OK – I know that I shouldn’t probably choose a “gay issue” as my first one, but it’s the one that gets me the most fired up. So, I promise not to only talk about gay stuff, but hey – it’s my blog and I’ll talk about this one first if I want to . . . Anyway, here’s my quick sound bite on don’t ask don’t tell.
- Should anyone really care whether or not someone chooses to love someone of the same sex? Isn’t the purpose of the military to a.) kill people that kill us, b.) break things that kill us, and c.) defend our freedom from the crazies out there.
- I hardly think who someone is hooking up with, living with, loving, etc. qualifies them any better to do the three things I listed above (well – now that I think about, gays may be better @ the whole defend freedom against crazies since we are still doing it for ourselves, but I’ll leave that one alone for now).
While there is a lot that can be said about this issue, the two main arguments for not allowing gays and lesbians to service openly in the military is that it will a.) harm unit cohesion and b.) stop people from enlisting in the military.
Let’s tackle a.) In a recent Washington Post poll, 73% of soldiers serving in Iraq and Afghanistan were comfortable among gays. Also, I find the entire notion that our fine service men and women will have a problem serving with gays and lesbians to be insulting to our existing service men and women. After all, why do we think that our military personnel or so incapable of dealing with this issue? Overall, I think it is an insult to the fortitude of our military personnel. Let’s tackle b.) This one has often given me pause. After all, the last thing that we need in a time of not enough military personnel is less people wanting to enlist. However, the government has been polling recent enlistees and less than five percent state that they would have an issue with someone in their unit if they were openly gay.
Here are a few more thoughts . . .
Most American seems to be over it. In a receent Washington post poll, 75% of Americans in a new Washington Post poll said gay people who are open about their sexual orientation should be allowed to serve in the U.S. military, up from 62 percent in early 2001 and 44 percent in 1993.
I can’t find the link for this one, but it was a human interest story I read recently that really brought this point home. A lesbian that was working in the Pentagon during the 9/11/2001 attacks narrowly missed having the department that she was working for destroyed by the attacks. Now, had she sadly been killed as part of the 9/11 attacks, her partner of 10+ years would not have been informed of her death because she did not dare list her partner as an emergency contact for fear of being “outed” by someone in the military. So, let’s make this real world for all on this email – imagine that something happens to you at work and your emergency contact needs to be contacted. However, instead of your work contacting the person that you have spent the last ten years of your life w/ someone else is contact that may or may not inform you about an event for which you need to be informed. It is stories like this one that really make this kind of thing beyond ridiculous.
Final argument and I am done with this one – one of the reasons that we have not been as successful in Iraq is due to the lack of Arab linguists. If we expect to communicate well with Iraqis, we need people that can communicate with them. However, several Arab linguists have been discharged from the military under Don’t Ask Don’t Tell (See attached link – http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/14052513). Key point here: “Nearly 800 dismissed gay or lesbian service members had critical abilities, including 300 with important language skills. Fifty-five were proficient in Arabic.” Reading something like this statistic really makes you wonder if the current administration is serious about winning the war on terror!