Sunday, September 16, 2012


From the AP via the Huffington Post:

Don't Ask Don't Tell: Furor Fades A Year After Military's Gay Ban Lifted

The Pentagon says repeal has gone smoothly, with no adverse effect on morale, recruitment or readiness. President Barack Obama cites it as a signature achievement of his first term, and his Republican challenger, Mitt Romney, says he would not push to reverse the change if elected in place of Obama.

Some critics persist with complaints that repeal has infringed on service members whose religious faiths condemn homosexuality. Instances of anti-gay harassment have not ended. And activists are frustrated that gay and lesbian military families don't yet enjoy the benefits and services extended to other military families.

Yet the clear consensus is that repeal has produced far more joy and relief than dismay and indignation.


The reasons, said Pentagon spokeswoman Eileen Lainez, include comprehensive pre-repeal training, vigorous monitoring and enforcement of standards, and service members' "adherence to core values that include discipline and respect."

More here.

Clearly, allowing gays to serve openly in the military did not cause the world to end. It did not in any way lower the effectiveness of our troops--indeed, as the article observes, quite the opposite, morale seems to have improved. And it all comes as no surprise to me. When this debate first began, back in 1993 when President Clinton first tried to end the ban on gays in the military, it was clear that the military could pull this off, even if society wasn't ready for it, whatever that meant.

The military is hierarchical and authoritarian, the perfect organizational and cultural situation for rapid and efficient change. President Truman, doing what Clinton should have done but didn't, totally bypassed Congress with an executive order ending racial segregation in the military back in 1948, several years before the Civil Rights movement really got going. That is, the Commander-in-Chief simply dictated that the military will integrate, even though society wasn't "ready," and the military integrated. Just like that. Because they were ordered to do so--I mean, it's a bit more complicated than I'm saying here, but that's essentially the gist.

So gays-in-the-military has always been simply a command issue, nothing more. "Unit cohesion" was always a bullshit argument. "Gay panic," discomfort in the showers, "religious freedom," and on and on, all of it just stupid bullshit. Gays and lesbians have now been serving openly in the military for a year. And all of the disaster fantasy scenarios used by homophobic conservatives for a couple of decades to keep it from happening have remained in the realm of fantasy, as expected.

This is all a good thing.