Now that Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell (DADT) has been relegated to the history books, I can only imagine what’s going on in some people’s minds. It’s easy to say that gays in the military interfere with unit cohesion and provide a distraction from the mission. It’s easy, but it’s wrong. After all, there have been plenty of gays in the military under DADT.
I’m a veteran. I served with some guys who were gay. They didn’t broadcast it, but it was understood that they were. I know there were plenty of others that I never met. I suspect there are some who have given their life in Iraq and/or Afghanistan. When it comes right down to it, I never gave a rat’s tushie who my fellow sailor chose to be involved with so long as he got the job done.
I think much of the discussion regarding gays hinges on whether it truly is a choice, or whether it’s something that happens outside of the individual’s control. Personally, I find it difficult to believe that someone would choose a lifestyle that would open them up to potentially being cut off from family and friends while simultaneously making them a target for violence. Let’s face it, folks: it ain’t Disneyland out there.
So, for the sake of argument, let’s assume that it’s not a choice. Now that we’ve covered that, what grounds do we have to keep gays out? None. They can physically and mentally accomplish the mission, and that’s the only criteria that should be used.
After all, they’ve been accomplishing the mission for quite a while now. Gay soldiers and sailors have probably been in the United States Armed Forces for as long as there have been United States Armed Forces. They fought anywhere they were needed and are the reason that British left town twice, the Spanish left Cuba, the reason the Nazis didn’t conquer the world, and so on. They’ve always been there.
The repeal of DADT doesn’t change them serving. Now it just permits them to not hide that part of their life from those who they must be close to. Will there be some growing pains? Probably, but the result will probably be worth it. Besides, we need these brave men and women as much today as any other point in human history.
Now we can focus on more important things, like whatever idiotic thing Paris Hilton said this week.