U.S. Congressman Duncan Hunter (R-CA) took time out from the Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell hearings to explain his position to the National Public Radio audience. Somehow interviewer Melissa Block kept a straight face.
BLOCK: You are not in favor of a repeal of don’t ask, don’t tell. Why not?
Rep. HUNTER: No, because I think that its bad for the cohesiveness and the unity of the military units, especially those that are in close combat, that are in close quarters in country right now. Its not the time to do it. I think its – the military is not civilian life. And I think the folks who have been in the military that have been in these very close situations with each other, there has to be a special bond there. And I think that bond is broken if you open up the military to transgenders, to hermaphrodites, to gays and lesbians.
BLOCK: Transgenders and hermaphrodites.
Rep. HUNTER: Yeah, that’s going to be part of this whole thing. Its not just gays and lesbians. Its a whole gay, lesbian, transgender, bisexual community. If you’re going to let anybody no matter what preference – what sexual preference they have that means the military is going to probably let everybody in. Its going to be like civilian life and the I think that that would be detrimental for the military.
BLOCK: Was there anything in your experience with the military in Afghanistan and Iraq that made you think that unit cohesion would be a real issue if gays and lesbians who, I think we can acknowledge, are serving in the military now, just not openly, were to be open about their sexual orientation?
Rep. HUNTER: Yeah, I think that the majority of people in the military are they’re young kids. They usually have more conservative families, more conservative backgrounds and I think that it would go against their principles and it would frankly make everybody a little bit uneasy to be in these close situations, how you go into combat, you know, the shower situation, the bathroom situation, just, you know, very mundane details – things that we have men and women separated, you know, because we don’t want to have that sexual distraction. That exists for the homosexual aspect of things, too.
BLOCK: But Congressman Hunter, wouldn’t you agree that there are gays and lesbians serving in the military right now, they just are not open about their orientation. So the problems that you raise presumably would be problems already. They are in the barracks already. They are in the showers already.
Rep. HUNTER: No, but they aren’t open about it, like you just said. Its like if you want to work for NPR, you don’t go to work and on the first day say, hey, I want everybody to know that I’m gay. You probably don’t care one way or the other as long as they, you know, get their particular job done. I think the military is the same way. That’s why don’t ask, don’t tell works.
So Duncan Hunter thinks that transgenders and hermaphrodites are just itching to join the military. And he’s worried about “sexual distraction”. Because somehow none of the heterosexual military personnel we have EVER tries to get laid when they are overseas. If we sent Ken dolls off to fight our battles, then Duncan Hunter’s argument would make sense.
At least it would make more sense than U.S. Senator Saxby Chambliss confusing our military with the Cub Scouts. Senator Chambliss thinks somehow that an overturning Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell will lead to alcohol use and tattoos among our military personnel. Umm, too late.
SEN. CHAMBLISS: Just as was stated by my friend Senator Udall, I think the live-and-let-live policy is not a bad policy to adhere to, and that’s what we have in place in the military with “don’t ask, don’t tell” right now.
To you, Secretary Gates and Admiral Mullen, you’re in a tough spot. We understand that. This is an extremely sensitive issue and everybody on this committee I’m satisfied is sensitive to this issue, both inside and outside the military.
In the military, it presents an entirely different problem than it does in civilian life, because there is no constitutional right to serve in our armed forces. Today we know we have gay and lesbian soldiers serving. They’ve served in the past. They’re going to serve in the future, and they’re going to serve in a very valiant way.
But the primary purpose of the armed forces is to prepare for and prevail in combat should the need arise. Military life is fundamentally different from civilian life, and military society is characterized by its own laws, rules, customs and traditions – including restrictions on personal behavior that would not be acceptable in civilian society.
Examples include alcohol use, adultery, fraternization and body art. If we change this rule of “don’t ask, don’t tell,” what are we going to do with these other issues?
The armed forces must maintain personnel policies that excludes persons whose presence in the armed forces would create an unacceptable risk to the armed forces high standards, the morale, good order and discipline, and unit cohesion.
In my opinion, the presence in the armed forces of persons who demonstrate a propensity or intent to engage in homosexual acts would very likely create an unacceptable risk to those high standards of morale, good order and discipline, and effective unit cohesion and effectiveness. I’m opposed to this change, and I look forward to a very spirited debate on this issue….