UPDATED: Thoughts on Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell (DADT) policy

The Obama administration is going full court press on the Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell (DADT) policy for gays serving in the military. Of course, Congress must pass a new law to overturn it, but Obama is also directing Robert Gates and military leaders to do everything they can to work around the existing law until, God forbid, Congress changes the law.

As a refresher summary on the DADT policy:

The 1993 law enacted by a Democrat-controlled Congress and signed by President Clinton prevents homosexuals from serving openly. The policy also prohibits the military from asking recruits on the front end if they are homosexual.

It is also pertinent to note (my emphasis):

It [DADT] is, by the way, similar to the way heterosexual relations are treated as well.  Men stay away from women altogether in uniform.  It isn’t practiced, it isn’t discussed, it is frowned upon – in theory.  This isn’t to say that it doesn’t happen, any more than DADT would imply that gay sexual relations don’t happen.  It does mean that there are certain requirements in the military that comport with good discipline, and they are enforced to the extent possible. 

……But in the end, DADT has been a mainstay of operations for a while now, and revoking this policy might mean more than a little change to the military….

…..For a branch like the Marines which has as their cornerstone removing differences and enforcing sameness (or at least relegating them to unimportant status – e.g., no one can remove language barriers), it probably will have a significant affect.

So as a part of discipline, “open” heterosexuality is also something that the military frowns upon.   I see no problem with that, just as I see the DADT policy as something that enforces discipline among military members.  And the argument for promoting “sameness” rather than differences is a valid and important issue to address when speaking of the repeal of DADT.

And let’s not forget the bottom line–the US Military has a mission to defend this country from enemies foreign and domestic.  That is the ultimate goal.   Issues and policies that can hinder or overshadow that goal should not be taken lightly or decided upon by the whims of “social change” agents.

 Obama had this to say in the State of the Union speech on January 27:

Obama declared during the Jan. 27 State of the Union address he would work this year “with Congress and our military to finally repeal the law that denies gay Americans the right to serve the country they love because of who they are.”

Well, as is his usual schtick, Obama’s making a statement that is simply not true in order push his point of view.  The DADT policy doesn’t permit the open discussion or practicing of homosexuality.  But any homosexual may serve in the military and they do.  So it is disingenuous to tout the repeal of DADT based on a lie that gays can’t serve in the military.  This line is regularly used by those who wish to repeal DADT.

In addition, many who serve have no problem serving alongside homosexuals, just as many have no problem serving alongside women.  However, many of those same people are opposed to doing away with the DADT policy.

Herschel Smith at Captain’s Journal writes:

 It’s appropriate to convey the thoughts of at least a few contacts active in the military.  My contacts – who by the way aren’t opposed in principle to the idea of gays serving alongside them – seem to pan the idea pretty much across the board.

It is also interesting to note that many in the military are against changing the DADT policy.  And many say they will not re-enlist or continue serving in the military if the DADT law is changed to promote homosexuality in the military (my emphasis):

A Military Times survey of subscribers released in December 2008 found that 58 percent of active military personnel oppose repealing the current policy. Additionally, if the policy is overturned, nearly 10 percent said, “I would not re-enlist or extend my service,” while another 14 percent said, “I would consider not re-enlisting or extending my service.” A 2006 Zogby poll found only 26 percent of military personnel who have served in Iraq or Afghanistan supported overturning the current policy.

So, it clearly seems that vast majorities of those serving in the military are against the repeal of DADT.   Why does it seem reasonable to repeal it if that is the case?

And just like many social issues of today, why is it so “urgent” to do this now?  Our military has existed for well over 200 years.   It is quite arguable that America, for many years, has had one of the best fighting forces on earth.    And it has all been achieved without mandating by law that the sexual preferences of military members must be out in the open in the name of “integrity” and “rights”.  

Just as the culture, society, traditions and founding documents of this country have sustained us for over 200 years without so-called “gay marriage”, the purposes and mission of the US Military and its members have excelled for over 200 years without open homosexuality.

Why is it so darned important now — in 2010 — in the midst of two wars to heap a huge left-leaning social change onto our military, particularly when those serving honorably don’t want it? 

I believe that DADT should not be repealed.  I do understand that decent people can disagree on this policy.   It is not hateful or bigoted for those with strong religious beliefs or lengthy military backgrounds, as two examples, to oppose gays serving openly in the military.   And it is not unreasonable for me to understand the viewpoint of those who may believe that the repealing DADT is worthwhile.

But, as in the gay marriage debate, many who push for the gay agenda, do so by getting personal and calling the opposition names instead of understanding the values for which they may be espousing.

Good example comes from blogger CDR Salamander.  CDR Salamander is for repealing DADT, but can see where Admiral Mullen’s statement on the subject offers nothing positive, but rather makes its personal by accusing the oppostition of being without “integrity”.  From CDR Salamander:

I support the repeal of DADT – but I also think that those who want to keep it are on balance people with the best interests of our nation at heart. Good people can disagree on issues of substance.

I don’t know what he was trying to do – but Admiral Mullen just made it personal, and that is sad.

“No matter how I look at the issue,” Mullen said, “I cannot escape being troubled by the fact that we have in place a policy which forces young men and women to lie about who they are in order to defend their fellow citizens.” Noting that he was speaking for himself and not for the other service chiefs, Mullen added: “For me, it comes down to integrity – theirs as individuals and ours as an institution.”

I suppose that the very Navy that has promoted the Admiral to a high rank, has been without integrity for its entire existence then?   What does that make Admiral Mullen for spending his entire career in leadership of an institution that, in his words, is lacking integrity?   And as for the lying — DADT does not require anyone to lie.  There is no asking, so there is no lying.

Herschel Smith at Captain’s Journal has a view against repealing DADT….and he doesn’t engage in personal attacks against those who think otherwise.  His reasoning makes sense:

Now for my own views.  I thought about this position within the context of the only exception that I can think of, namely, marriage.  Men and women are allowed to be married in the military.  But marriage is not performed by the Marine Corps or Army.  It is performed and recognized within and by states which have laws that govern such things.  Imposing homosexual marriage on a branch of the service just to say that there is no exception to the way gays and heterosexuals are treated under DADT is a false dilemma.  It is imposing a foreign problem on the military – a consideration that should be irrelevant to the conversation.

In a republic such as ours, laws are changed by legislative process which usually begins with advocacy.  One group or another wants a law changed or enacted, and that group presses the issue.  If gays want to marry, changing DADT isn’t the way to go.  Changing laws is the way to go.  No gay marriage (insofar as DADT applies) in the military (similar to no gay marriage in most states)  is an output (or outcome) of the debate, not an input to it.

In summary, DADT is the perfect solution to the issue.  There is to be no sexual relations with other service members, and no discussion of it.  This is true regardless of orientation.  DADT is a subset of that regulation, not an exception to it.  It doesn’t prevent gays from serving in the military.  Its revocation would serve no useful function, and therefore TCJ opposes its revocation unless someone can come up with something better than the false mantra that some service members must “lie about who they are.”

I’m sure this is a debate that will rage on this year.  But regardless of where you stand on the issue, you must ask yourself, “Why now and why make major social change in the midst of two wars, not to mention the pressing issues at home?”   Makes no sense.

UPDATE 2/8/10: From the blogger Villainous Company comes some interesting statistics on discharges from the military over the course of the last 30 years.  Result:

Note that in no year did DADT discharges reach even one-tenth of one percent of the active forces.

If all the losses since 1994 were combined into a single year, they still don’t come to even 1% of the total force structure.

At Villainous Company they also compared the DADT stat of  less than 1/10th of 1 percent for discharges to non-deployable women because of pregnancy.  Depending on the branch of armed services 5-26% of women are non-deployable due to pregnancy.

So VC asks the legitimate question of the military commanders who believe the military would be so weakened by continuing DADT:

If the military has decided it can easily tolerate having anywhere from 5-26% of our forces in a non-deployable status due to pregnancy, why are losses of under 1/10th of one percent unsupportable?

The answer is because repealing DADT is 99.99999% political and an attempt at further social experimentation in the military at the expense of troop cohesiveness, enlistment, and retention.


One Response

  1. I’m surprised you haven’t been descended upon by the gay mafia.

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