Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Don't Ask Don't Tell is still discrimination - and a Marine shouldn't defend that

California Republican Duncan Hunter, an ex-Marine now serving in Congress is, plainly put, a bigot. He is engaged in the last “safe” form of bigotry in this country, open discrimination against Gay and Lesbian Americans. Don’t think so; well read this from NPR’s All Things Considered yesterday (emphasis mine):

This week, were going to hear a variety of perspectives on what to do with dont ask, dont tell. Tomorrow, well hear from someone who wants to repeal the policy and allow gays to serve openly. Today, we turn to California Congressman Duncan Hunter. He is a Republican and a former U.S. Marine who served both in Afghanistan and Iraq. Congressman Hunter, welcome to the program.

Representative DUNCAN HUNTER (Republican, California): Hey, great to be with you.

BLOCK: You are not in favor of a repeal of dont ask, dont tell. Why not?

Rep. HUNTER: No, because I think that its bad for the cohesiveness and the unity of the military units, especially those that are in close combat, that are in close quarters in country right now. Its not the time to do it. I think its - the military is not civilian life. And I think the folks who have been in the military that have been in these very close situations with each other, there has to be a special bond there. And I think that bond is broken if you open up the military to transgenders, to hermaphrodites, to gays and lesbians.

BLOCK: Transgenders and hermaphrodites.

Rep. HUNTER: Yeah, thats going to be part of this whole thing. Its not just gays and lesbians. Its a whole gay, lesbian, transgender, bisexual community. If you're going to let anybody no matter what preference - what sexual preference they have that means the military is going to probably let everybody in. Its going to be like civilian life and the I think that that would be detrimental for the military.

Where to begin? First, while Rep. Hunter does acknowledge, later on, that there are gay men and lesbian women serving in the military already, he just can’t seem to square that circle with these statements. Second, Rep. Hunter is correct that the military doesn’t represent real life – there are no Kristol’s on O’Hanlon’s currently serving. Third, what does ones gender identity – which is what being transsexual and or hermaphrodidic is all about – have to do with one’s sexual expression? For that matter, what does either of those things have to do with being able to pull the trigger and kill another human being in the face of combat?

The answer of course is that one’s sexual practices have nothing to do with ones ability to defend our Nation, just as one’s racial or ethnic origin, language skills, and educational level have nothing to do with it either. Two generations ago the same things were said about African Americans in the military (and to a lesser extend Naative Americans, Asians and Hispanics) – yet I suspect no one now looks at the service record of Secretary of State Gen. Colin Powell as being something that diminished readiness or combat cohesiveness. So if Blacks didn’t break the military why would gay men and lesbian women? They won’t, and if our nation wants to continue the role of ethics standard bearer to the world, we need to head the words of Admiral Mike Mullen, who has been in combat and lead men and women into combat:

"No matter how I look at the issue," Chairman of the Joint Chiefs Adm. Mike Mullen said, "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."

The Admiral is a man of courage and conviction – Rep. Hunter is a coward hiding behind old, tired tripe to lash out in the worst, most inhuman, most unchristian way at his fellow citizens. Californians deserves better, as do our men and women in uniform.

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