Don't ask don't tell policy is about to be repealed will it help ease the homosexuality and assaults on gays in the military?
Though epigraphs echo arguments made against homosexuals serving openly in the Armed Forces, they are the words of Senator Richard Russell of Georgia and General Omar Bradley in opposition to President Truman’s 1948 executive order to racially integrate the U.S. military. The discourse has gone beyond what is best for the combat effectiveness of the military to become a vehicle for those seeking both to retract and expand homosexual rights throughout society.
It has used experts in science, law, budgeting, and military experience in an effort to settle an issue deeply tied to social mores, religion, and personal values. A turning point in the debate came in 1993. Keeping a promise made during his campaign, President Bill Clinton attempted to lift the ban on homosexuals serving in the military. After strong resistance from the leadership in both the Pentagon and Congress, a compromise was reached as Congress passed 10 United States Code §654, colloquially known as “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” (DADT).
This law, which allowed homosexuals to serve as long as they did not admit their orientation, survived the Clinton and Bush administrations essentially unchanged. Repealing the ban on homosexuals serving openly was also a campaign promise of Barack Obama, though his transition team stated that they did not plan to tackle the issue until 2010.3 As this debate reignites, it is worthwhile to reexamine the original premises that went into forming the DADT policy, explore the cost and effectiveness of the law, and finally, with 16 years of societal drift, revisit the premises on which it is based.
There are five central issues. First, §654 has had a significant cost in both personnel and treasure. Second, the stated premise of the law—to protect unit cohesion and combat effectiveness—is not supported by any scientific studies. Strong emotional...