As a retired Army officer who spent nearly 21 years on active duty, I pretty much share the opinion recently expressed by Bill Weger on this page ("The military is not a social experiment," Jan. 2). I would, however, like to explain it a little differently.
First and foremost, the military doesn't need servicemen and women who are there to promote an agenda other than national security. National security is not served by sacrificing unit cohesion and effectiveness to either discriminate against, or on behalf of, one particular group.
I served during the racial discrimination witch hunts and during the retirement of the Women's Army Corps. I sat through, and sometimes even presented, countless hours of classroom instruction, workshops, and endless parades of "experts" explaining how and why blacks or women were being treated unfairly. I watched the entire chain of command from corporal to general forced to coddle and caress whichever group happened to be the subject of the latest campaign. I watched special treatment of these soldiers in their assignments and their promotions.
I have seen what happens when the services change their focus from national defense to social engineering. It is a tragedy in peacetime and a catastrophe in wartime. I'm pretty sure homosexuals have served their country with great honor and distinction just as have blacks, women and other categories of human beings in the military. To all of them we owe our freedom and our prosperity.
But nothing good can come of the pro-homosexual campaign about to be foisted on the military, in which militant homosexuals constantly will test the limits of the services' ability to maintain order and discipline within the ranks as this new "special" group finds their place. I'm glad I won't be part of the process, and I'm saddened by what I believe will be the result.
There is no chance we have done the right thing by forcing the military services to provide openly homosexual personnel a place in the ranks. It will cost us dearly.