Don't Ask, Don't Tell in the Military Service

Twenty-eight Retired Generals and Adminrals Advocate Rescinding the 'Don't ask, don't tell' policy

In Wednesday's YouTube debate not one of the GOP candidates endorsed the position advocated by the gay, retired general who asked whether they supported rescinding the 'don't ask, don't tell' compromise policy adopted during the Clinton administration. Each of the candidates declined to support rescinding the policy, echoing Colin Powell's position that allowing gays and lesbians to serve openly in the armed services would "damage unit cohesion." One of the candidates said he supported that because a large number of servicemen and women come from the South where opposition to homosexuality is strong. The general who posed the YouTube question was in the audience at the debate and made a moving argument that the men and women in the armed services are ready to serve along side openly gay and lesbian servicemen and women. However, he found no support among the GOP contenders.

Meanhwile, 28 retired generals and admirals are submitting a letter today, November 30, advocating that Congress rescind the 'don't ask, don't tell' policy. Their letter says "We respectfully urge Congress to repeal the 'don't ask, don't tell' policy. Those of us signing this letter have dedicated our lives to defending the righrts of our citizens to believe whatever they wish."

The retired officers offer data showing the 65,000 gay men and lesbians now serve in the American armed forces and that ehere are more than one million gay veterans. "They have served our nation honorably," the letter states.

The generals and admirals' letter echos the position taken last January by for mer Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, General John Shalikashvili advocating that the policy be rescinded. General Shalikashvili took the position that with proper leadership the men and women in the armed services are ready to serve with openly gay and lesbian servicemen and women without impariment of the military's mission.

According to the New York Times article on the retired officers' inititative, "At a debate in June, all of the Democratic candidates said they faovred rescinding the policy.

Meanwhile CNN is under criticism for not discovering before using the YouTube question that the retired general, Keith H. Kerr, is listed as a member of Hillary Clinton's advisory committee. Debate moderator, Anderson Cooper said "It's something we should follow up on, because certainly, I had not heard that" Kerr is an advisor to the Clinton campaign. "If so, that should have been, certainly, disclosed, and we would have disclosed that."

John McCain said that General Kerr's identity should have been made clear. "But I am glad the issue came up. It continutes to be an issue of discussion."

Feel free to express your opinion on the issue in the comment box below.

Retired General's YouTube Debate Question

Every GOP Candidate Opposes Rescinding Don't Ask, Don't Tell

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Comments 12 comments

barranca profile image

barranca 8 years ago

The whole world can go to hell but America will be alright if gays can't marry or serve openly in the military.  This seems to be the position of the Republican party.  


MrMarmalade profile image

MrMarmalade 8 years ago from Sydney

OH WHAT A PITY


Ralph Deeds profile image

Ralph Deeds 8 years ago Author

Doesn't anybody out there think the policy is a good one? I was hoping to get an argument started. Where's "wrench" when we need her?!


Ralph Deeds profile image

Ralph Deeds 8 years ago Author

The opponents of allowing gays to serve openly in the military say it would disrupt unit cohesion and impair the military mission. One of the GOP candidates commented in support of this that there are a lot of southerners in the military who would resent serving with openly gay soldiers in their unit. Aside from the fact that it appears to me (and to General Shalikashvili, former Chairman of the Joint Chiefs) that this exaggerates the prejudices of armed servicement and women, in effect, insulting them by saying that the armed services are filled with intolerant, ignorant men and women who would revolt against having an openly gay person in their unit. I don't believe that is true. Nevertheless, even if it were true, the argument amounts to saying that, in contrast to most other occupations, our servicemen and women are so prejudiced against gays and lesbians that we are unable to provide equal treatment regardless of sexual orientation. Imagine where we would be today if President Harry Truman had bought that specious argument and not issued his historic executive order integrating African Americans into the military service. But he didn't. He did the right thing. He isssued the 1945 order on the assumption that with proper leadership the military could be desegrated without allowing prejudices held by some soldiers to compromise the mission of the armed forces.

http://www.trumanlibrary.org/whistlestop/study_col...

One wonders where General Colin Powell would be today if Truman had not issued the executive order ending segregation in the armed forces and without the subsequent affirmative action programs adopted by the military from which his career clearly benefited. Yet, Genreal "get along-go along" couldn't bring himself to support President Clinton's proposal to allow gays and lesbians to serve openly in the military.


ericka 8 years ago

first off its not us gays and lesbians that will make the U.S look bad.. its you ignorant people.. this is Stupid.. we fight just like yall i think we should have the rite to serve our country and be able to be open about our sexuality..


Ralph Deeds profile image

Ralph Deeds 8 years ago Author

I agree 100 percent with you. Thanks for your comment.


jxb7076 profile image

jxb7076 7 years ago from United States of America

I was a Army Drill Instructor for 13 years and quite frankly I found the gay soldiers to be much more motivated than others.  The only problem I had with the gay population was when they brought attention to themselves with intent to change regulation and policies.  If I as a black male walked into a room of whites, mexicans, asians, or whater and participated in whatever their purpose was (within reasons) I would wager that no one would care about my race.  However, If I raised my hand and brought attention to my race and demanded policy changes to accomodate my culture then suddenly the room is aware that I am black and I invite certain reactions.  Now, if my requests are reasonable the group may accomodate them.

My suggestion to the gay community: If you want people to be aware of your sexual orientation so be it, you are within your rihts to do so, just don't expect preferential treatment.  It is not recommended that heterosexual couples sleep together or show love and affection in the workplace.  The policy applies to gays as well so don't think its discriminatory.  There is a reason for it.  The Military has thousands of regulations, policies which guide the conduct of every soldier.

To answer your question specifically, in my opinion the don't ask, don't tell policy never worked.  Let people be who they want to be and if they violate a regulation or policy in the process then they should be prosecuted in accordance to the dicisplanary guidlines pertaining to the regulation.  If someone attacked a person because of their sexual, religious, or political preference then they should be punished.  We overcame the race and the women issue in the military.  Surely we can deal with the homosexual issue.  All people need to do is relax and take it easy.

So far as I was concerned as a Drill Instructor, I could care less what a soldiers sexual preference was as long as they followed the rules and did their jobs.  


Ralph Deeds profile image

Ralph Deeds 7 years ago Author

Good, practical comment from somebody with experience. I don't recall it being an issue when i was in the Army Reserves 1958-66. I'm sure there were gays in our unit, but deep in the closet.


Ruben Rivera profile image

Ruben Rivera 7 years ago from Colorado, US

I am in the military. 12 years active duty. I know there will be problems if gays are openly accepted. It's not that service members are ignorant or prejudiced but when you have the majority of the force in the late tens early twentys like in the Marines you know they will not be as accepting as those with more maturity and more experince. There are many things going on right now stressing out our services like deployments, PTSD, divorce, murder, gays in the military will create more issues we do not need right now, not to offend the gay community but I think it's just reality.


Ralph Deeds profile image

Ralph Deeds 7 years ago Author

Well, I'm sure you and your fellow marines will cooperate with whatever decision is reached on this. Back in 1945 or 46 the exact same arguments were used when Harry Truman issued his historic executive order integrating the all black units into the rest of the armed services. Many were saying there are so many southern whites in the Army that making them serve along side blacke will be very disruptive. Well, it didn't happen. Gays work in every office and factory in the U.S. without problem. Are you saying that Marines are more prejudiced against gays and lesbians than the rest of the population and more prejudiced than soldiers in the armies of UK, France, Germany and the rest of the civilized world? Deal with it. It's coming because it's the right thing to do.


OneWhiteSquare profile image

OneWhiteSquare 6 years ago from America

Great Hub! I served in the military for 13 years and could have cared less about what a service member did behind closed doors...It doesn't make their service any more or less important than my own.

Follow the rules according to the UCMJ and local military decorum and you'll be just fine. There have been murderers, rapists, child molesters, child porn internet surfers and a host of other "civilian" style crimes that are found within the military ranks, but being Gay is not a crime so why should the military view it as such? The military is a microcosm of the society as a whole.

. JXB7076 said it correctly about not requiring special treatment because of your sexual preference or you will draw all sorts of unwanted attention your way.


Ralph Deeds profile image

Ralph Deeds 6 years ago Author

Thanks for your comment. President Obama and most Democrats and a handful of Republicans are supporting the bill to repeal "Don't Ask, Don't Tell.

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