Box Turtle Bulletin

Box Turtle BulletinNews, analysis and fact-checking of anti-gay rhetoric
“Now you must raise your children up in a world where that union of man and box turtle is on the same legal footing as man and wife…”
This article can be found at:
Latest Posts

A very classy step by General Amos

Timothy Kincaid

January 30th, 2011

General James Amos, commandant of the Marine Corps, did not want Congress to repeal Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell. He would have preferred to continue his operations without the distraction of implementing the change or really even considering whether a change was appropriate. He recognized that there would be pockets of resistance to allowing open service of gay Marines and that his job would be made tougher by the repeal.

But Amos did not get his preference; Congress repealed the anti-gay Military policy.

Many may have been tempted to be recalcitrant and obstructionist or, at most, to grudgingly implement the change with tight lips and minimum effort. General Amos has taken another approach.

In the following video, Amos calls on Marines to look out for and respect each other and to value diversity. He makes the implementation of the change a matter of pride, a matter of the values of Marines, a matter of stepping up to do what they are called to do. Because they are Marines.

This is not only a very smart approach, it is a very classy approach. Well done, General Amos.

YouTube Preview Image

Comments

POST COMMENT | COMMENT RSS 2.0

Lucrece
January 30th, 2011 | LINK

The background music in the video is so cheesy… I thought that sentimentalism was something discouraged in an elite killing force.

Throbert McGee
January 30th, 2011 | LINK

I thought that sentimentalism was something discouraged in an elite killing force.

Lucrece, you are astoundingly wrong.

BlackDog
January 30th, 2011 | LINK

Well, I guess you don’t know any Marines, Lucrece. Still, Pride, Respect for their history, Sentimentalism, and Tradition are part of what makes them what they are.

TampaZeke
January 30th, 2011 | LINK

As a Marine I salute this positive and long overdue step forward for the Corps and the other armed services.

It doesn’t change the fact that General Amos was out of line and insubordinate to his Commander in Chief when he VERY publicly challenged and very publicly fought against the directive of President Obama. That was inexcusable and unworthy of a military leader. It was most CERTAINLY inappropriate and dishonorable for a General wearing the eagle, globe and anchor.

Throbert McGee
January 30th, 2011 | LINK

TampaZeke, it’s not totally clear to me how General Amos could’ve challenged Obama’s directive in a less public way than he did, given the high-profile nature of the debate and the fact that both the Legislative and Executive branches were involved.

Stephen
January 30th, 2011 | LINK

Not to be a pedant, Timothy, but you don’t mean ‘begrudgingly’, which means enviously, but ‘grudgingly’, which means reluctantly. Every American writer needs his or her Garner.

Ray
January 30th, 2011 | LINK

I now feel free to say that I think General Amos is *hot*.

Whew! Glad to get that out of my system. He didn’t leave much of an opportunity earlier in the squabble.

Meredith
January 30th, 2011 | LINK

I find it impressive he managed to get through that whole nearly-three-minute video without saying “gay,” “lesbian,” or “bisexual” even once, much less to come out and say that LGB Marines are just like the straight Marines–they’re Marines before anything else. Considering the whole “LGB people will be left out of MEO regulations” thing and how that’s going to make life hell for gay servicemembers even after implementation of repeal, that was kind of a failure on his part.

Still I guess we can’t expect one of the military’s many homophobic old white male leaders, and especially not one who very publicly made his homophobia apparent, to actually want to welcome gay people into the military.

I have a feeling this is almost a saving of face, given the outcry against his public insubordination and in light of his comment that Marines would “step out smartly” to implement repeal. He has to make up for his publicity flub AND live up his PR.

Ben in Oakland
January 30th, 2011 | LINK

What I found very interesting about this video was his statement that unit cohesion, esprit de corps, and morale would be what would get the Corps through the transition.

Wasn’t that what the very argument against making the change was– the alleged (and otherwise thoroughly imaginary) damage to morale and unit cohesion?

Thank you, General Amos, for making obvious what we gay people all knew beforehand– that this was about plain old prejudice, and never about any of the things that people claim it’s about.

Lucrece
January 30th, 2011 | LINK

BlackDog, I know plenty. Several of them callous Rush Limbaugh drones.

What is a “warrior” but someone specialized in killing. Please, as if there’s honor in shooting down someone from miles away or blowing them to pieces.

They’re obviously necessary, but let’s not pretend “values” is what drives the existence of this force.

Throbert McGee
January 30th, 2011 | LINK

What is a “warrior” but someone specialized in killing. Please, as if there’s honor in shooting down someone from miles away or blowing them to pieces.

Lucrece, if you’d read more carefully, BlackDog didn’t even take issue with the “killing machine” part (nor did I), but rather your breezy assertion that sentimentalism is foreign to Marines or other members of the armed forces.

But thanks for making clear that your sole point was to advertise your moral indignation over fact that the military kills people.

justsearching
January 30th, 2011 | LINK

I’m sure General Amos didn’t write most of this short presenation, and I also doubt that he really wanted to read all those things off the teleprompter. Still, I do admire his willingness to put aside his own personal sentiments and put forth his resolve to excel in implementing the repeal.

Lucrece
January 30th, 2011 | LINK

Sure, McGee, what did you not understand about “obviously necessary”? To be indignant over the fact that a military kills is silly.

I was just pointing out that it’s about time people got over the whole theater of what a military is and the video simply cut to the point instead of sugarcoating with tacky soundtracks and vague, florid language.

They’ve seen corpses torn to pieces– I doubt they’re unable to take “Congress repealed X law; get to f*cking speed on the new policy.”

Throbert McGee
January 30th, 2011 | LINK

Still I guess we can’t expect one of the military’s many homophobic old white male leaders, and especially not one who very publicly made his homophobia apparent, to actually want to welcome gay people into the military.

What was the point of throwing in his “whiteness,” Meredith?

It seems to me that homophobia is likely to be more or less equally prevalent among old military men “of color” as it is among old military men who are “white”; therefore, “white” is of no predictive value here, and including it in your indictment of the military leadership is little more than a habit born of intellectual sluggishness.

Timothy Kincaid
January 31st, 2011 | LINK

Steven,

thanks for catching that. fixed

Aaron
January 31st, 2011 | LINK

I very nearly cried to see that such a major figure was confirming that this was really happening.

TampaZeke
January 31st, 2011 | LINK

Throbert, that exactly the point. He SHOULDN’T have challenged his Commander in Chief in a PUBLIC way AT ALL. He should have expressed his concerns very privately and been properly subordinate publicly. If one of General Amos’ subordinates were to show him the same level of insubordination and disrespect that the General showed the President you can bet he/she would be court-marshaled.

That’s the way it works in the military.

mikenola
January 31st, 2011 | LINK

Meredity,

you said “Considering the whole “LGB people will be left out of MEO regulations” thing and how that’s going to make life hell for gay service members even after implementation of repeal, that was kind of a failure on his part.”

What makes you think that Military Equal Opportunity (MEO) will be denied to gay service members?

The fact of the matter is that DADT generated a class of military member, repeal removes that class.

if you had any clue about Military Life from the inside, instead of just spouting garbage that you think sounds smart, you would know that the Military has a core commitment to EEO for all Service Members.

By law and regulation all military members of the same paygrade are entitled to the exact same opportunities except as specifically banded by law. The remaining discriminatory legal block is full integration of women into combat roles. That block, like dadt, is caused by a social view in Congress that women should not be in direct combat. As a side note the JCS just received a recommendation from their own staffs to ask congress to remove that block.

Once the Repeal is in force it sets up a dynamic for the national stage on LGBT rights that only benefits LGBT people.

the military, under federal regulation and law, MUST treat all service members equally. All rights and responsibilities must be applied equally. LGBT military members who legally wed MUST be given the exact same things as heteros get.

This generates a legal conundrum for the Government and DOMA. Military Benefits transcend state regulations, rules, laws and constitutions. Taxes and tax breaks MUST be applied equally. The same with housing, loans, education, insurance etc.

The power and weight of the Military Legal system will by regulation have to join in fighting for the repeal of DOMA. Assuming that repeal is done by summer, the timing could not be more perfect for SCOTUS to hear the DOMA cases in the pipeline and the newest one out of CA will be a great backstop if the first set are rejected by SCOTUS.

the military has learned the hard way that creating separate benefits, or applying the unequally at the same pay grade, entangles them in lawsuits that they will ALWAYS lose because doing so violates their own regulations.

So Meredith, this garbage about MEO is just clap trap. There will be bumps and problems for the first few years, that does not mean we are left out in the cold

USN ATC/E7(ret) Mikenola

Timothy (TRiG)
January 31st, 2011 | LINK

I have no love for the US military, but I’m sure most of them are extremely sentimental. Soldiers tend to be.

“All the little angels rise up high.”

TRiG.

Transplanted Lawyer
January 31st, 2011 | LINK

I really admire the professional attitude. He made his personal sentiments clear and argued strongly against the law. When he lost that debate, he could have resigned in protest. But instead, he has left no doubt that he has made it his task and mission to implement the law — and it gives me hope and confidence that despite his personal sentiments, he will do so in good faith. It’s worthy of praise.

Meredith
January 31st, 2011 | LINK

I’m not sure how to quote other comments, so forgive the format.

First, Throbert McGee, my wording of “homophobic old white men” was very deliberate. While you said that homophobia is also prevalent among old military men of color (which is very true), I noticed you didn’t call me out and say that women can be homophobic as well. Each of those words implies a specific prejudice. Homophobic is obvious, old is generally connoted with being more conservative, whiteness connotes privilege and sometimes prejudice against people of color (which is relevant considering all the equations of repeal of DADT with the integration of people of color into the military), and being male connotes privilege and sometimes prejudice against women (also relevant with equations of repeal of DADT with integration of women).
I wasn’t saying only white men in the military can be homophobic, but I was saying that some military leaders are not only homophobic but also racist and sexist. I didn’t “misspeak”; you misread me.

As for mikenola, following the DADT repeal process as I have been, I’ve seen the Pentagon’s report on repeal, which specifically said that LGB servicemembers will not be included as a “protected class” under Military Equal Opportunity (MEO) policy. That’s not me being disingenuous, that’s a fact. Not codifying non-discriminatory language into law will make it harder for LGB servicemembers to get official recourse when they experience harassment or discriminatory treatment at any level for their sexual orientation.
This isn’t just my opinion, either; this is the opinion of Anu Bhagwati, a former Marine Captain and the executive director of Service Women’s Action Network (SWAN). Here’s the link to her statement about the MEO policy issue:
http://gay.americablog.com/2011/01/swans-anu-bhagwati-on-dods-civil-rights.html

Throbert McGee
January 31st, 2011 | LINK

I noticed you didn’t call me out and say that women can be homophobic as well.

I also didn’t call you out on the “old” part, though in fact I thought that every adjective in your litany apart from “homophobic” was gratuitous in the context.

When you string together terms like that, it’s apt to sound like a rote formula to people not immersed in your progressive worldview, and who don’t necessarily share your assumptions that being white or being male or being heterosexual brings automatic “privilege.”

And you also sound not totally dissimilar to someone like Pat Robertson ranting against the Usual Suspects like “atheists, feminists, and homosexuals”.

Meredith
February 1st, 2011 | LINK

So in other words, Throbert McGee, you’re one of those people who deny white privilege, male privilege, and other forms of privilege (not to mention the ways in which privileges intersect, such as being white AND being male AND being heterosexual, which grants more privilege than say a gay white male) and thinks anyone who acknowledges privilege is being “too progressive.”

Unlike people like Pat Robertson, I don’t automatically say straight white people (even in the military) are bad or the enemy. But people ARE loathe to recognize, much less try to diminish, their privileges, which is why we can hardly expect straight white male military leaders to all want to welcome, say, lesbians of color in the military. Do you see what I’m saying?

Priya Lynn
February 1st, 2011 | LINK

Meredith, I think its very important to Throbert to not see what you’re saying.

Leave A Comment

All comments reflect the opinions of commenters only. They are not necessarily those of anyone associated with Box Turtle Bulletin. Comments are subject to our Comments Policy.

(Required)
(Required, never shared)

PLEASE NOTE: All comments are subject to our Comments Policy.