Do Tell

DADT Repeal Hasn’t Destroyed American Military, Says Highest-Ranking Marine


Remember when General R F. Amos thought that openly serving gays would be a “distraction” to unit cohesion? Turns out the homosexual wandering eye is not actually ripping Marine morale apart at the seams!

Amos, HBIC of the Marines, opposed the repeal of Don’t Ask Don’t Tell last year during wartime but now says of the change in policy: “I’m very pleased with how it has gone.”

Amos and his wife are even meeting gays — and lesbians — in real life! At the Marine Corps Ball last month, he says that his wife encountered the strange new phenomenon of a happy monogamous lesbian couple first-hand: “Bonnie just looked at them and said, ‘Happy birthday ball. This is great. Nice to meet you.’ That is happening throughout the Marine Corps.”

What would her reaction have been prior to the repeal? Breaking out the smelling salts and fainting onto a American flag-upholstered chaise longue? Or calling her husband over to make sure the two were promptly ejected from the service?

Seriously, though, this news is very good, especially considering that last year 45 percent of Marines thought that the repeal would negatively affect combat readiness (in those who serve in combat roles, the figure was 56 percent). We’d like to see that survey reconducted, stat.

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  • randy

    Those people who said that it would negatively affect the military were wrong, of course. If you were to interview them today, they would say that , oh no, THEY were never against gays in the military — they were just concerned about all the OTHER bigots who would be uncomfortable.

    Once you pop the bubble of homophobia, you can’t go back.

  • Evan Mulvihill

    @randy: Hey Randy, Amos never denied that he was opposed to gays in the military when the measure was coming up for debate. He opposed it because his forces thought it would affect combat readiness negatively. Obviously they’re wrong, and he should’ve made his own decision instead of kowtowing to them, but he had his reasons, and they were valid in a certain sense. I think we should laud him for moving in the right direction.

  • EdWoody

    THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU for knowing it’s a chaise longue and not a chaise lounge.

  • Michael Bedwell

    @ QUEERTY: as you’ll see below, the interpretations of those Marine responses to the “survey” you refer to were irresponsibly not given the proper context by media.
    But the Pentagon reports authors did weigh them appropriately—something Amos FAILED/
    REFUSED to do—and still is—still trying to cover his ass.

    @Evan Mulvihill:

    “we should laud him”??? BULLSHIT! Why? Because, as I document below, he’s still LYING about the meaning of the “survey” to cover up his own homophobia. Even if he WEREN’T
    where’s his apology for predicting Marines could be killed in combat if gays were
    allowed to serve openly? And why is so much of the article focused on trying to rehabilitate his image? He may wants us to like and trust him now, but here’s why we shouldn’t:

    First, apparent minimal problems with implementation is NOT “news” at all—it’s merely the fulfillment of prophecy by anyone who approached the idea objectively, without homophobia, and with information based on something other than willful idiocy.
    What is news is the author’s attempt to aid General Amos in his apparent campaign to now look like one of the good guys now which crashes and burns against the facts. Amos is clearly not the repentant former demagogue too many like you have taken from his claims of happiness on the success of repeal wrapped in revisionism because he’s shamelessly recycling excuses for his infamous behavior that were contradicted by fact the first time he waved the banner of Doom a year ago next month.

    Over at least the last three years, the Associated Press [AP] coverage of repeal has been full of factual errors, and they’ve often sounded like shills for the Pentagon. [And they’re repeating that pattern now regarding the military and DOMA.] Sadly, this article is written by yet another hack AP stenographer….excuse me…. “reporter” who exhibits a total lack of any understanding of the longer and deeper picture….just regurgitating what has been spoon fed to him while failing to contrast what he was told with facts that dispute Amos’s revisionism. An authentic reporter would have noted that Amos wasn’t just expressing what he claimed the “survey” proved when he opposed repeal before the Senate Armed Services Committee—claiming without any ability to know that, emphasis mine, “it WILL—NO DOUBT—divert leadership attention away from an almost singular focus on preparing units for combat”—but, in a later statement the author chose to leave out, inexcusably went for repeal’s jugular—declaring that Marines could be maimed and/or killed if gays were allowed to serve opening:

    “Mistakes and inattention or distractions cost Marines lives. That’s the currency of this fight. I don’t want to lose any Marines to the distraction. I don’t want to have any Marines that I’m visiting at Bethesda [National Naval Medical Center, in Maryland] with no legs be the result of any type of distraction.”

    At the time, SLDN’s Aubrey Sarvis appropriately said: “General Amos needs to fall in line and salute or resign now. [Such] fear tactics are not in the interest of any servicemember.” Not only was such a hyperbolic hypothesis coming from the highest ranking Marine irresponsible because it had the potential for CREATING levels of fear and hostility that didn’t exist before, but this “reporter” failed to recall that, according to military publication “Stars and Stripes,” when Amos made those remarks to “a small group of reporters in his Pentagon dining room” [READ: “handpicked”] on December 14, 2010—five days after the second Senate vote on repeal failed, and in a desperate attempt to defeat the pending vote on the revised standalone bill—he insisted that he WASN’T BEING “FLIPPANT [BUT] VERY, VERY DEEP, THOUGHTFUL—I READ THE REPORT, THE SURVEY OVER AND OVER AGAIN.”

    This “reporter” is mirroring the same ignorance that “Stars and Stripes” and most others exhibited because the Pentagon “report” Amos claimed to have read “over and over again” contradicted the predictions of some individual Marines in the “survey”—and, worse, a GENUINE analysis of the “survey” didn’t support Amos’s interpretations.

    1. Had Amos read the report as closely as he still claims [or enough reporters had read it at all], he would have seen that its examination of the history of the initially extremely controversial military racial integration and addition of women disputed his forecast of disaster. Quote: “The general lesson we take from these transformational experiences in history is that in matters of personnel change within the military, predictions and surveys tend to overestimate negative consequences, and underestimate the U.S. military’s ability to adapt and incorporate within its ranks the diversity that is reflective of American society at large. Our conclusions are also informed by the experiences of our foreign allies [35 permit gays and lesbians to serve openly in their military]. … Significantly, prior to change, surveys of the militaries in Canada and the U.K. indicated MUCH HIGHER LEVELS OF RESISTANCE THAN OUR OWN SURVEY RESULTS—as high as 65% for some areas—but the actual implementation of change in those countries went much more smoothly than expected, with little or no disruption. …[M]ost of these nations have been engaged in combat operations in the years since changing their policy. Uniformly, these nations reported that they were aware of no units that had a degradation of cohesion or combat effectiveness, and that the presence of gay men and lesbians in combat units had not been raised as an issue by any of their units deployed in Iraq or Afghanistan.” Emphasis mine.

    2. As for his claim that he was only reflecting what the survey showed, in fact it read, emphasis THEIRS unless otherwise noted: “while a higher percentage of Service members in warfighting units PREDICT negative effects of repeal, the percentage distinctions between warfighting units and the entire military are almost non-existent when asked about the ACTUAL experience of serving in a unit with someone believed to be gay. For example, when those in the overall military were asked about the experience of working with someone they believed to be gay or lesbian, 92% stated that their unit’s ‘ability to work together’, was ‘very good’, ‘good’ or ‘neither good nor poor’. Meanwhile, in response to the same question, the percentage is 89% for those in Army combat arms units and 84% for those *IN MARINE COMBAT ARMS UNITS—all very high percentages.” *Emphasis mine.

    3. But no “reporter” needed to have actually read the report to see what a phony smokescreen Amos was blowing to hide his personal homophobia [and he continues to do]. Quote, emphasis mine: “When pressed to explain exactly what a breakdown of ‘unit cohesion’ could look like and why it would endanger Marines in combat, or the larger war effort, AMOS SAID HE WAS UNSURE but that the significant concern of breakdown was good enough for him. ‘I CAN’T EXPLAIN WHAT THE EXPECTATIONS ARE. I CAN’T EXPLAIN WHAT THEY THINK MIGHT HAPPEN’, Amos said. REPEATEDLY, AMOS POINTED TO THE SURVEY RESULTS. ‘We asked the questions, and the Marines answered them’, he added. “And I had to listen to that. That’s where I came down.”

    HELLO? He couldn’t “explain” but, still, Marines might get killed???? Again, IF he had actually read the report, he would have “heard” something very different beyond the echoes of his own homophobic ignorance. And if mainstream media had focused more on his false assertions and obvious ignorance than on his fantasies, the latter wouldn’t have gotten the attention they didn’t deserve—and the seeds planted for some antigay incident that might yet sprout thorns.

    Despite the overall encouraging message in this article in which even he agrees the sky hasn’t fallen, because Amos is not only still defending his outrageous, dangerous December 2010 predictions and his misrepresentation of the survey’s entirety but also getting away with it, there’s no reason to embrace him as a born again hero, and even less to stop watching him and his branch, as well as all the others, for abuses very closely. For while every other group in the military historically discriminated against has access to an elaborate system of protections under the Military Equal Opportunity Program, Pentagon bigots like Amos succeeded in creating a policy wherein gay and lesbian service members are officially DENIED access to anything like it, and left only with the so-called “chain of command” process which a 2004 Palm Center study of the “Don’t Harass” policy proved does not work.

    Whether he’s a liar or just plain stupid, after over 250 years of military homohating discrimination, it’s much too soon to be forgiving the person in uniform who most ruthlessly defended it less than a year ago—or forgetting how.

  • Steve

    It is clearly time for Gen. Amos to announce his retirement.

    Or, for the CIC to announce Gen. Amos’ retirement.

    They can give him an award of some sort on the way out, to make nice.

  • Evji108

    why do you care if people mistake longue for lounge. Logically lounge works perfectly.
    why stick with a French word that nobody knows. Language can be flexible.

  • Evji108

    @Michael Bedwell:

    He’s an old General from another generation. Be glad he is able to change a bit and be surprised by what he finds when he opens his mind. Most right wingers would rather die than be open to anything like that.

  • B had an article just before the repeal of DADT. It said the following (his point seemed to be that he didn’t want to make the change while they were up to their eyeballs in Taliban):

    the commandant made clear Tuesday, however, that he would not resist if Congress formally integrates gays into the military, saying the Marines would “get in step and do it smartly.” He noted that the Corps was “not a democracy” and that the Pentagon’s survey did not amount to a referendum in which leaders were beholden to obey the whims of the force.

    At the same time, he said he was obligated to listen to Marines under his command.

    “Right now is a very intense period of time for a pretty healthy slice of the United States Marine Corps. This is not training,” Amos said.

    “The forces that wear this uniform, that are in the middle of what I call the real deal, came back and told their commandant of the Marine Corps they have concerns,” Amos said.

    “That’s all I need. I don’t need a staff study. I don’t need to hire three PhDs to tell me what to interpret it,” he said. “If they have concerns, I do, too. It’s as simple as that.”

  • Cam

    @B: said…

    “He noted that the Corps was “not a democracy” and that the Pentagon’s survey did not amount to a referendum in which leaders were beholden to obey the whims of the force.”

    No, but the U.S. IS a Democracy, and the Marines serve at the whim of our elected govt. not the other way around. They are obligated to follow their directives. If they weren’t this would be a military dictatorship.

  • B

    No. 9 · Cam wrote, “No, but the U.S. IS a Democracy, and the Marines serve at the whim of our elected govt. not the other way around. They are obligated to follow their directives. If they weren’t this would be a military dictatorship.”

    Did read the start of the quoted article, the sentence before the one you quoted, which said, “the commandant made clear Tuesday, however, that he would not resist if Congress formally integrates gays into the military, saying the Marines would ‘get in step and do it smartly.'”

    What was going on (this was over a year ago) was that Congress was holding hearings and wanted input from military leaders. He expressed some concerns but apparently made it clear that they’d do whatever Congress asked.

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