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Social Commentary from the C-Suite to Main Street℠

A Blog by Gary Wright II

My recent epiphany on our military policies

Tuesday, June 23rd, 2009

As early as the 1940s President Harry Truman understood that our military must recruit and retain the best and brightest of our country.

With the current condition of our country, this principle still stands true.

Why would our military lower it's standards to meet it's recruiting goals by accepting the non-educated and criminals (many are felons!), yet discharge a soldier that fluently speaks four languages just because he is gay? Had this soldier, and many like him, not been kicked out, there would not have been a huge backlog of intelligence needing translation which directly led up to 9/11. There were phrases that would have tipped off anyone who knew basic Arabic, but we had discharged so many of our best linguists because of their sexual orientation that the messages were never translated in time.

While asking myself, "Why would our country NOT want to have the best and brightest serving our country?", I had an epiphany: The leadership of our country DOES NOT WANT TO WIN THESE WARS! With the status quo, the powerful have everything they want. We have just had an unprecedented and largest transfer of wealth in world history. What motivation would they have to win???

In 1948, President Truman made an Executive Order to integrate the armed services into one cohesive unit. The military leaders got really upset and threatened to retire. Truman said, "I'll expect to see your resignation on my desk tomorrow." No one resigned, and it didn't break our military.

Truman's Committee on Civil Rights said, "By preventing entire groups from making their maximum contribution to the national defense, we weaken our defense to the extent and impose heavier burdans on the remainder of the population"

The leaders said that black people were not as capable as whites, and said the integration would destroy unit cohesion in the military. Well, Truman gave the order and the military carried out the order. Black people served effectively and honorably without destroying our military.

Next, was the issue of women in combat. The same excuses were given why women are inferior and would destroy our military. The order was given, and now the women have been integrated into our armed forces with no degradation of our military.

Next, was the issue of gays and lesbians in the military. They again gave the same excuses and say that it would have a negative impact on our military. Again, if President Obama would simply issue an executive order, the military will carry it out as ordered. Each time they come up with a new reason, and each time their arguments don't support the facts. The United Kingdom (and many, many other countries) embraced diversity, and their military capability became stronger - not weaker.

When I was on active duty, their main argument was that if a person was gay / lesbian, the enemy could use that fact to blackmail the soldier / sailor into telling secrets. This argument is totally ridiculous! It is the current military policy that would actually encourage blackmail, because another person could threaten to "out" them. If a person is able to serve as openly gay - there is no way to blackmail them.

It saddens me that for over the past 60 years, we have not moved forward, especially on issues that were completely understood as early as the 40's.

Here is what Truman said way back then:
"We have only recently completed a long and bitter war against intolerence and hatred... Yet, in this country today there exists disturbing evidence of intolerence and prejudice similar in kind, though perhaps not in degree, to that against which we fought the war."

"We must keep moving forward with new concepts of civil rights to safeguard our heritage. The extension of civil rights today means, not protection of the people AGAINST the government, but protection of the people BY the government."

Truman was against "limitations on any of our people and their enjoyment of basic rights which every citizen in a truly democratic society must enjoy. Every man should have the right to a decent home, the right to an education, the right to adequate medical care, the right to a worthwhile job, the right to an equal share in making the public through the ballot, and the right to a fair trial in a fair court."

In Truman's 1948 State of the Union address to Congress, he reiterated, "Any denial of human rights is a denial of the basic beliefs of democracy and of our regard for the worth of each individual." Truman believed that the federal government must play a leading role in guaranteeing civil rights for all Americans. He held the belief that "all men are entitled to equal opportunities for jobs, for homes, for good health, and for education. We cannot be satisfied until all of our people have equal opportunities for jobs, for homes, for good health, and for political expression, and until all our people have equal protection under the law. The driving force behind our progress is our faith in our democratic institutions. That faith is embodied in the promise of equal rights and equal opportunities which the founders of our Republic proclaimed to their countryment and to the whole world. The fulfillment of this promise is among the highest purposes of government. ... As we build our strength to defend the freedom of the world, we ourselves must extend the benefits of freedom more widely among all of our own people. We need to take action toward the wider enjoyment of civil rights. Freedom is the birthright of every American."

How have we let this go on for so long? Again, I really believe they have no intentions of ever winning these "wars." I can think of no other explanation!

-- Gary Wright II

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