Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell, Don’t Listen
For weeks Arizona Senator John McCain has expressed his reluctance to repeal the law preventing gays and lesbians from serving in the military known colloquially as don’t ask, don’t tell. Months ago Mr. McCain said that the country needed to slow down in its head long plunge into repealing this stain on America’s already abundantly dirty and nasty laundry that represents our sense of fairness and freedom. We needed a study to determine the exact affect that repealing the law would have on military readiness.
Earlier this week the study was concluded and lo and behold the vast majority of the military think it’s a good idea to end this discrimination or think that its termination would have little effect. But almost one out of four military personnel thinks it’s a bad idea to exclude homosexuals. And that’s all that Mr. McCain and others need to hold fast to the idea that the discrimination needs to continue. Senate Republicans dug in their heels against letting homosexuals serve openly.
Earlier this year Mr. McCain admonished legislators that talked about repealing the law without listening to what the military had to say about it. The military has spoken and all Mr. McCain can hear is what the minority who wants the law to remain in place has to say. He claims that if we repeal this law in the middle of war time, military personnel will leave in droves. And do what? Has Mr. McCain seen the unemployment numbers lately? True, some people will be hateful and bigoted enough to turn in their dog tags. But the vast majority will think twice before making that leap into poverty. And those that do leave will be replaced by homosexuals proud to serve their country and proud to openly be what they are, gay. Besides, doesn’t the military have a stop gap process that keeps people from leaving when the military needs them most?
I think the argument is moot. People leave the military every day, some in body bags. I find it supremely ludicrous that the pentagon can order people into the line of fire, send people into suicide missions without having to do a study to see if everybody in the service approves of the idea, but the moment military commanders say that gays and lesbians are welcome our military will devolve into a chaotic mess of homophobes. I can just imagine that conversation out on the field.
Sargent – Pyle! You and your men need to charge that hill filled with insurgents!
Pyle – Yes Sir!
Sargent – They’ve got Kalashnikovs and they’re ready to mow you and every single one of your men down.
Pyle – Yes Sir!
Sargent – We’ll need every man we’ve got!
Pyle – Yes Sir!
Sargent – So don’t forget to take those gay soldiers with you.
Pyle – I don’t know about that Sargent. I think I’m going to have to quit!
Even though he promised he would listen to the military brass’ recommendation, Mr. McCain dismissed the conclusions of Defense Secretary Robert Gates and the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Admiral Mike Mullen. Mr. McCain accused the two of caving under political pressure. Mr. McCain claimed that the study which took ten months to perform was flawed. Mr. McCain even made the suggestion that Mr. Gates and Mr. Mullen’s opinion was irrelevant because they don’t serve in the field but from a cushy chair in the pentagon. But Mr. McCain’s own cushy seat in the Senate has no bearing on the matter.
Mr. McCain went on to lecture Mr. Gates and Mr. McMullen saying that all great leaders he has ever known listened to their men before making critical decisions. It’s surprising to see Mr. McCain’s hypocrisy shining so blindingly. Mr. McCain wants to ignore what nearly three out of four military people say about serving with gays and focus on the minority. It should be obvious that this is no great leader. He’s not even above average. In fact, it’s another reminder that this is a man who barely graduated from officer’s school. Over ninety nine percent of his military class mates ranked higher.
But as it was said before Mr. McCain was not alone. Nearly all the Senate Republicans on the panel agreed with Mr. McCain. Openly gay people and military service just don’t mix. Just ask the minority of bigots that serve in the military. All I have left to say is that it’s a good thing the people who led this country that put an end to the type of racial bigotry that kept black people from serving never bothered to make sure it was a unanimous decision with everybody who was in the military at the time.