Monday, October 4, 2010

Blocking DADT. Glad to see the GOP still lives in the world of make believe

The GOP in late September prevented a military appropriations bill from reaching the floor of the Senate. The next question is why the GOP who fully supports American military expeditions in the Near East and Central Asia would block a bill that would allot funds to the military to complete its mission? The reason was because the House in its version of the bill inserted a provision that would have repealed the Department of Defense’s “Don't’ Ask, Don't Tell” (DADT) policy.

Permitting gays, lesbians, transsexuals, and bisexuals to serve openly in the US military probably causes sleepless nights for GOP senators. Perhaps it is more terrifying than the idea of health care reform for American citizens. Whether these august Senators have nightmares that repealing DADT would lead to an out of control Village People music video spreading through the military is only empty speculation.

Senator Saxby Chambliss gave us an insight on what truly lurks in the fears of these GOP Senators that blocked the bill. Sen. Chambliss warned that repealing DADT would lead to “alcohol abuse, adultery, fraternization, and body art” and the military must “exclude persons whose presence in the armed forces would create unacceptable risk to the armed forces’ high standards of morale, good order and discipline, and unit cohesion...the presence in the armed forces of person who demonstrate[s] a propensity or intent to engage in homosexual acts would very likely create an unacceptable risk to those high standards.”

Since the GOP has excellent rapport with the armed services, the opinions of Sen. Chambliss and other GOP senators must reflect the sentiments of the senior officers of the military.

On February 2, 2010, before the Senate Armed Services Committee, the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Adm. Mike Mullen stated that it was the right thing to do by permitting gays and lesbians to serve openly in the US Military. Adm. Mullen is the highest-ranking uniformed officer in the military.

To date, approximately 13,000 servicemembers were processed out of the military for their sexual orientation since DADT was introduced in 1992. Many of those losses are linguists, pilots, lawyers, doctors, and individuals with important skills to complete a variety of missions. Two recent examples that come to mind are Lt. Dan Choi, an Arab Linguist and Maj. Mike Almy. With the involvement of the US in the Near East that Arab Linguists should be worth their weight in gold.

They are: unless they are homosexuals.

Yet, the GOP hawks believe that honorable individuals who had the courage to step forward and raise their right hand and swear an oath to “support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign or domestic” should not be permitted to serve because of their sexual orientation. Including Sen. Chambliss, who did not serve since he received a deferment for “bad knees.”

As a former commissioned officer in the Navy, I think it is a needless waste of resources to continue to separate homosexuals from the military. It is a disservice to the Nation to prevent those who are openly homosexual from serving. According to the Truman Report, approximately 19% of the US populace is suitable to volunteer for military service. Outdated opinions on homosexuality that prevent the military from allowing qualified people to volunteer does more damage than good for national defense. Having served with homosexuals during my time in the Navy, I can say that they did not undermine good order and discipline, despite Sen. Chambliss’s fears.

But it seems as if Sen. Chambliss and his colleagues want to bully homosexuals; no different than the despicable individuals who bulled Tyler Clementi from Rutgers and Raymond Chase from the University of Rhode Island to the point those two young men took their own lives.

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