Monday, July 21, 2008

Don't ask, don't tell: On its way out?

For the first time in 15 years, a Congressional subcommittee will hold a hearing this Wednesday on the infamous "Don't ask, Don't tell" policy on gays in the military. Not a huge victory for gay rights' advocates as no one expects anything to change under the current administration, but maybe it's setting the stage for Congress to be ready for a full repeal under the next administration. Obama has already indicated he will work towards repealing the policy.

I certainly hope the end is near for this ridiculous policy. The bottom line is that able-bodied individuals who want to serve in the military ought to be allowed to. The military resisted racial integration, saying that would ruin troop morale. The military survived. The military resisted putting women into anything close to combat positions because that would be just terrible for reasons I never quite got. Seems like that's not panning out to be quite the problem the naysayers thought. And even if there were some problems with integrating the troops both by race and gender, so what? The military should not be given a free pass to discriminate.

So it's time to open the military all the way. Allow gays to serve openly and proudly. I promise, the U.S. military won't suddenly be overrun by men in drag having orgies in the street and organizing parades. In fact, I doubt much would change at all. Since 1993, over 12,000 men and women have been dishonorably discharged for reasons that have absolutely nothing to do with ability to continue serving or performance of service duties. Which means that those 12,000 plus were serving their country just fine until the wrong person found out too much about their personal lives. What a ridiculous waste, especially now at a time when our military is stretched thin. Who doesn't think we could use those extra 12,000 pairs of hands right about now?

Most of our NATO allies have open armies. Our guys work with those armies all the time with no problem. The only reason to cling to this outdated policy is bigotry. We shouldn't continue to let the military of the United States of America, aka the best country and greatest democracy in the world, be a bastion of discrimination.


Anonymous said...

Considering what it replaced, investigation of rumors, prosecution, and jail, I think it was a good idea for its time. Same as "domestic partnerships". But like that, it is being quickly outdated and both need to be put to rest along with other relics of the past.

S said...

I do agree with that. And it may have helped set the stage for completely ending the ban on gays and lesbians in the military by helping them to see how many good personnel were serving with no problems "despite" their homosexuality.

But after 15 years, it's time for the rest of us to insist that the military end its discrimination against gays and lesbians.

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