Free to judge all behaviors
Weighing in on the repeal of “don’t ask, don’t tell,” a recent letter writer objects to the view, expressed by others, that homosexuality is wrong (“Give GIs credit for adapting,” Dec. 23). In making his case, the writer engages in a bit of sophistry, arguing that homosexuality is neither wrong nor is it a choice.
If homosexuality is not objectively “wrong,” then the question of whether it’s a choice should be irrelevant. But the writer, while arguing that homosexuality is morally upright, tries to play both sides of the fence by quelling any hint that choice is a factor, presumably because he knows that every act of human will occurs in some moral context.
Homosexuality is clearly a choice, just as celibacy, self-pleasure, monogamy, infidelity and promiscuity are. There may be some underlying “predisposition,” but that does not remove the role of the individual in choosing to act in a certain way.
As individuals and society, we can and do judge the choices and behaviors of others, including and especially sexual choices. The letter writer’s argument confuses — rather than clarifies — the moral questions surrounding this issue.
Sgt. 1st Class Paul McGuire
Contingency Operation Base Speicher, Iraq
McCain out of touch with GIs
With the furor over the repeal of “don’t ask, don’t tell” dying down, and with all sides having their say, I’ve noticed that Sen. John McCain has shown a surprising lack of faith in the rank-and-file members of the military.
From telling a four-star admiral that his opinion doesn’t matter since he doesn’t actually lead anyone (referring to Chairman of the Joint Chiefs Adm. Mike Mullen, forgetting that to get four stars requires being able to lead throughout the previous 30-odd years) to saying that the repeal will come at “great cost” (implying that we as military members will be so distracted by the possibility of a homosexual working side-by-side with us that we’ll allow ourselves, our friends and co-workers, our units, and our mission to be comprised), McCain has repeatedly shown a level of condescension toward the military that he was once part of that borders on idiocy.
While I understand a generation gap may exist, this does not excuse the senator from not having faith in the military to do what it does best: faithfully execute the orders it is given, and act as the United States’ last act of international diplomacy.
We will act with courage, honor and integrity, and do so faithfully, contrary to McCain’s implications. I do not foresee any “great cost” at the repeal of “don’t ask, don’t tell”; true, there are many who are vehemently against the repeal, but these are only a small percentage of the military, and the rest of us will ensure that the mission goes on, and we will get the job done.
I hope Arizonans have taken note over McCain’s actions and words over the past several weeks, and have asked themselves whether they want someone representing them who expresses such a negative view of the capabilities of the military. I voted for him for president, but if he runs again, I know I will not vote for him, as I do not believe that someone with such a low opinion of the military should be our commander in chief.
Staff Sgt. Jason Trumble
Bagram Air Base, Afghanistan
Pandora’s box of issues open
The “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy is now officially “dead.” This will lead us to many small issues that we must face and deal with, professionally, as a consequence of this change in law. This will not be the first time that we as professionals have been asked to deal with a politically and emotionally charged issue. The military community was the first to be forced to deal with both racial and sexual integration and equality. We made it through those two challenges and set the standard for the civilian sector to emulate, and I am sure we will do the same with this one, given time and patience.
One of the changes that must be considered, in the interest of pursuing a truly “equal” equal opportunity program, is that of General Order No. 1, for servicemembers downrange. The order covers many important areas, and is very comprehensive already. This new law, however, will force some changes — specifically in regard to “cohabitation,” “visitation” and “mixed gender living arrangements.”
As the policy stands now, there is to be “no visitation in living quarters, between members of the opposite gender.” The reasoning for this, as I understand it, is to prevent the appearance of, or the conduct of, sexual relations and to maintain good order and discipline. I am also under the impression, from what I have seen and read, that there will be no “separate but equal” treatment or facilities for servicemembers who are homosexual.
This now creates a whole new issue. If we are to pursue a truly equal EO policy, then we must also prohibit same-sex cohabitation, and visitation for other than “health and welfare” purposes. Are we going to continue to forbid opposite-gender cohabitation and visitation, but allow same-gender cohabitation and visitation, simply because it is convenient and cost-effective? Is it any more, or less, “morally wrong” or “questionable” to have opposite genders sharing a living space, or visiting one another, than it is to have opposite-sex or same-sex servicemembers sharing the same living space, or visiting one another?
The same issues with the appearance of, or the conduct of, sexual relations apply in both instances. It is just as likely to occur in both situations, is it not? In each case, one of the servicemembers may feel “uncomfortable” with sharing the space, or it could create a “hostile environment.”
This is but one of a multitude of issues that we will have to face and deal with in the near future. I merely present it as some “food for thought.”
Sgt. 1st Class John Varney
Joint Security Station Falcon, Iraq
Same privacy right must apply
I’m straight. I’m male. I’m married. You can tell because I wear a wedding ring, have my wife’s picture on my desk, and bring her with me to unit social functions. As far as what we do sexually, you don’t know. We could be swinging from the chandeliers and you’d never know.
Why? Because I will not tell you.
And that’s the big disconnect about people being openly gay. I’m not understanding: If you’re not speculating about the sex my wife and I have, why are you worried about someone who is a good worker, and a good soldier, and also in love with someone of the same sex rather than the opposite sex? Just because someone has a partner of a certain gender doesn’t mean they’re going to broadcast their sexual escapades — and to assume this is the case for gays just because they’re gay makes you stupid.
Chief Warrant Officer 2 J.D. Walker
Focus on important issues
Forgive me, but I think we are fighting a war, plus we have issues with North Korea and Iran, a poor economy, auto industry failure, bank failures, home foreclosures, people in America are homeless and hungry, medical issues, and the list goes on. Yet we put gay rights at the top of the list? What are our elected officials thinking about?
No one cares who is having sex with whom. If a soldier can shoot, move and communicate, stamp that soldier “go” and send him or her downrange to get the job done so we can all come home.
We are all too concerned with sitting on the fence and not taking a stand, or even making a choice to address the real issues. We owe China, a communist country, more money than I can count. Let’s focus on the real issues and fix the petty stuff latter. Let’s work on fixing America. That’s what I voted for.
Sgt. 1st Class Darrell McGuire