Alex Blaze

Military journal calls for an end to DADT

Filed By Alex Blaze | September 30, 2009 6:30 PM | comments

Filed in: The Movement
Tags: Armed Services, budget, Congress, Don't Ask Don't Tell, gays in the military, joint force quarterly, military, pentagon

Joint Force Quarterly is going to publish an article calling for an end to the ban on gays in the military:

"After a careful examination, there is no scientific evidence to support the claim that unit cohesion will be negatively affected if homosexuals serve openly,'' writes Colonel Om Prakash, who is now working in the office of Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates. "Based on this research, it is not time for the administration to reexamine the issue; rather it is time for the administration to examine how to implement the repeal of the ban.''

They think they can call the shots on policies like this, and, considering how almost every president and congresscritter lives in fear of being branded a DFH, they pretty much do. It's a big part of why their budget is so big.

So the fact that the Pentagon is at least partly getting behind a change (and it'll have to be a change since just repealing DADT would mean that the wholesale ban on LGB people will be put back in place) in policy is a good sign for LGB people in the military and those who'll have to join up eventually as the economy becomes less and less equal that they really don't have much of a choice.

The author, Om Prakash, focuses on the lives of LGB people in the military:

But the crux of Prakash's argument is that the military is now forcing thousands of soldiers to live a lie, directly undercutting the very fabric of their profession.

"The law also forces unusual personal compromises wholly inconsistent with a core military value - integrity,'' he writes. "Several homosexuals interviewed were in tears as they described the enormous personal compromise in integrity they had been making, and the pain felt in serving in an organization they wholly believed in, yet that did not accept them.''

He continues: "In an attempt to allow homosexual service members to serve quietly, a law was created that forces a compromise in integrity, conflicts with the American creed of 'equality for all,' places commanders in difficult moral dilemmas, and is ultimately more damaging to the unit cohesion its stated purpose is to preserve.''

What? The closet is a deception? Burying our heads in the sand about human sexuality and pretending like it's a moral choice that can be turned on and off like a light switch denies reality and is therefore dishonest?

Not coming out is literally a lie, but it's a justifiable one in many situations. And enlisted folks who need a paycheck and medical care don't lose any respect from me by not coming out, especially in this economy.

But they're losing respect for themselves when there's really no need. All this policy was ever about is communally reinforcing insecure semi-straight boys' masculinity so that they're secure enough to express their homoerotic urges, since it's not gay if everyone else doing it is straight. That and old ideas die hard, including old stereotypes about gay people (both gay men and lesbians) as sexual predators.

This is why Congress has power over the military, at least according to the now-quaint Constitution. Instead, even mainstream publications like the Boston Globe think that the military gets to decide who's allowed to join up or not:

The views do not necessarily reflect those of Pentagon leaders, but their appearance in a publication billed as the Joint Chiefs' "flagship'' security studies journal signals that the top brass now welcomes a debate in the military over repealing the 1993 law that requires gays to hide their sexual orientation, according to several longtime observers of the charged debate over gays in the military.

Well, la-di-da. They welcome a debate. Sorry, but it's been happening and it should happen whether they like it or not, because us rubes civilians are paying their paychecks.

Recent Entries Filed under The Movement:

Leave a comment

We want to know your opinion on this issue! While arguing about an opinion or idea is encouraged, personal attacks will not be tolerated. Please be respectful of others.

The editorial team will delete a comment that is off-topic, abusive, exceptionally incoherent, includes a slur or is soliciting and/or advertising. Repeated violations of the policy will result in revocation of your user account. Please keep in mind that this is our online home; ill-mannered house guests will be shown the door.

1. This article does not reflect the official position of "the Pentagon," but of one writer who was allowed to express his opinions. Further, those opinions can be cherry-picked by both sides including those like the ones REALLY "calling the shots" such as Secty of Excuses Gates, Chair of the Joint Homohaters Mullen, and National Homohatred Advisor Jones who as much as they smile fuck understanding that Obama "weally weally means it" are not just screaming and hollering against repeal behind closed doors but publicly repeating childish "the sky would fall" warnings and, in Gates' case demonstrating either his rank stupidity or his shameless ability to lie when he continues to insist three months after claiming he wants to find "humane" ways to DADT that he can't find any. A 12-yr. old with a dial-up connection and Google could find them.

2. There is no reason to believe "just repealing DADT would mean that the wholesale ban on LGB people will be put back in place."

If the Commander-in-Chief ever retrieves his balls from the claws of the giant homophobic dinosaurs in the Jurassic Park of the Pentagon such that he actually, as he repeatedly promised to do in the campaign, LEADS Congress to repeal [which primordial DADT opponent & Chair of the Senate Armed Services Committee Carl Levin insists is the ONLY way repeal will happen] ....and AFTER he's issued the executive "stop-loss" order in the name of national security as the law "10 USC 12305" passed by Congress in 1983 EMPOWERS him to do....they wouldn't dare try to dust off Department of Defense Directive 1332.14, the last version of the ban issued on January 16, 1981.

That would be like someone telling his mommy who's just taken away the bat he's been beating Gomer with, "OK, I'll beat him with the shovel instead."

3. What part of DADT is NOT "wholesale"?

Before DADT you could be kicked out simply for "being" gay and after DADT you can be kicked out simply for "being" gay, no matter how often one of the Pentagon puppets lies through his/her tax-paid-for teeth and denies it.

4. There are Three Truman Balls er Truths Mr. Obama is choosing to ignore.

(a) No matter how long it took to racially integrate the services it would never have happened at all had someone not forced the issue. And homophobia today in or out of the services is microscopic contrasted with the racism in 1948 and thereafter.

(b) As you note, the generals report to the President, not the reverse. IN THE MIDDLE OF THE KOREAN WAR, Truman fired the general in charge for insubordination [as Clinton should have Colin Powell in 1993]. NYC gave MacArthur a spectacular ticker tape Welcome Home Hero parade, Congress gave him a standing ovation, but the firing stuck, and, just the brass asshat who thought he was POTUS, Caesar, AND God, was shocked to discover that his lachrymal description to the Joint Session of Congress that adored him of what happens to "old soldiers" was true even for him: "they just fade away."

(c) The sign on Truman's desk [now in Carter's Atlanta recreation of the Oval Office] read:

"The buck stops here."

Anyone who would like to help Frank Kameny, Troy Perry, David Mixner, Dan Choi, Eric Alva, Anthony Woods, et al. remind our current Commander-in-Chief of that is invited to join a DADT protest and memorial to honor the first servicemember to challenge the ban [when Obama was only 13], Leonard Matlovich, the day before the National Equality March, Saturday, October 10, at 2 pm in Congressional Cemetery at 1801 E Street SE at Potomac Avenue. [Within walking distance of Potomac Ave & Stadium-Armory DC Metro stations.]


Thank you.

Thanks for leaving your opinion. Just in response to your second comment, I was basing the fact that just repealing DADT (instead of changing military policy towards same-sex lovin') would lead to a flat ban on LGB people on this discussion from two experts:

Thank you Michael for your constant fighting of this issue. You truly inspire me in this!

Thank you for linking to your sources. The problem, however, is your misreading, which you amplified by asserting as "FACT that just repealing DADT ... WOULD LEAD to a flat ban on LGB people."

While, ironically, you are bolstering your perception with two pieces that disagree with each other, the point is that neither says it one ban WOULD definitely replace another but are merely arguing over whether the flag officers want it TO happen. Theirs were, after all, in any case, just recommendations, regardless of how one interprets them. But, note, even Dixon Osburn uses conditional words such as "potential, " “may,” and “could,”...not your "would."

I've met both men, humbly accepting from Osburn's hands a posthumous Hero award for Leonard Matlovich, but I agree with Nathaniel Frank that Osborn's interpretation is careless at best, never more so than, as Frank points out, "the report recommends that any policy that is implemented establish standards which are 'neutral with respect to sexual orientation'." That would hardly leave any room for resurrecting a ban BASED on sexual orientation.

Finally, again, you write as if there are different flavors or whatever of bans [there, in fact, were in the past but nothing you've written suggests they are what you're alluding to].

Don't Ask, Don't Tell is ALREADY a "flat ban" less so functionally than Department of Defense Directive 1332.14 issued in 1981. Post repeal, should Osburn's worst fantasies come true, there's no way for it to be replaced by anything "flatter" in policy.

There are, on the other hand, ways for it to be replaced by something less "flat." One is effectively what Gates has been smile fucking us about: not discharging gays like Victor Fehrenbach who was not just outed by someone else but psychotically so. There is already leeway in the DADT statute and implementing regulations that could be used to do that. In short, one's immediate commander is the sole arbiter of whether or not the information that he or she has received that one is gay is "credible" and without that determination no discharge proceedings can commence.

Everything I've read about the ban for the last 34 years convinces me that there was an astronomically high probability that his commander would have, as many do, chosen to "look the other way" had not Fehrenbach's civilian accuser made it plain he would go ruthlessly public if they didn't discharge him. He'd already tried to convince Air Force intelligence services to accept his offer to entrap gay airmen but was rebuffed; called the police accusing Fehrenbach of raping...which they refused to believe...AND told them he WAS working for the Air Force as a literally uncover agent.

While he coerced the Air Force into moving toward discharge, the Air Force did all they could to help the 18-yr. veteran. Not only did they not charge him with violating the UCMJ "sodomy" statute, but postponed his discharge hearing until AFTER Obama took office...rather clearly Fehrenbach was...that BO would save him.

Note, while the leeway is there, Gates pretty words were just meant to further quiet the lavender natives [and, sadly, largely succeeded. They will NEVER willing allow any out gay person to serve while DADT is law for it would prove the fallacy of its justification in the first place.

There was a brief whiff between the lines of something Gates said a few months ago that recalled the short-lived stink during the spring of 1993 that out gays might be admitted but segregated somehow in duty assignments, etc. An idea even more stupid and indefensible today than it was 16-years ago.

As Palm Center director Dr. Aaron Belkin has put it, once out gays are allowed to serve either by executive order or repeal, Osburn's fears aside, there's simply no reason to believe the proverbial toothpaste can ever be put back in the tube again. Any more than variously racist and sexist Presidents like Nixon, Reagan, and Bush fils tried to reinstate racial segregation or return women to the handmaiden roles they were mostly limited to prior to 1975.

Dixon Osborn said:

By returning authority to regulate gays to the Pentagon, the Palm Center Study Group proposal allows the Pentagon to reinstitute a regulatory ban on gays in place of the law, just as it had done from World War II to 1993. The authors prefer that the military regain authority to regulate personnel matters in this area, but there is no guarantee that we would like the result coming out of the Pentagon. Former Joint Chiefs Chairman Peter Pace recently called gays "immoral." I doubt he would be leading the charge for equality. The Palm Center's Study Group report banks on a precarious hope that the military will do the right thing.

Nathaniel Frank disagreed with Osborn's assessment of the Palm Center's report, but doesn't seem to disagree with his assessment of current law:

First, there is no section that "prohibits acts committed for the purpose of 'satisfying sexual desires.'" Rather, the report recommends that any policy that is implemented establish standards which are "neutral with respect to sexual orientation" and suggests prohibitions against "inappropriate" sexual contact.

And, even if DADT were merely repealed, and the military code of conduct changed not to discriminate on the basis of SO, there would still be a need for non-discrimination legislation that specifically mentions SO since the military is exempted from ENDA.

Gay, Lesbian and Bisexual people aren't the only ones who have a stake in this issue. Here's a news flash that LGB people seem to forget (on purpose, in my opinion.) Trans people are subjected to DADT, regardless of their sexual orientation." and Trans people will continue to be kicked out or deny a chance serve even AFTER DADT is repealed. And the worst thing about it. The GLB people fighting this issue will not give a shit about our chances to serve openly once they get theirs. This will be another "We'll come back for you later" bullshit lie at its biggest.

Unfortunately, Monica, you are most likely correct. But rest assured that we will come back for the T's in the service after we win DOMA and a 50 state same sex marriage strategy, unless Rep Frank feels that the T's have not done enough education yet or another pressing issue comes along...

Do you suppose that we will wake up and tie the isues to each other at some point?

Amanda in the South Bay | October 1, 2009 1:54 PM

Well, part of it is a general ignorance among trans service members themselves as to what DADT covers and doesn't. When I was discharged for coming out as trans, I very specifically made it a point not to mention my orientation, and even go the thrill of telling some officers to politely shove it when I was asked. It also probably helped that I wasn't a gawky 19 year old away from home for the first time either.

I very much wish that a repeal of DADT would also allow trans people to serve openly; however, I do honestly think there are significant hurdles that would have to be addressed first.

So what's the hold up again on repealing it? Oh yeah. Politics.

Michael @ | October 1, 2009 12:39 PM

Word choice is important. Ts are not discharged under DADT "as Ts" but they ARE wrongly discharged and I share the belief that they should be included in any pro active non-discrimination legislation to accompany DADT repeal.

I do not see Transgender American Veterans Assocation on the list of endorsements of the National Equality March but, again, all LGBTs and non-LGBTs who care about military bigotry are invited to join Frank Kameny, Troy Perry, Dan Choi, Eric Alva, Anthony Woods, et al. at the DADT Protest on October 10th at 2 pm in DC's Congressional Cemetery, 1801 E Street SE at Potomac Ave. [Near Potomac Ave & Stadium-Armory DC Metro stations.] See:

Recapping why:

There are multiple theories as to why the President has not kept his explicit promses to start fighting for DADT repeal the moment he took office .... you can read them and see video at The only thing we know for certain is that HE'S DONE NOTHING except:

1. Continue to discharge people day after least 432 so far and counting....even though he's publicly said their discharges "weaken national security."

2. Defended DADT in court.

3. As noted above, pretended that he does not have the legal authority to freeze discharges IMMEDIATELY in the name of national security when he DOES under the powers given any president in the law known as 10 U.S.C. § 12305 - “Authority of the President to Suspend Certain Laws Relating to Promotion, Retirement, and Separation.” Even Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid says he does and should, and just yesterday HuffPost revealed that Reid sent letters to Obama & Gates last week appealing for help: ""Your leadership in this matter is greatly appreciated and needed at this time."

4. As noted above, sent Secretary of Excuses er Defense Gates out to distract the lavendar natives by pretending to be looking for a way in DADT regulations to be more "humane." 3 months later he claims he's still looking for what a 12 yr.-old with a dialup connection & Google could find in minutes.

5. Refused to even answer the letter sent by Cong. Alcee Hastings & 76 other Congress members asking him to instruct Gates to use such legal leeway; nor a SECOND letter Hastings has sent. Harry Reid need not sit by his mailbox.

6. Pressured Hastings into withdrawing an amendment to the defense appropriations bill that would have withheld funds for discharges. Can't even debate it!

7. Pressured Sen. Gillebrand into withdraw an amendment that would have put an 18-mo. moratorium on discharges.

As for Congress:

1. No repeal bill AT ALL yet in Senate.

2. Not enough cosponsors of House bill to pass. House Armed Services Committee Chair is Ike Skelton who INTRODUCED the DADT bill to the House in 1993 after Nunn created it in the Senate.

3. Hearings promised but still "pie in the sky."

4. Are acting [on just about everything, LGBT or not] as if they were the MINORITY party...or have been drugged into a stupor.

During the campaign, in a different context, Obama quoted FDR's response to black civil rights icon A. Philip Randolph: "I agree .... Now go out and make me do it" and said it should be applied to him when he was President.

Let's do that at this DADT protest on the 10th & the March on the 11th.