November 18, 2010


I sure hope that Don't Ask, Don't Tell is repealed. Gays deserve equal rights across the board. Case closed.

That said, why on earth would anyone want to enlist right now?

The two unpopular wars we're fighting barely even came up in the mid-term elections. Except with gays--for some reason we're eager to join in the fight. Dan Choi, the poster boy for repeal, recently equated the bullying that the legislature engages in by keeping DADT in place with the bullying that's caused a rash of teen suicides that shocked the gay community. OK, so I guess all gays agree that bullying is a bad thing. And that no one should do it, right? As the most hawkish nation, the US is the biggest and meanest bully in the world! Yet Choi and others want to bully innocent, unarmed civilians in other countries? It's not logical. Either bullying is wrong or it isn't. At least the schoolyard bullies just harass people verbally and their victims' suicides are optional. The Pentagon flies soldiers to occupy foreign countries for indefinite killing sprees. Oh, but we call it Operation Iraqi Freedom.

The Iraq war is a blight on our nation's reputation and the healing can never begin until we've aired out this festering sore. It was a huge mistake and yet we're still at it? You shouldn't seek to fight in it--you should seek to fight against it ever being waged in the first place. We also need to combat whatever conditions made it possible to be tricked into such a gruesome mess so that it never happens again. Those conditions would include recognizing that George W. Bush couldn't have gone to war if it weren't for Americans' own bloodthirsty wish to avenge 9/11 in the wrong country and also the failure of the media, which even liberal bastions CNN and the NY Times admitted to, to ask harder questions of the Bush administration leading up to the war.

I'm not so such a naive peacenik that I'd suggest disbanding that the military. Of course we need a trained reserve of brave men and women ready to protect us from attacks. But that's not what the military's been up to in Iraq, is it? They're protecting the profits of the military industrial complex's kingpins and that's not a noble cause to lay your life down for. Nor is fighting Al Quaeda in Afghanistan long after they've left the country. Far from enhancing our nation's security, our actions in that part of the world will probably spark generations of future terrorists to attack us. And we're sent into battle by a legislature full of fat cats which mostly never served, but they'll gladly send pawns to do their dirty work protecting the wealth of the corporations which line their pockets. During the Bush years, the Pentagon prevented images of soldiers' coffins from being shown on the news. I guess the dead ones might discourage new recruits. And at all costs, we must keep on playing this dirty game which the troops always lose.

Now if gays just want any job in a crummy economy and can stand bloodshed and withstand post-traumatic stress disorder, then the military’s a fine choice. But perhaps an independent contractor could hire you instead. They may not offer the same benefits as military service and there are no medals to be won, but you're still technically working for the US government. You won't be hampered by all of those pesky military regulations and you can continue to work long after combat has ended.

There can be no honor from serving in a shameful war. Anyone attempting to enlist now is condoning the horrors of of it. If fairness and equality is really the concern of gay people, then we can't sign up to use force to impose our misguided will as we've been doing in Iraq for almost a decade. As people who've been bullied ourselves, we of all people must value compassion. Dan Choi has claimed that "War is a force that gives us meaning." Anyone who needs to obtain their meaning from something as depraved as preemptive attacks against innocent countries is at odds with any civil rights movement I can conceive of. Last night on Rachel Maddow, discharged Lt. Colonel. Victor Fehrenbach described his service by saying "It's my life." Too bad that he can't live his "life" without causing else's death. Of course gays deserve civil rights. But Iraqis deserve them just as much as we do.