Thursday, December 02, 2010

Hurrah for Mike Mullen

From (gasp) FoxNews:

Mullen: Troops Who Balk at Change in Gay Service Policy Can Find Other Work

Military members who have a problem with a change in policy to allow gays to serve openly may find themselves looking for a new job, Adm. Mike Mullen, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, warned Thursday.

Mullen told a Senate Armed Services Committee hearing that the military is based on meritocracy, "what you do, not who you are." He said if Congress changes the don't ask, don't tell policy then the U.S. military will comply.

And if some people have a problem with that, they may not want to join the service.

"Should repeal occur, some soldiers and Marines may want separate shower facilities. Some may ask for different berthing. Some may even quit the service," Mullen said. "We'll deal with that."

Mullen added that "there is no gray area" in the debate when it comes to standards of conduct in the military.

"We treat each other with respect or we find another place to work. Period," he said.

Shoutout also to Gen. Cater F. Ham, commanding general of U.S. Army Europe:

"If the law changes, the United States military can do this, even in a time of war," said Ham, who helped lead the working group that conducted the 10-month long study on the impact of openly gay members serving alongside straight troops.

"I do not underestimate the challenges in changing the law, but neither do I underestimate the willingness and capability" of U.S. forces to adapt to change, Ham said.

More from the chairman:

Mullen, who claimed he worked alongside gay service members through his entire career, said combat units who are most opposed to having gays serve openly in the military could lead the way in a smooth transition to a policy switch.

Saying he expects less turbulence, "even in the combat arms world," than some would predict, Mullen added, "In fact, it may be the combat arms community that proves the most effective at managing this change, disciplined as they are. It's not only because our young ones are more tolerant. It's because they've got far more important things to worry about."

Mullen said that U.S. military members are already working on the battlefield with NATO forces from countries where being gay is not a disqualification from service.

"I don't recall a single instance where the fact that one of them might be openly gay ever led to poor performance on the field," he said. "Gay or straight, their troops patrolled with ours and bled with ours."

This being something posted on FoxNews, the comments are an absolute sewer. It's quite possible to read FoxNews's headline and posting of this article as designed to draw just that, but we'll take the good news at face value.

(h/t: JonIrenicus)

[Added] Joan McCarter at DailyKos has posted his full testimony.

1 comment:

TC said...

Lawrence O'Donnell had a good piece on this last night on The Last Word. When Harry Truman wanted to integrate the military in 1946 at the end of WWII. They took a poll of both officers and servicemen and 90% were opposed to integrating Blacks with Whites. The arguments against were almost the exact same ones used today against gays serving openly. This was 20 years before the civil rights movement and while the South was still segregated. In spite of overwhelming opposition and with no studies, Truman issued the order that the services be integrated and they were with no significant problems. Truman had some juevos.