...what to do with our homosexuals that want to serve in our armed forces.
The 'don't ask, don't tell' policy will stand for a while after a proposal to drop the policy (which was attached to this year's defense appropriation bill) got quashed in Congress.
I find most of the arguments against having gays openly serve in the military wearily familiar to a similar argument that raged in the defense establishment in the late 1940's, when President Truman signed the order to racially integrate the armed forces. Then, it was 'Blacks will degrade the ability of our armed forces to fight'. Now, it's 'Gays will degrade the ability of our armed forces to fight.'
Really? Based on what data?
Some of the things I hear asked or announced:
I never served with any gays and wouldn't want to!
I suspect many of our veterans have served with homosexuals and didn't know it. Not declaring your preference doesn't make it go away, it just makes it not a big topic of conversation around the barracks. Recently, the old hometown paper had an announcement of two guys who entered a 'civil union'. Both of them were Vietnam-era vets. Evidently they gave up their sexuality when they did their time and picked it up after they got out. They served with a lot of other guys and I doubt anyone they served with caught the gay from being in the same latrines or eating in the same mess hall. More power to them.
Having gays in the service will be detrimental to morale and fighting ability!
The Israeli Defense Force is regarded as pretty good, right? They've had to be, given that they're surrounded by a lot of people that don't like them. The Israelis have been very resourceful in using the abilities and talents of everyone in the country, which is why they allow gays to openly serve. Everything I've ever seen indicates that most of their troops don't think it's a big deal. I always figured that getting shot at or a missile lobbed your way kind of focused your attention toward surviving and taking care of your squadmates.
We'll have all kinds of sexual issues!
Please. I'm hetero. Not all women turn me on. Why should it be any different for gays/lesbians? Sorry, I just don't see that as an issue. Now, if we catch one of our troops raping children (homo or hetero), that is and should be grounds for a dishonorable discharge and a few years at the military Graybar Hotel. I've not seen a lot to indicate that the percentage of 'deviant' behavior is higher among homosexuals over heterosexuals.
Would you want to serve with a homosexual?
Can he/she hit center of mass with an M16? Can he/she lob the grenade where it needs to be? Can he/she call in an airstrike of get a track put back together under fire or get a hull patch welded into place or drop bombs on target? Yes? Then I'm good serving with him or her. I don't much care what they do on leave or after hours. 'Nuff said.
On the minus side, the Democrats in Congress shouldn't have thrown what is in most facets a social issue into a defense appropriation bill. Holding up funding for operations for this issue isn't the right thing to do. There will be a lot of time and place to debate this. If the Congress is serious about getting this pushed through, they should put it in the bill authorizing their OWN pay raises (overpaid as they are).
The possibility exists that I'm all wrong about this. I'm not a veteran. Maybe the dynamics really ARE different in the military. But the Armed Forces survived racial integration and performed well on numerous occasions since then. I think it would do just as well after sexual integration. Might be, 20 or 30 years from now, the military looks back and collectively says 'What the hell. That wasn't as bad as we thought.' We'll see.