Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Don't Ask, Don't Tell Should Become Don't Care

President Obama is working towards getting rid of Don't Ask, Don't Tell.  For those of you outside of the US, DADT is the Clinton era policy that kept the American military from persecuting homosexual service members so long as they didn't come out of the closet.  Basically, if a gay soldier doesn't come right out and say he or she is gay, or isn't seen at a club making out with someone with the same naughty parts, their command can't try to get them kicked out of the service for being gay.  Prior to this, if a commander suspected that someone was gay, they could open a criminal investigation and kick them out of the service without any admission or physical evidence.

He's going slow, but doesn't need to.  He's trying to get laws changed, but could change the policy just by signing an Executive Order.  The military would immediately be forced to stop persecuting openly gay soldiers.  The thousands of currently serving gay servicemen and women could stop living in the shadows.  

I served in the Army just prior to and immediately after DADT went into force.  There were people in all of my units that were probably gay, but it wasn't any of my business.  I had enough dealing with my other soldiers who were getting DUI's, beating their spouses, or being beaten by their spouses to care what someone did in their bedroom that didn't interfere with them doing their job.  Since we all had some form of security clearance, homosexuality was considered a bad thing because of the possibility of blackmail by the bad guys.  I guess that could have been true.  But to be perfectly honest, all of my chains of command, prior to and after the advent of DADT, didn't go after anyone for it, even when presented with pretty good evidence.  They had better things to worry about.

Two weeks after I left the Army, I had lunch with a former subordinate who was also considering leaving the service.  She wanted to know how I liked my new job, and whether or not she should apply with the same company.  As we ate, she looked me in the eye and came out of the closet.  I looked her in the eye and told her that I had been pretty sure she liked girls for a few years, and it never entered my mind to say anything about it.  It was none of my business.  I'd lived in close quarters with her in a variety of environments, and who she slept with when she'd gone less than a week since her last shower didn't even enter my thought process.

And I hope that my attitude was the predominant attitude among leaders in the service.   Sure there are bigots in the Army who have a hangup about gay people, but there are still bigots who don't like black people, hispanics, or women in the uniform.  There are idiots in any environment, and they are the ones that need to leave the service if they can't control themselves.

LabRat over at Atomic Nerds has a really good post about this.   Check it out.  Someday I hope to be as eloquent as he is.


Stingray said...

"Someday I hope to be as eloquent as he is. "

The irony on this got an actual out-loud laugh out of both of us, as LabRat is of the distaff persuasion, and I'm the evil male oppressor afraid of the horrors of gay cooties and such. The compliment, however, is appreciated and well received. Thanks for the kind words and well thought out opinion.

DaddyBear said...

Sorry about that. Sudafed will do that to you. Thanks.

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