DADT drama

The U.S. Senate must repeal Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell (DADT), one of the most bizarre and contradictory laws in our nation’s history.

Gay rights is the civil rights issue of our time. Years from now we will wonder what all the fuss was about. Most younger Americans, including those serving in the military now, already do.

Veterans’ groups Veterans for Common Sense and Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America want the Senate to repeal DADT. So does President Obama, Defense Secretary Robert Gates, Admiral Mike Mullen, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and General Colin Powell, to name just a few.

A whooping 70 percent of 115,000 troops who responded to a mail-in survey said overturning DADT would have “little or no impact on readiness.”

Since October, military recruiters can admit qualified applicants who are openly gay and lesbian.

So what’s the hold-up?

Well, among other things, there are the logistics to consider. But, if anyone can figure out a logistical problem, it’s the U.S. military. I have a feeling they can and will work this out, and do right by their fellow servicemen and women.

Army chief of staff Gen. George Casey Jr. said that repealing DADT would add to the military’s stress, especially in combat arms units. However, he also said that “properly implemented, I do not envision that it would keep us from accomplishing our worldwide missions, including combat operations.”

Of course, there is some reservation about changing the law among the troops. The same survey cited above also found that 30 percent felt there would be “some negative effects” of repealing the law; among those in combat, 40 percent were against it, and among Marines who responded, 46 percent were opposed. So there is some expected reluctance, or should I say homophobia, that comes with such a major change.

A gay active-duty Marine sargeant recently wrote an open letter to the military in the New York Times.  Here is an excerpt:

“…[W]e need to start discussing how to work through repeal. Despite what you’ve heard, this will not be a painful process. If you take a moment to think about it, the only real change is that you’ll no longer pretend that you can’t see the gay elephant in the room — even though it’s been following you around for the past 17 years.

So let’s be clear: there isn’t going to be a mass influx of rabid, antimilitary degenerates lining up at recruiting offices. This is not about letting gays into the military. It never was. This is about being true to the values of every warrior who wears our country’s uniform. Upholding the sanctity of integrity and a deeply rooted sense of camaraderie are central to who we are as war fighters.

This shouldn’t come as a surprise when you consider the facts.

For all these years, we’ve been right here with you. We’re not some foreign “other” seeking to turn your world upside down. You might not have noticed, but we’ve fought, suffered, killed, celebrated, wept and worked together since Day 1. We’ve been fiercely loyal and as selfless as you could want, and all the while we served knowing that the price to pay for this privilege is to suffocate a fundamental part of ourselves.”

Let’s end the hypocrisy of this law and all that it stands for. The U.S. armed forces have a long history of being on the forefront of changing social mores; desegregation and women serving in the military both come to mind.  Contact your senator’s office today and tell them you want the law repealed.

If you live in Massachusetts, Senator Scott Brown’s direct line is: 202-224-4543. I just called and it took about 3 minutes, including the time I was on hold. I don’t think we have to worry about Senator Kerry doing the right thing.

still patriotic: Dan Choi tries to re-enlist in Times Square after getting discharged because of DADT (source: NYtimes.com, Oct. 19, 2010)

 

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