Tag Archives: armed forces

Human Rights Groups Unite To End Anti-Gay Laws!

A coalition of human rights groups is organizing a national tour to seek the end of the “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy which has resulted in the discharge of over 13,000 service men and women. A Human Rights Campaign and Servicemembers United will present gay, lesbian and straight speakers, all veterans whose service either was ended as a result of the armed forces on gays or who want to speak out on behalf of gay service members. It will be a national tour and more cities may be added to the list. Rep. Patrick Murphy, a two term congressman and former serviceman fighting in Iraq, told the National Press Club, ‘Our troops are fighting in Iraq and Afghanistan, and are stretched dangerously thin.” They need more soldiers fighting alongside them and would welcome gays, lesbians or straights as long as they can shoot straight.

How can the United States turn down the services of men and women who want to serve in active combat? The anti-gay policy is a policy that threatens the lives of those fighting and must be ended. Perhaps, gays and lesbians can be discharged but that does not make those remaining very gay about the loss of comrades who risked all to serve alongside of them.

Slow Road To Equality For Gays Says Government!

Barack Obama promised gays last fall he would take steps to end the infamous “don’s ask, don’t tell” policy in the armed forces which compels gays and lesbians who speak the truth concerning their sexual orientation to be dismissed from the service. Admiral Mike Mullen, chair of the Joint Chiefs of Staff said he had advised Obama to move “in a measured way” to make any change in the policy. “It’s very clear what President Obama’s intent here is. He intends to see this law change. “I’ve had conversations with him” and urged a cautious approach. The assumption of this approach is that a crisis will arise by ending the policy toward gays and lesbians. For some reason, no one asks the simple question as to why would there be a crisis? Who would be upset?

Right now in Iran and Afghanistan gays and lesbians are engaged in combat operations. As far as we know, there are no incidents of soldiers protesting serving alongside with gays or lesbians. In the absence of any incidents against gays and lesbians, we can assume other members of the armed forces don’t give a damn about serving with those who have other sexual experiences.

The integration of the armed forces occurred during combat in the Korean War. Some whites did not like the changes, but they accepted them and life proceeded. The same result will come about if we end the “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy.

“Uncle Tom” Obama Urges Gay Military Delay

I voted for Barack Obama and believe he eventually will become an outstanding president, but his actions pertaining to gays and lesbians lack any semblance of decency. In a recent press conference, Obama urged patience and noted that African Americans had to wait. Secretary of Defense Robert Gates on Tuesday said he wanted to make the law prohibiting gays serving n the armed forces “more humane.” “One of the things we’re looking at, is there flexibility in how we apply the law?” The chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff have cautioned not proceeding too quickly but building support for any change among the officers of the armed forces.

In 1952, I worked on the US 7th Army integration plan to mix Negro and white soldiers. President Truman had issued a direct order to immediately proceed with integration. At this time, American soldiers were fighting in Korea and enduring ten times the casualties that have resulted from wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. We proceeded with the executive order. Yes, we had riots and disturbances both from enlisted men and officers. Anyone resisting integration was simply told they either accepted the orders of the President or they would have orders cut within twenty four hours for front line combat in Korea.

There is absolutely NO EVIDENCE members of the armed forces would be upset at having gays or lesbians in their ranks. Frankly, many currently know there are such individuals in their ranks. It is time for Barack Obama to issue and executive order ending discrimination against gays and lesbians. If you don’t like it, leave the service.

Armed Forces Suicide Rates Continue Rising

I served in the armed forces during the Korean War and among the most important aspects of being in the conflict was the realization that one only remained in combat for a specific amount of time and then went home at the conclusion of the term of enlistment. Today, there are thousands and thousands of members of the military who are on their third or fourth, and, even in some cases, the fifth deployment in a combat area. In 2008, at this time, there were 51 confirmed suicides in the armed forces. Suicides went up in May to 17 after dropping to 10 in April but he total for 2009 as of this date is 45 confirmed suicides and 37 pending further investigation. Among reservists there were 23 suicides among reserve soldiers as of this time a year ago and this year there are 16 confirmed suicides and 21 potential ones.

There is no question the armed forces are trying to reduce suicide. But, the reality is that 1.5 million men and women are defending a nation of over 300 million people and the emotional cost is horrific for those who serve in combat. Among the obvious solutions is some form of draft, an idea no one wants to mention.

“Don’t Ask, Don”Tell, Don’t Keep This Stupid Policy”

President Obama has made it clear to Secretary of Defense Robert Gates and joint chairman Mike Mullern, there has to be an end to the “don’t ask, don’t tell,” policy that was initiated when Bill Clinton was president. White House spokesperson, Robert Gibbs told reporters, that Obama wants to repeal the policy “in a way that is least disruptive to our troops, especially given that they have been simultaneously waging two wars for six years now.” Within the past week, the Pentagon went from saying there were no plans to repeal the policy to admitting there is study on how to accomplish the task.

President Obama is correct that any change should not be disruptive, but common sense suggests American troops would welcome any assistance even from those who are gay or lesbian. Why not use men and women who are committed to serving their nation while millions of “straight people” shy away from such service?

Can A Sikh Wear His Turban In Army?

Two Army officers have been told they must shave their beards and take off their turbans because it is against Army policy for Sikhs to carry out their faith while on active duty. According to Captain Kamaljeet Kalsi, “I don’t think it’s fair for anybody to ask me to choose between my religion and my country. Shaving my beard and taking off my turban–these are part of my body. It’s part of my being.” Captain Kalsi is a doctor and was told upon joining that he could retain those features of the Sikh religion. Now, facing active duty he was told that not shaving or wearing a turban will somehow interfere with carrying out his medical duties.

Army spokesperson, Lt. Col. Nathan Banks said: “There are times when the Army cannot accommodate for religious reasons, such as when those religious observations would interfere with the wear of proper military headgear or protective clothing equipment.”

Hogwash. Sikhs have served in the British armed forces for over a hundred years without having to shave or take off their turbans. It is ridiculous regulations such as these that lose valuable members of the armed forces.

Gays And Lesbians Integral To Armed Forces

The notorious Clinton administration policy of “don’t ask, don’t tell” never resolved issues dealing with the position of gays and lesbians in the armed forces. Pretending what was only resulted in disjointed policies under which some were dismissed while others were allowed to serve. A mew study commissioned by the Michael D. Palm Center at the University of California at Santa Barbara, asked several retired military officers who represented differing political and social views to examine the issue. Their conclusion was that ‘evidence shows that allowing gays and lesbians to serve openly is unlikely to pose any significant risk to morale, good order, discipline or cohesion.” Several of the officers who participated in the study began by opposing lesbians and gays in the armed forces and were won over by the evidence.

Ret. Admiral Jack Shanahan expressed the views of many by insisting the current policy only engenders an environment of lies and deception. It is time to end the farce of “don’t ask and don’t tell” and allow those who seek to serve their nation the opportunity of being part of the armed forces.

Medvedev–Puppet Or Ringmaster?

Newly inaugurated President Dimitry Medvedev emphasized in his first speech to the nation the importance of treating “seriously any attempt to sow racial or religious enmity, forment the ideology of terror and extremism, meddle in other states’ affairs and, especially, any attempt to redraw boundaries. The tone was less strident than Putin’s aggressive stance when speaking to his nation or the world. Ironically, the Medvedev speech was given as thousands of Russian troops and tanks marched by in the first such demonstration of power since the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1990. It was difficult to ascertain if Medvedev was offering a new turn for his nation in which law and justice are important or whether he was telling the world Russia has come of age both economically and militarily.

Although, Russia’s armed forces put on an interesting show, there is scant evidence it is an effective fighting force. Morale is low, soldiers lack training in modern techniques and the air force and submarine fleet are no match for many other nations. Hopefully, Medvedev will focus on creating the basis of a democratic government.