A little something from today’s Senate hearing to balance last night’s poll numbers. The argument’s simple: Yes, let’s study the possible effects of repeal, but don’t go tinkering with military effectiveness in the middle of two wars without first knowing what you’re getting yourself into. Or as a certain prominent “true conservative” recently put it:
The military may be a microcosm of society in some ways, but it most definitely is not a democracy. Individuals don’t have the usual rights that we honor in civilian society and, in fact, forfeit their freedoms when they wear the uniform.
If you want to test your free-speech rights, try criticizing your commanding officer…
More questions remain than can be posed, much less answered, in this space, and Gates may need every minute of the 11 months he has requested to study the issue. Whatever one’s personal opinion, the guiding principle should be only what is best for military effectiveness.
“Be all that you can be” was a nice recruiting slogan, but the military really is not about you. And the right to serve belongs to no one.
I don’t mind them taking their time to study the issue, although as I said last night, the conclusion is a fait accompli politically, especially if The One is in trouble with his base ahead of 2012. They’re really just studying how to implement the policy most effectively, with as little disruption as possible, not whether they should or will implement it at all.
Update: One follow-up thought to Parker’s point. While it’s true that you don’t have the same free-speech rights, privacy rights, etc, in the military that you have as a civilian, you don’t “forfeit your freedoms” in their entirety. A presidential order commanding the military to segregate along racial lines might well violate the Equal Protection Clause (or the Fifth Amendment version of it), although I can imagine a separation-of-powers Article II counterargument to that.