Missouri GOP Congressional Candidate: Having Gay Soldiers Would Offend Muslim Countries

Roll Call Photos/Newscom

Missouri state Sen. Gary Nodler, who is seeking the Republican nomination for the open seat of GOP Rep. Roy Blunt, has offered up an argument for keeping the ban on gays in the military: That allowing gays to serve openly would endanger the troops, by offending the people of the Muslim countries where we are fighting.

“There are real-world implications,” Nodler said, according to columnist Tony Messenger of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. “This is a policy that would directly threaten the lives of soldiers today.” Nodler also called the presence of gay troops a “cultural affront” to Muslim countries.

Messenger construed this as meaning: “Sen. Gary Nodler doesn’t want to offend the terrorists.” Nodler clarified what he meant to Messenger, explaining that he is not sympathizing with terrorists, but with the native populations in these countries. “I don’t care what the Taliban thinks about it and I don’t care what Al-Qaeda thinks about it,” said Nodler. “I do care what Iraqi-allied commanders think about it with American forces integrated into their units.”More from Nodler’s clarification to Messenger:

A proper interpretation of Nodler’s remarks, he said, would be this: If America changes its policies and lets gay soldiers serve openly, villagers in Iraq and Afghanistan would be aware of the change, and they might be less likely to warn American soldiers of impending terrorist attacks. Also, the Iraqi and Afghani soldiers serving with Americans would be offended and might be less likely to help them ward off the terrorists.

“If the U.S. forces become offensive to the people of Iraq and Afghanistan, how do we succeed in winning their hearts and minds,” Nodler said.

I left a message with Nodler’s office, asking to what other degrees the United States should abide by the social prejudices of other cultures. For example, I asked, was it wrong of Gen. Dwight Eisenhower to send African-American troops to Australia during World War II, violating Australia’s immigration laws that at the time forbade black people from entering the country? They have not yet returned my call.

(Via Think Progress)

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