You would think the policy of Don’t Ask Don’t Tell was the biggest civil rights transgression since Jim Crow. When looking back at the history of the law and why it was implemented in the first place you get the feeling that no one has been paying attention while at the same time editorials and pundits take advantage of our collective ignorance.
In light of this one cannot escape the notion that Sen. Joe Lieberman used the issue to ingratiate himself with Democrats and liberals in time for the next election. The Hartford Courant editorial board is no doubt cognizant of this and made it a point, twice, to refute it:
His hard work on behalf of the fair treatment of gay and lesbian service members had nothing to do with crass political calculations.
He did it not because it would help him politically but because he believed in the cause.
What needs to be asked of the Courant is would it be necessary to defend Lieberman if the issue was, as they put it …a dark corner of the nation’s history..? If the policy was that egregious certainly there would be little reason to suspect Lieberman of political opportunism especially when the charge is no where to be found.
DADT has nothing to do with homosexuals serving in the military than it does for them to not serve “openly” in the military. Previous to the policy the military did not allow gays to serve and that was that. DADT said in affect, sure you can serve, but don’t let on about your private life and the military won’t ask.
However DADT wasn’t sufficient to a point of becoming a civil rights transgression of sorts because as time went by it became a fashionable part of pop-culture to identify ourselves by our sexual habits, or at least anything that was non-heterosexual.
Because the issue took on a civil rights/discrimination/tolerant hue it became frivolous to even ask what is the point of being “open” about our sexual preference? More important, what does this openness have to do with military service? Isn’t discretion a better part of valor, or has indiscretion trump all considerations including valor?
The point of military service is to serve ones own country sacrificing not only the comforts of being home with family and friends but to also risk the loss of life. The individual becomes subservient to a unit. James Bowman, writing in the New Criteria, makes the argument that the repeal of DADT turns this idea on its head:
For a man who has voluntarily joined the armed forces to serve his country, the number one answer ought to be a soldier of the United States Army, a sailor of the U.S. Navy or, similarly, an airman or a Marine. Those who would repeal DADT constantly talk of a right to be “Who I am” — i.e. gay — as if that not only were but had to be the number one answer for gay people. And then they proceed to argue that their being who they are will have no effect on unit cohesion! Merely putting that answer ahead of the one that should be ahead of it (and all others) is detrimental to unit cohesion; it emphasizes what divides those who insist on it from their fellow servicemen, not what unites them to them. It suggests a higher loyalty — a loyalty to self — than their loyalty to their country and their comrades, and it is itself the best reason not to repeal DADT.
Certainly there is more afoot here than a standard civil rights argument. No one can say that being a good soldier has anything to do with sexual preference and although it appears this is the point in repeal, it isn’t.