Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Don't ask, don't tell shoots blanks

The potential for man-on-man sex in the trenches apparently is no pressing threat to the fighting ability of the U.S. military, according to a new study (PDF). Prepared by a panel of former military officers, the report for the Michael D. Palm Center, part of the Institute for Social, Behavioral, and Economic Research at the University of California, Santa Barbara, finds that the current "don't ask, don't tell" policy costs the military talented personnel and puts many commanders in a position in which they have to choose between obeying the law and maintaining the cohesion of their units. It points out that "[m]ilitary attitudes towards gays and lesbians are changing" and concludes that "[e]vidence shows that allowing gays and lesbians to serve openly is unlikely to pose any significant risk to morale, good order, discipline, or cohesion."

The officers who prepared the report, Brigadier General Hugh Aitken, USMC (Ret.), Lieutenant General Minter Alexander, USAF (Ret.), Lieutenant General Robert Gard, USA (Ret.) and Vice Admiral Jack Shanahan, USN (Ret.) recommend that the military adopt "uniform standards that are neutral with respect to sexual orientation" and simply deal with inappropriate conduct as inappropriate conduct without worrying whether it's straight or gay.

Interestingly, the report notes that not a single expert who opposes allowing gays and lesbians to openly serve in the military was willing to be interviewed by the panel preparing the report.

Overall, the report is a strong nudge in the direction of doing with gay and lesbian soldiers what the military did with black soldiers in 1948 (officially in 1954) -- treat them as full members of the armed forces and punish the folks who can't deal with that fact, not the blacks or gays. If Southerners (by which I mean residents of South Boston, of course) could be expected to work alongside African-American soldiers, even the straightest arrow can learn to not care who his or her fellow jarheads or GIs are dating.

Then we can move on to squabbling about important stuff -- like Wiccan chaplains.

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

^^ nice blog!! ^@^

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March 19, 2009 1:16 AM  

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