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Show Hearing For Homosexuals In The Military
By Tommy Sears
July 29, 2008

On Wednesday, July 23, Elaine Donnelly, president of the Center for Military Readiness, and retired Army Sgt. Maj. Brian Jones (web site) testified before the House Armed Services Subcommittee on Personnel on the issue of gays in the military. They were opposed by three veterans who told personal stories that, they claimed, made the case for repealing the 1993 law, frequently mislabeled “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.”

Chairwoman Rep. Susan Davis (D-Calif.) promised in her opening statement that the forum would be an open and civil discussion, but it quickly deteriorated into a show hearing that would have made Stalin proud.

Elaine and Sgt. Major Jones gave their opening statements, and shortly the rout was on. The Democrats’ tactic was to ask a lengthy question (which more times than not turned into a polemic against Elaine), expending much if not all of their allotted time. Any time left for a response from Elaine or Sgt. Maj. Jones was of little consequence, as they were cut off or shouted down by congressmen or congresswomen who then would launch into another mini-speech.

Clearly, the Democrats were not interested in answers. This is the testimony that liberals on the HASC did not want to hear:

Summary Statement of Elaine Donnelly, President, CMR — July 23, 2008 (web site)

Testimony of Sgt. Major Brian Jones, USA (Ret.) — July 23, 2008 (web site)

The object of the hearing was to demonize as morally repugnant (bigoted, homophobic, or worse) anyone who dared disagree with the Democrats’ and homosexual activists’ point of view. It was a replay of the treatment received by the former Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Marine Gen. Peter Pace. Sadly, Republicans were unprepared to respond in their statements or questions. The lack of apparent support for our position made it possible for the Democrats to be brutal, and matters were made worse by AWOL Republicans.

Committee members, some of whom Elaine and I had met with over many months to prepare for the hearing, just did not show up. Among those who did, some didn’t even ask questions or at least yield time to respond to the personal attacks. Someone had to give Donnelly or Jones the floor so that they could make the points the congressmen knew (or should have known) they were trying to make. Since the hearing, staff and other regular observers of Congress have commented to me that Wednesday’s session was the shoddiest display of decorum, particularly on the House Armed Services Committee, that they had ever seen.

Several of the Democrats criticized Elaine while asking questions of others – a slick, condescending technique that prevented her from responding. It was as if she were not in the room. In the few instances when she was able to begin an answer, they cut her off and admonished her for infringing on their allotted time.

Particularly capricious was Rep. Vic Snyder (D-Ark.). I found outrageous his gratuitous comments with regard to Elaine’s submitted testimony and motives. He insinuated that had Congressman Frank been there, Elaine would find his presence objectionable because Frank would “sexualize the atmosphere.” Snyder’s sarcastic manner and interruption of Elaine’s answer made it difficult for her to counter with the obvious – members of Congress do not cohabit with Barney Frank.

Moving on, Snyder stated that based on Elaine’s submitted testimony, the military should “only recruit lesbians” since they have the lowest incidence of HIV of any population. It was a sensational broadside, stated with the specific purpose of denigrating Elaine. More insidiously, it diverted attention from the real issue: elevation of risk to troops.

Our deployed servicemen and servicewomen are, by job description, in high-risk situations. So now we’re going to introduce a population (homosexuals) to the force whose risk of being non-deployable due to HIV infection is far greater than that of any other group? What kind of sense does that make? Like other Democrat members during the hearing, Snyder allowed Elaine no time to complete a response. The Democrats just refused to talk about the consequences of repealing the law.

Rep. John McHugh (R-N.Y.), the ranking member, was no help, staying silent while the Democrats asked one loaded, accusatory type of question after another. McHugh talked about having another hearing, to bring in the “experts” – like the Santa-Barbara-based Palm Center. Formerly named the Center for the Study of Sexual Minorities in the Military, the Palm Center is a so-called public-policy organization whose sole priority is repealing the law stating homosexuals are ineligible for military service. Clearly an objective source. (If you don’t detect the sarcasm, see Elaine’s article on their latest “study” on homosexuals’ effect on unit cohesion here. (web site) McHugh otherwise raised not the slightest objection to the tactics of the other side. Nor did he ask substantive questions on the matters of public policy that should have been the focus of the hearing.

Chris Shays (R-Ct.) showed up, even though he is not a member of the committee. He tried very hard to get Elaine to say something — anything – personally critical of the female Navy captain who was there. When she refused to do that and said she was there to discuss public policy, he began demagoguing Elaine, her testimony, and her arguments.

Subcommittee members on the Democratic side, with few exceptions, were demagoguing and flat-out rude – taking a shot at Elaine and then asking the other side to comment. One of the Democrat women asked her, “Mrs. Donnelly, when did you realize that you were a heterosexual?” And of Sgt. Maj. Jones, “Do you think homosexuality is morally wrong?” (He responded no; as a former Ranger and Delta Force soldier he saw it as an issue of unit cohesion.) Regardless of what they said, the committee members clearly were determined to make examples of them as the press and the Left did with retired General Pace a year and a half ago.

The irony is that the pre-judgments about Elaine and Sgt. Maj. Jones proved her point. If the law is repealed, when people are subjected to passive/aggressive behavior that sexualizes the intimate no-privacy atmosphere, especially in close combat units and submarines, their motives will be questioned. Unlike women complaining of harassment, the presumption will be bigotry, homophobia, or worse (again, the defamation of General Pace last year shows the pattern of serial demagoguery here). So no one will complain. They will just leave – or avoid the military in the first place. As a result, the military will lose thousands of good people.

Over a period of months, I personally met with and gave solid information about the law to committee staff and members – everything they needed to help us win or at least put up a fight. I don’t know why they did not show up to use that information, or to give Elaine and Sgt. Major Jones the opportunity to answer personal attacks while putting solid information on the record. Elaine and Sgt. Major Jones could have won the hearing, but they could not do it alone. Unless something changes, the military is going to get hit – hard.

These are statements that liberals on the HASC did not want to hear:

Summary Statement of Elaine Donnelly, President, CMR — July 23, 2008 (web site)

Testimony of Sgt. Major Brian Jones, USA (Ret.) — July 23, 2008 (web site)

–Tommy Sears is executive director of the Center for Military Readiness

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Note — The opinions expressed in this column are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the opinions, views, and/or philosophy of GOPUSA.

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