August 12, 2005

Be All You Can Be? Not Quite

How often have you heard the phrase "Be all you can be" used as a recruiting slogan by the United States military? I would think probably hundreds, if not thousands of times over the year. It’s a good one, isn’t it?

If you happen to be gay, lesbian, or bisexual however, it is a lie.

Not only is the military staunchly defending its "don’t ask, don’t tell" policy in court, they appear to be aggressively seeking out soldiers that are deemed to violate its very broad interpretation.

In the past year, at least five soldiers have been discharged from the military for placing online personal ads that identify them as gay. The Servicemembers Legal Defense Network (SLDN) reports that there have been at least 40 "outings" in similar incidents they have monitored this year.

Who is taking the time to peruse gay personals anyway? Is that actually in someone’s job description? Would we have a better chance of finding Osama Bin Laden if he was trying to get hooked up with a gay lover? Is this really important enough to further deplete the ranks of soldiers that are already spread too thin?

I’m proud of our brave men and women that sign up to leave their homes and put their lives at risk. Most of us have a friend or relative that served in at least one of the Iraq wars. I have a brave young cousin that was over with the first wave of forces in 2003. Whether you agree or disagree with the politics involved God Bless our soldiers for being willing to go and defend our nation.

The fact that military leadership continues to enforce this inane "don’t ask, don’t tell" policy and are willing to go so far as to review personal ads, however, helps make the phrase "military intelligence" seem like an oxymoron.

Speaking of morons, have these people watched too many episodes of MASH? Do they expect gay soldiers to act like Corporal Klinger in the early years, reporting for duty in women’s clothing? Are they afraid of gay soldiers heading out on troop maneuvers wearing pink chiffon and demanding candelabras at the mess halls with Liberace dinner music piped in?

I’m asking a lot of questions here and providing few answers because I just don’t get it. As far as society has come in so many areas, it is sad that the leaders of the group that could literally blow up the world still acts as if they fear people that are not like them.

Many leaders of the right wing have tried to make patriotism and morality into black and white issues, allowing no room for shades of gray, not to mention any rainbow colors. No wonder they are usually the political champions of the Armed Forces.

In the United States military, it’s not about being all you can be; it’s about being all they will allow you to be.


  1. To paraphrase Eddie Izzard
    "The military needs a infantry of transvestites, that would surely confuse the enemy."

    Diversity is clear, it broadens our ideas and lives!

  2. I am going to go out on a limb and venture a guess that there have been some gay people in the ranks of every military company ever to be established.

    Does our military pretend not to know this?