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Focus on the Family’s Reaction to Gen. Shalikashvili

Jim Burroway

January 5th, 2007

Army Gen. John Shalikashvili, who retired as Charmian of the Joint Chiefs in 1997, says he supported the “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy which bans gays serving in the military when it was enacted in 1993. Now he says it’s time to rethink that policy:

Last year I held a number of meetings 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. These conversations showed me just how much the military has changed, and that gays and lesbians can be accepted by their peers…

I now believe that if gay men and lesbians served openly in the United States military, they would not undermine the efficacy of the armed forces. Our military has been stretched thin by our deployments in the Middle East, and we must welcome the service of any American who is willing and able to do the job.

Gen. Shalikashvili cited the same Zogby poll we reported on earlier, which shows that only 37% opposed gays and lesbians serving in the military, and of those who said they were certain that a member of their unit was gay or lesbian, 64% didn’t believe it hurt their unit’s morale.

How did Focus on the Family react to Gen. Shalikashvili’s op-ed?

Military analyst and retired Army Lt. Col. Bob Maginnis said the general’s flip-flop appears to be motivated, at least in part, by lobbying from homosexual activists who may be trying to take advantage of Shalikashvili as he recovers from a stroke.

“I just believe he’s being used by those that want to use this as a political mechanism to pry open the military and to use it for their own social experimentation,” Maginnis said.

Gen. Shalikashvili’s stand doesn’t strike me as one taken by a wobbly, feeble-minded invalid. It’s a brave stand, a principled one driven by personal conversations, clear evidence that gays and lesbians won’t hurt morale, and concern over a military stretched thin in two wars. In contrast, Focus on the Family’s reaction didn’t come from any of those things, so they went with the only thing left: conspiracy theories and unwarranted attacks on Gen. Shalikashvili’s intelligence and fortitude. Which of these do you think are the hallmarks of the better argument?

See also:

American Family Association Picks Up The “Ailing General” Theme

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