In a panel discussion at today's Values Voter Summit attacking efforts to allow gay men and lesbians to openly serve in the U.S. armed forces, Family Research Council president Tony Perkins and retired Lt. Col. Robert Maginnis casually smeared the militaries of vital U.S. allies who have aided U.S. efforts in Afghanistan. Watch:
MAGINNIS: To just stab us in the heart, on an issue that is fundamental to monotheistic groups like Christians and Muslims and others, is just suicide for an all-volunteer force. That's why countries like the ten largest militaries in the world, that have the ten largest militaries in the world say “no, this isn't the thing to do.” They spin this as if Great Britain and we ought to copy them and the Dutch. Well the fact is that 80 percent of the militaries in the world don't embrace this particular view.
PERKINS: Well, those that do, they're the ones that participate in parades, they don't fight wars to keep the nation -- the world free -
PERKINS: So there's a big difference.
While Perkins and Maginnis mock them as “the ones that participate in parades,” Australia, the United Kingdom, Germany, France, Italy, Spain, and Canada -- all of which allow gay men and lesbians to serve openly -- all have more than 1,000 service members deployed in Afghanistan. The United Kingdom and Canada have each suffered more than 100 casualties since the war began. Additionally, Australia and the United Kingdom both participated in the invasion of Iraq; Australia sent 2,000 troops while the UK originally contributed 46,000.
As for their claim that “the ten largest militaries in the world” don't allow gay men and lesbians to serve openly, that's a list that includes such prominent nations who “fight wars to keep the world free” as China, Russia, North Korea, and Egypt. That's generally not a list you want your country to be on where human rights issues are concerned.
As we've noted, Perkins and Maginnis are anti-gay bigots whose commentary on the issue of Don't Ask, Don't Tell is suspect:
Tony Perkins. In February 2 appearances on CNN Newsroom and CNN's Larry King Live, Family Research Council president Tony Perkins opposed the repeal of DADT and repeated the talking point that doing so would undermine unit cohesion. Perkins stated in October 2006 that neither Democrats nor Republicans appeared “likely to address the real issue” in the scandal involving former Rep. Mark Foley's (R-FL) interactions with congressional pages, “which is the link between homosexuality and child sexual abuse.” He added that "[i]gnoring this reality got the Catholic Church into trouble over abusive priests, and now it is doing the same to the House GOP leadership." More recently, he has used anti-gay rhetoric to attack Obama administration official Kevin Jennings.
Robert Maginnis. In his book, Unfriendly Fire: How The Gay Ban Undermines The Military And Weakens America, Frank writes that in the early 1990s, Lt. Col. Robert Maginnis, now a Human Eventscolumnist, wrote a “six-part profile of a typical homosexual” intended to bolster opponents of allowing gay men and lesbians to serve in the military titled “The Homosexual Subculture.” According to Frank:
“The Homosexual Subculture” cast the gay community as permanent rebels who scoffed at authority and could never conform to society. Gays use their “raw political power” to make a string of demands including “laws to prohibit discrimination,” pro-gay sex education, the “decriminalization of private sex acts between consenting 'persons,'” and acceptance of military service. This agenda, wrote Maginnis, amounted to a “homosexual assault.” In his counterassault, he launched into a tirade about the homosexual's destructive sexual and health practices. His obsessive attention to detail makes Ken Starr's later report on Bill Clinton's affair with Monica Lewinsky look like Roman poetry. According to Maginnis, studies showed that gay people “typically live a dangerously promiscuous lifestyle”: 43 percent had over five hundred sexual partners and 28 percent had over a thousand. “Some of their favorite places are 'gay' bars, 'gay' theaters and bathhouses.” The quotations around “gay” seemed to imply that the whole torrid affair was anything but happy and festive.
Maginnis indicted the mental health of gays and lesbians. “Homosexuals are a very unstable group,” he wrote, whose lifestyle “breeds enormous amounts of guilt” over their promiscuity, dishonesty, and failed relationships. “They are restless in their contacts, lonely, jealous, and neurotic depressive,” concluded the amateur psychiatrist. “As a category of people, homosexuals have a greater indiscipline problem than heterosexuals,” he stated, citing as evidence for this “indiscipline” - for reasons that are unclear - a greater likelihood of being murdered. [Page 38-39]