The Washington Independent
The Washington Independent

Don’t Ask Don’t Tell: Not Every Marine into the Fight After All

Marine Gen. James T. Conway, the commandant of the Marine Corps, became the first military service chief -- or any flag officer, for that matter, so far -- to

Paolo Reyna
News
Last updated: Jul 31, 2020 | Feb 26, 2010

Marine Gen. James T. Conway, the commandant of the Marine Corps, became the first military service chief — or any flag officer, for that matter, so far — to oppose repeal of ‘Don’t Ask Don’t Tell’ during a Senate Armed Services Committee hearing yesterday.

“My personal opinion is that unless we can strip away the emotion, agenda and politics and ask [whether] we somehow enhance the war-fighting of the United States Marine Corps by allowing homosexuals to openly serve, then we haven’t addressed it from the correct perspective,” Conway said.

Conway is implicitly assuming that the interests of the Corps and the interests of gays and lesbians are two different things. But there are, in fact, gay Marines. In early 2007, Gen. Conway famously sent a memo, known as the ‘Every Marine Into The Fight’ memo, to the Corps, instructing them that it was his expectation for every Marine seek a combat deployment. His testimony sends the message that some Marines are more valued than others — not for their combat prowess but for their identity. I’m having trouble finding a full transcript of the hearing, but none of the reports about it indicate that Conway made an argument for why repealing ‘Don’t Ask Don’t Tell’ would reduce combat readiness, something that has not happened in any military where open gay service is permitted, as Adm. Giampaolo Di Paola, chairman of the NATO Military Committee, indicated to CNN earlier this week.

Paolo Reyna | Paolo is a senior at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, majoring in International Studies with a Latin American emphasis. During the fall semester of 2012, he had the opportunity to study abroad in Peru, which piqued his interest in international growth. He learned about the disparities that impact indigenous peoples, got a taste of Peruvian culture, and improved his Spanish skills. Mitchel interned with the Chicago Council on Global Affairs, conducting research on food security in Latin America, after being inspired by his foreign experience. He wants to work in international development and for a government department, writing legislation. He loves playing intramural basketball and practicing for the Chicago marathon when he is not thinking about current events in Latin America.

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