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State Rep. Kriesel, the wounded war vet, lashes out at debate booers

Judging by his tweets, state Rep. John Kriesel, the Republican wounded war vet from Cottage Grove, was outraged at the reaction of the audience at last night’s Republican debate.

There were loud boos from the audience when a gay soldier appeared on video to ask the candidates about gays and lesbians in the military.

Kriesel, who lost both legs while serving in Iraq, wrote today on his Twitter account:

How many of those people in the audience at the GOP debate that booed the gay soldier serving in Afghanistan are brave enough to serve??

And:

If someone is brave enough to risk their life and serve their country in a time of war, let them serve. Who cares if they are gay?!?!

And:

Booing a soldier during a time of war?!? A new low. Way to look compassionate Florida Republicans. #morons

Kriesel told the Star Tribune this morning that the booing was “pretty disgusting.” Whether it was one person or many, “no one should be doing that,” he said. “People there are representing a party. It gives Republicans a bad name.”

Said the paper:

Kriesel said when he first entered the service he did not think about the recently-repealed Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell law that barred openly gay members from serving. But now, he said he feels: “If someone is willing to serve their country and risk their life, I don’t care if they are gay.”

With Jim Kosmo, Kriesel wrote a book about his war experiences, “Still Standing; The Story of SSG John Kriesel.”

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Comments (9)

  1. Submitted by James Hamilton on 09/23/2011 - 02:51 pm.

    I’m glad to see a Republican calling his fellow party members to task for they’re disrespect.

  2. Submitted by Derrick Schluck on 09/23/2011 - 03:09 pm.

    Mr. Kriesel gets it. Republican’s like him are the reason I was part of the College Republican’s during college. This new breed of Republican candidate and elected official is not what the should be about. I guess I am considered a liberal now, because I have a heart and think with my head and don’t follow like a blind sheep. Disappointing that John Huntsman, an intellegent and thoughtful moderate doesn’t even stand a chance in the primary election. I am disappointed in President Obama, but the Republican candidates lead for much much more to be desired.
    Thank you for your service and open minded stance Mr. Kriesel, you are a true American hero.

  3. Submitted by Dennis Tester on 09/24/2011 - 08:21 am.

    The people in that audience weren’t booing that soldier, you twits. They were booing the reference to that assinine policy that is social engineering run amuck.

    I served eight years in the submarine service, with plenty of shipmates who I’m sure were gay. The only way that dynamic works is if they keep their sexual preferences to themselves.

    People can disagree with that opinion, as I’m sure Kriesel does, but the wisdom of the Clinton-era DADT policy is that it acknowledges the reality of gay people in the military, but recognizes that having openly gay people in the armed forces is a dangerous situation … for the gay people.

    And you’re naive if you think gay people can be protected from harrassment or worse because of what the rules say. Ask someone who served what a “blanket party” is and you’ll hear why gay people in the military will be looking for the nearest closet. I knew people who got blanket parties and were forced to seek transfer from the ship just for being suspected of being gay.

    The people in that audience who booed were booing yet another counterproductive policy by this clueless administration, not that unfortunate soldier.

  4. Submitted by Thomas Swift on 09/24/2011 - 10:38 am.

    Prometheus taught “aidos” is one of two critical ingredients necessary to make society rise successfully.

    Rome proved him correct, and it seems that so shall we, for as in this instance, it is wholly absent from *everyone*.

    Equal treatment for homosexuals is not a license to proudly flaunt deviant appetites, but the audience should have realized that a televised, partisan political forum is not the place to make that point.

  5. Submitted by Lance Groth on 09/26/2011 - 11:09 am.

    Unfortunately, such atrocious disrespect toward veterans is nothing new for the GOP. This is the party that questioned the patriotism of Vietnam Vet, silver star recipient and triple amputee Max Cleland, as well as the service record of John Kerry, also a silver star recipient and volunteer for PBR duty.

    Shameful, despicable, and simply embarrassing. But hey, anything to win an election, eh? That’s our GOP.

  6. Submitted by Eric Ferguson on 09/26/2011 - 02:30 pm.

    Dennis, it doesn’t occur to you that the believe harassing the suspected gay sailors were actually the problem? It’s not the homosexuality that’s the problem, it’s the bigotry. Even if I granted your spin that the boos were just for the policy, they were booing the ending of institutionalized bigotry. That doesn’t make it better.

  7. Submitted by Derrick Schluck on 09/26/2011 - 03:33 pm.

    @#3 You just proved an antire agrument with what is wrong about DADT with this paragraph.

    “And you’re naive if you think gay people can be protected from harrassment or worse because of what the rules say. Ask someone who served what a “blanket party” is and you’ll hear why gay people in the military will be looking for the nearest closet. I knew people who got blanket parties and were forced to seek transfer from the ship just for being suspected of being gay.”

    DADT and that way of thinking is what leads to perceptions and your statement about keeping their gayness to themselves of your shipmates. I think it was you with the problem not them. Just because they might have been gay doesn’t mean they were attracted to you or anyother crew members on board. Are you attracted to every female you work or spend time with? Personally I was involved in many functions with gay men and never once was I hit on, looked at differently, or treated anything other then professionally and appropriately for the organizations we represented.

  8. Submitted by Derrick Schluck on 09/26/2011 - 03:35 pm.

    @ Thomas Swift

    “Equal treatment for homosexuals is not a license to proudly flaunt deviant appetites, but the audience should have realized that a televised, partisan political forum is not the place to make that point.’

    They did prove their point and showed their true colors. Pretty ugly if you ask me.

  9. Submitted by Neal Gendler on 09/26/2011 - 03:55 pm.

    I served more than 20 years full time or part time in the Air Force, during which I knew people who were gay or whom I suspected were gay (often, I learned my guess was correct). But it didn’t matter. I learned early on that in life, only two things really matter: Can you do your job and can you get along.

    If the answer to either is “no,” well, please go somewhere else. If it’s “yes,” it doesn’t matter if you’re gay, straight, white, black or Martian. Things will be OK.

    Unlike Dennis Tester, I never served in the confines of a submarine. I’m sure that in any closed-in environment, the slightest oddities in anyone’s behavior can grow into major irritations for others. But the key thing is behavior, not belief or orientation. Yes, keeping one’s homosexuality private can make acceptance easier, but if a gay person doesn’t make unwanted advances or have a an affair that’s socially or duty disruptive with another member of that closed-in society, what does his (or her) sexual preference matter?

    A lot of life is “going along to get along.” The person who can’t manage that is a problem in any world, civilian or military.

    A person who can’t control his or her behavior — be it homosexuality, drinking, slovenliness rudeness or bigotry — and can’t do the assigned job has no business being in the armed forces, where people’s lives depend on competence and cooperation.

    DADT seemed to be a good idea, but it turned out not to be. Ending the dysfunctional ban of those who prefer people of their own sex is a great improvement — one 20 years or more overdue.

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