Shortly after pleading guilty to lewd conduct in an airport restroom, Senator Larry Craig sat down to pen a letter to a constituent about his ardent support for "Don't Ask, Don't Tell," the federal law that prevents LGBT Americans from serving openly in our armed forces. As reported today at both Frontlines and PageOneQ, Craig told his constituent that "I don't believe the military should be a place for social experimentation," and went on to say that "It is unacceptable to risk the lives of American soldiers and sailors merely to accommodate the sexual lifestyle of certain individuals."
Now, of course, Senator Craig expects the United States Senate to accommodate the "sexual lifestyle" of one specific individual, but if he were still in the United States military (he is a veteran and currently serves as ranking member of the Senate Committee on Veterans' Affairs), Senator Craig's actions would have him in hot water, indeed.
Indeed, the hypocrisy of the Senator's statement about LGBT service members is astounding.
Every day, more than 65,000 lesbian and gay Americans show up for duty in the armed forces. They serve honorably, abide by the armed forces' code of conduct and make a tremendous sacrifice (even above and beyond their heterosexual colleagues) to defend their nation. And if they participated in the 'fancy footwork' Senator Craig demonstrated beneath that bathroom stall, they'd face criminal charges and likely be drummed out of the service.
Larry Craig, on the other hand, is still (as of this posting) serving as a United States Senator.
('Social experimentation,' you see, is apparently best left to the halls of Congress and the stalls of Minnesota. But Senator Craig will simply not tolerate patriotic gay Americans serving in our armed forces.)
The Senator was, himself, apparently dismissed after serving 20 months of a 6 year enlistment because he had 'flat feet' (perfect, it seems, for signaling to undercover cops in public restrooms), though there is no physician's record on file at the Pentagon. (This morning's Idaho Statesman notes there have long been rumors that Craig was dismissed for being gay.)
And though I don't know about his feet, the Senator's defense of "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" has certainly fallen flat. And to add insult to injury, his letter (reprinted below) was to an active duty Coast Guardsman, who wrote to Craig asking that he support repeal of the ban on open service. That Coast Guardsman, gay or straight, stands up, every day, and defends our country. Senator Craig, on the contrary, seems to do nothing more than sit there and (crytpically) shuffle his feet.
The Senator owes the Guardsman an apology. After all, Craig wouldn't technically be fit to serve our nation's military anymore, but the Coast Guardsman continues to serve us all quite honorably.
And I know full well which one of the two I'd rather have standing up for me.
Full text of Senator Craig's letter:
Thank you for contacting me regarding the Military Readiness Enhancement Act, H.R.1246 I appreciate your letter and I apologize for the delay in my response.
H.R.1246 is currently in the subcommittee on Military Personnel of the Committee on Armed Services. I am currently unaware of any similar legislation in the Senate regarding this issue.
I am glad you shared your suggestions with me. As you know, the Department of Defense's policy on this issue is commonly referred to as a 'Don't ask, Don't tell' policy and would not allow for singling out homosexuals. In addition, I don't believe the military should be a place for social experimentation. The sole mission of the armed forces is to defend the United States.
Patriotism and the willingness to sacrifice on behalf of our country are character traits I wholeheartedly encourage and I believe every American should have the opportunity to engage in the service of our country in some capacity. However, the issue is not fairness, but military effectiveness. The armed forces exist to wage war. It is unacceptable to risk the lives of American soldiers and sailors merely to accommodate the sexual lifestyles of certain individuals.
Again, thank you for contacting me. Please let me know if I can be of further assistance.
LARRY E. CRAIG
United States Senator