Monday, December 10, 2007

Don’t ask, Don’t tell – how about I don’t care

It has been apparent that a lot of fervor has been raised in the press recently from the many published views placed in the media of the Don’t ask, Don’t tell issue with respect to gay and lesbians serving in the Military. It seems from my simple perspective that conservatives, military, politicians, and groups with specific agendas related to the issue of our policy towards gay American’s serving in the Military miss the basic premise of service.

As a former Company and Battalion commander I am sure I likely had gay individuals that served my unit with distinction. I also had members of all faiths, ideals, political affiliations, nationalities and demographics within the ranks similarly performing their jobs well. As a leader the unit performance demanded that individual issues, bias, and influences had to be set aside to work in a collaborative team atmosphere to get the job done. Frankly my soldiers did not have time, need or inclination to be concerned with politics, religion, sexual orientation – we were then, and soldiers continue to be, concerned with establishing effective, well trained teams that focus on the job at hand.

I needed the soldiers that served with me to be tactically and technically proficient in their military skills. Devotion to the unit mission, knowledge of soldier skills and professional completion of all duties assigned were items that concerned everyone assigned.

The demagoguery on the issue of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell hysteria found in the political arena recently is hype that isn’t prevalent on the Military that I knew or the one that exists today. It is a fabrication used as a political chess piece which pits former military (is he a retired colonel or Brigadier General- who cares), activist groups and political candidates against each other but does not reflect the conditions or issue for soldiers… we are too busy for the flap about things unrelated to the task at hand.

Demagoguery - refers to a political strategy for obtaining and gaining political power by appealing to the popular prejudices, fears and expectations of the public — typically via impassioned rhetoric and propaganda, and often using nationalist or populist themes.

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