Bil Browning

A former marine responds to Rep presidential candidates

Filed By Bil Browning | June 07, 2007 2:19 PM | comments

Filed in: Politics
Tags: Antonio Agnone, Don't Ask Don't Tell, election 2008, homophobic behavior, Marines, military, presidency, Republicans

I'm a little late getting this up (you'll notice that the Republican debates didn't happen last night!), but I wanted to make sure it got some face time on the blog. Don't Ask Don't Tell is one of the most stupid policies the United States has ever enacted. It is inherently discriminatory, homophobic, and damaging.

I can't wait for the day when the armed forces can stand as one and say, "We don't discriminate and won't tolerate it in our ranks. We will protect our own." Instead, if you're willing to pay the price of silence they'll turn a blind eye for as long as it's convenient.

See after the jump for the transcript of the young man's speech.

Hello, my name is Antonio Agnone. I'm a former officer in the United States Marine Corp. Last night, the Republican candidates for President gathered together for a debate televised live to the world over CNN. They were asked on simple question - raise your hand if you support repealing the military's "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" policy. Not a single hand went in the air. A little over a year ago, I finished my tour of duty in Iraq where I led a platoon of men to seek out and destroy IED's - the weapon responsible for most of the casualties of American troops. In April, I chose to end my military service because of "Don't Ask, Don't Tell". To Republican candidates "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" clearly means an opportunity to score a few political points with an anti-gay base. To me, it meant the end of a career and a family legacy of service. To our country, it meant one less person on the battlefield doing his part to return America's sons and daughters home safely. Over 60,000 gay and lesbian Americans are currently serving on active duty around the world. It makes me think about the Arabic speaking gay soldier on the streets of Baghdad. What must he think when he hears a candidate running to be Commander in Chief calls his life a "disruptive issue.". On Tuesday, June 12th in Iowa, I'll join with other veterans to kick off the Human Rights Campaigns national tour to repeal "Don't Ask, Don't Tell". The tour starts in the battleground state of Iowa - at the epicenter of Presidential politics. Because last night those candidates did more than just not raise their hand. They dishonored my service and the sacrifice of my brothers and sisters. And we'll never forget.

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