Wednesday, February 10, 2010


Secretary of Defense Robert Gates sat in front of the Senate Armed Services Committee

and walked the committee through all the steps he would take to study the issue of gays in

the military and report back to them in one year with recommendations about ending the

"Don't Ask, Don't Tell" policy which prohibits openly gay Americans from serving in the

military. It will take Gates and the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs, Admiral Mike Mullen, one

year to determine if gays should be allowed to openly serve their country. They will listen

to members of the military and their families. They will examine housing issues and the

effect openly gay soldiers would have on morale. Gates told the Senators the ultimate

decision is theirs to make and he will give them as much information as possible. Already,

those defenders of freedom and civil liberties, John McCain, Mitch McConnell, and Jim

DeMint, have expressed opposition to lifting the ban.

As I watched Gates, my mouth dropped and I turned up the volume to make sure I wasn't

misunderstanding him. It will take a year to decide if American citizens, many already in

the military, have the right to volunteer to serve their country. Gates and Obama need one

year to determine if a gay soldier will fight as honorably as a straight one. During this year,

Gates intends to go to military families and ask them how they feel about gays fighting in

Afghanistan and Iraq. At the end of that year, Gates will report on his findings and it will be

up to Congress to decide if gay Americans will be allowed to sacrifice their lives to protect

our freedom and security.

Imagine the then Secretary of War under President Truman announcing he will interview

white Southern soldiers and their families, to see how they feel about fighting alongside black

soldiers in integrated units. Can you imagine the Secretary asking white military families if

they want to live in the same housing as black soldiers and their families? At the end of that

year, what would Truman do with a report detailing how opposed the military and military

families are to integrating the troops? The President would receive a report laying out the

specific problem Southern and other whites would have if blacks and whites had equal access

and privileges. Opponents would repeat stories of how black soldiers can't fight, aren't smart,

won't take orders, and will try to rape white women. The report will be full of Bible verses

cited by good Christians about how God doesn't want the races to mix and how integration

would be against God's natural order. Still others will claim mixing the races will dilute

white culture and white role models.

What is Gates going to study? Who will Admiral Mullen listen to during this year long

investigation? What could soldiers or families or general officers tell them that could justify

continuing to expel qualified American citizens from military service because of their sexual

orientation? Considering probably 10% of the military personnel are gay and serve admirably

already, considering the fact gay Americans have sacrificed their lives to serve their country,

considering the vital talents we have lost by expelling gay soldiers who spoke Arab languages

and Iranian dialects and were experts on the Middle East, terrorism, and national security,

considering the blackmail possibilities rampant in an organization where being exposed as

gay could end a desired career; what do they need a year to accomplish?

President Truman did not go to Congress to integrate the military. He knew what was

right and by executive order he made it happen. Why doesn't President Obama do the same

thing? Are you as offended as I am by a Secretary of Defense who will actively seek prejudiced

and bigoted opinions to ascertain the wisdom of granting gay soldiers the same rights as

straight soldiers? What other types of opinions could he be seeking? There is no study or

report chronicling poor performance by units containing gay soldiers. Will the Secretary

find anyone in a leadership position who will go on the record with accusations of substandard

performance of gay soldiers? What Gates will hear is prejudice and bigotry and narrow

minded fundamentalism, none of which has anything to do with the performance of America's

armed services and everything to do with the lack of a backbone by both Gates and Obama.

Would Obama wait for a year to integrate the military if it was still segregated? Would

Obama seek out the opinion of white soldiers and their families as to whether integration

was a good idea? Why is prejudice acceptable for another year for gay Americans, but

outrageous and unacceptable for minority citizens? How do you keep a straight (pardon the

pun) face when explaining how injustice will continue for another year; and even then, Obama

won't act and will wait for Congress to decide?

There is no rational reason to prohibit gay Americans from serving their country. There

is no reason to wait a year to end an injustice which should have ended years ago. There is no

justification for kicking this can down the road except political expediency. It stinks!!!

Of all people, President Obama should be sensitive to the feelings of Americans who face

prejudice. Yet, his Secretary of Defense pleads for another year! A year to "study" and

"listen"? This is another disappointment. Obama is looking more and more like Clinton with

each passing day. This is a simple issue which doesn't require great political insight. The fact

is, most Americans see no reason to prohibit gays from volunteering to serve in the military

if they can do the job. What do you think? I welcome your comments and rebuttals. Please

send them to

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