When General Peter Pace, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff described homosexuality as immoral- he did nothing but show his own ignorance and blatant prejudice and was outrageously offensive to the gay and lesbian servicemembers that are currently bravely serving their country and who operate under the General’s command. Of course his stupidity was heightened by the fact that this statement was made in order to support the adbsurd military policy of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell”.
“Don”t Ask, Don’t Tell” was always an absurd policy. Although I admire President Clinton – this policy compromise on gays in the military was ridiculous and has been a failure. Mr. Clinton attempted to follow through on a promise he made during his first campaign to lift the ban of gays and lesbians in the military. At the time the President was obviously naive as to some of the shenanigans of the beltway and ignited a firestorm of controversy. The compromise – “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” really satisfied neither side in this debate.
The policy’s failure is obvious. In a January 2007 Op/Ed piece for the New York Times General John Shalikashvili – who was Chair of the JCS at the time that the policy was enacted- has changed his mind about the policy and about gays serving in the military. He now supports gay men and lesbians serving openly in the military.
In the Op-Ed article, General Shalikashvili wrote that conversations with gay soldiers and marines had showed him “that gays and lesbians can be accepted by their peers.”
“I now believe that if gay men and lesbians served openly in the United States military, they would not undermine the efficacy of the armed forces,” General Shalikashvili wrote. “Our military has been stretched thin by our deployments in the Middle East, and we must welcome the service of any American who is willing and able to do the job.”
And what about the gay men and lesbians that were in the military that fluently speak Arabic? Many of these servicemembers were dismissed under “Don’t Ask Don’t Tell” at a time when the military concedes it has a severe shortage of servicemembers who speak Arab languages.
The bigotry and dull-headedness behind “Don’t Ask Don’t Tell” is heinous. The fact that this policy has short shrifted the military in its military operations and objectives is not only short sighted but counterproductive to our national interest.
General Pace’s support of a failed policy is flat out wrong. His comments are bigoted and offensive to thousands of US servicemembers. Back in World War II, a very talented but outspoken and inappropriate military leader- General George S Patton was nearly fired for slapping one servicemember. Using that as a barometer- shouldn’t General Pace be forced to resign for the offense he made against thousands of servicemembers?