How to end a culture-war fight

Marine Sgt. Maj. Micheal Barrett is almost a textbook Marine. He’s the service’s top non-commissioned officer; he’s enjoyed an extraordinary career including combat tours in Iraq and Afghanistan; and when Barrett, the Command Sergeant Major of the Marine Corps, talks, those around him are inclined to listen.

With this in mind, Barrett was recently selected to be the senior enlisted adviser to Marine Corps Commandant Gen. James Amos, and joined Amos last week in visits to Marine bases in the Pacific. After addressing several issues of importance to the Corps, Barrett talked about the end of the “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy.

“Article 1, Section 8 of the Constitution is pretty simple,” he told a group of Marines at a base in South Korea. “It says, ‘Raise an army.’ It says absolutely nothing about race, color, creed, sexual orientation.

“You all joined for a reason: to serve,” he continued. “To protect our nation, right?”

“Yes, sergeant major,” Marines replied.

“How dare we, then, exclude a group of people who want to do the same thing you do right now, something that is honorable and noble?” Sgt. Maj. Barrett continued, raising his voice just a notch. “Right?”

Sgt. Maj. Barrett then described conversations with U.K. troops, who saw a similar ban lifted a decade ago, with little disruption. And to drive the point home, he produced a pocket copy of the Constitution.

“Get over it,” he said. “We’re magnificent, we’re going to continue to be…. Let’s just move on, treat everybody with firmness, fairness, dignity, compassion and respect. Let’s be Marines.”

Any questions?

Maybe someone should send a copy of Barrett’s remarks to the 29 House Republicans who are still desperately trying to prevent the new policy from taking effect.