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Republican lawmaker calls for end to military's gay ban

shuamort

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Republican lawmaker urging end to 'don't ask, don't tell' policy

At odds with her party's leadership, Republican Congresswoman Ileana Ros-Lehtinen of Florida is urging the Pentagon to end ``don't ask, don't tell'' and allow gay men and lesbians to join and remain in the military.

``We've tried the policy. I don't think it works. And we've spent a lot of money enforcing it,'' said Ros-Lehtinen, a member of the Subcommittee on National Security, Emerging Threats and International Relations, who became a co-sponsor of the bill on Tuesday.

``We investigate people. Bring them up on charges. Basically wreck their lives. ... People who've signed up to serve our country. We should be thanking them,'' she said.

Although her support won't change the law overnight, it represents a dramatic break with GOP leadership over a hot-button issue that has split the party and the nation.

Ros-Lehtinen, along with House Republicans Christopher Shays of Connecticut and Jim Kolbe of Arizona, joins 70 Democrats in support of the Military Readiness Enhancement Act, introduced by Rep. Marty Meehan, D-Mass., last month to repeal the longtime gay ban.

``Don't ask, don't tell'' became law in 1993, a compromise after President Bill Clinton sought to relax military policy and allow gays to serve openly. The law, which easily passed in both the House and Senate, prohibits commanders and investigators from prying into a service member's sex life, but calls for military discharge if someone in the armed service acknowledges he or she is gay.

``It doesn't make any sense,'' Ros-Lehtinen said of the ban. ``There's no scientific evidence that sexual orientation has an effect on the ability to perform as a military officer or a buck private.''

Nearly 10,000 men and women have been discharged under ``don't ask, don't tell,'' which has cost the U.S. government more than $200 million to enforce since passage in 1993, according to the Servicemembers Legal Defense Network , a Washington gay-rights group.

Last week, an Army sergeant who was awarded a Purple Heart after being wounded in Iraq publicly disclosed his homosexuality. He risks going to jail and an early discharge from the service.

``I know a ton of gay men that would be more than willing to stay in the Army if they could just be open,'' Sgt. Robert Stout, 23, told The Associated Press. ``But if we have to stay here and hide our lives all the time, it's just not worth it.''

Ros-Lehtinen, 52, said the military ``should get the best men and women regardless of their sexual orientation.''

``It doesn't seem the best military tradition to exclude people because of their sexual orientation,'' she said. ``They can serve with as much distinction as anyone else.''

Ros-Lehtinen's husband, former acting U.S. Attorney Dexter Lehtinen, 59, was awarded a Purple Heart for severe facial injuries he received during Army combat in Vietnam. And her stepson, Douglas Lehtinen, 28, is a Marine officer scheduled to be deployed this summer to Iraq.

``We've had these discussions in our family,'' Ros-Lehtinen said. ``Douglas would have no problem serving alongside anyone who's capable.''

``In Iraq and Afghanistan we are fighting alongside coalition forces that have in them gay men and women,'' Ros-Lehtinen said. ``England is actively recruiting gay men and women to join their armed forces.''

Ros-Lehtinen said she has heard the arguments against allowing them to serve (straight men not wanting to shower with gay men, etc.) and that they're ``ludicrous.''

``It's the same kind of talk we heard about women serving in the military and African Americans,'' she said.

Congressmen Alcee L. Hastings, D-Fla., and Robert Wexler, D-Fla., also are co-sponsors of lifting the gay ban.

``If you're in the military, the only concern should be if you shoot straight - not if you are straight,'' Hastings said.

The bill - which has no companion legislation in the Senate - has a long way to go before becoming law. First, it needs to get out of committee.

``The odds are very small, unless the top military brass would embrace it,'' Wexler said. ``When was the last time it snowed in South Florida?''

U.S. Rep. Duncan Hunter, R-Calif., who chairs the House Armed Services Committee, has consistently voted against gay-rights issues, according to Human Rights Campaign, a pro-gay Washington group that ranks lawmakers on a scale of 0 to 100, 100 being the highest level of support.

Hunter ranks 0; Ros-Lehtinen ranks 86, according to HRC's 2004 report.

Two years ago, HRC sent Ros-Lehtinen a thank-you note for ``the totality of her record, not just one vote.''

Ros-Lehtinen ``has really taken a leadership issue on repealing the military's gay ban among Republicans,'' said Steve Ralls, communications director for the Servicemembers Legal Defense Network.

``Her endorsement, her sponsorship of the bill, is going to lead a lot of other moderate Republicans in the House to come on board,'' he said.
 

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Sad, one of the few things that Clinton sighed that I 100% agree with.

"Don't ask, don't tell" should be the standard across the board - including teachers.

It does 2 things:
1. Keeps sexual orientation to themselves (I could careless if one is homosexual or not - it's none of my business.)
2. Maintains a higher standard by keeping sex out of the equation


I just do not understand why 'coming out of the closet' is such a big deal.
Who cares but the selfish person making the statment?
 

shuamort

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vauge said:
Sad, one of the few things that Clinton sighed that I 100% agree with.

"Don't ask, don't tell" should be the standard across the board - including teachers.

It does 2 things:
1. Keeps sexual orientation to themselves (I could careless if one is homosexual or not - it's none of my business.)
2. Maintains a higher standard by keeping sex out of the equation


I just do not understand why 'coming out of the closet' is such a big deal.
Who cares but the selfish person making the statment?
I couldn't agree with you more. I don't care if someone is straight, gay, bi, or whatever. That's their business and is as important as their religion, nationality, or any of that other jazz.

I would add that there shouldn't be laws preventing people from serving in the military based on that private information either.
 

Arch Enemy

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I, as well, agree with Vague.

But I think that if someone wants to fight and die for their country they should be allowed too.. if draft occurred then it wouldn't matter if you're gay or not, you're going to be fighting.
 

pwo

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Me three vauge,
We don't have a ban on gays in the military as long as they aren't parading around, making a big deal about being gay. Does anyone know why it is costing us money, because I don't.
Cost of not asking: $0
Cost of not telling: $0
People keeping their business to themselves: priceless
 

shuamort

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pwo said:
Me three vauge,
We don't have a ban on gays in the military as long as they aren't parading around, making a big deal about being gay. Does anyone know why it is costing us money, because I don't.
Cost of not asking: $0
Cost of not telling: $0
People keeping their business to themselves: priceless
Because investigations are still going on, they are allowed to spend resources to find out if they are or are not. Between 1994-2004, 10335 people have been discharged under the "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" policy. Page 5 of this .pdf gives the cost break-out per year of this policy.

The full policy of the bill is actually "Don't Ask, Don't Tell, Don't Pursue, Don't Harass"

Don’t Ask. Commanders or appointed inquiry officials shall not ask, and members shall not be required to reveal, their sexual orientation.

Don’t Tell. “A basis for discharge exists if . . . [t">he member has said that he or she is a homosexual or bisexual, or made some other statement that indicates a propensity or intent to engage in homosexual acts . . . .”

Don’t Pursue. More than a dozen specific investigative limits as laid out in DoD instructions and directives comprise “Don’t Pursue.” It is the most complicated and least understood component of the policy. These investigative limits establish a minimum threshold to start an inquiry and restrict the scope of an inquiry even when one is properly initiated.

A service member may be investigated and administratively discharged if they:

1) make a statement that they are lesbian, gay or bisexual;

2) engage in physical contact with someone of the same sex for the purposes of sexual gratification; or

3) marry, or attempt to marry, someone of the same sex.

Only a service member’s commanding officer may initiate an inquiry into homosexual conduct. In order to begin an inquiry, the commanding officer must receive credible information from a reliable source that a service member has violated the policy. Actions that are associational behavior, such as having gay friends, going to a gay bar, attending gay pride events, and reading gay magazines or books, are never to be considered credible. In addition, a service member’s report to his/her command regarding harassment or assault based on perceived sexuality is never to be considered credible evidence.

If a determination is made that credible information exists that a service member has violated the policy, a service member’s commanding officer may initiate a “limited inquiry” into the allegation or statement. That inquiry is limited in two primary ways. First, the command may only investigate the factual circumstances directly relevant to the specific allegation(s). Second, in statements cases, the command may only question the service member, his/her chain of command, and anyone that the service member suggests. In most cases of homosexual statement, no investigation is necessary. Cases involving sexual acts between consenting adults should be dealt with administratively, and criminal investigators should not be involved.

The command may not attempt to gather additional information not relevant to the specific act or allegation, and the command may not question anyone outside of those listed above without approval from the Secretary of that Service. Such an investigation is considered a “substantial investigation.” In order to request authority to conduct a “substantial investigation,” the service member’s command must be able to clearly articulate an appropriate basis for an investigation.

As with a “limited inquiry,” only a service member’s commanding officer has the authority to request permission to conduct a “substantial investigation.” By definition, a “substantial investigation” is anything that extends beyond questioning the service member, the service member’s immediate chain of command, and anyone the service member suggests.

Don’t Harass. “The Armed Forces do not tolerate harassment or violence against any service member, for any reason.” There are many regulations and laws that prohibit harassment and can be applied to anti-gay harassment cases. Harassment can take different forms, ranging from a hostile climate rife with anti-gay comments, to direct verbal and physical abuse to death threats.
What I did find interesting is that Clinton spoke out against this policy in October 2003 and said that it was time to repeal it and let gays serve in the military without these restrictions.
 

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I don't understand. Are these investigations because someone says that they wrongfully got kicked out and the military is tryin to see if they are gay, or what? because if they are doing investigations on suspected gay soilders, that is a lot like asking.

Maybe it was just too hard for Clinton to pass a bill allowing gays, so he settled for "Don't Ask, Don't Tell".
 

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pwo said:
I don't understand. Are these investigations because someone says that they wrongfully got kicked out and the military is tryin to see if they are gay, or what? because if they are doing investigations on suspected gay soilders, that is a lot like asking.

Maybe it was just too hard for Clinton to pass a bill allowing gays, so he settled for "Don't Ask, Don't Tell".
According to this article:
A congressional study on the policy's impact found that the cost of recruiting and training replacements is estimated at nearly $200 million.

This article elucidates further:
The estimated cost was for recruiting and training replacements from 1994 through 2003 for the 9,488 troops discharged from the Army, Navy, Air Force or Marine Corps because of the policy, the General Accountability Office estimated.

The study released Thursday said the government does not collect financial information specific to each individual’s case. The investigative arm of Congress estimated the costs based on how much the Pentagon and each service branch spends to recruit and train the general military population.
 

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Do the math. That is $21,079.26 for each person. Damn that's a lot of money. I may of changed my mind, take gays out period. Too many people are asking or too many telling.
 

Urethra Franklin

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You still have a ban on gays in the military?
What a backward country.
Can your women vote?
Do y'all still have slavery?
 

ShamMol

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vauge said:
Sad, one of the few things that Clinton sighed that I 100% agree with.

"Don't ask, don't tell" should be the standard across the board - including teachers.

It does 2 things:
1. Keeps sexual orientation to themselves (I could careless if one is homosexual or not - it's none of my business.)
2. Maintains a higher standard by keeping sex out of the equation


I just do not understand why 'coming out of the closet' is such a big deal.
Who cares but the selfish person making the statment?
First off on cost, the previously stated posts show that it is not cost effective to have a so-called ban (even though there isn't one officially on being gay).

Second, if you have ever had a gay friend, coming out of the closet is one of the most important events in their lives, admitting to the world taht they are not like everyone else. Having a policy that diminishes that is inherently wrong.

third, in responding to vauges post about keeping it to themselves, why should they not be allowed to tell who they are. being gay is just one part of the massive equation of what makes up the person (same for being straight) and to deny that is to deny a part of yourself.

fourth, also in response to vauge, keeping sex out of the equation is preposterous. What about locker-room talk, what about women, what about everyone. It is bound to come up in conversation and should theoretically be allowed. Get me some proof that talking about or hearing about sex diminishes someone's fighting capabilty.
 

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First off on cost, the previously stated posts show that it is not cost effective to have a so-called ban (even though there isn't one officially on being gay).

This does indeed make it questionable.

Second, if you have ever had a gay friend, coming out of the closet is one of the most important events in their lives, admitting to the world taht they are not like everyone else. Having a policy that diminishes that is inherently wrong.

I would soon loose a friend. Again, I don't care. If they are arrogant enough to do this I do not want them in my circle. Nothing against gays, but keep it to yourself. Tell me personally, if the subject ever comes up - I can handle it. No need to tell the world like it is some world altering event. It proves that they believe this is their world and we are living in it rather than our world and we are both a part of it.

third, in responding to vauges post about keeping it to themselves, why should they not be allowed to tell who they are. being gay is just one part of the massive equation of what makes up the person (same for being straight) and to deny that is to deny a part of yourself.

They volunteered to be in the military. Um... they should respect the rules.

fourth, also in response to vauge, keeping sex out of the equation is preposterous. What about locker-room talk, what about women, what about everyone. It is bound to come up in conversation and should theoretically be allowed. Get me some proof that talking about or hearing about sex diminishes someone's fighting capabilty.

Keeping sexual orientation OUT of the equation would keep the homophobes away from them. I would not doubt there have been studies to indicate the effects of homosexuals among the heterosexual men. When the testosterone of fighting comes out - the fact that a man is gay should be out of the equation and the enemy should be the only concern. Homosexuals would get picked first or last depending on the situation.

By not knowing if another man is gay or not, it keeps everyone on an equal ground physiologically and the emphasis on the issue at hand.
 

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vauge said:
I would soon loose a friend. Again, I don't care. If they are arrogant enough to do this I do not want them in my circle. Nothing against gays, but keep it to yourself. Tell me personally, if the subject ever comes up - I can handle it. No need to tell the world like it is some world altering event. It proves that they believe this is their world and we are living in it rather than our world and we are both a part of it.
Wait a second, if your friend turned out to be gay, he wouldn't be a friend any more? Arrogance isn't what it is, what coming out is displaying a part of yourself and finally acknowledging that you are who you are and not someone hiding from society. To them, it is one of the most important steps in life...

They volunteered to be in the military. Um... they should respect the rules.
Even if the rules are inherently biased? It is not fair for someone to deny a part of themselves just so the other members of the military can rest easy at night, is it?

Keeping sexual orientation OUT of the equation would keep the homophobes away from them. I would not doubt there have been studies to indicate the effects of homosexuals among the heterosexual men. When the testosterone of fighting comes out - the fact that a man is gay should be out of the equation and the enemy should be the only concern. Homosexuals would get picked first or last depending on the situation.
Homophobes should have realize that what they believe is wrong by todays standards. Do homosexuals fight any less bravely, fight with any less distiction, do anything completely different from the other troops? No, they don't. They do the exact same thing because they are ordered to do so and their sexual orientation has nothing to do with that. The fact is that inherent discrimination is always wrong.

By not knowing if another man is gay or not, it keeps everyone on an equal ground physiologically and the emphasis on the issue at hand.
The emphasis should never be on anything other than the enemy and training, but the fact that someone is gay should not have any effect on the troops. And, if it does, those troops are in the wrong and should be punished, not the other way around.
 

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ShamMol said:
Wait a second, if your friend turned out to be gay, he wouldn't be a friend any more? Arrogance isn't what it is, what coming out is displaying a part of yourself and finally acknowledging that you are who you are and not someone hiding from society. To them, it is one of the most important steps in life...
Let me quote what I did indeed write.

I would soon loose a friend. Again, I don't care. If they are arrogant enough to do this I do not want them in my circle.

I do not need arrogant folks in my circle. I find no need for them. Regardless if they are gay, green, purple, or mauve. Yes, I believe it is arrogance. Screaming from the top of rooftops - "Except me! I am hetrosexual!" Silly sounding isn't it? It's on the same scale. The type of person that demands exceptance is arrogant and in my opinion does not warrant crossing the street for. Respect is earned not requested. I have a gay friend that has earned my respect. It has nothing to do with his 'coming out' because that never happened. He told me he was gay and I let him know my thoughts on the matter. He seems a damn good person. We respect each others idea of morals and can still be friends.

The type of coming out I am refering to is the guys/gals that calls all thier friends or emails everyone and thier brother thier new founded sexual orientation. Bah, they need to get a doctor - they have more issues than whom they are attracted to.
 

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Hey vauge,
I hope you aren't doing anything tommarow afternoon.
I have called CNN,CBS,FOX. Because at 4 pm eastern standard time. I am having a press conference to talk about my sexual orrientation. Me and my 10 thousand dollar lawyer have prepared a statement. Then I will be on Oprah, Larry King, and Bill O'Reilly to discuss it some more. Then I will e-mail 1.5 million people just to let them know. It will be a big event for me, I hope you bought me a coming out present, something expensive.
Ha Ha Ha. Give me a break. :lol:
 

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vauge said:
Let me quote what I did indeed write.

I would soon loose a friend. Again, I don't care. If they are arrogant enough to do this I do not want them in my circle.

I do not need arrogant folks in my circle. I find no need for them. Regardless if they are gay, green, purple, or mauve. Yes, I believe it is arrogance. Screaming from the top of rooftops - "Except me! I am hetrosexual!" Silly sounding isn't it? It's on the same scale. The type of person that demands exceptance is arrogant and in my opinion does not warrant crossing the street for. Respect is earned not requested. I have a gay friend that has earned my respect. It has nothing to do with his 'coming out' because that never happened. He told me he was gay and I let him know my thoughts on the matter. He seems a damn good person. We respect each others idea of morals and can still be friends.

The type of coming out I am refering to is the guys/gals that calls all thier friends or emails everyone and thier brother thier new founded sexual orientation. Bah, they need to get a doctor - they have more issues than whom they are attracted to.
Alright, so you have no need for a homosexual who does what almost every single homosexual does at some point in their life...fine, Ill accept that. Do you want to respond to the other stuff cause i would find it interesting to hear what you ahve to say (not a challenge, i am actually interested).
 

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Urethra Franklin said:
You still have a ban on gays in the military?
What a backward country.
Can your women vote?
Do y'all still have slavery?
We have people here who don't think like you all do.

"What a backward country" win a war, get some respect for the United States, learn some American History and quit acting like a snob.

Does France even have other genders except "male"?

I really am tired of your stupid attempts at jokes.
 

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ShamMol said:
Even if the rules are inherently biased? It is not fair for someone to deny a part of themselves just so the other members of the military can rest easy at night, is it?
Those rules are NOT based on the constitution. When you sign up for military service your rights are waived and you are owned by the government.

Homophobes should have realize that what they believe is wrong by todays standards. Do homosexuals fight any less bravely, fight with any less distiction, do anything completely different from the other troops? No, they don't. They do the exact same thing because they are ordered to do so and their sexual orientation has nothing to do with that. The fact is that inherent discrimination is always wrong.
Your right.
Do women fight any differently than men? Does a person with more estrogen or testosterone fight differnetly regardless of thier parts? Are females stronger than men? Are men stronger than women? The point, not everyone fights the same. The answer to all the above questions is a profound YES.

The emphasis should never be on anything other than the enemy and training, but the fact that someone is gay should not have any effect on the troops. And, if it does, those troops are in the wrong and should be punished, not the other way around.
Agreed. But, I believe it is human nature. It's called being a team. Working as one.

The same would apply if there were a person that could not speak english in the group - while his competence may be extreamly high - everyone would still question him. He would be the odd man out. In situations that require quick and intelligent responses any additional factors can be harmful or fatal. Soldiers simply do not need additional personal factors playing a role.
 

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vauge said:
Those rules are NOT based on the constitution. When you sign up for military service your rights are waived and you are owned by the government.
are not all people created equal? True, it does not face the same discrimination by the courts as race does, but it still faces some scrutiny in job situations, this one is no difference.
Your right.
Do women fight any differently than men? Does a person with more estrogen or testosterone fight differnetly regardless of thier parts? Are females stronger than men? Are men stronger than women? The point, not everyone fights the same. The answer to all the above questions is a profound YES.
So, just because someone fights differently (and i have seen or heard absolutely no evidence to that fact) they should not be allowed to fight for what they believe in, they can't fight for their country should they choose to? That is a load of (insert explicative here).
Agreed. But, I believe it is human nature. It's called being a team. Working as one.

The same would apply if there were a person that could not speak english in the group - while his competence may be extreamly high - everyone would still question him. He would be the odd man out. In situations that require quick and intelligent responses any additional factors can be harmful or fatal. Soldiers simply do not need additional personal factors playing a role.
Just because it is human nature doesn't mean it has to be tolerated. Show me concrete evidence that they wouldn't function as a team if they knew that someone in that team was gay. Language is completely different. That is a barrier that effects a unit's ability to communicate-which is completely different than sexual orientation. When you are in a fight, you aren't thinking "Oh sh*t, I can't rely on him, he's a fag." No, youre thinking "Oh sh*t, I am being shot at, who can help? I need backup (or whatever)." You aren't thinking about that, it is a life and death situation, you are worried about your team members getting out alive and yourself getting out alive and hurting the enemy. You aren't thinking about the fact he is gay (show me credible evidence to the contrary).
 

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ShamMol said:
Just because it is human nature doesn't mean it has to be tolerated. Show me concrete evidence that they wouldn't function as a team if they knew that someone in that team was gay. Language is completely different. That is a barrier that effects a unit's ability to communicate-which is completely different than sexual orientation. When you are in a fight, you aren't thinking "Oh sh*t, I can't rely on him, he's a fag." No, youre thinking "Oh sh*t, I am being shot at, who can help? I need backup (or whatever)." You aren't thinking about that, it is a life and death situation, you are worried about your team members getting out alive and yourself getting out alive and hurting the enemy. You aren't thinking about the fact he is gay (show me credible evidence to the contrary).
As I stated before, there may or may not be "sufficent" evidence nor would there be sufficent evidence for either side.

Here is a quote from a pretty good editorial. This actually has more support for gays in the military. But, as you can tell from this piece, it is not a new concept nor is the US unique in a gay ban.

Source: http://www.facts.com/icof/i00062.htm

Defenders of the "don't ask, don't tell" policy argue that the military must do what it needs to maintain the strongest possible fighting force. In order to carry out that obligation, they say, military leaders must have the authority and discretion to set rules as they see fit to keep up morale and maintain order. On the issue of gay people's service, they say, if military commanders maintain that allowing gays and lesbians to serve openly would be detrimental to morale and discipline, then courts and the public should respect that decision. Throughout the debate over the gay ban in 1993, Powell repeatedly asserted that ending the ban would undermine "the cohesion and well-being of the force." A majority of enlisted personnel opposed lifting the ban--a February 1993 Los Angeles Times survey found that 76% of enlisted men and 55% of enlisted women wanted to keep it. Ban supporters were concerned that a majority of heterosexual soldiers would be made uncomfortable by living and working in close quarters with openly gay colleagues. They believed that the presence of gays and lesbians would cause friction, resentment and distrust within military units, destroying soldiers' ability to work and fight together.
 

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Arch Enemy said:
We have people here who don't think like you all do..
So you have people who can think?
Arch Enemy said:
win a war,
.
Like that war of independence you needed Lafayette's help with?


Arch Enemy said:
get some respect for the United States,.
Earn it apple-pie boy


Arch Enemy said:
learn some American History ,.
Do you mean United Statesian history?
Shall we start with the slave trade?

Arch Enemy said:
and quit acting like a snob.,.
It's hard not to around you
Arch Enemy said:
Does France even have other genders except "male"?.,.
Strange question. We have men and women in France, hence two genders.
Arch Enemy said:
I really am tired of your stupid attempts at jokes.
Who's joking?
 

Urethra Franklin

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Arch Enemy said:
plus it's "Ya'll"

Proof that United Statesian's bastardise the English language.
An apostrophe replaces a missing letter or letters. So in "Y'all" the apostrophe replaces the missing "ou" of "You all"
If you split the word "all" to make as you suggest an "a'll", then pray tell, what is the apostrophe replacing?
Back to first grade young man.
 

Kenneth T. Cornelius

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Urethra Franklin: Like that war of independence you needed Lafayette's help with?
Okay, so this is just part of a little food fight you and Arch Enemy are having, and I'm not going to make any of the obvious repostes, since I don't want to continue in that vein.

We are, I think, eternally grateful to France for her help, and we wouldn't most likely have won the Revolutionary War without it. That said, the practical effect of losing that war would not have been too awfully different than winning it. Initially, the Brits would have undoubtedly hung quite a few prominent leaders, but power would have inevitably passed to the colonies with eventual independence. In the meantime, slavery would have been abolished without the necessity of a civil war.
 

ShamMol

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vauge said:
As I stated before, there may or may not be "sufficent" evidence nor would there be sufficent evidence for either side.
ok, so can we both agree on this fact that there probably is not sufficient evidence proving or disproving either side?

Here is a quote from a pretty good editorial. This actually has more support for gays in the military. But, as you can tell from this piece, it is not a new concept nor is the US unique in a gay ban.

Source: http://www.facts.com/icof/i00062.htm
Who was it that said that good leaders need to make unpopular decisions in order to be a good leader....well, someone did. Kinda reminded me of that as i read this.
 
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