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Regarding the Dec. 21 letter “No bigoted policy should stand”: I would like to address the rabbi’s concern about bigoted policy.

We live and work in an environment where discriminatory policy already exists. It is discriminatory to send smokers outside to smoke. It is discriminatory to tell people they cannot display sexually titillating material in the workplace. It is discriminatory to tell white supremacists or gang members that they cannot “be who they are.” We have these “discriminatory” policies because smokers, porn addicts, supremacists and gang members don’t live in their own world. Their words and actions affect others and we have determined as a military and as a society that those effects are detrimental to the good of individuals and society.

The question isn’t whether we can discriminate against those with same-sex attraction, it’s whether we can justly discriminate against them. Do their words and actions have a detrimental effect on others and the good order and discipline of our military community? Based on the media coverage, the letters to the editor, and anecdotal evidence from many concerned faithful in my pastoral care, I conclude there is evidence the change in policy will have detrimental effects.

What those effects will be remains to be seen. I suspect we are just moving from a society and culture that has said we can justly discriminate against those with same-sex attraction to saying we can now justly discriminate against those who espouse the value of marital love in a one-man, one-woman union.

This policy shift is part of a larger social juggernaut to promote, teach and normalize in our society a behavior that biology, history and faith traditions have found to be contrary to the good of individuals and society. When the day comes that a commander, supervisor, chaplain or any military member is punished or loses his career for addressing this issue in a critical manner or desires not to expose his family to this newly imposed publicly proclaimed value, will there be an outcry over that “bigoted” policy?

Chaplain (Capt.) Eugene Theisen

Joint Base Balad, Iraq

‘Deal with it’ is part of the deal

I’m tired of opening the newspaper every day and seeing letters from overzealous Christians complaining about the repeal of the “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy. The argument of “sinful” and “morally wrong” may work in their homes and places of worship, but the armed service is a professional organization.

I (and many others before me) enlisted to defend freedom and democracy — not the morals of someone else’s god. Yes, the Department of Defense has a lot of policies, and most people don’t agree with all of them, but we all signed a contract to deal with it because that’s just how it works.

To everyone who chooses not to serve with someone because you don’t agree with that person’s way of life, talk to your commanding officer, I’m sure he will be happy to show you the door. And the writer of the Dec. 16 letter “Won’t choose to ‘deal with it’ ” needs to change her attitude before she has to depend on one of the people she is so disgusted by.

Spc. Chris Johnson

Contingency Operating Base Basra, Iraq

Ranger School still beneficial

As a former commander of the 7th Ranger Training Battalion in Dugway, Utah, when Ranger Training Brigade had four phases, thank you for the compelling Dec. 22 article “Is combat experience making Ranger School unnecessary?”

I understand why the utility of Ranger School is being questioned during a repetitive state of deployments and precious dwell time. However, I am surprised by the comments of some respondents.

“Combat experience” is relative, arrayed across a very wide spectrum of soldering experiences. Each assignment and event comes with its particular set of opportunities, achievements and lessons learned.

Our professional, sequential military education system is a dynamic constant that infuses the force with a common framework and doctrine to develop leaders and ultimately lead formations in combat. It is useful to understand how to doctrinally conduct small-unit tactics before coming to a war zone, to test oneself and gain confidence operating in the unknown.

Fundamentally, Ranger School is a leadership laboratory, set against the backdrop of planning and conducting small-unit operations under challenging conditions. I have always considered Ranger School, along with others like the Special Forces “Q” course, to be the premier platforms in developing combat arms professionals.

For those in conflict between professional development and family time, there is no convenient time; it is a matter of priorities and, indeed, good life insurance.

Finally, it’s not about the tab; it is what you do with it after graduation.

Col. Jerome A. Watson (retired)

Camp Eggers, Afghanistan

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