Pace Yourself

According to Steve Chapman from the Chicago Tribute editorial board, Gen. Peter Pace’s reaction on homosexuality reported on Sunday was a ‘gut reaction.’ And he hadn’t thought through his comments.

In the original article Pace is quoted with the following,

“I believe homosexual acts between two individuals are immoral and that we should not condone immoral acts,” Pace said in a wide-ranging discussion with Tribune editors and reporters in Chicago. “I do not believe the United States is well served by a policy that says it is OK to be immoral in any way.

“As an individual, I would not want [acceptance of gay behavior] to be our policy, just like I would not want it to be our policy that if we were to find out that so-and-so was sleeping with somebody else’s wife, that we would just look the other way, which we do not. We prosecute that kind of immoral behavior,” Pace said.

Now TV, blogs and newspapers are full of commentaries, snark, attacks, and Coulter-attacks.

First, I’d like to say, although I think his beliefs are deluded, I do think he is being utterly honest. He truly believes that it is immoral to be homosexual. It is in his bible and it is in his blood.

I would however point out the sad fact that the American military has notably never included infidelity as a reason for not serving. That policy would have gotten not only Ms. Nowak fired, but the other two officers as well. Indeed, even with an official ‘Don’t ask, Don’t tell’ policy on infidelity in the American military, the pending shortage* in officers wouldn’t be – um – pending, it would be here.

Perhaps the military doesn’t “prosecute” that kind of immoral behaviour because it would decimate the current officer corps. General Pace is correct. The bible does think infidelity is bad. As a matter of fact homosexuality didn’t make even make the 10 commandments, bonking your neighbor’s wife did.

So General Pace, how about it – ‘Don’t ask, don’t tell’ on infidelity? Get caught with your pants down, skirt up or diapers on and you’re out. Immoral behavior right, sir?

But then again what kind of immoral behavior does the American military prosecute?

I was immediately reminded of the recent must read piece in Salon [Hat Tip: BlondSense] about the war women soldiers are fighting in Iraq. Not against the insurgents, against the ‘moral’ heterosexual men Peter Pace so supports.

As thousands of burned-out soldiers prepare to return to Iraq to fill President Bush’s unwelcome call for at least 20,000 more troops, I can’t help wondering what the women among those troops will have to face. And I don’t mean only the hardships of war, the killing of civilians, the bombs and mortars, the heat and sleeplessness and fear.
Spc. Mickiela Montoya, 21, who was in Iraq with the National Guard in 2005, took to carrying a knife with her at all times. “The knife wasn’t for the Iraqis,” she told me. “It was for the guys on my own side.”
Comprehensive statistics on the sexual assault of female soldiers in Iraq have not been collected, but early numbers revealed a problem so bad that former Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld ordered a task force in 2004 to investigate. As a result, the Defense Department put up a Web site in 2005 designed to clarify that sexual assault is illegal and to help women report it. It also initiated required classes on sexual assault and harassment. The military’s definition of sexual assault includes “rape; nonconsensual sodomy; unwanted inappropriate sexual contact or fondling; or attempts to commit these acts.”
While commanders of some units are apparently less vigilant about policing rape, others engage in it themselves, a phenomenon known in the military as “command rape.” Because the military is hierarchical, and because soldiers are trained to obey and never question their superiors, men of rank can assault their juniors with impunity. In most cases, women soldiers are the juniors, 18 to 20 years old, and are new to the military and war, thus vulnerable to bullying and exploitation.

There is a “Don’t ask, don’t tell’ policy here as well. Keep the dirty secrets quiet. Especially when “[a] 2003 survey of female veterans from Vietnam through the first Gulf War found that 30 percent said they were raped in the military.”

Don’t ask. Don’t tell.

So. Perhaps Gen. Peter will start thinking about immorality in his soldiers. Not the homosexual ones. The other ones. We’ll even leave the ‘covet your neighbors wife’ people in the military. But perhaps we might crack down on the officers raping soldiers under their command.

On the other hand, I wonder how Condi’s lesbian translator corps is doing?

But changing these ideas takes time.

After all, it’s all about morality. You just have to pace yourself. Even if you are a general.

* What? You didn’t know that there is an expected shortage of mid-level officers? From the Indianapolis Star,

The Army, forced by five years of war to expand its ranks, faces a critical shortage in midlevel officers, interviews and military records show.

Those officers — majors and lieutenant colonels — manage troops at war. The Army expects to have an annual shortage of 3,000 such officers through 2013 as it increases its ranks by 40,000 soldiers.

Beyond the shortage of midlevel officers looms an impending shortage of entry-level officers — lieutenants — from the U.S. Military Academy and university Reserve Officers’ Training Corps programs, records show. Last year, 846 cadets graduated from West Point; the goal was 900. There were 25,100 enrolled in ROTC out of a goal of 31,000, according to a Government Accountability Office report.


2 comments so far

  1. middlescott on

    Isn’t it amazing that a person who spent his life teaching people how to kill other people for a living would call anything immoral?


  2. blc303 on

    There are a lot of ways to look at that.

    Within the culture of the US military, the idea that homosexuality should be banned because it is immoral and not ‘bad for moral’ is new.

    But by your definition, one would probably have to call all military organisations immoral. While debatable philosophically, the point isn’t realistic. It’s his job. Most soldiers don’t try to kill, they try to achieve goals. Unfortunately often those goals include killing people.

    The far more immoral people are those who develop and sell weapons allowing politicians to order ‘clean’ wars without getting their political hands dirty. Those are the scumbags.

    Gen. Pace? He’s just got his compass stuck pointing in the wrong direction.

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