An Army of Three? Army Recruiting Goes Astray

Now that the U.S. Army is over its ill-advised "Army of One" campaign, perhaps it's time to switch to an "Army of Three."

After all, it takes three people to swing both ways. I refer to the U.S. Army Reserve's unfathomable decision to advertise on MTV's sleaze fest, "A Shot at Love with Tila Tequila."

The show's premise, if you can call it that, is celebrity Tila selecting a "love" partner from 16 men and 16 women contestants. The first episode, Oct. 9, was predictably full of skin, booze and sexual references, and promises of more to come. It was rerun all week, even in the afternoon, when younger kids are likelier to watch.

Most of the advertisers are movie companies and MTV's own programs. But amid the voyeuristic fare pops up a taxpayer-funded pitch from the U.S. Army Reserve touting "a Different Kind of Strength" and being "Army Strong."

Keep in mind that the law Congress enacted in 1993 bars homosexuals in the military, period. And the Clinton-era policy watering down that law, "Don't Ask, Don't Tell," still bars open homosexuality. So why is the Army advertising on a program that promotes lesbianism and also takes shots at male "homophobia?" How does that fit into "Army Tough?"

The Army could argue it needs to recruit from the demographic that makes up much of MTV's audience — teens and 20-somethings. On purely pragmatic grounds, they might get away with it, at least on other MTV shows.

But to advertise on a program that celebrates something flatly illegal under the Uniform Code of Military Justice and also the Don't Ask, Don't Tell policy stretches even pragmatism to the limit. Plus, it's in lousy taste. It's bound to offend countless families that have sacrificed sons and daughters in their country's service.

Surveys show the military's greatest supporters and source of recruits are pro-family Americans, particularly in the Bible Belt. Lifting the ban on homosexuality, which the New York Times, The Washington Post and other military-loathing major media outlets relentlessly push, would destroy the image of military morality.

This would cause irreparable harm to current personnel, as outlined in a detailed article in the May 2007 Duke Journal of Gender Law and Policy, "Constructing the Co-Ed Military," by Elaine Donnelly, president of the Center for Military Readiness.

Mrs. Donnelly notes that courts have consistently upheld the military's right to bar homosexuality in order to maintain order, discipline and unit cohesion, but that homosexual activists have worked with compliant liberal media on a constant public-relations campaign to repeal the policy: "Every four to six weeks, homosexual activist groups have generated some sort of 'news' event, which usually gets national coverage when it appears (almost always) in the Associated Press and major papers such as The New York Times and The Washington Post.

"These stories, which rarely describe the law accurately, usually focus on 'celebrity' [military] endorsers or human-interest stories, such as homosexuals who used to be in the military or gay students trying to enlist in the military," Mrs. Donnelly said.

The military's mission is to win wars and defend America. Military service is a duty and privilege, not a right. The armed forces bar many people from service, not out of prejudice but because their presence would decrease effectiveness. It's one reason women are exempt from direct ground combat.

Tila Tequila and MTV may think they have a right to corrupt America's youth, but the military has every right to bar her and others professing similar "lifestyles" from service.

To put it bluntly, does anyone outside MTV, the editorial boards of The New York Times, The Washington Post and other liberal media honestly think our war effort and our troops' survivability would be enhanced if the military embraces open homosexuality? Will our 19- and 20-year-old soldiers fight better when they also have to worry about fending off unwelcome advances or witness sexual behavior they abhor? Didn't think so.

Robert Knight is director of the Culture and Media Institute, a division of the Media Research Center.