Don'T Ask, Don'T Tell

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Don't ask, don't tell


Don't ask, don't tell (DADT) is the common term for the policy banning gays and lesbians from serving openly in the U.S. military, as mandated by federal law Pub.L. 103-160 (10 U.S.C. § 654). Unless one of the exceptions from 10 U.S.C. § 654(b) applies(Shilts 112), the policy prohibits anyone who "demonstrate(s) a propensity or intent to engage in homosexual acts" from serving in the armed forces of the United States, because "it would create an unacceptable risk to the high standards of morale, good order and discipline, and unit cohesion that are the essence of military capability." (Bérubé 89-92) The act prohibits any homosexual or bisexual person from disclosing his or her sexual orientation or from speaking about any homosexual relationships, including marriages or other familial attributes, while serving in the United States armed forces. The "don't ask" part of the policy indicates that superiors should not initiate investigation of a service member's orientation in the absence of disallowed behaviors, though mere suspicion of homosexual behavior can cause an investigation(Jones 1-26). DADT has resulted in the discharge of more than 13,000 patriotic and highly qualified men and women since its enactment more than 16 years ago. At least 1,000 of these 13,000 have held “critical occupations,” such as interpreters and engineers. Moreover, approximately 4,000 service members leave the service voluntarily per year because of this policy(Bumiller 5).

For example, by the end of fiscal year 2003, a few months after the fall of Baghdad, the military had forced out more than 320 service members with vital language skills such as Arabic and Farsi. These are the very critical specialties in which the military con- tinues to face personnel shortfalls. Meanwhile, the Army and Marine Corps have been forced to significantly lower their moral and aptitude standards in order to overcome recruitment shortfalls. Perhaps most troubling is the fact that the military has at the same time granted so-called “moral waivers” to thousands of new recruits, including people with felony convictions(Clark 4).

Don't Ask, Don't Tell must be abolished

Sexual orientation has no bearing on a person's ability to serve in the military. What the U.S. military and America need are the best and the brightest soldiers and "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" is currently limiting our nation's skilled service members. In fact, denying enlistment to patriotic Americans and terminating serving members based on sexual orientation threatens military readiness and national security while simultaneously putting American soldiers fighting overseas at risk! "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" is a failed and antiquated policy. (Stout 360)

There are no legitimate reasons why homosexuals should not have the same rights as heterosexuals. Our country disgraces itself when it "[...] accepts homosexuality as a sufficient cause for deprivation of normal civil rights [...]"(Bumiller 5). If a homosexual is United States citizen, they should receive the same rights as all other citizens, regardless of their sexual orientation. Gay men and lesbians deserve the right to marry, to not be discriminated against, and to be in the ...
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