There was news on Capitol Hill yesterday that the Military’s top uniformed officer “made an impassioned plea for allowing gays to serve openly in uniform.” This was followed by the decision for the Pentagon to take a year-long study to decide how to end the ‘don’t ask, don’t tell’ policy. Why a year? Because it’s the government, and the answer ‘stop enforcing the policy’ won’t dawn on them until taxpayers have funded numerous studies on ‘The De-implementation of Past Policy and the Implications for Further Colonial Occupation,’ or something like that.
This is ludicrous. If something is found to be morally wrong and economically wasteful, you just stop doing it. Nobody respects a man who makes a New Years resolution to stop domestic abuse starting in May.
Here’s Adm. Mike Mullen, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff on the issue:
“No matter how I look at the issue,” Mullen said, “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.”
To be sure, ‘don’t ask don’t tell’ is a reprehensible policy; here’s Justin Raimondo of Antiwar.com on the issue:
“Don’t ask, don’t tell” is an appalling policy, one that has nothing to do with justice and everything to do with the most primitive prejudice. But what else can one expect of an institution such as the military, particularly the US military in the Age of Empire?
He goes on to add that gay, lesbian, and straight people simply should not serve in the military. Our current military is not a defense force but rather an imperial one, and nobody should want to take part in the wanton killing of innocents and senseless destruction of foreign civilizations. Want to help protect your country? Participate in the Appleseed project, or join the Pink Pistols. Why on earth would gays and lesbians line up to kill and be killed in the name of the State, an institution that has treated them with open contempt for the last 200 years?
Perhaps the most telling reaction comes from John F. McManus, president of the John Birch Society:
There is nothing that can destroy the basic military unit more than homosexuality. When called upon to do so, Soldiers/Marines/Airmen/Sailors don’t perform extraordinary deeds for headlines, medals, etc. They do so because of loyalty and comradeship with their fellows. Take this away and you have gravely harmed how they will perform in a combat situation.
How exactly does abolishing ‘don’t ask don’t tell’ take away the loyalty and comradeship of a military unit? Can a single homosexual dissolve the loyalty of a whole brigade? And If that really were the case, wouldn’t the CIA have been covertly planting homosexual moles in foreign defense forces to destabilize their ranks? Just what superpowers does McManus think homosexuals are wielding? His terrified ramblings continue:
Will a fundamentally moral man encourage his son or daughter to enlist alongside homosexuals? The answer is No and this deprives the military of many of its best possible recruits.
Will a homosexual aspire to become part of the military so he or she can be placed in close proximity with potential partners? The answer is Yes.
What in the hell is he talking about here? No moral man would encourage his son to enlist alongside homosexuals? That may be true, but only if we realize that the qualifier ‘alongside homosexuals’ is a red herring and can be replaced with anything without compromising the truth of the statement. Homosexuals will aspire to become part of the military so he or she can be placed in close proximity with potential partners? I got a chuckle out of that one. There are plenty of places gay people go to be close to partners – bars, clubs, gyms, pretty much the same places everyone goes. A gay man joining the military to look for partners is like a straight man attempting to join a tribe of primitive headhunters in search of ladies. Sure, there are potential partners there, but you probably won’t fit in to the culture very well, and there’s a pretty good chance you’re going to get killed.
Once ‘don’t ask don’t tell’ is finally resigned to the dustbin of history, it would be wise for the GLBT community (and everyone else for that matter) to adopt a new motto: Don’t join.