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Top Marine General in Trouble for Homosexuality Comments


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WASHINGTON - The Pentagon's top general expressed regret Tuesday that he called homosexuality immoral, a remark that drew a harsh condemnation from members of Congress and gay advocacy groups.

In a newspaper interview Monday, Marine Gen. Peter Pace, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, had likened homosexual acts to adultery and said the military should not condone it by allowing gays to serve openly in the armed forces.

In a statement Tuesday, he said he should have focused more in the interview on the Defense Department policy about gays — and "less on my personal moral views."

He did not offer an apology, something that had been demanded by gay rights groups.

"General Pace's comments are outrageous, insensitive and disrespectful to the 65,000 lesbian and gay troops now serving in our armed forces," the advocacy group Servicemembers Legal Defense Network said in a statement on its Web site.

The group, which has represented some of the thousands dismissed from the military for their sexual orientation, demanded an apology.

Personal opinion

Pace's senior staff members said earlier that the general was expressing his personal opinion and did not intend to apologize. They spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not allowed to speak on the record.

Rep. Martin Meehan, who has introduced legislation to repeal the current policy, criticized Pace's comments.

"General Pace's statements aren't in line with either the majority of the public or the military," said the Massachusetts Democrat. "He needs to recognize that support for overturning (the policy) is strong and growing" and that the military is "turning away good troops to enforce a costly policy of discrimination."

In an interview Monday with the Chicago Tribune, Pace was asked about the "don't ask, don't tell" policy that allows gays and lesbians to serve if they keep their sexual orientation private and don't engage in homosexual acts.

Pace said he supports the policy, which became law in 1994 and prohibits commanders from asking about a person's sexual orientation.

"I believe that homosexual acts between individuals are immoral and that we should not condone immoral acts," Pace said in the audio recording of the interview posted on the Tribune's Web site. "I do not believe that the armed forces of the United States are well served by a saying through our policies that it's OK to be immoral in any way."

Based on his upbringing

Pace, a native of Brooklyn, N.Y., and a 1967 graduate of the U.S. Naval Academy, said he based his views on his upbringing.

"As an individual, I would not want (acceptance of gay behavior) to be our policy, just like I would not want it to be our policy that if we were to find out that so-and-so was sleeping with somebody else's wife, that we would just look the other way, which we do not. We prosecute that kind of immoral behavior," he said, according to the audio and a transcript released by his staff.

The newspaper said Pace did not address concerns raised by a 2005 government audit that showed some 10,000 troops, including more than 50 specialists in Arabic, have been discharged because of the policy.

Louis Vizcaino, spokesman for the gay rights group Human Rights Campaign, said Pace's comments were "insulting and offensive to the men and women ... who are serving in the military honorably."

"Right now there are men and women that are in the battle lines, that are in the trenches, they're serving their country," Vizcaino said. "Their sexual orientation has nothing to do with their capability to serve in the U.S. military."

"Don't ask, don't tell" was passed by Congress in 1993 after a firestorm of debate in which advocates argued that allowing homosexuals to serve openly would hurt troop morale and recruitment and undermine the cohesion of combat units.

John Shalikashvili, the retired Army general who was Joint Chiefs chairman when the policy was adopted, said in January that he has changed his mind on the issue since meeting with gay servicemen.

"These conversations showed me just how much the military has changed, and that gays and lesbians can be accepted by their peers," Shalikashvili wrote in a newspaper opinion piece.

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Would everyone who makes these stupid comments just shut the f@#k up. Who gives a flying f@#k what people's sexual orientation is? Unless you're either A.) being hit on or B.) Romantically involved with that person it's none of your godsdamn business and none of your concern.

Edited by Dodgefan
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I think there's good cause for keeping as much of your private life private when you're becoming a private; in other words, during boot camp. Can you imagine the hazing, discomfort, and detriment for both parties during this stage of training?

Remember that any large group - including the military - represents a cross-section of our society. Until our society becomes more tolerant as a whole, 'don't ask, don't tell' remains a valid policy in the early years of a military career.

That said, there is no place for General Pace's comments and while he's certainly entitled to his personal views and beliefs, he should understand the effect such broad equivocations like "Homosexuality is immoral and the military doesn't want immorality." It demoralizes the spirit of brave men and women who voluntarily enlisted in the US armed forces and pride themselves on the committment of their service to their nation and fellow Americans. They say there are no atheists in foxholes, well, I doubt there are many homophobes either. I would be far more worried about the enemy shooting my ass than Cpl. Stan grabbing it. Also - like race and creed - sexual orientation disappears in combat. You don't care if your buddy is black, Jewish, or gay; you care that he's your buddy, your comrade, and he would protect your life with his own, just as you would do for him. I'm sure there have been instances where long-seperated veterans find out someone they served with was homosexual. I bet they said, "really?" and couldn't really care less.

Every Marine learns that there are 14 Leadership Traits to be studied and followed. One is Tact - "the ability to deal with others without creating offense." General Pace needs to brush up on his knowledge.

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The worst part about this story is all the gay/lesbian linguists that have been canned. Especially the ones specializing in Arabic and Farsi. This aspect of the story has been known to me, and probably many of you, for a while now. We have all this gathered intel sitting around that needs to be translated and we don't have enough people to do it. Obviously lots of intel can be time sensitive. If the CIA/NSA intercepts a phone call or transmission talking about a plot, we need to know pretty damn quickly what they are talking about.

We can't have Jim translate that though. Jim has a boyfriend.

(This has been going on since at least 2001: http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2002/11/14/...ain529418.shtml )

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(whew good thing I caught this) I almost said This is a reason why I left. And that would have came out bad.

I started seeing it a long time ago, Every top commander has to watch what they say or they get tore up. Its to the point where they have to dumb people down to get a bland point across as to not offend anyone, And Thats what kills troops. The top branch Can not tolerate Gays, I cant tell you why but Its a tradition i guess. And "Don't ask don't tell" did and still does work. There is more gay people in the army than you think there is trust me. I was shocked to her some "outings" Because They would ask to see the Porno mag once the original owner was done with it and passed down the line. (Its just how things worked) Remember there was no major war going on so a lot of bunk time for the others, Not me. I had one spotter for me that was gay and I didn't know until he told me in the middle of his term. I was shocked to learn that. It only effected the way i slept. Didn't want my rear hanging out high. Didn't effect our "job."

Its so corrupt. Once I got to a top level I then Realized How scared they are of the media. And I retired a week later. The media is so involved its hurting our troops more than helping. A reason why Nam and Korea was so mis managed.

Oh well, Until we limit the press and get the traditionalist out, Nothing will change.

Its a shame, So many good soldiers denied because of something that has no affect on what your capable of.

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First of all trying to get a marine general to apologize for anything is an exercise in futility.

As someone still in the service, i could care less about who you want to sleep with. It matters much more to me how well you can do your job. Getting any major policy changed within the military, especially something as hot as this, is going to take a lot of time. Heck, we are still dealing with the issue of women in combat units. Also, the UCMJ still has articles prohibiting certain sexual acts (and no, it doesn't matter it you are hetero or gay) so that would have to be changed as well.

Eventually this will change. And our service will more accurately reflect our society views on this.

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The worst part about this story is all the gay/lesbian linguists that have been canned. Especially the ones specializing in Arabic and Farsi.

That is absurdity in its worst form. Like Cappy in the post below says, it's amazing that people who can serve and contribute are deemed improperly suited for it over something completely irrelevant. Every 5 years or so, it seems like a high profile discharge comes up over such a "discovery" relating to an enlisted person.

I don't care about people's sexual orientation when it does not impact me. (My posts about butch lesbians are negative because of the unsolicited and unilateral nasty way they've treated me as a co-worker or a customer, so I'm standing my ground on that and will steer clear of them). But this is about something else. At times like these, and at any other time for that matter, sexual preference is an irrelevant thing for serving this country. Unbelievable to think that there was a chance that 9/11 could have been defused if this kind of redneck idiocy didn't exist.

Edited by trinacriabob
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I wonder why the interviewer never asked the general about the question of 'moral waviers'? So us gay boys aren't good enough for the military, but hey, you felons are a-ok. Here's a snippet from an article in the NY times:

The number of waivers granted to Army recruits with criminal backgrounds has grown about 65 percent in the last three years, increasing to 8,129 in 2006 from 4,918 in 2003, Department of Defense records show.

During that time, the Army has employed a variety of tactics to expand its diminishing pool of recruits. It has offered larger enlistment cash bonuses, allowed more high school dropouts and applicants with low scores on its aptitude test to join, and loosened weight and age restrictions.

It has also increased the number of so-called “moral waivers” to recruits with criminal pasts, even as the total number of recruits dropped slightly. The sharpest increase was in waivers for serious misdemeanors, which make up the bulk of all the Army’s moral waivers. These include aggravated assault, burglary, robbery and vehicular homicide.

Edited by usonia
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Face it, the entire concept of a military and war goes against the grain of how the so-called modern Western world views itself. I don't want to make light of a serious subject, but the West is getting soft and although I am all for the integration of our militaries, it is going to bite us on the ass - er, so to speak. I am gay, so I am very grateful that the world has changed since I came out at the age of 15 in 1976, but our enemies are not hampered by political correctness or sensitivity training. These Generals are old - older than me, and they were raised in a different era. I know they are supposed to represent the military when they speak, but I am more concerned that they know which end of the gun to use and who to point it at!

As things are unravelling in Iraq, I think that some thinkers are starting to grasp the magnitude of the mess that we are in. We in the West think we have it all figured out, but 80% of the world is living in squalor and is very jealous of what we have. In a real war, the U.S. may have to come up with an extra million or so troops pretty quick, and I doubt they will have time to figure out with whom the recruits have been sleeping with!

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but 80% of the world is living in squalor and is very jealous of what we have.

Aside from religious/political alliances which cause distress, this is what this war is about and, prior to that, why an icon such as the WTC which represents our economic prowess was destroyed. Let's face it, America, with a relatively small population yet very high consumption of resources, is not too well liked with the exception of other similarly-wired economies elsewhere in the globe.

Americans can't afford to be uptight about sexuality under such conditions. There are "bigger fish to fry."

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