Pentagon Report Will Reveal What We Already Know

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    (Yes, change can be scary, but it’s long past time to change this absurd, self-defeating, discriminatory policy. The time is now – do it, Congress! – promoted by lowkell)

    In the Washington Post today I read an article noting that sources close to the Pentagon groups studying the end of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell will show in their report that lifting the discriminatory ban will be “minimal risk” to lifting the ban on gay and lesbians serving openly in the military.  Once the official report is released to the general public it will reveal what anyone with any ounce of common sense will have already known: There really is no risk to lifting the ban. It is important to note that the risk will be “minimal” from what the source disclosed to the Washington Post, but with any change in the military there is always some risk but the question is whether or not it is significant enough to scrap an entire plan where the positive effects significantly outweigh the negatives.

    As someone who served in the Marine Corps I am always from the position of maintaining a strong fighting force to handle any conflict that arises around the world that could threaten American interests. Without question there are people in our country who wish to serve in the United States but for whatever disqualifying reason they cannot.  DADT has been the one policy that has significantly weakened out military fighting force through discharges, disciplinary action but more importantly furthering a homophobic mindset in the military. The whole idea that if someone doesn’t say they are gay then everything is good and there are no homosexuals in the military. While I was in the Marine Corps I served with gay and lesbian Marines and everyone who has served in the military has, no matter how much people want to be argue otherwise. The main issue of this whole policy and the debate that will occur by those on both sides of the debate will not really center around whether this will weaken out military force but rather further the homophobic ideology and agenda pushed by many in the military and political camps.

    I have always had a way of offending some people when I write about issues I truly believe in, although never intentionally until now. Any policy that weakens our military fighting force is the time of two wars and openly discriminates against those who are willing to fight and die for our country is something every American should be turning in anger about. Anyone who supports a policy that weakens our fighting force due to personal, discriminatory and homophobic beliefs can be offended all they want and I will never apologize to them. Our national security is too important for that and a society that treats all people, to include our gay and lesbian service members who put their lives on the line for our  equally is also too important.

    I’ve attempted to look at the “other side” of this issue and for all the “typical” opposition to lifting the ban I am still forced to come end up back at the starting point I personally believe is the real issue: People are afraid of homosexuals and for whatever reason are repulsed by them.  Unfortunately, I cannot totally blame the bigots and homophobes in our society who are private citizens as they look to our leaders and politicians for guidance. When people in our society see politicians advocate and proudly stand by discriminatory policies and hide their underlying homophobic and discriminatory beliefs under the cover of public interest, national security, fighting terrorism there are many people out there who will wrongly believe and follow them. We really need to ask those tough questions of politicians who will oppose this no matter what the findings will show and force them to answer the yes or no question: Are you homophobic?

    Many politicians and leaders during the Civil Rights Era opposed the legislation during its inception under the cover of federalism arguments but many used that argument to hide their true racist and discriminatory beliefs. There were very few who would openly come out and say that African Americans should be discriminated against and needed some “legitimate” protection from opponents. Sadly, the same thing can be applied with DADT. More importantly, our leaders and politicians are pushing a belief that will reiterate to many service members that homophobia and anti-gay beliefs and actions are acceptable in our society and military.

    Sadly, our leaders have little time to stand up and do the right thing. The lame duck session will be the last chance for a very long time that we have to end a policy that proudly weakens our military fighting force. Those “blue dog” Democrats who will no longer hold office have a chance to redeemed many of their wrong votes and positions against the correct Democratic agenda by standing up and showing our military that our country supports all citizens equally, especially those willing to fight and die for their country.  If people get offended by Democrats and even common sense republicans like the in the Log Cabin Republicans for pushing an unwanted agenda then too bad: We need to do what is right. History will judge those politicians like John McCain and many others in the Republican Party (And some Democrats) who are purposely weakening our military fighting force for no real apparent reason other than their true homophobic beliefs.

    Will the Democratic majority that remainders for another month during the lame duck session have the intestinal fortitude to do what is right in our national security interests and furthering our society that should be should be one of full equality for all?  We can only hope………

    • Randy Klear

      may have been drawn by Michael Medved on “The Ed Show” tonight. Apparently, now, the report won’t matter unless repeal also has the unanimous support of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. And, since the new Marine Corps Commandant still has concerns about “combat effectiveness”, that settles it.

      It never ends, does it?

    • blue bronc

      I went to the Navy Memorial for the Veterans Day Wreath Laying. Although I could have fought the crowds to get to Arlington; or I could have gone to the Air Force or Vietnam Memorials; my decision was to honor my great-great uncle.  His ship was torpedoed by a German submarine in WWI; his body was never recovered.

      As a very out lesbian veteran I make sure to wear my medals on the five days veterans should and can wear their medals. In my old hometown I was very well known and my story was probably more widely known.  But, it was wearing my medals that brought to the forefront how few veterans there are now as a percentage of the population.

      The importance of veterans being “out” is an issue as the crazies are being elected; people without knowledge of military service, either their own or their family or friends. These are the Republicans calling for vets to pay for their own healthcare which means privatizing veterans healthcare.

      Back to the ceremony.  I arrived about an hour early so I could take in the beautiful day, I often wonder what the day my g-g uncle died on was like. His ship was torpedoed a bit after 8pm local time, he may have died when the first one exploded or it could have been the second torpedo.

      The weather could not have been better on a day when we remember our family and friends who have been killed fighting for our country. I have had several relatives, men and women killed fighting for freedom.  The breezed even stopped for the ceremony allowing the wonderful warmth of the sun to prevail.

      As the Navy personnel practiced marching and playing their instruments I watched the crowd arrive.  Veterans looking around for other vets. Looking either for medals, or a cap or vest indicating service.  

      I am easy to notice, rather tall, large and very blond. My medals clanked as I walked around, at least the guys don’t have to worry about the big bounce making them sound like an off tune music show. Many people came up to me to ask and tell.  It is important that we vets touch and reassure ourselves that we did what we had to do, often having fun, occasionally experiencing horror and pain.

      The ceremony itself was like so many other veterans ceremonies I have attended either as a participant or as a viewer.  This day I scanned the crowd of about 100 people and noticed something very interesting.  I counted at least six and possibly eight lesbian couples. It does not take Gaydar to see hands being held or arms around shoulders or a look between two people who are a couple.

      One of the couples had children with them which I thought was great. The children were under five and the importance of the ceremony will not be understood for many more years. But they were there.

      After the ceremony I went up to one of the couples to say “HI”. “Navy” was the answer one told me when I asked if either were active duty. The other is a civilian, but her father was Navy. I don’t think DADT was on their minds as they sat through the wreath laying and afterward took pictures of the Sailor and the wreath.

      That was a beautiful end to a beautiful and solemn day.  Well almost. On the Metro ride back home I decided to risk life and limb by riding in the first car, first seat to watch out the front window. A woman with a very typical 3 year old was a seat over. The little girl was up and looking out the doors at each stop, and just enjoying her ride.

      After a while I asked the mother if her daughter would like a flag.  I had picked up a small American flag as a souvenir of the day. It was sticking out of my bag. “Yes, that would be nice. Are you sure?” “No problem, just write on the stick the date and Navy Memorial for me.” As the girl took her new flag and waved it around her mother told me, “Thank you so much. We are teaching her about her new country and this flag means a lot to us.” The little girl was adopted, maybe Korean or Chinese heritage.