Thursday, October 11, 2007

I wasn't very familiar with General Peter Pace, the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, until recently. General Pace has caused a bit of a stir and is coming under increasing scrutiny for remarks that he has made about homosexuality. The General, like myself, believes homosexuality is an immoral act. These beliefs are derived from his personal religious faith. Because he feels it to be immoral, he does not believe the US government and the US military should condone the behavior in any way. He was recently given a chance to clarify his remarks and, like a man of conviction, he refused to back down. Plus, he was on the verge of retirement, so what did he have to lose? He is careful to condemn the behavior and not any individual and he is sticking by his beliefs regardless how much criticism comes his way. General Pace has just earned a great deal of respect from me.

Current military policy on homosexuality is "dont ask-dont tell". The behavior is forbidden and out-of-the-closet homosexuals aren't allowed to serve in the military. Homosexuals can serve as long as they're not open about their sexuality. Bill Clinton implemented this policy on his own accord, without consulting his military advisors. He had no idea what kind of effect on morale or troop condition such a policy would have. It was a political move to appease a voting block and a half-hearted attempt to fulfill a campaign promise. Colin Powell did not feel it was a good policy, and his sentiments were shared by many military leaders. Unfortunately, they were not asked.

Some people think gays should be allowed to serve. Some don't like the current policy. Their opinions don't count. The military has two functions: Kill and Destroy. Everyone in the military does a job that in some way contributes to the military's ability to kill and destroy. Policy, regardless of what it deals with, should coincide with this. Will allowing gays to openly serve enhance the military's ability to kill and destroy? The only ones qualified to answer that are our military leaders. The military is not the place for social experiments.

Like a good soldier, General Pace upholds the current policy, but he is making his stand there. The obvious next step (as Senator Harkin has said) would be allowing openly gay people to serve (as well as allowing adultery). That would amount to the US military condoning homosexual behavior, which is what the General opposes, and would potentially become a social experiment rather than enhancing the military's ability to kill and destroy.

Eventually the debate about homosexual policy will occur. At that time, the arguments can be made on the merits of whether it is strategically wise to condone this behavior. I for one feel it is not, and not just because of my faith, but because of what I feel is best for a mentally and physically capable military force. I haven't seen any sound argument that supports the notion that allowing homosexuality and adultery in the military enhances it's ability to make war. For now, the argument can wait. General Pace has retired, bringing an end to a highly decorated career of honorable service. The General stands beside his personal conviction and I whole-heartedly salute him for it, in every sense of the word. It's men like him who we need leading our troops in a time of war. So long, General, God bless you for your service to this country.


Allisoni Balloni said...

I really fail to understand why being a homosexual has any influence on ones ability to serve in the armed forces. Do you know any homosexuals? Are they posing a security danger wherever they go? Are the incapable of defending themselves and others? Probably most importantly in your mind, are they being outwardly profane and inappropriate about their sexual orientation, any more than a straight person may be? They are normal people who happen to be attracted to members of the same sex. For some reason that is oh so terrifying to you and to many others, and instead of admitting that it just makes you uncomfortable because you don't feel the same way, it becomes an issue of religion and political policy.
Is "adultery" between two straight people allowed while on active duty in the military? It shouldn't be any different. Allowing homosexuals to be in the military does not condone their personal behavior, it acknowledges that they are capable human beings, just like straight people.
The one thing that I absolutely cannot stand about this argument is the religious factor. I go to church every Sunday and I do not, EVER use my religion as an excuse to discriminate against another person. If you don't like homosexual behavior, don't partake in it. A military leader using his religion as a way to justify discrimination is disgusting to me. He can personally believe whatever he feels like, but imposing that on a government-run system is a pretty direct violation of the separation of church and state and is occurring MUCH too often lately. YOUR religion is not EVERYONE'S religion, but for some reason Christians these days seem to think that their answer is right for everyone. That doesn't work for anyone. You may think it works for you, but you are actually just creating a much worse reputation for Christianity and those Christians who actually ARE examples of how to live Jesus' example.

BB-Idaho said...

Peter Pace is an excellent officer,
rising quickly despite not being an
Anapolis grad. I can understand his views. On the other hand, there are 24 countries which accept gay soldiers. In particular, Israel-
so, the question is not whether these soldiers are brave or can do their duty, but rather the culture
of the country which either employs them or not. In ours, not.
Consider Colin Powell's stand on the issue much earlier. We need consider that the old time officers
withstood the desire of women to enter the acadamies, fly combat
figters and helicopters..and now?
So, we can suppose it will continue to be something of an issue, one that perhaps involves a volunteer service vs the draft.

John Washburn said...

Allison, At no time did I advocate discrimination against anyone and I don't appreciate the accusation. That alone shows that I am more tolerant than you or anyone else who attacks me for my personal faith. If you disagree with that, then you should be more selective in your wording.

Homosexuals ARE allowed to serve in the military. They are not allowed to engage in homosexual behavior. People with tattoos are allowed to serve in the military, as long as the tattoos don't show in uniform. People with piercings can serve, but the piercings can't be visible. Women with long hair can serve, but the hair must be worn above the collar. Do these rules amount to discrimination? Or do they serve a purpose, perhaps? Dismissing military policy as closed-minded and discriminatory just because you disagree reflects your own obtuse thought process.

Military policy does not discriminate, nor do Christians. I was very clear in stating that I condemn the behavior, not the individual. A courtesy you fail to extend to me. Most Christians feel the same as I, so calling them hypocrites is not fair and neither is calling us bigots, homophobes or "uncomfortable". But the moral debate doesn't matter, and since you obviously can't respect my faith, we'll move on (and you people call ME intolerant??).

Suppose you're the President. Suppose you were considering changing the current policy and allowing homosexual behavior and adultery to occur without punishment. Suppose your military advisors overwhelmingly advise against this, saying that such a policy would be a detriment to the mission, making it strategically unsound. Would you still pursue your agenda, lacking military expertise, for the purpose of social approval? Or would you listen to your advisors?

The point is, homosexuals are allowed to serve under current policy. So are polygamists and womanizers. But they aren't allowed to engage in behavior that is considered a detriment to the mission. You can make this an equal rights issue all you want, but you're off the point and you're flirting with performing social experiments where they don't belong. The issue is the mission, and any policy should be geared to maximize our ability to achieve the mission.

Now, make your point that open homosexuality and adultery would HELP the mission. Because military leaders can easily make an argument that these behaviors are a detriment to the mission. What is your response to them?

BB, yes there are countries that allow homosexuality in the military. If their soldiers were more capable and better trained than ours, then you may have a point.

Allisoni Balloni said...

The fact that it would be detrimental to the mission is what I take issue with. If not because it makes people uncomfortable and because it conflicts with your religious belief, then why?

I have just re-read your post, to make sure I didn't miss something, as you make it seem. I understood it to mean the exact same thing as the first time I read it.
If you do not agree with the don't ask-don't tell policy, that means you either support openly gay members of the military, or you think there should be no homosexuals in the military at all. Being "out" as a homosexual does not mean you are in a relationship or engaging in any type of sexual activity. Simply admitting you are gay is basis for being discharged from the military. Having a tattoo or piercings are not. It can be known that you have them, as long as you aren't displaying them while in uniform. That is NOT the same as the don't ask-don't tell policy, where simply knowing about it is basis for discharge.

Condemning the behavior is telling all homosexual individuals that you disagree with who they are. Condemning the behavior by restricting them from participation in things that nearly all other Americans have the right to do if they so please, is discrimination.

BB-Idaho said...

" If their soldiers were more capable and better trained than ours, then you may have a point.
..I think I do, if you agree that the Israeli Defense Forces are a
topnotch combat organization.