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General James Amos, Once a Fierce Opponent to 'DADT' Repeal, Welcomes Gay Couples to the Marine Ball: LISTEN

You may recall that last year Marine Commandant General James Amos expressed strong opposition to repealing "Don't Ask, Don't Tell", even suggesting that Marines could lose limbs in combat if they were forced to serve next to gays.

AmosHe's now welcoming gays and their partners to the Marine Ball, Think Progress LGBT reports.

"I’m fine with it. I’m fine with it. I expect it to happen, I expect it to happen across the Marine Corps. And I mean, that’s part of the repeal of Don’t Ask, Dont’ Tell. I mean, that’s part of it. You can’t go half way. You can’t say we’re going to repeal it and you now can become public, but I’m going to restrict your behavior. We’re not going to do business that way."

Watch, AFTER THE JUMP...

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Marine Commandant Says Issues Due to 'DADT' Repeal Will Be Little More Than a 'Blip' and Troops Won't Quit

Amos

Remember how Marine Commandant James Amos, formerly one of the top proponents of the ban on gays in the military, went kicking and screaming into 'DADT' repeal, warning that troops "distracted" by serving with gay servicemembers could lose limbs in combat?

Amos has really changed his tune:

"It would be naive to think that somewhere down the road there's not going to be issues," Amos told reporters. "I think there probably will be in probably all the services, but I don't think it's going to be of any magnitude that's going to cause much more than a blip. So I'm very optimistic."

Does Amos think the military will lose troops because the ban on gays is lifted?

"I haven't had any indication yet at all, not at all."


Watch: Marine Commandant James Amos Has a Message for Troops Regarding 'DADT' Implementation

Amos_kent

You may recall that last year Marine Commandant James Amos expressed strong opposition to repealing "Don't Ask, Don't Tell", even suggesting that Marines could lose limbs in combat if they were forced to serve next to gays.

Amos has fallen into line.

In a new video with Sergeant Major of the Marine Corps Carlton Kent, Amos urges troops to implement the repeal faithfully while maintaining dignity and respect.

"Above all else we are loyal to the Constitution, our Commander in Chief, Congress, our chain of command and the American people….I want to be clear to all Marines. We will step out smartly to faithfully implement this new law. It’s important that we value the diversity, background, culture and skills of all Marines bring to the service of our nation. As we implement repeal, I want leaders at all leaders to re-emphasize the important of maintaining dignity and respect for one another throughout our force."

Watch, AFTER THE JUMP...

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Amos: Marines Will 'Step Out Smartly' to Implement Repeal of DADT

Mentioned briefly in the NYT article I linked to earlier this morning on implementation of 'DADT' repeal was an excerpt of a statement by Marine Commandant General James Amos.

Amos The Stars and Stripes blog has posted his full statement, sent out on Sunday evening, in which the Commandant, who prior to the Senate vote warned of Marines losing legs in battle over the "distraction" of open gays serving beside them, promises to faithfully carry out repeal.

Amos' statement:

"Fidelity is the essence of the United States Marine Corps. Above all else, we are loyal to the Constitution, our Commander in Chief, Congress, our Chain of Command, and the American people. The House of Representatives and the Senate have voted to repeal Title 10, US Code 654 'Policy Concerning Homosexuality in the United States Armed Forces.' As stated during my testimony before Congress in September and again during hearings before the Senate Armed Services Committee earlier this month, the Marine Corps will step out smartly to faithfully implement this new policy. I, and the Sergeant Major of the Marine Corps, will personally lead this effort, thus ensuring the respect and dignity due all Marines. On this matter, we look forward to further demonstrating to the American people the discipline and loyalty that have been the hallmark of the United States Marine Corps for over 235 years."


Watch: Gay Vet Eric Alva, Who Lost Leg in Iraq, Rips Gen. Amos for 'DADT' Remarks; Maddow Calls Out Log Cabin Republicans

Alva

You may recall Marine Commandant General James Amos' remarks the other day about repealing "Don't Ask, Don't Tell".

Said Amos: “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."

Murphy Gay retired Staff Sgt. Eric Alva, the first Marine wounded in combat in Iraq, lost his leg there. He tells Rachel Maddow how he feels about Amos' remarks. "He took my Purple Heart and threw it in my face."

Maddow also talks to outgoing Rep. Patrick Murphy (D-PA) about his advocacy for the repeal of 'DADT', and later called out the Log Cabin Republicans for endorsing his opponent.

Watch both clips, AFTER THE JUMP....

Previously...
Marine Commandant James Amos Suggests 'Distracted' Troops Could Lose Legs in Combat if 'DADT' is Repealed [tr]

Continue reading "Watch: Gay Vet Eric Alva, Who Lost Leg in Iraq, Rips Gen. Amos for 'DADT' Remarks; Maddow Calls Out Log Cabin Republicans" »


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."

Watch, AFTER THE JUMP...

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


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