In the military, forget gays go after the lodge members

ROGER SIMON

December 07, 1992|By ROGER SIMON

Letters, calls and the roar of the crowd:

Name Withheld by Request, Laurel: I have been in the military for 22 years and am currently a first sergeant stationed at Fort Meade. It is true there are gays in the military. You can tell who they are. But they don't bother you. I have never been bothered by one.

I will say one thing about gay soldiers: They are better groomed. They are more spit-and-polish. And, I think, they are more intellectual than the other soldiers.

I was in the gulf war and some of the best soldiers were homosexuals. I'd give a general order and they would be intelligent enough to carry it out. You didn't have to explain everything to them.

They make fine soldiers. They are no problem at all. They leave you alone if you are not their kind.

You want to know the real problem in the military? The one that nobody writes about? It's fraternal lodges. A soldier may be of a lower rank in the military, but he may have a higher rank in his fraternal lodge than a superior officer. And these soldiers get special treatment. They get special promotions and special assignments. That's not right.

COMMENT: Since the military has spent half a billion dollars over the last 10 years tracking down gays, maybe it will now spend a similar amount tracking down members of fraternal lodges. First suggestion: Hidden cameras in the barracks to see if anybody is practicing a secret handshake.

*

Rollin L. Olson, Baltimore: P-o-o-o-r George Bush. Good Roger is feeling sorry for the man. Actually, Mr. Bush is not so much a nice guy as he is a pathetic wimp as indicated by your bizarre little anecdote about him [kissing] up to a reporter's mother and demanding the same favor from her.

It's nice that Good Roger feels so sorry for Mr. Bush over the loss of his job, but I wish he would remember the host of other Americans who Mr. Bush helped to put in the same predicament.

COMMENT: Gosh darn it, Rollin, I had managed to get through the entire presidential campaign with just two piles of letters on my desk:

One pile accusing me of being too soft on Bush/too hard on Clinton and the other accusing me of being too soft on Clinton/too hard on Bush.

Now, because of your letter, I have to start a third pile: too soft on Bush/but exposing him as pathetic wimp by printing bizarre little anecdotes about him.

*

P. Johnson, Newport Beach, Calif.: Regarding your column (on Bush's campaign train), I hope you don't mind a comment:

Bush's train didn't have a caboose!

A caboose is the last car on a train -- but on freight trains only.

Just because a car is the last car, doesn't make it a "caboose."

What Bush was riding on is called the "observation car." They used to be on all passenger trains and had a big platform. Then later they were enclosed and were a sort of club car at the end of the train.

COMMENT: It is true that I called the car from which George Bush spoke a "caboose."

It is also true that if you turn to the front page of The New York Times on Nov. 2, you will find a story by leading American journalist and mega-star Maureen Dowd that begins:

"In the blue caboose where he was sipping tea to soothe his worsening cold, the President was somber."

And do you know how that happened? Dowd was sitting next to me on the campaign plane the next day, typing that story into her laptop computer, when she turned and said: "What's the car called that Bush rode in?"

A caboose, I said.

"No, I don't think that's right," she said.

It's a caboose, I said.

"You sure?" she asked. "Absolutely sure?"

Absolutely, I said.

So now you have two major newspapers calling it a caboose vs. you, some train buff from Newport Beach, Calif., who does not even have a first name.

And do you really think you are going to win this battle just because you have truth and accuracy on your side?

Don't make me laugh!

And watch this space for my next column: "More Secrets of Pack Journalism: How Reporters Collaborate to Invent New Spellings."

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