It’s All About the “Tell”
posted at 1:14 pm on October 11, 2009 by J.E. Dyer
Obama pledged last week to fulfill his campaign promise to end the military’s “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy on open homosexuality. It’s probably time to reiterate some important points on that subject.
I wrote a much longer piece on this a few months ago, and will not rehash the whole argument here. For links and documentation, and the extended arguments, please visit that one.
What I’ll do here is outline, first, the main arguments made by the “open gay service” advocates, and then the principal ways in which ending DADT would damage the military.
The Arguments for Ending DADT
1. Gays already serve in the military, and are not undermining military readiness or unit cohesion. However, their inability to be open about their orientation discourages gays from joining or staying in the military.
2. The latter dynamic has, in a popular talking point, been encapsulated as “losing Arabic linguists” at a time we can ill afford to. The argument many people buy into is that DADT is forcing us to dismiss Arabic linguists, and is therefore a dysfunctional policy.
The Arguments that Open Gay Service Would Harm the Military
1. Open gay service cannot be achieved without a thorough politicization of the military. Gay activists would ensure that everything from personnel policy to unit leadership became “about” people’s individual opinions on homosexuality, and on publicly displayed gay behavior. DOD’s leadership, the servicemembers, and their families would all have to deal with demands for the uniformed military to march in gay parades, demands for military bases to host gay-themed events, demands for military family services to endorse and support gay unions, and a host of other social issues. The lawsuits would start immediately.
2. This dynamic would quickly permeate the military’s promotion and leadership systems, and make promotion contingent on a soldier’s or sailor’s positive affirmation of the overtly-advertised sexual orientation of others.
3. Admitting gay activism to the military is an excellent way to guarantee challenges to freedom of religion and conscience. All the major religious texts contain language proscribing homosexual behavior, and although neither Christian nor Jewish nor Muslim chaplains ever make a point of preaching on this topic, many of them would also, if asked, affirm their belief in the texts of their faiths. So would many soldiers, sailors, airmen, and Marines.
4. The combination of 1, 2, and 3 would distract the military from its true and valid purpose, and cause morale to decline.
The freedom of everyone to remain silent on this issue, neither endorsing homosexuality nor objecting to it, is maintained by the DADT policy. That is why it was selected in the first place. The military would face a nightmarish morass of lawsuits, and hijacking of leadership time and organizational purpose, if gay activists were able to press their agenda throughout DOD. Most Americans, if presented with the actual dilemmas that will arise, would favor reverting to DADT. Why should an Army major with combat tours in Iraq and Afghanistan suddenly find his promotion to lieutenant colonel held hostage to an endorsement of homosexuality? Why should a Navy petty officer with twelve years of service and sacrifice, including months at a time away from her family, have to affirm her support of homosexuality in order to become a chief?
One reason the military is such a big prize for gay activists is that this is how their agenda must play out, in one of the world’s most top-down organizations, premised on unity and obedience. If DOD can be leveraged at the senior civilian level to endorse homosexual demonstrations – gay officer organizations, gay NCO organizations, gay pride month, gay-themed events for unit personnel – it will become necessary and expected for commanders and unit leaders throughout the services to show positive allegiance to, and endorsement of, these manifestations. Failure to do so will guarantee the prejudicial attention of gay activists and their lawyers.
If you think this is an exaggeration, please visit my longer piece and review the long and growing list of things just like this being encountered in the civilian world, from the US State Department to the San Diego Fire Department to local school systems and express delivery services. Military policy, out of self-defense if nothing else, would require leaders at all levels to evince positive affirmations about homosexuality, in order to get Congressional partisans and activists off DOD’s back, and allow it to spend some time on its primary function.
The average gay servicemember is not interested in becoming a poster child for the gay activist agenda. Such personnel serve successfully because they, like the overwhelming majority of their uniformed fellows, are willing to live and let live. It is true that gays serve now. DADT doesn’t prevent them from serving. What DADT does prevent is their service being leveraged on behalf of gay activism. That is the crux of the matter.
Some questions Americans need to ask themselves:
— Do you think people should have to affirmatively endorse homosexuality, or explicitly disavow the pronouncements of their religious faith regarding it, in order to be promoted in their professional work? If so, would you require a Muslim Air Force officer to disavow the Koran’s statements about the status of women, before he could be promoted?
— Is forcing the military to endorse homosexuality a good use of the taxpayer money going to national defense?
— Which is more important: requiting the yearning of gay servicemembers for greater openness about their personal lives, or keeping the military focused on its actual purpose, rather than preoccupied with adapting to every requirement of a gay activist agenda?
— Does it really make sense that we can only have enough Arabic linguists in the military if we allow openly gay service? My longer piece works through the case for why this problem is both misstated and overstated by the media.