Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell — Self-Made Dilemmas

The latest news is not DoD’s policy regarding homosexuals in the military. It is a bizarre comment made by Defense Secretary (and occasional super hero) Robert M. Gates. The secretary of defense wants to make the policy on homosexuals in the Armed Forces “more humane.”

We did not realize it was inhumane.

While many debate whether the policy is right or wrong, implying it is inhumane (beyond tossing Biff and Buffy due to sexual orientation) seems a stretch. Is anyone tortured? Are their heads placed on pikes at the main gate? Are they forced to wear a sign while paraded through the streets on an ox cart? Are they snatched in the middle of the night and shipped off never to be heard from again? (We think this stopped a few years ago.)

It appears the popular Dr. Gates was referring to leaders’ choices about who is sent packin’ and who gets to stick around the big gun club. He maintained someone outed by a vengeful, jilted lover should receive special consideration. (Can you believe we are engaging in such discourse? Does anyone want to talk about the hetero version of this scenario? )

If one reads Title 10, Subtitle A, Part II, Chapter 37, Section 654, the policy known as “Don’t Ask Don’t Tell,” it appears commander’s discretion is already built in. Leaders seem greenlighted to make decisions case-by-case. Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Adm. Mike Mullen wants a “less draconian” way of enforcing the policy. Maybe everyone should read it. The below passages illustrate the leeway given commanders.

“Under the particular circumstances of the case, the member’s continued presence in the armed forces is consistent with the interests of the armed forces in proper discipline, good order, and morale.”

“Nothing in subsection (b) shall be construed to require that a member of the armed forces be processed for separation from the armed forces when a determination is made in accordance with regulations prescribed by the Secretary of Defense that … Separation of the member would not be in the best interest of the armed forces.”

Much ado, Dr. Gates. Much ado.

The policy is expected to be repealed by lawmakers, when they get around to it.

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