Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Openly Gay Military Personnel: Good, Bad, or Indifferent?

The "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" concept in the military is taking on new meaning after President Obama came out with a request that Defense Secretary Robert Gates convene a study to determine how lifting the ban on openly gay service members would affect the military. Gates has complied with the request by assigning his chief legal adviser and a four-star Army General. It is being reported that "Pentagon counsel Jeh Johnson and Gen. Carter Ham, who lead Army forces in Europe, will conduct the yearlong assessment" (http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/35197645/ns/us_news-military/). The policy has been hotly discussed.

While I do not care if the person at post is straight or gay, my own only concern is that they do their job to the military standards already established. On the Chris Baker radio show a caller brought up the point of how many people are not going into the military because they cannot be openly gay versus the number of people who may leave or will not go into the military because of openly gay people. Is this a valid point especially in light of the difficulty recruitment has been? I am not sure. As I said, I do not care if the tank commander prefers blonde women or blonde men just as long that person does the job and follows the commands of their superiors.

I have not been involved in the military so I am unsure how the change will affect morale or even if it will have one at all. Is the change of "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" needed? How might the change affect the makeup of the military? As I said, I do not care one way or the other as all I expect is that the standards are the same for all and the job is done. Plus, do we need to spend money to change the current policy? Couldn't the money be used for other things like the deficit?