Buddies to Die For

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Tony Perkins of the Family Research Council, not known for his ironclad logic or even rational thought, has decided to blame gay people for the high rate of suicide in the military, which he traces to the repeal of “Don’t ask, don’t tell.” Referring to the new policy of inclusion, Perkins claimed that it’s “adding additional stress by this social engineering,” causing soldiers to kill themselves. Well, now, for starters: the policy in question has been in effect for a matter of months, while the rising suicide rate is a long-term trend that affects mostly combat veterans, especially those who served in Iraq. Reports of what these guys experienced over there—from IEDs blowing up in their faces to being ambushed on night patrol—range from the hellish to the vertiginous. The idea that the presence of a gay person in one’s unit could push someone over the edge is merely insane, but it does reveal a trait that we’ve come to recognize in all puritans: a wildly exaggerated estimate of the power of sex to play a role in human affairs, invariably to mess things up.

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