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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 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?"

By Doug Feaver  |  February 3, 2010; 6:41 AM ET
 | Tags: Gay Rights, Military, Mullen; McCain  
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As a CPT & CO of a Co., I became informed that a PV2 had fondled the genitals of a sleeping SP4, both in my command. The heterosexual SP4, awakening, had nicked the homosexual PV2 in the neck with a bayonet. Presuming that the PV2 had learned his lesson from this nearly fatal incident, I did nothing. Shortly thereafter, the homosexual PV2 ran his hand up my leg. Just prior to reaching my groin, I rendered him unconscious in full view of many in my command and others within the same battalion. In the words of the battalion commander's wife, "No one saw a thing." The following morning, the PV2 1049'd out of my company. Not knowing any other recourse - and not wishing to be court martialed for striking an enlisted man - I signed the paperwork. Being fondled by homosexuals was not a part of the oath I took to support the Constitution of the United States, nor was it in the enlistment contract signed by any heterosexual in my command. Allowing homosexuals of either gender to be in military or naval service is hazardous to them and to the heterosexuals who are assaulted in the name of political correctness, as it is the heterosexuals who will be punished, most probably by discharge, if the Obamaramadingdongs have their way.

Posted by: Drawer22 | February 10, 2010 2:13 AM | Report abuse

Quick question: Should sexual harassment apply equally to all service members?

Should it be okay for a women to complain that a male co-worker's sexy pinups make her uncomfortable and are creating a hostile work environment, but call a male who complains that having to strip naked in front of homosexual men makes him uncomfortable and creates a hostile work environment - a bigot or homophobe?

What if he says he percieves his gay room mate is attracted to him, has asked him out, or is looking at him making him uncomforable? Or he is simply uncomfortable with the sexual tension created by being forced to strip and shower w/homos creates? Should he be allowed to change room mates or be told to just "get over it."

If a female was forced to room with a male, even temporarily for operational reasons, and she said the same things - would she be told to just deal with it?

What if an assault later occurred? Would the CO be liable for having ignored or tacitly promoted a hostile work environment?

If a gay room mate puts up sexually explicit or suggestive posters in his room - could his straight room mate complain they create a hostile environment?

Looking for how to make it work....

Posted by: DupontFellow | February 4, 2010 8:11 AM | Report abuse

alientech wrote: Why is announcing to the world one is gay is so important? Maybe nobody cares to know?

This highlights the onerous double standard at work in this particularlt clueless argument -- because heterosexuals enjoy this particular freedom every single time they acknowledge their wives, husbands, girlfriends, boyfriends and children. "Don't Ask Don't Tell" is nothing but a structure for unfair discrimination and prejudice. To ask gay soldiers to die for their country yet to remain in the closet while they do so is EVIL.

Posted by: Manwolf | February 3, 2010 6:50 PM | Report abuse

If you had asked the head of the Army, Navy, and Marines about desegregating the Armed Forces back in 40's. they would have said no! There were lots of soldiers who just didn't want 'them' around. Too bad! Gay is who you are, not what you do.

Time to get rid of bigotry in the Military!

Posted by: thebobbob | February 3, 2010 10:44 AM | Report abuse

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