Seeing published remarks by Marine Corps Commandant James F. Amos, talking negatively about the possible repeal of the Pentagon’s “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy on gays serving openly in the military, a question comes to mind: What are Amos’ plans after military service? It’s not the first time Amos has questioned the wisdom of repealing DADT (as the policy is known inside the Beltway). You’ve got to wonder how many times Amos can be publicly at odds with President Obama, Defense Secretary Robert Gates and Joint Chiefs Chairman Mike Mullen on DADT before he gets word that he’s been invited to a wonderful retirement ceremony at Quantico.
Speaking to newspaper and wire service reporters, Amos said combat service requires such a focus that no distractions can be permitted. He said repealing the policy would harm unit cohesion. A Defense Department survey of armed services personnel found 58 percent of Marine combat unit members said repealing DADT would be a negative (compared to 48 percent in Army combat units). “The Marines came back and they said, ‘Look, anything that’s going to break or potentially break that focus and cause any kind of distraction may have an effect on cohesion,’ ” Amos said. “I don’t want to permit that opportunity to happen. And I’ll tell you why. If you go up to Bethesda [Naval] Hospital … Marines are up there with no legs, none. We’ve got Marines at Walter Reed [Army Medical Center] with no limbs.” Amos adds that if higher ups repeal the policy he’ll salute and move smartly to implement changes. But the odds are rising he won’t get that chance.
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