Much ballyhooed lately has been the renewed effort by the administration, including the Defense Secretary and the Joint Chiefs Chairman, to see that the “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” military policy with regard to homosexuals that was passed by a democrat-controlled Congress and signed into law by then-president Clinton in November 1993 is reversed by Congress. Prior to 1993, recruits were asked if they were homosexual. If they answered affirmatively, they were barred from service.
In July 1996, a republican-controlled House approved a bill to reinstate the pre-1993 policy, but the then democrat Senate wouldn’t go along. George Bush and the republicans in the last decade wanted no part of even discussing the subject but a democrat president and a democrat Congress seem hell-bent now to push through what democrats Clinton and Obama, for reasons that are probably purely political (republicans anathema to the LGBT community), have promised. Neither man would know the difference in insignia between a sergeant and a lieutenant colonel and certainly never served a day in the military.
Defense Secretary Gates and Joint Chiefs Chairman Admiral Mullen serve at the pleasure of the president; consequently, after Obama made his promise they logically had the option of agreeing or resigning. They may actually believe what they say, but it needs to be remembered that high military positions/ranks are also political plums and that the “go along in order to get along” philosophy is never far from a bureaucrat’s mind. During the state-of-the-union speech earlier this month, the military brass looked daggers through Obama when he resurrected his promise, which actually was supposed to have been operative as a “first thing” in his incumbency. One doesn’t remember Gates making any waves about this subject, either, when he was Defense Chief under Bush.
Now comes the fly in the ointment. Army Chief of Staff General George Casey and Air Force Chief of Staff General Norton Schwartz don’t like the idea and have said so publicly, something not often to be expected from subordinate officers. These guys, however, are probably not schmoozing with the president; instead, they’re in the trenches, so to speak, and are much more conversant with how the GIs feel about the matter. These officers said they would be reluctant to overturn a 17-year policy without more time to ascertain that it won’t hurt the services.
The poop already is that the subject will require at least a year to study before actual integration of straights and homosexuals. Regarding the matter, General Casey said on 23 February before the Senate Armed Services Committee, “We just don’t know the impacts on readiness and military effectiveness.” General Schwartz made similar remarks to the House. Shades of then Joint Chiefs Chairman Marine Corps General Peter Pace in 2005 when he classified homosexual behavior as simply immoral – wrong, and not to be tolerated in the service. He classified adultery the same way. How times change!
Being interpreted, the generals’ statements amount to their disdain for the whole idea. They actually DO KNOW that doing away with the policy will not be good for morale, readiness, and military strength. Already faced with the current problems in the military vis-à-vis gender integration, these men are hardly happy to face yet another silly effort at social engineering in an establishment which is anything but democratic and certainly not designed for any kind of equity. People don’t vote in the military – they follow orders.
In July 1999, Army PFC Barry Winchell was murdered at Fort Campbell, Kentucky. He was perceived to be “gay,” though apparently he had not so admitted. In 1992, Airman Apprentice Terry M. Helvey, who had just admitted his homosexuality to his commander and was being discharged, was battered to death against the fixtures of a public toilet in a park near the naval base at Sasebo, Japan. At least two fellow sailors were charged in the murder. Military folks are not apt to consider “loving relationships,” to which the homosexual community constantly refers with respect to their behavior; rather, GIs are more likely to consider those relationships as inordinately “unnatural” and therefore despicable, things to be avoided.
Actually being seriously considered currently in this democrat administration is the placing of women in combat and the billeting of women on submarines, two places where they’ve never served legally and never should, notwithstanding all the righteous rhetoric concerning equality. In some areas, there is no equality with regard to the sexes, and this is abundantly obvious.
Yet, under this democrat administration the commanders are being faced with what they instinctively and empirically know to be wrong-headed. Social engineering that adversely affects both the morale and effectiveness of any operation in government is bad, but it is exponentially intolerable in the military, where life-and-death decisions should never be influenced by some goody-two-shoes bureaucratic airheads sitting in plush offices in Washington.