Peter J. Smith

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Former army law chief ‘can’t imagine anything more damaging’ than abandoning ‘don’t ask don’t tell’

Peter J. Smith

WASHINGTON, D.C., December 2, 2010 (LifeSiteNews.com) – A retired head of the U.S. Army’s criminal justice division has blasted the new Pentagon report on ‘don’t ask don’t tell’ for saying that concerns over open homosexuality in the armed forces were “exaggerated.”

Retired U.S. Army Col. Dick Black said he strongly disagrees with the assertion that military members’ concerns over open homosexuality in the ranks are “driven by misperceptions and stereotypes.” He made the remarks at a press conference hosted by Family Research Council on Wednesday.

In the executive report on the Pentagon’s study on how to repeal the 1993 law banning homosexuality, commonly referred by the name “don’t ask, don’t tell” (DADT), U.S. Army Gen. Carter F. Ham, and Jeh Charles Johnson, General Counsel for the Department of Defense, had written that concerns over open homosexual service were “exaggerated” and not consistent with the experiences of other service members.

“Repeatedly, we heard Service members express the view that ‘open’ homosexuality would lead to widespread and overt displays of effeminacy among men, homosexual promiscuity, harassment and unwelcome advances within units, invasions of personal privacy, and an overall erosion of standards of conduct, unit cohesion, and morality,” they wrote.

But Black took aim at Ham and Johnson’s remarks, saying they were “simply ignoring history on this matter.”

In 1993 the former chief conducted an exhaustive study of courts martial involving crimes perpetrated by homosexuals. “We found 102 convictions, serious convictions, over a four year period. About two-thirds of those offenses occurred on military installations, and about 84 percent were forcible attacks,” he said.

“The victims who spoke out, about half were fellow soldiers, half were children. About three quarters of the crimes were committed right in the barracks. Two-thirds involved senior officers or NCOs who would use the influence of their superior rank to coerce subordinates into having sex or submitting to sex.”

Black explained that in at least six cases, the assailants were HIV-positive, posing a further danger to their victims. His division also found 22 cases where the victims were assaulted while sleeping in the barracks.

In one egregious example, a pair of homosexual soldiers attacked a recruit showering alone at night. They strangled him into submission before perpetrating a sexual assault so traumatic that the victim was still recovering in a psychiatric hospital, said Black.

“For people to say they will simply ignore the comments of the military personnel, who have expressed concerns, is simply ignoring history on this matter.”

Black also disputed the report’s contention that the integration of open homosexuals into the military presents the same challenge as integrating women, saying, “it is simply no comparison.” He explained that women and men are separated in showers and in the barracks. “But homosexuals will eat, sleep, and shower in close quarters where same-sex attractions will invite serious trouble.”

He pointed out that most generals and admirals have voiced adamant opposition to allowing homosexuals to serve, and 1160 of them have petitioned Congress to keep DADT in place. “These people are not ideological. They are pragmatic.”

Black also added that Congress only codified the military’s policy on banning homosexual service in 1993, but that there had been a long-standing tradition against it as far back as the Revolutionary War.

Although Gen. George Washington was “desperate for every musket” to fight the British Army, Black said he adopted regulations against sodomy. “He recognized that the disruption caused by homosexuals within the armed forces was so great that it was a net negative, not a net positive.”

Black’s military career first began with the U.S. Marines during Vietnam, where he fought in hundreds of ground and air combat missions, and served aboard four naval vessels before his JAG career in the US Army.

“I cannot imagine anything more damaging to military disciple and order than lifting the ban on homosexuals in service,” he concluded.


The full Pentagon report on DADT repeal is available here.

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