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Time to Stop Making Nice to the Military | The Nation

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The Notion

Unfiltered takes on politics, ideas and culture from Nation editors and contributors.

Time to Stop Making Nice to the Military

President Obama's go-slow approach to ending "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" discrimination in the military has left repeal on life support in a lame-duck session of Congress. Well thanks for nothing, Mr. President.

But it's not just him. How about our justice strategy? As we mark another Veterans—or Armistice—Day, with LGBT vets shut up and shut out, it's time we called an Armistice on making nice to our military.

Before another much-medaled macho man talks about unit cohesion and combat readiness—and why we simply must protect our boys from out gay men and lesbians—we need an answer. Just what is rape and sexual abuse doing for unit cohesion?

Gen. James Amos, the new commandant of the Marine Corps, recently told reporters that he was concerned about a possible loss of unit cohesion and combat readiness if "Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell" is repealed. It's the umpteenth time we've heard this.

According to SWAN, the Service Women's Action Network, one in three women is raped or sexually assaulted while serving in our military. I heard a Marine Corps captain choke back her pain this week. Her cohesion's barely holding up; is that just fine with General Amos?

Misogyny and homophobia go hand in hand. Listen to any service person talk about their training. Much of it actually encourages female-hate, or the hatred of the femme within. So no wonder "fag" is a label to be terrified of. The military will never be safe for LGBT people until it's safe for females and it's not. It's deadly.

It's time to stop asking servicemen and starred generals how safe they feel—and start bringing them into the dock to account for hate crimes. They've wrecked and ruined enough brave women. When they put that to rights, maybe we'll consider letting them employ the services of our precious gay and lesbian people.

The F Word is a regular commentary by Laura Flanders, the host of GRITtv and editor of At The Tea Party, out now from OR Books. GRITtv broadcasts weekdays on DISH Network and DIRECTv, on cable, and online at GRITtv.org and TheNation.com. Follow GRITtv or GRITlaura on Twitter and be our friend on

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