NBC News’ David Gregory and the Big Media are asking politically convenient questions about ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell,’ because they don’t want to hear politically inconvenient truths.
General David Petraeus, U.S. Central Command’s top general, was asked yesterday on Meet the Press about “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.” The general declined to define his position other than to indicate that a change in policy might be in order. That’s because, he suggested, military personnel, like the public at large, have become much more accepting of lesbians and homosexuals.
He was asked, and answered, the wrong question.
NBC News’ David Gregory asked:
Do you think soldiers on the ground [or] in the field care one way or the other if their comrades in arms are gay or lesbian?
This is a stupid and irrelevant question, the answer to which is obvious. No, of course not. Most soldiers, sailors, airmen, and Marines don’t care whether their comrades in arms are gay; and even if they do, they’ll learn to get over it.
But Gregory’s question isn’t designed to elicit information; it’s designed to force a politically-correct answer, which is that lesbians and homosexuals must be allowed to serve openly.
But the sentiments of American servicemen and women aren’t at issue; that’s a red herring. Unfortunately, it’s a red herring many conservatives — like Dick Cheney and National Review’s John Hood — seem to have bought into hook, line, and sinker.
Cheney, when asked about the issue last week on ABC News’ This Week said:
I think the society has moved on. I think it’s partly a generational question… I’m reluctant to second-guess the military… [but] when the [military service] chiefs come forward and say, ‘We think we can do it,’ then it strikes me that it’s time to reconsider the policy. And I think [Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff] Admiral [Mike] Mullen said that.
Yes, Admiral Mullen did say essentially that — but not the Commandant of the Marine Corps, General James T. Conway; not Army Chief of Staff General George W. Casey, Jr.; and not Air Force Chief of Staff General Norton A. Schwartz — and certainly not the frontline grunts and senior enlisted personnel now being shot at in Afghanistan.
So why is Cheney blithely assuming that the military has decided open homosexuality is a salutary idea?
Answer: Because like most in the media — and even some in the military — Cheney wrongly thinks that what’s at issue are the feelings or sentiments of American servicemen and women. Why, if we could just get soldiers, sailors, airmen, and Marines to have progressive and enlightened ideas about homosexuality, then all would be well they think.
But in truth, traditional attitudes about homosexuality aren’t the problem. The intolerance and anti-religious bigotry of the gay lobby are the problems.
Gay men and women already serve honorably and without conflict — provided they don’t draw attention to their private sexual acts and lifestyle choices, which no one in the military really cares about or wants to know about. American servicemen and women are supremely tolerant and good-natured.
But once lesbians and homosexuals are given specially protected legal status, tolerance must, of necessity, mutate into enforced affirmation and enforced legitimization — and to the serious detriment of the First Amendment rights of religious believers and cultural traditionalists. And if and when that happens, the integrity and viability of the American military culture will, indeed, be in jeopardy.
I’ll explain why this is so in future posts. Twenty-year Navy veteran J.E. Dyer began to address this issue at her blog and at Contentions. Suffice it to say that if David Gregory were honest, he would have asked General Petraeus an honest question — to wit:
Do you think open homosexuality within the ranks could undermine the military, or might violate the First Amendment rights of religious believers and cultural traditionalists?
But Gregory and the Big Media don’t ask that question, because they don’t want to know the answer — and they don’t want the public to hear the truth.
John R. Guardiano is an Arlington, Virginia-based writer and analyst. He served as a Marine in Iraq and is still a military reservist. Follow him on Twitter.
Other installments in this series, “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell, and Don’t Even Pretend to Be Fair”: