Bad Time To Repeal ‘Don’t Ask, Tell’

Jerry Coffee
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Wednesday - January 05, 2011
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“If we do this (repeal Don’t Ask/Don’t Tell) then other things are not going to get done, and I worry about the implications for Iraq and Afghanistan.” -Gen. George Casey,Army Chief of Staff

No one knows better than Gen. Casey how stretched our active and reserve military is just now fighting two wars, one in Iraq to ensure Middle East stability, and one in Afghanistan to ensure the Taliban does not re-establish a sanctuary for al-Qaida and other terrorist groups from which to launch attacks on our homeland and our interests elsewhere in the world.

Some active and reserve troops are on their fourth or fifth deployment to those countries.

Casey strongly implies our efforts in Iraq and Afghanistan will be undermined by the distraction of our commander in chief’s social engineering of our military to pay back his gay and lesbian constituency for their support in his campaign. The decision is strictly political and the timing is terrible, especially when the disruption isn’t even necessary.

Sen. John McCain summarized the input from military leaders he interviewed: “Don’t AskDon’t Tell (DADT) is working, and right now we have the best military we’ve ever had - the most professional, best-trained, equipped and the bravest. So I think we should just leave the issue alone.”

Although my own 28 years of service as a naval officer and aviator terminated well before the 17 years since President Bill Clinton enacted DADT, my personal experiences aboard aircraft carriers is instructive. Living and sleeping spaces are very cramped, and privacy is rare (and worse on smaller ships).

The pace - and, yes, inherent danger - of day and night flight operations require intense focus and acute attention to detail. Unnecessary distractions are an anathema to safe operations. In such an environment, openly homosexual conversation or behavior would have been such a distraction.

I may have served with homosexual shipmates or squadron members who kept their sexual preferences to themselves. If I did, I appreciate their professionalism in realizing the potential for misunderstanding and conflict given the social values of those times.

We have all heard the lament: “But gays should have the freedom to be themselves while serving their country. It’s an infringement of their civil rights.”

Clearly, the lamenters just don’t understand the military.

When those enlistment papers are signed voluntarily, the “civil rights” and “freedoms” go right out the window. It is no longer about you, it’s now about the unit. Contrary to the recent recruiting slogan - “Let the Army join you!” - you are now owned by the Army, or whatever branch you have joined.

The recent, highly touted survey of military personnel, which supposedly found that 70 percent percent of those surveyed agreed that DADT should be repealed, was a disgraceful sham. The survey was interpreted by a SECDEF Comprehensive Review Working Group (CRWG), which reported the survey results with a pro-repeal slant. The 70 percent figure came from a single question: “If a homosexual was present in the unit, could the unit work together to get the job done?” Seventy percent predicted either positive or mixed or no effect - hardly a ringing majority for repeal. None of the questions allowed for moral or religious objections to repeal.

Only 28 percent responded - only 5 percent of the 2.2 million military members - to the 400,000 surveys mailed out. Only 20 percent of that 5 percent were from combat arms members: infantry, artillery, armor, combat engineers or special forces - the very members whose input should count the most. Although 67 percent of these combat arms respondents said repeal would negatively impact unit effectiveness, the CRWG dismissed this input because, in effect, these troops have the least contact with homosexuals and don’t really know what they’re talking about!

The survey was rife with “gray” questions eliciting “gray” answers that were “interpretable” by the CRWG.

Astoundingly, the one question requiring a “black or white” answer wasn’t even included in the survey: “Should the DADT policy be repealed?”

Robert Maginnis of the Family Research Council, the leading critic of the survey, summarized:

“President Obama is using the CRWG report to force Congress to endorse homosexuality, a moral judgment affecting all federal agencies and setting a comprehensive judicial precedent to ultimately challenge the Defense of Marriage Act.”

So much for another of Obama’s “fundamental changes” of America!

(For the Maginnis report, Google “Robert Maginnis on 10 Problems with Osama’s ‘Don’t Ask’ Report.”)

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