Give them a minute, they’ll come up with another excuse.

February 4, 2010 at 2:45 pm | Posted in civil rights, Department of Defense, Historical, politics straight up | Leave a comment
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Manila, the Philippine Islands. For extraordinary heroism during attacks on Jap bridgeheads at Vigan, in Northern Luzon, Lieutenant Jack Dale of the U.S. Army Air Corps received a Distinguished Service Cross from General MacArthur (right) before Japanese forces forced American troop retirement from Manila. Other air heroes decorated with the Distinguished Service Cross were Captain Jesus A. Villamor (center rear) of the Philippine Army, and posthumously, Captain Colin P. Kelly, Jr., who bombed and sank a Jap battleship off Luzon. This picture, made December 22, 1941, was one of the last to leave the Philippines. (Library of Congress)

Back in the good old days the excuse for banning gays from the military is that they were a security risk, even though “as far back as 1957, … the Navy’s Crittenden Report found ‘no factual data’ to support the idea that they posed a greater security risk than heterosexual personnel.” People only pose a security risk when they can be blackmailed for engaging in a proscribed activity. The only security risk that exists with respect to gay people serving in the military is as a result of forcing people to hide their sexual orientation.

In 1950 the Super Patriot, Republican senator Joseph McCarthy, and some of his friends “formed a subcommittee to study the effects of the Truman administration’s employment policy concerning homosexuals.”

Expert testimony gave the senators enough evidence to argue that “moral perverts [were] bad national security risks because of their susceptibility to blackmail and threat of exposure.”

The result of McCarthy’s efforts was that “[o]n April 27, 1953, President Dwight D. Eisenhower signed Executive Order 10450: Security Requirements for Government Employment. The order listed “sexual perversion” as a condition for firing a federal employee and for denying employment to potential applicants. Homosexuality, moral perversion, and communism were categorized as national security threats; the issue of homosexual federal workers had become a dire federal personnel policy concern.

More recently the argument against gays in the military is that “[f]or somebody to go around flaunting their sexuality is going to make a lot of people more uncomfortable” and that it is a “moral” issue. It is in fact a moral issue, but unfortunately it is proponents of the ban who are the bad moral actors here. “Military officials often turn a blind eye to the exploitation of women by military and contract personnel, because they want to boost their men’s ‘morale.’

U.S. Army Forces in New Guinea. U.S. soldiers with their equipment are brought ashore in a landing barge from a transport of Buna, New Guinea, during the Allied offensive that drove the Japanese out of Papua. Between 1940 and 1946. (Library of Congress)

On February 4, 1993 Rep. Duncan Hunter (R-CA) spoke at a hearing of the Republican Research Committee’s Task Force on Military Personnel. He was greatly concerned that that by changing the law we would “lose this perception by middle America of the military as a wholesome environment for their young people.”

Hunter is currently in full freak-out mode over the idea of gays being able to legally serve their country: “[T]he military is not civilian life, and I think the folks that have been in the military that have been in these very close situations with each other — there has to be a special bond there, and I think that that bond is broken if you open up to the military to transgenders, to hermaphrodites, to gays and lesbians.

I am not sure that Hunter knows what a hermaphrodite is. Is he suggesting that the US military conduct gender tests on each recruit?

Arizona Republican Senator Jon Kyle, one of the co-chairs of the Republican Research Committee’s Task Force and at that time a representative, has been strangely quiet on the repeal of DADT.

Given the rates of STDs contracted by members of the US military, it’s pretty clear that what we’re talking about is homophobia.

A European court ten years ago ordered the British military to allow gays to serve.

Colored mechanic, motor maintenance section, Fort Knox, Kentucky. June 1942. (Library of Congress)

There was much shrieking and rending of garments that this was going to lead to disaster.

Sadly, for the haters, there have been no problems.

Not only do the British allow gay people in their military, Israel does as well. And Germany, Belgium, Spain, Sweden, Romania, and a host of others.

In 1994 conservative Republican icon Barry Goldwater spoke out against the irrational and costly banning of gay people from the military.

“The big thing is to make this country, along with every other country in the world with a few exceptions, quit discriminating against people just because they’re gay,” Goldwater asserts. “You don’t have to agree with it, but they have a constitutional right to be gay. And that’s what brings me into it.”

Today’s “conservative” Republican has no qualms about dismissing the judgment of military leaders or rejecting one of their allegedly core principles — government should stay out of private lives.

John McCain, failed Republican candidate for president in 2008, stands out as Hypocrite-In-Chief on this issue. He would do well to consider the ongoing damage his hypocrisy is doing to the country he claims to love so well.

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