The Nov. 11 article “Sentence in Smith case far exceeds the norm” stands in sharp contrast to the June 5 article “Doctor’s sentence angers victims.”

As you may recall, the latter was in reference to Dr. (Lt. Cmdr.) Anthony L. Velasquez, accused by 23 women of sexual assault. Velasquez was sentenced by a military judge to two years’ imprisonment, a $28,000 fine, dismissal from the Navy, and forfeiture of all pay and allowances.

The convening authority, however, suspended the prison sentence and fine. Hence, Dr. Velasquez spent a mere seven days in the brig.

The convening authority, along with other leaders, can learn from the Smith case. Predators are predators. Doctors have sworn an oath to “first, do no harm.”

Patients, regardless of age or gender, are in a vulnerable state when they come to see a doctor. Velasquez is a predator in every sense of the word. He should have had the full weight of the law thrown at him.

Dr. (Col.) Donald G. Mondragon

Joint Security Station Shield, Iraq

Living quarters issue ignored

The current social debate of “don’t ask, don’t tell” has digressed into a pit of obfuscation and ambiguous rhetoric that has little association with the matter at hand. Two critical issues are often excluded from arguments on both sides of the debate: Homosexuality is a lifestyle choice. Also, gender separation of living space infrastructure is accepted as proper and consistent with good order and discipline by both sides.

Those proponents for the repeal of “don’t ask, don’t tell” often use faulty comparisons of racial or gender identity to solidify their positions. These are intellectually dishonest arguments and are a disservice to people who have been discriminated against because of characteristics they have zero choice in. Those who would argue homosexuality must be predetermined because nobody would ever choose to become homosexual ignore that human beings choose socially stigmatizing behavior on a routine basis. The military uses social behavior as a discriminatory factor, and rightly so, in many aspects.

I’ve not read one opinion from those opposed to “don’t ask, don’t tell” that indicates they promote the recision of current Department of Defense policies regarding separate male and female living infrastructure, although that is exactly what they propose in arguments against “don’t ask, don’t tell.” A known sexual attraction is the crucial point that needs to be addressed and directly coincides with the current policy of gender separation.

Master Sgt. Daniel Skidmore (retired)

Heltersberg, Germany

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