The Marine Corps’ top general suggested Tuesday that allowing gays to serve openly in the military could result in more casualties because their presence on the battlefield would pose “a distraction.”
“When your life hangs on the line,” said Gen. James F. Amos, the commandant of the Marine Corps, “you don’t want anything distracting. . . . Mistakes and inattention or distractions cost Marines’ lives.”
In an interview with newspaper and wire service reporters at the Pentagon, Amos was vague when pressed to clarify how the presence of gays would distract Marines during a firefight. But he cited a recent Defense Department survey in which a large percentage of Marine combat veterans predicted that repealing the “don’t ask, don’t tell” law would harm “unit cohesion” and their tight-knit training for war.
“So the Marines came back and they said, ‘Look, anything that’s going to break or potentially break that focus and cause any kind of distraction may have an effect on cohesion,’ ” he said. “I don’t want to permit that opportunity to happen.”
“Right now is a very intense period of time for a pretty healthy slice of the United States Marine Corps. This is not training,” Amos said.
“The forces that wear this uniform, that are in the middle of what I call the real deal, came back and told their commandant of the Marine Corps they have concerns,” Amos said.
“That’s all I need. I don’t need a staff study. I don’t need to hire three PhDs to tell me what to interpret it,” he said. “If they have concerns, I do, too. It’s as simple as that.”
If we’re going to do something like this to the military, let’s wait until our forces are largely out of harm’s way.
Now is not the time.