KSAWC is against both war and discrimination

Guest columnist

Michael Kapronica wrote to the Daily Kent Stater claiming the Kent State Anti-War Committee’s anti-recruitment petition was trying to hide its real agenda. As anyone can tell from our name, we are clearly an anti-war group, but this does not mean that we cannot be against discrimination.

Discrimination in the military is a crime against freedom and humanity. The U.S. government could easily end discrimination against homosexuals in the military. In the 1940s, there was an uproar over racial integration in the military. And although there were some minor problems after President Truman signed Executive Order 9981, which integrated the military, racial desegregation was achieved in only a few years. Kapronica asked if ending “don’t ask, don’t tell” would make the military any safer. The answer is definitively yes. Currently, gays in the military are forced to hide their identities and live in a climate of fear. When they are attacked for their orientations, they cannot report this harassment because it will lead to their expulsion from the military.

Kapronica’s argument is highly bigoted. He assumes that because many military recruits are poor, lack a college education and sometimes don’t speak English, these recruits are intolerant. Kapronica also states, “This policy’s purpose is to protect gays as well as straights.” This is a very homophobic argument because it assumes that homosexuals pose a threat to heterosexuals.

There are still some racist people joining the military today, but as they are assimilated into the military, their racism is no longer tolerated. The first thing that the military does is to build a group mentality with its recruits. If in boot camp recruits were expected to be tolerant of homosexuals, they would become tolerant. Because the military does not allow homosexuals to serve, it is implying that there is something inherently wrong with homosexuality.

Ultimately, this boils down to a case of might vs. right. The military is a powerful institution that occupies a unique position in society. The military should be held to the same standard as any other group. University Policy 3342-6-01.1 forbids discrimination based on sexual orientation in any group on campus. The military should be held to this standard, seeing as it is a group on campus.

As anti-war activists, our goal is to make it as difficult as possible for our government to carry out war. Homophobic discrimination is only one reason to be outraged at the military. There are others. Currently, the United States is occupying Iraq illegally, causing more than 100,000 Iraqi casualties. This war is costing roughly $4 billion a month. What we need is money for jobs and education, not war and occupation. And recruiters make exaggerated claims about the military: They say you will receive money for college, but two-thirds of soldiers never receive it; they say you will get good health care, but V.A. funding is consistently cut; they say you will only have to serve for however long you sign up for, but they can call you back up through a back-door draft years later.

Ultimately, it is the military that has a hidden agenda. They say, “Be all you can be,” but they really want you to mindlessly follow orders.

So, if you are against the war, or if you are against discrimination based on homosexuality, sign our petition.

The above guest column was submitted on behalf of the Kent State Anti-War Committee. The group meets at 8 p.m. Mondays in the Student Center.