Hi folks: This is my first entry at the dailykos (at least with the new software), so bear with me as I learn my way. For example, I hope my username (tankej) appears this time, but if not, my first name is John. Pleased to meet you all!
To cut to the chase:
What are Clark's views on gays in the military?
Here's a transcript of what I consider to be the most relevant exchanges between Anderson Cooper and Gen. Clark at the debate the other night:
COOPER: What's your personal comfort level with homosexuals? And do you have any gay friends?
CLARK: ... I do have gay friends. And there are gays who serve in the US armed forces, and they do a very good job. BUT WHEN THEY ARE -- WHEN THEY ACKNOWLEDGE WHO THEY ARE AND THEIR SEXUAL PREFERENCE, THEY LEAVE. SO I'VE GOT A VERY GOOD COMFORT LEVEL WITH IT.... (all caps mine obviously).
COOPER: Let me ask a follow-up, then. Did you ever serve with soldiers who (sic) knew were gay? And did you ever turn anyone in?
CLARK: Never turned anybody in. But I had people who came to me AFTER THEY HAD TURNED THEMSELVES IN. AND IT'S A VERY SAD THING BECAUSE A LOT OF PEOPLE WANTED TO SERVE, BUT THEY JUST HAD A CONFLICT BETWEEN WHAT THEY FELT ON THE INSIDE...
Between what they felt on the inside and what, Gen. Clark? Between "what they felt on the inside" vs. they're inability to keep their sexuality completely closeted for the duration of their active duty?
So let me get this straight (no pun intended I assure you):
1. Clark has gay friends and knows that they do "a very good job," but 2) when these folks real they're gay they leave voluntarily, and 3) this gives Clark "a very good comfort level." No doubt because 4) they "turned themselves in -- which is understandale since they evidently couldn't resolve that damned conflict Clark mentions (see quote above). Bottom line is therefore 5) our soldiers, male and female, and of whatever sexual orientation, evidently have been blessed with the insight that being gay and serving in the military are two inherently incompatible things.
I guess the message remains the same: you may serve your country if you're straight OR successfully try to evade those who routinely try to get you kicked out. But you don't get to serve, evidently, if you're unfortunate enough to be gay.
(Note to Clark supporters: I have taken the pledge and don't excoriate fellow Democratic candidates or voters on their own websites.)