06/21/11-by Bridgette P. LaVictoire
As the Department of Defense has a new Secretary in Leon Panetta, the top non-commissioned officer in the Marine Corps has issued a rather stark and stern message to the Marines about the repeal of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell. Sgt. Maj. Michael Barrett stated firmly “Get over it.” The Huffington Post reported that the thirty-year veteran of the Marines made that statement and others while in South Korea.
The Wall Street Journal reports that Sgt. Maj. Barrett brought out a small copy of the Constitution and referenced Article 1, Section 8. “It says, ‘Raise an army.’ It says absolutely nothing about race, color, creed, sexual orientation.” He then asked if everyone in the group joined the Marines to protect their nation, going on to say, “How dare we, then, exclude a group of people who want to do the same thing you do right now, something that is honorable and noble?”
Sgt. Maj. Barrett concluded by saying “Get over it… Let’s just move on, treat everybody with firmness, fairness, dignity, compassion and respect. Let’s be Marines.”
Marine Commandant General James Amos fought hard to retain DADT. He even made several scary predictions and argued to Congress “I don’t want to lose any Marines to the distraction.” His comments were picked up by Arizona Senator John McCain. Currently, the Republicans are trying very hard to keep this law in place or stall its implementation despite the fact that only one Army chaplain is known to have quit over the change in policy and the lack of any pushback from within the military.
This was confirmed by Sgt. Maj. Barrett, who told Military.com that there had been no exodus of Marines because of DADT’s repeal. He said “It is important that we value the diversity and background and the culture and the skills that all the Marines bring to the service of the nation.”
By and large, the military does not seem to care about this being repealed, though the Navy has been the least vocal about the changes. Recently, outgoing Defense Secretary Robert Gates expressed a sense that DADT could be completely repealed by September.