The PJ Tatler

Rules of engagement: Marines must learn to kiss properly

Training materials to be used in preparation for the end of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell  have been made available to the Washington Times and more should soon be posted by the Department of Defense on its websites.

Here are some questions and answers from the training materials:

Situation — You are the Executive Officer of your unit. While shopping at the local mall over the weekend, you observe two junior male Marines in appropriate civilian attire assigned to your unit kissing and hugging in the food court.

Issue: Standards of Conduct. Is this within standards of personal and professional conduct? If the observed behavior crosses acceptable boundaries as defined in the standards of conduct for your unit and the Marine Corps, then an appropriate correction should be made. Your assessment should be made without regard to sexual orientation.

Er, that’s clear. What if the two male Marines are in uniform and are holding hands? What if one of them is wearing a dress? Can the executive officer, without fear of official repercussions, deal in the same fashion with two homosexual Marines exactly as he would with two heterosexual Marines or must he anticipate being second-guessed?

[A] lesbian Marine approaches her platoon sergeant and states “she can no longer tolerate her heterosexual roommate.”

The Platoon Sergeant must take a very active and positive leadership approach with a focus on conflict resolution and professional obligations to uphold the policy.

Does this mean that the Platoon Sergeant must counsel that her apparent notion that heterosexuals are intolerable is inconsistent with Marine policy and to put it into her closet footlocker? Interestingly, “Commanders may honor a request not to shower with known gay service members” and apparently need not rebuke the request as non-Marine-like.

Marines may not request discharge on grounds that they don’t want to live or serve with homosexuals, but “same-sex partners of service members do not qualify for medical, housing or travel benefits” and the situations with respect to transgender and transsexual folks are not affected by the change in policy since they remain ineligible for military service.

We also learn that

Marines are expected to obey lawful orders and could be subject to discipline or adverse administrative action if they refuse orders, even if such refusal is based on strong, sincerely held, moral or religious beliefs.

The training will take place in the course of combat operations, apparently because it is of even greater really great importance. Will it be merged with training on  rules of engagement?

It’s comforting to learn that, with combat operations in progress in three theaters,  these well considered policies are being implemented so seamlessly. Perhaps a musical production is in order.