Thursday, March 01, 2007

Don't Ask, Don't Tell Revisited.... It's got to Go!

I had just never understood this policy. I joined the US Navy prior to this policy having been past by the Clinton administration and I'm Gay. I never had any problems and the issue of my sexuality never came up or was questioned. But during that time I saw what could happen when a witch-hunt takes place. During that process I watched 17 people some of whom I was a friend with discharged. These men were pilots, linguist and technicians, they had been trained by the military and they were valuable assets to their commands.
Enforcement of this policy has disgraced the military and not to mention the cost of morale and readiness, it has had a financial cost. According to the GAO the Pentagon has spent over $200 million dollars on investigations from 1994 to 2005 (1). Now these costs do not take into account training, education, security clearances or training of replacements. During that same time period the pentagon has discharged over 10,000 service members (1). Now think about this that is half of total troop escalation that the President has ordered to Iraq. So when you finally add up all of the cost it's probably closer to a $billion dollars.
But when you look at the rest of the coalition forces in Iraq and Afghanistan we are pretty much the only country that still maintains this policy. Almost all of the other NATO nations allow gay and lesbians to serve openly and honorably. It just seems all kind of silly when you think about it? We have closeted gay and lesbian soldiers and sailors serving with our allies, whom are serving openly.
Just remember this quote from Barry Goldwater who said, “You don’t have to be straight to shoot straight”.

'Don't Ask, Don't Tell' Revisited
Associated Press | March 01, 2007
WASHINGTON - Foes of the military's "don't ask, don't tell" policy on gays hope for better results in their efforts to repeal it in the new Democratic-run Congress.Rep. Martin Meehan, D-Mass., on Wednesday revived legislation aimed at forcing the military to eliminate the policy preventing homosexual service members from being open about their orientation. Meehan said he expects the House Armed Services panel to hold hearings on the issue."I have worked in Congress to fight this policy because I believe that for more than a decade now it has undermined our national security interests," Meehan said.He filed a similar measure that failed in the previous Congress, which was controlled by Republicans. That bill had more than 120 co-sponsors, including six Republicans. The new measure has 109 co-sponsors.Alert: Let your public officials know how you feel about this issue!Democratic presidential candidate John Edwards released a statement in support of Meehan's effort and called it "an issue of fundamental fairness."Rep. Christopher Shays, R-Conn., who appeared with Meehan at a Capitol Hill news conference, branded the military's policy on gays and lesbians "foolish and cruel."Also attending was retired Marine Staff Sgt. Eric Alva, who lost his leg after stepping on a land mine early in the Iraq war. He was awarded a Purple Heart."Who would have ever guessed that the first American wounded was a gay Marine," Alva said.Supporters of lifting the restriction on openly gay service members contend that the military - under the strain of fighting two wars - can ill-afford to exclude any qualified volunteers.The current policy, based on legislation passed by Congress in 1993 after fierce debate, states that gays and lesbians may serve in the military only if they keep their sexual orientation private. Commanders may not ask, and gay service members may not tell. Over the years thousands have been dismissed under this policy.The prospects for Meehan's bill are unclear. While many Democrats have criticized the policy as discriminatory, many Republicans have supported it. Congress may be reluctant to revisit such a divisive issue amid contentious debate over the Iraq war.

'Don't Ask, Don't Tell' Revisited

(1) http://www.sldn.org/binary-data/SLDN_ARTICLES/pdf_file/3195.pdf




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