When the repeal of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell was under consideration by Congress, Marine Corps Commandant Gen. James Amos fought against it—saying that the distraction could “endanger the lives of Marines in combat.”
Arizona Sen. John McCain, and many on the religious right, predicted a mass exodus of soldiers from the military if they were forced to serve with gay and lesbian comrades. Now that training is underway to end the policy that has ejected some 14,000 gays and lesbians from the military, Amos says the predicted backlash just isn’t happening.
“I haven’t had any indication yet at all, not at all,” Gen. James Amos told reporters when asked if he expected the mass exodus of troops that Sen. John McCain and other critics predicted if the ban was lifted.
Amos was visiting troops in Afghanistan’s Helmand Province when President Barack Obama signed the repeal in late December. He said he addressed some 12,000 Marines about the change and “everyone said, ‘Sir, we got it. We’re going to do this thing.’”
Military chaplains also went ballistic over the repeal, saying their “religious freedom” would be violated by having to care for gay and lesbian soldiers. They too predicted that the chaplain corps would be reduced to nothing as chaplains abandoned the military in droves. Once again… not so much.
Army Chaplain Lt. Col. Carleton Birch said Wednesday that chaplains already have experience in counseling homosexual soldiers and will likely be able to adjust easily to an openly homosexual military.
“I’ve counseled homosexual soldiers when if I told anyone else that, they would get kicked out,” shared Birch, an evangelical.
When asked if chaplains would be limited in their ability to serve soldiers following the Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell repeal, he said that no changes were necessary to protect chaplains’ rights. He maintained, “We’ve always been able to preach and teach” and anticipate little change in the future.
None of the predicted breakdown in military readiness is coming to pass and it appears the military continues to be well staffed in both soldiers and chaplains.
In the case of DADT, Gandhi’s old adage still holds true: “First they ignore you, then they ridicule you, then they fight you, then you win.”