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?