The military and gay rights
Our readers have filed more than 1,000 comments about the secretary of the defense and chairman of the joint chiefs of staff telling Congress it's time to end the military's don't ask, don't tell (DADT) position on whether gays and lesbians can serve.
Reader views on that story alone seem evenly divided between supporters and opponents of the current system. But the comments on a sidebar about Sen. John McCain's apparent shift on the subject have generated strong support for the administration proposal and significant criticism of McCain, who is facing a tough Republican primary challenge in Arizona. McCain once said when military leaders tell him it's time to dump DADT, "then I think we ought to consider seriously changing it."
The arguments readers make on the substance follow the familiar pattern that openly gay people would disrupt military discipline, threaten heterosexuals with unwanted advances, etc. etc., despite the fact many gays have served in the military with distinction, and many of their colleagues have known they were gay, were not propositioned, and didn't tell.
We'll start with the comments on the main story:
jaynashvil wrote, "Adm. Mike Mullen got it exactly right when he said it was wrong to have a policy that forces service members to "lie about who they are in order to defend their fellow citizens." Lying is not a policy to be proud of. And pretending there are no gay people serving when you KNOW gay people are serving is--well, that doesn't even make good common sense. Thank you, Admiral Mullen!"
But dedreckon said, "I am an eight year Navy veteran serving all during Vietnam...Tell us what advantages women and gays have had or will contribute to the armed forces instead of the misguided social engineering experiment it serves to satisfy now. The armed forces are not to be used to reeducate mankind as the fuzzy headed do-gooders in both the feminist and gay/lesbian movements would like them to be. Mullen and Gates must have lost their blithering minds."
Gary12 wrote, "It's about time!"
But Grandblvd03 said, "I'll believe it when I see it."
bfjackjernigan wrote, "During my twenty-two years of service I worked with gay and lesbian people both officer and enlisted. All that mattered to me was their character and if I could depend upon them when the **** was flying in all directions. They never failed me and I deeply appreciated their trust in that I wouldn't "rat them out" when they honestly told me who they were..."
badgerburg said, "The military is no place for social experiments. The radical left is at it again."
MerrellM wrote, "As a Marine veteran in the infantry, I have a friend who is currently on his third enlistment. He has seen combat multiple times in both Iraq and Afghanistan. He is gay... yet becuase of dont ask dont tell, he is not allowed to be publicly who he is, a gay man, in the job he loves doing, the Marines. This is unacceptable..."
alientech asked, "What's wrong with 'don't ask, don't tell'? Why is announcing to the world one is gay is so important? Maybe nobody cares to know?"
psienesis wrote, "Newsflash: If you've served in the military, you've served alongside gays and lesbians. They swore the same oath you did to defend the Constitution. The gays aren't bringing turmoil to the military..."
linguist64 offered the conspiracy of the day in writing, "Wanna know why Obama exempted the Defense budget from his proposed 3-year freeze? DADT [Don't Ask, Don't Tell], that's why. Ending this policy is going to cost the military BIG..." Don't say you weren't warned."
dedreckon wrote, "I am an eight year Navy veteran serving all during Vietnam... Tell us what advantages women and gays have had or will contribute to the armed forces instead of the misguided social engineering experiment it serves to satisfy now. The armed forces are not to be used to reeducate mankind as the fuzzy headed do-gooders in both the feminist and gay/lesbian movements would like them to be. Mullen and Gates must have lost their blithering minds."
And now to the comments on the McCain sidebar:
The_Phoenix said, "Yes, McCain is an old war hero, and should be respected as such. And the homeless drug addicted vets living under the freeway overpass should be respected (and helped) as well. But I'm not so sure we should be taking political advice from the vets under the bridge and now it apprears we can say the same thing about Senator McCain..."
ItshotinPHX wrote, "Speaking as an Arizonan, I have to say the Republican primary is not an attractive one. I don't even know if the Democrats or another party are going to bother running anyone at all. I assure those of you who are outraged by McCain, Hayworth is waaaaay more to the right."
And donaldtucker said, "hayworth campaign slogan has to be you know who and what i am.now you know who and what mccain is.even his wife and daughter disagrees with him.truth be known and truly sad fact is he probably agrees with the admiral.and he is putting politics ahead of country..."
rickedelson wrote, "Its not too hard to figure out: if President Obama is for something, anything, then all Republicans must immediately become against it, irrespective of whatever they have said in the past..."
And cbickel said, "John McCain doesn't care a whit about our military forces; he only wants to discredit President Obama and gain political chits from doing so from right wing zealots such as Sarah Palin. McCain has long overstayed his effectiveness as a senator--if he ever was effective."
jimb wrote, "I had regard and respect for the maverick Senator McCain with his indepnendence and active mind, but alas, this McCain seems or morphed into a member of the rnaks of those who automatially say NO to everything that comes from the administration, no matter what he said previously and the merits of the proposals. I fervently hope for a return of the maverick."
And we'll close with AverageJane, who said, "The Israeli military lets gays serve openly. Now is McCain going to dispute that they are one of the most effective fighting forces on earth?"
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