Wednesday, April 13, 2005

While I'm at it...

Babble on.

As a blogger, some days you have to dig to find the posts; other days the posts seem to dig to find you.

Since today seems to be gay-day at Babbling Brooks (it's unsettling that I'm always the last one to know about these periodic fate-mandated takeovers of my agenda), I will direct your attention to this Washington Post editorial about gays in the U.S. military:

Army Sgt. Robert Stout received a Purple Heart after an exploding grenade in Iraq last May left shrapnel in his face, arm and legs. He would like to remain in the military, and he said in an interview that he would reenlist were it not for the "don't ask, don't tell" policy. But Sgt. Stout is through denying that he is gay, so he recently declared his sexual orientation to the Associated Press. Now he'll be lucky if he's allowed to serve out his tour, which ends in May, without being kicked out of the service. For under U.S. policy, even the most decorated and patriotic gay soldier is just a homosexual to be rooted out at the military's earliest convenience.
There's no evidence that gay soldiers undermine military discipline or perform badly. American forces in Iraq and Afghanistan fight alongside allied forces that don't discriminate.

Yet as Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-Fla.) put it to the Miami Herald in explaining her decision to back the bill: "We investigate people. Bring them up on charges. Basically wreck their lives." These are "people who've signed up to serve our country. We ought to be thanking them." She's right. Who dares tell Sgt. Stout that he is unfit for service? (Babbler's bold)

Ms. Ros-Lehtinen hits the nail squarely on the head. And I have to say, it's refreshing to hear a Republican speak out on the right side of this particular issue.

Babble off.


At 10:56 p.m., Blogger Craig said...

This is a tough one. On the face of it I think it's outrageous that a gay man is punished for wanting to serve his country. Yet, I can't help recognizing the reality here. As someone who served in the army I know that to build an effective fighting unit you need to forge a strong bond among the soldiers. It's college hazing times ten. So putting an openly gay person in that unit is just not going to work. It will create discomfort and suspicion, and that will ruin the unit. The military is the one place where effectiveness must take precedence over moral sensibilities.

At 2:32 p.m., Blogger Prolix said...

This is a highly context dependent issue. Are unit members sufficiently homophobic that the fact that their sergeant is gay will impact their willingness to follow orders or risk battle? Will the fact that he is gay be a liability for unit morale? What happens if he was a cook or an admin clerk, not an infanteer -- does that change things?

I served with a number of gay men and women (so have you probably) and can honestly say that it had minimal impact on all the above. It was a non-issue.


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