Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Men of the Week

"I cannot escape being troubled by the fact that we have in place a policy which forces young men and women to lie about who they are in order to defend their fellow citizens.

For me personally, it comes down to integrity — theirs as individuals and ours as an institution. I have served with homosexuals since 1968. Putting individuals in a position that every single day they wonder whether today’s going to be the day, and devaluing them in that regard, just is inconsistent with us as an institution.

--Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Adm. Mike Mullen, USN

"I fully support the president's decision. The question before us is not whether the military prepares to make this change, but how we best prepare for it. We have received our orders from the commander in chief and we are moving out accordingly."

--Robert M. Gates, Secretary of Defense

Both men sat before the Senate Armed Services Committee yesterday explaining a proposed change of military code that would put an end to the notorious policy commonly known as 'Don't Ask, Don't Tell.' Both explained the rationale of abolishing a policy that President Obama has deemed irrational and prejudicial--and one not befitting of our Armed Forces.

Each explained as a matter of conscience the cost this policy has inflicted upon the military, both morally and politically--as well as the implications of undermining the military's longstanding commitment to integrity. Their testimony before the senate committee signals an end of the nearly 17-year old ban on gays and lesbians from openly serving their country in the world's finest military force.

In contrast to the two leading U.S. military leaders, the following comments clearly illustrate the hypocrisy put forth by some senate leaders. Yesterday, U.S. Senator John McCain voiced his opposition to changing the policy.

"I want to make one thing perfectly clear upfront: I am enormously proud of, and thankful for, every American who chooses to put on the uniform of our nation and serve at this time of war. I want to encourage more of our fellow citizens to serve, and to open up opportunities to do so. Many gay and lesbian Americans are serving admirably in our armed forces – even giving their lives so that we and others can know the blessings of peace. I honor their sacrifice, and I honor them."

You honor them??? Forgive me, Senator, if I don't believe a word of your careully crafted speech. You say in one breath you honor gay and lesbian servicemembers, and in the next you say they can stay with the condition that they behave and keep their dirty little secret to themselves. In effect, you want them to become liars. Where are the sensibilities in this?

Sir, you are a former Navy officer. The Navy's core values of "honor, courage, commitment" are instilled to every Sailor from the day they step foot at Naval Station Great Lakes for boot camp. Expecting a man or woman to lie is anything BUT honorable!

The statement you read at yesterday's senate committee meeting smacks of hypocrisy of the highest degree. In my opinion, your very words bring shame on yourself, your state and your service to this nation--and to the Navy we both love.

One cannot serve in honor when encouraged--nay--demanded to perpetuate a lie about an integral part of one's very being. It is dishonorable to set Sailors (and servicemembers of the other branches of service) up for failure over a private matter that has nothing to do with defending one's homeland and fellow citizens.

Senator, you said, "Has this policy been ideal? No, it has not. But it has been effective."

Sir, respectfully, effective at what? Has it improved readiness? Prove it! Has it improved unit cohesion and morale? Again, give us Americans proof. Don't give us platitudes, don't give us speeches that veil your prejudice. Tell us why discharging 13,000 patriotic Americans was an honorable thing to do, and why it was the right thing to do for this man's Armed Forces?

Look at the stories of other nations who have abolished this ban. Are the armed forces of Britain, Canada or Israel any less effective because they they permit gays and lesbians to openly serve in their nations' armed forces?

Sir, what do you know that 20 nations of the 26 who participate in NATO do not? AND as a nation that prides itself on treating all of its citizens equally, do we want to be lumped in the same category as Iran, Russia, China, Venzueala and countless other countries well known for civil and human rights violations?

Senator, where were you the day 'honor, courage, commitment' was taught at the U.S. Navy Academy? Your words, especially in light of previous comments you have made regarding DADT (see below), merely add credence to President Obama's claim that the Republican Party has become the party of 'just say no!' You are an affront to everything I believe about serving in my beloved U.S. Navy.

Hypocrite of the week

"The day that the leadership of the military comes to me and says, 'Senator, we ought to change the policy,' then I think we ought to consider seriously changing it."

--Senator John McCain, to an audience of Iowa State University students in 2006.


  1. Well said! I know that there were homosexuals in my and other units when I served. And they were as ready and fit as any other soldier around!

  2. Beautifully put.
    Since that day in November 2008, when it was clear there would be no McCain White House, every time he opens his mouth he makes me glad the vote went the right way.
    Total hypocrite.

  3. How cool that Colin Powell came out in support of repeal today.

  4. I wonder what Senator McCain said when learning former Vice President Dick Cheney, no friend to my form of politics, said this past weekend that it is time to repeal 'DADT?'