And maybe having gays in the military isn't a bad thing. Perhaps the Manhattan Project would have gone much quicker had they had Tim Gunn around to tell them to "make it work!" And yes, there have been gay and lesbian soldiers who have already served their country with honor and distinction.
But at the same time, it matters who is making those decisions. I'm a civilian. I've never seen combat, and probably never will. I, or anyone else who's never served, is not exactly in a position to make policy for the military. We ask our soldier, sailors, Marines, and airmen to fight for our country, and often ask them to make incredible sacrifices. Yes, we can argue that there's no reason why gays shouldn't serve openly in the military. But we don't have to live with the effects of that policy.
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The original "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" policy was a compromise, and there is wisdom in compromises. The fact remains that servicemembers do believe that having homosexuals in the service impacts their morale and their ability to fight. And for the military, it's not about "diversity" or "inclusiveness" or any of the rest of the P.C. B.S. that we in the civilian world care so deeply about. It's about the ability to fight and win, no matter where in the world and no matter the odds. That's why the people who are actually doing the fighting should have the biggest say in what happens. Should we be kicking out military translators serving in Washington D.C. because they're gay? That doesn't exactly seem like a productive use of resources. But at the same time, do we really want romantic attachments getting in the way of the operations of a nuclear submarine? That seems problematic at best. If what we're trying to do is enforce a one-size-fits-all solution, forget it.
That's why we shouldn't look for one. If we're going to get rid of "Don't Ask, Don't Tell," we should at least replace it with a policy that recognizes all sides of the issue. And better yet, we shouldn't let gays in the military become a political football in the first place. We should recognize that it's the soldiers, sailors, Marines, and airmen that have to deal with whatever policies we put in place. Have we ever thought to actually listen to what they have to say?
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Are you worried romance will get in the way of effective military strategy?