The Spectacle Blog

Re: Why DADT Has to Go

By on 12.17.10 | 11:45PM

I appreciate John Tabin's response to my latest post on "Don't Ask, Don't Tell"; however, his logic is spurious. He asserts (but does not show or demonstrate) that keeping your sex life private and out of the workplace is an impossible task.

No, it's not. It's actually pretty easy.

But the upshot of John's post is that if any military service member or leader suspects that you're gay -- because, say, you inadvertently make an innocent stray comment -- why forget about it! You're out of there -- out of the military I mean. You'll be drummed out of the service for good.

I'm sorry, but that simply isn't true. Most military leaders, in fact, would prefer to look the other way and to ignore a soldier's sexuality. Indeed, military leaders are, as I've indicated here at The American Spectator, loath to initiate separation procedures against a military member unless and until that service member makes an issue of his sexuality.

Certainly, if I were in an officer in charge of a military unit and I suspected that one of my soldiers, sailors, airmen or Marines were gay I would do… absolutely nothing. And most of my contemporaries would do the same, I think.

So the idea that gay men and women serving in the military now necessarily live in constant fear of being "outed” is false. Army Private Bradley Manning certainly didn't seem to have any such fear.

Why, then, have the ban on openly gay service in the first place?

Because sexual dynamics are inherently disruptive and you want to keep these dynamics in check. Because sexuality is a behavioral characteristic which can and does shape human behavior, and in profound and often unsettling ways. And because in the Marines, infantry and other combat arms especially, esprit de corps requires a strong sense of brotherly love, not same-sex attraction and allure.

Homosexuality, in fact, is incompatible with a shared sense of manhood and masculinity that binds infantry units together into a brotherhood. Hence the reasonable compromise measure, "Don't Ask, Don't Tell," which allows gay men and women to serve, albeit discreetly.

And there's one more reason: because the entire Judeo-Christian ethic that underlies Western civilization and the United States of America doesn't recognize homosexuality as being on a par with heterosexuality. Yet giving gays explicit legal recognition for military service would, in effect, help to legitimize homosexuality.

Of course, lesbians and homosexuals have and now enjoy the same civil and constitutional rights that every other American now enjoys. What they lack, and what they seek, is special legal recognition of their sexual status and orientation. That is, they have rights as Americans; but they lack rights as lesbians and homosexuals.

That's why it's disconcerting to hear John rehash the tired old propagandistic liberal cliché about "the days when it was acceptable in America to fire someone because you learned he was gay." 

Those supposedly dark and dreary days are largely a figment of the liberal-left imagination. Indeed, if such days ever existed, they certainly don't seem to have held back the social and economic progress of gay men and women in America. Lesbians and homosexuals, after all, rank among the most talented, well educated and financially well off socioeconomic groups in the United States.

But what's most objectionable about John's post is his assertion that Congress better act to repeal "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" now because otherwise the federal courts will force them to; and that would be disastrous.

Of course, this is the same argument that Defense Secretary Robert Gates and Admiral Mike Mullen (the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff) have used to try and force Congress to act: "Preemptively capitulate to liberal judges lest they make a hash of things by unilaterally imposing their will," as National Review explained.

But "that's obviously not how legislators in a self-governing society should go about their business," NR helpfully added. "Don't Ask, Don't Tell must stay or go on its merits as determined by our elected representatives. Shame on Robert Gates [and John Tabin] for suggesting otherwise."

John may be right; we'll see: The Senate may vote to repeal "Don't Ask, Don't Tell"; but if it does, that would be wrong and a historic mistake.

After all, the Commandant of the Marine Corps, Gen. Jamos Amos, has basically pleaded with Congress not to force open homosexuality on the Corps -- not while Marines are fighting and dying in close combat in Afghanistan.

What kind of message does it send to our Marines if Congress now simply ignores the Commandant's plea and forces upon them anyhow open homosexuality within the ranks?

At the very least Congress should wait a few weeks until January when it can do its due diligence and devote more time to seriously studying this important issue. Surely, that's not asking too much. And surely, that is the right thing to, even if, ultimately, you want to repeal "Don't Ask, Don't Tell."

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