Friday, March 26, 2010

Taking Baby Steps On 'Don't Ask, Don't Tell'

Considering that we are the only major Western nation that doesn't allow gays to openly serve in the military, the incremental posturing towards finally ending the bigotry known as "don't ask, don't tell" is getting to be intolerable.

Earlier this week, Defense Secretary Robert Gates announced how the policy was becoming less restrictive.

For one thing, hearsay would no longer be permitted. What's truly incredible was that, up until this announcement, it was.

Additionally, now a senior officer has to approve of the ouster.

Considering how backwards America is on social issues, I do realize that this is reason enough to cause us to genuflect at the altar of America's military industrial complex and beat our breasts while thanking them for the crumbs.

Ah, the crumbs, indeed.

While the leadership of certain glbt advocacy groups, like HRC, continue to behave as expected (wow, Mr. Solmonese, how perceptive to have a comedienne, Kathy Griffin, serve as the HRC poster girl for ending DADT....are you kidding me?), there has been some good press calling for an end to this inanity.
(note: I slightly edited the above paragraph to single out Solmonese, specifically, not HRC as a whole. There are many in HRC, and similar groups, who work their tails off for the glbt vommunity. I do not doubt their sincerity, integrity, or commitment, for a moment. However, I do not think that leaders like Solmonese are reflective of those that do much of the legwork. Sometimes those in power lose sight of the message, in their pursuit of access.)

For now, let me just single out a piece in today's Oregonian.

In her op-ed, Elizabeth Hovde, who bills her column as "political writings from The Oregonian's columnist just right of center," writes:

Forgive gay and lesbian members of the military if they aren’t having a celebratory drink this weekend to toast new Pentagon rules that make it more difficult to kick them out of their jobs. The changes basically amount to a decree that snitching on a gay soldier won’t be enough to get the gay soldier booted. How kind.

Congress was able to pass health care reform, but 1993’s misguided “don’t ask, don’t tell” law stands.
Hovde adds:

There is nothing common sensical or decent about telling gay and lesbian service members, “Continue to keep your mouths shut, but we’re going to decrease the chances that you get caught.” This simply continues the insult of telling people who are willing to put themselves in harm’s way for the rest of us that their service is only welcome if they agree to keep secrets, limit the information they give about the people they share their lives with and so on. (Can you imagine telling a straight soldier he shouldn’t mention his wife in a conversation?)
She ends her piece with:

Let’s stop tweaking a bizarre law, repeal “don’t ask, don’t tell” now and work out the discomfort that doing so might bring some other members of the military.
And that is it, in a nutshell. Unlike soldiers in the rest of the world, our military leaders believe that American troops are just not grounded enough to be able to cope with sharing living quarters and showers.

Can't believe that's the issue here?

It is so much the issue that Marine Commandant Gen. James Conway (above) did the execrable. In an interview with, this lightweight actually said if DADT were lifted he would not force straight marines to bunk with gays.

Can anyone imagine a military officer making similar comments during the period when the military was being desegregated?

Sort of makes one want to vomit up stars and stripes.

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