Another nail in the coffin of the military’s idiotic and unjust “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy:
Openly gay people should be allowed to serve in the US military, the country’s top commander has said.
Adm Mike Mullen told a Senate hearing into a ban on openly gay personnel that allowing them to serve was “the right thing to do”.
He said there were practical difficulties in repealing the so-called “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy, but that the military could handle it.
“No matter how I look at this issue, I cannot escape being troubled by the fact that we have in place a policy which forces young men and women to lie about who they are in order to defend their fellow citizens.”
He told the Senate Armed Services Committee the issue “comes down to integrity, theirs as individuals and ours as an institution”.
President Obama has repeatedly promised to do away with “don’t ask, don’t tell” and, despite making zero progress (or, frankly, zero attempts toward progress) on the issue in 2009, reaffirmed his commitment to repealing the law in his State of the Union address. A cynic might view the President’s sudden interest in ending the policy as a low-risk political ploy to regain some political capital, and one with few potential downsides for him personally — now that the Republicans have filibuster power in the Senate, they’re the ones that look like the bad guys if it fails and Obama gets all the credit if it passes.
Cynicism aside, however, one can only wish the President the best of luck on this particular issue. “Don’t ask, don’t tell” is stupid, it’s wrong, and it’s keeping some of our country’s most committed citizens and brightest analysts and linguists out of the ranks of the military. Whether it’s a calculated political move or not — and let’s face it, everything in Washington is a calculated political move — repealing “don’t ask, don’t tell” is in the best interests of the country and the right thing to do.