Peter Pace Paints a Portrait of Putrid Politics

It’s enough to make you think that some guy at Joint Chiefs Chairman Peter Pace’s boot camp grabbed his ass in the shower, isn’t it?

“I believe homosexual acts between two individuals are immoral and that we should not condone immoral acts,” he said recently, and he further likened homosexuality to adultery. Nice!

There are obvious problems with the highest ranking military officer in the nation offering these observations. First: “Don’t Ask Don’t Tell” isn’t supposed to exist because the brass doesn’t like Homosexual-Americans. It allegedly exists because of a fear of something called “dissension in the ranks.” This is a fancy way of saying that the U.S. military officially believes that its own enlisted men are homophobic, mouth-breathing apes.

After that little problem, the logic falls apart like the balsa wood bridge I made in my high school physics class. The numbers, culled from the Interet: Since ince 1993, the U.S. armed forces has fired more than 11,000 people for being the gaey. How many troops did we need for the “surge” again?

A DOD survey in 2000 found that 80 percent of the troops had heard derogatory anti-gay remarks and that 37 percent had witnessed or experienced targeted incidents of harassment, 9 percent reported  anti-gay threats, and 5 percent reported witnessing or experiencing anti-gay physical assaults.

That sounds like “dissension in the ranks” to me.

But Pace’s remarks and the installation of “Don’t Ask Don’t Tell”–unforunately implemented during the Clinton Administration–reveal an enormous problem with the larger logic of the modern conservative movement. Because while Pace is wringing his hands about gay people in the military, there are gay people in the military. They’re not asked, and they’re not telling, but they are there and they are queer, and, as the survey I’ve cited seems to indicate, staying holed up in the closet does not seem to be helping.

Conservatives pull this kind of crap in all kinds of places. Look at the “gay marriage” issue. While this country fusses about whether or not to “allow” “gay” marriage, there are families in this very country where the heads of households are both mommies or daddies. There are children, actual children, who, because of who their parents are, do not have the same legal protection as a kid raised by a mom and a dad. It’s not some hypothetical ethical game. It exists. It is. And all because my country has been highjacked by a rabid cadre of superstitious numbsulls, we are not allowed to consider this issue with any kind of distance; even discussion of a practical solution is cast as witchcraft.

Consider abortion. In 1970, the Supreme Court issued The Compromise. It defined viability and allowed that a pregnancy that is not viable may be considered for termination under the law. This to settle an issue that had, for most of the nation’s history, not been an issue at all. This to make national a law that would not jail doctors for offering care and would offer them guidance as to how to practice and not end up in the slam. This as a law that actually deliniates situations in which a state can step in and deny the procedure. Overturning it will not stop abortions. Not really. It will simply drive the clinics underground and deny the procedure to the poor–a situation that Ralph Giulinai once spoke out on as deplorable, by the by. Modern conservatives think they can outlaw stuff and make it go away. It’s really, really weird. And, incidentally, it’s not really very conservative.

We have former Sen. Alan Simpson to thank for all the recent kerfuffle. He’s raised the issue in a recent column in the Washington Post. I don’t know if there’s any serious legislation before Congress about the issue, but if there is, it should be fairly simple to draft.

Change “don’t ask don’t tell” to “don’t ask.”  

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