Dear General Pace,
I was disappointed to read your comments in the newspaper regarding your personal attitude towards homosexuals. Here is what you said if you need to be reminded:
I believe that homosexual acts between individuals are immoral and that we
should not condone immoral acts…. I do not believe that the armed
forces of the United States are well served by a saying through our policies
that it’s OK to be immoral in any way…. As an individual, I would not want (acceptance of gay behavior) to be our
policy, just like I would not want it to be our policy that if we were to find
out that so-and-so was sleeping with somebody else’s wife, that we would just
look the other way, which we do not. We prosecute that kind of immoral
First, let me state that you have every right to your personal moral views, but was it really appropriate to state them at this time? You could have expressed those views in private or waited until after you retired to share such thoughts. Do you really need to be reminded that thousands of gay men and women are currently risking their lives in Afghanistan and the streets of Baghdad? Every night we see images on the evening news of gay military personnel that have been killed in battle or seriously wounded. How dare you dishonor their service and sacrifice by reducing them to one characteristic while at the same time you lower the military’s standards by admitting recruits with criminal backgrounds. Even more absurd is your comparison between homosexual couples and the act of adultery. I’m not even sure what you are attempting to point out in your comparison.
The military’s policy of "Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell" has been in place since the Clinton administration. If I understand it correctly it means that as long as a gay man or woman does not openly declare their sexuality their place in the military is secure. If it is the case that gay men and women are not to talk openly than why is it permissible for you to speak out about the morality of homosexuality? Why the double-standard? I have a former student who happens to be a lesbian who is currently serving in the military. She is extremely bright and a graduate of one of this nation’s top universities and who is interested in one day working overseas for the State Department. Her area of expertise is Russia and she is a fluent speaker of the language – just the kind of individual that we need in the service of our country. From the beginning she was aware of the challenges involved in serving in the military as a young lesbian woman. Even with a clear understanding of all of this her sense of service and patriotism held sway. I assume that most gay and lesbians in the military thought seriously about these same issues, but in the end remained committed to serving their country.
Your comments only served to add to their concerns. Is the military really in a position where it can afford to alienate committed Americans who want nothing more than to serve their country? Now, I have never served in the military which means that I’ve never experienced combat. That said, I wonder whether in the case of fighting in the streets of Baghdad that any individual’s sexual preference becomes a factor in saving lives and completing missions. Perhaps I am mistaken, but if so I would like to be shown the evidence.
I’m sorry that you felt a need to reduce the service of thousands of gay men and women along lines that have nothing to do with their day-to-day commitment and multiple tours of duty in some of the most dangerous places on the planet. But if you can’t say it I will:
Thanks to all of you who have served, are currently serving, or who will serve in this nation’s armed forces. Thank you for being able to look beyond the irrational and hateful comments of General Pace while maintaining your focus on what is truly of value to you.