Pentagon Says No Need To Ask, Go Ahead And Tell
The Pentagon has released the result of its year-long study about whether or not to allow gays to openly serve in the American military. The conclusion is that the repeal of DADT would not adversely affect the effectiveness of our fighting forces. It took a year and millions of tax dollars to demonstrate to homophobic bigots what the rational minded already knew – that is sexual orientation has no relation to one’s ability to perform any job, even combat.
I’ve written about this before, and many of you know I’m a 17-year Army veteran with a couple of combat tours. I’ve known several gay soldiers during my career, and I have nothing but respect for them, and there isn’t a one of them that I wouldn’t want next to me in a foxhole when the shit hit the fan.
The only real question that needed to be answered for the public was whether or not non-gay soldiers could handle integration of openly gay soldiers into the ranks. Many of the same arguments against gays were the exact same arguments used by bigots against integrating blacks into the service years ago. The more educated and open-minded (read “liberals”) people have always realized there was no other rationale for holding to archaic and discriminatory practices.
Elected Republican officials really had little choice but to either skirt the issue or speak out against the repeal, or risk angering their small-minded, or religious right base. Arizona Senator John McCain was one of those speaking out against it. I couldn’t tell if this is an issue he feels strongly about or not. Since his chameleon-like change of color on his ideology to suit the whims the ever-vocal Tea Party and religious right, I’m no longer sure what he believes. I used to have a great deal of respect for him because of his willingness to reach across the aisle on issues, as opposed to pandering to the party line. (For my right-wing readers, that does not mean he didn’t have “values”. In fact, it means he was more committed to his values than he was to his party – something all of our politicians could do more of.)
I don’t really believe there will be any other outcome than that gays will be able to serve openly and honorably in our nation’s defense. It is only a matter of time. I’m glad to see this happening. It is, however, a shame that it is taking this long and that the fight has been this hard.