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Repealing 'Don't Ask, Don't Tell' Could Have Drastic Consequences

Monday, 14 June 2010 12:10 PM Current | Bio | Archive

As early as this week, the United States Senate may turn to the annual legislation known as "The National Defense Authorization Act" (NDAA) that is supposed to provide the Pentagon what it needs to defend our nation.

Unfortunately, thanks to an amendment added in the Senate Armed Services Committee that would impose the homosexual agenda on the U.S. military, a more appropriate title for this bill would be "the-bring-back-the-draft act."

Mind you, none of the bill's sponsors would want it given such a descriptor. Nor are they likely to own up to the reality that their effort to repeal the present statutory prohibition on avowed homosexuals serving in uniform (popularly, though incorrectly, known as "don't ask, don't tell") will have the effect of destroying the highly successful all volunteer force.

Yet, that is, nonetheless, the professional judgment of over 1,160 retired senior military officers who joined together earlier this year to warn President Obama and the Congress of this danger.

Specifically, these distinguished officers who included among their ranks two former chairmen of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, several service chiefs, a number of combatant command, theater, and other major U.S. and allied force commanders and two Medal of Honor recipients wrote:

Our past experience as military leaders leads us to be greatly concerned about the impact of repeal [of the law] on morale, discipline, unit cohesion and overall military readiness.

We believe that imposing this burden on our men and women in uniform would undermine recruiting and retention, impact leadership at all levels, have adverse effects on the willingness of parents who lend their sons and daughters to military service, and eventually break the All-Volunteer Force.

Such a grim assessment has been informed by, among other data, the results of a poll of serving military personnel (as opposed to civilians) conducted by the Military Times.

It found that roughly 10 percent of those currently in uniform would leave the armed forces if the proponents of the amendment to the NDAA succeed in repealing the current law. The pollsters reported that another 15 percent would actively consider doing so.

Interestingly, a front-page article in Sunday's Washington Post provides a flavor of how problematic such arrangements would be in practice. Entitled "In Limbo Over ‘Don't Ask, Don't Tell,'" the news item was transparently designed to promote the inevitability of repeal, and to tout the accommodations already being made by the armed forces to the anticipated post-repeal order of things.

Still, the article could not avoid the reality that there will be serious issues involving conduct, discipline, spousal benefits, housing arrangements and the ability of military chaplains to practice and minister their respective faiths.

These are precisely the sorts of problems an internal Pentagon review has been given until December to assess.

But legislators more interested in appeasing homosexual activists than understanding the damage to the armed forces are insisting that the current prohibition be repealed now.

In order to secure sufficient votes for passage, they adopted a cynical gambit: The repeal would only go into effect after the Pentagon's study is done and three officials (all of whom have already made up their mind, namely, President Obama, Defense Secretary Robert Gates and JCS Chairman Mike Mullen) give the go-ahead.

The House of Representatives has already approved such a rigged game, voting recently to strike the existing law over the bipartisan objections of its Armed Services Committee and the four serving chiefs of the Army, Navy, Air Force and Marines.

As a practical matter, the result will likely be a hemorrhage of talent from the military.

The only alternative would be to reinstitute conscription, better known and reviled as "the draft."

We will all pay the price of such irresponsible breakage of the all-volunteer force.

Frank J. Gaffney, Jr. is president of the Center for Security Policy, a columnist for the Washington Times and host of the syndicated program "Secure Freedom Radio" heard in Washington on WTNT 570 AM at 9:00 p.m. weeknights.

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As early as this week, the United States Senate may turn to the annual legislation known as The National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) that is supposed to provide the Pentagon what it needs to defend our nation. Unfortunately, thanks to an amendment added in the...
Monday, 14 June 2010 12:10 PM
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