The general silence of ¡°conservative¡± columnists, commentators and publications during the gays in the military debate has been astounding. In an extraordinary column, ¡°Conservative Media Fiddle While the Military Burns,¡± veteran conservative journalist Robert Knight comments that ¡°¡homosexual activists and their allies are muscling through their agenda [through Congress], with nary a peep from the nation¡¯s conservative talking heads,¡± and that ¡°many conservative opinion leaders have run for the tall grass.¡±
Knight names names, saying that Erick Erickson¡¯s Red State, which describes itself as the leading conservative news blog for right of center online activists, has been AWOL in the battle. I¡¯ll name another¡ªHotair.com, which is owned by a Christian company, Salem Communications, is actually supporting repeal of the homosexual exclusion policy.
Into this void has stepped Senator John McCain, who has not been a favorite of conservatives on many occasions in the past and is facing a conservative challenger in the Republican Senate primary in Arizona. Perhaps for this reason©¤but also because he is a decorated war veteran who understands combat conditions©¤McCain has opposed repeal of the Pentagon¡¯s homosexual exclusion policy, known as ¡°Don¡¯t Ask, Don¡¯t Tell.¡± McCain points out that the troops were promised a comprehensive review before any legislative change was made and it is not due until December.
McCain noted that the vote in favor of repeal ¡°short circuits the ongoing Pentagon review of the policy and thereby denies our men and women in uniform a chance to have their voices heard on an important issue that affects them and their service. That is why all four Service Chiefs opposed legislative action at this time.¡±
Despite clear evidence that the troops are being betrayed by Congress and that their promised input into this proposed change is being dismissed in advance, the so-called conservative media have been mostly silent.
It¡¯s the conservative version of MoveOn.org. Liberals wanted to ¡°move on¡± from the issue of President Clinton¡¯s impeachment while many conservative talking heads act as if they want the debate over gays in the military to go away, so they, too, can ¡°move on¡± to other matters.
My suspicion is that they are afraid of getting flak from the vocal and militant homosexuals in the media. The gays who run and staff such organizations as Media Matters viciously and savagely attack anybody who stands in the way of their agenda. Plus, most major media organizations, including Fox News, contribute financially to such groups as the National Lesbian and Gay Journalists Association (NLGJA). So there is internal pressure to stay away from the issue or even favorably report on the gay agenda.
On the other hand, issues like Obama¡¯s Katrina in the Gulf and Joe Sestak¡¯s job offer are being covered non-stop on Fox News. The oil spill is under the jurisdiction of BP and the feds while the Sestak matter is in the hands of the Justice Department. This isn¡¯t satisfactory, but there¡¯s not much that conservatives can do about any of this, except talk and shout.
The difference is that the issue of gays in the military is on the front burner in Congress, as historic votes are taking place that will forever change the composition, the character and integrity of the Armed Forces of the United States . What is at stake is the survival of the all-volunteer force because a significant number of morally straight and normal soldiers will not want to shower or room with or take blood from the gays.
While some votes have taken place in the Senate Armed Services Committee and in the House of Representatives, repeal of the homosexual exclusion policy is NOT a done deal. A filibuster in the Senate is still possible and the House bill that includes the repeal is facing other difficulties.
The problem of the ¡°conservative¡± media is actually much worse than Knight depicts it. Consider the case of a ¡°conservative¡± columnist who is so determined to force open and active homosexuals into the military that he is claiming in print that it is irrational to believe that soldiers in combat may be exposed to the HIV-infected blood of gays in the ranks.
Steve Chapman of the Chicago Tribune, whose column is distributed by Townhall.com, protests my research about threats to the blood supply because ¡°recruits are already tested for HIV before induction, and the infected are not admitted¡± into the military. I have mentioned this in my columns on the matter. But it is besides my main point that the male homosexuals that could be welcomed into the Armed Forces are currently prohibited from donating blood. This ban is in place because the HIV tests are not 100 percent reliable.
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA), which bans gay blood, understands that men who have sex with men (MSM) are 46 to 86 times more likely to be newly infected with HIV. What¡¯s more, one can be HIV-free and still carry life-threatening diseases.
The FDA explains that ¡°MSM have an increased incidence and prevalence of several currently recognized transfusion-transmitted diseases¡±¡ªHepatitis B virus, HIV, syphilis, and cytomegalovirus. The FDA also says, ¡°There is a theoretical concern that MSM populations may also be at increased risk for other unrecognized transfusion-transmitted agents.¡±
That means another infectious agent could be lurking in the gay blood supply.
In her well-documented report, ¡°Asking for Trouble,¡± on the dangers of admitting homosexuals into the military, Dale O¡¯Leary notes that ¡°Gay men are far more likely than other men to be infected with one or more sexually transmitted diseases (STDs). Although they constitute no more than 1.5% of the adult population, they account for half of the new cases of HIV infection and the rate of infections among young gay men is increasing.¡±
What¡¯s more, some soldiers become infected after induction and (1) there is no guarantee that HIV tests will pick up the infection and (2) the tests are conducted only every two years after that.
Some of the facts are difficult to unearth. I have previously reported that 19,000 veterans are HIV-positive and under the care of the Veterans Administration. In fact, I have now learned that a more recent estimate puts the figure at 23,000. Ninety-seven percent of them are men.
Meanwhile, the Washington Post, under the sway of its homosexual editorial writer, Jonathan Capehart, a member of the NLGJA, is attacking Senator McCain for standing in the way of putting open and active homosexuals on the front lines of combat.
In a Saturday editorial, the paper complains, ¡°Mr. McCain once said he¡¯d accept the verdict of Pentagon brass on this matter. Now Mr. Gates and Adm. Mullen are on board, but Mr. McCain has vowed to ¡®do everything in my power¡¯ to fight the bill. It¡¯s sad to watch.¡±
It¡¯s sad to watch the Post publish an editorial that is slanted to the point of dishonesty. Gates and Mullen had promised the troops that any legislative change would wait until after the review was in. That promise has been broken by those in the House and on the Senate Armed Services Committee who just voted for repeal.
Gates and Mullen decided to go along with the betrayal of our troops and accept premature legislative action, but Gates has now told the soldiers in a Friday ¡°message¡± that ¡°the legislative process is long and complex,¡± that the soldiers and their families will be consulted, and that no final changes will be made until ¡°the President, the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs and I all can certify that we are ready to make this change without hurting unit cohesion, military readiness, military effectiveness and recruiting and retention.¡±
All of the service chiefs, however, are standing firm with McCain in demanding that legislative action wait until after that review is examined and evaluated. The top officers of the Army, Navy, Air Force, and Marines are reported to be ¡°furious¡± and feel ¡°betrayed¡± that Gates and Mullen have gone along with the liberals in Congress and the Obama Administration.
McCain has said, ¡°I am concerned that the men and women of our military will view this preemptive political action as a deep sign of disrespect and unwillingness to consider their views.¡±
He is correct. At a time when political leaders are already under fire across the country for failing to run our government in a responsible and accountable manner, what does it say that the White House and the Congress, under pressure from a special interest group, can so easily dismiss promises that were made to our service members and their families? Can there be anything more unpatriotic?
This policy change¡ªand the manner in which it was hastily voted on¡ªcan only demoralize our troops, in addition to jeopardizing military readiness, order and discipline.
But as we celebrate Memorial Day, let us remember that the proposed change has not yet become law and that conservatives in the media still have a chance to redeem themselves and tell the truth.