Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Don’t Mask, Don’t Yell

Marine General Peter Pace, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said recently, notoriously, that he considers homosexuality “immoral” and that he favors retaining the current “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy. On the latter he says that it is a question of trust—if gays were allowed to be open in the military, other soldiers would not be able to trust them.

Should Pace be fired? No. But he does need some re-education. And he's not alone.

He said that homosexuality is like adultery and that isn’t tolerated in the military either. Except that they aren’t comparable, are they? The former is not a choice. Adultery is. And adultery may not be tolerated in the officer corps, but I’d like to see some statistics on enlisted adultery, which I suspect is a lot more prevalent than the General would like to admit. And then there’s that trust issue. The reason there might be a lack of trust is not because gays in the military are not trustworthy, it’s because others in the military are misinformed and generally ill-prepared to live with that kind of diversity. The military trends conservative, conservatives generally have poorly informed opinions about gays. So the solution to the problem is not to discharge gays from the military. The solution is to teach the rest of the military that the problem of trust comes from them, and not the other way around. If they abandon their prejudices, this whole debate would go away.

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