Sen. Carl Levin (D-Mich.), Chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee explains why he supports President Obama’s renewed pledge in the State of the Union address last week to “roll back” the absurd “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy (introduced by Bill Clinton) which allows lesbian and gay people to serve in the armed forces as long as no one finds out.
The American public overwhelmingly supports allowing gays and lesbians to serve in the military. In Gallup’s latest poll on the subject, two-thirds of Americans support their right to serve. And they are in fact serving. As former Chairman of the Joint Chiefs Gen. John Shalikashvili, who supports ending the policy, has pointed out, a majority of troops already believe they serve alongside gay or lesbian colleagues. It’s hard to know for sure, but one recent study estimated more than 60,000 gays and lesbians are serving today, forced to hide their orientation and at constant risk of losing the chance to serve.
Supporters of this policy argue that allowing gays and lesbians to serve openly would damage unit cohesion and morale, crucial factors in building combat effectiveness. But there is no evidence that the presence of gay and lesbian colleagues would damage our military’s ability to fight. Our closest allies in NATO and other alliances, including Canada, Britain, France and Israel, allow gays and lesbians to serve openly with no impact on readiness. A RAND Corp. study in the 1990s found that nations allowing gays to serve openly found no harmful effects.
Read the rest here….
Defense Secretary Robert Gates is expected to announce the plan to scrap DADT today, though it is still only a plan and the specifics will still need to be debated. Though, what’s to debate, frankly. Surely it’s as simple as “Stop asking. Don’t care. Mind your own business.”?