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Columnists Leonard Pitts, Cynthia Tucker, take on Pace

I heart columnist Leonard Pitts; he puts Pace through the grinder:

If those who feel that objection [to homosexuality] would admit to being driven by instinct and not principle, I could at least respect their honesty. Frankly, it’s not uncommon for heterosexual people to flinch at the idea of homosexual intimacy. But the problem is, that admission would cost gay-haters the pretense of principle.

…At this point, of course, someone is frantically pointing to an obscure Old Testament passage as his or her authority for the immorality of homosexuality. Thing is, the Old Testament also requires the death penalty for disrespectful children, forbids the eating of meat cooked rare, and obligates the man who rapes a virgin to buy her from her father and marry her. I’ve seen no groundswell of support for those commands.

Morality, it has always seemed to me, has less to do with commonalities of existence than with how you treat other people. Do you lie to or about them? Do you steal from them? Do you cheat them? Do you walk by their suffering, oblivious? Do you, except in self-defense, harm them physically or mentally? The answers to those questions, I think, define morality more exactly than whether you’re sharing a bed with someone who has the same sexual equipment you do.

…That’s why, four years into the Iraq debacle, there is painful irony in hearing the president’s top military advisor give a lecture on morality. Team Bush misled the nation into war against the wrong enemy. It hospitalized wounded Americans in squalor and filth. It left the people we ”liberated” without electricity, gasoline or medical services for months turning to years because of its failure to plan.

Unleashing even more punishing commentary is Atlanta Journal Constitution columnist Cynthia Tucker. Read after the jump.Tucker:

Pace, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, didn’t dwell on “good order and discipline.” He didn’t claim that gays in the military would disrupt “unit cohesion.” He didn’t make the claim that gay troops can’t shoot or salute or serve with valor. Instead, he acknowledged a rank prejudice. He believes homosexuality is immoral; therefore, gays shouldn’t be allowed to serve unless they hide who they are.

Unwittingly, the general dropped the facade that has covered the homophobia rampant among the top officer corps. That’s progress. Now, the White House, military officials and congressional leaders can have a frank discussion of the risks of allowing simple bigotry to dictate fitness for the armed forces.

…Equally important, the military has bogged down in Iraq and desperately needs more recruits for its all-volunteer armed forces. In 2005, the Government Accountability Office estimated that about 10,000 gay personnel had been drummed out of the military in the first decade of “don’t ask, don’t tell,” including about 800 whose jobs were considered “mission critical.” Among those were 54 Arabic speakers – at a time when the military and the State Department are desperate for fluency in major Middle Eastern languages.

That absurdity isn’t lost on U.S. Rep. Gary Ackerman (D-N.Y.). “For some reason, the military seems more afraid of gay people than they are … terrorists. … If the terrorists ever got ahold of this information, they’d get a platoon of lesbians to chase us out of Baghdad,” he joked during a hearing of the House Foreign Affairs Committee last month. 

Here’s the video of Ackerman, btw. It’s a hoot.

Hat tip, kevinbgoode.

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Pam Spaulding

Pam Spaulding

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