Retired Gen. Hugh Shelton was on Sunday with Christiane Amanpour and he gave a truly absurd answer on gays in the military. It started with him saying that the troops should decide whether gays should be allowed to serve openly in the military:
“I think it’s time to let’s see what the men and women that are at the basic combat unit particularly the men in the Marines and Army have to say when the survey comes in on the first of December,” he said.
“If the men and women in uniform at the fighting level, particularly the Marines and Army say, ‘no it doesn’t make any difference to us,’ and therefore it won’t break the readiness of our great armed forces,” Shelton continued.
And then this:
“Why do you think it would?” interrupted Amanpour. “I mean some of the great allies of the United States have. Whether it’s Canada, whether it’s Britain, France, Australia, even Israel allows openly gay men and women to serve in the military. And they have great armies, great militaries.”
“They have great militaries, great armies,” Shelton answered. “But if you check the historical records, Christiane, as you know, we’ve never lost to any of them. We are the top of the pile. We are the best in the world. And we want to stay that way.”
He’s missing one thing, of course: Gays have always been in the military. The issue is not whether gays can serve, it’s only whether they can serve openly, whether they can continue to serve even if someone finds out they’re gay, whether they can be thrown out solely for being gay, no matter how good they are at their job.
Yes, he actually thinks that what makes our military the best in the world is that we don’t let gays serve openly. It’s not the thousands of nuclear warheads. It’s not the fact that we spend more on the military than the next ten nations combined. It’s not the superior technology we buy with all that money, or the massive naval and air advantage we hold over any other country. It’s the DADT policy, that’s what does it.
I would suggest that any military leader who says something like that shouldn’t be leading the military. He obviously has no ability to assess strengths and weaknesses logically.