Don't Ask, Don't Tell . . . Don't Bother
By: Al Dobras|Published: August 11, 2011 11:00 AM
Within the next few months, the United States military will begin to allow homosexuals to serve openly in the armed forces, overturning a policy that has been in place since the founding of the Republic. In fact, George Washington was the first commander to have "drummed out of camp" a soldier found guilty of attempted sodomy. Now, because of a proverbial "dark of night" action by a lame duck Congress, sodomy between consenting adult soldiers will no longer be a cause for removal from the services.
Actually, homosexuals have always been eligible to serve in the military, provided they kept their lifestyle private. In an era of sexual liberation, however, this was insufficient for gay activists who complained that the policy prevented them from being who they were as people.
But it is really no secret who homosexuals are. They are men who are sexually attracted to men and women who are sexually attracted to women. And placing individuals who are openly homosexual into close environments with the same sex appears to be a risk-prone policy -- especially in deployed units.
Nevertheless, when then Defense Secretary Robert Gates was asked what effect repeal of the "Don't Ask Don't Tell" (DADT) policy would have on the military, he replied, "My guess is you won't see much change at all because the whole thrust . . . is you're supposed to be treating everybody now with dignity, respect, and discipline. . . . And the same kind of military discipline that applies to -- and regulations that apply to heterosexual relationships -- will apply in terms of homosexual relationships."
The Defense Secretary "guesses" you won't see much change at all, which is not particularly reassuring to those who may have concerns about the new policy.
In the summer of 2010, the Defense Department conducted an extensive, wide-ranging survey of active duty personnel in order to gauge the impact of repealing DADT. The survey, which contained well over 150 questions, obtained responses from about 115,000 service members and 44,200 military spouses. Curiously, the one question that was not asked was "Should the policy of don't ask, don't tell be repealed?"
Instead, the questions asked were typically phrased, "Assuming DADT is repealed . . . " or "If DADT is repealed. . . " and measured responses to various scenarios, such as how the presence of a gay or lesbian service member would affect a person's reaction in a number of different situations.
When the results were published in November of 2010, proponents of repeal found little to cheer about. Nevertheless, Secretary Gates and Admiral Mullen, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, reported that the survey showed that 70 percent of respondents believed repeal of DADT would have either a positive effect or no effect on their ability to complete their mission, which was sufficient to justify repeal of the policy.
That is not exactly what the survey showed. To put the 70 percent in perspective, 18.4 percent believed repeal would be positive, 19.9 percent said it would have no effect, and 32.1 percent said equally positive and negative (this was oddly interpreted as a net "no effect"). Even so, 29.6 percent viewed repeal as negative or very negative. In an organization as vital as the military, which expects 100 percent commitment to the mission, a negative impact of 29.6 percent by respondents appears devastating.
Several other deleterious details of the survey can be cited:
Beyond the highly troubling and broadly negative impact reflected in the survey, the repeal of DADT will add a host of new problems to the services as they try to cope with open homosexuals serving in the military: the responsibility of chaplains to minister to homosexual persons while remaining faithful to their beliefs; duty requirements for chaplains to officiate in same-sex weddings; regulations relating to dating; requirements for sensitivity training; military gay pride celebrations; and the overall impact on military readiness, unit cohesion, and military discipline.
One serious issue not opened to discussion by the secretary is the impending status of transgenders in the military, which will necessarily cause a completely different set of problems. The Canadian military, for example, has decided that a soldier must declare whether he/she is more comfortable as a man or woman, and wear the appropriate uniform. The military (taxpayers) will pay for a sex-change operation ($20-40,000) if required. How transgenders will interact with other service members in personal facilities is an unanswered question.
Is the Military Ready for More Social Engineering?
The chiefs of the Army, Marines, and Air Force all warned that repealing DADT had a strong potential for disrupting unit cohesion -- particularly in combat units where it was feared that the presence of open homosexuals could negatively impact their units’ battlefield readiness.
Only the Chief of Naval Operations recommended repeal, alleging most sailors were unconcerned about the change. However, the Navy's experiences in social engineering within the fleet seem to suggest otherwise.
For example, women were introduced aboard surface ships about 1980 and first saw service aboard combat ships in the mid-90s. There is no question that women serve an important and necessary role within the various services. Equally clear is that when male and female service members are deployed into close and intimate working environments, negative risks to mission are not only possible, but probable.
The destroyer-tender Acadia is an infamous example of what happens when a mixed-sex contingent of teens and 20 year olds are placed in close quarters with one another over an extended deployment. In April 1991, the Acadia returned to its
In October 1994, the aircraft carrier USS Eisenhower became the first combat ship to deploy with women aboard. During the deployment, 15 women were found to be pregnant, causing the ship to earn the nickname “The Love Boat.” In the year 2000, 60 women aboard the Eisenhower were removed due to pregnancy. Undeterred, the Navy announced in April of 2010 that women would begin serving in the close confines of nuclear submarines -- something no other navy in the world allows.
Military-wide, more than 2500 pregnancies are reported each year, which certainly impacts overall readiness when women are deployed in combat assignments. Additionally, a recent Pentagon report shows that one-third of women in the military reported they have been sexually harassed. Most disturbingly, sexual assaults in the services have been steadily rising, with well over 3000 cases reported in 2009.
Now, in another example of misguided social engineering, the military is being coerced into the open acceptance of not only homosexuals, but also lesbian, gay, bi-sexual, and transgender (LGBT) persons.
The Real Question
The real mystery is why there is such an unrelenting effort to bring open homosexuals into the military when the gay rights movement has brought chaos, division, and lasting harm to every entity it has uncompromisingly pressured into accepting and promoting the homosexual lifestyle:
The Last Ones Standing
Efforts to bring homosexuality into the cultural mainstream have aggressively pitted social activists against many people of faith and others concerned with the advance of moral relativism. Governments at all levels have now legislated legal protections for what was once considered a deviant behavior, with the result that opponents of homosexual advocacy have been in many ways disenfranchised of their right to openly express their sincerely held beliefs.
One of the most remarkable phenomena of modern times has been the almost casual acquiescence by the culture into acceptance of homosexuality without any serious public discourse on the nature of the behavior the culture is being compelled to accept.
With the acquiescence of the military, it is a sad commentary on our times that certain traditional churches, some faith organizations, and the Boy Scouts of America are almost the last ones standing in the battle to preserve the culture from moral relativism.
Al Dobras is a freelance writer on religious and cultural issues and an electronics engineer. He lives in Springfield, Va.
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