December 2010


One viewpoint from a number of posts we will be republishing on DADT

This is a guest post by a frequent contributer on a wide spectrum of Navy issues both online and via traditional media, Claude Berube. Though I am in full alignment with his perspective on this issue, the following post is his.
— CDR Salamander.

President Obama’s statement during the recent State of the Union calling for the repeal to the Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell policy regarding homosexuals in the military has understandably raised the profile of a long-time controversial issue. Earlier this week, Secretary of Defense Robert Gates and Admiral Mullen testified before Congress. But these events were preceded in Naval Institute Proceedings (Lieutenant R. Whipps, “It’s Time to Scrap Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell”, December 2009) who fortunately approached it from a dispassionate, logical perspective. Unfortunately, it was followed by two letters to the magazine that demonstrated that logic doesn’t always win the day. If privacy issues can be addressed – and that remains a major “if” – then the best way forward may be a more libertarian argument that changes the policy of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” to “Didn’t Know, Don’t Care” that would permit gays to openly serve their country in the military. No more, no less.

The President’s remarks may be seen by some advocates as a call for broadening regulations and reaping the election rewards of identity politics and largely using the military only for their own political goals; however, this change cannot be made for anything other than for what it is intended. That would be a mistake. In a nation where even the most liberal states have rejected same-sex marriage, openly serving in the military should not be made a cause célèbre. Nor should it be another opportunity for some offices to counts numbers and build diversity only for diversity’s sake instead of individual competency for collective capability’s sake.

A proposed policy change to Didn’t Know, Don’t Care is an inherently American libertarian approach to this issue. First, this policy would reflect our society with its capitalistic core. Capitalism works. The free market and the innovation that carried the United States from a few disparate colonies to the world’s superpower able to defeat fascism and communism, must be an integral part of this discussion. Capitalism isn’t based on guarantees, it is based on the freedom to succeed or fail and the regulations that ensure the free market doesn’t ignore basic laws. Shutting out a part of our human capital that freely wants to serve and is able to serve diminishes our ability to achieve a greater good, in this case security. A collective capability is required for the Navy to win wars and secure peace. Americans have always worked best when they have worked together regardless of differences to achieve a greater good. The denial of any individual simply because they are part of a group (or, conversely, selecting them simply because of it) is contrary to sound economics and mission success; historically, when nations ignored, purged, or expelled a portion of their population that was as much a part of that economy as any other part, it didn’t work out too well for the country.

Second, Didn’t Know Don’t Care would be based on individual competency. It would not be about special privileges for any one group. Rather, it is about the freedom of individuals to serve. There are standards in the Navy as reflected by fitness reports or other assessments. The one question we should ask is: Can this individual do the job? After the assassination attempt on President Ronald Reagan’s life, he was wheeled into the emergency room and jokingly said “I hope you’re all Republicans!” If a qualified health care professional said they were a Democrat, he wouldn’t have waited until a Republican showed up. The same philosophy of competence should apply in the Navy.

Third, character counts. Character is not an exclusive trait of any race, gender, or sexual preference; character is demonstrated by individuals. Once a person is deemed qualified to serve, then openly serving homosexuals must be held to the same standards and adhere to regulations as heterosexuals. If they cannot follow regulations, then they must be as accountable as anyone else regardless of race, gender or sexual preference.

Finally – if you had a son or daughter who didn’t lie, cheat, or steal; who excelled in physical fitness and academic ability; who believed that national security was the paramount responsibility of the federal government and wanted to serve, would you oppose them if they were gay or lesbian. If you have spoken about the quality of our Navy and Marine Corps, how they are the best trained, most motivated military force comprised of individuals who are willing to give their lives for their nation, would you suggest that these same young men and women would not accept a fellow equally-qualified sailor or Marine simply because they were homosexual?

Some individuals on ships can already have significant personality differences based on a number of factors, yet they do their jobs regardless of those differences. If we have done our jobs as parents, as teachers, as military leaders, then we must trust the next generation that they will all do their job as well. If we don’t have that trust, then we have far more to be concerned about with the future of our nation.

In the end, nothing matters except ability to do the job. The real eyes on the prize should be about how the Navy can optimally perform through individual performance and contributions to the whole. Modifying Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell to Didn’t Know, Don’t Care would accomplish that goal.

Claude Berube is a frequent contributor to Proceedings and Naval History. The opinions expressed are his own and not those of any organization with which he may be affiliated.

As a program note; Claude will be a guest this Sunday at 5pm EST on our Navy milblog radio show Midrats, where our subject will be the Don’t Ask – Don’t Tell challenge.


Posted by CDRSalamander in Policy

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  • YNSN

    Top notch, well said, and Bravo Zulu!
    That is where diversity is at its best. When all are equal and accountable no matter where they come from and all the rest.
    I don’t care who you are or what you do as long as accomplishing the mission and watching my 6 are as important to you as it is for me.

  • “There are standards in the Navy as reflected by fitness reports or other assessments. The one question we should ask is: Can this individual do the job?”

    Absolutely true, and if a method can be found to preserve the principle of individual merit in manner treating all competitors for promotion and plum assignments equally without court interventions, success can be achieved.

    If, on the other hand, self-identification of another minority class encourages expected allegations of unfair discrimination in promotion and assignment, only lawyers, their clients and the media will reap any success.

    Some gays prefer DADT and will maintain their sexual preference as anonymously as always. These individuals have long been the high-performing, reliable shipmates and occasional friends we have all known.

    It is human nature for people to seek identities conferring personal advantage, however. There can be no doubt that some openly gay individuals will seek to game the military advancement system. If unfounded grievances are “settled” in an effort to keep things hush-hush, angry bystanders will circulate the truth, prompting more gays and even a few confused, heterosexual sailors to declare gay lifestyles and allege official acts of career discrimination.

    Will the inevitable rise in openly gay recruits offset premature departures of intolerant types in times of national conflicts abroad?

    Due to the relatively litigious mindset of our legal profession, experiences of military allies who have adopted gays serving openly hardly translate as good omens for the U.S.

  • ADM

    Mr. Berube’s analogy to our libertarian, capitalist and individualist traditions is not quite a slam dunk. Markets work on cost-benefit analyses too. A particular individual may have the skills necessary to perform a job and yet still be undesirable in that role if there are significant costs associated with employing him. This phenomenon can be seen very clearly on any sports team where an undoubtedly skilled but prima donna player comes with both a high cost in salary and in how he relates to his teammates. Although he can “do the job”, the cost is too high and the other stuff matters a lot. It’s the difference between the NY Yankees of the late 90’s and the late 70s.

    The military’s on-going experience with gender integration, which tends to deny that gender differences matter while simultaneously maintaining a host of double standards and lowering others even exists, provides a cautionary example. The moment standards need to vary and any form of special treatment is required, it’s pretty clear evidence that the person involved can’t in fact do the job. Even if things were a complete wash in terms of performance, the higher associated costs indicate that the policy is inefficient. If nothing else, all the problems associated with gender provide a good basis for skepticism about how fairly and even-handedly a DKDC military would address the inevitable issues.

  • TheOne

    Many have deep reservations about gays in the military and its effects on military readiness. I see much more damage to military readiness due to young sailors marrying way too young or from simply having a dating pool that does not stray far from the local strip bar. And don’t even get me started on young enlisted alcoholism! These are much bigger problems then if a shipmate is gay or not. We are only debating teh gays because some can score political points with constituents by coming out in favor or against DADT.

  • DJ Elliott

    So long as UCMJ Article 125 remains a felony, the rest of the arguments are a Kabuki Play. Sodomy is still a crime under Federal Law whether it is same-sex or opposite-sex [or animal].

    The SCUS ruling in 2003 did not apply to the US Military. There have been cases upholding Art 125 since then.

    And none of the politicians or pundents have even sudgested repealing UCMJ Article 125. Without that, it remains a felony and grounds for dismissal from service as a felon…

    925. ARTICLE 125. SODOMY

    (a) Any person subject to this chapter who engages in unnatural carnal copulation with another person of the same or opposite sex or with an animal is guilty of sodomy. Penetration , however slight, is sufficient to complete the offense.

    (b) Any person found guilty of sodomy shall be punished as a court-martial may direct.

  • Jack Osborne

    Well, it is the same old thing, isn’t it?
    Do they also advocate co/ed showers for the female/male troops?

    spending time in the group showers of the military makes you realize why they don’t have co-ed showers!

    Here you have young folks full of hormones, over sexed, and under exercised in sex exercises, and you propose to populate the showers, barracks, compartments, with bare-a$$ed humans , and you expect them to follow the UCMJ?

    But, then, perhaps, society has changed and there no longer is any “un-natural carnal knowledge” in the world!

    Have you forgotten what is to be 18-20 years old and sexually deprived?



  • Claude Berube

    Regarding your statement: “Markets work on cost-benefit analyses too.”

    You’re absolutely right and I concede on that point.


  • RD Goldsticker

    I want to thank the author and those who chose to comment above on the quality and wisdom within the positions voiced.

    I have met many fine, dedicated young people who have chosen to serve in our finest military.

    The ones that are homosexual, in my admittedly limited experience, have to a man and woman, been dedicated to service and consider their obligations to duty foremost. They have shown me that their understanding of their role and their obligations are “fit for duty.” I am impressed.

    In private, some concur that the current policy of DADT suffices for them. I do not know of the ones that want some sort of special status–I know of the ones committed to serve U.S. and prefer this “raised flag” to be more of a non-issue so they can just focus on doing their job the best they were trained and know how.

    Serving in the U.S. military is one of the most important undertakings any American can choose, to rise to meet this most serious challenge for the benefit of the security of our country.

    So, I agree with those above who note wisely that the military is not the place for political bonus points or as an experiment in political correctness.

    There is an important objective to be reached and secured, and failure is not an option.

    Again, thank all of you for the enlightening and pertinent discourse.

  • Jay

    Cross post from CDR S (ret)’s blog:
    ADM Mullen did a great job. As did Sec Gates. Interesting to see Sen. McCain’s backtrack from his previous 2006 comments re: same. Then again — he may have a viable primary fight on his hands (sad to see him use this as a campaign platform, but then again, he has been a politician for a while..).

    This is a done deal — implementation will take a while, but it is long overdue. They are correct to be taking some time to study the issues & get it right. (I wish I could go back into USNI blog archives & cut & paste all comments — some large number, if I recall, but the comments posted here are much the same.)

    They’ll be some grumbling (more from the VFW halls than inside, I’d wager). Services will adapt & move on. In a decade this will be just another non-issue.

    We are better for it.

  • Wintoon

    YNSN says:

    “I don’t care who you are or what you do as long as accomplishing the mission and watching my 6 are as important to you as it is for me”.

    Watching your six may take on an entirely different meaning.

  • Fouled Anchor

    Jay, this is certainly not “a done deal.” Any change to DADT requires Congressional action, and there is no telling when they will take up the issue. If it doesn’t happen until after the mid-term elections in November, the composition of the Congress may be very different from what it is now.

  • Byron

    Jay, is there a reason why you felt that you had to put a “ret” behind Sala’s name? Do you know for a fact whether or not that he retired at that rank?

    Just curious…

  • James

    PC Diversity comes at the cost of national security.
    PC Diversity resulted in soldiers being killed at Fort Hood.

  • Riyawzidawn

    It seems to me that ADM Mullen is, at least in part, responding to the reality of the desire of his Commander in Chief. As long as Mr. Obama holds the position of POTUS, there will be pressure to head in the direction of eliminating DADT.

    Several respondents have noted correctly that it will require changes to Federal Law and Art. 125 of the UCMJ. SECDEF Gates also has pointed this out. All CJCS has actually promised to do is to study the “how” of implementation. Even if he were personally revolted by the idea, that would be a prudent course to chart. The handwriting is certainly on the wall. The President has been nothing but clear on this point.

  • hurr durr

    Funny you say that, despite how non of the points made in the article had anything at all to do with “diversity”.

    Cool straw man, bro.

  • Jack Osborne

    It seems that most of the officers making comments have forgotten what the repeal would do to the vocabulary of the enlisted.

    Good old profanities would turn to terms of endearment?

    Oh, you would just eliminate all of the profane comments by the enlisted!

    You couldn’t do that, because they would no longer be profane commentary on the character of the subject!

    Come with me to check the golden rivet in the bilge!

    Enlistment poster for mama!
    DADT has been eliminated, now your children are safe in the shower!

    Are there any realists in the US Navy anymore?


  • Sounds good, but as with everything else involving gays, it would be just the first step. Next would come civil unions or marriage and housing allowances for the “couples”. Demands to be housed in the dorms with straights. When you give an inch they want a mile. Obama’s doing this to sure up his liberal support.

  • S Acree

    must be on a PC web site. Does this affect anybody else? If a dude looks at another dude with sexual thoughts, why not let women in the military take showers with men? Is it not the same thing? Forget freaking political correct BS!! What is the difference? Oh, YEAH!! Women might have a KID!! Homosexuals will only have a really smelly experience (talking about two men, obviously). Too politically incorrect? There is a reason why genders exist, sorry about nature.

  • Ancient Warrior

    When I served under Ike and JFK, the unwritten “policy” was DADT. But of course, we all got to know who the gays were, and there were quite a few who stayed in the closet and stayed in the Army. (At least one guy I knew of dodged the draft by pretending to be gay. That cuts both ways.) Actually what Clinton triggered merely strengthened existing law and policy.

    As one earlier post implies, the military is no place for PC and/or social experimentation. Armies and navies exist for just one purpose – to win wars. DADT, gender norming, gender mixing (especially on deployment, and I can’t imagine the tensions on board a warship), etc. do nothing to serve that purpose, and are excess baggage.

    I intend to write my Congressman (former Marine) decrying this implied endorsement of sexual perversion. We are after all, a moral nation.

  • Lee Yates

    I largely agree with Claude Berub’s article about going from DADT to DKDC(Don’t Know Don’t Care) A modern military service has to reflect the society that it defends to some extent. I am not a Libertarian in the modern sense, and I do not buy some of Mr. Berub’s arguments based on that point of view.
    Capitalism, to it’s credit, is not the comprehensive ideology that Mr. Berub describes. Supply and Demand, free markets, and competition exist more as mechanisms within various economic and political systems from socialism to federalism, globalism to self sufficiency. While free trade and yes capitalism have had much to do with our success, and other free states it does not inevitably lead to a much larger concept of say representative democracy, empire, or even constitutional government, in my opinion.
    The US Constitution and the rule of law demand that we protect minorities from the tyranny of the majority. If we are allowed to legally discriminate against homosexuals, what is to stop us from discriminating against fundamentalist Christians? Those two groups, in fact are in direct conflict on this issue and both have to be equal before the law and the other eighty percent of us. I think that Don’t Know Don’t Care (DKDC) is one of very few ways to accomplish this goal maybe even in practice.
    The record of DADT is very poor, for the military services and for the taxpayer. A policy which was supposed to be tolerant of gay members of the military was actually implemented as more of pogrom of honest gay members of the military.
    That is my opinion for what it is worth. I see that this blog is generally thoughtful and honorable. Thank You for reading my post.

  • Claude Berube

    Mr. Yates,
    Thanks for your thoughtful comments and contributing positively to the debate.

  • Jack Osborne

    I give up, I surrender, it is perfectly OK for homosexual men to shower with sailors, sleep in the same barracks, go to the same bars, drink the same stuff, but they will not patronize the same brothels, I guess.
    No more getting stewed , screwed, and tattoed for all hands , I guess.
    No Aqua Velva, must be Brut!
    More fancy stuff in small stores, or ship’s canteens
    Dry cleaning necessary for the underwear!
    More VD heads will be needed!

    Oh, I know that not all of the personnel being discussed will require that , but , how do you prevent it from being done!

    Ever been an Finocchios in San Fran, ever walked down the main drag there, and you want that stuff on board?

    What will happen, will happen, and the powers that be, might not want that to happen, but they dare not challenge the media, and pressure groups.

    Would you hot bunk with one?


  • Gwaktek

    All of this abstraction and wonkery has failed to address directly the net minus of openly gay service members: UNIT COHESION.
    Our enlisted ranks are not, by and large, gleaned from the quads of Eastern universities. You are not going to affect an immediate cultural shift in the minds of the majority of enlistment-age young man who grew up knowing that homosexuality is wrong and even biologically incoherent. And you really think ‘DON’T CARE’ is in operation when these young men are in boot camp, showering together?
    I think they most certainly do. Condemn it as homophobia from now to the end of time but the weakest link in the chain of defense will be in the tortured dynamic of the close-quartered work environment, e.g. a surface combatant vessel, where the unwarranted tension of the ill-considered gender integration directive of the Clinton years already challenges the strength of the force. Do you want, at best, awkward, suspicion-laden conduct between straight and gay, or at worst, outright insubordination towards the order of the day? Either choice is poison to esprit de corps, and unit morale becomes cancerous.
    Speaking as someone who operated in such an intimate environment as a ship underway, my concerns then were as strong as they are now; my Legion pin does not come into play. And I sincerely hope that the President thinks the better of pursuing this dangerous folly for the greater good of force morale and preparedness.

  • DADT addresses the differences between heterosexuality and homosexuality. To recognize the differences is to recognize why a straight person is rarely seen in a gay nightspot. That is because one of the definitions of a straight is a person who is turned off by being oggled by someone of the same sex.

    A person who is willing to suppress his/her sexual preferences to serve will be among the very best of soldiers. I thought that is the recruitment goal. Homosexuality is an aberration. Why not control it and harness it for the benefit and strength of our military?

  • Jack Osborne

    person who is willing to suppress his/her sexual preferences to serve will be among the very best of soldiers.

    You really believe that there is a correlation between the ability to suppress sexual preference and being the best of the armed forces?

    That is kind of torturuos thinking, in my opinion!

    So you are saying, in effect, that if you can suppress your sexual perference you can be better than a stronger , bigger, faster fellow serviceman!

    Only if you are bigger , stronger , faster than the others.


  • Senior

    Seems like most of the rhetoric to repeal DADT is coming from those that have Staterooms and for the most part private showers. Its not quite that easy when you are stacked three high, two feet between the racks and you are never more than a foot from one of your berthing mates. That is why we have separate male and female berthings, too close of quarters. Start mixing genders and sexual preferences and even innocent contact can lead to charges of inappropriate behavior.

    There is plenty of don’t care out there, but there is also that line where inappropriate activities draw immediate attention. It may not be the most PC solution, but it is a big step from 15 years ago when people were driven out at the mere idea that you were gay.

    Practicality needs to drive this. If you think that putting 18-20 yrs olds that are sexually attracted to each other in the same berthing and that there isn’t going to be issues, you’re simply naive. It’s hard enough keeping them out of fan rooms & dark corners (of any sexual preference).

    Bottom line we got bigger things to fix.
    — Let’s end our conflicts and the multiple long deployments that every soldier, sailor and airman is going through. We don’t need this distraction right now.
    — Let’s get leadership on solid footing – the number of fired Commanding Officers, Senior Officers, Senior Enlisted say’s we need that focus first! Repealing DADT without solidifying the Wardrooms & CPO Messes is a recipe for disaster.
    — Let’s get a solid workable budget instead of one that lines the pockets of political patrons and large corporations. Doing more with less, make it happen, …. should NOT be the norm for our fighting team.

  • Byron

    You know, Senior, that’s got to be the most intelligent thing I’ve heard said so far by everyone. Nice to see someone has it all in one sack.

  • Claude Berube

    Good points. Let’s take the Os out of the process and let the NCOs decide what’s best. But either way, DADT is unlikely to change for many decades if at all.

  • Senior

    Not implying taking the Os out of the equation or that this decision belongs in the CPO Mess; when Congress decides to change the law and we proceed, it is going to take all the leadership that the Wardrooms and CPO Messes can muster to make it work. My point is that right now, we have too many sexual assaults, domestic violence cases, DUIs, and leadership failures (Officer and Enlisted) to complicate it with a significant social change program. When we’ve stabilized our forces, then we can take an honest look at this policy and develop a strategy that will succeed. We have a history of making these things work, from racial integration to women at sea, I don’t think it will be decades; but I do hope we finish the mission in Iraq and Afghanistan before we take this on.

  • Jay

    Today was a great day for all of our services! Great leadership from POTUS, SECDEF, CJCS, and a host of others, and a majority in the Congress made this happen. Very proud to serve, especially when history is being made! BZ!

  • Jay

    And ummmm….interesting re-reading those comments today, isn’t it? 🙂

  • UltimaRatioReg

    Don’t care? Don’t wanna hear about it? There will be a line of activists/advocates from here to the front gate of Camp Lejeune whose sole purpose will be to make sure that gays are front and center in EVERYthing that is done. Not because they are serving, nor because they have achieved excellence. But because they are GAY.

    Weed them out for inappropriate conduct? Sure. Senior leadership will display the same moral courage in weeding them out that they did evaluating Holly Graf’s first command tour or Major Hasan’s fitness for service and promotion.

    Mullen and Roughead are political sycophants. And they are grooming a whole generation of officers to be just like them.

    DACOGITS. Coming to the Halls of Congress.

    Bad on the leadership. You don’t say. Mullen have any other guidance regarding what my personal values should be? What is the correct moral position on gun control? Immigration? Health care reform? I am all ears.

    Not done to make the military more combat effective. FAIL.

  • Jay

    Oh URR, always playing the victim…kind of sad, really. It’s what I’ve come to expect from you, unfortunately. I look forward to GEN Amos’s sincere efforts and GREAT leadership in 2011 implementing this change. I wonder how many Same-sex couples will be at next year’s various USMC birthday balls? 🙂 I am always most proud of our leaders when their actions match our national ideals. Great days ahead!

  • UltimaRatioReg


    Don’t be bitter. You can ask Billy to the cotillion now.

  • SwitchBlade

    Now that a bill ending DADT has passed the Senate and will surely pass the house and get signed into law – I believe the military will be fine. I don’t believe everything WRT the military necessarily has to be for the purpose of making the military “more combat effective.” However, that can be measured in more than one way. How much more effective will people be now that their not concerned with being discharged if someone finds out their previously secret sexual preference? And how many man hours will commands and the JAG save not having to discharge these members?

    What I haven’t seen anywhere in these comments is what would happen when the courts overturn the policy absent action by congress. It would have happened – most likely in 2011 and that would have created a situation in which the policy was change without guidance from anyone – the meat cleaver approach!

    This will work because – as ADM Mullen told Senator (should have retired) McCain, the soldiers and sailors will do as their told because the military isn’t a democracy.

  • UltimaRatioReg


    You have some of the argument backwards. With the vast preponderance of the ground combat forces against the repeal, the weight of consideration should be with them. As they are the sharp end of the blade. Some 58% of the Army ground combat units, and 63% of USMC ground combat units were unfavorable toward repeal of DADT, and that is even with the heavily skewed “survey” which didn’t ask about whether or not repeal was good, but had as a given that repeal would happen.

    If the plans and policies for the US Military are not to make them more combat effective, pray tell whatever else are they for?

  • Claude Berube

    Some of URR’s comments should not be dismissed; he has some valid arguments about forward deployed units and how some factions both in and out of government will manipulate it to their advantage. Martin Luther King sought a day when people were judged by the content of their character and not the color of their skin (and, today, other issues). I argued in my original commentary that character and competence are what really matters. Any manipulation of the intent, which is probably inevitable given historical precedents, is going to be counterproductive. I stand by that assessment, which is my personal opinion and not that of any organization with which I may be affiliated.

  • Ditto.

  • Andy

    “Shutting out a part of our human capital that freely wants to serve and is able to serve diminishes our ability to achieve a greater good, in this case security…The denial of any individual simply because they are part of a group (or, conversely, selecting them simply because of it) is contrary to sound economics and mission success; historically, when nations ignored, purged, or expelled a portion of their population that was as much a part of that economy as any other part, it didn’t work out too well for the country.”

    When the author wrote the above quoted material he failed to appreciate three things. First, members of the Armed Forces dismissed under DADT are not capable of serving. Second, an economy is not the same thing as a military. Third, the Constitution does not provide a citizen the right to serve in the Armed Forces.

    Military service is, to borrow an analogy, like a professional sports team. “Not all need apply and very few should expect to join. Any shortcoming in performance should threaten a soldier’s place on the team.” (Rethinking the Principles of War)

    It is a person’s inability to separate, in this case, their sexuality from their duty to follow orders that is the reason for their denial of admission/dismissal from service. Furthermore, those individuals who enlisted/were commissioned with full knowledge of the rules governing homosexual acts and then violated the orders are most certainly not the sort of people that should serve in the Armed Forces. They should not serve because their loyalties are obviously split between following orders and indulging in sexual activies in violation of DADT. Additionally, they have violated their oath to obey the orders of those appointed over them and are only partially dedicating themselves to the service of their country. They are in essence saying, “I will obey these orders, but not those. Oh, by the way, you have to keep me in your Armed Forces, never knowing which other orders I might fail to follow.”

    People are not being dismissed from the military because they are gay, they are being dismissed because they failed to follow orders and that behavior is not in keeping with the level of honor, courage, and committment that is demanded of service members by their countrymen. It is for this reason that they are not capable of serving.

    This argument applies equally to those who fail to pay bills, commit adultery, assault another person, are disrespectful to a superior, etc….

    Additionally, dismissal from service for violating orders cannot be placed on the same level as “purged…a portion of their population” (Hitler’s Final Solution) or denying women the right to vote.

  • Jay

    Actually, now is exactly the time to dismiss URR’s comments. The people have spoken, through their duly elected representatives (which, of course, is healthier than the decision coming from the judiciary). The time for debate is over. Once POTUS signs the bill, we move to certification, then implementation. Opponents of repeal are now relegated to their proper role – a historical footnote.

  • UltimaRatioReg

    A historical footnote, like the guy who issued the iceberg warning to Titanic, or cautioned Elphinstone not to go to Jalalabad.

  • Claude Berube

    Perhaps you’d like to hoist a “Mission Accomplished” banner now? The point is that some of URR’s comments and cautions that some of us have alsoexpressed in other ways have merit. If you ignore any and all consequences (housing, benefits, diversity programs, costs with modifying ships, privacy issues, roles of chaplains, etc), then consider this: a) healthy – continuing – discussions about the Navy and Marine Corps has always been a mainstay of the Naval Institute and b) you risk being as short-sighted and intolerant as those who may have been accused of this during this debate.

  • Jay

    Claude – I’d never fall into the “Mission Accomplished” trap, that mistake was bad staffing, poor planning, and even if it was supposed to be about the carrier’s mission….well, oops, Pres Bush didn’t end up looking too good over that little flap. Lots of details to be worked out prior to and during the implementation phase, no doubt, especially with the training piece. URR doesn’t like the change, railed against it, but his (and anyone else’s) opinion on whether or not it should have happened are now moot. Would like to hear what ship modifications you are talking about, first I’ve ever heard that mentioned. I don’t see any need for housing changes. Chaplains will likely do what they have always done – minister to their denominations when they can, and to folks of all faiths, in a non-denominational way, when called upon to do so. I still maintain that the transition will be fairly problem free, and less dramatic than its critics would hope for. Dollars to doughnuts in five years or less, folks will look back at 2011 and wonder what the fuss was all about. However, you can be sure that I *will* be intolerant in my command(s) of anyone who can’t figure out how to treat their fellow sevicemembers with the respect that they deserve.

  • Claude Berube

    To everyone who has posted: thanks for your comments pro and con and contributing to the debate. I hope that vital issues like force structure, platform costs, improving weapon sysems, future peer competitors, etc, will generate as much discussion here on the USNI blog and in Proceedings. Merry Christmas.