Jan 21, 2009 11:30 PM GMT
http://uk.reuters.com/article/wtMostRead/idUKTRE50K2KC20090121?pageNumber=1&virtualBrandChannel=0By Tim Cocks
BAGHDAD (Reuters) - Many U.S. troops in Iraq were overjoyed to see President Barack Obama take his oath, but some were unhappy about one thing the Democrat has promised to do: permit gay and lesbian soldiers to serve openly.
Obama said during his campaign he opposed a 1993 law stating that homosexuals are not eligible to work in the U.S. military, widely referred to as the "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" rule.
This month, Obama spokesman Robert Gibbs, when asked whether the new administration planned to scrap the law, replied on the president's transition website: "You don't hear politicians give a one-word answer much. But it's 'yes'."
But some of the 140,000 troops still in Iraq almost six years after the 2003 U.S.-led invasion to topple Saddam Hussein appear uneasy about the prospect.
Specialist Joseph Watson, from Texas, was "pretty excited" to see America's first black president sworn in, he said, after watching Obama's inauguration on a big TV screen at the dining hall of Forward Operating Base Prosperity, in Baghdad.
But the 30-year-old was a lot less excited about Obama's inclination to repeal the ban on gay men and women serving.
"Ah, I think that might cause a lot of problems," he said. "It's a big moral issue. It's giving the OK, saying that being gay is alright. Personally, I don't think being gay is OK."
Each year, the U.S. military kicks out hundreds of soldiers for "homosexual conduct," although numbers have fallen from 1145 in 1998 to 627 in 2007, according to its own figures.
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When people start out with "As a Chisttian...", I usually feel sorry for them.
It's not a moral high ground declaration. It's admitting of believing in fairy tales.