Peter Pace says he doesn't want the military to change its policies on homosexuality because it is "immoral." He likens it to adultery, which is prohibited under the UCMJ.
"As an individual, I would not want (acceptance of gay behavior) to be our policy, just like I would not want it to be our policy that if we were to find out that so-and-so was sleeping with somebody else's wife, that we would just look the other way, which we do not. We prosecute that kind of immoral behavior," Pace was quoted as saying.
But General Pace is confused. The UCMJ is not legislating morality. Its purpose is to maintain "good order and discipline." The military is extremely interdependent and if there weren't checks on things like adultery... Well, my husband phrases it as a hypothetical:
"If I sleep with my Marines' wives, my Marines are gonna shoot me in the back."
In other words you have a lot of armed people who have to be able to rely on each other in situations like the heat of battle. The rank structure can't be compromised, fraternization, and the camaraderie can't be shattered by Peyton Place-like dramas of love and deceit. People's lives depend on it.
The UCMJ is a pragmatic document and has nothing to do with any higher moral authority. And the prohibition on homosexuality is as out of date as the exclusion of blacks was once upon a time. Yes it will make some people uncomfortable for a while. They'll get over it. And the rest of the military is not nearly as backwards as General Pace.
A short while ago, former Chairman of the Joint Chiefs John Shalikashvili spoke out in favor of the lifting the ban. Among his reasons, a poll that demonstrates a much higher tolerance for homosexuality than General Pace exhibits.
In explaining his shift on the issue, Shalikashvili also cited a new Zogby poll, commissioned by the Michael D. Palm Center at the University of California at Santa Barbara, of 545 U.S. troops who served in Iraq and Afghanistan. It reported that three quarters said they were comfortable around gay men and lesbians.
The poll, published in December, also said 37 percent opposed allowing gays to serve openly, while 26 percent said they should be allowed and 37 percent were unsure or neutral. Of those who said they were certain that a member of their unit was gay or lesbian, two-thirds did not believe it hurt morale.
But General Pace would rather keep the current "don't ask, don't tell" policy in place. Well sure. We all know how moral hypocrisy is.