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Published Every Two Weeks On Recycled Paper • Volume 14, Number 17 • January 22, 2000 • FREE
Gore and Bradley endorse gays in
the military and come under fire
Vice President A1 Gore
DURHAM, NH—During the fourth
Democratic debate held at the University of
New Hampshire, both Vice President A1 Gore
and his Democratic opponent, former NJ Sena
tor Bill Bradley, said that if they were elected
president they would require their appointees
to the Joint Chiefs of SttifF to fully support al
lowing gays to serve openly in the military.
Their remarks were made in response to a
question of whether they would support a “lit
mus test” on gays in the military in nominat
ing members of the Joint Chiefs.
Gore went further than Bradley, saying he
wanted to make the same changes toward al
lowing gays m serye openly that President Harr)’
S. Truman made toward racially integrating the
“I think that would require those who
wanted to serve on the Joint Chiefs to be in
agreement with that policy,” Gore said. “I
would insist before appointing anybody to the
Joint Chiefs of Staff, that that individual sup
port my policy, and yes, I would make that a
Gore drew a distinction between applying a
litmus test to Supreme Court justices and mili
tary officials, saying this was “not interfering
with an independent judicial decision.”
Bradley said simply that the commander in
chief issued orders and soldiers followed them.
He said that while many in the armed forces
probably did not agree with Clinton on some
military matters, “My sense is that when you’re
president of the United States, military people
are loyal to their commander in chief whatever
the policy of the commander in chief calls for
the country, and that’s what I’d expect them to
do if I’m president of the United States and we
move toward gays in the military.”
Retired members of the Joint Chiefs of Staff
and other military experts warned that subject
ing future members to a litmus test would hurt
the armed services.
“Military officers certainly execute the or
ders of the president, but a litmus test before
hand would place an officer in an untenable
position saying, ‘Do you believe what I be
lieve?”’ commented Gen. Carl E. Mundy, a re
tired commandant of the Marine Corps who
opposes allowing gays to serve openly.
“An officer’s judgment has to be tempered
by his judgment of what’s best for the armed
forces, not for a political agenda,” Mundy said.
A recent study conducted by the Triangle
Institute for Security Studies revealed that 75
percent of the up-and-coming officers polled
opposed allowing gays to serve openly in the
military and as many as 26 percent would leave
the military if gays were allowed to serve openly.
The next day, key veterans’ groups and the
Republican presidential hopefuls came out
against the idea that Pentagon brass would have
to endorse military service by openly gay sol
“We would obviously be opposed in a big
way to any litmus test,” said Steve Van Buskirk,
spokesman for the 1.9 million-member Veter
ans of Foreign Wars.
“If you’re going to have any test at all, it’s
going to be to their ability to lead and to be a
straight shooter on matters affecting readiness,”
said Steve Thomas of the American Legion,
which has 2.8 million members.
GOP Chairman Jim Nicholson — a West
Point graduate and ex-Army Ranger — said,
“The ridiculous litmus test that A1 Gore has
put forward” would have kept ex-Gen. Colin
Powell from being chairman of the Joint Chiefs.
All six Republican candidates took issue with
Bradley and Gore over allowing gays to declare
their orientation without restraint by senior
officers. ■ ;
Republican Steve Forbes, the tycoon pub
lisher, commented, “The military is not an
agency for social experimentation.”
Other candidates, including frontrunners
George W. Bush and John McCain, said they
were content with the existing policy.
Second soldier in Fort Campbell murder case
plea bargains down to lesser charges
by Dan Van Mourik
FORT CAMPBELL, KY—^Army Spc. Jus
tin R. Fisher, 26, who was charged as an acces
sory to murder in the beating death of Pfc. Barry
Winchell, pleaded guilty to lesser charges prior
to his scheduled court-martial.
Fisher admitted he lied to Army investiga
tors and obstructed the investigation when he
wiped blood from a baseball bat used by Pvt.
Cdvin Glover, 19, to kill Winchell. Fisher also
pleaded guilty to supplying alcohol to a minor,
which he did by purchasing beer for Glover.
Under the plea agreement, the Army
dropped other charges, including participating
as a principal to premeditated murder and act
ing as an accessory after the fact.
Fisher was sentenced to 12 1/2 years in
prison on the lesser charges.
During sentencing, Fisher wept as he apolo
gized to his family and to the relatives of the
victim. “Barry, I hope you can hear me,” Fisher
stated. “I’m sorry for the part I play ed in this. I
know you are now in a better place. I hope you
know that if I could go back to the morning it
happened, I would have changed it all.”
Pat and Wally Kutteles, Winchell’s mother
and stepfather, said they could not understand
how the Army could at first charge Fisher to
stand trial for goading Glover to murder their
son, then drop the most serious charges.
“Suddenly, the Army let him plead to noth
ing related to the actual murder...justice was
not served today,” they said in a statement.
The Servicemembers Legal Defense Net
work (SLDN) said the sentence is too lenient,
considering that Fisher had admitted goading
Glover into attacking Winchell.
The sentence is “a travesty,” said C. Dixon
Osburn, co-executive director of SLDN. “We’re
left with huge questions about why Ft.
Campbell cut this deal.”
Fisher will be eligible for parole in about four
years, Osburn noted.
Last month Glover was convicted of pre
meditated murder and sentenced to life in
Keith Caruso, a defense psychiatrist with a
practice in Nashville, said he diagnosed Fisher
as an alcoholic with a cross-dressing fetish.
Caruso said Fisher told him he was not at
tracted to men but that wearing lingerie be
neath his clothing aroused him and made him
feel more comfortable.
The fetish apparently developed while Fisher
was growing up and he noticed the closeness of
his three sisters and their affectionate relation
ship with their mother. He longed to become
“one of the girls,” the psychiatrist said.
Fisher had been troubled and puzzled about
his cross-dressing and his participation in the
crime, and appeared to find some relief in his
diagnosis, Caruso said.
The day after Fisher’s sentencing, the
Kutteles said they may sue the Army for failing
to protect their son from anti-gay harassment.
In an interview in the Washington Post, they said
military officials at Fort Campbell did not take
sufficient precautions to prevent their son’s July
Testimony at Glover’s trial indicated the vic
tim was harassed repeatedly before his death
and that base commanders did nothing to stop
Former US Senator Bill Bradley
Religious activist Gary Bauer said he would
not want homosexuals in the armed forces and
denounced the Democratic stance as “the most
idiotic answer I have ever heard.” He also
charged that the Democrats were pandering to
the gay-rights movement.
Two days later. Gore backpedaled on his
stance. Under fire from military leaders and
some of his own political allies. Gore told re
porters during a new conference after a cam
paign rally in Des Moines, lA, “What I meant
to convey was I would not tolerate, nor would
any commander in chief, nor would any presi
dent tolerate orders not being followed.”
“I did not mean to imply that there should
ever be any kind of inquiry into the personal
political opinions of officers in the US mili
tary,” Gore said.
This divisive issue has assumed a political
significance that could resonate through the
general election, with Republicans and Demo
crats at odds. T
Pat Kutteles told the Post that commanders
at the 101st Airborne Division tolerated a four-
month harassment campaign against her son
in clear violation of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.”
Pat Kutteles said Winchell’s platoon sergeant
had asked her son about his sexual orientation,
but dropped the subject when he denied he was
gay. At Glover’s trial, the sergeant testified that
he did nothing to stop the anti-gay epjthets
other soldiers hurled at Winchell. “Everybody
was having fun,” Staff Sgt. Michael Kleifgen
In a prepared statement, the Kutteles said,
“As parents, our eyes have been opened over
the past six months by the testimony in this
case and by conversations with soldiers here at
Ft. Campbell. We are concerned that excessive
drinking continues in the barracks. We are
alarmed that anti-gay harassment continues at
Ft. Campbell even after Barry’s murder. We are
aware of soldiers who have even mocked Barry’s
death, making jokes about ‘faggots’ and base
ball bats. We can’t begin to tell you how dis
mayed and upset this makes us feel.”
In response, the Army said it plans to inves
tigate whether officers at Fort Campbell over
looked the daily harassment that trial witnesses
said Winchell faced before he was killed.
The investigation by Lt. Gen. Michael W.
Ackerman, the Army’s inspector general, could
lead to further disciplinary actions against sol
diers and officers at the base.
Ackerman is also expected to investigate
other aspects of discipline and leadership, in
cluding why soldiers were allowed to drink ex
cessively and openly at their barracks with little
apparent oversight or intervention. T
Policy on gays
by Dan Van Mourik
WASHINGTON, DC—In late December,
the Pentagon added “Don’t Harass” to the ex
isting “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell, Don’t Pursue”
policy regarding gays serving in the US mili
tary. Defense Secretary William Cohen issued
stronger guidance to military commanders, re
minding them that harassment of gays is wrong,
and that they have an obligation to take action
against harassers. Pentagon spokesman Ken
Bacon told reporters.
Bacon said, “Secretary Cohen believes that
the description of the law passed by Congress
in 1993 should be expanded from ‘Don’t Ask,
Don’t Tell’ to ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell, Don’t
Harass.’ And the actions that the department
is taking are designed to stress the third part,
Each time the policy was mentioned by all
parties concerned, the “don’t pursue” portion
of the original 1993 policy was omitted. It is
unclear at this point if “don’t harass” is intended
See PENTAGON on page 14