The winds of change are blowing through the military establishment. It is clear that openly gay service personnel are an inevitability and that "Don't ask, don't tell" is on its way out.
These days Defense Secretary Robert Gates, a man trusted by both political parties and the service chiefs, has a message for them all: if we are to manage the end of "Don't Ask, don't tell" the way we want it... we had best act quickly before the civilian courts step in and tell us what to do. Change is inevitable, he says, but handling it our way is not.
Right now, various judges, their itchy fingers and intrusive court orders at the ready, are giving the military time to sort out their own house. But the clock is ticking... ticking.
Secretary Gates reminds all that "Don't ask, don't tell", that invidious, unconstitutional, discriminatory policy that has kept military gays locked firmly in the closet since the Clinton Administration is moving inexorably into the scrap heap of history's lousy ideas. He aims to be on the right side as inevitability unfolds.
Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Admiral Mike Mullen knows it, too. He's on board with the new political realities as are all savvy officers who can see the way the wind blows.
But, conspicuously brand-new Marine Commandant James Amos is not. To the increasing embarrassment of the military establishment, General Amos has become a fountainhead of notoriously unpersuasive insipidities on the subject:
One by one, the panjandrums of the military have thrown in the towel and taken up the new party line, admitting that gays (imagine!) have been serving, are serving and will serve in every service with distinction... what is the big deal, after all?
General Amos, new kid on the block, Bourbon-like, has learned nothing and forgotten nothing. Bourbon-like he has now become the problem... and you know what happened to these clueless French monarchs.
If his military brethren have weakened and strayed, he most assuredly has not. Why just the other day he uncorked this sour vintage, designed to frighten Marine parents everywhere:
"I don't want to have any Marines that I'm visiting at Bethesda (Naval Medical Center) with no legs be the result of any kind of distraction."
This, of course, is demagoguery of the worst kind... seeking to support an outmoded policy through fear mongering. It defines the man's approach to this issue. If he cannot have victory, he can at least have the last word. (But there is that in him which feels that even now, against all odds, he can still have victory. After all he is a Marine... and that is enough.)
Should we abolish "Don't ask, don't tell," he emphasizes, your Marine son, who needs to focus on winning the engagement and staying alive, could well face and would have to respond immediately to unwanted sexual advances from deviate members of the corps who could use war to get sex. Thus, instead of moving against the enemy, your comely lad would be distracted... even unto the ultimate sacrifice.
"I wonder who's kissing him now."
In 1909 America danced to and hummed along with a catchy Gilded Age pop tune, "I wonder who's kissing her now." This lilting waltz, with changed gender, now appears to be running through General Amos' fetid mind:
"I wonder who's kissing him now, I wonder who's teaching him how? Wonder who's looking into his eyes? Breathing sighs! Telling lies! I wonder if he's got a boy? The boy who once filled me with joy, Wonder if he ever tells him of me? I wonder who's kissing him now."
Fascinated, revolted, the licentious scene is painfully clear to the general. As the enemy's attacks intensify, as the enemy moves in, as your son's full concentration is earnestly required... he has to fend off an amorous corpsman intent on nookie instead of self-protection... and victory. Oh, my.
Imagine, they sleep together. The general cannot forget.
The Marine Corps, unlike other services, houses a pair of people in a room, collegiate style. This, they say, promotes "unity." Perhaps, as the general worries, too much so. Here's what he said in November, 2010 in a statement that alerted the politically sensitive to the problem they faced in General Amos:
“There is nothing more intimate than young men and young women and when you talk of infantry we’re talking of our young men laying out, sleeping along side of one another and sharing death, fear and loss of brothers,” General Amos said. “I don’t know what the effect of that will be on cohesion. I mean, that’s what we’re looking at. It’s unit cohesion, it’s combat effectiveness.”
The general says, and no doubt believes with all the power of the last pterodactyl, that men of a certain sexual orientation will during combat do things other than everything they can to stay alive. Does anyone else concur with this lapse of insight and intellect?
Let's be clear: men, women, gay, straight during combat they will all focus on staying alive, then on achieving the objective. Sexual orientation does not change this truth one iota.
As a result, basing his case on a rancid fallacy, this general of antiquated views and big mouth lumbers on, embarrassing the president, the military establishment, and every thinking Marine; all of them with gay friends and colleagues and absolutely no problem serving with them worldwide.
Then what of General Amos? So newly installed, he has already committed political hara kiri, still walking and too much talking, but of no earthly consequence. The Marine Corps deserves better. Fortunately, in due course, as General Amos keeps talking, they will get it. For such a man with such views has besmirched Semper Fi. And that will never do.