Did He Bother to Read the General's Op-ed?

Friday, January 12, 2007

Did He Bother to Read the General's Op-ed?

Via Pandagon we learn that J. Matt Barber, the new policy director for cultural issues at Concerned Women for America, is worried sick that House Dems will push for a repeal of the discredited "don't ask, don't tell" military policy.

In his first column for CWA, Barber writes about the military's de-facto ban on gays and attacks Gen. John Shalikashvili, the former chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. The general wrote a N.Y. Times op-ed earlier this month stating that he had changed his position to one of support for allowing gays to openly serve in the military.

Barber claims that:
... Shalikashvili fails to provide any evidence whatsoever which would support his pro-homosexual contention to the contrary (other than perhaps his own “evolving” moral compass). He offers no evidence which would indicate that anything has changed or that it ever will change.
Did Barber even bother to read Shalikashvili's op-ed? The general provides a lot of evidence.

For example:

* Gen. Shalikashvili refers to numerous meetings he has had "with gay soldiers and marines, including some with combat experience in Iraq, and an openly gay senior sailor who was serving effectively as a member of a nuclear submarine crew" -- conversations that "showed me ... that gays and lesbians can be accepted by their (military) peers."

* In his op-ed, the General also cited this Zogby poll, released in December, which revealed that 73% of military service members who had served abroad feel comfortable around lesbians and gays. Of those who were certain a gay or lesbian person was serving in their unit, 64% believed these individuals had no negative impact on unit morale.

* As additional evidence, Shalikashvili notes that "24 foreign nations ... let gays serve openly, with none reporting morale or recruitment problems."

Barber is free to argue with these conclusions or to have CWA conduct a poll of its own, but he looks foolish by claiming that the general "fail[ed] to provide any evidence whatsoever" for his position.

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