Thursday, July 17, 2008

Don't Ask, Don't Tell - 15 Years of a Bad Policy

Holmes: Lies, law and gay soldiers - The MetroWest Daily News The soldiers aren't in favor of it. The population isn't in favor of it. Even some of the generals aren't in favor of it. Why is it still in place?
It was an ill-conceived compromise forced on a rookie president by, among others, the canny chairman of the Joint Chiefs, Colin Powell. Then Republicans in Congress, seizing on a culture wars issue, wrote it into law, freezing in place what should have been a transitional policy.

But the troops aren't frozen in place. Their attitudes toward homosexuality have changed, like those of their citizen peers. A Gallup poll found that 91 percent of young American adults say gays and lesbians should be able to serve openly in the military.
One estimate is that there are 65,000 gay, lesbian and bisexual troops serving today.
To meet the need for new recruits, the Pentagon is lowering its standards. The number of convicted felons let into the military more than doubled between 2004 and 2006, the study says. "Moral waivers" were granted to allow nearly 44,000 people convicted of serious misdemeanors, such as assault, to enlist during that same period, along with more than 58,000 enlistees known to have abused illegal drugs.
Funny how the War on (some) Drugs takes a back seat when it suits the government to look the other way.

And this isn't a few crackpots talking.
The four retired officers who authored the Palm Center study join more than 52 retired generals who signed a statement last year calling for DADT to be repealed. Former top commanders, including Gen. Wesley Clark and Gen. John Shalikashvili, have said the military is now ready to let all soldiers serve without having to lie about who they are.
But it will go on, because the Religious Right scares the crap out of the Republicans and the Left doesn't care about the military. (Rhetoric notwithstanding.)

And of course it isn't applied to everyone... Statistics collected by the Servicemembers Legal Defense Network suggest that the military may be targeting lesbians more than gay men under "Don't Ask, Don't Tell. While women make up about 14 percent of the army, 49% of the people discharged under DADT by the army were women.

Then there are the problems with recruiting.
A study conducted last year for the Servicemembers Legal Defense Network concluded that the U.S. military could attract as many as 41,000 new recruits if gays and lesbians in the military were able to be open about their sexual orientation.
I guess the Pentagon would rather have all those drug addicts.

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