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Great article on the Marines and Don't Ask, Don't Tell


Thank you for sharing this. This is an excellent piece. The report on repeal of DADT will be issued a day early (Nov. 30) and hearings will begin right after that. I hope it is enough time to reverse this policy in the lame duck. With the pattern of stalling, it would not surprise me if Republicans disappoint on this once again. But I am trying to be hopeful. Does anyone know what the "hearings" will consist of? I hope it involves servicemen like the man spoken of in this article telling their story. Why do we have to check one's sexual oreientation before declaring them a hero or allowing them to serve our country?

The key to reconciling Marine culture with the open service of gay men and women will not be found among the rank and file or even among closeted service members; it must come from Corps leaders. Most research on how to integrate minority groups into the military has a common thread: the utmost importance of leadership to the process. The fact that the current and prior Marine commandants have expressed discomfort at the prospect of the demise of "don't ask, don't tell" is unfortunate because the generals risk creating a self-fulfilling prophecy, hurting the Corps they desire to protect.

"Don't ask, don't tell" will be reversed in time. And as the military survey indicates, a majority of the Corps does not see a risk in the repeal. How the change affects the Marines is up to the leadership. A Marine officer once told me that, besides all Marines being riflemen and riflewomen, what sets them apart is discipline: "If the law changes," he said, "we will comply with the law. You can take that to the bank."

I believe he's right. The United States Marine Corps is the most professional force in the world. There is no reason to think that it will be less adept at integrating gays than Britain, Canada or Australia (just three of the 26 countries that allow gays and lesbians to serve openly, according to the Servicemembers Legal Defense Network).

The current leadership should look to a fellow Marine for guidance. Staff Sgt. Eric Alva stepped on a landmine and lost his right leg only three hours into ground operations in Iraq in 2003; he was the first service member to be wounded there. He also happens to be gay. Alva received a medical discharge and has gone on to work for the repeal of "don't ask, don't tell." At an event in 2007, he came out publicly, saying, "I'm an American who fought for his country and for the protection and the rights and freedoms of all American citizens - not just some of them, but all of them."

The Marine Corps leadership should not only accept such sacrifices but honor those who make them. The Corps' motto, "semper fidelis," means "always faithful." There is no qualifier for sexual orientation. Once a Marine, always a Marine.

 

Looks like the stage is set for hearings. Pro-repeal people testify on Dec 1, anti-repeal on Day 2. Appears to all be "officials" rather than victims of the military policy. I kind of wish the pro-repeal day was last to have a bigger impression. Crossing my fingers that they will garner enough votes and it can stay in the defense bill...

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