The Nation's Pulse

The ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’ Closet

Woe be unto anyone who steps out of it.

By 3.19.07

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The Chicago Tribune last Monday published an interview with Gen. Peter Pace, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, which the newspaper characterized as a "wide-ranging discussion with...editors and reporters in Chicago."

The talk was a little too "wide-ranging" for those who want homosexuals to be able to serve openly in the U.S. military, and who hate the "don't ask, don't tell" policy that is currently in place. But the truth is these gay supporters want the views and speech privileges of those who disagree with them to be stifled. It doesn't matter to them that Pace clearly identified his views as personal.

"As an individual," he told the Tribune, "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 behavior."

Clearly for Pace to speak out "as an individual" is an abomination in the homosexual Code of Behavior, whatever that is. Their oft-asserted claim to inclusiveness leaves a few colors out of the rainbow spectrum: Bible-literalness and relativism rejection being two of them.

"Gen. Pace's comments are outrageous, insensitive and disrespectful to the 65,000 lesbian and gay troops now serving in our armed forces," said the Servicemembers Legal Defense Network in a statement on their Web site.

The group was upset because Pace likened homosexuality to adultery. "Our men and women in uniform make tremendous sacrifices for our country," the statement said, "and deserve General Pace's praise, not his condemnation."

If that's the standard then undoubtedly thousands of adulterous servicemen and servicewomen have also conducted themselves otherwise admirably, except for their cheatin' hearts, and have deserved legal defense from the SLDN. Pro-gay groups would probably respond that homosexuality is morally acceptable while marital infidelity is not, but where would they get that idea?

However, SLDN and its amen corner weren't the only ones who failed to recognize Pace's freedom of speech in the aforementioned "wide-ranging" setting. Secretary of Defense Robert Gates also frowned upon the General's remarks.

"Personal opinion doesn't really have a place here...," he said on the Pentagon Channel. "What's important is that we have a law, a statute that governs 'don't ask, don't tell.'"

That 15-year-old policy seems to apply just as much to military personnel verbalizing their own opinions in media interviews. The problem is that reporters will keep inquiring, with the proof being that they are now asking everybody they can -- especially presidential candidates -- about their own views. The perpetual campaigners clearly wish the media would adopt their own policy of "don't wanna be asked; because I don't wanna tell." No such luck, though, as journalists are badgering them not only about what they think of gays serving in the military, but also whether they believe homosexuality is immoral. A Newsday reporter even admitted that he "repeatedly asked" Illinois Sen. Barack Obama, a Democratic candidate, if same-sex relationships were immoral.

"I think traditionally the Joint Chiefs of Staff chairman has restricted his public comments to military matters," Obama replied initially. "That's probably a good tradition to follow."

Unfortunately that's not good enough in the post-Peter Pace world of personal observation. And the presidential candidates say, "thanks General Joint Chiefer!" He made it possible for campaign coverers to keep up the pressure until the desired answer was obtained, and Obama's spokesman finally caved and said the senator disagreed with Pace.

An ABC reporter grilled New York Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton about it too. "Well, I am going to leave that to others to conclude," she said, also leaving her spokesman to mop up after her, who later said Clinton also disagreed with Pace.

For a few days last week only old warhorse Republican (but not the most conservative) Sen. John Warner of Virginia seemed unequivocal, after he said, "I respectfully, but strongly, disagree with the chairman's view that homosexuality is immoral." That, along with a little gay outrage, inspired Clinton to de-muck her public position on Thursday.

"I have heard from many of my friends in the gay community that my response yesterday to a question about homosexuality being immoral sounded evasive," she said in a statement. "I should have echoed my colleague Senator John Warner's statement forcefully stating that homosexuality is not immoral because that is what I believe."

So all it took was the former Mr. Elizabeth Taylor to lure Sen. Clinton to come out of her convictions closet, where she thought her husband had protected her with "don't ask, don't tell." Gen. Pace on the other hand didn't know that secret place existed, where he and his views were supposed to remain.

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About the Author

Paul Chesser publishes CarolinaPlottHound.com, a news aggregator for North Carolina, and is a contributor of articles, research and investigative reports for both national and state-level free-market think tanks.