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Who Cares, Don’t Tell? June 13, 2007

Posted by federalist in Social Politics.
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Bob Barr offers disingenuous arguments against the “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” law on military service by homosexuals. I would welcome the repeal of this law because that would deprive liberals of their favorite excuse for attacking our military institution. It would be refreshing if colleges like Yale, my alma mater, could no longer hide behind “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” to justify their lack of support for ROTC and military recruiters.

But Mr. Barr naively claims that this policy has resulted in the firing of over 11,000 soldiers, costing taxpayers over $360 million. Almost any serviceman can tell you that a general discharge for homosexuality is one of the most convenient ways out of an unpleasant service contract. Many believe that a good number of those discharged for homosexuality were simply exploiting that fact.

Contrary to Mr. Barr’s insinuations, soldiers are not routinely kicked out of the military for a mere slip of the tongue. He talks of “rounding up gays and lesbians” and “unconscionable intrusion” into the lives of suspected homosexual servicemen. But those days ended when Congress signed this policy into law: Our military has taken its obligations under the “Don’t Ask” clause very seriously. Towards the end of his essay Mr. Barr admits as much, suggesting a poll found, “A majority of those who knew someone gay in their unit said the person’s presence had no negative impact on unit morale.” That isn’t a poll question one could ask in an institution busy hunting and persecuting homosexuals.

As an Air Force officer I knew homosexuals who served and who continue to serve in compliance with this law. Perhaps it is unfair that homosexuals must keep their sexuality discreet while heterosexuals can flaunt their orientation. But even heterosexual soldiers have to abide numerous regulations constraining their sexual behavior that may surprise civilians.

We must remember that military service is a very serious institution, not a forum for personal expression.

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