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Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Don't ask them not to tell

Yesterday, July 8, 52 retired generals and admirals released a statement calling for an end to the "don't ask, don't tell" rule for gays serving in the military. The news comes a day after the Michael D. Palm Center at the University of California, Santa Barbara published a study concluding that the policy is "counterproductive." The report was also prepared by high-ranking retired military officers.

Some key points from the center's press release:

The report includes ten findings and four recommendations. Key findings are that the policy prevents some gay troops from performing their duties, that gays already serve openly, that tolerance of homosexuality in the military has grown dramatically, and that lifting the ban is “unlikely to pose any significant risk to morale, good order, discipline, or cohesion.”

General John Shalikashvili, the former Chair of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, who previously favored the gay ban but reversed course last year in an op-ed in the New York Times, endorsed the officers’ new study, calling it “one of the most comprehensive evaluations of the issue of gays in the military since the Rand study fifteen years ago” and saying it “ought to be given serious consideration by both Congress and the Joint Chiefs.”

I probably don't need to remind readers of this blog that the "don't ask, don't tell" policy was adopted in 1993 by the Bill Clinton adminstration and represented a breach of his campaign promise that gays would be allowed to serve openly in the military. Instead of leading on this, Clinton "consulted" with military officials who of course "advised" him that a full break with anti-gay bigotry would be bad for troop "morale." I have not researched the issue, but I would bet that same excuse was used to keep the U.S. military racially segregated all during World War II.

1 comment:

Anne Gilbert said...

This policy is patently silly, and has been from the beginning. Assuming most people in the military can figure out who's gay and who isn't, they know anyway. And as far as "the public" is concerned, if somebody invaded the US and the military was required to sent up defense, I doubt if anybody would care very much what kind of a sexual any particular person was, who was doing the defending.
Anne G