Sunday, July 18, 2010

Pentagon survey for "don't ask don't tell" repeal called offensive

Kevin Naff has an op-ed in the Washington Blade for July 16, “Pentagon troop survey is outrageous, offensive,” link here.

We don’t need to belabor this too much as to why, but the questions, partially about “privacy” (as Senator Sam Nunn and professor Charles Moskos saw it in 1993) and about “family values” are indeed a bit like “leading the witness” in court.

Sribd has a photo copy of the survey (PDF) here.

Perhaps this is a case of “self-serving” logic. One can take a good concept (“privacy”) and take it to its “logical consequences” and reach anti-social results. In arguments with my father as a teen, I used to call this “going to the root”.  Sometimes rigorous logic tramples on common sense.  You learn that in the Army.

When I was substitute teaching and found myself “ambushed” by certain special education assignments that could have resulted in my being asked to give intimate care, I resisted and then refused to accept certain kinds of assignments because of similar “reasoning.” I had gone out of the way to out myself publicly and make a political case, so could I be violating some kind of standard of consent (at least from parents)? One or two lawyers I asked thought that I could be; I posted such online and it caused a ruckus in the school systems. It’s true that the “don’t ask don’t tell” law says that the military lives with restrictions that “would not be acceptable in civilian life” but the distinction is not always clear cut. Had there never been a DADT law on the books, I might have become a regular teacher (math) in retirement after all.

Update: later today

The New York Times has an important article on p 13 Sunday July 18, by Tamar Lewin, "A hot line grapples with evolving appeals for conscientious objector status", link here.  The article presents J. E. McNeil on a G.I. Rights hotline. "The legal standard, she said, is that the person must be conscientiously opposed to participating in war in any form, based on a sincerely held religious, moral or ethical belief. And the person must have had a change of heart since joining the military, when the person signed a form saying he or she was not a conscientious objector and did not intend to become one." Later, Bob Jolly from the BY Area GI Rights network is quoted as saying, "Mr. Jolly said opposition to homosexuality would not be a valid ground for a conscientious objector discharge, whatever happens with “don’t ask, don’t tell.” ; “It’s like when blacks and whites were integrated in the armed services,” he said. “They have to learn to live together."

The CO idea really is offensive, to me at least, a lot more than the survey itself.

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