Don’t ask, don’t tell

Feb 022010

Everyone with half a brain knows how stupid the “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy –– the American military’s requirement that anyone with an alternative sexual orientation keep quiet about it –– is. Seriously, it’s a piece of crap.

Thank god someone who has some clout in the military –– Adm. Mike Mullen, the chair of the Joint Chiefs of Staff –– has finally made a public spectacle of the ridiculousness of the rule, which Mullen said “ … forces young men and women to lie about who they are in order to defend their fellow citizens.”

He made statements calling for a repeal of the law in a meeting between with the Senate Armed Services Committee Tuesday to the surprise and delight of gay rights leaders from around the country who attended the meeting.

Fantastic. Great. Wonderful.

But hold on, people. While it’s clear that this deplorable measure needs to be repealed, caution must be used in these conversations.

During the Editorial Board’s discussion of how we would weigh in on this issue, several of the editors said a number of their acquaintances in the military have spoken negatively about gays being allowed to serve their country.

And while most in the military probably don’t hold these draconian views to an extreme degree, the risks inherent in having no special protection for openly gay people in the armed forces are many.

It’s not hard to imagine a great soldier who just so happens to be a macho homophobe doing something pretty awful to an openly gay person who came out simply because he or she was allowed to.

The year-long process military officials are following to weigh a repeal is good. It will allow them to discuss these dangers in the context of existing military psychology and act accordingly.

To those of you in charge of this problem: Please change this horrible law. But be careful in doing so.

 Posted by at 6:01 pm

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