Comments made by Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, General Peter Pace, in an interview with the Chicago Tribune may make his, from a PR perspective, one of the most disastrous interviews ever given.
Pace said he believed homosexuality was immoral and that he doesn’t “believe the United States is well served by a policy that says it is OK to be immoral in any way.” He compared homosexuality to adultery, I suppose to avoid the obviously delusional comparisons conservatives such as Rick Santorum have made. But his comparison raises the question: Will the military institute a “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy with regard to adultery?
Of course, Pace was only saying what most military men think—but the military, led by Colin Powell, carefully crafted an alibi for its homophobia when it demanded in 1993 that Clinton not allow out gays to serve in the military. It’s not that we’re homophobic, the brass said; it’s that the grunts are so homophobic they’d sooner fight a gay platoon-mate than the enemy—and that’s OK.
Pace also violated another military stance in speaking the truth that dare not speak its name. The military is, at present, desperate not to revisit the gays in the military issue, because commanders know now would be an opportune time to repeal the rule. Homophobes can get down with the idea of sending gays and lesbians off to die for them, as evidenced by the drop by half in the annual number of soldiers discharged for being gay since 9/11. More than half of all Americans support lifting the ban.
John Warner, a Republican on the Armed Services Committee, suggested that the policy will at least be reviewed when he said, “I respectfully but strongly disagree with the chairman’s view that homosexuality is immoral.” A Republican! This could only happen with the military desperate to boost its numbers.