2010-09-10 / Letters

Pentagon Pornography

Dear Editor,

An article appearing in the Boston Globe on July 23, 2010 reveals dozens of pentagon employees at fairly high levels participated in a child pornography ring. The investigation under the auspices of the FBI has been ongoing since 2002. According to the article an indicted NSA (National Security Advisor) with top secret clearance had the time to flee to Libya after having been indicted two years ago. Did this abhorrent behavior stop at downloading kiddie porn or did the offenders actually violate children? Of course any such behavior leaves the participants open to blackmail vis a vis national security. And, after a lengthy eight year investigation, the offenders were dismissed. Were they prosecuted? However, it also begs more profound questions: Why did the investigation take eight years? Why weren’t they doing their job? Could this byte of troubling news connote a more severe problem in the Pentagon or is it a microcosm of society at large?

Pornography in the pentagon as an issue wasn’t nearly as hot a topic as gays serving openly in the military; but, both need to be addressed remindful of the fact that the former violates the law of the land while the latter is invented by the military. Since there are over a million fighting men and women in our military there are most probably a proportionate number of gays there as are present in society at-large. One would argue the same statistics apply with respect to kiddie pornographers. The movie, ”American Beauty,” depicted a mild mannered Kevin Spacey, the neighbor of a hard nose ex-marine was shockingly propositioned by that marine. Spacey set the neighbor straight informing the marine he was straight and the scene ended. Of course this was the movies. But, fantasy here triggers the reality that of the million U.S. military fighting men and women, some percentage of them, from least ranking to the highest ranking, are gay. It is not a stretch to believe out of a million plus some are pedophiles, some deal in kiddie porn with the preponderance being straight.

A West Point graduate army language specialist Lt. Daniel Choi, frustrated with ‘Don’t ask, don’t tell,” admitted he was gay to his superiors; and, although the army is in dire of need of translators knowledgeable in Arabic languages, because he outed himself, Choi was dismissed from the service. Choi, a professional in his field attended West Point with every intention of making the military his career. But, made to feel ashamed of his gender

Letters preference, he put his ideals above service to his country and was tossed out of the army like yesterday’s trash.

Recently, a high ranking military spokesman served notice on other members of the military who wish to go the way of Choi when he said that the military would never accept gays who served openly in service. He further told his television interviewer that the current policy was here to stay even if those rejected have skills vital to the success of the war.

One is sure to question the current military stance with regard to “Don’t ask…” and wonder if the Pentagon believes two adults engaging in intimacy (none of their business) worse than dozens of their own engaging in downloading kiddie porn? (Can you believe that investigation took eight years?) Our fighting men and women place their lives on the line in the defense of our country every single day they are on active duty. Do top brass actually think dog faces who are gay will not defend their fellow soldiers in battle because they are gay? If this ridiculous statement is not the answer, the only other one seems to be that the armed services are covering up for those who presently prudently stay in the closet (brass included).

By being so adamant in support of “Don’t ask…” military brass appear to be masking a greater problem, the same problem found in many areas of the red states and in religions and newly minted political parties of the country. To whit, they refuse to recognize or admit there are gays closeted among their ranks. Total rejection of gays, an obvious form of prejudice and often a rallying point for people who have questionable sexual preferences themselves, has become increasingly outed in today’s society. From bathroom stall toe tapping or preying on Senate pages or preaching anti-gay sentiments while practicing a gay lifestyle, men, to their chagrin, have had that part of their secret lives made public. Whether the anti-gay organizers are clergy or politicians or neighbors, onlookers can no longer be surprised when some of them are who they rally against. The U.S. military has long made gays serving in the armed forces the enemy when it has much bigger fish to fry as in winning (or losing or redefining) a couple of wars. However, when it comes to whether our wars are won with gay or straight soldiers, a recent poll indicates more than fifty percent of the public could care less.

Currently, twenty-two out of twentysix country members of NATO have gays openly serving in their military “No questions asked.” Gays never bombed the World Trade Center or the Cole. They are not terrorists. They are not our enemy. If they wish to fight and possibly die for their country, all the more power to them. The ‘Pentagon Paparazzi’, the one that took eight years to expose a kiddie pornography ring in their midst, are vehemently insistent upon retaining “Don’t ask…” as military policy in perpetuity. The brass’s rigidity with regard to the matter may have wider implications affecting some of their own in the current chain of command. But, after all, eight years gives them all the elbow room they need to retire with military ‘dignity’.

JOAN METTLER

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