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Posted at 4:33 PM ET, 12/14/2010

Marine Gen. Amos's gay obsession

By Jonathan Capehart

Look, I know the Marines consider themselves the bad-ass branch of the armed forces. But the obsession of Gen. James F. Amos, commandant of the Marine Corps, with the presumed negative impacts of allowing gay men and lesbians to serve openly in the military is getting out of hand. The Post's Craig Whitlock reports that Amos suggested that dropping don't ask don't tell could result in more casualties because their presence on the battlefield would pose "a distraction."

To listen to Amos, you'd think letting gay men and lesbians serve openly would turn his barracks into the set for the third season of RuPaul's Drag Race. Ridiculous, right? Marines who can't handle serving alongside someone who was closeted on Monday and then comes out on Tuesday are the one Amos should be worried about. They are the ones who will lack discipline. They are the ones who will wreck unit cohesion. They are the ones who will harm morale.

Perhaps Amos didn't read Patrick Pexton's excellent Dec. 1 op-ed in The Post on why gay men -- like all men -- join the military.

Straight soldiers and Marines who have a few years under their belts, and have done a combat tour or two, will more readily talk about this. They often say they enlisted in part because they wanted to prove to someone - maybe a father, their family or a sweetheart, but most often to themselves - that they were brave men willing to suffer the consequences of their adult decisions, even if that included death. That is one of the essences of masculinity, they have said in interviews.

But the scores of gay servicemen I have interviewed over the years express an identical desire to prove their strength, courage and masculinity. It isn't about proving sexual prowess, both straight and gay troops say, but about adulthood and, ultimately, male virtue.

Or maybe Amos would rather cling to outdated and bigoted views than follow his commander in chief, the defense secretary, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and the American people, whose safety and liberty his able Marines are sworn to protect.

By Jonathan Capehart  | December 14, 2010; 4:33 PM ET
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Comments

This is obviously a bit nitpicky, but the armed services oath does not include an affirmation to protect the American people. Marines, and all active service members, take an oath to defend the Constitution from foreign and domestic enemies and to follow lawful orders. Period. End.

Mr. Capehart would do well to base his commentary on the facts as they are, not as he would have them. Oath follows below.

I, (NAME), do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; and that I will obey the orders of the President of the United States and the orders of the officers appointed over me, according to regulations and the Uniform Code of Military Justice. So help me God.

Posted by: outcast | December 14, 2010 5:42 PM | Report abuse

You're right, it is nitpicky.

Posted by: claybrook1 | December 14, 2010 5:48 PM | Report abuse

Nitpicky, but accurate, my friend. In any event, Capehart seems to give short shrift to why the general states his opposition to the ban. That is because a majority of Marines oppose it. Like it or not, a lot devil dogs believe that lifting the ban would affect their ability to do their jobs. And since we are asking the Marines to win two wars on a shoestring budget, maybe we should back off when they say they need some room.

I have nothing but respect for men and women in uniform, gay or not. God bless them for doing what they do. However, we are in a situation where the military is pretty stressed as it is. Adding additional stressors runs the risk of making a difficult job (winning a war adn minimizing casualities) more difficult. Maybe this is just not the right time for lifting DADT.

Posted by: outcast | December 14, 2010 6:01 PM | Report abuse

outcast:

Gee - my copy of the Constitution clearly states that the PRESIDENT is commander-in-chief of the armed forces. Last time i checked, Congress was not mentioned anywhere in the chain of command.

2. The Constitution was written by and for people. Not squirrels or aardvarks or camels - but people. When one is duty-bound to protect and defend it, one is - by extension - protecting those whom it covers. Which means the American people.

Posted by: peterformaini | December 14, 2010 6:27 PM | Report abuse

Or perhaps General Amos is the Marine most responsible for securing the interests of his service, and doesn't have time or patience to coddle your sexual insecurities.

Posted by: revprez | December 14, 2010 7:42 PM | Report abuse

Marines, sailors, and airmen are trained in a similar way: boot camp breaks down the person and forces volunteers to think of the unit and its success. The key to that is that members of the unit have to bond and trust each other. DADT and the policy makers that are hanging on to this 'old chestnut" require GLBT service members to break that trust and not respect that bond. The leaders are the ones forcing service members to break that trust and not serve with the integrity they are sworn to uphold. Enough already- the service members and their families are ok with it, its time for the Senate to act with the honor all of our troops are.

Posted by: bill_delgrosso | December 14, 2010 8:05 PM | Report abuse

Marines, sailors, and airmen are trained in a similar way: boot camp breaks down the person and forces volunteers to think of the unit and its success. The key to that is that members of the unit have to bond and trust each other. DADT and the policy makers that are hanging on to this 'old chestnut" require GLBT service members to break that trust and not respect that bond. The leaders are the ones forcing service members to break that trust and not serve with the integrity they are sworn to uphold. Enough already- the service members and their families are ok with it, its time for the Senate to act with the honor all of our troops are.

Posted by: bill_delgrosso | December 14, 2010 8:06 PM | Report abuse

Capehart calling Gen. Amos gay obsessive? Is it insensitive to liken this to the pot calling the kettle black?

Posted by: kitchendragon50 | December 14, 2010 8:13 PM | Report abuse

Or perhaps general Amos is the worst kind of gay. The self hating kind. Wouldn't surprise me one bit. History is full of General Amos's.

Posted by: madest | December 14, 2010 8:54 PM | Report abuse

It matters not that some Marines oppose the termination of DADT. Secretary Gates got it right: “I can’t think of a single precedent in American history of doing a referendum of the American armed forces on a policy issue. Are you going to ask them if they want 15-month tours? Are you going to ask them if they want to be part of the surge in Iraq? That’s not the way our civilian-led military has ever worked in our entire history.”

Posted by: AndrewLRoss | December 14, 2010 9:49 PM | Report abuse

It matters not that some Marines oppose the termination of DADT. Secretary Gates got it right: “I can’t think of a single precedent in American history of doing a referendum of the American armed forces on a policy issue. Are you going to ask them if they want 15-month tours? Are you going to ask them if they want to be part of the surge in Iraq? That’s not the way our civilian-led military has ever worked in our entire history.”

Posted by: AndrewLRoss | December 14, 2010 9:49 PM | Report abuse

Just not the right time.

I wonder how many soldiers who are gay, have that as a last thought before loosing their lives in combat.

Posted by: ldfrmc | December 14, 2010 11:36 PM | Report abuse

A former Commander in Chief, President Gerald R. Ford’s life was saved in 1975 by the type of marine General Amos is fearful of giving an order to. Oliver W. Sipple name should be on the DADT repeal and that would set the bar for how all soldiers should conduct themselves.

http://sdgln.com/news/2010/11/11/honoring-special-gay-veteran-forever-special-day

Posted by: jones-allen | December 15, 2010 10:26 AM | Report abuse

A former Commander in Chief, President Gerald R. Ford’s life was saved in 1975 by the type of marine General Amos is fearful of giving an order to. Oliver W. Sipple name should be on the DADT repeal and that would set the bar for how all soldiers should conduct themselves.

General Amos should read the op-ed below (link) to remind him why he should be proud to be a marine.

http://sdgln.com/news/2010/11/11/honoring-special-gay-veteran-forever-special-day

Posted by: jones-allen | December 15, 2010 10:29 AM | Report abuse

The idiot-elites always miss the gritty truth of things.

Read carefully:

The "only" thing a combat soldier cares about is that every man in his platoon can keep a cool head, and is strong enough to pick up and run, with with a wounded buddy.

If a woman can pick up a downed soldier and a man can't, then I want the woman in my platoon - period - but she ain't gonna shower with the "guys" - in fact I've asked fellow female vets and to a woman, they would not want to barracks with the boys.

If you understand why the women generally don't want to barracks with the men, then you might want to apply that rational to "men" who don't wish to barracks with "homosexuals" - this doesn't demean or otherwise persecute the homosexual men any more than the straight guys are for not being able to barracks and shower, etc.. with the women.

Don't ask, don't tell covers a lot of things in the military.All soldiers and Marines are trained to keep their "personal issues" personal, or go see the Chaplan.


The gay activists are creating more problems for gays in the military than anything else.

We don't need insipid activists screwing with combat moral - regardless of what their activating for!!!

Posted by: ruralamericans | December 15, 2010 11:12 AM | Report abuse

Ha… "straight" marines prefer to have sexual encounters with other "straight" marines, not the "gay" ones. Because then they're all still "straight"! Again, ha ;) It's anything non-macho that makes them crazy, and having it discussed openly makes them anxious and nervous… anything non-ultramacho = feminine (to them), and the feminine (feeling, nurturing) is to be shunned and avoided at all costs. They've been trained/brainwashed to interpret that as weakness, unfortunately. Too bad for them and too bad for us. Especially when we now ask them to sit down and have tea with the locals in Afghanistan, and TALK to them. Sheeeesh.

Posted by: LawsLuvr | December 15, 2010 12:02 PM | Report abuse

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