Thursday, March 12, 2009

"Don't ask, don't tell" under attack

The "don't ask, don't tell" policy keeping openly gay people from serving in the military since the early days of Bill Clinton's first term (as did the DoD policy prior to that) is under attack by activists seeking to completely eliminate barriers to gays serving in the military.
In an effort to prod the president and Congress to act, activists -- gay, straight, military and civilian -- will converge on Capitol Hill Friday to rally behind an effort in the House to overturn the policy, which has been a continuing source of controversy since it became law 15 years ago.
Bill Clinton's rush to allow gays in the military when he first took office was one of the things that led me to completely turn my back on the Democrats. Not because I was opposed to the idea of gays serving in the military (more on that later), but because I objected to Clinton's (mis-) use of the military as an instrument for achieving social change. I was, and remain convinced, that the military should be a reflection of the society it serves, and in 1993, there weren't very many people who would entertain the notion of openly gay members of the military.

If anybody believes there are no gays in the military because of DA-DT, they're delusional. Gay men (and more recently, gay women) have served honorably in the armed forces since early hunter-gatherers started slinging rocks at each other to compete for hunting grounds. That won't change no matter what policy is in place at any point in time. The question is whether to simply allow openly gay members to serve.

I'm not - and I've never been - personally opposed to serving with gay members of the military. But bear in mind that all my time was served in fixed-based Air Force, which is kind of like working at, say, a bank. I did, however, spend plenty of time in open-bay barracks and even tents a couple of times during deployments and exercises, and here's where things get a bit touchy.

As one might expect, the military provides men's and women's barracks (or tents) as well as men's and women's latrines. More often than not, the latrines include communal showers. You can probably see where I'm going with this. Now consider other branches of the service, or units of the USAF spending more time in the field, or the sea-going Navy, and you see the magnitude of the problem.

Even the most broad-minded heterosexual service member might feel just a little uncomfortable undressing and showering with someone they know (or think) might be looking at him or her that way. As for those who are less accepting of gays (and I'm not being judgmental here), well I can hear the thundering of their feet now heading for the separations office. Despite popular belief, the military's not stupid...they know this.

So, what's the military leadership to do if the will of the most far-left, progressive US president in history is forced upon them? If the military is forced to allow openly gay members to serve - and Obama's relentless far-left agenda gives me cause to believe they will be - then the Defense Department is going to have to go to significant - and very costly - lengths to adapt.

But how does it adapt? At first glance the solution might be to keep men's and women's lodging and latrines, and add gay men's and gay women's lodging and latrines. But wait a second...isn't putting two gay men in the same room like putting a hetero woman and a hetero man in the same room where there could be a mutual attraction, or worse yet, an unreciprocated attraction? OK, scratch that idea.

So, what then? Private lodging and latrine facilities for each individual? Not gonna happen. Completely mixed lodging and latrines where everyone just picks a spot to sleep, change, take a dump and shower? Yeah, right. Just ask any military leader what they think of that idea.

So when taking a position on this, think it through carefully. Obama probably won't.

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