Wednesday, June 1, 2005

The mythical 'gay problem'

Commentary by Pat Murphy


Pat Murphy

When Sgt. Robert Stout outed himself as gay, Army generals had a problem enforcing the "don't ask, don't tell" policy.

Stout, 23, was wounded in Iraq while manning a Humvee machine gun and received the Purple Heart.

What a spectacle that would've been—declaring Stout unfit to be a GI after spilling blood for his country and honored with the revered Purple Heart, then kicking him out of the service.

So, the Army winked while Stout's enlistment ended Tuesday, May 31, when he presumably left quietly, sparing the Army the indignity of cashiering a decorated gay for his admitted homosexuality and thus to satisfy a political charade.

Sgt. Stout eloquently illustrates the imbecility of the anti-gay policy enacted by congressional toadies pandering to "morals values" hysteria.

Sgt. Stout was one of those branded by Section 654, Title 10 of the U.S. Code as "an unacceptable risk to the armed forces' high standards of morale, good order and discipline and unit cohesion that are the essence of military capability."

Stout's straight comrades had no problem with his gayness nor did superiors who promoted and decorated him and had no evidence he disrupted "good order and discipline." Only a Congress panicked by religious fanatics finds the likes of Sgt. Stout to be a menace.

So, 10,000 gay and lesbian military personnel have been discharged since 1998, including 750 specialists with rare skills critical to fighting terrorism. Hundreds, maybe thousands, of patriotic gays remain on duty undetected.

For steadily decaying military "high standards of morale, good order and discipline," however, look elsewhere.

· The Air Force Academy, barely through a rape scandal, is being investigated yet again—for zealous evangelistic cadets taunting non-Christian cadets that they'll "burn in Hell" if they don't profess Jesus Christ as their Savior.

· Heterosexual rapes of service women continue as a major criminal problem.

· The Army can't meet recruiting quotas: The word is out that troops went into battle improperly equipped; enlistment contracts are broken; retirements cancelled and back-to-back deployments to Iraq and Afghanistan are routine.

· Abuse of Muslim detainees under Army control is scandalous.

· The Pentagon's "high standards" were abandoned when it repeatedly lied about the friendly fire killing of NFL star-turned Army Ranger Pat Tillman.

Common sense is dawning on Congress: 50 members have introduced legislation to abolish the anti-gay ban as a waste of manpower, imposing a cruel stigma on good Americans, and being as silly as the onetime ban on blacks and women in military aviation.




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