Leave it to a Marine to Stand on Principle and Common Sense.
General James Conway, Commandant, USMC
The head of the US Marines said on Thursday he opposed ending the ban on gays serving openly in the military, the first top officer to break openly with President Barack Obama over the issue.
General James Conway told the Senate Armed Services Committee that he disagreed with Obama’s plan to repeal the ban.
“My best military advice to this committee, to the (defense) secretary, and to the president would be to keep the law such as it is.”
Conway said the current policy worked and any bid to lift the ban should answer the question: “do we somehow enhance the war fighting capabilities of the United States Marine Corps by allowing homosexuals to openly serve?”
Conway’s public rejection of his commander-in-chief’s stance is sure to fuel debate in Congress on the issue and reflects apprehension among some senior military officers about changing the 1993law.
The chiefs of the US Army and Air Force also expressed doubts about lifting the ban at congressional hearings this week, saying they were concerned about putting the military under further strain in the midst of two wars.
But Conway went further, making it clear he opposed lifting the ban that requires gay service members to keep quiet about their sexual orientation or face expulsion from the military.
His comments contrasted sharply with the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Admiral Mike Mullen, who has spoken forcefully in favor of ending the ban.
Defense Secretary Robert Gates has called for a review of the issue to survey service members and examine the possible effect of changing the law, known as “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.”
Senator Joe Lieberman disagreed with Conway, saying he believed the review would show that allowing gays to serve openly would bolster the military’s battle readiness.
“This has to pass the test of military readiness. I believe it will based on my knowledge of what’s happened in other militaries,” he said, citing British and Canadian forces who serve alongside American troops in Afghanistan.
My Comments: I, along with a vast majority of military veterans, active duty members and concerned citizens, applaud General Conway for having the 'stones' to stand his ground and provide some common sense on this subject. After all, what do homosexuals hope to gain by serving 'openly' in our Armed Forces? That's the crux of the issue. Contrary to popular belief, those serving in the military are a diverse group, holding different beliefs, religions, political affiliations, and yes, 'sexual orientations.' But what the left fails to see or understand (generally due to not having served themselves), is that the US Military is necessarily steeped in a tradition of discipline and dedication to Country and Mission OVER SELF. Those predisposed to a focus of 'self' over the 'group' or more specifically, 'the mission,' should go into the military because they will not fit into the mindset necessary to be part of a cohesive fighting force.
Here's the key thing to realize, 'Don't Ask/Don't Tell' doesn't JUST apply to homosexuals currently in uniform, it applies to ALL service members in that none are allowed to put their 'personal issues' ahead of their duty. For example, when I was active duty in the Air Force, I was an AIRMAN, I wasn't an 'Openly Conservative Airman,' or a 'Christian Airman,' or a 'hetero-sexual Airman', etc., I was simply an AIRMAN, just as were my brother and sister Airman-in-Arms. We all had various beliefs, thoughts, opinions, etc. and were radially allowed to have them, HOWEVER, when it came to our responsibilities and job, we were to be UNIFORM, eg, 'the same.'
What the left and many homosexuals want (as is generally their case), is to be afforded 'special treatment' whereby they can be demonstrative about their sexual-orientation while serving. That simply would NOT be in keeping with good order and discipline which is absolutely necessary in maintaining military unity, readiness and uniformity. The military has a strong stand against what it refers to as PDA, or Public Display of Affection, which was understood and well accepted by us hetro-sexual members, as necessary in keeping with decorum and military bearing. What the left and homosexuals want is ultimately, allow homosexual troops to 'Openly Display' their lifestyle in uniform; that aspect in itself destroys the whole foundation of 'Uniformity.'
We need to remember that when 'Don't Ask/Don't Tell' was originally introduced by the Clinton Administration, many felt that it would simply serve as the left's tool to 'get a foot in the door' to eventually pushing for openly gay service. This push by Obama proves our concerns were correct. It will be interesting to see if this great Marine Leader is removed from command for not being 'stylish' or politically correct? Maybe Obama would prefer Barney Frank or Richard Simmons as Marine Corps' Commandant?
The most ironic aspect (but yet a great lesson in action) of this is that General Conway's Marine Corps is the most conservative branch of our military, followed by the Air Force and Army, but our USMC falls under the Navy, which is by far the most traditionally liberal branch of our services. Adm. Michael Mullen, who as current Chairman, Joint Chiefs of Staff, is the one pushing this. He was a 1968 graduate of Annapolas and is the son of a Hollywood Press Agent; as it's been said before, 'the fruit doesn't fall far from the tree...'
I think this is inspiring me to write a piece on the dangers of having 'politicians in uniform' in the future. While a vast majority of flag-rank officers -such as Douglas MacArthur, Curtis LeMay, George Patton, Lewis B. 'Chesty' Puller, have been great, loyal patriotic leaders, there have been numerous examples of those who weren't, such as Benedict Arnold, but more recently, William Crowe, Erik Shinseki, Lee Butler and Merrill McPeak. who instead were crass self-serving political opertunitists who did terrible damage to their service branches. It's also interesting how these type generally 'make their moves' under Democrat Administrations.
I don't expect Navy Chief of Staff, Adm. Gary Roughead, to stand against his boss Mullin on this for two principal reasons: 1. He wants to have a shot at the JCS Chairmanship himself, and 2. He's currently allowing three of our own Navy Seals -Petty Officers, Matthew McCabe, Jonathan Keefe, and Julio Huertas- to be thrown under the bus of political correctness to be made examples of. Their crime? They supposedly 'roughed-up' Ahmed Hashim Abed, a 'Most Wanted' Terrorist and suspected ringleader of the group that back in 2004, ambushed and murdered four Blackwater Security Guards and later hung their mutilated bodies off a bridge in Fallujah. Having been singled-out by the liberal Navy high-command to be made examples-of, these three brave SEALS refused traditional non-judicial punishment — called a captain's mast — and have requested a trial by court-martial because of their refusal to bow-down to a Kangaroo Court proceeding when they simply did the job they were trained to do. See related link here: http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,576646,00.html
Links on General Conway and related issues: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/James_T._Conway http://abcnews.go.com/Politics/marine-corps-commandant-james-conway-works/story?id=9948516 http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,576646,00.html