General David Petraeus, former commander in chief of U.S. forces in Iraq, opposed gays in the military.
Federal Judge Virginia A. Phillips ruled that "don't ask, don't tell" was unconstitutional. The Pentagon ignored her.
Gay activists across the nation are celebrating the end of the 18-year-old prohibition against gays serving openly in the military. Their brother and sisters in uniform, however, may not share in the festivities.
As I wrote in a blog several years ago, gays in the military secretly loved the policy known as “don’t ask, don’t tell,” while Pentagon bean counters hated it.
My bizarre claim was based on information I learned from two moles in uniform who are gay – both of then sergeants on bases in the U.S.
I bumped into them on line, and we became great “virtual friends.” Both non-coms were lonely and isolated by having to hide their sexual orientation. But isolation was a small price to pay for what they considered the benefits of “don’t ask, don’t tell.”
My original post, which follows, explains why gays in service may not celebrate repeal of DADT:
What are the real reasons the Pentagon’s "Don’t ask, don’t tell, don’t shtup" policy has remained in force for 17 years despite dramatic advances in other areas of gay civil rights, like gay marriage and adoption, that would have been unthinkable when the Pentagon initiated “don’t ask” in 1993?
The latest salvo in the undeclared war between gays and those who oppose their presence in the military occurred in early October 2010, when a California judge declared unconstitutional the Pentagon policy that calls for the "separation" of openly gay men and women in the armed forces.
U.S. District Judge Virginia Phillips also announced her plans to issue an injunction banning enforcement of the policy that allows gays and lesbians to serve their country as long as they don't reveal their sexual orientation or engage in homosexual activity - on or off base.
After hearing two weeks of testimony by experts and former members of the military, Judge Phillips wrote in her decision, "All of these examples [of the policy's effects] demonstrate that the act's restrictions on speech not only are broader than reasonably necessary to protect the government's substantial interests, but also actually serve to impede military readiness and unit cohesion rather than further these goals.
"Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates had decided to end the discriminatory policy long before the latest court ruling in California.
Two on-line buddies serving in the military — and in the closet — told me the reasons why "don't ask, don't tell" has survived for the past 17 years and why One Internet correspondent recounted his experiences in gay bars and in gay sex clubs/bath houses.
I was too embarrassed to ask him a question which another Internet source answered and elaborated on by describing his similar experiences serving as a closeted gay in the Army.
A staff sergeant at an Army base in Pittsburgh explained why my other Internet correspondent engaged in dangerous activities like going to gay bars, etc., despite military spies who might trail him and report to superiors.
Their reports would cause the dismissal of any gay soldiers who went bar-hopping and sex-clubbing. Or so I presumed. The sergeant confided that he indulged in the same behavior himself.
The sergeant also told me that the "don't ask" portion of the policy prevents the military from spying on gays off base, which would amount to "asking" if a gay bar patron was gay.
The sergeant said that if the Army ever tried to engage in spying, the ACLU and other civil rights organizations would provide pro bono representation for the spied-upon bar-hopper, sue the government, and win reinstatement – and huge monetary damages.
In fact, this has occurred but has been hushed up by the government which inserts the boiler-plate non-disclosure clause typical of most monetary settlements.
DADT is secretly prized by gays in the military because it allows them an instant, fool-proof way to win a "get out of jail free” card.
If gays want to avoid lethal duty in Iraq or wherever, all they have to do is tell their immediate supervisor they're gay. They automatically receive an honorable discharge — with all the veterans' benefits that come with leaving honorably:
Free medical care at VA hospitals, college tuition, a pension if they've served long enough, and many other benefits that seem worthwhile – until a war turns military service into a possible death sentence.
I’ll probably receive emailed death threats or letter bombs if they could be transmitted over the Internet for the following diatribe.
Remember, don’t kill the messenger because you feel his message merits capital punishment.
I am surprised and irritated by the near universal lionization of our “heroic” men and women in uniform. They are not heroes. They are literally mercenaries whose devotion to country provides convenient cover for, well, mercenary reasons like the freebies listed above.
During the Middle Ages and the Renaissance, condottieri fought for land and gold, not for conscience or country. Today’s American mercenaries fight for a subsidized college degree and free healthcare after discharge, among other benefits enjoyed by veterans.
When Bush II launched his mad adventurism in 2003 by invading Iraq from staging areas in Kuwait, a lot of U.S. military personnel were horrified and admitted it in media interviews.
They said that when they volunteered, serving in the army was like going to summer camp. They had only enlisted to get money for college. (I guess they never heard of federal Pell Grants or work-study programs most universities offer.)
Now, these reluctant warriors were being asked to risk their lives for no reason other than their Commander-in-Chief’s WMDs (weapons of mass deception), an A.A. degree, and affordable healthcare after discharge. Soldiers found their cynical bargain had turned into a Faustian pact as they played Dr. Faustus to the Cheney/Bush/Rumsfeld junta’s Mephistopheles.
Desperate men and women who tried to escape purposeless death in Iraq or Afghanistan by claiming conscientious objector status had their applications routinely rejected. The Pentagon’s logic for denying these POCs’ (prisoners of conscience) discharge was unassailable.
If the regretful recruits were sincere pacifists as they now claimed, why did they volunteer to be cogs in the U.S. war machine in the first place? The draft hasn’t existed for almost half a century.
As noted, “don’t ask, don’t tell” was a godsend for gays as well as straights who don’t care about the taboo that remains associated with homosexuality by primitive tribes in the Pentagon and Congress. No surprise that a cultural aborigine like George Bush II supported legal discrimination against gays, but another supporter of the ban is rarely identified by the media, despite polls that reveal 90 percent of journalists identify as “liberals” or the preferred euphemism, “progressives,” since liberal has become almost as dirty a word today as Commie pinko was during the Cold War.
Tender consciences weren’t tough enough to soften the hard hearts of military panels that reviewed applications for conscientious objector status. But the idea of two men or two women making love was so repellant that bureaucrats in the Defense Department chose the financial extravagance of ejecting these expensive Fifth Columnists for as many reasons as there are homophobes in the Pentagon, Congress, and late-night infomercials masquerading as church services for the Evangelical faithful.
I’ve only been able to find one article in newspapers or on-line that revealed that the current occupant of the Oval Office is also our Bigot-in-Chief. President Obama has gone on record not only opposing gays in the military but gays anywhere because his faith, he claims, condemns the sin of homosexuality. As a gay man, I was horrified to realize that in 2008 I had voted for a secular Pope or a military leader in mufti.
One political pundit asked, “Has the White House Become Uncle Obama’s Cabin?” Our current president is so fearful of alienating whites and so desperate to please them, he will no doubt sign off on the decision of the white Secretary of Defense and the white chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff to repeal the ban on gays in uniform. It’s not an exaggeration to claim that an ideological military coup has commandeered our Chief Executive. Obama will salute smartly and say, “Yes, massuh, er, sir!” to his massuhs in the Pentagon.
But the Executive branch’s efforts will be nullified by the Legislative branch. For the same legitimate reason President Clinton reneged on his 1992 campaign promise to free the gay slaves on plantations called military bases, Obama’s Emancipation Proclamation, an executive order ending de jure discrimination similar to Truman’s 1948 desegregation of the armed forces, will be nullified by conservative Congressmen whose real constituents are lobbyists and their fat-cat corporate paymasters and the Evangelicals who comprise the Republican base.
Just as these elected and unelected bigots threatened Clinton in 1993, Congress, supported by their accurately labeled “base” as in morally abased, will pass veto-proof legislation that reinstates a form of discrimination that would instantly end the career of an official (or purged TV commentator like Jimmy the Greek) who discriminated against any other minority in the military.
Whenever you watch lawmakers at the podium in the House of Representatives or the Senate delivering with impunity hate speeches that call for purging gay teachers as child predators and recruiters or calling gay marriage an abomination in the eyes of their God, or late-night televangelists doing the same, imagine the reaction to similar hate mongering if the words “Jew,” “black,” “Asian,” “Catholic,” or any other minority were substituted for “gay.”
Imagining the scenario is all you’ll be able to do because no such substitutions will ever occur.
The effectiveness of this strategy for going AWOL legally and permanently is such common knowledge within the military that heterosexuals who don’t care about the taboo against homosexuality and want to end their service contract claim that they're gay to use the same escape hatch.
(This countercultural phenomenon resembles an alleged deception at Yale, where homosexuality is so fashionable that heteros pretend to be homos to seduce women who try to “convert” these faux faggots by deflowering them. Luckily for these gay deceivers, there’s no such thing as a male hymen.)
The actual reason the Secretary of Defense, a Bush-appointee inexplicably kept on by President Obama, claims that he is going to repeal the ban for fairness' sake, its discriminatory element, etc., has nothing to do with morality or ethics, and everything to do with saving money.
A report by the Associated Press a day before the Defense Secretary announced his decision to end the ban suggested the real motivation for the Pentagon’s volte-two-face: Since 1997, "more than 10,900 troops have been dismissed under the policy...for being openly gay, 428 service members in 2009 alone." The Pentagon’s own figures reveal that 13,000 gays have been discharged since the policy’s implementation in 1993.
When gays opt out of the military, they often take with them an expensive education, training, and skills the Pentagon has paid billions to provide. What finally convinced the homophobes, like General David Petraeus, former commander in chief of American forces in Iraq and a voluble supporter of don’t ask, don’t tell, to change their mind?
The exodus of, among others, invaluable and scarce servicemen and women who serve as Arabic translators the Pentagon desperately needs for our mad adventurism in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Homophobia is literally costing the government billions of tax dollars in lost personnel.
(Original blog on PoliticallyImpolite.)
Causes Frank Sanello Supports
ACLU, ASPCA, Amnesty International, Doctors Without Borders