Tuesday, January 2, 2007

In the Navy! Among democratic military powers, the United States is alone in banning openly gay men and women from serving in the military. But the new Democratic Congress is set to take up a repeal of the Clinton-era "don't ask-don't tell" policy, and with President Bush looking to add a lot more troops to Iraq, that would be a cheap and easy way to get a few thousand more soldiers. Repealing might just happen, in other words. Retired Gen. John Shalikashvili, former chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff in the Clinton administration, makes the case in the New York Times op-ed pages today (TimesSelect):

When I was chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, I supported the current policy because I believed that implementing a change in the rules at that time would have been too burdensome for our troops and commanders. I still believe that to have been true. The concern among many in the military was that given the longstanding view that homosexuality was incompatible with service, letting people who were openly gay serve would lower morale, harm recruitment and undermine unit cohesion.


I now believe that if gay men and lesbians served openly in the United States military, they would not undermine the efficacy of the armed forces. Our military has been stretched thin by our deployments in the Middle East, and we must welcome the service of any American who is willing and able to do the job.


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