Tuesday, October 21, 2008
Where Is Colin Powell on Military/Social Issues? [Elaine Donnelly]
Now that retired Army general Colin Powell has endorsed Sen. Barack Obama for President, it is hard to tell where he stands on social issues that will affect the military of the future. Among other things, we need to know whether Colin Powell endorses the extreme consequences of repealing the 1993 law stating that homosexuals are not eligible to serve in the military, which is constantly mislabeled “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.”
If Congress passes a bill to repeal the statute (Section 654, Title 10), the new policy would be forced cohabitation with professed homosexuals in all military communities, including Army/Marine infantry battalions, Special Operations Forces/Navy SEALS, and submarines, 24/7. Following the military’s proud civil rights tradition, the new policy would involve sensitivity training to change attitudes toward sexuality, and “zero tolerance” of anyone who disagrees. Repeal of the 1993 law also would encourage more incidents of sexual tension, misconduct, or abuse, to include male/male and female/female issues in addition to the male/female incidents that already occur.
If General Powell is not concerned about the consequences of repealing the law, he cannot be described as a conservative or even the credible leader of the military that he used to be. If Powell does not favor all of these consequences, why has he announced his intent to vote for Senator Obama, who has promised to push for repeal of the 1993 law? Either way, General Powell is letting down the men and women of our military.
In her 2006 book Soldier: The Life of Colin Powell, Washington Post associate editor Karen DeYoung wrote about the resistance of General Powell when President Bill Clinton tried to deliver on his promise to lift the ban on homosexuals in the military in 1993. At the time Powell wrote a letter to feminist congresswoman Patricia Schroeder (D-Colo.), pointing out that “[S]kin color is a benign, non-behavioral characteristic. Sexual orientation is perhaps the most profound of human behavioral characteristics. Comparing the two is a convenient but invalid argument.” (pp. 230-233).
The normal human desire for privacy and modesty in sexual matters has not changed—particularly in what the law describes as “forced intimacy” in close combat units. Colin Powell, however, may have changed in the face of relentless criticism from gay activists. Wrote DeYoung, “He had never been attacked by liberals before, particularly as a bigot; it bothered him far more than he had anticipated.”
It is unfortunate that General Powell seems unconcerned about Senator Obama’s radical agenda for the military. Our men and women in uniform deserve better than public figures calling for radical and unnecessary personnel policy changes that will make their lives more difficult and possibly break the volunteer force—all for the sake of what appears to be self-interested expediency.
10/21 09:23 AMShare