DADT to go?
Posted by That Other Mike on 29/05/2010
WASHINGTON — The House on Thursday delivered a victory to President Barack Obama and gay rights groups by approving a proposal to repeal the law that allows gays to serve in the military only if they don’t disclose their sexual orientation.
The 234-194 vote to overturn the military’s “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy reflected a view among many in Congress that America was ready for a military in which gays and straights can stand side by side in the trenches.
Predictably, the Republican caucus in general voted against, with five Rs voting for. The general response of the Republicans can be summed up as “We’re going to squeeze every last ounce of political juice out of the soldiers we claim to best represent”. The Demoratic caucus voted overwhelmingly in favour, although 26 voted against; while I make no comment on the culture surrounding them, of those 26, 14 are from Southern districts.
Top ironic moment from the article: Rep. Howard McKeon of California made the following statement:
Congress going first “is the equivalent to turning to our men and women in uniform and their families and saying, ‘Your opinion, your view, do not count,'” said Rep. Howard “Buck” McKeon of California, the top Republican on the House Armed Services Committee.
which was followed by this statement by Rep. Patrick Murphy (D-PA), who, unlike “Buck” McKeon, actually served in the armed forces:
“[In Iraq] my teams did not care whether a fellow soldier was straight or gay if they could fire their assault rifle or run a convoy down ambush alley and do their job so everyone would come home safely.”
Hmmm. I wonder whose opinion might carry a little more weight here?
This is rather reflective of the Republicans’ whole attitude at the moment – one of total disconnection from reality, which in part stems from their obsessive desire to pander to the homophobic, socially-reactionary wing of the Republican Party, as so accurately exemplified by the Teabaggers. John McCain has, in a stunning burst of maverickiness, decided to side with the burgeoning lunatic Republican establishment. Go mavericks!
DADT promotes a culture of secrecy and blame, loses valuable personnel, and provides a means for the dishonest to get out of the military service they volunteered for. And more to the point, the rationale provided for it it, that open service of gay soldiers negatively affects morale, does not hold up: on the international stage, at least 30 countries allow openly gay soldiers to serve, some of them for only a short while, and some for decades, yet none of them report it as an issue; to add to that, two of the best trained fighting forces in the entire world, namely the British Army and the Israeli Defense Force, are on that list.
Closer to home, soldiers polled on the subject are either indifferent to or overwhelmingly in favour of allowing openly gay soldiers to serve; this view is shared by General John Shalikashvili, former Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and former Defense Secretary William Cohen, Colin Powell, and even the current Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff has cautiously supported repeal.
What reason can there be for continuing with the law as it stands? It is discriminatory, unfair, and based in unsound reasoning; time for it to go.