Saturday, March 17, 2007

White House: Bush "Appreciates the Sacrifices" of Gay Soldiers in Iraq?

Am I reading this right? At the March 13 White House press briefing with Bush advisor Dan Bartlett, the administration acknowledged the honorable gay and lesbian members of our forces in Iraq and also stated the president appreciates their sacrifices?
This seems like a small symbolic step forward in the struggle to bring US military policies over homosexuals on par with those of other NATO countries, without America suffering in her security one bit. I'll make the good people at the Servicemembers Legal Defense Network, who are doing the heavy lifting required for equality in the armed forces, aware of Barlett's statement, just in case they missed it. My mind wonders if there have been other Bush advisors who've made similar supportive remarks about our brothers and sisters in Iraq.
Well, if gay and lesbian bodies, and blood, are good enough for Bush to appreciate in his war on Iraq, why the hell can't the ban on gays in the military be lifted?
Actually, that's a weird sentence, since I really don't want to do a thing to help Bush get more meat for his grinding wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, but you get my point about gay equality and the military.
From the White House:

Press Briefing by Dan Bartlett, Counselor to the President
Filing Center
Holiday Inaugural
Meacuterida, Mexico

2:00 P.M. (Local)

MR. BARTLETT: Good afternoon, everyone. I'll start with a few brief comments, before I take your questions. [...]

Q Does the President condone the remarks about homosexuality by General Pace? And has he asked for him to apologize?

MR. BARTLETT: Well, President Bush has been informed about those remarks. He's also been informed about the comments that he has made as far as clarifying, that he made it very clear that his personal views on this matter has no influence on the policy of the United States government. The "don't ask, don't tell" policy has been longstanding, one the President supports, for reasons why the Department of Defense has often described for operational considerations. So he thought it was appropriate for the Chairman to make that clear distinction today in the statement that went out just shortly ago. [...]

Q Can I ask a question -- switching gears -- on General Pace? What message do thousands of gays in the military right now serving in Iraq -- what should they take from General Pace's message regarding mortality, when their lives are on the line --

MR. BARTLETT: I have no way to identify whether your premise is right about how many people are serving in Iraq, but all I can say is the President appreciates the sacrifice and service of every service member, and what they're doing on a daily basis to improve the situation on the ground and we can accomplish our goals there.

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