Letters to the editor

Nature of war

In the Nov. 21 editorial (p. 4), “Web of Contradictions,” the writers seem confused as to why the military does not embrace the “democratic ideals of tolerance and acceptance.” As one who has served in our armed forces for the last five years, I feel I can clarify the issue. Military standards of conduct are maintained to ensure good order and discipline, not democratic ideals and the freedom to express one’s lifestyle. The nature of war requires each member of a fighting force suppress their individual interests in favor of the greater good. Commanders do not “take a vote” among their troops before making tactical decisions; nor are they required to “accept” or “tolerate” an individual service member’s moral reservations about killing other human beings. If America’s military allowed such individualism, it would cease to be a well-equipped instrument of national defense and would quickly become nothing more than an armed mob.

This is why service members are prohibited from participating in political demonstrations, fraternizing among ranks, wearing eccentric hairstyles, etc. Disallowing homosexual conduct is only one of many measures designed to effectively maintain discipline, discipline which is responsible for America’s vast successes in defending the freedom. This is not to say that American military personnel do not value democratic ideals. Quite the opposite – they are, in sacrificing their own freedom to defend that of the American people, more aware of the value of freedom than a majority of the civilian sector.

The author is also puzzled by the fact Mr. Moloughney was discharged when he demonstrated the honesty, courage and integrity that the Navy so highly values. Military officers and officer candidates are not lauded for possessing these traits – they are minimum requirements. Military leaders are expected to observe and exemplify these principles 24 hours a day, seven days a week. No one gets a medal just because he told the truth. The fact that Mr. Moloughney “stood up” and informed his leadership that he was homosexual has no bearing on the decision to discharge him. His choice to openly acknowledge his sexual orientation violated military standards of conduct.

-Joseph C. Swanson
First year law student

Stick to the SA

I would like to say thanks to the Hatchet for its coverage of the Student Association over the last couple of weeks. But the paper seems to have switched your attacks from the SA, which is filled with morally corrupt people, to NROTC and the “don’t ask, don’t tell, don’t harass” policy.

Lets start with the title of your article, “ROTC, University policies differ.” That is not really true. “Don’t ask, don’t tell” is not a ROTC policy, it is an U.S. military policy. It is not as if the officers running the NROTC unit over on F Street created the policy or could change it.

If you disagree with it you should perhaps think about heading over to Arlington and talking with the Department of Defense. Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld would be a good person to start with, or perhaps General Richard Myers, the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs.

Of course the truth is neither Rumsfeld nor Myers can change the policy, because it is a consequence of a Presidential Directive, and the Uniform Code of Military Justice (UCMJ).

The “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy is a result of decisions made way above the level of ROTC, and is a consequence of homophobia on a societal level. Attacking ROTC will not solve that problem. Regardless of how you feel about a policy that emanates from Capitol Hill, you should not go after the people who get up at 5 a.m. and work harder than most of us could imagine for the simple privilege of one day risking their lives to protect us. Name me a group of better individuals than the Marine Corps and I’ll buy the Hatchet staff a root beer keg, and I won’t even use student body funds to do it. My advice to The Hatchet is that next November, wish the Marines a happy birthday and then go back to attacking the SA, at least we deserve it.

-Justin Oshana
senior, SA vice president for judicial and
legislative affairs

No alternatives

First of all, I would like to commend The Hatchet for its coverage of the ROTC’s policy towards gay students on GW’s campus and throughout the nation. While the article did not cover all of the points that I think are important concerning this issue, I found the piece to be objective, well-rounded and quite educational.

One thing that I wish that the article had touched on a bit more is the fact that students who discover that they are gay while in the ROTC and admit this discovery lose the quite generous scholarship that the military provided them with to attend GW. While military law allows the ROTC to do this, the University provides no alternative scholarship for these military outcasts. Even though Trachtenberg may be reluctant to question military policy, he could at least propose a plan to help those students who find themselves in this situation. Instead, like the ROTC, the University turns its back on its gay students and leaves them with little or no alternatives.

-Graham N. Murphy
sophomore, executive director of The Out Crowd

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