14 September 2006

Asking and telling it like it is

Ed Morrissey, of the Captain's Quarters blog, is one of the best opinion journalists around, online or off. Today, he thoughtfully and concisely exposes the hypocrisy of the military's "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" policy:
In fact, gays serve openly in the military now; they do it in Britain. American and British troops have served together in Afghanistan and Iraq without this causing damage to morale and cohesion. They also serve openly in the IDF, one of the finest fighting forces in the world, although their leadership could use a refresher course after Lebanon. Both armies work jointly with American forces, and 22 other nations also allow gays and lesbians to serve without hiding themselves.

. . . .

If gays and lesbians were the cause of degraded morale and unit cohesion, then that damage would occur regardless of whether they kept quiet or not. If the Pentagon argues that the revelation causes the damage, then the problem isn't the gays or lesbians, but the bigots in the ranks that suddenly find out about them. That sounds exactly like the problem that the Pentagon had when it considered desgregating the services after World War II, and they finally rejected the option of coddling the bigots.

So should we now. Perhaps wartime makes for a difficult circumstance for a policy change, but this war will likely be generational, and we need as much support as we can muster.

Britain has allowed gays to serve openly for years, and they still field strong military forces. In fact, the British turn to gay-rights groups to help them recruit for the British Navy. Israel can beat any force except ours and the British that dare fight them in open warfare. Obviously gays have not eroded their combat effectiveness. Why should we continue to keep able and willing men on the sidelines when we can use all of the otherwise-qualified volunteers we can get? Barry Goldwater said it best when he declared that the only consideration that mattered to him was whether soldiers could shoot straight. Let's stop playing hypocritical games and allow patriotic men and women to wear the uniform and defend the nation.

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