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Sept 29 , 2011
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Go ahead and ask

"Rum, sodomy, and the lash," is a quote attributed to First Sea Lord Winston Churchill when the British Admiralty demanded to know if he in fact knew the traditions of the Royal Navy. This quip could be true about anyone's armed forces since cavemen fought in packs. The varied sexual identity of the world's armies has usually been held close to the vest with an insider wink or nudge. Illusions of armies as exemplars of straight "manhood" have been the norm.

The United States has just officially ended all of that. Our military's one-time tradition of "Don't ask, don't tell" has officially been dumped.

With its blessing, the Pentagon has ordered everyone out of the closet — or duffle bag — and into the personnel pool. There are, however, opponents to this new policy. This vociferous bunch is roiling in a Sunday school terror panic. They warn this policy change will result in weakened armed forces, mission chaos and an end to America and western civilization.

History nixes those worries. A look at the legendary Spartans, Alexander the Great's Macedonians and even fierce Teutonic Prussians will reveal much extra curricular "unit bonding."

What do the naysayers fear? Will there be Sapphic smooching on submarines or high heeled fives after a predator drone strike? No. These ninnies protest too loudly. Perhaps the kibitzers have spent too much time leering at glossy muscle man magazines.

People who volunteer to put themselves in a bullet's path if required are OK by me. Flamethrowers, hand grenades and sinking ships aren't concerned with a personal life. These machines are equal opportunity death dealers. The worrywarts should remember that the gravestones at Arlington Cemetery and elsewhere are not etched with the individual proclivities of those interred. The headstone carvings are rightfully limited to the names of the interred; that they served, died and are now under the earth. No more should be needed.

Gary Wilson

Des Moines

Best restaurants?

I'm just curious how the recently conducted Top-100 restaurant poll by The Des Moines Register managed to include Zombie Burger, a restaurant that wasn't even open (if it was open, it was only for a few days) when the poll was conducted?  Were they awarded because of hype? Was it due to ad revenue?

Jeni Nosbisch

Des Moines

Don't you just love illusion?

Watching a Republican debate is like being water-boarded. Even Dick Cheney might call it torture. Listening to presidential candidates, one would believe that thought was unprofessional. Illusion and lies are everything. If you don't believe it, just ask Michele Bachmann or Rick Perry. None of the candidates are speaking about the public good. Ron Paul wants to get rid of government and move toward total anarchy.

Most everyone knows the debates are ridiculous, without meaning. President Obama falls into the same dark pit much of the time. At least he pulls himself to the edge at times and sheds a little light on the world. None of these clowns, including Obama, seem able to grasp reality. None use a public language. They all use a corporatist or religious language-rhetoric and propaganda.

When is the public going to wake up and realize that this nonsense is good for the corporate world but not the public world — not their world? Perhaps never. Illusion is too powerful. Check it out on your television set.

John Hicks

Des Moines

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