Hey, do you like the catchy headline? Get it? General Pace’s comments about homosexuality… and “the military keeping pace”? Heh heh.
Anyway, my apologies for not putting up a posting on this earlier. My real job — the one that pays the mortgage and feeds the puppies — has a lot of my attention this week.
Gen. Peter Pace, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said Monday that he supports the Pentagon’s “don’t ask, don’t tell” ban on gays serving in the military because homosexual acts “are immoral,” akin to a member of the armed forces conducting an adulterous affair with the spouse of another service member.
Responding to a question about a Clinton-era policy that is coming under renewed scrutiny amid fears of future U.S. troop shortages, Pace said the Pentagon should not “condone” immoral behavior by allowing gay soldiers to serve openly. He said his views were based on his personal “upbringing,” in which he was taught that certain types of conduct are immoral.
At the very least, you have to wonder who was advising General Pace for his testimony.
“General Pace’s comments are outrageous, insensitive and disrespectful to the 65,000 lesbian and gay troops now serving in our armed forces,” said C. Dixon Osburn, the group’s executive director. “Our men and women in uniform make tremendous sacrifices for our country, and deserve General Pace’s praise, not his condemnation. As a Marine and a military leader, General Pace knows that prejudice should not dictate policy. It is inappropriate for the Chairman to condemn those who serve our country because of his own personal bias. He should immediately apologize for his remarks.”
General Pace likened homosexuality to adultery, which he said was also immoral, The Tribune reported on its Web site. He also announced his opposition to Congressional legislation to repeal “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.”
The Williams Project at the University of California-Los Angeles estimates at least 65,000 lesbian and gay Americans are currently serving on active duty and the reserves. Another 1 million gay Americans, the group has estimated, are veterans of the armed forces.
Obviously, General Pace’s comments are out of touch and disrespectful. But one also has to realize that he is reflecting the views of a lot, if not the majority of our fellow Americans. I thought the comments of Tribune blogger Frank James were very good about this whole controversy.
Pace also attributed his views on homosexuality to his “upbringing.” But what if the lessons he learned and internalized as a youth included a dislike of blacks or Hispanics? Or the army? (Pace is a Marine.) It’s doubtful that citing his “upbringing” would be an acceptable explanation for holding such views.
By citing his upbringing, Pace appears to be saying his views are so foundational, of such long-standing that he can’t or won’t change them. But surely he has revised other views he was taught as a youth just as most of us have. So clearly he has some choice about the views he holds as an adult.
This isn’t meant as a criticism of Pace. It’s meant to use Pace as an example of how confounding the issue of homosexuality is when one makes black-and-white moral arguments about it.
I’m sure we will hear a lot more about the backlash to Pace’s comments in the coming days. It seems like there is a “gay firestorm” story covered by the mainstream media nearly every week now!
[RELATED STORY: Gay Advocates Demand Apology from Pace – 365gay.com (h/t – Michigan-Matt)]