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Repealing "Don't Ask" Will Weaken the U.S. Military

The Pentagon's report misses the point.

10:45 AM, Dec 3, 2010 • By MACKUBIN THOMAS OWENS
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Will “hate speech” policies apply to the armed forces after the repeal of the law? If a service member uses a term offensive to homosexuals, can he be charged with hate speech? Will commanders be required to take judicial action?  If no judicial action is taken, will commanders be subject to civil or criminal suit by various homosexual political groups and their elected sponsors? 

Will the personal opinion on homosexuality of a service member become an impediment to promotion or assignment to key billets? Are there any assignments to which homosexuals must be or may not be assigned?

Will the Senate and the House Armed Services committees demand sexuality statistics to make certain that homosexuals are being promoted at the same rate as non-homosexuals? Will homosexuals be promoted at a faster rate to "compensate" for previous years of discrimination?

What benefits will same-sex “partners” receive? How long must one have a relationship to qualify as a partner?  Will partners of homosexuals be assigned to on-base housing?  Do former partners of active duty homosexuals retain dependent benefits (like a divorced spouse) when divorce is not a legal option?

Will homosexual service members be permitted to date each other? Live with each other as partners in bachelor officer quarters (BOQ) or bachelor enlisted quarters (BEQ)?  How does this affect fraternization regulations?

Will homosexuals be deployed to countries where homosexuality is a crime? If not, who picks up the slack?

Such questions need to be addressed, but the Pentagon report largely ignores them. More importantly it ignores the impact of the issues raised by such questions on the effectiveness and readiness of U.S. forces and the consequences for retention and recruiting.

The Pentagon report is right to note that implementing repeal of the law can be done, but at what cost to U.S. security? The report makes it clear that military readiness and effectiveness are to be subordinated to a political agenda. The United States military will be weakened as a result.

Mackubin Thomas Owens, a Marine Corps combat veteran of Vietnam, is editor of Orbis, the quarterly journal of the Foreign Policy Research Institute (FPRI). His book, US Civil-Military Relations After 9/11: Renegotiating the Civil-Military Bargain, will be published in January of 2011. 

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