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    March 13, 2007

    The bible-thumping general

    Posted by: Chris

    Peterpacecc In a surprisingly candid interview with the Chicago Tribune, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Peter Pace explained that his support for "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" is based on his own personal view that homosexuality is "immoral":

    Responding to a question about a Clinton-era policy that is coming under renewed scrutiny amid fears of future U.S. troop shortages, Pace said the Pentagon should not "condone" immoral behavior by allowing gay soldiers to serve openly. He said his views were based on his personal "upbringing," in which he was taught that certain types of conduct are immoral.

    "I believe homosexual acts between two individuals are immoral and that we should not condone immoral acts," Pace said in a wide-ranging discussion with Tribune editors and reporters in Chicago. "I do not believe the United States is well served by a policy that says it is OK to be immoral in any way.
    "As an individual, 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," Pace said.

    It is striking to see the nation's top uniformed military officer, in the midst of a long slog war that has been so purely executed, taking time out to explain why he thinks gay Americans should be blocked from serving openly because it offends his personal beliefs. He does not go on to explain why military policy should enforce his personal moral code, and the Tribune unfortunately doesn't ask.

    It's worth it to visit the Tribune site to listen to the small audio clip of the good general. He winds up tongue-tied as he tries to explain how "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" serves to defend his moral code. It's easy to understand how he gets tripped up. Current policy does not protect the military from service by immoral homosexuals; it protects bigoted heterosexuals in the military from knowing the gays are there.

    Before 1993 gays were banned from military service — end of question. Under DADT, gay men and lesbians are allowed to serve so long as they stay in the closet and aren't caught engaging in "homosexual acts."

    Therein lies the aspect of DADT that most offends the constitutional guarantee of equal protection. The U.S. Supreme Court made clear long ago that, while the Constitution does not require the government to eradicate private prejudice; it cannot give that bigotry "public effect" — meaning it cannot enforce anyone's private moral code on anyone else.

    The Supreme Court case that stated that principle involved efforts by morally upstanding Texans opposed to a mental health facility in their neighborhood. It was, of course, in another famous case from the Lone Star state, Lawrence vs. Texas, that the court made clear that personal objections to homosexuality — or "homosexual acts," as the general put it — cannot be enforced through criminal law.

    Yet the Uniform Code of Military Justice still outlaws sodomy, almost four years after Lawrence was decided. And the Joint Chiefs chair can wax moralistic in explaining why private, consensual homosexual sex is the equivalent to adultery.

    The last time I checked, it was our sworn enemies in the "war on terror" who advocate the use of laws to enforce their personal beliefs. General Pace should make clear just which side of that war he's on.



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    1. Tim on Mar 13, 2007 7:44:46 PM:

      Chris we know what side he is on, that's a harsh closing, he has dedicated his life to protecting us his fellow citizens and upholding the constitution.
      I think you were more spot on when you questioned how DADT strengthened his moral code. It is a dictate that forces people to lie, which is never honorable, while conceding that gays can do the job just as well as straights.

    1. marcos carioca (marcos costa) on Mar 13, 2007 8:09:08 PM:

      Oi meu querido amigo, tenho passado aqui para ler seus post e tenho amado. Hoje postei no meu blog um resumo do seu post sobre o Don´t ask, don´t tell que achei o maximo. Depois passa no meu blog e lê e me fala se ficou bacana. Veja meu blog que é novo e veja se vc gosta.



    1. robpower on Mar 14, 2007 12:21:32 PM:

      Does anyone here honestly think this guy would have gotten his job with anything other than anti-gay personal views? Hello? He's a Republican. This is what they believe.

      It would only be news if Bush's joint chiefs chairman were NOT anti-gay.

    1. tim on Mar 14, 2007 1:57:35 PM:

      calm down Rob, anywayz, Chris I'm sure you caught this
      but if not it's a good sign.

    1. Craig Ranapia on Mar 14, 2007 3:23:30 PM:


      First, remind me on whose watch DADT was introduced again? Because I sure as shit don't recall Pace's Clinton-era predecessors David E. Jeremiah, John M. Shalikashvili, or Henry H. Shelton speaking out against the policy.

      I think you've missed the point somewhat - on one level, I don't give a shit what Peter Pace's 'personal opinions' are on any subject. But when he's speaking publicly as America's highest ranking military officer, he should keep them to himself. Whatever his opinion is on DADT or any other politically contentious subject.

      Something of a no-brainer to me, but I don't spend my life inside the Beltway do I?

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