‘Don’t ask, please tell’?
I’ve seen numerous articles and letters to the editor addressing the need to “repeal” or “undo” the “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy.
Have we forgotten what DADT is? Does the homosexual community really want to undo it? Yes, we have forgotten, and I don’t really think the homosexual community wants to return to the days before DADT. DADT was President Bill Clinton’s attempt 17 years ago) to fulfill a campaign promise to allow homosexuals to serve openly in the military. He faced such opposition to a full reversal of the military’s policy that DADT was his compromise solution.
Prior to DADT, a person’s sexual orientation was a recruiter’s mandatory question. If a potential recruit said “homosexual” or “bisexual,” he or she was not allowed to serve. DADT says that, even though homosexual conduct is still against policy, the military may no longer ask your sexual orientation. As long as a person does not “tell” he is homosexual or bisexual, he can serve.
So, it’s not about “repealing” DADT. What the homosexual community wants to do is “broaden” DADT to “don’t ask, please tell.” However, it’s not that simple. Read on.
The prohibition of homosexual conduct in the military did not begin with DADT. Homosexual conduct has been against U.S. military policy at least as far back as 1916, when homosexual servicemembers were often given “neutral” discharges. Given that homosexual conduct was considered morally unacceptable by the vast majority of Americans even prior to 1916, it is safe to say that it has been against military policy since the birthdates of the services.
A broadening of DADT would require a change to federal law (Title 10, U.S. Code, Section 654). So, if you feel strongly on this issue, one way or the other, write your congressman.
Chaplain (Maj.) Jonathan L. BouriaqueCamp Buehring, Kuwait