Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell

The House has voted 250 to 175 to repeal Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.  The repeal was shot down once by the Senate when it was attached to a larger bill, but now it’s going back to the Senate as standalone legislation.[1. Doonesbury is currently doing a series on DADT.]

Can someone please tell me why this is even an issue?  Beyond the fact that certain politicians want to make it an issue, I mean.

One argument I’ve heard is that the presence of homosexuals will be too distracting to our soldiers.  Um.  How’s that again?  Is all that military training and discipline so flimsy that it falls apart the moment Neil Patrick Harris strides into the room?  (Okay, bad example.  NPH disrupts entire nations by sheer force of awesomeness.  But you get the idea.)

If our goal is really to guarantee the comfort and safety of our soldiers, maybe we should stop worrying about homosexuality and instead ban straight men from serving.  You know, given that “a female soldier in Iraq is more likely to be raped by a fellow soldier than killed by enemy fire” and all.

John McCain has argued that the Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell policy is working.  He argues, “The military is at its highest point in recruitment, in retention, in professionalism, in capability.”

We’ve been fighting how many wars for how long now?  The military has been working for years to improve recruitment and retention.  Or are you implying that retention is up not because of those recruitment efforts, not because our children are growing up never knowing a United States that wasn’t at war, not because the economy and high unemployment push more people to enlist, but simply because people are eager to join a gay-free club?

Even the Pentagon says:

Based on all we saw and heard, our assessment is that, when coupled with the prompt implementation of the recommendations we offer below, the risk of repeal of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell to overall military effectiveness is low.

This comes after a study which incorporated responses from more than 100,000 active servicemen and women, more than 100,000 family members of those servicemen and women, discussions at 51 different bases and installations, and much more.

Major Alan G. Rogers also researched this issue.  He was killed in January of 2008 in Iraq by an IED, and was buried with full honors at Arlington.  Oh, and he was gay.

From Major Rogers’ Masters thesis:

Current policy on gays in the military seems to rest on many faulty assumptions – namely that homosexuals will jeopardize unit cohesiveness. My research has been unable to justify that position and has found that the opposite is more true. Denying service members the right to serve freely and openly violates basic dignity and respect of the human experience and puts our national security at risk.

For almost a decade, I’ve been hearing how nothing is more vital than our National Security.  I’d expect this to mean we welcome and thank all those who volunteer to serve our country.  That we would want every qualified serviceman and woman we could find.  Yet bewteen 1997 and 2006, more than 11,000 men and women have been kicked out of the military under Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.[2. This includes a disproportionate number of women and minoroties, by the way…]

Apparently for for some people, homosexuals are an even greater threat than the terrorists.