In an interview with Chicago Tribune editors and reporters, Pace expressed his support of the "don't ask, don't tell" policy on gays in the military.
He said his views were based on his personal "upbringing," in which he was taught that certain types of conduct are immoral.
"I believe homosexual acts between two individuals are immoral and that we should not condone immoral acts," Pace said... "I do not believe the United States is well served by a policy that says it is OK to be immoral in any way.
"As an individual, I would not want [acceptance of gay behavior] to be our policy, just like I would not want it to be our policy that if we were to find out that so-and-so was sleeping with somebody else's wife, that we would just look the other way, which we do not. We prosecute that kind of immoral behavior," Pace said.
I have serious problems with equating homosexual behavior and adultery, but even if, for a moment, we accept the two as similar moral behavior, Pace's statement is charged with a kiloton of hypocrisy. You couldn't count the number of generals and admirals who have had extramarital affairs on the toes and fingers of Old Mother Hubbard and all of her kids. Many of those affairs involved junior officers. I know of one case where an admiral was playing patty cake with a senior enlisted man's wife, and the admiral arranged for the enlisted man's ship to be out at sea whenever he rolled into town to for a roll in the hay. That guy wound up making four stars and commanded a regional unified command.
What's good for the goose…
"Don't ask, don't tell" was a goofy loophole to the Uniform Code of Military Justice. The UCMJ says homosexual activity is a punishable offense. "Don't ask, don't tell" essentially said it was okay to be gay and serve in the military as long as you didn't tell anybody you were gay and didn't engage in homosexual sex. In other words, "keep your mouth shut, don't swish, and don't get caught."
As a senior officer, I swam through an ocean of administrative nightmares. Some of them involved closeted gays getting outed by homophobes, but that was nothing compared to the fraternization issues between young men and women working closely together in the same command. (And that's in no way meant as a knock on women serving in the military. I'm just saying that having homosexuals under my command was the least of my headaches involving the sexual behavior of my subordinates.)
So I don't know. The way I presently look at the gays in the military issue is that gays have served in militaries since there have been gay people and militaries, which has been a heck of a long time. I heard on MSNBC today that an estimated 65,000 gay persons presently serve in the U.S. military. No matter how we try to legislate homosexuals out of the military, we'll still have homosexuals in the military. So why bother making laws to prevent something we can't prevent?
As to the close living quarters situation: if I'm showering in an open bay with 20 other sailors, odds are that one or two of them are gay. Given my choice, I'd as soon know which one or two of them are.
As to gay fraternization problems: we should treat them the same way we treat heterosexual fraternization. (Colonels and generals get away with it, everybody else fries.) And from an administrative point of view, gay fraternizers have a major advantage over heterosexual fraternizers. Gay fraternizers can't knock one another up.
As for Pace calling homosexuality immoral: heh! Nobody in the Bush administration has any business public making moral judgments about anybody else.
As to whether a military that allows open gays to serve will be effective, well hell, it's not effective now. The best-trained, best-equipped force in the history is getting its heinie poked in two third-world sinkholes.
The cavalry isn't getting the job done. Maybe it's time to call in the Village People.
Commander Jeff Huber, U.S. Navy (Retired) writes from Virginia Beach, Virginia. Read his commentaries at Pen and Sword.