In a March 12 interview with the Chicago Tribune, Gen. Peter Pace, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, stated "I believe homosexual acts between two adults are immoral and that (the U.S. military) should not condone immoral acts."
The U.S. military should not condone immoral acts?
What about the 3,311 U.S. soldiers killed, the 24,764 wounded, and the 61,728 (reported) Iraqi civilians killed in an immoral, and illegal war?
What about a commander in chief and his administration that admittingly misled the U.S. people and the world to justify the war, yet to date have faced little, if any, consequence. Lie about your sex life and you are impeached. Lie about a war and nothing?
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What about a military that refuses, for political reasons, to allow pictures of their coffins arriving back in the United States?
What about a commander in chief that has not attended one
funeral/memorial service in the four-year history of the war and did not include the word "veteran" once in his last State of the Union address?
What about the $30 billion in war profiteering contracts awarded (to date) while hundreds of wounded soldiers face neglect and frustration at the Army's top medical facility, with thousands more facing waiting lists and reduction in services at VA centers across the country?
What about the $416,727,500,000 (to date) spent on this war, with some estimates putting the total cost of operations at close to $300 million per day? Estimates put the total cost of this war to the U.S. people at more than $1 trillion.
There are an estimated 46.6 million Americans without health insurance and 8.3 million of the uninsured are children. The United States is the only industrialized nation that does not offer some form of universal health care to its citizens. On any given day, there are an estimated 500,000 to 600,000 homeless citizens in this country, with a recent CBS report estimating that a third of this number are military veterans.
The number of people on waiting lists for government-sponsored, subsidized housing vouchers is in the thousands in most urban areas, with many having a moratorium on accepting new applications. Yet those programs continue to face budget cuts from the federal government on a yearly basis.
An estimated 65,000 gay, lesbian, and bisexual Americans are already serving protecting our country with another 10,000 discharged based solely on the fact who they love happens to be of the same gender. Since the 1993 implementation of the "Don't Ask, Don't Tell," policy, it has cost an estimated $250 million to $1.2 billion to investigate, eliminate and replace qualified service members. Eight hundred of those discharged were specialists with critical skills, including 323 linguists, 55 who specialized in Arabic.
It is interesting to note that since the start of the war in Iraq, the number of service personnel discharged under "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" has decreased some 24 percent. Maybe we are good enough for the military when they need us.
I personally find it extremely ironic that Gen. Pace or anyone in this administration feel they have the right to pass moral judgment on anyone.
Michael E. Sherrill, a state employee, is a member of The Olympian's Diversity Panel and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.