Secretary of Defense Robert Gates
Secretary of Defense Robert Gates

Thursday, March 25, the military policy known as ‘Don’t ask, don’t tell’ which was enacted in 1993 under president Bill Clinton to ‘integrate’ gays into the military, was altered. Only Congress can appeal ‘Don’t ask, don’t tell.’ If you think the new Health Care Legislation was contentious, just revisit gays in the military as a political hot bed of contempt.

“Don’t ask, don’t tell” is still the policy for gays in the military in the United States. However, yesterday Secretary of Defense Robert Gates announced the new rules that relax how a gay person serviing in the military would be eased out if their ‘openess’ became ‘open.’ Sounds like weasel words, doesn’t it?  I have never totally understood ‘Don’t ask, don’t tell.’ I think it says, its ok to be gay in the military but don’t let anyone find out or they will throw your ass out. Yea, any way you cut it, that’s what the policy says. Let’s take a look at what happened via Time Magazine:

Pentagon took a giant step toward integrating openly gay men and women into the U.S. military on Thursday. No, it didn’t repeal 1993’s “Don’t ask, don’t tell” law — only Congress can do that. But it did something that could be almost as important: it eased the enforcement of that law by loosening the regulations that have been used to snare 13,500 gays — and boot them out of uniform — since 1994. “These changes will allow us to execute the law in a fair and more appropriate manner,” Defense Secretary Robert Gates said. The revised regs “provide a greater measure of common sense and common decency to a process for handling what are difficult and complex issues for all involved.”

The new rules require a senior officer — a general or admiral — to approve the ouster of a serviceman or -woman for being gay. That’s at least one rank higher than earlier mandated, and is likely to cut down on the number of such cases. Hearsay will no longer be allowed, and statements about a military member’s sexual orientation will have to be given under oath. Furthermore, information given to lawyers, clergy or medical professionals — or in connection with domestic violence — can’t be used to oust someone.

History of gays in the military from Time Magazine

The next step of this process would be for Congress to make a law to repeal the ban on gays serviing in the military.  According to the

Unlike Canada and several other Western countries that permit openly gay soldiers to serve, the U.S. military forces homosexuals to conceal their sexual preference or face dismissal.

More than 13,000 men and women have been kicked out of the U.S. military – a group roughly the size of the Canadian army – since the “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy was created by former president Bill Clinton in 1993.

Many have fought in Iraq and Afghanistan, only to be dismissed for being gay.

The changes announced yesterday by Defence Secretary Robert Gates will make it much harder to bring frivolous and vengeful accusations against homosexuals. The changes amount to a stopgap until Congress determines whether to scrap the existing policy entirely.

As for “Don’t ask, don’t tell’ being totally overturned by Congress, I would bet on donkeys flying first.  Americans love to hate their gays.  Need proof?  One of the best ways to get out the vote in a hotly contested race is to put a marriage amendment on the ballot at election time.  Love the sinner, hate the sin by George, it gets out the vote.  Of course, that is often a one time flash in the pan. 

Notice the presence of Act-Up in the picture.  They are demonstrating outside a recruitment center in New York.  They will NEVER learn.  Act-up is known for its outlandish, stand out  behavior.  They have never quite grasped the idea that what helps gays the most is to somehow convey the idea that they are like everyone else–your next door neighbor, your cop on the beat, your Sunday school teacher.   Act UP does the exact opposite and misrepresents gays.  If I were a gay in the military, I would probably go to war with these clowns.

Members of Act -UP demonstrate against Dont Ask, Dont Tell  ...Time magazine
Members of Act -UP demonstrate against 'Dont Ask, Don't Tell' ...Time magazine

26 Thoughts to ““Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” Policy Relaxed”

  1. “Unlike Canada and several other Western countries that permit openly gay soldiers to serve, the U.S. military forces homosexuals to conceal their sexual preference or face dismissal.”

    God, we are so backwards in so many ways. Who cares who likes what so long as no one is forcing anything on anyone or messing around in public? Those rules apply to most people anyway, don’t they?

  2. Backward and proud of it I guess.

    I always felt that since there were gays in the military, defending our country, why ask people to be someone they aren’t. All the fox hole talk, you are in the foxhole with them anyway.

  3. DADT cannot be overturned without Congress removing or changing Article 125 of the United States Code of Military Justice. Sodomy is illegal in the military. Congress needs to change the law. Its never a good idea to have laws that cannot be enforced.

    Yes, yes, I know that straights do it too, but, gays and lesbians are limited to it. Commanders would be forced to turn a blind eye to it. As it stands, basically, no one worries about it unless someone is charged due to another crime, such as under age sex. 16 years is considered underage for the UCMJ. Remember, foreign countries have lower ages of consent.

    Now, personally, I don’t care about it. We’ve always had homosexuals in the military. And if the rules are changed, military members will cope. That “Can do” attitude will come to the fore. There, of course, will be problems. I think, probably because I lived under it, that it works fine.

    Only the Marine Corps Commandant had a decent objection. Would changing the rules enhance combat effectiveness?

    Because THAT is the only reason to do something in the military. Notice that I did not say that it would not enhance combat effectiveness nor did he.

    Women have been expanding in more and more roles in the military. The only positions not open to women have been direct combat roles and Submarines. Why? Because we have discovered that those positions are best served by either single sex units or the physical rigors of sustained combat.

    The close confines of Subs may not be appropriate for gays for the similar reasons that women are not allowed. However, I have heard rumors that the Navy leadership is thinking about allowing women to serve on subs. Personally, I think that it is a bad idea because of the logistics involved.

    I have a bigger objection to the removal of homosexuals from the ranks of civilian support. Many mid-eastern translators are gay. And they are removed. Idiocy.

    Much of the restriction is the vulnerability to blackmail that being gay entailed in the past years. Now, I think ending the restrictions would lessen that problem.

    Realize that DADT is not going away. Its just making it more complicated and harder to be discharged because of the revelations of homosexuality by a third party.

  4. How can homosexuality compromise combat? Are people really thinking about sex when the bombs are dropping?

  5. Censored bybvbl

    Cargosquid, do you notice a difference in how various age groups in the military relate to the issue of DADT? Is it more a non-issue for younger people?

  6. Happy Harry

    cargosquid :
    Yes, yes, I know that straights do it too, but, gays and lesbians are limited to it.

    Well, technically, it’s only limited to gay men since women don’t have the “parts” to complete the act 🙂

  7. Happy, technically they do, in the context of the UCMJ, orally…..but lets leave it there…

    Censored, don’t really know. We didn’t really sit around and talk about the issue. I think, in general, they don’t really care.

    Posting, think about the close confines on a ship or a tent, etc. Now, with knowledge that the person in the shower finds you attractive can be……offputting. The fact that he does is not the problem. It is the knowledge….. Picture this. Squad or Platoon of gay men or women with one straight……(farfetched, I know, go with it.) Bringing sex of any sort or for that matter sexual relationships into a unit, can damage cohesion. Sex causes problems.

    With DADT, all members must conform to one type. Sex is not allowed due to peer pressure and the UCMJ. Because the gay person cannot “tell”, the group is cohesive. All are the same. The question is, “is allowing gays the freedom to freely express themselves more harmful to unit cohesion than restricting that freedom.” Some straight people would be really disturbed knowing that the persons next to them want them sexually. And because you can only divide sleeping and bathing quarters by the sexes, there is no privacy from it.

    We had a gay man in my first unit. It wasn’t until he came out (was one of the first poster boys for DADT) and was discharged (I was long gone by then) that I realized that he had never had a roommate in the barracks. Ever. Apparently the boss had known and made allowances because he was otherwise a good sailor. But the sailor pushed it and the Navy was force to react as prescribed by law.

    We had another on my ship. I and many others knew he was bisexual. (He was married.) We didn’t care and after he transferred, everybody asked each other, “did you know……”. Everybody did. If the officers knew, they kept quiet.

    Compromise can be a good thing. There is no perfect answer for this.

  8. Al

    You know, Cargosquid, your comment “Some straight people would be really disturbed knowing that the persons next to them want them sexually” caused me to think a bit. That’s what our female soldiers, sailors, airmen and marines go through every day with their male brethren.

    I guess I’m inclined to hold all to the same standard (straight, gay, male, female) and focus on discharging the folks who don’t get it and harass others regardless of orientation. They are really the one’s that our military could do without.

    That’s a cultural change… it’s tough to do… but (IMHO) it’s the right thing to do. And you are right (IMHO), there’s no perfect answer for this.

    By the way, I’ll get around to sending you that email about target shooting. I’m traveling a bit.

  9. Oh Dear God…an expression has been made. Created before my very eyes:


    I know that is the smartest thing I have read today. Maybe this week or month. No, I am serious. Congratulations to Cargo for pointing out the all so obvious.

    I don’t care where you go…it does cause problems, either directly or indirectly. Look at the damn HCR…what was holding it up? abortion. What causes abortion? right back to where we started.

    Gays in the military. DADT (and I sure wish I had known that universal acronym when I was posting at 4 am) Sex causes problems.

    Cargosquid, you might just go down as the new Aristotle.

  10. Al

    When I was on my first (of many) tours, I was stationed on Okinawa. The top six troops out of training were assigned to a special unit there. We had a Private G A (in retrospect, I thought not to use his real name) in our group who was assigned to this unit. He was a really smart guy, a good soldier, and part of our crew.

    My job gave me “unusual access” to all kinds of intelligence including what was going on locally. I remember my surprise when I came across an MP report about G A being caught “In flagrante delicto” with another troop in a local hotel (that’s the term they used). He was found hanging in his barracks room the next morning. That left quite an impression on me. George was a good soldier. He was some one’s son, perhaps a brother. He was one of us in uniform who volunteered to serve his Country.

    (IMHO) It’s not about don’t ask or don’t tell… it’s about don’t care. Life is too short spend one’s time worrying about others chose to live it. As long as someone doesn’t hurt other people or take their stuff, I don’t care what they do. If people would just tend to their own business, the world would be a better place.

    Ironically, if we could get the Taliban and El Quada to agree to my simple proposition, we wouldn’t be at war now. It’s a short leap (IMHO) from abusing gays to abusing women, “non-believers”, Catholics, Jews, Hispanics, or any other group you don’t like for whatever reason (Bible, Quaran, Tankh, one’s own insecurities, or whatever). Either you respect everyone’s rights… or you have the capacity to respect no one’s rights. Think about it. It’s the ultimate “right to life” issue.

    That’s just my opinion. I”m guessing there are a couple of folks who disagree with me, and I respect your first amendment right to do so.

  11. @Cargo, I would think it would just be easier to deal with if it was declared. However, not having been military, I can’t address that angle. It seems that other militaries handle it ok. Canada and Israel come to mind.

    Is there a reason that there are so many gay translators? Cause/effect? What an interesting quasi-statistic.

    I hope you don’t think I was making light of your ‘sex causes problems’ remark. I was deadly serious. So simple…so obvious…so understated.

    I would think anything that retains good military personnel would be a good policy. Recruitment and training are expensive. The military has rules to govern behavior so the old ‘ what if Tom showed up in a ‘dress blues’ skirt just doesn’t wash.

  12. @Al

    That’s what I told my husband when he bitched about being hit on in the men’s room on I-66 many years ago. That is what women put up with all the time. Thanks for being enlightened Al.

    The ultimate outrage on the subject of women being hit on (IMHO) happened to me. I was driving myself to the hospital to have my son. My husband was in a Fairfax Hopital recovering from back surgery. I was out of cokes. I just wanted one coke (obsessively) so on my way, I swung into the local 7-11, in the wee hours, just as daylight was breaking.

    I’ll be damned if I didn’t get hit on by some cretin while I was in labor. He is lucky he still has a face of any sort left. I said words that day to that man that I don’t even think I knew.

    What’s wrong with people? Are they just …(Joe Biden) nuts???!!!!!

  13. The military realizes that sex causes problems, in its bones. That is one of the reasons that women were restricted from serving for so long. Personally, as I said, most troop wouldn’t care unless it was obvious. However, that gay person should also be aware that some refusals can be violent. As some straight men have found out from women in the military.

    II agree with Al. But, remember, the military DOES NOT CARE what you do unless it interferes with the mission and combat effectiveness. This is not a new situation, just more in the news. Its been around since cavemen threw rocks…..

    I agree that my Sex Causes Problems was humorous and obvious, but it is simple and serious. That is the problem. The military is fighting a war and doesn’t need more problems.

    I was hit on. I grew up in New Orleans. As an 18-21 year old, in college, the best place to pick up girls was at the French Quarter gay dance clubs. They went there to get away from being hit on, and then realized that no attention at all was just as bad. And then……dunt, dunt, dunt, we sharks would strike! And usually strike out…..but…not all the time.

    You just had to be confident in you own sexuality. And be able to tell the drag queens from the real girls. There was the one time that my buddy………never mind.

  14. @Moon-howler
    Hey, some guys think pregnant chicks are hot…..

    Did ya kill him? I can’t think of a jury that would convict you…..

  15. Al

    Cargosquid, when you’re right… you’re right…. It’s a tough issue.

  16. Oh, forgot. The mideastern culture, while condemning homosexuality, is a hot bed of….homosexuality. When women are considered to be lower than low, and used to make babies, and you can only associate with other men, what do you think happens? Now, THEY don’t think of it as homosexuality, especially in Afghanistan.

    Men and boys are for sex. Women are for babies and work. Homosexuality is when you “fall in love” with another man and there is a relationship as in marriage.

    Heck, the Taliban lost some power when it tried to put a stop to it. Officially. Unofficially they were doing too.

  17. @Al
    FINALLY! FINALLY! WOOOHHHHOOOOO! Someone admitted it. I’m going to print and frame this!


  18. Al

    Oh…. did I say cargosquid? I meant… (just kidding… 🙂

  19. 🙄 @ al and cargo

    Very interesting about gays in the middle east. I knew that Ahmadinejad when he said no one was gay in the Iran, but seriously…

    Just out of curiosity…what do they call it? (being gay in Afghanistan)

    Are the other countries in that region less ‘gay’ than Afghanistan?

  20. Pinko, I hope you are taking notes!

  21. Al, that is a very powerful speech you just made. If we can combine your thesis with Crgo’s axion, Sex causes problems, you 2 guys would have just solved most of the worlds problems.

  22. I am absolutely reading. Al is right that women go through this sexual tension all the time. And yes, sex seems to be a problem. I never realized it was until once I worked with all guys who were all uncomfortable about a woman in their midst. Here I was walking around like we were all gender blind, and apparently, I was the only one actually blind.

    It really comes down to boundaries. “You can do this, but you cannot do that.” The military (and any other organization) cannot really enforce these boundaries, so we need to learn them at an early age. That’s what will get us through the gender thing some day and it won’t matter who you are attracted to.

  23. Moon,

    don’t know about the other countries. I remember that in Kuwait, the security on the convoys would have to knock loudly on the doors of the trucks and then wait….a couple of times the drivers were, um, busy when the security would open the doors to find out why they were late….

    Close friendships in the arabic countries develop between men. Their personal space is much closer. That infamous? photo of Bush holding the Saudi Prince’s hand? That is a common thing in the middle east and yet means nothing more than “hey, I’m walking here with you and there is a friendly relationship.”

    Google would probably help you with the details. Some of the milblogs covered the quirkiness. BlackFive and Belmont Club and Mudville Gazette might have some posts about it.

  24. How bizarre. And you read my mind. I was going to ask if the Saudi Prince was hitting on the former Pres. I bet poor Bush was uncomfortable. He was man enough not to go ewwwww though.

    Different cultures. Americans are not good at not going ewwwww.

  25. Al, that story is just haunting about the guy hanging himself in the barracks. Supposedly gay youth have a much higher suicide rate.

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