Red Flags

A DoD fave is forcing its way back to the forefront. “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” might be en route to the trash heap. At least that’s the recommendation by a panel in a recent study.

A panel of retired flag officers. 

The “Report of the General/Flag Officers’ Study Group”sponsored and released by the University of California Santa Barbara Michael D. Palm Center recommended Congress and DoD scrap the policy that has barred homosexual behavior of military members (and essentially the service of gays).

Though the recommendation probably tracks with the views of many military members (we have nothing credible to support this statement), the study struck us as curious. It turns out the Palm Center, according to its Web site, is “committed to sponsoring state-of-the-art research to enhance the quality of public dialogue about critical and controversial issues of the day. The Center’s priority, the ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’ Project, continues the work of the Center for the Study of Sexual Minorities in the Military.”

That’s an oddly narrow focus. Take a gander at some of the “news” items the center highlights:

New Report by Senior Military Leaders Urges End to Gay Ban

52 Retired Generals and Admirals Call for Repeal of Gay Ban

New Data on Lesbian Discharges Has Historical Precedent

British Army to Allow Uniformed Soldiers to March in Gay Parade

And don’t miss “… the much-anticipated new book on gays in the military by Dr. Nathaniel Frank, the country’s leading expert on “don’t ask, don’t tell.” The book, Unfriendly Fire: How the Gay Ban Undermines the Military and Weakens America will be published in the winter of 2009.”


But we digress. The study apparently was conducted by Army Lt. Gen. Robert Gard, Marine Brig. Gen. Hugh Aitkin, Air Force Lt. Gen. Minter Alexander, and Navy Vice Adm. Jack Shanahan. These are not just four flags — they might be the oldest flags alive, with one service entry date of 1942. The “bipartisan” group conducted its “in-depth assessment” by “examining the key academic and social science literature on the subject and interviewing a range of experts on leadership, unit cohesion and military law, including those who are training our nation’s future military leaders at the service academies.” (The “experts” listed might have been slanted toward the interests of repealing “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell,” but you did not hear that from us.)

We cannot fathom the money being spent on this issue. Though the group’s recommendation to change the law and pass control to DoD has great merit, this manufactured “study” is disingenuous and ultimately discrediting.

Is anyone taking up the battle flag to end the combat exclusion clause? That’s right — not enough money to take on that last bastion.

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