|Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell, Don’t Give Us Your Professional Opinion|
|America is Religious|
Don’t get me wrong, I understand why Clinton came up with DADT and took the effort to slip it in, so-to-speak, after his valiant but failed attempt to repeal a complete ban. At least DADT gave gays an opportunity to put their lives on the line for the country that hates them.
I continue to be surprised at the persistence of the Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell policy.
The original DADT rule from 1993 is in Defense Directive 1304.26 with the bit against homosexuals is right at the bottom – ah, the irony. Interestingly, there are exceptions in the No-Queers-Allowed Directive: If you performed a homosexual act, you can still be accepted into the military, just as long as it was a one-off, you didn’t enjoy it, didn’t force anyone and and promise not to do it again (palindromic enclosure 18.104.22.168.1).
Section 4 describes the policy of the Department of Defense to refrain from prejudice “based on gender, race, religion or ethnicity [unless they’re gay]” and to judge an applicant “on the basis of adaptability, potential and conduct [unless they’re gay].” And the enclosure about Moral Character demonstrates that known felons have a better chance to enlist than known gays.
There hasn’t been a report to Congress in support of the policy in years, yet Congress still clings to it like Rock Hudson clung to his heterosexuality. In 2007, Gen. John Shalikashvili, chairman of the Joint Chiefs when DADT was adopted, wrote an op-ed piece in full support of a complete repeal of the ban on openly gay troops. The General even cited a meeting he had with an openly gay sailor serving on a submarine, whose gayness didn’t result in any, uh, sunk torpedoes.
Later that year, an open letter was signed by 28 retired generals and admirals urging Congress to repeal the ban. In 2008, another similar open letter was signed by over a hundred high-ranked retirees.
Even back in 1993, the House and Armed Services Committee heard expert testimony from Dr. Gregory Herek, a leading psychologist on sexual orientation that gays and straights serving side-by-side would not cause any problems. And he was right: Gays have served openly in Canada, Australia and Israel since around the introduction of DADT in the USA. In these and all other countries that allow open gays to serve, there has been no incohesion, no drop in recruitment, morale or readiness, no orgies in the mess halls.
So, in the face of extensive studies, expert testimonies, recommendations from very senior military personnel and long-standing examples from NATO allies, how on Earth is DADT still law? On top of that, the military’s Commander-in-Chief, chairman of the Joint Chiefs and Defense Secretary all want to get rid of the ban. Why isn’t Congress listening?