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Wednesday, October 4, 2023


Continuance of ‘Don’t ask, don’t tell’ based on irrational logic

U.S. District Judge Virginia Phillips ruled Sept. 9 that the U.S. Department of Defense’s “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy, which bars openly gay, lesbian or bisexual service members from the military, is unconstitutional in the case Log Cabin Republicans v. United States of America.

Phillips issued a permanent worldwide injunction Oct. 12 ordering the military to immediately “suspend and discontinue any investigation, or discharge, separation, or other proceeding, that may have been commenced” under “don’t ask, don’t tell”.

In response to this Defense Secretary Robert Gates said that there will be “enormous consequences” for men and women in uniform if the judge’s order abruptly allowing gays to serve openly in the military is allowed to stand.

There is no reason that gays should be denied their right to serve. Opponents argue how it will weaken the military and only serve to lower overall morale among troops. These arguments are false.

It’s been brought up many times before by men like Air Force Col. Om Prakash that there simply is no scientific or battlefield observational evidence leading to the conclusion that unit cohesion is compromised by the presence of openly gay personnel.

Instead, it seems the opposite, as in the case of Joseph Rocha a gay improvised explosive device expert who was alienated from his fellow soldiers because he couldn’t explain to his peers why he didn’t join in their parties or risqué conversations, and when finally admitting to being gay, Rocha was rewarded with a discharge from the military.

However, if the “don’t ask, don’t tell” is repealed, Rocha and many others say they are willing to serve again.

In 2007, it was reported that there were at least 65,000 gay men and women in the military and one million veterans. There were 114 retired generals and admirals who signed similar statements that the policy should be repealed.

As retired Army Gen. and former Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff John Shalikashvili wrote, “Our military has been stretched thin by our deployments in the Middle East, and we must welcome the service of any American who is willing and able to do the job.”

There are plenty of men and women both willing and able to serve in the military. Let’s not deny them because of intolerance masked by unjustifiable and irrational reasons.

Marcus Smith is an English freshman and may be reached at [email protected].

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