A famous cartoon in the late Wilhelmine publication Simplicissimus summarized an ideal of that authoritarian, anti-democratic state. “The perfect soldier” read the caption. And above it was a great muscular, brooding hulk of a man with a head on top of his body about the size of an egg. This was never the American, model, however. At least not before the arrival of the Bush Administration, with its deep reaches into every recess of the government and its tireless efforts to politicize anything and everything. The reach of the Bush Administration is shown in persecuting soldiers suspected of having a conscience – the Captain Fishbacks, Colonel Steeles, and Commander Diazes of the world, scapegoating the grunts, but shielding and protecting those who have dismantled the military’s ethical and moral traditions–like Major General Geoffrey Miller, who retired with honors after introducing torture in Guantánamo and Iraq and giving false testimony before Congress. Anyone suspected of deviating from the party line is vulnerable in this age.
And now we hear the story of Marine Captain Josh Gibbs, a quality control officer stationed in Fort Worth, Texas. He wrote an opinion piece in the Marine Corps Times expressing the view that “it’s time to allow gays to serve openly in the military.” That’s a view shared by roughly 70% of the American public, and most recently put forward in an op-ed by former chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff John Shalikashvili. Not terribly controversial. But what was the reaction? A week later he was notified that he was being relieved of duty due to “lack of confidence.” He is now being reassigned to Okinawa, Japan.
More evidence of the lunatic right maliciously attacking Americans in uniform. An increasingly frequent phenomenon. It’s hard to imagine what else they can do to destroy the morale of our military, but I’m sure they’re busily working on it now.