Bil Browning

Former Joint Chief supports repeal of Don't Ask

Filed By Bil Browning | January 02, 2007 5:26 PM | comments

Filed in: The Movement
Tags: civil rights, Don't Ask Don't Tell, LGBT civil rights, LGBT community, military

johnshalikashvili.jpgFormer General and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff John Shalikashvili has an eye-opening editorial in today's New York Times titled "Second Thoughts on Gays in the Military."

The General recounts the history of "Don't Ask Don't Tell" and how it was enacted during the Clinton presidency. Interestingly enough, he doesn't apologize for his role in the policy - instead he stands behind his decision and defends it as the correct one for the time. Now, however, he thinks the time has come to repeal it and allow gays and lesbians to openly serve.

I now believe that if gay men and lesbians served openly in the United States military, they would not undermine the efficacy of the armed forces. Our military has been stretched thin by our deployments in the Middle East, and we must welcome the service of any American who is willing and able to do the job.
The General does warn that the issue of gays in the military shouldn't deter us from finally developing a working strategy for the occupation of Iraq. He worries that our issue would supplant the war as the priority target.

Congratulations to the General for "coming out" and supporting his decisions - prior and current.

The day is coming - closer and closer.

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Maybe I'm sour grapes and I apologize if I'm putting a damper on things, but it seems to me that they're desperate for troops, and this is one easy way to get more. I am in no way saying gays and lesbians shouldn't be in the military; I'm just saying maybe the military isn't as wonderful as they may seem to be.

I agree. Through history, gays in the military is an issue detrimental to our nation's security; that is, until the body count rises and positions need to be filled. I don't think it's sour grapes to question the timing. Remember, these guys don't get to become Generals without the ability to excel in strategic military manuevers.

Well, there's a retired general in my family (by marriage, not blood). And having watched his career over a few decades...they survive and rise because, more than anything, they know how to work the system. A/K/A/ "bob and weave." He's not a brilliant strategist. But he barks like he is, and that's half the battle.

Only the U.S. Military would have the Army, Air Force, Navy and Marines all flying planes, duplicitous tho it is. Service corps pride and jealousy cost this nation hundreds of millions each year.

Guess where retired full birds and clusters (generals/admirals) go after they retire early? Military industry "service representatives" or "special operations consultants."

The military grunts always ahve carried most of the load. And they couldn't give two hoots about fellow grunts' sexuality.

I find it interesting that all of you went where I decided not to go. When I first wrote this piece, I had in a couple more paragraphs about how convenient it was that now that Bush wants a troop surge, generals are considering allowing us to serve (and, therefore, die for) our country.

After a few moments of thought, I decided I was being too negative and should focus on the positives. I'm glad that I'm not the only one thinking this though...

My tour included being stationed at NATO Headquarters in Germany, where there was six generals and seven officers for every enlisted personnel. Being a Non-Commisioned Officer, I walked away with my fair share of cynicism of the manuevers I witnessed on and off the "battlefield".