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Ask Me…I’ll Tell

December 3, 2010 Leave a comment Go to comments

The study on Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell (DADT) is finally in, and the consensus seems to be that openly gay service in the military is not going to be a major disruption.  Although this issue is only tangendentally related to strategy, I thought that my dedicated readership (all 15 of you) might like a comment or two on the issue given that this blog has a heavy military focus.

First, the study.  I can’t say I am surprised at the results.  Today’s service members grew up in a society where homosexuality is much less of a stigma than in previous generations.  They are comfortable with homosexuals, and therefore will be comfortable serving with them.  Additionally, there are a significant number of homosexual service members serving today.  Though there are not many, there are enough that the average service member has served with a homosexual at least once in his/her career.  This is certainly the case for me.  I’ve found that the few homosexuals that are in the service are more interested in serving their country than they are making political or social statements.

That last part is important.  Do not confuse those homosexuals who desire to serve with their counterparts who are advocating for the repeal of DADT.  While the former simply want to serve, the latter do not.  Though their ends are the same, their reasons are different.  Many of the DADT repeal advocates have zero interest in serving, or the readiness of the armed forces.  For them, this is a political football.  Still, the questionable motivations of some should not sway us from the facts, which are that homosexuals can serve openly, it would appear, with little or no negative impacts on readiness.

Finally, we should be realistic about how many homosexuals really desire to serve.  Military service men and women predominately come from conservative middle American, aka “flyover country.”  In contrast, most homosexuals identify themselves as liberals and live on the coasts.  This makes it unlikely that homosexuals (as coastal liberals) with begin joining in droves.  We might see a few join at the outset as a political statement, however, these individuals will quickly learn that being in the military can really, really suck at times, particularly during basic training.  Probably not worth it to prove a point that by then will have already been proven.

I think most homosexuals who want to serve are probably already serving.  While DADT is castigated on both the left and the right, in the end it has probably been a pretty good policy.  It has allowed the military a transition period to gradually integrate homosexuals into the ranks in a measured fashion.  It has allowed service members to serve next to homosexuals and figure out that it isn’t really that scary.

The final thing to address is the morality issue.  Some will claim that serving with homosexuals violates their moral values.  That is fine, and they can always vote with their feet.  However, I find this argument dubious at best.  Go outside any military installation, and Army installations in particular, and you are likely to see a myriad of seedy strip bars and sex shops.  The fact is that some military service members routinely engage in behavior which is contrary to the moral values of most Christian and other religions in some form or fashion.  If someone refuses to serve with anyone who violates the 10 commandments, then US military service certainly isn’t for them.

What is next?  This will be a political fight, but armed with the DoD study results, Republicans in Congress will have little to stand on in opposing DADT.  They are making a stink about it now, but will probably use it as a bargaining chip to gain concessions from the Democrats.

Categories: Organization
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  1. December 19, 2010 at 2:43 pm

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