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A Letter to Rep. Ike Skelton from an Active Duty Soldier in Iraq

You may recall that earlier this week Rep. Ike Skelton expressed his opposition to repealing "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" because, he said, it would harm families who would then be forced to discuss homosexuality with their children.

Asked Skelton: "What do mommies and daddies say to their 7-year-old child?"

Ike_skelton I reported this morning that Skelton was to be the target of a protest today for those remarks. He was, and I should have a report on that later. As part of that protest, by GetEQUAL and Missouri LGBT activist groups, a letter was read to Rep. Skelton from a gay, Missouri soldier who is currently on active duty In Baghdad and facing discharge under the 'Don't Ask, Don't Tell' law. The letter calls for the Armed Services Chairman to stop his efforts trying to thwart any attempt at progress toward the repeal of 'Don't Ask, Don't Tell'.

Here's the letter:

Representative Ike Skelton
US House of Representatives
2206 Rayburn House Office Building
Washington, DC 20515-2504

Dear Representative Skelton,

It was in Ray County, Missouri that I first decided that I would join the Army. I was sitting on the pond dock at my fathers’ home, and came to the realization that my life was not heading anywhere that I wanted it to. I had no way to pay for college, and it seemed I would be stuck in that town not amounting to much. I went and spoke with a recruiter in Liberty, Missouri and eleven days later I was sitting at Fort Sill, Oklahoma.

Nearly four years later, I do not regret that decision. I am now sitting in Baghdad preparing to redeploy back to the United States for a second, and final time. I can honestly say I am proud of the work we have done here. I look at the Iraqis that I personally helped train as a member of the Military Transition Team and can rest assured that we are leaving the area in capable hands. Through serving the country in the United States Army I have become more patriotic than I knew possible.

However, my pride in the Army and what we stand for has been yanked away. One of the first lessons that I learned after joining the Army was the importance of Integrity. I have served our great country honorably in two deployments. I have earned eight awards and have a clean record. I was one of the first responders to Muqdadiyah in 2007 when then President Bush ordered the surge, where my unit spent fifteen months in various provinces. I returned again nine months ago to finish what we started and am proud to be a member of the last combat brigade operating in theatre.

Although my record is untarnished, there is one thing separating myself and the rest of ‘America’s hero’s.’ Though I have less than a year left before my contract has been served, I was informed that the Army is considering discharging me under the “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” law, and this hurts extensively. My command realizes and respects the efforts and contributions to my unit and the fact that we are low-manned. It seems that they are holding out as long as they can on my discharge process, waiting for “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” to be repealed.

I can understand if your views are against gay and lesbians in general, but sir you must realize your unique role in the United States. Were it not for uncomfortable truths there would be no need for you at all. As a representative of the State of Missouri and a leader in Congress’ role pertaining to the Military, it is imperative that you not succumb to weak leadership. However, I find it disturbingly necessary to remind you today of your job and that is to open national discussions on issues to find the best resolution. That is your job, and were it not, there would be no need for Congress.

Congressman Skelton, I demand that you apologize for your remarks. You need to recognize the disrespect that you issued to the gay and lesbian soldiers, like myself, who are currently serving regardless if we are recognized or not. I demand that you look at this from my perspective. I have spent the majority of my adult life fighting for a war in which you sent me to. I am fighting for your safety and freedom, and for every “mommy and daddies” seven year olds’ freedom and safety. I come in from a long day out in the streets of Baghdad and see on television my representative, my voice, condemning the act of acknowledging my existence.

Congressman regardless of your personal views on the issue, we are serving now. To be disrespectful to us is not only intolerant but ignorant. We deserve at the bare minimum an honest assessment and a fair judgment on the matter. In order for this to happen you, as the Chairman of the House Armed Services Committee, must allow these discussions to take place. I will continue fighting for your freedom congressman, will you cease blocking mine?

United States Army (Specialist E4)
Baghdad, Iraq

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Comments

  1. Right on!!! I just hope Ike actually read it. MORE-SO I hope some of its truth seeped in.

    Posted by: Joseph | Jun 17, 2010 7:16:05 PM


  2. A very well written letter!

    Posted by: jakeinlove | Jun 17, 2010 7:45:17 PM


  3. So Skelton ... have you ever mentioned the Devil with your kids? You have? So they know who he is? They do?

    So then I guess what you're saying is that gays are worse than what the Bible refers to as the ultimate evil.

    That's your problem right there.

    Posted by: joe c | Jun 17, 2010 7:45:41 PM


  4. This soldier is my hero!

    Posted by: Harry | Jun 17, 2010 7:56:31 PM


  5. The fat glutton will not reply.

    Guaranteed.

    Posted by: Dale | Jun 17, 2010 7:58:50 PM


  6. Well Done United States Army (Specialist E4)!
    I am honored by your service and your integrity. Your words make me proud of my country and being an American. I cannot say the same for Rep. Skelton.

    Posted by: mIKEM | Jun 17, 2010 8:16:02 PM


  7. I'm a huge fan of GetEqual, but this action puts the emphasis on the wrong sy-lab-le. The problem is that it perpetuates the ILLUSION that Gates is a "white hat" because Skeletor is a "black hat" when evidence suggests one could barely slide a dime between their attitudes.

    "But, Michael," some might say, "Gates has said he thinks DADT is bad and that the 'study' is to find out 'how' not 'whether' to end discharges."

    Well, yes, that's what he's SAID...but if the first year and a half of Our Lord Obama has taught us anything it should be that WORDS alone mean NOTHING.

    What we know:

    1. Heinous as he is, Skeletor has lost Round 1. The House has voted, by a margin of 229 to 186, to support the initial version of a "maybe repeal" amendment attached to DEFAUTH. Therefore, Skeletor is now simply a symbolic target...and, therefore, but a distraction. He probably wouldn't change if you held a gun to his doddering head, but if there was a time for this it was weeks ago not now after his own chamber has passed him by. Yes, he retains some influence, through his role in the committee of members of both the House and Senate to write the final DEFAUTH bill, but, given each house only has one vote in committee, the outcome will turn more on whom else House Speaker Pelosi appoints.

    2. Gates has said, "I fully support the president's decision ["to begin the preparations necessary for a repeal of the current law and policy"]

    3. He created a Pentagon "working group" to "study" "repeal" and whose finished report is supposed to be released no later than Dec. 1.

    4. Gates fought fang and nail to prevent Congress from voting on ANY legislation relative to "repeal" before his "study" ended EVEN AFTER "implementation" of "repeal would clearly have not kicked in until after the "study" and the White House backed him up.

    As a part of that campaign, he agreed to Skeletor's request for a letter saying that. It closed with:

    “I STRONGLY OPPOSE ANY legislation that seeks to CHANGE this policy prior to the completion of this vital assessment process. Further, I hope Congress will not do so, as it would send a very DAMAGING message to our men and women in uniform that in essence their views, CONCERNS, and perspectives do not matter on an issue with such A DIRECT IMPACT AND CONSEQUENCE for them AND THEIR FAMILIES.”

    5. When Congress insisted on moving forward, suddenly a series of long overdue conversations happened between the White House, Congressional "repeal" advocates, and Gay, Inc. But what is being marketed as progress is nothing more than the POSSIBLILITY of progress after the White House demanded all gay rights guarantees be stripped from the bill.

    6. As a result, there is no guarantee:

    a. discharges will ever stop
    b. when they will stop if they do
    c. discrimination against gays in some fashion, e.g., types of assignments, will be forbidden.

    7. As a result, Gates could stop "repeal" dead cold by claiming it would damage any one of the following:

    a. military readiness
    b. military effectiveness
    c. unit cohesion
    d. recruiting
    e. retention

    8. As a result, nothing prevents Gates agreeing to "repeal" but replacing it with his own version of a kind of "DADT Lite," in which open service is only allowed for some in some situations.

    What we don't know: will it all come down, months from now, to Skeletor simply having been more honest than Gates?

    GetEqual could better invest their energies in making certain the answer is, "No."

    Posted by: Michael @ LeonardMatlovich.com | Jun 17, 2010 8:16:28 PM


  8. Hmmm, "What DO mommies and daddies say to their 7-year-old child?" Our kid is in public school in fourth grade. All of the kids in his class know that he has two daddies. I volunteer occasionally at school and the kids ask me "where is his other daddy?" They seem to be completely nonchalant about it. Whatever Mommy and Daddy are saying to our son's classmates, the kids are ok with it. Rep Skelton's apprehensions don't play out in the real world. Perhaps Rep Skelton should meet gay people that his kids know, and he'll can tell his kids what we tell our son and his friends: There are all kinds of families - some kids have a Mommy and Daddy, some have just a Mommy, some have just a Daddy, some live with their grandparents, and some have two Daddies or two Mommies. Our son has friends from all of these types of families.

    Posted by: Jeff | Jun 17, 2010 8:23:25 PM


  9. Hmm. The text of the letter as available from GetEQUAL's website differs from that shown here — it looks like it's been heavily edited. The version there is shorter and more polished, but at the expense (IMO) of the soldier's real voice.

    Posted by: SLK in SF | Jun 17, 2010 9:40:23 PM


  10. I STILL reject the notion that the war in Iraq was to safeguard our "safety and freedom". Of course, I fully support (and campaign for) our right to serve openly and honestly in the service. However, let's get this straight. The war in Iraq was one of personal retribution against Saddam Hussein. Nothing more.

    Posted by: Rodney | Jun 17, 2010 9:44:50 PM


  11. That is strange for a Democrat to be so outspoken against gays (we know that 99% of the Republican's are anti-gay). Considering he is 78 years old, I truly doubt that he will change his opinion. As our leaders in Congress get older and older, it's a wonder any change comes about. They get set in their ways, and won't budge. Mr. Skelton probably refers to television as that new invention.

    Posted by: CB | Jun 17, 2010 10:05:09 PM


  12. fake.

    Posted by: tc in nyc | Jun 17, 2010 10:15:27 PM


  13. Ike Skelton is a cowardly bigot. Fake? Prove it, tc.

    Seriously, different circumstances....and ike skelton would be a perfect bum figher...and not in that way, I mean like those depraved videos "bum fights," (produced by degenerate scum) where homeless people battle for sandwiches and swigs of hooch.

    Just picture it...he's perfect looking for it...some soot on his face, and blamo, "THE CHAMP IS HERE!"

    Posted by: TANK | Jun 18, 2010 1:24:21 AM


  14. With this guy as the head of the Armed Services committee, anyone who thinks the repeal of DADT is "just a formality" is out of their minds.

    Even if the Senate passes it, this guy can and will hold things up forever. Shame on Obama and the Democrats for conning us, even more shame on us if we buy into it.

    Posted by: JusticeontheRocks | Jun 18, 2010 9:05:03 AM


  15. It's a parent's job to answer "difficult" questions from their kids in an age-appropriate manner. Always has been, always will be. If you're not up to the task, don't have kids.

    Posted by: David R. | Jun 18, 2010 1:46:47 PM


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