Next week, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid is expected to begin floor debate on a defense authorization bill that would repeal the Clinton-era “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy and allow homosexuals to serve openly in the armed forces. Last month, a top military official offered a glimpse of how the military might look should the new policy take effect: Those serving who oppose the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) agenda are no longer welcome.
Those were the views of Lt. Gen. Thomas P. Bostick, the Army’s deputy chief of staff in charge of personnel matters who spoke about “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” before several hundred troops at the European Command headquarters in Stuttgart, Germany. “Unfortunately, we have a minority of service members who are still racists and bigoted and you will never be able to get rid of all of them,” Lt. Gen. Bostick said. “But these people opposing this new policy will need to get with the program, and if they can’t, they need to get out. No matter how much training and education of those in opposition, you’re always going to have those that oppose this on moral and religious grounds just like you still have racists today.”
The strong words take additional significance from Lt. Gen. Bostick’s direct involvement with a Pentagon panel charged with shaping military policy on this issue. Although Lt. Gen. Bostick presented the question of homosexuals in the military as if it were about civil rights, it is nothing of the kind. The services must discriminate to function. Those who are too old, too weak or too overweight must be shown the door even when similar actions in the private sector might spark a lawsuit. The reason for the military’s existence is to win battles and wars, not to ensure feelings aren’t hurt or to serve as a playground for social experimentation.
The military’s long-standing ban on homosexual conduct is rooted in the principles of the Uniform Code of Military Justice, which also criminalizes adulterous conduct among heterosexuals insofar as it undermines the good order and discipline of the armed forces. Lt. Gen. Bostick suggested he would employ the same strict disciplinary standards to provide “education and training” that would ensure soldiers, sailors and airmen embrace the new LGBT agenda.
“Unfortunately, if the law is repealed, the military will attempt to do what it does - makes things work, for better or worse,” Tommy Sears, executive director of the Center for Military Readiness, told The Washington Times. “So there will be no toleration of dissent. If for whatever reason you disagree, whether it’s religious conviction or personal objection, your career will in essence be over.”
Servicemen should not be booted from the military because of their sincerely held religious convictions. It’s unseemly for a senior officer to equate those who hold traditional values with racists and bigots. Lt. Gen. Bostick’s careless words demonstrate his unsuitability to the task, and, for that reason, he should withdraw from further involvement in the Pentagon panel set to issue a report on the new policy by Dec. 1. The Senate also should reject this attempt to undermine the effectiveness, morale and morals of the military on the behalf of a radical fringe.