MY TAKE ON “DON’T ASK, DON’T TELL” (DADT)

The “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy is the name coined to the policy that prevents the US military from going out of its way to reveal the sexual orientation of the closeted gay, lesbian and bisexual servicemembers or aspiring servicemembers, while at the same time banning those who are openly gay, lesbian or bisexual from serving. Not only does it prohibit any openly homosexual or bisexual person from serving in the United States military because of their sexual orientation, it also bars them from holding conversations about any homosexual relationships, including marriages, while serving.

In the event that they violate the policy and disclose their sexual orientation or engage in homosexual conduct, they will be expelled or discharged, except in the case where the conduct was “for the purpose of avoiding or terminating military service” or when it “would not be in the best interest of the armed forces.”

This policy was introduced, I must add, as a compromise measure in 1993 by President Bill Clinton who then campaigned on the agenda of allowing all Americans and legal residents to serve in the military regardless of sexual orientation.

Since then, efforts to repeal it have been undertaken to no avail. If you were to ask me, someone who had served in the US military, where do I stand on the issue, I would tell you blatantly that I am more in synchrony with Admiral Mullen, the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and Secretary Gates, the US Defense secretary –who called for its repeal.

This is a discriminatory, hypocritical and senseless policy; therefore, it ought to be repealed without any condition.

It is discriminatory in that it suppresses the civil rights of a group of people, and thereby creating a group of second class citizens in the armed forces. For these people -the gays, bisexuals and lesbians – to serve in the military, according to the policy, they have to basically deny who they are. Otherwise, they will be asked to leave. It is the same nonsensical policy that used to put a ban on Blacks from serving in the armed forces back then solely because of the color of their skin. It is discriminatory towards them just like it was back then towards us Blacks.

To tell them they can serve in the armed forces (as long as they want) so long as they don’t unveil their sexual orientation is to me hypocritical. What does someone’s sexual orientation have to do with being a disciplined, well-trained and professional servicemember? As someone had said before, you don’t need to be straight to shoot straight. The hypocrisy embedded in the policy does really irk me.

Since the start of the two campaigns -the Iraq war and the Afghan War –we expelled thousands of outstanding servicemembers, some of whom specialized in the Arabic language and other skills need to effectively fight and win these wars. And we did not expel them because they could not cope with the military life and culture; we did simply because of their sexual orientation, leaving the military short of skilled warriors to effectively carry out the mission. If that is not nonsensical and ludicrous, I frankly don’t know what is.  

It is very ironic that most of the people who are against the repeal of the policy have never served a day in the military. Why do you think the majority of the uniformed military members agree with the repeal of the policy? It is because we are not afraid of the so-called monster they want to portray the gays and lesbians as. I served with gays and lesbians in the military; I did not have any problem with them. They did not bother me in my straightness; I did not bother them in their gayness. We got alone quite well. I found them to be outstanding human beings. In fact, we, gay and straight soldiers, because you could not tell who were gay and who were straight, ended up pulling guard side by side in the same foxholes and showering in the same shower rooms. Not once have we recorded a case where a straight male soldier got raped or sexually assaulted by a gay male soldier.

It is all about politics. To be honest with you, I don’t see what the fuss is about. It is time to stop all the nonsense and allow the people to be who they are. Just because they do not unveil their sexual orientation does not mean that they stop being gay, bisexual and lesbian. So what is the sense of having such policy? They are currently serving in the military, and they do not cause any more sexual problem than their straight counterparts do.

Today is going to be a big day for ALL progressive-minded Americans who have been fighting for the repeal of the policy ever since its inception in 1993 by President Bill Clinton. The Senate is going to vote on its repeal. Thanks to Independent Senator Joe Lieberman of CT and Republican Senator Susan Collins of  ME, the Democrats have the 60 votes needed to fight any Republican filibuster. We do have the vote to repeal it. And if it is repealed, which is highly likely to happen today, that will be a major victory for President Obama because he had campaigned on the promise to repeal it.

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One comment on “MY TAKE ON “DON’T ASK, DON’T TELL” (DADT)

  1. Couldn’t have said better myself. For once, I don’t disagree with any of your statements. This policy is a disgrace, especially because it represses those who are serving the “land of the FREE”.

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