of a diverse military. Their concerns will weigh heavily this month as Congress considers a proposal to lift the 17-year-old policy, supported by some who say it has prevented strife in the ranks but criticized by others as discriminatory and outdated at a time when homosexuality has gained mainstream acceptance.
McCain is currently grilling Adm Mullins on the figures of combat veterans who are opposed, and noting that 17% said that they would leave the military earlier than they would have. Gates from this morning: Senator Inhofe's folks threw up a video of him today as well:
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Gays have served their country as good as any other soldier, sailor, airmen or marine. I served in combat and also knew of Gay servicemen and women who served alongside me in combat and they performed thier jobs admiarably.

Deal with your fear and hatred on your own time and keep it out off the mission. If your not comfrotable serving with a gay perosn, or an african american, a jewsih, a muslime, a Filipino ... well, maybe it is time for you to hang up your uniform.

You know, I bet if we let the Slave Owners back during the civil war vote on whether or not our african american population should have equal rights/freedom there would still be slavery. What if if Civil rights back in 64 were but to apopular vote, do you really think the entire US population would have done the right thing.

I'm tired of being embarrased by all thhose who hate and fear those who attempt to serve their country.

This whole issue is politically motoviated to stir the waters . FOLKS REALITY CHECK !! THIS IS A NON ISSUE !! THIS FEAR OF AIDS
AND CHILD MOLESTATION . COME ON GIVE ME A BREAK !!! I don't care what the sexual orientation is for male and female service
members . If they can perform their duty in combat amd non combat roles I don't care if his name is SUE . Why create more strife
leave DADT alone .

Have I ever had a guy come onto me? Sure. I accept the compliment I'm sure I get a little red faced and I offer a polite decline. Then I go on with my day. Have I ever been ogled in the shower? My God, I've belong to the YMCA. Any questions? I'm a lot more worried about saying "NO" to a woman. Fear of retaliation - even sexual harassment accusations. Then they'll spread the word I must be gay.

I wonder how many guys got bounced back in the sixties because of bitter females. DADT was flawed from the gitgo. It missed the central problem. Security. If someone can be threatened with being exposed/outed, they can be manipulated/blackmailed. Forced to do "whatever" or have their lives ruined. That's the real problem; the hiding - the fear of exposure. DADT made hiding a requirement.

So, take away the retribution for coming out and the lever to manipulate is gone. Being gay or lesbian no longer makes you a security risk. Somehow, DADT turned gay into an issue about the comfort of the troops. We hear, "I don't want some queer lookin' at me in the shower!" Personally, I worry more about the things I hear. Like, "Boy! if I got her alone I'd......" It's not about comfort. It's about character.

It's not an issue of comfort. If it was about comfort, we would still be racially segregated. It's an issue of security. If I expect someone to be covering my back, I don't want to wonder if they are lying to me - about anything. What matters to me is their character, their honesty and their courage. Based on what I've seen an heard, someone with the courage to "man up" and say what they think and really feel. That's who I want at my back.

Weather you believe it or not. God does exist. He is All powerful, All knowing, All present and in control in this world. Believe it or not. this God who created human beings loves human beings. This same God makes it clear in his word (The Bible) that homosexuality is bad. God is not being mean to gays. Homosexuality is not bad because God says its bad, God tells us it is bad because he knows homosexuality is bad. God knows it has destructive consequences the same as any other sin. All sin must always be resisted.

Here is the answer to whether it will harm unit cohesiveness, morale and retention of non-homosexuals, by allowing homosexuals openly into the military. Pass a law that allows any military person to terminate his or her enlistment as soon as a law is passed allowing homosexuals into the military. Also include termination privilege to all who have started any processing towards enlistment at the time the homosexual allowance law passes.

First this is the only way to provide justice to those already in or who are coming in. Second, if there is no effect on retention or enlistment the question is answered. Done.

The thing that does not seem to be addresses is the idea that if or when DADT is repealed, there is the assumption that every gay in the services will suddenly declair thier sexuality. In actuallity, I berieve it will be a very small number probably less than 5%. The majority will continue as they always have, discreet and assimilated just as it was, and is in civilian life.
This is how they have lived, and will continue to do so. This fear of the sudden impact on military operations by all the gays' jumping out of the closet expounded by McCain etc.
will not happen.

Homosexuality destroys on an individual level, mentally, physically, emotionally and spiritually. Homosexuality destroys on a corporate level also. Look at history. All once great Nations, Kingdoms, Empires, Cities and Military Organizations that have embraced homosexuality deteriorate to oblivion or are destroyed. This is what America can look forward to if she also embraces Homosexuality.

If I had a male dog that would not stop mounting male dogs...I would shoot the worthless mutant. If I am directed to work with someone I cannot trust (morally, mentally, or physically), they will be gone for other "reasons" - I promise you. Even morons understand TAB-A goes into SLOT-A. Listen folks, 21 years in the military has taught me a great deal. One thing is the fact that we cannot disrespect an officer just because something may be true (UCMJ), you cannot release secrets just because they may be true, and you should not talk about SEX or Politics while on-duty solely because they may be true. There are too many HETERO-Phobes trying to make their voices heard -which is a huge minority in this country & military. Don't let sociopaths (by definition, a non-hetero) determine what direction your country may take. Let them "Ask & Tell" of their handicap in the confines of a Mental Health office. Yes, I am a Sociopathophobe - just as many of us see it. -Oh yeah, seems as if most of the DADT opponents do not believe in God OR Country, and seem to only want to "Vent" or "Declare" or demand special treatment. Like always -wanting special rights, not equal rights. Although, this all may be covered under the handicap subsection of equal rights acts. hmm.

I am currently in the National Guard and a Veteran. For those who think that a gay service member should not have SOMEONE waiting for them when they come home, How can you say you support our troops? We are not talking about non-people here, we are talking about VETERANS returning from war. NOT gay veterans just VETERANS, let that sink in before you answer. This heartless responses to PEOPLE willing to risk their lives for their country and fellow service members deserve better from this organization that's supposed to represent them (VETERANS, not gay veterans). Ditching a service member on the field is dishonorable and should be HERE to.

I got the opportunity to hang out with two service members who had served together, at one point one hugged the other and said "I Love you man, but not in a homo way". I find myself looking back on that with shame. I don't think that it's appropriate that a veteran should ever need to say ", but not in a homo way". This shows the true cost of DADT. Not because it hurts a handful of gays, but the changes it has brought to the very nature of the bonds the military allows. Every service member must now hold back from the commitment that keeps them safe. We have rising suicide rates in the military (suicide has a strong correlation with isolation). Service members are coming back with more sever mental health issues, many related to prolonged isolation. Why? The possibility that the bonds that service members need to perform well are damaged by the need to not appear 'gay'. With love and affection I say "I would willingly give my life to bring back one of my brothers or sisters in arms safely." It's a shame THAT is a statement that could get me discharged. Think about it.

After 28 years of service it's still the squeaky wheel that gets the oil. The heart of the matter is that the military political hacks are wrong. If gays were taken out of service today, the result would be nonexistent. There would be no adverse effect to the military contrary to what leaders are saying. Here is the answer-make gays have the same standard that I have. If I talk of my sexual exploits as a straight man, I will probably get an Art 15 if a female overhears me. Do you honestly think that Commanderd will give an Art 15 to any gay servicemember? No way since they will be in fear of destroying their own career. The target will be straight servicemembers in the end.

I find it rather interesting that a Navy Admiral would know so much about battle field experience when he has NEVER been on one! Maybe they should only have surveyed members who in fact are Warriors of Battlefield experience.

Gay soldiers and sailors have been a part of the military as long as anyone can determine. I personally knew of a couple people I served with in the 70s who were gay. What was striking then was, on the job, we never really knew who they were. They kept to themselves after work but occasionaly you'd bump into them on the street outside post and you'd know immediately. One of the guys was a parachute rigger and we literally trusted him with our lives. The other guy was a ranger qualified 82nd trooper, nuff said! The point is, they kept their private life private and their professional life professional. That quote came from our 1st Sgt. (who had been Special Forces in Nam, 3 tours) at a company formation addressing this topic specifically. He knew they were there and he knew one word and they were on the next bus home but he also knew they were valuable personnel. maybe he didn't care for their way of life but he had enough respect for them as soldiers to find a way to deal with it. Everybody knows they are there, if people say "Not in my unit" they're being naive or flat out lying. What the definition of "Openly gay" means may be the point to debate. Does that mean if a guy winces when a member of his unit lovingly says goodbye to his life mate before a long deployment their will be bias charges? Will there be Military weddings where both soldiers are wearing dress blues with pants? or skirts? Those points by themselves may seem ridiculous until our enemies start posting the pictures on the internet as a propaganda campaign designed to recruit radicals against us as a country rather then just the military. A very real scenario. The list of concerns by myself and others make the whole issue troublesome for everyone, but the state that the gays serving in the military now seems to have little negative impact on the mission or it's success. Why mess with it?

Consider the other side of the coin. With other equal rights issues coming about, how will the US military handle marriages between like sexes. Will all of the priviledges (joint assignments, joint housing, etc), be provided for them? As for the chaplain comment, while most of the history of wars have been religious in nature, lets get real. Provide me with an example of a US military chaplain that has been involved with causing a war. On the other side, provide me with comments on how the US military chaplain has both improved and excentuated the morale of the military; especially during war.

Just wrote what I felt was a worthwhile set of comments, but kept rec'ving a note that it was "spammy," and telling me to go back and try again. I have no idea what to try again, but somehow my set of comments were soundly rejected.

Why not just leave it alone, DADT and let people be who they are, what you don't know don't hurt you. Do you ask your the teacher's , police,Doctor's, or any one you come in contact with everyday. Gay's have been in the service for many years and it's not broke don't fix it.How many do you think was in the service in the 60's and 70's and saved someones life that you know. LEAVE IT ALONE and let them service.

The gays I have known (I'm sure there were lots I didn't know about) in the military have never come out and said it. Their actions spoke volumes about their lifestyle and they usually let the secret get out to females first then to the rest of us. But really, I don't care what you do when you are at home. What I will complain about and refuse to join will be the inevitable military classes on "how to get along and change your life to accept gays" and "how your life will be better with gays". Wait, you wil see how the scales get tipped in their favor in all aspects of the service. This is where the gays themselves will have to show self respect, integrity and faith and keep their lives to themselves. Just as I have to do when on duty as a straight guy. Shut your mouth and serve, it's not a college campus.

Homosexuality is a perversion of human sexuality. Human beings are born male or female. People do not ask to be gay, they choose it.
It is destructive at every level of human interaction and activity.

Again, it is not a question of ability but rather, "Is this lifestyle good for our society?" Some comments have touched on the slippery slope. Let's add accepting Polygamy, Incest, Prostitution, ad-infinitum!

I have posted before on this topic and still have never seen my question answered - it is as if everyone knows that the answer is that allowing homo & hetero people to use the same facilities at the same time violates the concept of every public restroom in the US. On to a different thing...

Yesterday I was struck again while reading something quite innocent - a military slang dictionary - that the argument that "look at the integration of blacks & whites" and "look at the integration of women" as being "no big deal" were not there. I served in the Navy when women were allowed in, but were restricted from combat and most non-combat sea duty stations. I can assure you that it WAS a big deal. The Navy was not prepared to integrate the sexes at that time, so many (if not most) shore duty billets and submarine tender billets were filled by women because was the only place they could go. The result was a LOT of frustration from men as they served longer sea tours and had less choice in shore duty billets because they were filled by people who were denied from serving at sea. The key is that over time, the Navy was able to reconfigure ships to allow for the proper accommodation of men and women and they learned how to coexist. Remember - over time. There is no doubt in my mind that the military will find a way to do away with DADT and replace it with accommodations that allow for the proper integration of hetero & homo folks. In our era of people being too impatient to use email so they use IMs or tweets in every conceivable situation - while dining, while with friends, while in church, etc, people need to remember that some things just take time to implement.

How many people are mad at our President because the economy isn't fully recovered? I saw a woman a few weeks ago that had a hand-printed sign in her passenger window that said "How did you like the last 8 years under Obama? Vote Republican!". With a country of people who can't even take the time to figure out that President Obama hasn't been in office even one full term yet, how can we expect anything other than "Do it! Do it now! Do it IMMEDIATLY now!

Jack Cain

Apologies to my grade school teachers for the grammer in my last post...I must be in more pain today than usual to be that distracted.

I'm at some distance in time from my service, but with that caveat I feel the need to weigh in on this.

Isn't the issue absurdly simple?

DADT replaced a much harsher environment for gays, I think. Our military IS NOT 'a mainstream environment'.

None seem willing to ask this question; just what is the overall upside for our currently serving (and future) military if DADT is repealed? Even the 'study' doesn't appear to address that issue directly?

The comments here under MOTHAX's carefully presented post should be a bellwether of sorts.

Well, I knew I would get hit on this one, I didn't expect it in quite this manner though.

Since you keep bringing up blacks and DADT etc, let me ask a question, is being gay an identity, or an act? If it is an identity, then DADT must be fine, because you are only precluded from talking about it (an act.) If it is based on an act though, then it is not at all alike being African American, right?

And, just posibly, instead of insulting me, you might have addressed the point, which is that these people do have complaints. Just because you think they are wrong doesn't make them go away. So, it 80% of the military would resign if DADT went down, would you still say it needed to go? We already know how you feel about 1%, so it seems to me we just need to figure out what the tipping point is for each person.

Not sure how insults help that. And I'd love to see where I personally said I wasn't comfortable with gay people. Go ahead Shirl, you find it and report back to me. You won't find it.

I don't have a problem serving with gays but, let's say a gay person gets drunk and makes advances towards a straight soldier and the straight soldier decks the gay soldier. Who do you convict. Surely the gays expect "protection" from the military but should the straight soldier be equally protected???

Whether or not to let gays serve in the military reminds me of the days of allowing blacks and whites to serve together. Quite an uproar. However, it turned out fine. I am truly sorry for remarks made by my comrades against gays serving openly in the service. Why do they have to live and die for our country pretending they are something other than what God made them. For shame comrades! I served with lesbians in the service and they didn't try to influence me to their way of life. The ignorance and prejudice on the part of some baffles me.

Try this on for size: in each one of the comments since this debate began all the way back from the begininning of DADT under President Clinton, in each one of the comments from serving members of the armed forces and from all opponents and proponents of DADT, for the words "gay" and homosexual" substitute the term "African-American."

It'll show you how silly, how juvenile, how bogus the DADT defenders' comments are.

It's not serving and defending our country that's the problem with Homosexuals, it's their lifestyle of stalking and preying on other men that is the problem. The military will be a giant smorgasboard for Homosexuals and they will make passes at other men and it will increasingly get worse as they become more sure of themselves in their attacks, and get more open with their freedom to prey and stalk. Homosexuals are very dangerous people......they spread AIDS and veneral diseases because they refuse to use protection. They are child molesters. They are sneaky and expert liars. How many soldiers will come down with AIDS, say, a year or two from now? Tell everybody about fisting and rimming and golden showers and all the other filthy things that entail their lifestyle. Where is the real truth about homosexuals and what they are after?

Working within a unit is one thing. At some point assumptions have been made if someone may or may not be gay. Everyone just does their job.

Where I think the real issues will come up like Neil Cotter mentioned, is the off duty hours situations. And to some degree on duty such as promotion ceremonies. In the public setting how would you explain to your children (especially if you feel being gay is wrong) when they see men/men - women/women holding hands kissing and any of the other acts that two people who care for/love each other?

I do not know what the current PDA rules are like. But what about the situation of a send off or welcome home in a very public setting were PDA rules are a bit more lax? Just my own opinion but I would not be too thrilled with explaining the open affection of two men/women running into each others open arms kissing each other etc etc that is seen every day between man/woman couples.

It is one thing to "ignore" what goes on behind closed doors, it is another when it is in full public view.

If this whole issue is not thought out very carefully it could very well backfire big time.

Let me address your question about whether being gay is an identity or an act… is being heterosexual an identity or an act? It’s both, isn’t it? So it’s not a relevant question. What is relevant is prejudice and bigotry.

This report tells me two things. First that up to 44% of our military has “hang ups” and is therefore homophobic to a degree. Fortunately, this number is really more like 20-30%. Peoples’ character cannot be determined by the color of their skin or their preferences in bed. If they’re professional and qualified for the job, we need them in the military to do their job.

Second is with the chaplains. They should be banned from the military. I’ve always felt that most (if not all) wars were religious in nature. Take all religion out of the equation and the problem (for the most part) goes away! Let’s follow the Constitution and the Bill of Rights and enforce the separation of church and state.

Finally, back in President Truman’s day, 90% of the military didn’t want to serve with Blacks. Here, there were much more identifiable. But Truman ordered integration and it was done successfully. The military didn’t dissolve or fail to do their job. This was during the beginning of the Cold War and Korea. How different could it have been from the wars we got going on today? And when did we start taking a vote on policy with the troops? Initiate the orders and the military will follow them.

I’m amazed how stereotypes about gays. The opposition dreams up ones after the other, the next more extreme than the last.

We’re talking about ordinary people here. If they were degenerates who ate their young, they wouldn’t even make it as civilians, let alone get into the military. Preying, staking, spreading AIDS, let’s stop the madness and ditch the hyperbole. Do extremes exist? Yes. But they also exist on the heterosexual side. Do all straight guys run around raping every woman they see?

And although chaplains don’t directly cause war, they certainly do promote and encourage conflict. In this case, I’m against their inciting and preaching of hate and intolerance.

I can’t say I agree with the comments posted from Freethinker regarding our military Chaplains. Perhaps the writer is not aware of the Four Chaplains who gave their lives to save other soldiers during the sinking of the USAT Dorchester during World War II or the spiritual comfort provided by Chaplains throughout many conflicts and wars.

I respect each individual’s right to believe as they choose, however as a member of the American Legion, I feel compelled to remind Freethinker of the beginning words to the Preamble of the American Legion and I hope it never changes, “FOR GOD AND COUNTRY”.

Perhaps Freethinker you also need to revisit your history lessons as I was never taught that religion was the reason behind the American Revolutionary War; War of 1812; Mexican-American War; American Civil War; Spanish American War; World War I, World War II; Korean War, Vietnam War; Cold War; Gulf War; Operation Iraqi Freedom or Operation Enduring Freedom.

I absolutely don’t share your views and am thankful to the men and women of our Chaplain Corps. You portray yourself as a freethinker, yet rather than take advantage of a Secular Chaplain you suggest to abolish the Chaplain Corps, depriving your fellow service members of their services. You spoke against intolerance, yet I don’t see you displaying tolerance for those who wish to practice their religion. If you are looking for someone who is preaching hate, I can help you – look into the mirror.

Male gay folks are many times very aggressive in their quest for sex. I spent some time on board ships where
sailors are crowded in, bunks 3 high, maybe 3 feet between bunks. If gays will keep their hands off, and not try to
make out with everyone in sight, well yes, welcome aboard. But are the hetro folks going to have to complaign
go to captains mast to testify against their ship mates............not a good situation.

This issue really irritates me. I am a combat veteran who served in the US Army from 1966-1970. I did a tour in Vietnam as a "grunt", and participated in numerous combat operations while assigned to the !st Infantry Divison. Of course, this was several years ago, but I don't think that the demographics has changed much since then. NEVER did I even think to ask my fellow soldiers if they were gay. I didn't observe any "gay" behavior. Maybe I was ignorant of what that behavior may have been. All I know is that I trusted and depended on my fellow soldiers in many combat situations, and I believe that they did the same. When situations became critical during combat, I didn't really give a damn about anyone's sexual orientation. We survived because of each other, and I count them as my friends, and it dosen't bother me at all to call them my brothers, and to say that I love them all. In case anyone is wondering, I am a 64 yr old white, straight male. I owe my life to the abilities of these brothers to do their job. (During my tour, I never served with any females. However, I do not doubt their dedication or loyalty, no matter what their sexual orientation may be, and would be just as proud to have served with them.)
I didn't know that gay people were actually discharged because of their sexual orientation. Why do we waste time on creating problems like this? That's shortsighted and stupid. Gay, straight, or whatever, we are all Americans, so let's get back to doing what Americans are supposed to do best. Be Americans.
I would appreciate any comments.

I don't believe the American Legion should take a stand on any issue unless they are representing all of the solders, sailers, and airmen in uniform. We should not interfere in an issue where so many brave men and women stand to get hurt.

When I first started college I learned a fellow high school student was gay, since he and I were the only 2 to enroll at the same university. During our senior year we both took the lifeguarding and CPR class, meaning we both changed and showered in the same room. Looking back on it all, he did not behave like the prancing and dancing homosexual stereotype. He didn't hit on anyone in the showers, and he didn't appear openly excited about being in a room full of naked men.

No, I am not scarred by those days. I do have a greater understanding of the average homosexual, and I can only laugh away as the machismo of the military finally drops its' PC act and becomes an force representing and represented by ALL AMERICANS.

The inclusion of chaplains in this DADT discussion was broached towards the end of the article above, not by me, but I had to comment that I felt religion was a major component in this issue. I don’t want to digress too far from the main point, but I do believe that religion has been at the core of most if not all of our conflicts. Our Founding Fathers must have felt this too, being all Deists, in creating the first secular government on earth. There were to be no more Kings ruling by Divine Right and selected by God! Nevertheless, people continue to justify their actions because it’s “God’s Will”, or simply that God is on their side, and demanding that others accept this notion.

People can believe and worship whatever god or gods they like. I’ve no problem with that. It’s only when these views corrupt the functioning of our society and government that I insist that the Constitution be strictly enforced. The separation of church and state is the one concept that has made us unique, and what has made us a great country these past two centuries.

I find it interesting that several of you compare the color of someone's skin to the choice of a being homosexual. The argument of whether its a choice or not is irrational and a waste of time. Religous beliefs aside, consider for a moment that if we relied upon a homosexual nature to re-populate the earth we would be fighting a losing battle. This not only applies to humans but wildlife as well. Is it really that much of a secret of how the human body or the male and female animal species is designed? I understand that this debate will last long past my lifetime but as long as we dwell on "whats cool" then perception really does become reality. I say get over the enableing of the people that choose to become martyrs for their personnal cause and press on with issues that truley affect society. WAY TOO MUCH TIME, ENERGY AND MONEY has been spent on a few individuals that have chosen their path of life!

I am USCG Veteran of this war. I served with two different gay men, who were no less human that me and better at their jibs than i was.,and i was one hell of a sailor. Some dumbass in here attacked their sexual prowess for being predators for their acts.LMFAO DO YOU HAVE ANY IDEA HOW MOST OF US BEND OUR WIFES WHEN WE SEE THEM, RATTLE THE WALLS AND DO EVERYTHING BUT
MISSIONARY POSITION.
Bottom line already stated ABOVE if you dont know by now you wont unles you get more active in someone elses life off the base,ship,camp,etc and then find out they are gay. They did not ask to be gay, it is who they are and i would work with and save any of their lives if they fell in the drink when i was in the water. God Bless all of our troops gay or straight it does not matter they are all hero's just lile you felt graduating boot, or coming home after your first deployment, or saving someone life" That is a great feeling trust me".

Everyone is equal in the military unless you pull the strings. Did i tell you about the retired Admiral that i met and befriended in San Diego Queer as a three dollar bill. And still gets a Christmas card from me and my family. Gay people are your neighbors, friends, brothers, sisters, parents, Children,Grandchildren so if you are going to be a biggot over gays YOU should stay in your closet with you rifle and wait for the GAY ZOMBIE APOCALIPSE to come and get you LOL dont flatter your self by the way..... MK2 Pierce

It is not a question of ability/qualification but rather is it a desirable life style? Stop being intimidated. In the first place homosexuality is not normal to our design (Male & Female), secondly it is an unhealthy practice (you only have to imagine how they have physical sexual relationships to realize why so many have STD's), and thirdly it is fundamentally harmful to our species (procreation). Besides, just because every other nation is doing it is no reason to follow. Why do you compare us to them? We are the best!
MCPO (Ret)

Oh yah, one more thing.

MOTHAX, I think you are a ...well, let's say we don't agree even when we are sober. That being said, thanks for covering the CSPAN, etc issues and bringing them to us in video format so we can hear and judge for ourselves even when we may not be able to attend the whole thing.

That is your Christmas gift from me - you are only allowed ONE compliment per year and that was it.

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News from the World of Military and Veterans Issues. Iraq and A-Stan in parenthesis reflects that the author is currently deployed to that theater.