- - Friday, January 24, 2014

ANALYSIS/OPINION:

As a retired chief warrant officer, I am appalled at the Pentagon’s proposed change in the military dress policy. The Pentagon in its infant wisdom will now allow troops to have beards, wear beads and turbans and have some religious tattoos while in uniform. All of this is being done to accommodate “individual expressions of sincerely held beliefs” of service members. I suppose that the next thing we will see is a male soldier in uniform — except that his uniform will be a kilt, and he will have a beard and a string of beads around his neck.

This is an all-volunteer force. Every soldier that raised his hand knew what the military dress policy was before he entered the military. Why are we now changing the policy just to appease a few? All of this is a result of an Army major who is a Sikh who requested he be allowed to wear a beard, long hair and a turban. The last time I checked, there were only a few Sikhs in the U.S. military. There are 3,700 Muslims, 6,300 Buddhists and 1,500 Wiccans. If we allow all soldiers to wear their own accessories and then send a group of them into a war zone, we won’t be able to tell the good guys from the bad guys — and we have a tough enough time doing that now.

I think this new policy will hurt morale and cause undue hardships on the troops. What is to stop a soldier from going to his commander and proclaiming to be a Sikh, Wiccan or some other religion when in fact he just wants to have a beard?

One thing a Wiccan is supposed to do is always accept responsibility for his actions, words and thoughts, and blame no one. At least we now know that President Obama is not a Wiccan. He never accepts responsibility for anything and always blames someone else. I bet he is blaming George W. Bush for all the snow Washington received last week. By the way, have the dropping temperatures affected Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel? None of his proposals is passing the common-sense smell test.

DENNIS G. BEELER

Ardmore, Tenn.

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