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Monday, June 27, 2005

The TRUTH about a Teacher's "Truth" on Discrimination in the Military 

U.S. military does discriminate against gays
An Albany (NY) Times Union Letter to the Editor
Monday, June 27, 2005




Am I the only one to take issue with Chief Warrant Officer 2 William Hanrahan's June 18 letter stating that the U.S. military does not overtly discriminate?

Maybe.

As a high school counselor, I work with recruiters regularly. As a veteran, I have direct experience as a military recruit. As a citizen, I am aware of the military's famous "don't ask, don't tell" policy. In all of these roles, I find reason to take issue with Hanrahan's opinion.

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Hanrahan states at the end of his letter that "it would be nice if they (high school students) had all the information (regarding military discrimination) and acted more responsibly with it."

Hanrahan was referring to all the information pertaining to military service, not just information about "discrimination."

It is sad that he does not choose to offer the full truth regarding the military's discrimination against a significant portion of our society.

Who doesn't know what the full truth is? Does Morrissey think our highly educated high school students are clueless about the military's "don't ask, don't tell" policy? Why should Hanrahan use scarce editorial space to restate what every interested person already knows?

The military will not allow openly homosexual people to serve in its ranks.

Hanrahan said, "The U.S. military does not overtly discriminate against anyone, but we do have standards in order to maintain discipline and readiness." He chose to phrase the restriction in the positive and Morrissey has chosen to phrase it in the negative. Morrissey's complaint seems to be not that CWO Hanrahan avoided the issue but that he wasn't sufficiently condemnatory of the policy. While public school teachers with tenure may be able to directly and publicly condemn policies they disagree with, Hanrahan is in the military. Get a clue. His duty is to support military policies and regulations at the peril of punishment up to loss of pay and rank, incarceration and a dishonorable discharge.

There is no evidence that anyone can produce that offers scientific proof that homosexuals pose a threat to the military or to the security of the United States.

Notice how Morrissey has shifted the argument from his complaint that Hanrahan didn't disclose the "full truth" to the argument that the policy isn't justified. Whether or not the policy is justified has nothing to do with whether the "full truth" was disclosed.

Yet, the military's leadership still refuses to allow homosexuals to serve. If such a stance is not overt discrimination, then what is?

I guess Morrissey isn't into the "full truth" either, otherwise he would have said, "The military's leadership still refuses to allow some homosexuals to serve, i.e., those few who openly advertise their sexual preferences despite knowing the prescribed consequences under military regulations."

It's hard to know what Morrissey means by "discrimination." People discriminate all the time in the sense that they recognize or perceive differences and adjust their behavior accordingly. For example, they behave differently in court than they do at a ball game. That's good.

People also treat others differently on the basis of sex. That's good, too. For a married guy, a night out on the town with the boys is quite different from a night out on the town with the ladies, and his wife will gladly educate him if he doesn't know otherwise--protests of discrimination notwithstanding.

Hanrahan's meaning in saying "the U.S. military does not overtly discriminate against anyone," is unambiguous in our cultural context. He was both acknowledging the existence of discrimination and distinguishing the military's policy from an out-right ban of homosexuals from military service.

Morrissey attacks Hanrahan by overstating the exclusion and twisting the meaning of his words. This is precisely the kind of misconduct Hanrahan was complaining about when he said, "[I]t would be nice if they [students] had all the information and acted more responsibly with it." In complaining about Hanrahan, Morrissey not only commits the same errors he alleges against Hanrahan, but he does so in a far more blatant manner.


In my role as a school counselor, recruiters often ask me why they are unwelcome in so many high schools in our region. As a veteran and a citizen supportive of the military's role in our society, I've never been sure why this is. Recent media reports over the unethical practices of recruiters in many parts of the country have helped me answer this question. Hanrahan's complete distortion of the truth regarding the military's discriminatory practices provides further explanation.

Unethical recruiting practices are an aberration that I have condemned. You can be assured that those who engaged in this misconduct will be dealt with far more severely than had they had tenured jobs.

But notice how Morrissey has escalated the charge against Hanrahan from not choosing to offer the "full truth" to making a "complete distortion of the truth." Not only has Morrissey failed to prove Hanrahan's statement couldn't be understood as being essentially truthful, he can't seem to distinguish between minor omissions completely understood in context and "complete distortions"!


Thank you, CWO Hanrahan. I will save your letter as a tool for responding to such questions from recruiters in the future.

Well, I must return the thanks to educator Morrissey. I will certainly save this letter as a tool for demonstrating the 8th-grade level of intellect, the bias, and the inability to reason with fairness that apparently pervades public schools. Who can possibly expect great things from public schools when the people working in them demonstrate such poor and unfair reasoning skills? Anyone want to give Morrissey a raise to see if that improves his abilities?

Finally, for someone promoting the "full truth," Morrissey was strangely quiet about the rationale that supports "don't ask, don't tell" and the court decisions that have upheld the policy. In Able vs US, the Second Circuit opined:
Military life is fundamentally different from civilian life in that ... the extraordinary responsibilities of the armed forces, the unique conditions of military service, and the critical role of unit cohesion, require that the military community, while subject to civilian control, exist as a specialized society; and ... the military society is characterized by its own laws, rules, customs, and traditions, including numerous restrictions on personal behavior, that would not be acceptable in civilian society....

The pervasive application of the standards of conduct is necessary because members of the armed forces must be ready at all times for worldwide deployment to a combat environment.

The worldwide deployment of United States military forces, the international responsibilities of the United States, and the potential for involvement of the armed forces in actual combat routinely make it necessary for members of the armed forces involuntarily to accept living conditions and working conditions that are often spartan, primitive, and characterized by forced intimacy with little or no privacy.

The prohibition against homosexual conduct is a longstanding element of military law that continues to be necessary in the unique circumstances of military service.

Call it discrimination if you will, but it's one of thousands of instances in which "discrimination" of one sort or another is not only tolerated but imposed by law. I served aboard submarines in the US Navy and I know the last thing I needed was romantic advances by my shipmates. The military's "don't, ask don't tell" policy has a rational basis which the courts have approved and "truth-teller" Morrissey never said a word about it. He gets an 'F' for both his poor analytical skills and his hypocrisy.


DOUGLAS MORRISSEY
Guilderland




U.S. military doesn't overtly discriminate
An Albany (NY) Times Union Letter to the Editor
June 18, 2005


I am the operations officer for the Marine Corps Recruiting Command in Albany and would like to set the record straight regarding recent comments about the request to remove recruiters from Averill Park High School.

First, I personally commend the students for forming groups and expressing themselves.

As one former Marine who observed the demonstration from the parking lot said, "I'm glad to see I did my job so well."

I could not agree more with that statement, but I do believe that taking a stand and being committed to a cause should be based on sound facts, and not prejudicial one-sided opinions. The U.S. military does not overtly discriminate against anyone, but we do have standards in order to maintain discipline and readiness.

The military is not a corporation; it is an organization that fights to defend our Constitution. Being so requires medical, moral and educational requirements. We do not process those who cannot obviously meet the standards due to no fault of their own.

Often it can be heartbreaking for young people who truly want to serve but cannot because of the increased risks to their own health, or the well-being of those who will be around them. Police and fire departments have similar standards.

The Marine Corps has no interest in intimidating young people or defying parent's wishes. That is clearly counterproductive to our mission. The recruiters' jobs are to inform young people of all their options and opportunities.

Many young people go on to college but drop out and seek out that recruiter they met in high school.

We will not shirk from our duty to protect all students from all schools, but it would be nice if they had all the information and acted more responsibly with it. Semper fidelis.

CHIEF WARRANT OFFICER 2
WILLIAM J. HANRAHAN
Latham

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