General James Amos, the commandant of the Marine Corps said that allowing gays to openly serve in the military would “pose a distraction” and cause more battlefield casualties. (source)
Does this guy think that a gay soldier is going to be hiding behind a wall, shells exploding all around, and his buddy is going to rip off his helmet and say “I just HAVE to do something about your hair?” What bizarre stereotype is this “distraction theory” based upon?
In an interview with newspaper and wire service reporters at the Pentagon, Amos was vague when pressed to clarify how the presence of gays would distract Marines during a firefight. But he cited a recent Defense Department survey in which a large percentage of Marine combat veterans predicted that repealing the “don’t ask, don’t tell” law would harm “unit cohesion” and their tight-knit training for war. (source)
This has been the same argument every time we try and integrate another group into the military. The 54th Massachusetts Volunteer Infantry had its detractors, and look how that worked out. (You saw Glory, didn’t you?). How about the Japanese-American Fighting 442nd?
I’m not going to bash the guy. I presume that his statements are made out of slight ignorance rather than huge personal issues. His job is to keep his men safe. If he believes that this will harm them, then I applaud him for saying so. But, its the kind of applause that you render when you’re at a crappy talent show, and the slow kid gets up and sings “My Bonnie Lies Over the Ocean.”
Despite my stance that the military has nothing to do with protecting freedom, I have mad fuckin respect for the USMC. That is one bona-fide bad-ass group of men and women. And, I’m absolutely certain that there are a hell of a lot of homosexuals already in the Marine Corps — certainly more than you’d find in a random sampling of the non-military population. Now if these guys and girls can be sent to some god-forsaken desert to die for lies and bullshit, at least let them be who they really are. Marines can handle anything — including the fact that their buddy might be gay.