05/14/2010 12:10 pm ET | Updated May 25, 2011

James Inhofe: Soldiers 'Not Equipped' To Deal With Gay Comrades

Supporters of a repeal of the military's "Don't Ask Don't Tell" policy are stuck in a holding pattern as the Pentagon completes a study of a repeal's potential impact. Still, promises to repeal the policy have been repeatedly made by President Barack Obama, and the movement is buoyed significantly by the support of Admiral Mike Mullen, the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, who considers the lifting of the policy to be a matter of "integrity."

On the other hand, Unfrozen Caveman Senator Jim Inhofe (R-Okla.) has some issues! Here's Inhofe, in an interview on the American Family Association radio show on Wednesday:


INHOFE: For those of us -- and I'm one of them -- who have gone through the military, gone through basic training, and you stop and think -- it just doesn't make any sense. Second of all, it's just not working. You have women, men, then you have a third group to deal with, and they're not equipped to do that.

And you know -- you hear the stories all the time. A military guy -- I happen to be Army, and Army and Marines always feel that when we're out there, we're not doing it for the flag or the country; we're doing it for the guy in the next foxhole. And that would dramatically change that.

So much to wonder about, beginning with Inhofe's contention that "gay" represents a "third group," separate from "women" and "men." But the basic gist, according to Inhofe, is that despite rigorous training, clear mission parameters, an omnipresent command structure and soldier-to-soldier bonds forged in fire, there are just too many soldiers out there who will just bail on defending the United States if the gay panic gets to be too much to deal with.

All of which would indicate that it's these de facto deserters who would need to be discharged, not the gay soldiers. But, pray tell, how terrified are our fighting men and women, of "the gay?" As Amanda Terkel notes, not very:

Inhofe shouldn't assume that all members of the military are as homophobic as he is. A December 2006 survey of servicemembers who had served in Iraq or Afghanistan found that 73 percent of those polled were "comfortable with lesbians and gays." The Servicemembers Legal Defense Network has reported that more than 500 U.S. soldiers are "out" to their colleagues and continue to serve. When Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Adm. Michael Mullen announced his personal belief that now is the time to repeal DADT, he cited the fact that he has served with gay comrades since 1968.

If Inhofe would like to cite some actual evidence of how U.S. soldiers have abandoned their posts since 1968 because of an overarching fear of the gay soldiers who are known to have served throughout the military, I'd like to see it. Meanwhile, I'll note that our fighting men and women still do more before 9:00 a.m. than most people do all day, leaving them plenty of time for Lady Gaga lipdubs.

Inhofe Says U.S. Soldiers Will Be Unwilling To Fight And Die For Their Gay Comrades [ThinkProgress]

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