Only 26 percent of soldiers support a move to allow gays to serve openly. With the demands on the Armed Services, Meehan estimates that over 40,000 homosexuals would join the military if the ban is lifted. What he doesn't address are the tens of thousands who would not join or who would leave the service if the legislation is passed. As a veteran of the Marine Corps I can say that the defense of our country should not be sacrificed for the promotion of a political agenda.
It goes without saying that Perkins is playing fast and loose with the poll data (another 32% of soldiers are neutral towards a change, giving a strong 58% majority who are not at all opposed to serving with gay soldiers), but what struck me was Perkins threat of the "tens of thousands who would not join or who would leave the service" if the ban on openly gay serviceman was lifted. Is Perkins saying that these defections would be justified? Is he saying that he would not have defended America if it meant associating himself with gay comrades?
I don't think there is any way to avoid drawing from Mr. Perkins that he thinks that homosexuality is so abhorrent that he was quite willing to allow "the defense of our country [to be] sacrificed for the promotion" of his political agenda. This is, of course, his opinion, and he has the right to hold it. But I have no idea why I'm supposed to applaud it. And I have no intention of honoring his conditional service over the thousands of gay and lesbian patriots who are quite willing to endure the hostility of their peers to protect the country they love.
UPDATE: I can't decide if this is better or worse than the Pentagon's contribution to the resurfacing of this debate.