Rants

Repealing the Great "Don't Ask, Don't Tell"

Don't Ask, Don't Tell

Last October I asked, “Should gays be allowed to openly serve in the U.S. military?” The survey results show that 58 percent of responders do not want gays to openly serve in the military.

In Obama’s State of the Union Address, he triumphantly declared that he would repeal the “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” system in the military. It was met with thunderous applause on the left, but the military and the right outwardly showed their disgust.

Why is that?

According to Senator John McCain, the “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy just works:

Well, first of all, I think — I know that it’s working. I spend a lot of time with the military. It’s working.

Further on, McCain speaks from the Soldier’s perspective:

So I think, again, when I talk to men and women in the military, they say it’s not broke, it’s not broken, so we don’t need to fix it.

McCain’s words, however, are in stark contrast with Admiral Mike Mullen, the nation’s top uniformed officer:

No matter how I look at the issue, I cannot escape being troubled by the fact that we have in place a policy which forces young men and women to lie about who they are in order to defend their fellow citizens.

Neil Macdonald from CBC News has is own take:

The military doesn’t ask, and as long as gay troopers don’t admit to anything, everything’s jake. Unless some third party rats one of them out.

In that case, regrettably, the offending GI must be discharged. Thousands have been: We honour your service, faggot. Now take a hike.

So we have two separate sides. And at the same time, we have a military who is still trying to figure out how to integrate males with females, much less how to integrate gays. For example, the Navy is close to allowing females on submarines.

This next quote comes from Nona (a military member):

I currently serve in the military. I know gay people outside the military. I have no problems with gay people its there preference. But i do know that i am against Gays being open in the military. Reason being is I am a male when i deploy or train there is limited privacy. Especially when it comes to doing personal hygiene. Also in the military males live amongst males correct. A females live amongst themselves. So if they allow gays to openly serve they will a have to make accommodations for them and segregate them.[sic]

And a conflicting view from Althea Tremaine:

The military has rules about fraternization and they should apply both ways– straight OR gay. The point people are missing is that these are basic human rights being violated. This is discrimination. Whatever happened to “all men are created equal?” Homosexuality is not a choice, and it’s not criminal.

The Bottom Line

The bottom line is that there are good arguments for both sides.

However, I would have to side with several people I know who are in the military: the “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy works. No member of the military wants to be put in the situation where they are uncomfortable with the men/women they share close quarters with.

If the “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy is repealed, I predict a surge of harassment charges, increased hazing, increased fraternization, and a lot of grumpy Soldiers.

Comments

  1. Sticky subject. I see both sides of it…this is not your typical job – we eat, sleep, shower, fight…., pretty much do everything together. I admit I would be greatly uncomfortable if a fellow female soldier was openly gay and I’m expected to take a shower in the same room as them. The don’t ask don’t tell policy helps protect both sides. Maybe ignorance is bliss…If I don’t know about it, I’m gonna be more comfortable and if they don’t tell, they may not feel the scrutiny from those who are not so understanding. The reality is that there are a lot of gay service members in the military right now. The military is supposed to be a professional organization where we’re all put in the same uniform, have to wear our hair appropriately and act accordingly with honor and discipline so as not to disrespect the service and all that it stands for. If gays are allowed to be “open” in the military, what does that mean? Will there be excessive flamboyancy? or dudes running around in make-up and swaggering their hips? NO. Business goes on as usual. They will continue to do their job as they’ve previously done within the rules and regulations established by the military. Of course there will be more reform and policy adjustments but it may not be such a drastic policy change as everybody thinks. I don’t know if now is the right time for this policy to go away, but it’s time is definitely coming and something that will have to be accepted by all…including me. I’m one of the 58% in the above poll who would rather have it in place, but if it changes, I’m prepared to accept it and adjust accordingly.

  2. I am sorry but i dont see both sides. i see one side and that is the right side (no pun intended)

    I served in the marine corps for 4 years and i can tell you that homosexuality is not excepted and will never be.

    no matter what a gay person says … it is not normal for man to love man and girl to love girl … (lets not split hairs on this you know what i mean) and that is why gay men will never be excepted in the Military.

    as long as a person doesnt say he or she is gay than it is never known and it is out of sight out of mind.

    if a man makes a move on another man in maybe a shower or at work i am sure there will be trouble.

    1. I’m sure similar sentiments were echoed back when they were debating as to whether or not to allow women play an active role in the military….or even people of different color, race, nationality…etc….

      Throughout military history, there has always been some sort of obstacle to overcome in regards to who may join the ranks of those who served before us….this is just the latest one.

      We don’t have to like it…… It’s just something we’re gonna have to deal with when the time comes. It won’t be easy and definitely not something that occurs overnight.

      I still face uphill battles on almost a daily basis just for being a woman. I would love to continue to see the don’t ask don’t tell policy stay in place,but for selfish reasons that benefit my own comfort, which, again, is probably similar to sentiments held by those before us going through something similar to what we’re about to go through.

      I agree with you – I don’t like the change, but I’m going to try to be open-minded enough to accept the change when the time comes.

  3. I don’t think this is about someone making a move on someone else, same sex or otherwise. It’s about knowing that one or more people sharing your tent is gay. And what it amounts to is differences in culture that I believe just can’t be educated or programmed out of someone.
    For example, I am personally against the lifestyle but I have no issues with others who are gay because I believe it’s their business, not mine. But I honestly don’t want to be exposed to the activity because it disgusts me. In other words, if you are gay, keep it private and we can be friends. And I’m just one of about 200,000,000 in this country but I’m probably somewhere close to the middle in this whole thing.
    So, what happens if I’m a soldier or a Marine and 2 guys in my tent are having a relationship? Again it’s their business and if they want to “do their thing” in private, then it’s OK with me. But remove the “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy and give them the opportunity to make their relationship public and I have issues with them. What about some of the other guys in my tent who are not as moderate as I am? In a war, none of us have time to have issues with anyone and removing this policy creates lots of potential issues!
    But what about heterosexual relationships in the military? You are housed in separate tents and outside of social contact and events, are working apart. There are no dating guys and gals holding hands or gawking at each other in formation or covering each other in a fire fight.

  4. My ex-wife gave me so much crap for being homophobic. Even my ex-girlfriend thought I hated gays. I don’t.

    A little background…

    When I was sixteen, I had just moved from Fairbanks, Alaska to Las Vegas, Nevada. I had lived in Las Vegas before, so it was no big change for me.

    I needed some toiletries, so I walked to my neighborhood Vons store. I needed a pack of cigarettes, so I asked some of the homeless guys outside the store to get some for me. None would help.

    A guy overheard and offered to buy me the smokes. I was like, “cool”.

    But then he puts his hands on my shoulder and asks if I want some alcohol. He then invites me back to his place. I brush off his arm and I start running as fast as I can.

    Fast forward a few months. I’ve gotten a job at the same Vons. Two men (who are gay) love my service and always ask for a carry out. I just think they’re being nice, so I am nice back.

    Then one day, out of the blue, one of them comes up to me and grabs my ass. I am shocked speechless.

    I then approach my security guard embarrassed and whisper, “That guy just grabbed my ass.”

    The security guard took immediate action and kicked them off the property.

    Between those two instances, I have come to “distrust” gays, probably in the same way that a lot of females “distrust” guys. I am just never sure of their true intention.

    I don’t hate gays. I just don’t trust them.

    I would constantly be on guard. “Is this dude trying to be nice, or is he trying to get in my pants?”

    My two cents.

  5. Ron,
    I don’t consider myself homophobic either but just like any other issue if I’m a little to the right of the person I’m talking to I must be, or if I’m a little to the left of the issue I must not be.

    My basic argument is still the same – if they do it at home, in private or even in their own clubs than I really don’t care. But if they carry on in public, I do care. I really don’t even care if I work around them as long as they leave me along, but leaving me alone includes not flaunting their lifestyle in front of me.

    And I’ll explain why I believe the way I do while completely leave out Christianity so that someone else can’t say “well you believe in X and I don’t sign up to YOUR VERSION of X…” In other words, my argument is not based on any religious driven convictions. I’m sure you studied biology in High school and College? And between men and women, which parts fit where???? There are no such matches between men or between women! No-one, not even a gay person can argue against basic biology without putting on some serious blinders!

    So if you are gay, don’t even try and convince me that it’s normal and it’s OK to carry on in public. Go study your biology books. I’ve even been told “Well, you and your Wife kiss in public, why can’t we?” And my response is the same – Go study your biology books.

    On the other hand if two people really love each other and they want to live together, male or female then I have absolutely no issues. But bring sex into the equation and something has gone terribly wrong somewhere.

  6. I have a lot of very close friends, some of whom are in long-term commitments and have been for many years. Pretty much every one of them all tell me that “Don’t ask, Don’t tell” is critical, even more so now than it was even 5 years ago.

    I’ve the current affairs of legalizing gay marriage in many area’s across the nation, and all of the mixed feelings that go into that – you don’t need that or like issue’s being fought out in barracks. This is especially true of overseas barracks where tensions are high already. If don’t ask, don’t tell is removed from practice, things can really heat up very quickly and it would invite all of the other gay-rights issues into the military.

    Dont ask, don’t tell works.

  7. Sound to me like a conflict that will never be fully resolved. You would think that because some sort of military had existed for ages and that the problem would have been solved by now that some of the men are gay. geez.

  8. In all the discussion over this, I sense the dichotomy may be this:
    Camp A could care less, but doesn’t want to know. Camp B thinks Camp A should care, and know. Maybe there are splinter and bridge camps, e.g. “B-A” — I do care because I’d rather know you’re NOT gay. And, “A-B” — If you ask, yeah, I’m gay but my sexual preference doesn’t matter.

    Insofar as our military is concerned, the issue of hetro- vs. homosexual would be more appropriately redirected to benefits, entitlements, etc. for significant others. If it were pitched as an Equal Employment Opportunity (EEO) injustice vice what I perceive to be the advancement of homosexual agenda (social acceptance, etc.), critics would have less to fuss about.

    If the military is having a hard time recruiting and retaining quality Soldiers because of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” — we need to fix it. Now, if my prefix was President Dictator for a day (or 2009-2012), this legislation would remain on the LGBT wish list.

  9. The original premise of the Don’t Ask Don’t tell policy was a result of the fierce opposition at the time to have openly gay people in the military. It was a cop out on the part of the Clinton administration. It was a band aid to cover the problem of how to allow talented gay people to serve in the military. The same objections to the repeal of the Don’t Ask don’t Tell policy were bruited when the military was being desegregated after WW2. Desegregation was forced on the military and it became a success. It comes down to human rights and the utilization of talented people for the mission. Yes, there will be problems initially but indoctrination, accommodation and education is the key to a successful transition to an open door policy that welcomes all people to honorably serve their country without discrimination.

    1. The military is exclusive for a reason — #1: Not all applicants (regardless of sexual orientation) are honorable or #2: qualified for the mental and physical demands of warfighting. Military service isn’t about “human rights,” it’s about defending others by using force when necessary. There are plenty of outspoken homosexuals in civil service, and I personally think that’s where they belong if their LGBT agenda is more important than their warfighting determination.

      In my opinion, the human dignity argument is a terrible and fundamental misrepresentation of military ethos and honor in putting country before self.

  10. After 24+ years as a soldier in 2.5 wars, I agree with Ron’s last paragraph. I see no one’s life improving but many, many new charges and courts martial ahead, if this policy is deleted.

    Sexual harassment is already a problem in the military. Opening the door to same-sexual harassment makes no sense to me.

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