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

Marine Commandant James Amos Suggests 'Distracted' Troops Could Lose Legs in Combat if 'DADT' is Repealed

Marine Commandant General James Amos is speaking out again against "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" repeal, telling reporters in his Pentagon dining room that after reading and re-reading the Pentagon report he arrived at the conclusion that repeal of the measure would subject service members to dangers like losing legs in battle, because their combat-readiness would be "distracted" by gays serving beside them.

The Stars and Stripes reports: Amos

Ultimately, the voices of forward-fighting combat Marines who worried about unit cohesion in the Pentagon’s survey swayed Marine Corps Commandant Gen. James Amos’ attention more than any other data point, leading him to recommend that Congress not repeal the law banning openly gay Americans from military service.

“Mistakes and inattention or distractions cost Marines lives,” he said. “That’s the currency of this fight.

“I take that very, very seriously,” he added. “I don’t want to lose any Marines to the distraction. I don’t want to have any Marines that I’m visiting at Bethesda [National Naval Medical Center, in Maryland] with no legs be the result of any type of distraction.”


On Tuesday, the commandant spoke at length about how he came to his decision in an intimate, hourlong session with a small group of reporters in his Pentagon dining room.

“This was not a flippant, rush-right-in preparation,” he said. “This was a very, very deep, thoughtful — I read the report, the survey over and over again.”

When pressed to explain exactly what a breakdown of “unit cohesion” could look like and why it would endanger Marines in combat, or the larger war effort, Amos said he was unsure but that the significant concern of breakdown was good enough for him.

Here's the audio.

Amos was the service chief most vocal about opposing repeal in hearings last week before the Senate Armed Services Committee. His gathering today appears to be a last-ditch effort to thwart repeal as it appears headed for a vote in Congress.

Shalikashvili Retired General John Shalikashvili told Politico that Amos' position is "“grounded in a selective reading of the evidence.” 

Said Shalikashvili: "General Amos has acknowledged that he is the only Service Chief who has not spoken to colleagues in foreign militaries about their experiences with gay and lesbian service members. Based on conversations with our overseas allies and openly gay U.S. Marines, as well my reading of the extensive research on the topic, I can say definitively that along with Admiral Mullen, I believe that repealing 'don't ask, don't tell' will improve the military rather than posing additional risk to the troops."

Servicemembers Legal Defense Network executive director Aubrey Sarvis strongly rebuked Amos' statements, calling on the White House and Pentagon leaders to bring him into line:

“General Amos needs to fall in line and salute or resign now. He implied that repeal will lead to Marines losing their legs in combat. Those fear tactics are not in the interest of any service member. The General’s goal is to kill repeal no matter the consequences, perhaps at the dereliction of his other duties. He had his say before the Senate and House. General Amos needs to stop lobbying against his Commander-in-Chief, the Secretary of Defense, and the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs. If he cannot do that, the President should ask for his resignation."

Servicemembers United also released a statement condemning Amos:

"General Amos's comments about the inevitable repeal of 'Don't Ask, Don't Tell' are getting worse and worse. His commentary is moving from the realm of reasonable disagreement in the provision of professional military advice to hysteria-inducing absurdity on this topic that reflects very poorly on DOD and on the administration."

Gibbs White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs refused to condemn Amos' remarks in today's press briefing:

"I think the President as Commander in Chief has a strong viewpoint. I think backed up by the survey conducted by the Pentagon as to the attitude of the men and women in our military that this can be done in a way that strengthens our national security, preserves the best fighting force in the world, and most importantly, does away with a policy that he doesn’t think is just...I think their views are very well known, just as the Commander in Chief’s views are very well known. I think if you look at the Commander in Chief, the head of the Pentagon, and the head of the Joint Chiefs, you’ll find unanimity in the belief that it’s time to do away with this policy and that’s exactly what the President is working to do."


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  1. How ****CRAZY**** is this four-starred queen? You don't need to be a psychoanalyst to catch the castration anxiety exploding out of Miss Amos' psyche. In fairness, he really ought to consider the pros as well as cons of serving with homosexual predators: constant anxiety about forced gang-rape really keeps you on your toes! Talk about combat-ready!

    Posted by: coolbearinmd | Dec 14, 2010 3:14:56 PM

  2. Marines like Amos are scared shitless at the loss of a powerful poison arrow in their quiver of intimidation, especially during basic training: "HEY, FAGGOT!" "WHAT ARE YOU? A FAGGOT?" "I WANT YOU MEN NUTZ TO BUTTZ!"

    Etc., etc., etc.

    Posted by: Laurence Ballard | Dec 14, 2010 3:24:24 PM

  3. He isn't fit to be commanding Marines.

    Posted by: homer | Dec 14, 2010 3:24:46 PM

  4. 'Marines like Amos are scared shitless at the loss of a powerful poison arrow in their quiver of intimidation, especially during basic training: "HEY, FAGGOT!" "WHAT ARE YOU? A FAGGOT?" "I WANT YOU MEN NUTZ TO BUTTZ!"'

    No, Laurence, he's worried that if lesbian and gay Marines are able to come out, the world will find out what a bunch of homos the Marines really are. Not only is service in the military far more common among my gay friends than my straight friends, but the Marines is also the service my gay friends are most likely to have been in.

    What I would love to see for Gen. Amos is for LGBT "service" members - i.e., members of the service industry - refuse to serve him. No service in restaurants, coffee shops, depatment stores, etc. After all, people in these businesses may be injured if they are "distracted" by the presence of a homophobe.

    Posted by: CPT_Doom | Dec 14, 2010 3:32:19 PM

  5. Surely, he must have statistics and data from other countries, that allow gay men and women in the military, which would back up his assertions. Right?

    I mean come on to make a statement like that, the proof has got to be readily available. Right?

    I've done a Google search on "soldiers who have lost their legs because of the gays" and haven't been able to find anything.

    Please, Commandant Amos cite your sources.

    Posted by: Taylor | Dec 14, 2010 3:37:23 PM

  6. Apparently the Commandant thinks that sex is the only thing on a marines mind even during times of combat....My question is is that the only thing on HIS mind during combat?

    Posted by: gb | Dec 14, 2010 3:38:34 PM

  7. The members of the Marine Corps should be furious. Their commandant has little faith in them; it appears he thinks they aren't professional enough to be able to go on with a change in personnel policy.

    Posted by: JimW | Dec 14, 2010 3:38:45 PM

  8. Hey guys, the general has a point. I spotted a gorgeous guy the other day and nearly slammed into a telephone pole. Talk about driven to distraction...

    Posted by: lewis | Dec 14, 2010 3:45:00 PM

  9. They may lose legs? Not arms? Not be killed? But lose legs? That's what he said? Seriously? What, they're going to be looking down at their little penises when there's another soldier next to them that is gay, that's what this idiot is saying?

    How can you parody something so utterly ridiculous? I want to make a joke but how can you, it's so ludicrious.

    This guy needs to pack his back and retire in the woods of Georgia. This statement is so embarrassing and stupid that it makes our military look like it's run by dump ass woosies who are scared of the big bad gay (that is going to what??? What General, what is someone going to do, try to peel another Marine out of his Kevlar and have his way with him? Seriously?! What would be so distracting? Why am I even're dealing with an ridiculous, VERY STRANGE man.)

    Barry Goldwater said that no one ever went to war to get a date. He was right. No one is joining the Marines -- DADT or no DADT why would anyone want to when this is your leadership?!?!!? -- to pick up on other Marines. It's just f*cking stupid.

    Posted by: BartB | Dec 14, 2010 3:45:48 PM

  10. @COOLBEARINMD: You can't stay on your toes if your legs get blown off. Now, as far as staying on your knees, well, CPT_DOOM has already filled us in on that topic. Hehe.

    Posted by: AnonInSoCal | Dec 14, 2010 3:49:53 PM

  11. But , darling, those gays are there at the moment, they just haven't "told".

    For fucks sake , grow up, General.

    Posted by: JackFknTwist | Dec 14, 2010 3:51:42 PM

  12. It's time to fire him.

    This guy just shows POOR judgment for making comments so dumb.

    Posted by: Joe | Dec 14, 2010 3:54:35 PM

  13. Maybe upon hearing about these comments, the President will take action.

    Like hiding under his desk.

    Posted by: bobbyjoe | Dec 14, 2010 3:55:37 PM

  14. I once dated a man who had been in the Navy's officer training program. According to him, during the first week of training the candidates performed physically demanding tasks (e.g., jogging for miles and miles with weighted packs on their backs) and were not permitted to shower. After seven smelly-ass days together, the entire company of 60 men was given 15 minutes to get clean. As per orders, the way they accomplished this was as follows: There were three shower heads. One man was stationed at each shower head, and the remaining 57 men lined up. In assembly line fashion, each man would go to the first shower head, where the man stationed there would soap up his upper body; then to the second shower head, where the man stationed there would soap up his lower body (including dick, balls, and ass); and finally to the third shower head to be rinsed off.

    If true, this account sheds some light on the opposition of older commandants to DADT repeal. It's one thing for 57 guys to have their balls soapily fondled by another guy if everyone's pretending that none of them are sexually attracted to each other, but old warhorses like Amos fear that if the fondler or any of the fondlees are openly gay, the "straight" guys will short-circuit.

    It seems that so many of the military's "male bonding" activities are blatantly homoerotic, providing a safe way for troops and officers alike to indulge their same-sex desires in a limited but socially acceptable fashion. For people like Amos, DADT repeal threatens the massive, convoluted framework they've constructed to contain their natural impulses.

    Posted by: JOE 2 | Dec 14, 2010 3:59:15 PM

  15. Nice to see he has proper reverence for the policy decisions of the Commander in Chief and his Secretary.

    Posted by: Tranquilo | Dec 14, 2010 4:03:44 PM

  16. Sounds like it's time for this lunatic to retire. If he's commanding anything, get rid of him. He's insane.

    Posted by: Craig | Dec 14, 2010 4:07:36 PM

  17. You've gotta be pullin my leg.

    Posted by: sandman | Dec 14, 2010 4:19:20 PM

  18. I don't know why the Marines are afraid of a few gays. In my experience, the Marines, out of the four services, are more easily a six pack away (if not less) that the others.

    (personal research, of course) :-)

    Posted by: jaymax | Dec 14, 2010 4:21:05 PM

  19. Comparing DADT to visiting legless Marines at Bethesda is beyond disgusting. Amos should be replaced, immediately.

    Posted by: Fred | Dec 14, 2010 4:30:14 PM

  20. The PRESIDENT should simply DO IT. Calmly, with no fanfare, do the right thing. He appears to rule by consensus, like a local citizens review board. He's President of the U.S. He's the chief executive, and the Commander-in-Chief of the armed forces. Guarantee you most armed forces members would respect him and would have respected him more if he taken firm action a long time ago instead of dragging it out.

    Posted by: ratbastard | Dec 14, 2010 4:30:47 PM

  21. The contrast of a President with guts such as Truman and Obama just keep growing.

    Not only did Truman ignore much GREATER racism in the military, Congress, and society than the level of homophobia today, and order the forces racially integrated, but when the most popular General in the country, Douglas MacArthur, head of allied forces in Korea, publicly disagreed with Truman over his "limited-war strategy," Truman FIRED HIM IN THE MIDDLE OF THE WAR!

    Obama has not only refused to use his unequivocal legal powers under federal law 10 USC 12305 to freeze discharges in the name of national security—thus rendering DADT moot—but he's let two Marine Commandants in a row get away with publicly saying HE's hurting the Corps, and, thus, national security, by at least verbally supporting ending the ban.

    Can someone please write Santa and ask him to leave some political Viagra under the White House Christmas tree?

    Posted by: | Dec 14, 2010 4:38:47 PM

  22. "I was distracted by my buddy's killer abs and my leg blew right off!"

    Posted by: David Ehrenstein | Dec 14, 2010 4:45:46 PM

  23. For anyone who doesn't know here is an eye opener

    Spread the word that he is a born again hate justifier.

    Posted by: Timothyjames24 | Dec 14, 2010 4:46:46 PM


    I'm not military...but I have to believe that if ANY man or woman has what it takes physically and mentally to make it as a marine...they can't be so easily "distracted".

    Posted by: mcNnyc | Dec 14, 2010 4:47:52 PM

  25. I don't know. If I were in combat as a Marine, I think the last thing I'd be worried about is what's happening in the pants of the Marine next to me.

    Of course, If I were in active combat, I'd probably crap my pants and pass out, rendering the entire issue moot.

    Posted by: The Milkman | Dec 14, 2010 4:58:10 PM

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