This chainsaw-like protest that the Left and radicals of the civil rights movement are screaming with emotional orgasm to cut down the military establishment due to “discrimination” based on sexual orientation is exacerbated by President Barack Obama’s oscillating position on what to do with the problem of gays and lesbians in uniform, although he finally mentioned in his recently delivered State of the Union Address that he would recommend the repeal of the “Don’t Ask Don’t Tell” [DADT] military law for their own peace of mind [applause from the Left].
DADT as mandated by federal law [Pub.L.103-160 (10 U.S.C. Sec. 654)] prohibits anyone who “demonstrate(s)) a propensity or intent to engage in homosexual acts” from serving in the Armed Forces of the
In this prohibition, the high command reasons out that homosexual behavior in the military “would create an unacceptable risk to the high standards of morale, good order and discipline, and unit cohesion that are the essence of military capability.”
They speak from the high ground of combat experiences in the conduct of war, especially on the readiness and effectiveness of soldiers in the battlefield. These are disciplined men and women in uniform trained to obey – not to question — the chain of command in a boot camp; they are honed to follow the orders of the military’s organizational hierarchy in times of war and peace because the soldiers’ only excuse for being is to fight and win a war for their country; they are not politicians whose only excuse for being is to win the election for themselves even to the extent of losing their country to the enemy if they have to.
Obama is not the only Democrat president who succumbed to political expediency to attract patronage, believing that to amend or abolish DADT is politically correct. Several times, President Bill Clinton had recommended toCongress the abolition of DADT but failed.
did not quit in defeat. By issuing an executive fiat, this military law was expanded to read “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell, Don’t Pursue, Don’t Harass” to placate the civil rights movement and to soothe the pain of his liberal supporters whose ankles were hurting for kicking the bucket in protest.
I will state the wordings verbatim, which describe this extended legislation: “[S]uperiors [in the military] should not initiate investigation of a service member's orientation in the absence of disallowed behaviors, though credible and articulable evidence of homosexual behavior may cause an investigation.”
Unless the soldier, male or female with a high propensity or intent to engage in homosexual acts flaunts such “disallowed behavior”, the expanded law provides a certain degree of comfort as protection against such discriminatory policy. This popular political overture, although in a certain situation its effects may be counterproductive, does not only attract attention but also gets the support of politically correct politicians who indulge in what may be described as a publicly declared ego-massaging pastime.
But the rising politically-motivated complaints of the civil rights movement and the ideological protests of the radical left against discrimination due to sexual orientation even in the military as seen in the implementation of the DADT can never be stopped or abated much more put to rest. To say that the radical left can be silenced by any form of compromise on this issue is totally naïve.
In fact if in the name of individual freedom and liberty the civil rights movement can turn our Coast Guard, Marines, Navy, Army and Air Force into what’s going to be a gay Armed Forces of the United States, I am sure they would not hesitate to do so because in their gay mind, it is an alternative move which is not only politically expedient but above all, politically correct.
, we are one of the only three remaining superpowers in the world today that do not allow gay or homosexuals to serve openly in the military. The entire European Union, except Greece, encourage bisexuals, heterosexuals and homosexuals alike to enlist in the military, so does NATO countries, 22 of them out of 26.
This recent development attracts politicized Generals in the U.S. Armed Forces to the fold of the civil rights movement who want to review and terminate DADT on account of the changing time. In the current debate, they took the cudgel for the more than one million gay veterans, and 65,000 gays serving in the armed forces today.
Gen. John Shalikashvili, former chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff speaks on the politics of deployment. He said: “Our military has been stretched thin by our deployments in the
, and we must welcome the service of any American who is willing and able to do the job.”
The General is useless as an authoritative reference on the issue whether or not gays in the military “…would create an unacceptable risk to the high standards of morale, good order and discipline, and unit cohesion that are the essence of military capability …” which is within his area of competence. Instead, he talked as if he was Obama’s avatar, the politicking Commander-In-Chief of the U.S. Armed Forces.
On this raging debate, Gen. Colin Powell was the most peculiar fluttering butterfly of them all. In an interview with CNN on
July 5, 2009
, he declared that several years ago, he endorsed DADT as “correct for the time”. But now “a lot has changed with respect to the attitude within our country … and the law should be reviewed.” In short, he no longer considers DADT as “correct for the time.”
But for love of country, the nation’s soldiery has no chemistry with Gen. Powel. For love of country and to die as a soldier for the love of country, he can hardly be a model to the nation’s men and women in uniform.
On record, Gen. Powell refused to be drafted as the strongest presidential candidate to become president at the time the nation needed him the most. His ground for refusal to become president was – and this is of public knowledge — he would rather devote his entire time taking good care of his family than serve the fatherland in the hour of need. His family first, himself second, and country last, so goes his publicly announced priority in life.
Furthermore, Gen. Powell’s turn-around is contrary to public opinion. In the recently conducted April 2009 CNN/Opinion Research Corporation poll, 56% of Americans endorsed DADT – of which 48% approved the policy, and 8% of them “believed that the policy was too lenient on homosexuals.” Against the 56% Americans approving the policy, only 37% in the opposite spectrum believed that it was “too harsh”.
And here’s where the figures spin causing a headache to the American public: Although 73% of military respondents in the 2006 Zogby International survey indicated that “they felt comfortable in the presence of gay and lesbian personnel,” 37% actually declared openly that they disliked gays or lesbians serving with them in the military while another 37% kept their opinion to themselves. In effect, 74% of the respondents interviewed may actually pose a threat to the well-being and safety of the covertly discriminated against and/or harassed homosexuals, bisexuals, and lesbians serving in the military.
The problem was more of heterosexuals’ hidden hostility towards gays and lesbians than the latter’s objectionable unusual sexual behavior. Housing them together under the same roof, sleeping next to each other in the same barracks and sharing the same showers, straight military personnel had shown in many hostile ways that they hate to lose their privacy to homosexuals who make their move for intimacy. Trouble frequently breaks out resulting in physical injury, and even death. Homosexuals and bisexuals end up the victims of vicious assault.
In the military, “blanket party” is one of the most brutal forms of assault. In the barracks while sleeping at night, several service members would cover the face of the victim with a blanket then assaulted. The case of U.S. Navy Radioman Third Class Allen R. Schindler, Jr. who was sadistically murdered in this manner because he was gay, shocked the nation. Even though the “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell, Don’t Pursue, Don’t Harass” law prohibits such sexually-rooted antagonism that results in violent aggression, similar forms of hostilities and harassments turned the barracks into a nightmare for those who serve in the military with abnormal sexual behavior.
Sexually differentiated military personnel in the service who defied the ban and openly showed to their colleagues their otherwise secret sexual orientation, and dared to act those “disallowed behaviors” are hit the hardest. The discharge of gays and lesbians in the service believed to be “incorrigible”, was the quick response of the military high command to this unacceptable risk to the high standards of morale, good order and discipline, and unit cohesion …” that underminesthe nation’s “military capability.”
In this sense, public demonstrations of ruffled feelings against the dismissal of those who cannot be disciplined in the service because of their sexual behavior which the law prohibits are, while at times rowdy and violent, reconcilably understandable.
Since 1994 up to December 2009, 13,389 gay and lesbian soldiers were separated from the service – 113 members of the Coast Guard, 655 Marines, 2,626 serving in the Navy, 2,583 from the Army and 2,139 personnel from the U.S. Air Force.
But the remedial separation from the service of what Pentagon authorities believed to be “undesirable” or “high risk” gays and lesbians stirred a hornet’s nest. The radical left and the civil rights movement had an expert gladiator from the academe fighting for their cause. His name was Gregory M. Herek, Ph.D., associate research psychologist at the
who was reported to be “a national authority on heterosexuals’ attitude toward lesbians and gay men.” [italized for emphasis]
The reason for firing those considered unfit to serve in the military, which by the way if not undertaken would undermine the capability of the military to fight and win a war according to the expert thinking of military professionals running the Pentagon, was “authoritatively” attacked in public for the purpose of demeaning and then at least repealing if not terminating the controversial DADT law.
“The assumption that heterosexuals cannot overcome their prejudices toward gay people is a mistaken one," Dr. Herek declared, purportedly based on his academic study. Dr. Herek was trying to tell the American public that without prejudice, heterosexuals can live with homosexuals in peace and harmony, under the same roof, sharing the same showers, the same sleeping beds, living quarters and other available communal facilities in the barracks.
But the findings of Dr. Herek’s study were contradictory to what was actually happening in military camps. Nobody bothered to listen to him when in fact it was impossible for normal heterosexuals to be devoid of their natural emotionally-driven preferences as human beings, and expect everyone of them to overcome their prejudice towards gays.
Unable to control their natural human prejudice, they killed Navy radioman Allen R. Schindler, Jr. His body was almost unrecognizable when discovered. The disfigurement was the result of too much hatred and anger that poured into the manner he was brutally murdered by those extremely prejudiced or incensed heterosexuals who demonstrated in an unmistakable way that they were not a perfect creation of God bereft of human weaknesses.
But still there are also the likes of Dr. Herek who couldn’t quite hit the nail on the head when they hammer their argument in public. Only last year, Air Force Col. Om Prakash published in the Joint Force Quarterly his disagreement with DADT. In the attack, he aimed his gun sight at “the complete lack of any scientific basis for the proposition [advanced by military authorities] that unit cohesion is compromised by open homosexuals serving in the military.”
The problem is, how can there be “cohesion” in the military when heterosexuals are killing gays in the service? Why Col. Prakash could not see this reality is probably due to this common disability called “intellectual myopia”. There is this figure of speech that too close to the forest one cannot see how the trees look like. Who needs “scientific basis” to prove that unity or “cohesion” in the military is compromised when in fact soldiers are killing each other? To know this, only commonsense – not scientific study – is needed.
Daniel Choi’s dismissal for violating DADT is by far the most interesting focus of attention to date. He was one of the 59 gay Arabic interpreters fired for defying military orders and discipline. He appeared in the highly critical liberal Rachel Maddow talk show and declared he was gay, in open violation of the Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell military policy. A
graduate, Choi vowed to fight his discharge from the service, to the end.
“But the biggest thing that I‘m angry about is what it [the dismissal letter he received] says about my unit. It says that my unit suffered negative good order—negative actions—good order and discipline suffered. That‘s a big insult to my unit,” Choi protested angrily. But it was true that his unit suffered a big insult because of what he did. In fact what he did gave the military a black eye.
Actually, the scolding or reprimand that was stated in the letter of dismissal was like a gunshot fired at pointblank right at Choi’s face: “… you admitted publicly that you are a homosexual, which constitutes homosexual conduct. Your actions negatively affected the good order and discipline of the New York Army National Guard …” –the unit that Choi was referring to.
Sad to say, but I think Choi didn’t get it. He did not understand the consequences of his action. Going public to dramatize his protest against DADT by openly declaring that he was gay, in such a blatant defiance of the prohibition policy, is not only a violation of the military code of discipline but a grave insult to this country’s military authority under which he had enlisted himself to serve as a soldier.
It was Choi’s insubordination or insolence to openly declare in public that he was gay – which he pretty well knew that this is not allowed — that actually turned out to be a “big insult” to his unit.
What was strange to me was that Choi’s justification for his disobedience of the military law when he went public to derail its enforcement was rather tactless and perfunctory considering that he was a man of intelligence. According to him, the prohibition was forcing homosexuals like him to lie about who they are, which he did not like.
Surprisingly what is clearly missing here is the realization that Choi is in the military, not in the free market of ideas better left to politicians who decide what is politically correct, than to soldiers who are trained to follow the orders of the chain of command.
The legality of those military orders is not for soldiers like Choi to decide and challenge whether or not these are questionable based on each soldier’s personal standard of morality or sense of right and wrong. If that is allowed, it would be a complete disaster to the Armed Forces of the
Choi and others in similar situation, wanted to be true to themselves – gays and lesbians free to practice homosexuality and lesbianism as a form of individual freedom of expression under the 14th Amendment. But life in the outside world is different. There is no such thing in the military.
, the U.S. Supreme Court struck down the Sodomy Law of Texas as unconstitutional. It held that intimate consensual sexual conduct was part of the liberty protected by substantive due process under the Fourteenth Amendment. State laws that criminalize sodomy between consenting same-sex adults violate the Constitution as long as unusual sexual behaviors like sodomy is practiced in private or done in the privacy of the home.
This landmark decision was handed down on
June 26, 2003
. Majority opinion was
6 to 3
, written by Justice Anthony Kennedy, publicly perceived as the “spokesman” of the radical left in the U.S. S.Ct.
There is no privacy of the home in the military. If Choi wants to do it between two consenting same-sex adults in the military as a free expression of individual freedom and liberty which he advocates as a gay right, he will be fired just the same. There is no Justice Kennedy in the military camp to protect him.
And for this “injustice”, my heart bleeds for the plight of gays and lesbians in the service that may be harmed by DADT. To me they are the country’s superheroes. Besides putting their lives on the line to secure the peace for you and me in times of war, they have to endure the ordeal each one of them has to undergo to stay in their uniform for as long as they can take it.
For, while serving in the military, they are fighting their own personal gender wars everyday – fighting their private battle they cannot win. I am sure some if not most of them are suffering psychological and emotional injury that may be irreparable. But in the military, the focus is on the purpose of the prohibition, not on them. That’s where the bigger picture lies, not on their injury that is generally triggered by mutiny or insubordination.
The case of the retired Joint Chiefs of Staff lesbian officer harmed by Don’t Ask Don’t Tell policy, was exemplary. She made her choice to give up her love life to serve in the military. It was a very painful experience all the way. She lived within the code of military discipline for many years until she retired. That’s a shining light – a good example — to all gays and lesbians in the dark if they want to give up their private life to serve their country by enlisting in the military.
Unfortunately, while this prohibition policy may harm them one way or another, military safeguards like DADT are not about Choi
and his personal grievances for being gay. It is about the best soldiery we want to have to protect us from enemies that want to harm the lives of more than three hundred million Americans who want to call their nation the greatest on the planet.
This is not a civil rights issue. It is a military issue. We can empathize the feelings of those who are uncomfortable with this strictly enforced policy, but let’s not look at this problem at the wrong end of the telescope. #
© Copyright Edwin A. Sumcad. Access NWS February 6, 2010.
The writer is an award-winning journalist. He is a NWS columnist. Know more about the author by reading his published editorials and feature articles or you may e-mail your comment to firstname.lastname@example.org