It's rather ironic, if you think about it.
The one politically untouchable segment of our country is the military. Presidents and Senators often say they will "defer to the military leaders on the ground" in matters large and small. President Obama took a bit of heat after his State of the Union address because some felt he hadn't specifically said the words "thank you" to our soldiers. (He used the word gratitude.) Any indication that someone does not support our troops -- especially in time of war -- is considered close to treason.
And yet, all of a sudden, we have Republican Senators -- young and old -- railing against our top two military leaders, Secretary of Defense Robert Gates and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Admiral Mike Mullen, for their testimony Tuesday in front of Carl Levin's Armed Services Committee hearing on repealing "Don't Ask, Don't Tell."
At this point, most have heard Senator John McCain (who has said he would defer to military leaders on DADT repeal -- until they started to support repeal) berate Secretary Gates at the hearing. McCain essentially tried to pull rank, when, to his shock, Gates and Mullen both came out fully and personally in support of repealing "Don't Ask, Don't Tell." McCain called them "clearly biased" and said, "I'm happy to say we still have a Congress despite your plan to repeal [DADT] by fiat."
But that same day, U.S. Rep. Duncan D. Hunter, Jr. called our nation's top military brass "political appointees," as if they were the result of some campaign donation, or, the likes of Bush's FEMA Director Michael "Brownie, you're doing a heck of a job" Brown. Hunter, who is a freshman Congressman and immediately succeeded his father in office, in an interview with NPR, said,
Admiral Mullen and Secretary Gates are both political appointees. They're going to be biased. They're going to say what the administration wants them to say.
Well, I suppose in a way, Representative Hunter is right. After all, Gates and Mullen are "political appointees," in the strictest sense of the term. Secretary Gates has served the past three Republican presidents, since Reagan. Gates spent twenty-six years at the CIA, including being CIA Director. Admiral Mullen was appointed Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff by President George W. Bush.
But "say what the administration wants them to say?" No way!
(Another irony: Mullen succeeded Peter Pace, who, while Chairman of the Joint Chiefs, in 2007 said, "I believe that homosexual acts between individuals are immoral, and that we should not condone immoral acts." So, in a strange way, we can thank President Bush for some forward movement on repeal. He's probably furious.)
Hunter continued, saying,
I think the folks who have been in the military that have been in these very close situations with each other, there has to be a special bond there. And I think that bond is broken if you open up the military to transgenders, to hermaphrodites, to gays and lesbians.
News flash to all who oppose repealing "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" -- we're already in the military. To the tune of an estimated 66,000.
Hunter is really worried. Not kidding. Evidently speaking for the entire military, he continued,
[I]t would frankly make everybody a little bit uneasy to be in these close situations, how you go into combat, you know, the shower situation, the bathroom situation, just, you know, very mundane details - things that we have men and women separated, you know, because we don't want to have that sexual distraction. That exists for the homosexual aspect of things, too.
Because every LGBTQ soldier, in combat, is thinking of nothing but sex when they're in the bathroom. Yeah, right. I've never served in the military, but I'm pretty sure every soldier -- gay or straight -- has a lot on their minds, in or out of the bathroom, and I'm pretty sure survival, and just making it through the day, is a lot closer to the top of the list than sex.
And in a typically, supremely bigoted moment -- one, honestly I see a lot with folks like Congressman Hunter, and NOM's Maggie Gallagher and Brian Brown, who are so blind to their own hatred they say what's in their heart, not realizing how they make the case against themselves -- Hunter has the following conversation with NPR's Melissa Block:
BLOCK: But Congressman Hunter, wouldn't you agree that there are gays and lesbians serving in the military right now, they just are not open about their orientation. So the problems that you raise presumably would be problems already. They are in the barracks already. They are in the showers already.
HUNTER: No, but they aren't open about it, like you just said. It's like if you want to work for NPR, you don't go to work and on the first day say, hey, I want everybody to know that I'm gay. You probably don't care one way or the other as long as they, you know, get their particular job done. I think the military is the same way. That's why don't ask, don't tell works.
Exactly. Folks in the military "probably don't care one way or the other as long as they, you know, get their particular job done."
Thank you, Congressman Hunter, for displaying how incredibly ridiculous your argument is, and for displaying your utter lack of understanding of this issue.