It was reported Friday on various newswires that the President of Uruguay has ended the country’s 30 year ban on gays serving in the country’s military.
Sadly this news comes the same week that our own President Barack Obama issues a press release hinting that repealing the US ban on gays openly serving in the military may be the first campaign promise that he chooses to break to the American people.
Setting aside the fact that nearly every American ally and member of NATO allow gays to serve openly and that our peers in having such an archaic view are fine governments such as Cuba, Iran, North Korea, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, Syria, and Yemen — true bastions of freedom, for the United States to maintain this policy is beyond belief.
And with places like Uruguay taking the step to abolish such practices, for President Obama to betray those who so vehemently supported him based on his promise of change is despicable.
I can only hope that the President quickly realizes the folly of bowing to the anti-gay lobby and sticks to his guns and opens the military to gay service members in much the same way that his predecessor Truman opened to military to African Americans which could very easily be argued as having been one of the prime steps that have made the possibility of Mr. Obama’s presidency a reality today.
I didn’t like “Don’t ask, don’t tell.” However, it has worked. As a 21+ veteran of the armed forces, it is very easy to say, “Let gays openly serve.” However, in practice, it is a management and leadership nightmare. It also does not make us a more effective fighting force.
The analogy between race and practicing sexuality is not valid in this case.
Ace as someone who also served in the military I have to wholly disagree with you. The only people I knew of in the army who cared the slightest but about their fellow service members’ sexuality were either the overly evangelical officer corps or a few few others who also disdained blacks, Muslims, Latinos, and most everyone else.
A good soldier doesn’t care who you screw. He cares that you are a good soldier; can shoot, run, and do your job; and that when the time comes you cover your battle buddies and do what it takes to accomplish the mission.
Drew – from a management perspective, let me ask it this way:
Were you forced to bunk, latrine and shower with female soldiers? (Or, more appropriately were female soldiers forced to bunk, latrine and shower with you?)
If not, why not?
(What about the officers who are, in fact, black, muslim and/or latino?)
Although in the barracks women and men did indeed have separate rooms and latrines, in the field everyone did in fact sleep and shower in the same facilities. Certainly efforts are made to ensure privacy, but only within the context of what is practical fir the mission.
Besides, protecting the privacy of women has nothing to do with allowing gays to openly serve. I will assume (hopefully incorrectly) that you are inferring that because gay men and women are attracted to members of thevsame sex that there would be a risk if sexual assault by these members upon unsuspecting straight soldiers?
I have heard this argument before — that if there were a gay in a given group that he would be incapableof controlling his sex drive and unable to keep his hands off of his straight counterparts. What always amazed me is that argument seems to nearly universally originate from the ugliest, most unatteactive pogue in the group — someone no woman in her right mind would consider touching much less a man.
It’s a fallacious argument that is no different from claiming that allowing women and men to work or worship or shop together will lead to uncontrollable sexual activities.
When you have hundreds of soldiers living together, they know who’s gay, bi, or straight, and beleive it or not that vast majority just don’t care. If more of these people who stand on their pulpits decrying the evil of gays would bother to don the uniform themselves and make the sacrifices that gay servicemembers make on behalf of their country, then perhaps they would understand this.
Women and men sleeping in the same tents and sharing showers in the field? You served in a different army than I, my friend.
By regulation, we can’t even have males hold females feet during sit-ups for the Army Physical Fitness Test, though that is not as strictly enforced as during the 90s. Even under wartime conditions and natural disasters, we have had to find a way to segregate our male and female troops.
Even in Iraq, females have separate shower and latrine facilities.
And, no, my concern is not necessarily sexual assault. That is, unfortunately a recurring problem we are dealing with, DOD wide, despite segregated quarters for females.
My concern is privacy. Under “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell”, everyone is assumed to be straight. That protects both the gay or lesbian individual’s privacy, and those of the same gender forced to bunk, latrine and shower with them.
To do otherwise brings the entire military concept of living quarters into question. Do we put all the gays together? Do we put all the lesbians together? What issues will arise then?
Also, I’ve spoken to soldiers, regularly, on this issue for over 20 years. The VAST majority, with whom I have had contact, support either exclusion or “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell”, and they all cite the quarters issue, and aren’t terribly judgmental or “Holier than thou.” Being a majority doesn’t necessarily make it right, but I offer this to counter your assertion that a vast majority “just don’t care.” I have found the exact opposite to be true.
While we are basing our perception of a country’s progressiveness on isolated cherry picked policies lets look at another interesting fact about Uruguay. Despite recent attempts to “liberalize” the laws, having or performing an abortion is illegal and punishable by prison time. Sounds progressive to me!!!!
Darren I certainly agree with you that in the overall scheme of things Uruguay can’t touch us, the fact that they can and do recognize the idiocy of a policy such as Don’t ask, Don’t tell that does so much to harm our nation and its military readiness while we continue a program that violated the civil rights of our soldiers in the name of pleasing certain religious bigots is a sad measure of our societal maturity.
You’ve mentioned abortion and keep in mind that these same groups that argue against equality for gays and lesbians were the same ones who argued against African-Americans 50 years ago, they are the same ones who wish to remove a woman’s right to choose today, and look forward to a day when christianity, and particularly their individual brand of Christianity is the law of the land with it trumping all ideals of freedom, liberty, and compassion that fall beyond the bounds of their dogmatic views.
Really? Exaggerating much?