Richard Cohen: Marine Corps commandant has to go

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    Dec 21, 2010 7:12 AM GMT
    "This is what concerns me about Amos. His views are on the record. He sees gays as somewhat out of control, possibly holding hands in combat, sneaking into one another's bunks at night, being distracted just as the enemy is coming over the hill. Not only is this silly and based on an ignorant misconception of who most gays are, but it can be dealt with.

    Amos, though, is the wrong man to deal with it. His subordinates know what he thinks of gays. They know he has not an iota of sympathy for what might be their difficulties or any tolerance for their lifestyle. If I were gay, I would not want to work for the man - or serve under him. He is one step short of being a bigot. ...

    The Marines of today know that virtually the entire Republican Party stood up for bigotry. The Corps knows that some important senators - John McCain and Jon Kyl, to name two - furiously fought to retain the status quo, always in the sainted cause of unit cohesion. (Kyl said repeal could "cost lives.") Marines know, too, that in surveys, those on the front lines are least supportive of having gays among them and they are also aware that their brass fought to keep "don't ask, don't tell." The issue for me, as for Gen. Amos, is unit cohesion. That's why he has to go. "

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    Yeah, oops, suddenly he is on the wrong side of hostory and he is fearing for his career. He better get out there and say how he is going to fall in line. Maybe hebwill have to prove how "in line" he is and be better at integrating gays than anyone. ... icon_wink.gif
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    Dec 21, 2010 5:07 PM GMT

    General Amos's real seizure (and those of many, many other bigots in the Marines) will hit next year when gay and lesbian couples show up with their same sex partners at the Marines Birthday Ball. Personally, I can't wait.
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    Dec 21, 2010 5:28 PM GMT
    flieslikeabeagle saidGeneral Amos's real seizure (and those of many, many other bigots in the Marines) will hit next year when gay and lesbian couples show up with their same sex partners at the Marines Birthday Ball. Personally, I can't wait.

    An interesting thought I hadn't considered. All the services have their anniversaries and other balls, all kinds of social things from monthly "Hail & Farewells" to staff happy hours at the Officer or NCO clubs (many of which have now been closed to save money), or the traditional New Year's Day Reception at the General or Admiral's official quarters with your spouse. Uh-oh!

    I can see the receiving line at New Year's now:

    Officer in line being greeted by the post Commanding General, shaking hand, and introducing self: "Happy New Year, Sir! I'm Thomas Kincaid, of the 89th Brigade. [His rank unspoken, evident by his dress blue uniform. And in some commands the introduction performed instead by the General's Aide-de-Camp, taken from the calling card] "May I present my husband, William Jones."

    OMFG!!!! These stiff-necked, conservative Generals & Admirals are gonna go crazy. Wish I could be there to see it.

    And yeah, I think Amos is a dinosaur like McCain, who needs to go.
  • CuriousJockAZ

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    Dec 21, 2010 5:34 PM GMT
    Caslon17000 saidHe sees gays as somewhat out of control, possibly holding hands in combat, sneaking into one another's bunks at night, being distracted just as the enemy is coming over the hill. Not only is this silly and based on an ignorant misconception of who most gays are, but it can be dealt with.



    Is this Richard Cohen's interpretation of General Amos' words, or actually what General Amos said? It was my understanding that General Amos expressed his concerns and reluctance to repeal DADT at the present time based on the Pentagon findings of which the Marine corp did seem to have the biggest problem with repeal. As the commandant of the marine corp, did he not have an obligation, especially since he was asked, to voice his reservations based on the Pentagon findings? I have no doubt that, now that repeal is a reality, that he will actively work towards making a successful transition for the marines.
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    Dec 21, 2010 5:52 PM GMT
    CuriousJockAZ saidAs the commandant of the marine corp, did he not have an obligation, especially since he was asked, to voice his reservations based on the Pentagon findings? I have no doubt that, now that repeal is a reality, that he will actively work towards making a successful transition for the marines.

    The Joint Chiefs were given review authority in this very strange Congressional legislation. When President Truman integrated Black soldiers into the US military in 1947 he simply made it an Executive Order, as Commander-in-Chief, and told the military leaders to get with the program and implement it, period. No options, no comments. Salute & move out.

    The President should consult with the Joint Chiefs of Staff in private consultation. But then he makes a decision, and they obey. This is not a matter of voting, it's the military. This bill he just signed has the JCS making a public report for everyone to study. Hence my apprehension that this is not a done deal, but may yet run into some snags.

    The message I hear from Amos is very clear to me: I strongly personally disagree with this, but as a loyal Marine I'll give it lip service. What kind of a direction is that to the rest of the Marine Corps? What kind of compliance can we expect?

    I'd sack this guy so fast his head would spin, and not retire him at 4-star rank, either. Under US law, 3 and 4-star rank is temporary. It takes a request formally submitted by the President, followed by Congressional approval, to retire any US Officer above 2-star rank.

    A notable example was 3-star Vice Admiral Poindexter during the Reagan Administration, when he was Chair of the National Security Council, and the immediate supervisor of the whack-job Lt. Col. Oliver North, famous for the Iran-Contra scandal. Poindexter got fired and retired as a 2-star Rear Admiral.

    I'd be pleased to see a similar end to 4-star General Amos; let him get retired as a 2-star Major General. Of course the spineless Obama will never do such a thing.
  • CuriousJockAZ

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    Dec 21, 2010 6:05 PM GMT
    Art_Deco said
    I'd be pleased to see a similar end to 4-star General Amos, let him get retired as a 2-star Major General. Of course the spineless Obama will never do such a thing.



    I don't believe Obama will do such a thing, nor has Obama even commented on what some have called "insubordination" by General Amos regarding his comments towards repeal. The fact of the matter is, this was a very serious issue that required open and honest communication from the joint chiefs of staff to congress. The hearings were for that very purpose. Congress asked these joint chiefs of staff their opinion, and I think they were obligated to give it, even if it wasn't necessarily what many wanted to hear. At the end of the day, the joint chiefs of staff gave their opinions, the issue was debated, and then a vote was taken. This is, in my opinion, how it should be.
  • CuriousJockAZ

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    Dec 21, 2010 6:23 PM GMT
    From another thread...


    Mil8 said
    metta8 saidTop Marine pledges to ‘personally lead’ gay integration

    http://www.stripes.com/blogs/stripes-central/stripes-central-1.8040/top-marine-pledges-to-personally-lead-gay-integration-1.129363


    He voiced his reservations while he had the opportunity and now he is getting with the program. The USMC has a reputation for never doing things by halves. Whatever the General's faults, credit should go to him for showing clear leadership in this matter. I have no doubt he will make it happen.





    I agree with Mil8...General Amos has shown real leadership. He didn't just give lip service when asked his opinion, he voices his reservations at the appropriate time and let the cards fall where they may. DADT was repealed, and like a true leader he will see that the Marines implement the changes.
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    Dec 21, 2010 6:23 PM GMT
    Amos should go.
  • CuriousJockAZ

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    Dec 21, 2010 6:25 PM GMT
    OtterJoq saidAmos should go.


    This isn't going to happen
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    Dec 21, 2010 6:30 PM GMT
    Art_Deco saidAn interesting thought I hadn't considered. All the services have their anniversaries and other balls, all kinds of social things from monthly "Hail & Farewells" to staff happy hours at the Officer or NCO clubs (many of which have now been closed to save money), or the traditional New Year's Day Reception at the General or Admiral's official quarters with your spouse. Uh-oh!

    I can see the receiving line at New Year's now:

    Officer in line being greeted by the post Commanding General, shaking hand, and introducing self: "Happy New Year, Sir! I'm Thomas Kincaid, of the 89th Brigade. [His rank unspoken, evident by his dress blue uniform. And in some commands the introduction performed instead by the General's Aide-de-Camp, taken from the calling card] "May I present my husband, William Jones."

    OMFG!!!! These stiff-necked, conservative Generals & Admirals are gonna go crazy. Wish I could be there to see it.

    And yeah, I think Amos is a dinosaur like McCain, who needs to go.


    When the ban was lifted in the UK, commanding officers were issued with guidelines covering just this eventuality. Gay men do bring their partners to official functions and no one bats an eyelid. The Armed Forces Codes of Social Conduct cover everyone, regardless of sexual orientation.

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    Dec 21, 2010 6:30 PM GMT
    CuriousJockAZ said
    OtterJoq saidAmos should go.


    This isn't going to happen


    I know. Too bad we can't TRULY have "the best and the brightest" wxith cretins like him poisoning the ranks.
  • CuriousJockAZ

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    Dec 21, 2010 6:33 PM GMT
    OtterJoq said
    CuriousJockAZ said
    OtterJoq saidAmos should go.


    This isn't going to happen


    I know. Too bad we can't TRULY have "the best and the brightest" wxith cretins like him poisoning the ranks.




    What is even sadder to see, in my opinion, are gays such as yourself who show absolutely none of the "tolerance" you so dearly want for yourself. God forbid others may have a different opinion. General Amos was doing his job. I think he is the mark of a true leader.
  • marined8

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    Dec 21, 2010 6:37 PM GMT
    CuriousJockAZ said
    OtterJoq said
    CuriousJockAZ said
    OtterJoq saidAmos should go.


    This isn't going to happen


    I know. Too bad we can't TRULY have "the best and the brightest" wxith cretins like him poisoning the ranks.




    What is even sadder to see, in my opinion, are gays such as yourself who show absolutely none of the "tolerance" you so dearly want for yourself. God forbid others may have a different opinion. General Amos was doing his job. I think he is the mark of a true leader.


    I Like this!!

    Even though I disagree with some of his opinions.
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    Dec 21, 2010 6:37 PM GMT
    CuriousJockAZ said
    Art_Deco said
    I'd be pleased to see a similar end to 4-star General Amos, let him get retired as a 2-star Major General. Of course the spineless Obama will never do such a thing.

    I don't believe Obama will do such a thing, nor has Obama even commented on what some have called "insubordination" by General Amos regarding his comments towards repeal. The fact of the matter is, this was a very serious issue that required open and honest communication from the joint chiefs of staff to congress. The hearings were for that very purpose. Congress asked these joint chiefs of staff their opinion, and I think they were obligated to give it, even if it wasn't necessarily what many wanted to hear. At the end of the day, the joint chiefs of staff gave their opinions, the issue was debated, and then a vote was taken. This is, in my opinion, how it should be.

    I disagree. And I use former precedents, particularly during previous major US conflicts.

    Congress may publicly question the Secretary of State, or the Treasury, or other Cabinet & high-ranking members of the Executive Branch. But the military is unique, since under the US Constitution the President is the undoubted, absolute & sole Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces.

    Yet Congress is asking our senior military leaders to comment on Presidential decisions & directives. "Do you approve of what your boss wants?" General Amos says no. That undermines the whole concept of military authority.

    Because General Amos doesn't have the option of saying no as a subordinate. And he can't vote. He can give his private opinion & advice to the Commander-in-Chief, as he should, but Congress should not ask for it publicly. Even private hearings might be questionable, because when does Congress ever keep anything a secret for long?

    So I find this whole process wrong and unconstitutional. And I foresee pitfalls ahead in this, despite poorly educated members here calling me a "Debbie Downer."

    If the Pentagon refuses to certify the change, what then? And does the vote have to be unanimous?

    What about Republican challenges to the entire process in the New Congress, should Obama certify this? I can envision the US Supreme Court declaring this bill unconstitutional, on the separation of powers grounds I have stated. By then we may well have a new Republican President, who would never simply repeal DADT as an Executive Order. (For one thing the underlying US law and the UCMJ are a problem, and if Clinton's DADT were repealed by itself, we'd actually be worse off)
  • CuriousJockAZ

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    Dec 21, 2010 6:44 PM GMT
    Art Deco, this is all just more long-winded babble from you and your "I was in the military so I'm superior" point of view. I'm speaking as an everyday average American and, personally, I don't want our military leaders cow towing to the Commander in Chief and simply giving lip service when an important issue is being debated and their OPINION is being asked for. That isn't the way a democracy is suppose to work. If congress is going to bring our military leaders before the country and ask them their opinion, I expect our military leaders to give just that -- NOT deliver what only the President (Commander in Chief) wants to hear. What's the saying -- "If you have the BRAWN to ask the question, you had better have the BALLS to hear the answer".
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    Dec 21, 2010 6:54 PM GMT
    CuriousJockAZ said
    OtterJoq said
    CuriousJockAZ said
    OtterJoq saidAmos should go.


    This isn't going to happen


    I know. Too bad we can't TRULY have "the best and the brightest" wxith cretins like him poisoning the ranks.




    What is even sadder to see, in my opinion, are gays such as yourself who show absolutely none of the "tolerance" you so dearly want for yourself. God forbid others may have a different opinion. General Amos was doing his job. I think he is the mark of a true leader.

    Tolerance of intolerance isn't a virtue. Not sure why you'd disagree.
  • jeepguySD

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    Dec 21, 2010 7:03 PM GMT
    The Commandant of the Marine Corps (CMC), General Amos, publicly and infamously stated that gay Marines are "inconsistent with the Marine Corps' warrior ethos."

    He testified before Congress that, "...we recruit on a warrior ethos…. We live hard, we train hard. We do tough things. We recruit men and women for that kind of ethos."

    I have several combat-seasoned gay friends in the Marine Corps who would disagree with the CMC's assertions about gay Marines. His comments are truly shameful.

    His offhand dismissiveness of the contributions and capabilities of gay Marines is really disturbing, especially from somone who is supposed to be a leader. His attitudes and statements reveal a narrrow-minded man who cannot see past his own personal biases and whose world view is based entirely on anachronistic stereotypes.

  • CuriousJockAZ

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    Dec 21, 2010 7:17 PM GMT
    OtterJoq said
    Tolerance of intolerance isn't a virtue. Not sure why you'd disagree.



    I watched General Amos' entire testimony before congress, and I don't remember hearing anything he said that specifically pointed to he himself being intolerant. What he was doing is merely pointing out a degree of intolerance that does exist within the marine corp...based on the Pentagon findings, this is just reality. The data is what it is. Regardless, DADT repeal has been passed, and General Amos has pledged that he would lead the way toward implementation. I don't see how we can ask more than that.
  • CuriousJockAZ

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    Dec 21, 2010 7:54 PM GMT
    yourname2000 said
    CuriousJockAZ said
    OtterJoq said
    Tolerance of intolerance isn't a virtue. Not sure why you'd disagree.



    I watched General Amos' entire testimony before congress, and I don't remember hearing anything he said that specifically pointed to he himself being intolerant. What he was doing is merely pointing out a degree of intolerance that does exist within the marine corp...based on the Pentagon findings, this is just reality. The data is what it is. Regardless, DADT repeal has been passed, and General Amos has pledged that he would lead the way toward implementation. I don't see how we can ask more than that.


    ...right. So if I understand your argument, "I ain't prejudiced but I know a lot of peoples who hates 'em n---rs" is a valid position for you. I think it's the worst kind of scapegoating...the fucker can't even take responsibility for his own bias.

    That's not leadership...being willing to toss away some of your charge to appease others is weak. A smart person would be saying "if he's willing to throw those guys under the bus, at some point he'll be just as willing to throw me."

    I'm Canadian (and not in the military although I support the good work both our countries are doing in places like A-stan) so I don't really have a dog in this race. But the world is watching you, America. Too many allies have no problem with gays serving openly and have welcomed it for years with no real consequences. It's hard to reconcile the concept that the USA is the free-est country in the world (which obviously hasn't been true decades; just good marketing) with her treatment of gays and other minorities.

    If you don't stand for something, you'll fall for anything.



    Acting as if intolerance doesn't exist doesn't make it go away. General Amos called it like he saw it -- based on the Pentagon data, and probably his own many years of experience in the military (Marines). Reality is what it is, sad and unfortunate as that may be. The issue here is how best to deal with it while moving the military forward in the way that clearly the majority of the military, and the country, want. General Amos has pledged to do that. I guess for some of you, anything short of him getting down on his knees and sucking off an officer is unacceptable. icon_rolleyes.gif
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    Dec 22, 2010 1:09 AM GMT
    Pro Repeal Guy: We need to repeal the ban on open service of homosexuals.

    Anti Repeal Guy: No, we can't do that, because there are many servicemen and servicewomen who oppose open service of homosexuals, and their ability to do their jobs will be destroyed by open service.

    PRG: That is not a valid reason. There were many racists in the military when blacks were allowed to serve, and the integration order was issued anyway.

    ARG: Race is a totally different issue. If a guy knows there's a gay guy in his unit, he will be uncomfortable showering/bunking/changing with that guy and will be unable to trust him to be strong enough to "have his back" in the heat of battle. This is more like letting women in, and the issues that came with it. For example, due to inevitable close quarters during assignments, rape of servicewomen has been a serious problem. If you force guys to be in close quarters with guys who are attracted to them, you will create a harassment nightmare and destroy unit cohesion. Also, there is a lot of hazing and bravado that goes on in all branches of the military, particularly among the toughest combat troops. Some gay guy is going to make a pass at a guy in his unit and the straight guy is going to beat the crap out of him.

    PRG: That is silly. People in the service are already expected to follow a far stricter behavioral protocol than what we see in the civilian arena. It is their job to follow the orders of their superiors and fulfill the mission of their unit in accordance with their operational specialty. There are already plenty of tasks they have to perform that they might not particularly want to do. We have the best-trained, most well-disciplined military in the world. It is ridiculous to think that the services are full of people who will not be able to control themselves -- either that gay soldiers will not be able to resist grabbing some guy's junk, or that straight soldiers will be unable to fulfill mission objectives because one of the guys in the room is gay. These are professional soldiers. It is reasonable to expect them to exercise self-control in fulfilling their mission.

    [Congress passes repeal act, sends it to the President to await his signature.]

    PRG: Hoo-rah! Now, let's get rid of this career serviceman because when Congress asked him what he thought about repeal he was against it and expressed serious reservations about the ability to have openly gay service members, and he cannot be expected to have the self-control to carry out his orders in an appropriate manner.


    Me: Wait --- what? I thought we've all spent the last 18 years saying over and over that things like sexual orientation, race, religion, political leaning, and gender, don't matter because the only important thing is whether or not someone gets the job done effectively.
    And now here we are finally with a long-fought-for repeal that hasn't even gone into effect yet, and PRG's first order of business is to throw away a Marine Commandant because he might potentially in the future himself throw away four decades of service and suddenly fail to get his job done effectively by doing some as-yet-undefined potential thing that might make open integration a bumpy ride? How about we stick to what makes the United States worth defending, and wait to judge the guy based on his actions (which are still in the future), instead of just preemptively evicting him because he's on record as expressing contrary thoughts?


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    Dec 22, 2010 2:25 AM GMT
    CuriousJockAZ saidI agree with Mil8...General Amos has shown real leadership. He didn't just give lip service when asked his opinion, he voices his reservations at the appropriate time and let the cards fall where they may. DADT was repealed, and like a true leader he will see that the Marines implement the changes.

    Well, Amos had no basis for his statement before Congress. Gays aren't sissies who can't cut the muster as Marines. He showed his deep ingrained bigotry. Now can someone who is that ignorant and bigoted change his spot? And I am not referring to clear, distinct issues regarding Gays. But if a nuanced decision needs to be made can be relied on to make unprejudical decisions. I am sure his unsupport prejudice is going to get in the way.

    He can't just throw off his declared belief that open Gays will interfer with the Marines performance. How can possibly make decisions involving Gays since he firmly believes they might interfer with operations? If he suppresses his honest beliefs when making military decisions, then his actions are worse than withholding his prejudicial statement before Congress.

    So just as a judge recuses himself when his declared opinion might prejudice his decision, so Amos should volutarily stand-down now that Congress has decided against his firm and declared belief.
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    Dec 22, 2010 4:15 AM GMT
    Caslon17000 said
    CuriousJockAZ saidI agree with Mil8...General Amos has shown real leadership. He didn't just give lip service when asked his opinion, he voices his reservations at the appropriate time and let the cards fall where they may. DADT was repealed, and like a true leader he will see that the Marines implement the changes.

    Well, Amos had no basis for his statement before Congress. Gays aren't sissies who can't cut the muster as Marines. He showed his deep ingrained bigotry. Now can someone who is that ignorant and bigoted change his spot? And I am not referring to clear, distinct issues regarding Gays. But if a nuanced decision needs to be made can be relied on to make unprejudical decisions. I am sure his unsupport prejudice is going to get in the way.

    He can't just throw off his declared belief that open Gays will interfer with the Marines performance. How can possibly make decisions involving Gays since he firmly believes they might interfer with operations? If he suppresses his honest beliefs when making military decisions, then his actions are worse than withholding his prejudicial statement before Congress.

    So just as a judge recuses himself when his declared opinion might prejudice his decision, so Amos should volutarily stand-down now that Congress has decided against his firm and declared belief.


    Is he the only one throughout our enormous military with sexual, religious, or racial prejudices? Is he the only one making decisions that might potentially in the future be affected by political opinions about homosexual service members? If not, how far up and down the ranks would you like to pursue your policy of preemptive ideological purification?
  • GQjock

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    Dec 22, 2010 12:04 PM GMT
    What gets me upset is that this man is giving credence to the knuckle dragging banjo pickers that happen to be in the Marines

    NPR did a interview series with guys in the service
    and most said who the hell cares

    But there was one guy in the Marines ... of course
    who said he'd talk off Mic ...... of course again

    and he mimicked the same homophobic crap that Amos did
    That you can't do this in a time of war
    and that it will kill people on the front lines .... WTF????

    he also went on to say that most of the men in the Marines came from places where homosexuality is frowned upon

    To which I say get your homophobic ass up and learn something new
    Is Amos going to be relieved ? Of course he isn't
    but when there are the instances of harassment and there will be we CANNOT let him or anyone else allow it to go unpunished
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    Dec 22, 2010 12:52 PM GMT
    Isn't the real point that the past is, once again, repeating itself? That where prejudice stood in the way of women properly integrating mainstream society, let alone male-dominated bodies such as the military and the police, it is now preventing gays from being granted the same rights and status as the majority?

    We've heard it all before. It's called discrimination.

    I remember the unglorious years where it was publically held that women were unfit for the medical profession, that they were too emotional, and would distract the men. These beliefs were firmly entrenched at the time, and look where we are now. And that's just it. In time, this too will pass.

    Not to say that we shouldn't be vocal about such issues of course, but that they should be put in perspective... It does kill me that gays are discharged because of their sexual orientation.

    Oh and remember when rock-and-roll was going to corrupt an entire generation? The devil's music? lol

    In the meantime, I suggest you move to Canada ;)
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    Dec 22, 2010 1:59 PM GMT
    I agree with CJ on the portion of his post that I snipped. I stopped short of calling him a great leader, because for me this will show in his ability to get beyond his prejudices to do his job.

    At this point General Amos was simply providing his views on the topic when he was asked to do so. They are most certainly ignorant and full of prejudice, but he is not alone in this line of thought.

    While it would be nice if with the repeal of DADT we could also eliminate all biases and prejudices, this is just not reality. I think this will happen naturally over time as soldiers continue to prove themselves in the field as open LGBT members.

    The true test of whether Amos should be allowed to continue on will be how he comports himself during the transition process. He should absolutely be watched like a hawk to see if he is undermining the process, but to dismiss him before he has done anything against policy is a bit of over kill in my opinion.

    The individuals who we should be concerned about are the ones who have not exposed their deep hatred for our community and are ready to disrupt the implementation of the new policy. These individuals will go unnoticed as they impede progress for LGBT members.



    CuriousJockAZ said

    What is even sadder to see, in my opinion, are gays such as yourself who show absolutely none of the "tolerance" you so dearly want for yourself. God forbid others may have a different opinion. General Amos was doing his job.