From Pruden's February 5 column in The Washington Times, titled, "There's nothing gay about this mission":
There's really not very much gay about war, as anybody who has seen a battlefield up close and personal will tell you. The nation's Army and Navy are organized for a simple ultimate mission, to kill people and break things.
You might think war is endless gaiety, like Mardi Gras, from this week's coverage of Senate Armed Services Committee hearings about whether to repeal the law enabling homosexuals to serve in the armed forces so long as nobody asks and they don't tell.
The military services have always discriminated against a lot of people in choosing who they want for the grim tasks and brutal duties of war. Congress and the courts have always granted the services wide latitude. The old, the halt, the lame, the one-legged man and even the man with flat feet are not allowed to serve, either. It would never have occurred to the generations who won America's wars to question such common sense. Now we have pregnant sailors and routinely send mothers of small children off to do the work of men, so why not oblige men who look upon other men with lust?
Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates and Adm. Mike Mullen, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, testified they were ready to welcome "open" gays into the ranks just as soon as Congress says it's OK, but neither man wanted to talk much about why many of their military colleagues think this would not be a good idea. More than a thousand retired generals and admirals, no longer at the mercy of the president or the bureaucracy, have signed a letter saying so.
Adm. Mullen wanted to talk mostly about how he's not like the homophobes who resist introducing confusion and uncertainty into the ranks. Navies once took small boys aboard ship as cabin boys to make life pleasant for the officers, and that seemed to work out all right. So what's the big deal?