Wednesday, February 03, 2010

Progress On Ending 'Dont Ask, Don't Tell'

Some sanity seems to be returning to the proposition of repealing "don't ask, don't tell."

In a major move in the right direction, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Admiral Michael Mullen (pictured above), told the Senate Armed Services Committee that the ban on gays should be lifted.

The Wall Street Journal, reporting on the story, said that Adm. Mullen felt that the policy "could be eliminated without harming military morale, recruitment or readiness."

Considering that this has been the experience of all of our Western allies, that is a logical assumption.

Adm. Mullen went further, echoing President Obama:

"It is my personal and professional belief that allowing homosexuals to serve openly would be the right thing to do. No matter how I look at the issue, I cannot escape being troubled by the fact that we have in place a policy which forces young men and women to lie about who they are in order to defend their fellow citizens."
Ding-ding-ding.....someone in the military upper echelon actually gets it.

While the WSJ story does not mention our allies, it does refer to the fact that a poll last year showed that nearly 70% of Americans supported lifting the ban.

Of course, the GOP, because it is politically opportune for them to do, unanimously are seeking to demonize gays, pretending that the policy is actually correct. This effort is most examplified by John McCain....a man who still thinks that we live in the 60s, when gays were subect to shame and incarceration....when gay men in a CBS documentary had to be filmed in darkness, so that their identities could not be revealed. That is the world McCain inhabits.

Now that his wife and daughter have become gay advocates, McCain feels the need to beef up his social conservative cred, as he is being challenged by the even righter-wing in his own re-election bid.

What DADT reporting SHOULD look like

An article I found today, from Canada's CBC, summarizes the type of reporting that is seriously missing in this country:

The point is, the U.S. remains just about the only Western nation that still officially denies what most of its allies consider a basic human right: The ability to serve as a gay or lesbian soldier
Not that gays and lesbians don't serve. Tens of thousands do, and unknown numbers are fighting and dying in the aforementioned battlegrounds right now.
Let's be clear about this: Homosexual Americans are risking life and limb in the service of their country and their comrades, and no doubt have been since the United States declared independence.
Then comes this zinger:

But this is America, with its deep moralistic streak, so the policy, at least since Bill Clinton instituted it in 1993, has been to pretend gay soldiers don't exist.
The military doesn't ask, and as long as gay troopers don't admit to anything, everything's jake. Unless some third party rats one of them out.
In that case, regrettably, the offending GI must be discharged. Thousands have been: We honour your service, faggot. Now take a hike.
Sen. Saxby Chambliss, a Georgia Republican, gave voice to that double standard at a congressional hearing this week.
Just after going on about the "valiant" service of gay soldiers, Chambliss opined that "the presence in the armed forces of persons who demonstrate a propensity or intent to engage in homosexual acts would very likely create an unacceptable risk" to the high standards of the American military.

Nothing remarkable there. It's an old Republican line.
The piece then went on to refer to the suprise of Mullen's remarks, but you get the complete different approach in coverage.

I want every Republican who opposes this policy to be asked if there are ANY reports of a negative effect of allowing gays to openly serve in the military of our allies. I want them to justify booting more than 10,000 fit soldiers in time of war, when our resources are  stretched thin,

It's time for American journalists to grow a pair.

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