Monday, October 19, 2009

Being in the military is not about individual rights

"Nothing in all the world is more dangerous than sincere ignorance and conscientious stupidity." -Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

Apparently, the question of gays in the military is again a topic for discussion. The solution is a no brainer: sexual orientation should not be a factor in determining a serviceman's (or woman's) ability to do his job. "Don't ask, don't tell" is a fraud and a failure.

Being a soldier is not about the culture wars. It's about putting your own personal biases aside and work for the benefit of the nation and the unit. To exclude competent and talented soldiers just because their sexual orientation makes small-minded colleagues uncomfortable is not in the best interest of the collective good.

The military has a shortage of Arabic speakers but is expelling Arabic-speaking service personnel who happen to be gay. How this advances national interests is incomprehensible. It's not just that they should have the right to serve, to be judged solely on their competence, it's that we need them to serve.

Soldiers need to put aside their personal prejudices, be it against gays, blacks, Latinos, women, intellectuals, left-handers or whomever, and focus on the success of the mission. Soldiers may have the right to not like gays, but they shouldn't have the right to expel them. Dealing with unpleasant people and situations is an inherent part of the job. It's not a profession for pansies.

It boggles my mind that soldiers are expected to be mentally tough enough to face enemy snipers and IEDs trying to blow them to bits but are "uncomfortable" taking a shower near colleague who happens to be gay. These macho tough guy Heroes are single-handedly responsible for our freedom, so we're told, but are afraid of a few fairies? And the military's pandering to their bigotry at the expense of national security? Give me a break.

Can you imagine the military catering to a soldier who refused to serve in Iraq because he found the heat "uncomfortable"? The idea is ludicrous. Yet they ban talented soldiers to cater to the personal preferences of bigots.

If servicemen can't handle serving with talented comrades who happen to be gay, it's the homophobes who need to put aside their biases and adapt or quit.

No comments: