On these pages, I have written in the past year on several occasions how I can no longer in good conscience encourage young men or women to join our nation’s military. At the time, some of my readers expressed mild criticism for my position. But the repeal of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell,” and the open military service of homosexuals in the military, and now Defense Secretary Panetta’s lifting of the ban on women in combat beginning in 2016, makes the United States military an increasingly unwelcome (and dangerous) environment for more conservative and/or Christian believers. Even high-ranking general officers agree with an assessment that devout Christian and more conservative soldiers are no longer welcome in today’s Army. In fact, in 2010, Lieutenant General Thomas P. Bostick, then the Army’s deputy chief of staff in charge of personnel, said military members who dissent from Obama’s homosexual agenda should “get out.” General Bostick, speaking before several hundred troops at the European Command headquarters in Stuttgart, Germany, stated:
Unfortunately, we have a minority of service members who are still . . . bigoted and you will never be able to get rid of all of them. But these people opposing this new [homosexual] policy will need to get with the program, and if they can’t, they need to get out. No matter how much training and education of those in opposition, you’re always going to have those that [sic] oppose this on moral and religious grounds.” (Emphasis added.)
So, I guess that would apply to Christian/Orthodox Jews/Moslem soldiers in our new military.
But there is more. It is also a dangerous place for women. The February 2013 issue of Obstetrics and Gynecology (available here: http://journals.lww.com/greenjournal/Fulltext/2013/02000/Unintended_Pregnancy_Among_Active_Duty_Women_in.5.aspx ) reports that ten percent of women in the military said they had an “unintended pregnancy” in 2008, a figure significantly higher than rates in the general population. Dr. Daniel Grossman from the University of California, San Francisco, and his fellow researchers who worked on the study noted that sexual assault in the military could be a contributor to high rates of unintended pregnancy. Dr. Grossman, quoted by Reuters, said, “There are studies showing anywhere between 20 and 40 percent of servicewomen (experience) rape or attempted rape during their military career, and the vast majority don’t report it.” Dr. Vinita Goyal, who has studied unintended pregnancy in female veterans at Warren Alpert Medical School of Brown University in Providence, Rhode Island, observed, “It does definitely have implications for troop readiness, ability to deploy (and) troops in combat missions if they are potentially at high risk for unintended pregnancy and pregnant women can’t be deployed.” Soldiers and sailors who become pregnant while overseas or on ships must be evacuated back to the United States. Sexual harassment has also been a major problem in the military, and hearings were held on Capitol Hill just weeks ago in relation to a rash of sexual assaults at Lackland Air Force Base. Even the prestigious Air Force Academy has struggled with its own scandals surrounding inappropriate treatment of female cadets that went well beyond harassment.
And it is also dangerous for men as well. A review of “case synopses” of all 1,643 reports of sexual assault reported by the four branches of the military for the fiscal year ending September 30, 2009, found that 8.2 percent of all military sexual assault cases were homosexual. Based upon the review of case synopses, the most common type of homosexual assault is one in which the offender fondles or performs oral sex upon a sleeping victim. Assaults upon victims who are intoxicated are also common. Although thousands of homosexuals have been discharged from the military since the implementation of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” in 1993, many of those discharged have been found guilty of same-sex sexual assault. (I bet you never heard that from Katie Couric or read that in The New York Times.)
Finally, Ashley Broadway, an Army wife, was voted the 2013 Spouse of the Year for Fort Bragg, North Carolina. As the representative for Fort Bragg, she is now eligible for “Military Spouse” magazine’s overall Army Spouse of the Year. Ms. Broadway, who is married to Lt. Col. Heather Mack of Fort Bragg’s 1st Theater Sustainment Command, was denied membership in the Association of Bragg Officers’ Spouses. This was because Ms. Broadway does not have a spouse identification badge issued by the military as she is not recognized as a spouse under federal law. However, after Fort Bragg received national attention for its “discriminatory” conduct, Ms. Broadway has now been invited to join the Association of Bragg Officers’ Spouses. Ms. Broadway also recently announced that Colonel Mack gave birth to the couple’s second child, a baby girl, earlier this month.
You see, Dorothy, this is not your mother’s army anymore. War is always dangerous, of course, but now American military personnel, both men and women, increasingly should fear those on our side as well. So would you encourage any young Christian join our nation’s military now? I am afraid that I can no longer do so in good conscience.