“Don’t Ask/Don’t Tell” & Front-line Homophobia

The survey sent to hundreds of thousands of men & women serving us bravely in all branches of the military, exposed two things about the military culture as it relates to sexual orientation:

  1. The majority really don’t care what your orientation is, so long as you’re skilled and competent
  2. The minority who do care are of the most “macho” ilk: those who are specially trained for front-line combat duty, like Navy Seals and Marine Special Ops

So, the real issue is, do you maintain a policy to keep a minority of your members happy?  The strongest argument for doing just that is the fear of the ultimate consequence: the threat by those service members that they will not re-enlist if the “don’t ask/don’t tell” policy changes.  Thus, the argument goes, if we allow a gay or lesbian person to serve openly in the military, we will lose our finest and most trained, elite soldiers.

To which the sane and most effective response is:  We will not lose fine, trained soldiers.  We will simply replace homophobic ones with those who have equal capability but have been barred from enlisting due to their refusal to hide their sexual orientation.

Value added, we will weed out bigoted, small-minded men (the overwhelming majority are men) who may make good fighting machines, but clearly don’t possess other valuable qualities needed to be a truly great soldier & human being: acceptance of differences (really needed in today’s wars that emphasize “changing hearts and minds” as much as brute force); the ability to discern between fact and myth (critical thinking); and the capacity to assess someone or something based on effectiveness vs. personal fears/phobias.

And that is the best reason to overturn this policy.

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