Don't Ask, Don't Tell

Discussion in 'Academy/Military News' started by Katherine, Feb 1, 2010.

  1. Katherine

    Katherine Member

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    Interesting Op-Ed by Bill Kristol. Just his opinion.

    Don’t Mess With Success
    Is now the time to overturn Don't Ask, Don't Tell?

    BY William Kristol
    February 8, 2010, Vol. 15, No. 20


    In his State of the Union address, Barack Obama worried that “too many of our citizens have lost faith” in “our biggest institutions.” Many of those institutions have, of course, invited disillusionment with their feckless and irresponsible behavior. But poll after poll shows that at least one major American institution retains citizens’ faith. Indeed, this institution has improved its standing in recent years as respect for others has declined. That institution is the U.S. military.

    So what institution does the president want to subject to an untested, unnecessary, and probably unwise social experiment? The U.S. military.

    “This year,” the president informed us, “I will work 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.”

    It’s hard to know where that “finally” came from. Until a year ago, Americans had elected presidents who were in favor of upholding “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell”—so if action on this has been overdue, it’s only been for the single year of the Obama presidency.

    But the repeal is something that Obama campaigned on. He believes in it. But with all due respect to his sincerely held if abstractly formed views on this subject, it would be reckless to require the military to carry out a major sociological change, one contrary to the preferences of a large majority of its members, as it fights two wars. What’s more, it isn’t a change an appreciable number of Americans are clamoring for. And even if one understood this change to be rectifying an injustice, the fact is it’s an injustice that affects perhaps a few thousand people in a nation of 300 million.

    But, “It’s the right thing to do,” said the president.

    Here is contemporary liberalism in a nutshell: No need to consider costs as well as benefits. No acknowledgment of competing goods or coexisting rights. No appreciation of the constraints of public sentiment or the challenges of organizational complexity. No sense that not every part of society can be treated dogmatically according to certain simple propositions. Just the assertion that something must be done because it is in some abstract way “the right thing.”

    John McCain’s response to Obama’s statement was that of a grown-up: “This successful policy has been in effect for over 15 years, and it is well understood and predominantly supported by our military at all levels. We have the best trained, best equipped, and most professional force in the history of our country, and the men and women in uniform are performing heroically in two wars. At a time when our Armed Forces are fighting and sacrificing on the battlefield, now is not the time to abandon the policy.” Whatever its muddled origins and theoretical deficiencies, the fact is “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” works pretty well at accommodating the complex demands of a war-ready military nestled in a liberal society.

    The advocates of repeal say, it’s a matter of basic rights. No, it’s not. Leave aside the fact that there are difficult and unresolved questions of how our society should deal in various areas of public policy with questions of sexual orientation. There is no basic right to serve in the military. That’s why forms of discrimination we would ban in civilian life are permitted: Women have less opportunity to fight than men. The disabled are discriminated against, as are the short, the near-sighted, and the old.

    Advocates of repeal will say sexual orientation is irrelevant to military performance in a way these attributes are not. But this is not clearly true given the peculiar characteristics of military service.

    We’ll hear a lot, as the debate moves forward, about gay Arabic translators being discharged from military service. A decision to separate from the military someone who is sitting in an office in Northern Virginia may look silly. But the Obama Defense Department is entirely free to ensure that those men and women continue to use their skills to serve their country in those same offices as civilians. And translators who are uniformed members of the military are subject to the usual demands of training and deployment, so the questions about the effect of open homosexuals on unit morale and cohesion in training and combat situations remain relevant.

    As an intellectual matter, gays in the military is a not uninteresting question. We have our views, as does President Obama, and we are not averse to debating the issue. But surely there are more pressing and important matters for our political and military leaders to be spending their time on.

    —William Kristol
     
  2. sprog

    sprog Member

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    This is a little off-topic for the USMA section. Could one of the moderators please move the thread to "Off Topic" or to "Academy/Military News"? I'm sure it will generate passionate responses (which is always good). However, the issue is highly partisan/political, and my feeling is that it is best put in another section than one which directly addresses USMA.
     
  3. Just_A_Mom

    Just_A_Mom Member

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    Why did you post this - is this your opinion as well?

    agree with sprog - this has been discussed but can be discussed again in another forum.
     
  4. Katherine

    Katherine Member

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    This is not at all necessarily my opinion! I had seen the Don't Ask, Don't Tell issue discussed on this particular forum and noticed it covered on many news sites as one of the top stories (both partisan and "nonpartisan" ones). As I said in the beginning, it's a "Op-ed" (opinion editorial) piece and "just his perspective". I suppose I was curious as to people's rebuttals as this article brought up some great points to be debated. I guess I just got excited while reading it!

    Not properly placed, I suppose. No worries! :wink: I was just posting this for fun, but thanks for moving it to a more appropriate place.
     
  5. linkgmr

    linkgmr Old Grad

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    Personal business is personal business. So long as it doesn't interfere with the ability of a servicemember to do his/her job, what's the problem?
    (Granted, if scientific studies show that the repealing of DADT DOES create a measurable decrease in productivity, effectiveness, or anything else, then by all means, leave it in place.)
     
  6. marciemi

    marciemi USMA Alumnus

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    I agree.
     
  7. TheKnight

    TheKnight Class of 2014

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    The biggest argument against the repeal of DADT (unit cohesion/morale) is directly contradicted by the fact that there are already gays serving in the military (some open) and the fact that the military forces of other countries (that do allow open gays to serve) are not facing serious problems with unit cohesion and morale.

    In a way, it could make it easier for a gay person to keep their personal business to themselves if they didn't have to worry about getting discharged for their orientation. Because it's always easier to simply not say anything than to have to actively take measures to hide something.
     
  8. Just_A_Mom

    Just_A_Mom Member

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    http://www.armytimes.com/news/2010/02/ap_military_gay_ban_review_020110w/

    sounds like a good first step
     
  9. LineInTheSand

    LineInTheSand USCGA 2006

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    There are a few reoccuring comments from some in the military. What would the berthing situation be? If you can trust homosexuals to control themselves
    in a berthing area, why could you not trust opposite sexes from co-ed berthing arrangements?

    Also, for some units, will some members feel betrayed if their fellow soldier or shipmate or airman has lied to them for during their careers?

    Certainly some things the Sec. of Defense and Adm. Mullen will need to think about. Great week for them....budget concerns, Don't Ask Don't Tell, two wars, increased tensions with China over arms sales to Taiwan....the list is endless.
     
  10. LineInTheSand

    LineInTheSand USCGA 2006

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    I have my own feelings about a more lienent standard....

    It's as cloudy as Don't Ask Don't Tell was in the first place, neither condemns nor permits homosexual service. "In the right direction" is just a watered down version of what you already have.
     
  11. Pima

    Pima Parent

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    I have no problem or issue with repealing DADT, actually I support the repeal. However, as I have stated many times before there are other issues that need to be addressed for it to work, dependents are on the top of my list. We need the federal govt to acknowledge homosexual unions first. For example, a gay servicemember is PCS'd overseas, however, not only his Home Of Record (HOR) does not recognize homosexual unions, but the federal govt., that means their partner is not eligible to shop at the commissary, PX/BX/NX, enter the base (no ID card), or medical coverage. Nor are they eligible for base housing. This might seem like nothing, but trust someone who has lived overseas for yrs., it means everything. Also, since the marriage is not acknowledged, the servicemember must pay out of pocket the airfare, including passports to get them there, plus, single members have less weight allowance for PCSing. This will also occur from stateside to stateside PCS's, yet the problem of shopping on base or medical is greatly reduced.

    This is different than decades ago with the integration of African Americans, there is a unique issue that will raise other questions, mainly civil unions. I hope that DADT does get repealed, but I hope they don't just repeal it for the sake of repealing. I hope they think everything out from start to finish, because I fear that if they ignore the union aspect we will see a case in front of the SCOTUS within days. I worry that this will be like GITMO closing, great to close it, but you can't just say it without working the minutia.
     
  12. raimius

    raimius USAFA Alumnus

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    Personally, I have known some "not quite openly homosexual" members. They did their job well. Quite frankly, sex should not be a major topic in a unit (gay, straight, or whatever).

    Another concern I've seen is the security risk of forcing someone to hide part of their life. It leaves a strong possibility of blackmail, etc.

    PIMA makes some good points about details...
     
  13. Pima

    Pima Parent

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    I also forgot to add the big deal...BAH...a gay member who is not recognized by the govt as married will receive less money every month for Housing. This could be THOUSANDS of dollars per yr. In VA for an O-3 with dependents compared to no dependents this equates to @4K per yr. They are also ineligible for base housing since to get on base you must show a valid marriage certificate.

    It will be worse for the military if a gay marriage is acknowledged by one state and not the other...refer back to PCS and BAH. Can you imagine the anger among service members who come from a state that does not recognize their union? Will the military be required to resort to the fact that Gays can serve, but because the federal govt does not recognize gay unions they do not receive the same benefits of heterosexuals within the military? Am I wrong to see how harmful this inequity will be within the military. Military members won't give a hoot if the person next to them is homosexual, but the homosexual will give a hoot that they do not receive the same benefits when they are willing to die for the country like the hetero.
     
    Last edited: Feb 2, 2010
  14. Maximus

    Maximus Member

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    What Service member wouldn't marry "just" anyone, just to get the extra cash? All you'd have to do is offer someone: free medical, possible life insurance and housing to get married. No bed checks and go on with your life as usual and here's a $1,000 for your trouble. Oh I can hear it now....Maximus...do you honestly think people will actually get married and claim homosexuality, for thousands of dollars of benefits? A resounding yes is my answer :shake:

    This and LITS's questions about birthing are the little questions you're not allowed to ask unless you want to be labeled an evil tea bagger. no pun intended.

    BTW, Barry purposely didn't address the Federal marriage issue, because this way it circumvents the messy Constitutional Amendment before his important election. Congress wouldn't back him up on this with the climate in Washington now!
     
  15. LineInTheSand

    LineInTheSand USCGA 2006

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    Berthing....


    birthing in a homosexual relationship is a little easier to figure out.
     
  16. SteveHolt243

    SteveHolt243 Member

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    I'm sure people would get married just for the benefits. What is your point? People do it with heterosexual marriage too. So (in the event that the federal government recognized gay unions) you would either take away all marriage benefits, or expand them with the continuing recognition that some percentage of couples are in it for the BAH benefits. As it is, I imagine that partnerships would be recognized roughly similar to how they are in federal service, for better or for worse.
     
  17. gunner1zeus

    gunner1zeus Member

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    Modifications to the DADT policy.
    If it isn't broken don't fix it!!!

    A gay life style is a choice. If someone chooses to be gay than thy shouldn't be in the military.
     
  18. vampsoul

    vampsoul Candidate

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    Some people do not agree with that statement. I will say anything black and white, as I am not homosexual. However, I wave friends that have told me the wished they could be straight so life could be easier, but they can't not be who they are. I do not believe anyone wakes up one morning and decides, "from now on I am going to be homosexual".
     
  19. SeaMars

    SeaMars Member

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    Why not?
     
  20. Maximus

    Maximus Member

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    Sorry, not a SA grad, no need to snap! ...Plus, I'm used to a rack! :shake:
     

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