So even the Washington Post is calling for the repeal of the Don’t Ask Don’t Tell Policy. In yesterday’s Op-Ed section the Post articulately urges Congress to do away with this heinous policy of expulsion of openly gay and lesbian soldiers. Put into place during the Clinton years, DADT has done tremendous harm to the armed forces, to our country’s military readiness and to the almost 14,000 soldiers and sailors that have been expelled from the military.
Here our country is fighting two wars-Iraq and Afghanistan now for more than 8 years! Plus there are numerous places around the globe and here at home where our service men and women are serving are country and in the interests of peace-making. (Yes, it is weirdly ironic that soldiers, trained as deadly fighters are peace-makers). But in an all volunteer military–14,000 highly trained soldiers and officers matter. Especially in a time of war. They were expelled because of a draconian policy that continues the uptight sexually repressed Victorian thinking of the hyper macho military-industrial complex. For 16 years this policy has destroyed lives, destroyed careers and weakened our military readiness.
Today’s Army (Air Force, Marines, Navy and Coast Guard) is a professional force. They are highly skilled, trained professionals. We invest a lot of time, money and educational opportunities to train them. This isn’t the draft of WWII or Korea or Vietnam. Obama in his state of the union addressed called for repealing DADT. But actions speak louder than words. Let’s see Congress move. Today Secretary of Defense Robert Gates and Adm. Mike Mullen, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff testified before the Senate Armed Services Committee in part about Don’t Ask Don’t Tell.
Secretary of Defense Robert Gates spoke of the need to change the policy. Sen. Carl Levin spoke of the need to change the policy. Sen John McCain, the former presidential candidate supported DADT. Well at least his wife, Cindy McCain seems to be in our court.
One of the surprises of the testimony today was the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of staff, Adm. Mike Mullen of the United States Navy. Admiral Mullen spoke eloquently about his belief about DADT: “that we have in place a policy which forces young men and women to lie about who they are in order to defend our their fellow citizens. For me personally it is a matter of integrity theirs as individuals and ours as an institution. I also believe the great young men and women of our military would embrace such a change.” Wow! How refreshing that he spoke personally and so forcefully. But then he hedged about how to make the change in a time of war. To listen to the hearing see the webcast of the Armed Services Committee.
There will be a similar hearing on March 3 in the House Armed Services Personnel Sub-Committee.
Let’s keep the pressure on. Contact your Senator, Your Representative and President Obama. Let’s make Don’t Ask Don’t Tell an unpleasant memory. For more ways to help contact the Servicemembers Legal Defense Network.