When Whittaker Chambers left the Communist Party and joined freedom’s cause he said, “I am going from the winning side to the losing side.” That’s a neat way of patting yourself on the back for standing by your views despite the prevailing winds. And that’s the way I feel now about “don’t ask, don’t tell.”
I think allowing gays to serve openly in the military is a terrible mistake. The American government says I’m wrong. History hasn’t yet said much. What little it has said favors my side.
Let’s examine the major arguments against “don’t ask, don’t tell.”
If a homosexual wants to serve his country, he shouldn’t have to live a lie to do so.
That’s not without its poetic value, but it’s bankrupt. You’re not “living a lie” if you keep your sexual proclivities to yourself. And if ” living the truth” destroys the cohesion of an American military unit, it becomes less than “a service to the country.”
Recent Pentagon surveys prove the wicked witch of homophobia is dead, and our new, mature, progressive America is now ready for this inevitable change.
The comic earned my laugh when he told about a survey that showed 78 percent of respondents were confused about American foreign policy. “And that was really interesting,” the comic added, “because the survey was taken in the cafeteria of the State Department!” This much-spotlighted “Pentagon survey” is that same joke inside-out. They all have the same boss at the Pentagon; he’s called the commander in chief. Those being surveyed understand how bullets can kill people and honest answers can kill careers.
Many Americans warned us it was the end when President Harry Truman ended racial segregation in America’s military by executive order in 1948. Those same types are the ones railing against gays serving openly today. Racial desegregation worked out smoothly. So will gays serving openly.
Actually, that’s one of their most convincing points; but it, too, is worthless. They’re asking us to compare condition with behavior. Being of a different race is a condition. There never was a rational reason to keep black Americans from serving with whites. Interesting paradox! All through history, heterosexual male soldiers have chased skirts and bedded them down, willingly or otherwise. In the military today, sexual activity between men and women is off the charts. Try to get the honest pregnancy figures from any branch of the military. In the military, sexuality tends to assert itself. Yet you will be jeered off the stage if you hold up the possibility of homosexual misbehavior in the military. Political correctness, you see, teaches us that straight people are the ones who get naked and crawl all over each other. Homosexuals, you see, will be circumspect. What if gays in the military are no better at curbing their urges than straights? Don’t ask the Pentagon; ask real troops.
The Dutch, the Danes, the Norwegians, all our civilized democratic allies have long accepted open gays in uniform.
Those civilized Western Europeans indeed allow gays to serve openly, but those militaries are almost totally untested in combat. A cobweb is as good as a cable when there’s no strain upon it. And the only test so far of such a military turned into the biggest European military disaster since World War II. The Dutch force assigned to protect the Bosnian Muslims in Srebrenica in 1995 simply did not perform. The vengeful Serbs swarmed in and massacred over 7,000 Muslims. There is much blame, shame and trauma in Holland over this disaster.
Former Marine General and NATO Commander John Sheehan told a Senate committee flat-out that the Dutch failure was the result of their open-gay policy. He says he was told that by a former chief of staff of the Dutch Army.
Let’s introduce a surprise element into this debate: fairness! I don’t believe the failure of the Dutch to lift a rifle at Srebrenica was the fault of the presence of openly gay Dutch troops. There was too much else: the unionization of the Dutch military, insufficient troop strength, a collapse of the CULTURE of a fighting force fit to fight. But, yes, the admission of openly gay troops was a significant contributor to the collapse of that once-fierce Dutch fighting tradition. The Dutch didn’t control Indonesia for four centuries with tulips, windmills and wooden shoes.
The British Navy suffered a similar cultural collapse when a boatload of British sailors was captured without a fight by Iranian sailors in 2007.
I’m not a homophobe. I’m a pragmatist. A pragmatist is one who believes the “Do Not Disturb” signs ought to be in the language of the hotel maids.
Oh, how we laughed at the “pacifist” culture of the Italian army in World War II. We mocked the Italian general telling his troops, “Don’t surrender, unless they attack!”
The laughter ends when that military culture overtakes your own country in time of danger.