Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Don’t Ask - Don’t Tell

Don’t Ask - Don’t Tell
Kevin Bryant

I write this knowing full well that there are some of you out there that will totally disagree with me and I will likely take some heat over my opinion.

The military policy of Don’t Ask – Don’t Tell has been debated for years. Since the 1940’s, the military has always been the one place government turns to implement new social and scientific experiments. Vaccines are always being force on those who serve in uniform before many of them are available to the general public. Unlike the general public, the men and women in uniform can’t just say no to getting a shot or swallowing a pill. Socially, the military was made to be the perfect example of political correctness in action. If someone in uniform resist, they are lucky if all they receive are a Captain’s Mast / Article 15 hearing and they will be found guilty as charged for disobeying a direct order. The usual punishment for this is 45 days restriction to ship or base, 45 days of having to work extra hours doing some of the nastiest jobs that need to be done, lose one rank and lose half of your month’s salary for a period of two months. Further refusal could result in being discharged from service with an Other Than Honorable discharge. In this circumstance, the former service member is not entitled to any or limited benefits they would otherwise had received.

Unlike their civilian counterparts, soldiers and sailors must obey the orders given them regardless if they agree with them or not. If an order is given, Commanding Officers will see to it that the orders are followed without obstruction because they have no choice. Don’t Ask - Don’t Tell is a manageable order for a Commanding Officer to implement and enforce. Sometimes it does cause conflicts with other orders such as, any person in uniform who sees another member of the armed forces violate an order, is required to report that violation of they too are in violation of obeying a direct order and subject to punishment. I had gay and lesbian friends in the military and on a few occasions I witnessed certain acts that were in violation of the ban on open display of gay and lesbian behavior. Did I ever report those individuals, no I did not. But had it been in a setting witnessed by the general public, I would have, as required by military orders.

The military, though large by normal standards is really a bunch of small organizations controlled by a larger one. The Unit Commanding Officers have a precise number of personnel and can not afford to give up bodies because it hurts military readiness and handicaps the unit’s mission. As the military is now, husband and wives can serve in only a few places jointly. In the navy specifically, no husband and wife can be assigned to the same ship. In the Army and Marines, no married couple may be assigned to the same combat ready unit.

If Don’t Ask – Don’t Tell were lifted, any gay or lesbian couple would be subject to the same practices and restrictions as male/female couples are when in a relationship. No couple dating may be in the same overall unit without permission from the Commanding Officer. Commanding Officers are “encouraged” to ensure that no two members who are in a relationship with one another serve in the same division within the command. By the word “encouraged” it is meant that they WILL ensure that it happens but it would be unlawful to specifically tell them to act in a particular manner.

Commanding Officers are already handicapped by numbers. They a limited amount of personnel. They have limited space and that space has to be split between male and female sleeping and showering areas. If a male / female couple has an argument and ends the relationship, it is difficult, but not impossible to keep them apart if the relationship ended badly. If Don’t Ask – Don’t Tell were lifted, and a male/male or female/female couple were to end their relationship badly, if would be impossible to keep the members separated and would cause disruption within the unit and lower moral. If a Commanding Officer were to ship one of the members off to another unit, that CO would not get a replacement for the person until such time he or she was originally scheduled to rotate to another unit. Even as little as two of these incidents were to happen within a unit, the unit could be crippled to the point that combat readiness and unit safety could be jeopardized.

In the eyes of some, Don’t Ask – Don’t Tell is a violation of constitutional rights. Since our military is an all-voluntary entity, when you enlist, you are voluntarily suspending your constitutional rights for the duration that you serve in the military already. You have no choice but to follow the directives the military has in place. Lifting Don’t Ask – Don’t Tell is inviting trouble into a unit at best and at worst, allowing for the possibility of needless deaths of up to several hundreds to be ever present. This policy is in place for a reason needs to remain in place. The subject of gays and lesbians serving in the military has been tampered with and watered down enough. Not this time nor any time in the in this decade is the time to experiment with watering it down further.


Jack Hansen said...

Yes, you may get a lot of crank emails from people that disagree with you, BUT NOT from me. The military is not the place to show ones "gayness". They go into the voluntary US military to defend their country, and I could care less whether they are gay or not. BUT if they are entering the military to show their gayness, they are entering for the wrong reasons. Frankly, I was against don't ask, don't tell in the first place. People of different sexual orientation from males should not be mixed together. I was against bringing women into the military, and I was right. They just get into a relationship, get pregnant, and the whole unit suffers. Of course, there are exceptions, but far to many women are going into the military and end up pregnant, and that is NOT the reason they should be entering, to get into relationships - it screws with the units cohesiveness. So this guy agrees with you completely.


barb p said...

What Kevin is saying does make sense...