You didn’t ask, but I’m going to tell anyway. After more than 20 years in the military I have some definite ideas about the government’s policy of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.”

To begin with they forgot the third “don’t,” don’t do. Don’t do anything that normal, healthy homosexuals do. That includes sex.

Now remember you’re entering the military, not the priesthood. In any case, it’s a violation of the Uniform Code of Military Justice to perform sodomy of any sort, whether it is oral or anal, and don’t even think of masturbating, because that too could also be a violation of the UCMJ.

Adultery is also impermissible in the military but they still allow married people to serve openly in the military, and you don’t see too many discharges for violating the Commandments.

 

It’s always difficult to make significant changes in an organization as large and as tradition-oriented as the military, especially the U.S. Military. But it can and has been done. In the last couple of decades women have broken many barriers- performing in combat support positions, both in sea duty, soon submarines, and as fighter pilots.

The best example of effective change in the military was the racial integration of the armed forces. In 1948 President Truman signed an executive order declaring “there shall be equality of treatment and opportunity for all persons in the armed services without regard to race, color, religion, or national origin.” He authorized the initiative even in the face of stiff resistance from many senators and congressmen in both parties. Still, the military was slow to implement the policy, and it took the Korean War to speed up the process.

Change is possible, but as President Clinton found out, it is not easy. During the 1992 presidential campaign he made a promise that he would sign an Executive Order ending the ban on Gays and Bisexuals in the military. Clinton failed to make good on that promise. Politics bit him in the ass.

After getting elected and proposing the change, Sen. Sam Nunn (D) Ga., then the chairman of the Armed Forces committee, organized hearings which backed the military leaders who supported continuation of the ban. Two bad things resulted. First, DADT became law and second, no future the President had the ability to sign an executive order ending the ban.

The essence of DADT is that sexual orientation will not be a bar to service unless the member engages in homosexual conduct, states that he is homosexual or ‘manifests’ homosexual conduct. I’m not sure what that last one means. Have you ever seen one of those generals in full drag with their red or gold stripes down their blue pants, those colorful decorations and shiny medals, their sabers and their really butch capes? And what’s with those cute little white gloves? It looks to me like a lot of manifesting going on.

What has DADT accomplish since 1993? It has eliminated more than 13,000 men and woman from the service with other than an honorable discharge. Most of them were actually gay. Some suddenly became gay when they got into trouble, got a better offer for a civilian job, or received orders to go to Iraq or Afghanistan. It’s an easy out. 68 Arabic and Farsi language students were booted when we needed them most. The loss of these individuals cost the Defense Department more than $350 million. DADT has cost us lives and lost us respect and it must end.

But there is a greater loss then the $350 million. The loss is to those estimated 65,000 gays currently serving in military services. I know these folks because I was one of them for 22 years. They live the life of a juggler. balancing their official self with their real self. Being careful of what they say and who they say it to. A slip of the tongue (no pun intended) can end a career.

And forget about having a photo of you significant other on your desk or in your locker. Outwardly they’re 100 percent military performing their duties as assigned. Inwardly they’re at war with their own true self. That’s a burden they shouldn’t have to bear. Why don’t they just quit? Why do they join in the first place? The same reasons everyone else does; to serve their country, to see the world, to get education benefits. No matter why they serve, they serve; and they shouldn’t be faced with obstacles others aren’t. Any of you who have served in the military know exactly what I’m talking about.

I’m not going to spend time telling you that most of our allies in NATO and around the world allow gays to serve openly in their armed forces. Frankly I don’t give a damn. This isn’t about them. This is about Americans doing the right thing.

I’m a political conservative who didn’t vote for President Obama and don’t have much time for him, but he seems to be leading the way for change. During his campaign he supported ending the ban and he repeated that position in his first State of the Union address. He’s backed by the Secretary of Defense and the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, the top civilian and military leaders in the DOD. Leading the opposition, as with Clinton, are politicians, namely, Sen. John McCain (R)Az. I didn’t vote for him either. and several military leaders. At present, the Chiefs of Staff of the Army and of the Air Force as well as the Commandant of the Marine Corps continue to support DADT.

The ball is in the court of your Senators and Representatives and you. You know what to do.

Bruce Bant is a retired Army Sergeant Major with 22 years of service, including nearly four years in Vietnam. His final assignment before leaving the Army in 1980 was with the Office of the Assistant Secretary of Defense. His awards and decorations include the Legion of Merit, two Bronze Stars, The Purple Heart, the Meritorious Service medal, three Joint Service Commendation medals, and four Army Commendation Medals.

 


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