Wednesday, February 03, 2010

Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell Don’t Work

By Pete Bogs/BogsBlog

“Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” (DADT), the Pentagon’s policy of allowing gays to serve in the U.S. military provided they stay in the closet, is facing repeal after 17 years. I must credit President Obama for following through on a campaign promise (while I remain a vocal critic of his faltering health care reform efforts and his insistence on letting George W. Bush’s criminal cronies walk free).

I have to admit, I supported President Bill Clinton on Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell back in 1993; I viewed it as the “lesser of two evils” (allowing closeted gays to serve versus putting an outright ban on their service) and about the best we could hope for at the time. Lingering opposition tells me it probably was.

From the rigid resistance to open service exhibited by some, one might easily get the impression the U.S. military is an inherently homophobic institution. I’d prefer to believe those who express concern in vague statements about “unit cohesion” (hehehe, you said “unit”) don’t speak for our military as a whole. And it’s looking like that’s the case.

We’ve heard alarmist anecdotes about servicepersons being “sized up” in the shower by gay comrades. To me, this simply makes the case for privacy while bathing. One room with a dozen or so nozzles (oh, grow up!) on the tiled walls isn’t preferable to most as might be, say, individual shower stalls. Naked (wo)men showering together, lathering up in front of each other – as might occur every day in military barracks across America – that, ironically, seems a bit gay.

By keeping DADT in place, we not only deny respect to many decent, patriotic people, we limit our defense resources. In time of war with two Middle Eastern countries, we’ve actually booted personnel, including translators who help us understand what the hell terrorists are saying, for being openly gay. Is this a sound defense policy?

To those who continue to support DADT, I put this question: Do you hate/fear gays more than you love your country?


Jack K. said...

HUZZAH!! Well stated.

Folks might be amazed at the number of "uncloseted" gays who have served the country with great honor and bravery.

An amusing anecdote that occurred to me. At the time I was a LTC, MP. I was riding in a vehicle with a reserve Captain. He did proposition me. I was quite surprised. We discussed the situation as I politely refused.

I think some folks are afraid that they may be gay. There are also some who are petrified by their own sexuality. Too bad for them.

Glad to see the Pres. doing his best.

Pete Bogs said...

This is indeed good news, and hopefully will not be the only significant, positive change we will see under Obama.

It's interesting to see a number of Republicant lawmakers who opposed repeal, preferring to "let military officials decide what's best," are now being forced to backpedal. They were betting on this not happening. They had it coming!

Backpeddling hypocrites

Pete Bogs said...

PS: Jack, thanks for sharing that anecdote. Did you lose "unit cohesion" afterwards? Did you regret serving? I imagine not. Sounds like you took it in stride. It certainly wasn't the end of the world as we know it!

People who say they are uncomfortable with gays (I know some personally) fail to realize that they are potentially surrounded by gay people already; that not all gays skip around, speak with a lisp and are "stereotypically gay."

bearly domesticated boneman said...

If I was at my home computer, I would turn you on to a major slice and dice of anti-gay behavior....but, I'm somewhere else and have no way to connect.

You are right.
(and left) my friend.
(Maybe when I get home....)

Jack K. said...

Unit cohesion remained intact. We didn't ask and we didn't tell, and this occurred back in the mid-70's.

boneman said...

(also kind'a went off while I was there...but I left a really decent link..)

Pete Bogs said...

Jack - That reserve captain didn't realize how he was endangering America. I am glad we survived his overtures. I think we dodged a bullet.

Thanks for stopping in!

Boney - Great stuff there, man. Really illustrates how absurd these arguments are.