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Dont Ask Dont Tell Should Stay

Klinger supports Don't ask Don't tell. He told!

Klinger supports Don't ask Don't tell. He told!


When President Clinton put in place the don’t ask don’t tell policy years ago, many saw this as a compromise. Openly serving as a “gay” was prohibited, but gone were the policies allowing interrogation of someone suspected of being a homosexual.

But was this a compromise, or simply the solution that was needed, which should become permanent?

Stated another way, don’t ask don’t tell could be called live and let live. So what if you are gay? As long as you do not make it an issue, it is not an issue.

What defines us as humans is not an oxymoronic phrase such as sexual orientation, because your sexual preferences have absolutely no bearing on your ability to accomplish any military job. One’s sex could matter in some cases, or more specifically a physical ability to do certain jobs. But that might apply equally regardless of sex. Where a small woman might not be able to lift a 200 pound man, that 200 pound man could not fit into a small tunnel to pursue the enemy. The lines between the sexes are rapidly disappearing in the military, which makes for a more cohesive unit.

So now, there are those that would draw a line between soldiers and sailors based on sexual behavior. Rather than working to minimize the differences between individuals and concentrate on fitting the job to the person, are we now going to go back to drawing lines between who we are?

Sexual orientation is no more defining of who a person is than a preference for sexual bondage or S&M. Or any of the other sexual preferences people practice. As long as these sexual acts don’t interfere with one’s job, they are entirely irrelevant and should be treated as such.

A number of lefty pundits lament the fact that good soldiers are tossed out of the military because they feel the need to “come out” of the closet. Anyone that believes their preferences towards their own sex is something they just can’t keep in their own bedrooms has a problem. Those attracted to the opposite sex don’t seem to feel the need to “come out” as straight.

But those that are thrown out because they feel the need to be “openly gay” above being a soldier made the choice. And one would suspect that there are a number of Corporal Klingers counted amoung the discharged gays. For those that do not know, Jamie Farr played Corporal Max Klinger on the hit series M*A*S*H dressing in women’s clothes to facilitate his discharge. It did not work.

Do we need to go back to a time when our military men and women were defined by their race, birth place, sex, etc., or do we move forward to allow the military to be defined by the job they do?


About Tom White

Tom is a US Navy Veteran, owns an Insurance Agency and is currently an IT Manager for a Virginia Distributor. He has been published in American Thinker, currently writes for the Richmond Examiner as well as Virginia Right! Blog. Tom lives in Hanover County, Va and is involved in politics at every level and is a Recovering Republican who has finally had enough of the War on Conservatives in progress with the Leadership of the GOP on a National Level.

17 Responses to “Dont Ask Dont Tell Should Stay”

  1. Rick Sincere says:

    You say:

    “Those attracted to the opposite sex don’t seem to feel the need to ‘come out’ as straight.”

    Oh, really?

    How many heterosexual people do you know who keep their sexual orientation a secret? Isn’t the act of getting married, which a majority of heterosexuals perform, a public proclamation of one’s sexual orientation?

    There are far more “open” straight people around than you can count.

    I ask you, Tom: Have you been keeping your sexual orientation a secret? Tell us, are you straight? Don’t be ashamed to come out of the heterosexual closet if that’s the case.

  2. Rick Sincere says:

    By the way, I agree with you when you say:

    “Do we need to go back to a time when our military men and women were defined by their race, birth place, sex, etc., or do we move forward to allow the military to be defined by the job they do?”

    That’s it in a nutshell. That’s why the prohibition on openly gay people serving in the military should end. That’s the position of Admiral Mullen, that’s the position of the Reserve Officers Association, and that’s the position of the majority of the American people.

    “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” is a failed policy that should be ended, so that the men and women in the military will “be defined by the job they do.”

  3. Tom White says:

    As a Navy Veteran who joined just after the end of the Vietnam war, I have a perspective most people today cannot. One’s sexual orientation was irrelevant. And in the context of my post, which is life in the military, one’s sexual orientation was not a consideration unless someone chose to make it so. You are in the military to be a soldier, sailor or marine period. And no, I never came out as straight.

    I am not aware if you served in the military or not, but one’s sexual orientation – gay or straight – has no place in your duty life. You do your job. After work, go home to a boyfriend, a mistress, or a hooker. Who cares. Just show up and do your job.

    And while I was in the Navy, I can honestly say most of my friends and fellow sailors didn’t know or care what my sexual orientation was, nor I theirs.

    My point is, the military is not civilian life. It is VERY different. In civilian life, you are free to do as you please as far as sexual orientation goes. It is your right, and that is what the military is for, To make sure you have that right.

    But when you sign up you are giving up most of your rights and you belong to the Government. You can’t just quit. You are required to follow orders, discipline must be maintained and the military regiment is important to effectiveness as a unit.

    Today, there are very few incidents of violence against gays in the military. I am sure there are a few, but there are far more fights not involving sexual orientation. I can promise you there will be a HUGE increase in violence against gays if they are openly serving. After a decade of punishment and sensitivity training they may get that back down to the level it is today.

    How many “openly” gay men will die in friendly fire “accidents”?

    I am absolutely convinced if gays are allowed to openly serve, many will die or suffer brutality. I am sure you can agree with that statement. And I don’t want to see that happen.

    And I also don’t buy into the “shower” BS and fear mongering that is going around. I am sure I have showered with gay men, and there was never an incident. We were taking a shower, not having an orgy.

    I hope you don’t mistake my beliefs on this as my being anti-gay. I am “agnostic” on the subject (to use an Obamaism). I am straight, (Ok – I’m out now. Happy?) monogamous and totally disinterested in other people’s sex life. Just close the door and try to keep the screams down, and I’ll do the same.

    Honestly, Rick, I truly believe there will be a lot of people hurt or worse with this possible change, and the benefits do not outweigh the risks. I am sure I don’t have to tell you that there are a lot of ignorant people that do bad things over something so unimportant as this. When I do the cost benefit analysis, the status quo comes out the safer option.

    I have always appreciated your openness and honesty and I am glad we are on the same side. We may not agree on this issue, but I believe our desired outcome is pretty similar.

    Attitudes have changed and change works best when done slowly. Perhaps some day the ignorance will dissipate, but I believe this change is a bit premature.

  4. Rick Sincere says:

    I am glad you recognize that the major hurdle to allowing openly gay men and lesbians to serve in the military is the bigotry that still exists (in diminishing amounts) among their fellow soldiers.

    The problem is not the gay soldier or sailor. It’s the soldier or sailor who has prejudice against gay people.

  5. Tom White says:

    I think the point a lot of people seem to miss is that civilian life and military life are two different things. Most are in the military for a few years and you are there for one purpose. To defend the country. You do not have the frills that come with personal life. You are told when to wake up, when to go to bed, what to wear, what to eat, where to live, when to move, etc. You have no personal life. There is no room for individuality and any divergence from the uniformity breaks down the military. And any effort to individualize is detrimental. It puts “me” ahead of “us”. Individualism is one of the many sacrifices we make when we join the military. It is not compatible with unit cohesion. I really don’t care if this means yellow hair, spikes in your face, or wearing Hawaiian shirts instead of a uniform. If we allow individualism, we destroy the military.

    Much of what the military does seems stupid, at first. In Navy boot camp we were not allowed to “step on the bright-work” which is the (sometimes) brass plate on the floor of a doorway. Sailors must shine these up. But even if it is a dirty aluminum plate, you may not step on it or you will be doing push-ups. Stupid, right? But when you get on a ship, if you don’t step over the door threshold you will trip. Water tight doors to compartments do not go to the floor.

    While some object to people openly serving as gay, I do not single that individual behavior out. I single all individual behavior out. And this is not a prejudice against gays on my part. It is an understanding of what makes the military work and what is detrimental.

    And as for the officers opinions on almost any subject, they are rarely a reliable indicator of what they really think. There are two types of officers. Military and political. Political officers echo the words of their civilian masters – or they say what they think they want to hear. In exchange, they get cushy assignments or fast promotions, or both. The ones that actually put their unit above politics are hampered in advancement and fail to be selected for Pentagon jobs. Wesley “the Weasel” Clark is a prime example. He was given that name long ago by the men serving under him and the bus he frequently threw them under.

    And to try to equate gays to women or blacks is ridiculous. One can put aside a behavior for a few years to serve one’s country. But you cannot put aside your sex or race. These are physical characteristics and are invalid as a parallel to one’s behavior.

    You can either be a soldier, or an individual. Not both. Condoning individualism in the military is a slippery slope.

    My opinions on this subject are purely intellectual in nature. Morality and social justice issues are irrelevant when dealing with the more basic question of what is right for the military.

  6. Rick Sincere says:

    We’ll make a deal, based on what you say, Tom: Heterosexuals will have to give up their open sexual orientation while in the military, too. No marriages, no talk about boyfriends or girlfriends, no dating, no reading of Playboy or Playgirl. Celibacy should be a condition of military service, just as it is in the Catholic clergy.

    That is a reasonable compromise. Everyone is treated equally. If a soldier or sailor reveals that he has a girlfriend back home, he will be discharged.

    Deal?

  7. Rick Sincere says:

    Here’s what actual, serving soldiers are saying about the impending repeal of the gay ban, in response to a question posed by a senior officer who wants to figure out how best to plan for the contingency:

    http://www.taskforcemountain.com/mountain-sound-off/19/4047-qdont-ask-dont-tellq

  8. Tom White says:

    You seem to believe there are not any “openly” gay people serving in the military. There are many. And these days, DADT simply means just that. I would agree that the same policy should apply to all members, but the key is in how it is enforced. You act as if a gay person accidentally “slips” and mentions his boyfriend he will be hunted down like a rabid animal for discharge. That is simply not true. It was not even true in the 70′s.

    There are two ways to get discharged for being gay these days. Openly force the issue with an intentional high profile act, or going to your C.O. and telling them you are gay. These days even being caught in a compromising position with witnesses is not grounds for dismissal. Don’t ask, don’t tell.

    Inappropriate sexual behavior has always been grounds for discipline or dismissal no matter your orientation. A friend of mine was nearly discharged because he got a sailor pregnant. He was married and we were both in the Navy Nuclear program. She only wanted to get pregnant and receive a discharge because her advanced schooling was over. Once the processing began, she had an abortion and was no longer pregnant when she received her discharge papers. The only thing that kept him from being kicked out was the fact that his wife had approved of the scheme. Therefore, blackmail was not possible. By the way, the female faced no discipline.

    Do you have an example of any gay men that have been discharged for reading playgirl? The thing about don’t ask is, you will never be asked if you are gay. Do you know of anyone that has been discharged because they were caught in a “compromising” position with a member of the same sex? Even an active demonstration of a homosexual act is not subject you one being asked about it, and you are not obligated to tell about it.

    The only provision of the Uniform Code of Military Justice that applies to this discussion is Section 925. Article 125. And it applies evenly no matter the sex of the individuals involved. I would submit that every member of the armed forces has violated that article, or wanted to violate it, or would if given the opportunity.

    The only legal difference between the sexes with don’t ask don’t tell is that now, the only ones that can be asked and required to answer the question covered by 925 Art. 125 are heterosexuals.

    And if a heterosexual openly advertised that he or she had violated said article, they would be subject to the same punishment as a gay or lesbian. There IS NO provision in the UCMJ that singles out homosexuals.

    DADT puts everyone on equal footing here, as it should be. Holding hands, kissing, sleeping together, marriage, or any other acts not covered by 925.125 are not subject to punishment. Only an admission of violating 925.125.

    We need to stop trying to apply a civilian social agenda to the military. Admitting you are gay alone is not grounds for court-martial. You must admit that you violated 925.125 or be found guilty of same. I will not say if I violated 925.125 or not while I was subject to the UCMJ. If asked, I would deny it.

    There simply is no problem. But the solution to this non-problem you advocate would be a disaster.

  9. Rick Sincere says:

    Sorry, but you are simply wrong. Committing an act of sodomy is not required to be discharged. Simply admitting that you are gay is all that is necessary to be discharged.

    There are thousands of former armed services members who would have fulfilled their military obligations had they not been discharged because of their sexual orientation. Very few of them were charged under 925.125 (which would be grounds for court martial, not just separation from the service).

    You don’t seem to get my point that stating openly that one is gay is no different than stating openly that one is straight. Both are neutral statements of one’s sexuality. If the issue is eliminating individual identity in the interest of unit cohesion, than both statements should be suppressed.

    Straight people should not have privileges denied to gay people (including the privilege of expressing their sexual orientation). If someone wants to talk about having a wife or girlfriend, he should do it as a civilian. There is no place in the military for sexual identity, according to your own line of reasoning.

  10. Tom White says:

    I read a number of the comments in your link and they are pretty much a sampling of the spectrum. Some for, some against. A few even look at the impact on the military, as I do. Now, some of the issues which I have not mentioned would be the questions dealing with POA and survivor benefits. I personally feel that a soldier should be able to grant POA to anyone they see fit. If you trust your accountant, you should be able to name them as POA. Even if he or she is your lover. And assigning a beneficiary to Life policies and allowing someone to make decisions for you should something happen. I am honestly not sure what is currently allowed, but sex should not make a difference here. If you are in a marriage that is legal in one state and not in others, you should be able to assign your spouse the same capabilities as anyone else. The relationship should not matter.

    But a number of those comments are aware of the violence that will occur. As I said before, ignorance prevails. It is slowly subsiding, but it has not. And there is also the “in your face” “militant” gays that do their part to instigate an incident. Both are wrong.

    Tweak the rules if necessary so that the soldier grants decisions to the person of their choosing. Many unmarried people are alienated from their parents, but if they are not married, it is these parents that make the decisions in the event of death or injury. That should be decided by the soldier.

    Rick, I just think there is a better way to reach the goals at this time. If accommodations need to be made for “next of kin” issues, then do it.

    The questions we need to be asking are:

    If we allow gays to become “open”, is there any benefit other than allowing a few individuals to have their behavior legitimized?

    What is the downside in terms of disruptions and accommodations that must be made?

    Will openly straight people refuse to serve with openly gay people for religious reasons?

    This will cause a revolt within the military unlike anything we have ever seen. Civilians are not forced to be in close quarters with each other as military personnel are. There are gays that hate straights and vice versa. You and I may agree that these are unfounded and ridiculous prejudices, but to those “in the trenches” it will be a major issue.

    This is a battle that does not need to be fought right now. And time may make it a battle that never needs to be fought. Remember, Virginia has similar laws. But these are pretty much no longer enforced.

    It will take time, but the military always comes around to Civilian ways to a large extent. This issue will go away in 10 to 20 years, perhaps sooner. But if it is changed, it will be a horrible situation for longer.

    Unfortunately, it will be changed by this administration and you will see that my concerns will all come to pass. It is hard enough to recruit without an internal struggle taking over the military. This policy could even damage recruitment enough that we consider bringing back the draft. It is mentioned from time to time now. Gays will fear the violence and straights will refuse to serve with gays.

    It is Pandora’s box. Take it from a Veteran.

  11. Rick Sincere says:

    The same predictions about bigots refusing to serve in the military were made when President Truman ordered the racial integration of the armed forces.

    It didn’t happen. Instead, officers and soldiers saluted and said, “Yes, sir!” That’s because military men follow orders.

    And the military became the most effective vehicle for African-Americans to succeed in American society. Just ask Colin Powell, who now supports ending the prohibition on gay people serving their country.

    Your point about designating anyone as a beneficiary in a life insurance policy is interesting, because that is illegal under Virginia law. (Virginia law requires that a life insurance beneficiary be related to the policy holder by blood or marriage.) Do you think this Virginia law should be repealed?

  12. Tom White says:

    “That the member has stated that he or she is a homosexual or bisexual, or words to that effect, unless there is a further finding, made and approved in accordance with procedures set forth in the regulations, that the member has demonstrated that he or she is not a person who engages in, attempts to engage in, has a propensity to engage in, or intends to engage in homosexual acts.”

    That is the “Don’t tell” clause.

    “(e) Rule of Construction.— Nothing in subsection (b) shall be construed to require that a member of the armed forces be processed for separation from the armed forces when a determination is made in accordance with regulations prescribed by the Secretary of Defense that—
    (1) the member engaged in conduct or made statements for the purpose of avoiding or terminating military service; and
    (2) separation of the member would not be in the best interest of the armed forces.”

    This gives the military the right to deny discharge. It is NOT mandatory unless you want it to be. That is simply a fact.

    Read the entire section of US Code that applies http://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/html/uscode10/usc_sec_10_00000654—-000-.html and you will see that the rules are there for a reason. You want everything to be “fair”, and while that is somewhat expected in the civilian world, it is not even an option in the military.

    In order to change this one little rule, we must change the way the military functions. Not as a military unit, but as a civilian branch with guns. That is not the reason the Military exists and social experiments are dangerous.

    If actions like adultery and sodomy are legal for regular civilians, why are they illegal in the military? Because the military is special. The 1974 decision Parker v. Levy ( http://caselaw.lp.findlaw.com/cgi-bin/getcase.pl?court=us&vol=417&invol=733 ) established the military as a “specialized society” with different laws from civilian society—a notion even the founding fathers recognized when, in the Fifth Amendment, they exempted “the land or naval forces” from having to call a grand jury to indict people for capital or “otherwise infamous” crimes.

    I totally get that it is not fair, and submit that the overall conduct of the defense of the country supersedes the need for fairness. The necessity to maintain order in the military should prevail over a social behavior that is controversial at the very least and explosive in the military setting at worst. Without a proper military to defend us, these arguments become moot and the possibility that another country with beliefs like Iran – where there are no homosexuals – may prevail.

    Openly serving as straight falls under the category of “normal” behavior, while homosexual behavior is outside of the “norm”. Anything outside of normal behavior is individualism and is not compatible with unit cohesion. I will admit that this is wrong in a civilian setting. But it is necessary to quash anything outside of normal and uniform behavior.

    And acting as though this is a big problem is simply wrong. Last year, 85 people were discharged from the military involuntarily while 343 came forward themselves and acknowledged they were gay. I don’t know how many of the 85 were separated because they attempted to use force, I am sure some.

    This is simply not the problem it is being made out to be. You have fallen for the “thousands” of poor gays were tossed out an wanted to serve. 80% did it to themselves last year. How many of those do you think would be willing to go back in and finish their enlistment? Most got their schools completed and got out. My guess is zero would want to go back in.

    And just so you know my true feelings on this, a few years ago, one of my customers who was in the Navy was physically attacked on his ship just before it sailed and he spent a night in the hospital. This fellow was extremely in touch with his feminine side, and was obviously gay. But he wanted to serve. He was not sure what to do and came to me (I was his insurance agent) in tears. I called his congressman and the local press and every person involved was pulled off the ship and replaced, and faced court-martial. It made the papers and TV, you may have even heard the story. I helped get him a lawyer (JAG) and he won the case, his immediate commanding officer was given a less than honorable discharge and my friend was assigned to another ship and continued his career. I have not heard from him in a while, but he was having a great time last I heard.

    I think people need to look at this without emotion. Can gays serve honorably? Hell, yes! But they need to be a sailor, soldier or Marine, and not a gay soldier, sailor or Marine.

  13. Tom White says:

    As to repeal of Virginia laws on Life Insurance, I have a P&C license, not a L&H, but I don’t see assigning life insurance proceeds to someone not blood related as a gay or straight issue. If you buy a life insurance policy, what difference does the relationship of the beneficiary make? You can, I believe, set up a trust, or even a corporation, and have the proceeds paid to the trust. There are no laws as to who the trustee is, as far as relationship.

    With P&C insurance you must have insurable interest in the property. And if you are referring to the fact that I can’t take out a life insurance policy on you, for instance, I support such a law. If you were talking about your obtaining your own policy and naming me as a beneficiary, I am not aware that that is not legal. The owner of the policy should be able to name the person he or she wants. Sexual orientation should not matter in that case.

  14. Rick Sincere says:

    Being gay is no less normal than being straight. It’s a natural part of the human condition.

    As to life insurance:

    <>

    http://dcagenda.com/2010/01/virginia-lawmakers-to-consider-2-lgbt-bills/

    There would be no need for this proposed legislation unless it were currently illegal for gay partners to obtain life insurance policies for each other.

    Since Virginia forbids gay people from getting married within the Commonwealth, and Virginia will not recognize legally-contracted marriages by gay people from other states, gay couples are stuck with this outmoded law.

    Similarly, the Defense of Marriage Act forbids the federal government from recognizing gay marriages for federal purposes. Surviving gay partners do not qualify for Social Security benefits when their spouses die, for instance. Until DOMA is repealed, gay soldiers, sailors, airmen, and Marines cannot designate their partners as beneficiaries for pension or death benefits. Legally, those partners are strangers to each other, not next-of-kin.

  15. Rick Sincere says:

    The quoted material I wanted in that last comment disappeared. Let me try again:

    http://dcagenda.com/2010/01/virginia-lawmakers-to-consider-2-lgbt-bills/

    The lobby group’s second priority this year is a group life insurance bill that would allow insurers and employers to mutually agree upon any group of people they’re willing to insure.
    “Virginia is quirky in having the Dillon Rule,” Blair said. “Right now insurers want to provide life insurance to Virginians and employers want to provide life insurance to Virginians, but they do not have express permission from the state. Until they have permission from the state, they are not able to do that because the Dillon Rule prevents that.”

    Virginia is the last state to have kept the court-authored law dating back to the 1860s, which limited the powers of municipal corporations to only those granted by state legislatures or where the state has not defined its own powers in that area. Local government entities are just some of the employers that have sought to provide life insurance to domestic partners, but were thwarted by state law.

    “Employees want it, employers want it, and insurers want it, and all we need is the General Assembly to bless it,” Blair said. “We’re not just talking about GLBT people here. Any person who has an otherwise qualified adult in their household who they want to provide insurance to, including straight couples.

    “I’m the perfect example. I’m straight and engaged. Until my fiancé and I are married, I can’t provide life insurance to her. If you don’t think that impacts where she chooses to work, you’re crazy.”

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Nothing is more conservative than a republican wanting to get their majority back. And nothing is more liberal than a republican WITH a majority.

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