Medea Benjamin addresses something that has long bothered me about the whole Gay/Lesbians in the military political effort.
I didn’t have to “dodge the draft”. My physical appearance was such they sent me to the group that included out T to F transsexual and transgender people as well as obviously feminine gay men.
TS/TG wasn’t included in the Repeal of DADT.
Now I realize many TS/TG people have served honorably for a wide variety of reasons including sense of duty and thinking serving would help rid them of TS/TG feelings.
It just seems that this nation has been constantly engaged in imperialistic wars of dubious merit ever since the end of World War II.
Here’s what General Smedley Butler said regarding the military in his pamphlet “War is a Racket”:
I spent 33 years and four months in active military service and during that period I spent most of my time as a high class thug for Big Business, for Wall Street and the bankers. In short, I was a racketeer, a gangster for capitalism. I helped make Mexico and especially Tampico safe for American oil interests in 1914. I helped make Haiti and Cuba a decent place for the National City Bank boys to collect revenues in. I helped in the raping of half a dozen Central American republics for the benefit of Wall Street. I helped purify Nicaragua for the International Banking House of Brown Brothers in 1902–1912. I brought light to the Dominican Republic for the American sugar interests in 1916. I helped make Honduras right for the American fruit companies in 1903. In China in 1927 I helped see to it that Standard Oil went on its way unmolested. Looking back on it, I might have given Al Capone a few hints. The best he could do was to operate his racket in three districts. I operated on three continents.
During the Vietnam War, I understood when Mohammad Ali, then Cassius Clay said, “No Vietnamese ever called me nigger!” because no Vietnamese had ever called me a queer or deprived me of my education through bullying.
It seemed then and seems now that that the fight for freedom in Amerika involves fighting the Religious/Corporate/Fascism that rules us, not traveling to distant lands and murdering people so that the ultra rich who own the corporations can steal their resources and use their people as virtual slave labor.
If they reintroduce the draft, will they now be able to draft us even though we still do not have equality and protection from discrimination whipped up by faith based hate organizations?
I am as always troubled when an oppressed class puts so much effort into joining a corrupt institution rather than the struggle to end that corrupt institution.
We are currently engaged in military conflicts with at least 5 different nations including Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Yemen and Somalia.
We are on the knife’s edge of a new Korean war and are totally horny to go to war with Iran.
1984 lives. “We have always been at war with Eastasia.”
From Alternet: http://www.alternet.org/news/149290/to_the_gay_community%3A_now_that_you_can_join_the_military%2C_please_don%27t!/
By Medea Benjamin
December 21, 2010
The peace group I co-founded, CODEPINK, has not only been protesting the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, and the drone attacks in Pakistan, but we have been going to military recruiting stations, high schools and career fairs throughout the country encouraging our youth not to join the military. We talk to young people about the illegality of the wars under international law since we were not attacked by either Iraq or Afghanistan. We talk about how killing and maiming innocent civilians is morally wrong and creates new enemies, perpetuating the cycle of violence. We explain that the majority of Afghans and Iraqis want us out of their country and that these wars are not making us safer. We insist that our military should be used to defend us at home, not to invade other people’s lands.
We know that the military is one of the only ways many young people can afford a college education these days and that the financial crisis severely limits this generation’s career options. But we still encourage young men and women to look for other opportunities that don’t involved killing or being killed in wars we shouldn’t be fighting.
It might seem contradictory, then, that CODEPINK was an enthusiastic supporter of the rights for gays and lesbians to join and serve openly in the military. But within our organization, it was never even controversial — we stand up for the rights of all human beings. The decision to join the military or not should be determined by individual choice, not institutional discrimination.
We pressured our Congressional reps and attended every hearing with signs calling for the repeal of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell. We joined protests at the White House and rallies in Congressional districts. And we were in the Senate on Saturday when the historic vote passed, hugging and kissing our friends who had struggled so hard for this victory.
We understand that allowing gay soldiers to openly serve in the military is a crack in the armor of bigotry that will eventually open the way for gay people to marry and be guaranteed equality in the workplace. We understand this victory in the larger context of the march toward full human rights for this oppressed community. And who knows? Perhaps this victory will also serve to strengthen the military’s respect for human rights abroad.
We also understand the potential for a powerful alliance between the gay and anti-war communities. We can work together to help young people — gay and straight — find careers that won’t kill them, maim them, destroy them psychologically, or cause them to do harm to others. We can jointly reach out to those already in the military to speak out against the violations of the rights of peoples whose land we occupy. We can ask gay veterans to join groups like Veterans for Peace and Iraq Veterans Against the War. And we can work together to turn our military from an aggressive force to one that truly defends us here at home.
As we struggle to find a more civilized way to treat each other in this world, let us recognize the commonalities in the fight for gay rights and the fight to end war.
Medea Benjamin is cofounder of Global Exchange and CODEPINK:Women for Peace.