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High-ranking out military vets demand an apology from General Peter Pace

“Does General Pace believe we are immoral, or that our service was unacceptable? Does he appreciate the sacrifice and dedication of every patriot in our armed forces, regardless of their sexual orientation? As military leaders, we never discounted the enormous contribution that every service member brought to our armed forces. General Pace should do no less, and owes an apology to our men and women on the frontlines and their families.”
— from a statement released today by seven out decorated officers who object to Pace’s remarks that homosexuality is immoral and his assertion that it’s a valid basis for supporting DADT

Seven retired, highly-decorated officers, each with more than 20 years, of experience serving their country, stepped forward to condemn the remarks of General Peter Pace, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, who reiterated his support of DADT by calling gays and lesbian service members `immoral.’

Read their statement — and see some stats on the level of recent drop in discharges under DADT that make you wonder about Pace’s remarks — after the flip…The officers are COL Stewart Bornhoft, USA (Ret.); CAPT Joan E. Darrah, USN  (Ret.); CAPT Robert D. Dockendorff, USNR (Ret.); Chaplain (COL) Paul W. Dodd, USA (Ret.); CAPT Sandra Geiselman, USNR (Ret.); COL E. A. Leonard, USA (Ret.); and CAPT Robert Michael Rankin, USN (Ret.)  (SLDN):

“Our community has a long history of serving our country in the armed forces,” the group said. “Today, there are more than 65,000 lesbian and gay troops on duty. Another one million gay and lesbian veterans, including the seven of us, have served in our fighting forces. General Pace’s remarks dishonor that service, as does the `Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’ law. General Pace must offer an immediate and unqualified apology for his remarks and Congress must take action to repeal the ban on lesbian, gay and bisexual Americans who want to serve our country.”

The highly-decorated officers each served more than 20 years, and several considerably longer. They have earned scores of awards, honors and commendations during their careers. Four served in the Vietnam War. They have served as company commanders, helicopter pilots, medical officers, commanding officers, psychologists, chaplains, combat engineers, platoon leaders, infantry officers, supply corps officers and intelligence officers.

“Servicemembers Legal Defense Network is enormously proud of these stellar officers,” said C. Dixon Osburn, the group’s executive director. “These seven, who stand on behalf of one million gay veterans now living in the United States, are irrefutable proof that lesbian and gay patriots have made valuable contributions to our fighting forces. They have commanded companies, advised government leaders, fought on the ground and directed troops from the air. It was their outstanding performance and dedication to our country, not their sexual orientation, that made all the difference.”

The Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation also put out a release today that highlights the harm that Pace’s remarks have on service members out there who are placing their lives on the line:

“In the past few days we’ve been reminded again what a vital role the media play in bringing these kinds of defamatory attacks to the foreground of the public consciousness,” [GLAAD President Neil] Giuliano said. “This is allowing more and more people to understand that the military’s discriminatory policy is rooted not in any legitimate military need, but rather in personal prejudice.”

Giuliano called on the media to focus the next wave of coverage on the toll Pace’s anti-gay rhetoric is taking on active and reserve service members, veterans and others unfairly maligned by his remarks. UCLA School of Law’s Williams Institute estimates that 65,000 lesbian and gay service members are currently serving in the armed forces.

…”Tens of thousands of gay and lesbian troops are risking their lives on a daily basis, both at home and abroad,” Giuliano said. “Media need to ensure that those patriotic service members hear that their supporters are challenging and denouncing Pace’s personal attack on their lives, their relationships and their families.”

GLAAD is also urging media to report on today’s news that seven high-ranking military veterans have joined a growing list of elected representatives and military officials in condemning Pace’s remarks and calling for the repeal of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.”


If gays are immoral, why are the discharges from the military dropping?

The disruption of having gays and lesbians in the military, Gen. Peter Pace’s citing his personal objection to “homosexual immorality” as a reason DADT should remain in place, clearly isn’t working — too many subversive homos are still in the ranks because, for some reason, enough aren’t getting the boot under the policy. (SLDN):

The Department of Defense dismissed 612 service members under the military’s “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” ban on lesbian, gay and bisexual personnel, Pentagon officials confirmed late Tuesday evening.  The number of troops dismissed last year is less than half the total number of discharges in the fiscal year preceding the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks.  Pentagon officials released the data today following remarks by General Peter Pace, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, supporting the ban and referring to lesbian and gay personnel as `immoral.’

“The Pentagon’s data shines a bright light on the hypocrisy of `Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell,'” said C. Dixon Osburn, executive director of Servicemembers Legal Defense Network (SLDN).  “When military leaders need the talent, skills and qualifications of gay personnel, dismissals decline.  Then, during peacetime, the dismissal rate climbs again.  The Pentagon’s own data shows that, during times of war, when unit cohesion is most important, fewer gay troops are dismissed.  In fact, lesbian and gay Americans are making important contributions to our national security.  The ban on their service, and not their service itself, is what erodes cohesion most.”

Seriously, the loss of those 612 gays and lesbians from the military’s ranks, trained professionals qualified to serve, points out what Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell needs to be repealed.

Either the policy is enforced or it is not — the Pentagon needs to stop playing games when most people know, except for a handful of retro-homophobes at the top like Pace, that those in the military have no problem with openly gay and lesbian service members, working side by side with other troops (some from countries that have out gay soldiers).

* Advocacy groups turn up the heat on Clinton and Obama
* Obama and Clinton botch the ‘immorality’ question; Edwards answers it directly
* ACT UP protest of General Pace’s comments
* Republican Senator Warner trashed by WND columnist, Freepers for condemning Pace
* Sam Brownback ‘commends Pace’s leadership, personal commitment to moral principles’
* Faith, morality and a message to General Pace
* Former Sen. Simpson crushes Gen. Pace, DADT in op-ed
* Anti-gay military hack Elaine Donnelly surfaces to comment on Pace 
* Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff: gays are ‘immoral’
* Gen. Pace: no apologies for calling gays immoral

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Pam Spaulding

Pam Spaulding