The military community of Stuttgart, Germany, hosted the only “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” sensing sessions for Europe. I was one of about 500 people who attended.
As we say in the Army, bottom line upfront - I have zero confidence in Lt. Gen. Thomas P. Bostick and his committee’s ability to produce a fair and balanced report on their findings. From his opening remarks all the way through the last question, Gen. Bostick and the other members on his panel were more condescending than parents to their children. When members of the audience asked questions or gave opinions in opposition to the proposed change, Gen. Bostick and his crew responded with phrases or sentences beginning with “when the policy changes” and “after implementation,” if we were lucky to get a response.
There were several points and ideas presented by members of the military that Gen. Bostick didn’t even deem worthy to respond to. The best question came from a warrant officer, “Before we rush to possibly ruin our military, wouldn’t it be best to have an anonymous survey to find out how many gay people are in the military and how many of them would actually openly admit being gay if given the opportunity?” Gen. Bostick simply asked for the next question, which wasn’t really a question. A black senior noncommissioned officer stood up and challenged the general on the issue of civil rights stating, “I am black, and I find it highly offensive that you would consider homosexuality to be the same as civil rights of blacks.” Again, Gen. Bostick sat smug in his chair without a response.
After awhile, the sanctimonious and pompous answers given by him and his panel were easy to overlook. However, the simultaneous gasp of a few hundred people came when Gen. Bostick responded to the morality and religious aspects of homosexuality. It is absolutely true that Gen. Bostick in part thinks that Christians were bigots and racists and those who felt homosexuality was immoral should start looking for a new line of work. He even went on to say that there will be zero tolerance for chaplains to preach against homosexuality and those that did would most likely be dealt with under the Uniform Code of Military Justice.
The real question that needs to be asked before any change to the military should be “Will this make the military stronger?” Regardless of what the answer is, we must not be afraid of the truth, no matter how much we might not like it or how unpopular it might make us.