On Tuesday, the Center for Military Readiness unveiled a petition of 1,000 retired flag officers, who are warning President Obama to oppose repeal of the discriminatory "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" law.
The signers of this sad petition are mired in the fears and politics of the past. More than 75 percent of the American public, including most younger service members as well as many active duty flag officers, realize the question is not if "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" is repealed but when and how. We hope President Obama will take advantage of his first real opportunity, coming in May during the defense budget process, to stand firm in his campaign commitment of getting rid of "Don't Ask, Don't Tell."
As for the petition's claim on unit cohesion, there is no evidence, data, or research supporting the claim that gays and lesbians serving openly disrupts unit cohesion. Actually, many are already serving openly, without incident. And the serious studies on the subject show unit cohesion actually improves. Brandon Friedman further underscores the absurdity of the petition in today's blog post on VetVoice.com, a project of VoteVets.org.
We deeply appreciate the service of these retired officers but what they are expressing here is irrational fear. Unfortunately, some invariably have a hard time understanding that times have changed -- and so have people.
No doubt in 1948 hundreds of flag officers opposed President Truman's Executive Order to end racial segregation in the ranks. Their insistence on calling for continued discrimination wasn't valid or right, nor did it make for a stronger military. Likewise, today, for these retired flag officers to call for official and continued discrimination in the ranks will hardly make our country and our military stronger.
We should be ashamed that 26 nations permit open service and manage it successfully, while the United States, a beacon of democracy and with one of the strongest militaries in the world, lags behind.
To learn more about the petition, click here. You can also read a letter illustrating how the Center for Military Readiness has engineered this shameful ploy. Let us know what you think.
03-31-09 By Aubrey Sarvis, SLDN Executive Director |