Ethics Quote by an Ethics Hero: Adm. Mike Mullen

“No matter how I look at the issue, I cannot escape being troubled by the fact that we have in place a policy which forces young men and women to lie about who they are in order to defend their fellow citizens.”

U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff chairman Adm. Mike Mullen

Admiral Mullen made the statement testifying last week to the Senate Armed Services Committee, as he urged the repeal of the military’s “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy that permitted the military to discharge gay personnel once their sexual orientation became known, by whatever means.

[Special thanks to the Institute for Global Ethics for reminding me (via its weekly e-mail bulletin] that I had neglected to give Mullen credit last week for a much-needed endorsement of this policy change from a military leader of impeccable credibility.]

3 thoughts on “Ethics Quote by an Ethics Hero: Adm. Mike Mullen

  1. I really hope this gets resolved and moves forward. What a crazy “rule” to begin with. “Don’t Ask. Don’t Tell.” Ridiculous. Of course, I’m looking at it in the rear-view mirror. It was probably a good idea when you looked at it through the front windshield.

    What was the concern in the 90s? That openly gay men and women couldn’t serve in the military, and that the military would interrogate soldiers until they came out of the closet, and then discharge them? The rule probably served its purpose, but it is now time to move forward, and if we’re in a Toyota, we’ll never look back.

    • Tim, it was just a compromise to avoid a an ugly fight. Nobody ever thought it was a good idea, I don’t think. It was just a bastard product of bigotry, fear, political cowardice, cynicism, electoral politics and expediency. And if you’ll forgive me a political aside, I think it was the epitome of the approach of the entire Clinton Administration.

  2. Hooray for Admiral Mullen. A man with sense, and clearly one of the very few.

    Further to my previous comment on an earlier, related post on this topic: can’t we all get out of the Dark Ages on this issue?

    Does anyone really think that gay men join the military and risk their lives just so they can ogle other men and “hook up” with other gay soldiers? It would be a gazillion times easier to do this in civilian life. No, I think gay men enter the military to serve their country, and because they are patriots, period, and should be honored in the same way as other soldiers.

    Instead, moronic leadership seems to want them to wear big red “H” letters on their uniforms, to “warn” other soldiers and generally humiliate the wearers. (Ref. for illiterates: See Nathaniel Hawthorne’s “The Scarlet Letter,” wherein Hester Prynne, who committed adultery in Puritan New England, had to wear a big red “A” on her clothing to broadcast her sin and humiliation… By the way, if we followed that tack today, I’d say there’d probably be a designer clothes line just for all the big red A’s that literally millions of men and women would have to wear… smile.)

    Now that I’m thinking about it, I’m going to try to find out what other “qualifiers” apply to recruits to the armed services. Bet some of those will turn out to be a lot more disturbing to the much vaunted “camaraderie” that is required for a fighting force.

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