Tuesday, December 04, 2007

Don't Ask, Don't Tell

During last week's Republican debate, the issue of gays in the military was raised. (Watch the youtube clip by clicking on the title above) The responses given by the Republicans are not all that surprising. I think that the Republican candidates are being shortsighted and close-minded. They argue that openly homosexual soldiers have a negative impact on unit cohesion. It very well might negatively impact unit cohesion to some degree. However, the truth is that we do not know what the net impact would be on unit cohesion, on the military in general, and on Americans' support for and outlook on the military -- that is, considering all the positive effects and the negative effects, on balancing the impact (maybe not on day #1 of a new policy) will yield a net positive gain. Indeed, support for homosexuality in America is growing, and this support should be reflected in the country's military policy. It is only a matter of time until the US military changes its stance on "don't ask, don't tell." It will change, and the military will be better and the country safer because of this change. One could question whether that time should be now. I believe that the sooner, the better.

The military is indeed a changing institution; it strives for change, for improvement, everyday. The military has evolved with technological developments and has adapted to social developments over the course of the country's history.

My question to everyone else: Much is spoken about the negative impact of allowing openly homosexual people serve in the military. What is the negative impact of NOT allowing openly homosexual people serve in the military. The answer to this question is key to arguing successfully against the Republican candidates.

5 comments:

rugbyplayr said...

This argument about affecting cohesion has been used to justify why women cannot be place in combat units. I think it is absurd to think that in the 21st century there are still people who believe that homosexuals men are incapable of working closely with other men lest they develop a sexual attraction! Furthermore in the argument against women being allowed to fight, the same argument was made about allowing women in th workplace. There was a belief that productivity will be reduced. This obviously didn't happen, but in order to show that it didn't someone had to take the leap and allow women in. The only way myths about open homosexuality and women in the military will be dispelled is if efforts are made to allow these things to occur.

yrjb11 said...

Many Americans love to keep their traditions going which can be recognized through traditions such as male supremacy and slavery. However, the U.S. is also a nation recognized for its freedom, equality and revoking his institutions that violate human rights. This can be seen through the civil rights movement as African Americans and women were granted equal citizenship. However, the topic of sexual orientation is a matter that surprisingly has not been resolved to the ideal level. Not allowing openly homosexual persons serve in the military harms the improvements the country is trying to make toward equality. Cutting off counseling and other services and leaving homosexuals susceptible to harassment is moving the country in the wrong direction in terms of human rights. If someone is a U.S. citizen and is interested in protecting their country by joining the military, the country should protect them and their rights.

Abby said...

Denying homosexuals the right to equal opportunity in the military is absolutely absurd. The issue is often not even related to homosexuals themselves, but rather heterosexual soldiers. People are afraid of change. Homosexuality is something unfamiliar to many people, and as a result, it becomes something frightening.
The concern that involvement of homosexuals in the military would destroy military cohesion and soldier morale is completely unfounded. Canada dropped the ban of involvement of homosexuals in the military in 1992. Initially, there had been a heated debate over the issue. However, the military did not suffer from the removal of discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation. There was no horrible destruction in regards to military cohesion or morale.

People object to the integration of heterosexual and homosexual soldiers purely on the basis of prejudice. There is no factual evidence that allowing homosexuals into the military would create problems. People simply fear what is unfamiliar. As the times change, so must our decisions. Banning people who are openly gay from the military would be denying an entire group of American citizens their human rights and is preventing a national moral progression from occurring.

Hopefully, in the near future, we will look back on this debate and see it how many today see the issue of exclusion on the basis of race or gender, because how is exclusion and discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation any less abominable? Hopefully, we will look back at this debate and think ‘how ridiculous,’ ‘how horrible,’ ‘how utterly inhumane.’

Ennis Fonder said...

I personally think that being a open homosexual in the army is not a bad thing considering that those who are in denial are more likely to give into their urges and commit an act of sexual assault than those who have accepted who they are and are open about it. Either way it is going to be a debate that is likely not going to end for a while.

Kat said...

In today's society, and one of the world's most powerful, most cutting edge nations, we are so old-fashioned in our ways of thinking about relationships and attractions. As Abby commented above, Canada dropped their ban on homosexuals in 1992, 15 years ago! A clear negative effect of not letting gays in the military is the violation of freedom. Also, if we want the problem to endlessly continue and be debated about, then we should keep our ultra conservative stance.