Politics

Veterans write letter to Webb urging him to fight to keep ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’

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Caroline May
Political Reporter

Two retired service members are urging Virginia Democratic Senator and decorated Vietnam veteran Jim Webb to help keep ”Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell”  (DADT) in place as a military policy.

In a letter sent to Webb, retired Rear Admiral Michael R. Groothousen and former Navy SEAL Scott Taylor make the case to Webb that as a “respected Democratic member of the Armed Services Committee” he should use his position to work to stop the repeal of DADT during the lame duck session.

The DADT repeal language is attached to the defense authorization bill. A vote on the legislation is expected before the end of the year.

Groothousen told The Daily Caller that having had five commands throughout his multi-decade naval career, he has seen first hand that DADT works.

“It is the best compromise given the situation,” Groothousen said. “I have never seen witch hunts. When I had command of Shreveport, when I had command of Truman, other commands, did we think that we had gay members in our organization? Yes. But did we go and chase them or look for a reason to get them out? No. My major concern is with the other 99 percent of the sailors, soldiers, airmen, and marines.”

Likewise, Taylor explained that while he does not have a problem with gays in the service, he remains concerned that sexuality will be a distraction.

“I have zero problems with gays serving in the military,” Taylor told TheDC. “In fact, I think it is honorable and there are tons in there now, but in the military it is all about order and discipline and heterosex is not even discussed. I just believe it will have unintended consequences and that it needs to be studied further and the timing is off with us at war.”

Groothousen is also concerned about the religious repercussions that condoning homosexuality will have. As an example, Groothousent recalls his time in command of the USS Truman. On that ship, Groothousen said there were upwards of 26 different religions practiced by the sailors. He estimates that of the religious traditions practiced, 23 to 24 would not accept homosexual behavior.

“So now you look at that percentage and tell me that there isn’t going to be a problem,” he said.

Taylor went on to stress that the military is not a petri dish for social experimentation, but rather an organization based around order and discipline. “Realistically speaking when you sign that oath in the military you don’t have the same civilian rights,” he said.

Groothousen and Taylor are hopeful that they will be able to influence Webb’s final vote. Webb currently remains uncommitted either way and awaits the release of the Pentagon’s final DADT report — set to be issued in December.

“I continue to believe that the survey of the members of our military, mandated by the Department of Defense in February, should be completed and assessed before the Congress moves forward on any legislative changes to the Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell policy. I remain concerned that many members of the military would view as disrespectful a move to pre-empt the process,” Webb said in a statement in September.

  • jmet42

    I served under Rear Admiral Groothousen on the USS Truman. I have the utmost respect for him and he was the best Captain that I ever had while onboard the Truman. However, if he thinks that only 1% of his crew were homosexual, then that shows how “disconnected” he was with the reality of his ship. I knew MANY gay and lesbian sailors on the Truman, and he is right in saying that there were never any witch hunts. However, those men and women deserve the same rights as straight service members. What Rear Admiral Groothousen fails to realize is that many of his crew were in “fake” marriages so that they could get the same housing allowance pay as their heterosexual shipmates, as well as appear less “homosexual.” Gay and lesbian service members also had to leave their partners and families when they left for deployments; but those families weren’t authorized to wave goodbye to their loved one at Pier 13. In my opinion everyone needs to reevaluate the issue of DADT and view it as a simply equal rights issue. I served openly under Groothousen’s leadership and I RARELY encountered a problem with my shipmates knowing that I was gay. However, the idea of continuing to live a lie was too much for me to continue to serve under the idea of “Honor, Courage, and Commitment.”

  • tombt

    If homosexuality is officially condoned by the military it will forever transform the chaplaincy corps as the military will then dictate what is appropriate theology for the services. Chaplains will also be restrained in how they counsel gay soldiers and sermon content will fall to political correctness. In other words, the state will control religious expression. The result will be an exodus of theological conservatives from the military depriving like-minded troops of the spiritual support and guidance they deserve. Leave DADT in place!

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  • georgiapeach

    I think they should go back to worrying about the BCS Championship.

  • PolyIndependent

    DADT is a civilian issue. Civilians are bored and need something to do.

    • recovered dem

      A civilian issue?! Are you nuts!! Congress should keep its political noses out of the issue entirely!! This decision should be left up to those who serve!!!

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