General James Amos, Commandant of the U. S. Marine Corps., underscored his opposition to repealing “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell,” telling reporters Tuesday afternoon that Marines fighting in combat units in Afghanistan are extremely concerned that permitting gays to serve openly could disrupt “unit cohesion.”
“When your life hangs on a line, on the intuitive behavior of the young man… who sits to your right and your left, you don’t want anything distracting you,” Amos said.
“I don’t want to lose any Marines to distraction. I don’t want to have any Marines that I’m visiting at Bethesda (hospital) with no legs,” he said, adding that “mistakes and inattention or distractions cost Marines’ lives. That’s the currency of this fight.”
Reaction from the Servicemembers Legal Defense Network (SLDN) was swift.
“General Amos needs to fall in line and salute or resign now,” said Aubrey Sarvis, Army veteran and Executive Director of SLDN.
“He implied that repeal will lead to Marines losing their legs in combat. Those fear tactics are not in the interest of any service member,” said Sarvis, in a statement.
“The General’s goal is to kill repeal no matter the consequences, perhaps at the dereliction of his other duties. He had his say before the Senate and House. General Amos needs to stop lobbying against his Commander-in-Chief, the Secretary of Defense, and the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs. If he cannot do that, the President should ask for his resignation,” Sarvis added.
Amos’ remarks comes on the heels of an announcement earlier today by House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-Md.), that Rep. Patrick Murphy (D-Penn.), was introducing a stand alone House bill to repeal “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell,” and that the House Leadership is planning on commencing a vote Wednesday.