Tuesday, June 01, 2010

Don't Ask, Don't Tell.

     President Obama is lobbying for the military services to end the controversial "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" policy re: the disposition of gay and lesbian members of the US military.  Created during the Clinton administration, Don't Ask, Don't Tell or DADT basically is a middle ground policy that allows homosexuals to serve in the US Armed Forces as long as they do not make their homosexual orientation public.  In response, the military won't make any inquiries into whether an individual soldier, sailor, airman or marine is gay or lesbian.   Supporters of the ban on DADT believe lesbian and gay service members should be allowed to serve openly.  They believe that DADT forces them to live a lie, and that they and their relationships deserve the same treatment and respect as heterosexual personnel.  Those who believe that DADT should be retained claim that allowing LGBT service members to serve openly would undermine unit cohesion, cause dissension in the ranks as well as also hurt unit morale.  They also believe that the military is no place for social experimentation.  Funny, tell that to President Truman when he signed the order to desegregate the Armed Forces allowing black and white service members to serve together and equally.
     Personally,  I have no problem serving with gay or lesbian service members.  I served with gay sailors on both of the ships I was on, and as long as they kept hands off and did their jobs,  I was okay with that. What they did off-duty was no concern of mine as long as they didn't let their off-duty activities interfere with doing their job.  I believe that from a practical point of view that our military is stretched way too thin with commitments in over 130 countries around the world.  If we wish to continue to insist on maintaining that level of readiness, than we need to recruit and retain every qualified person available.
     It's a well known fact that there are gays and lesbians in the military.  The vast majority of them are serving with honor and distinction.  There may be a few that decide to let their "freak flag" fly, but you'll find that amongst straight servicemen and women.  You want to hit all the gay bars and dress in drag and do whatever it is that gays and lesbians do when they're out on the town, knock yourself out.  But make sure you're back on the base/ship/whatever at the required time, in the proper uniform, AJ squared away and ready to go to work.  If you're not, expect to get dinged.  I would expect that from the straight members of my division, and I'd expect that from the gays/lesbians also.  There has to be mutual respect in the ranks.  Maybe you don't like the guy or girl you're working with because of their sexual orientation, but for the time being, you have to work with them, and in battle, you'll have to fight with them, and if they should get hurt in the fight, it's your responsibility to get them help.  And they would have to do the same for you, if the roles were reversed.   You don't have to go out with them off duty, but while you're on duty, you put your feelings aside and act as a professional.
     I'm not supporting the elimination of DADT because I'm a shill for the LGBT movement. I'm 100 percent straight and the sight of two men smooching much less having sex makes me want to throw up.  But my position is purely from a practical point of view.  Any qualified and interested persons should be encouraged to serve their country by joining its Armed Forces. It is an honorable profession that can reap many benefits years after hanging up the uniform.  I know of no more positive way of showing love of country.  That honor should be made available to any person who is qualified and willing to put their life on the line.  That includes blacks, whites, latinos, asians, europeans, gays and straights.  Just demand strict adherence to the rules of conduct regarding fraternization, and demand that off-duty activities don't interfere with the performance of your job, or you will face strict discipline.  That goes for gays and straights.   The US Armed Forces need to recruit and retain quality men and women in order to do its job.  In a time where our forces are stretched almost to the breaking point, we cannot afford to deny a person the honor and privilege of service simply because of who they sleep with.