July 21, 2009

Putting another face on DADT

Go read this and tell me that there's a reason for DADT.

As he looks back on his career in a volunteer force that is largely composed of men and women who are married, a philosophical Alva knows its risks and sees dysfunction amid the high stress of war. Spouses and kids have seen their loved ones deploy for Iraq and Afghanistan again and again, but they enjoy the cushion of a fine-tuned support system.

Service to the nation is full of difficulties for gay troops as well, but their partners and children are largely unseen. They have no right to join support networks like family readiness groups, or to receive counseling and medical care. Some don't show up for ceremonies as partners deploy and return from war for fear of jeopardizing their careers.

“When all the buses are lined up to take all the soldiers, Marines or whatever, to get on the planes, you have all your family members there,” he said. “Same-sex partners aren't even going to the tarmac or the staging area to say goodbye because of that fear.”

There's no doubt in his mind that some of the thousands of troops killed in Iraq and Afghanistan were gay.

What Alva finds perhaps most galling and unjust is the lack of support that gays have when their partner has died for their country.

“Some of them actually had partners back home who were of same-sex relationships, and hopefully they were in contact with that other person's family, because who was going to call and give them the knock on the door and say, ‘By the way, your loved one has died'? No one.”

Lives unseen, unheard

Facing the truth

Back to war

Posted by mcblogger at July 21, 2009 03:27 PM

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