Brian Birdnow

Last week the Associated Press reported, in breathless tones, the fact that the Pentagon has officially recognized June as Gay Pride month, and will host a “celebration” on June 26th, saluting gay service personnel, just as they sponsor events honoring specific racial or ethnic groups. The AP, naturally, considers this a “…remarkable sign of change”, which is to say a significant advance in military thinking, and the tone of the article is accordingly triumphant. The AP writer, Pauline Jelinek, notes that Defense Secretary Leon Panetta “…feels it is important, to find a way to recognize the service and professionalism of gay and lesbian troops”, and she mentions that the Pentagon has “A long tradition of recognizing diversity in the armed forces”, and she hastens to add that, contrary to the fears of some, “military leaders have concluded that repeal (of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell”) has not affected military morale and readiness.”

Miss Jelinek doesn’t declare it, but we are witnessing the destruction of another institution, the crumbling of another cultural pillar, and the overturning of another orthodoxy. The Pentagon’s rush to embrace the gay agenda is a perfect illustration of a pseudo-Hegelian process by which heterodoxy becomes orthodoxy, this time actively assisted and hastened by the Obama Administration and the Pentagon’s social engineers.

An unbiased observer can clearly see that the consequences of the repeal of the “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy are perfectly matching the intent of those who worked to overturn the policy. The issue never really involved the patriotism and devotion to duty of gay service members. (A gay service member was, by definition, a fraudulent enlistment/commission, due to dishonesty about sexual orientation during the recruitment process.) It involved, rather, a concerted effort to neuter one of the few remaining institutions in American life that took an unapologetic stand in favor of traditional gender roles, in most instances. The armed forces affirmed that open homosexual behavior was prejudicial to discipline, morale and esprit de corps. The gay lobby declared war against the services and, after twenty years, they have won, due to the craven response of the leadership, in the face of massive pro-gay propaganda, and a pandering commander-in-chief.

Now that the ban on openly gay service members has been formally retired we are seeing a complete about face. The military is now becoming openly pro-gay, and correspondingly hostile to traditional values, devil take the hindmost. The admission that the uniformed services will now publicly celebrate June as Gay Pride month is merely the froth on the kettle of the new and unimproved military.

While the gay movement revels in their victory there remain some nagging details. The services have, thus far, refused to recognize gay marriages, fearing the repercussions of openly defying the Federal Defense of Marriage Act. A Pentagon spokeswoman recently dodged questions on this issue, but simply said that the DOD was “…carefully and deliberately reviewing the policy…” If the military decides to formally sanction gay marriage will military chaplains be forced to perform gay wedding ceremonies? Will those who refuse suffer a dishonorable discharge, or possibly a court martial?

Lest any reader consider these prospects farfetched, last week a spokesman for a gay officers advocacy group, the existence of which is, itself, a tectonic shift in military culture, complained about “continued unequal treatment that gays receive in some areas.” He was referring to the fact that same-sex couples cannot claim health care, or retirement benefits. These issues must have been overlooked in the Pentagon’s headlong 2010 rush to create their brave new world.

Yet, we would be wise to worry about the long-term future. Gays can now openly serve in the military, but polygamists cannot. Is there any reason for denying patriotic and dedicated people their “right” to serve in the armed forces simply because they want to marry more than one woman? What about those who can’t meet physical fitness standards? Can we deny patriotic and dedicated people their “right” to serve in the military if they are grossly overweight, or physically weak? How about those judged to be mentally deficient? If gay, lesbian, bi-sexual and/or transgendered folks have the right to serve in the military this must be extended to all.

Lastly, on the question of the repeal of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” on military readiness and morale, Leon Panetta tells us, “Military leaders have concluded that repeal has had no effect on readiness.” The public is expected to accept this statement at face value! In 2010 the New York Times reported that the DOD had circulated an internal memo warning officers that “They face reprimand or worse if they go outside the official Pentagon review process and publicly advocate maintaining the established policy.” In other words, the highest echelon has decided that this new policy would work. If the new policy did not work everyone would re-read the memo, specifically the section that said the new policy would work. Very few senior officers would risk the ruination of their careers when they realized that the very highest DOD figures had staked their own reputations and futures on a major policy change, no matter how obtuse and wrongheaded that policy night prove in practicality. In addition, the military has reported an alarming 11% increase in sexual assaults over the last three years, including a startling increase of 40% in cases of men sexually assaulting men. If sexual assaults are increasing markedly in the armed services then the military is suffering a breakdown in order and discipline. Still, Leon Panetta, the gay lobby, and the Associated Press insist that “…repeal has not affected morale or readiness.” Yes, just in the same way that King Louis XVI agreed to have himself shortened by a head in 1793.

So, what are we to make of the military now that we have gone through the looking glass? The old orthodoxy is now the enemy, and many officers who defended “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” have been passed over for promotion, demoted or retired. The old heresy is now the new orthodoxy and those who once saw themselves as hounded, persecuted or singled out for abuse are now intent on settling old scores. As the legendary British rocker Pete Townsend used to sing, “Meet the new Boss, Same as the old Boss.” The new bosses in the gay lobby are intent on destroying the greatest fighting force of modern times, and Leon Panetta and the Obama Administration are doing their level best to hasten this demise. Perhaps they will consider this in between celebratory speeches at the Gay Days celebration on Tuesday, June 26th.


Brian Birdnow

Brian E. Birdnow is a historian and teaches at a university in the St. Louis area.