Don't Ask, Don't Tell | James Amos | Military

New U.S. Marine Commandant: Keep 'Don't Ask, Don't Tell,' Robert Gates Urges Immediate Repeal

General James Amos, who two weeks ago succeeded James Conway as Commandant of the Marines, has a very similar perspective on "don't ask, don't tell" to that of his predecessor. Amos is publicly stating that he does not want the policy repealed due to a "possible loss of unit cohesion and combat readiness." He has made similar statements about DADT in the past.

Amos The LA Times reports:

"There's risk involved," Amos said. "I'm trying to determine how to measure that risk. This is not a social thing. This is combat effectiveness."

In August, during his last visit with troops in Afghanistan, Conway repeatedly asked gatherings of enlisted Marines throughout Helmand province whether they thought unit cohesion would be harmed if openly gay people could serve. Almost unanimously, the young Marines indicated they felt it would.

Combat, Amos said, is an "intimate" experience without parallel in civilian life. "We're talking about our young men — laying out, sleeping alongside of one another and sharing death, fear and loss of brothers," he said.

Amos, 63, said he was reviewing the results of a poll of military members and their families about the potential effects of lifting the "don't ask, don't tell" policy. He declined to characterize the findings. Amos said that, unlike other services, the Marine Corps requires many of its members to share rooms while in garrison. That complicates the issue, he said.

Meanwhile, reacting to last week's election results, Secretary of Defense Robert Gates is not optimistic about the possibility of overturning DADT.

According to the AP, "Gates said Congress should act quickly, before new members take their seats, to repeal the military's ban on gays serving openly in the military." He added: "I would like to see the repeal of "don't ask, don't tell" but I'm not sure what the prospects for that are."

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  1. This man is a lowlife ...
    he parades himself publicly in front of a group of soldiers in Afghanistan and asks a question like:

    Would adding gay men to your unit affect unit morale and cohesion?

    I'll bet the majority of those soldiers felt it wouldn't but felt peer-pressure (and "General" pressure) to say that they did. What are they going to say in a group setting?

    Typical military.

    Posted by: Dan Cobb | Nov 7, 2010 10:52:38 AM

  2. Robert Gates said repealing DADT could have "enormous consequences," so we must go slowly. Slowly, slowly. Wait for the survey! Wait for the survey!

    The survey has arrived! Oops. Too late.

    Gosh, who could ever have predicted this was exactly what would happen?

    Posted by: bobbyjoe | Nov 7, 2010 10:58:11 AM

  3. I can't believe this is still being discussed. Ridiculous. Outrageous.

    I have no interest in serving in their idiotic wars-about-nothing, but for God's sake, I should obviously have the option the same as any other American.

    They're talking about us like we're aliens with acid for blood.

    Posted by: Matt | Nov 7, 2010 11:02:36 AM

  4. Did that fucking moron Obama appoint him? I voted for Obama but now to me he'll never be anything but a fucking moron.

    Posted by: Jersey | Nov 7, 2010 11:04:02 AM

  5. The LGBT community has wasted countless hours and dollars on this. DADT is here to stay.

    And why in hell should we care? Why in hell should we fight in wars for oil when we don't even have basic job protection? Why should we fight for a country that in every way shape or form contiues to regard us as second-class AT BEST?

    When I was called up for the draft (which you children don't have to deal with anymore) I was FUCKING PROUD to be able to check "Yes" in naswer to the query "Do you have homosexual tendencies?"

    "Tendencies? Darling in Kindergarden I had tendencies. Now I'm fully grown and in Full Flame tHAnkyoueverymuch." And so I was denied the exquisite pleasure of going to Vietnam, killing all manner of people who didn't want us there and/or bEIng killed by them.


    Posted by: David Ehrenstein | Nov 7, 2010 11:07:43 AM

  6. There's a risk that I have yet to determine, but there is a risk? Geesh, no wonder we have been losing wars for the past 40 years!

    Posted by: Bobo | Nov 7, 2010 11:14:04 AM

  7. It's Commandant not Commandment.

    Posted by: mark | Nov 7, 2010 11:16:34 AM

  8. There's just no way to sugarcoat this bungled appointment.

    Did they bother to vet him at all beforehand?

    Even if this were about war strategy and not DADT, the fact remains that President Obama picked someone to lead the Marines who contradicts his Commander-in-Chief in public and undermines presidential authority. That says volumes about the President's leadership abilities (or lack thereof).

    Posted by: John | Nov 7, 2010 12:06:42 PM

  9. Guess that whole “kick the can down the road” approach to civil rights worked really well for Obama...

    Posted by: ichabod | Nov 7, 2010 12:07:12 PM

  10. Who cares, make love not war!

    Posted by: MickkW | Nov 7, 2010 12:14:20 PM

  11. The thing I find most interesting about all of the "homophobia" that is touted by the military out there is that it seems to based on the premise that a died in the wool heterosexual couldn't resist initiating sexual congress with a homosexual and that then they would all be engaging in orgies rather than waging war against people we don't agree with. (Sorry, couldn't resist inserting that in there.) Heterosexual soldiers of both genders (presumably "straight" have been serving openly in the armed services for some decades now and there doesn't seem to be a lack of unit "cohesion". It also seems to indicate that most men seem to believe that every other living thing on the planet is trying to score on their sexuality. That serving in a military where there are other people look at them in a sexual way would liken them to the women that they serve with every day and cannot control their unbridled lust. Wait...

    Posted by: Forrestabbey2 | Nov 7, 2010 12:29:21 PM

  12. If gays aren't welcome, then they should find a new country to defend. Apparently only the homophobes get free run of the country. Fuck them.

    Posted by: X | Nov 7, 2010 1:11:15 PM

  13. And if this is how they handle friggin' GAYS, no wonder the wars have been going how they are. UGH. Talk about lack of leadership! Where are the balls of this country and this military? The brains and the will?! I thought America fought for good! The home of the brave apparently likes to encourage the brave to leave.

    Posted by: X | Nov 7, 2010 1:13:01 PM

  14. @ David Ehrenstein:

    Like you, I have never wanted to serve in the military; in fact, I would rather pick out my own liver with a shrimp fork than enlist. I, however, am fortunate in that my parents could afford to send me to an Ivy League school, where I received a good education. Many people are not so fortunate and, for them, enlisting in the military is literally their only potential ticket out of poverty and their only hope for obtaining a college or graduate degree.

    That's one reason why we should care.

    Posted by: JOE 2 | Nov 7, 2010 1:19:27 PM

  15. Our fierce advocate of a President couldn't lead himself out of a wet paper bag! This failure is his and his alone. Until gays stop being the "abused wife" of the Democratic Party this is our lot in life.
    Faith in Democrats without action on their part is a wasted vote. The only real power we have is our wallet and our vote. Withhold both until Democrats stop taking us for granted.

    Posted by: major707 | Nov 7, 2010 1:30:51 PM

  16. It would make perfect sense to allow gay men and women to server in the various branches in a rolling fashion, starting with the Coast Guard, Navy, Army, Air Force and finally the Marines. If done over four years there shouldn't be too much fuss. I doubt anyone is too worked up about gays in the Coast Guard.

    Posted by: anon | Nov 7, 2010 1:39:20 PM

  17. What are they leading, soldiers or politicians? A solider does what he or she is told. If the commanding officers command respect for everyone, the soldiers MUST comply. What's the problem? Oh, I know, it's the commanding officers with the bigoted, homophobic views who can't accept equality in the armed forces, NOT the soldiers.

    Posted by: Bobby | Nov 7, 2010 1:42:49 PM

  18. "We're talking about our young men — laying out, sleeping alongside of one another and sharing death, fear and loss of brothers,"

    He's already forgetting the almost 7% women marines.
    When women are far more likely to be thrown out under DADT.
    Idiot on so many levels.

    Posted by: Kevinvt | Nov 7, 2010 1:46:23 PM

  19. The LA Times is reporting Conway's claim that most troops would have a problem with gay men and lesbians serving openly in the military as fact, when it's just Conway's claim and is contrary to a lot of other reports on troops' attitudes. We're in an era of such sloppy journalism where the press simply doesn't call the government on their bullshit anymore. We need journalists to behave as such and call our government out on their lies. In a case like this at least say "Conway said the troops thought unit cohesion would be harmed."

    Of course this is all really about the gay marriage issue. Once we have openly gay men and women risking their lives for this country, it will be that much harder to deny them marriage rights when they come back home.

    Despite all the bad news about DADT, I am encouraged by the next generation which will not have a problem with gays in the military or gay marriage. This is the last wheezing gasp of unmitigated bigotry.

    Posted by: Steve | Nov 7, 2010 1:48:19 PM

  20. This entire approach to ending DADT has been idiotic, lame, and, for the GLBT community, just plain embarassing. I fear it's too late to make the change for many, many years. Furthermore, why is this homophobic Marine permitted to publicly countermand the direction of the President/Commander-in-Chief and the Secretary of Defense? It's bullshit. Can the SOB before he does any more damage to civilian control of the military.

    Posted by: Jaybird89101 | Nov 7, 2010 2:16:50 PM

  21. If "enlisting in the military is literally their only potential ticket out of poverty and their only hope for obtaining a college or graduate degree" then we are not a free people, we are slaves.

    And I don't believe that for a minute.

    "Obtaining a college or graduate degree" is the bait on the end of the hook. After you're on said hook -- well that's QUITE a different story.

    Posted by: David Ehrenstein | Nov 7, 2010 2:23:56 PM

  22. Unless someone can think of a way to make conservative democrats and the republicans want to repeal this, it ain't gonna happen. This was never a priority for the "fierce advocate" and even if it was he now lacks the political capital to pull it off.

    I won't even go into what a lousy job the 'advocacy" groups did on this. The results speak for themselves.

    Posted by: justiceontherocks | Nov 7, 2010 2:48:21 PM

  23. As it is, I imagine the general is suggesting that every night when men are "laying out, sleeping alongside of one another and sharing death, fear and loss of brothers," they must now do so in a climate of distrust since the person next to them may be living a life in the shadows and lie about who they are. DADT creates a unit that contains members who are forced to lie to their brother's in arms in order to serve their country. Is this best for unit cohesion? Next he will critize these soliders for being liars for hiding their orientation.

    Posted by: terry | Nov 7, 2010 2:54:27 PM

  24. Fucking unbelievable.

    If Obama were serious about getting rid of DADT, he would never have allowed this man to become commandant.

    The fact that this douchebag feels free to publicly criticize the President's stand, is just more proof that we GLBT didn't get the man we thought we had voted for.

    Come 2012 there will be some changes comin' in who I support for President. And, the name won't be Obama.

    Posted by: Continuum | Nov 7, 2010 3:00:36 PM

  25. It's clear Amos can't even conceive of the idea that some of his "brothers" are gay.

    Posted by: BobN | Nov 7, 2010 3:24:50 PM

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