Don’t Repeal “Don’t Ask/Don’t Tell”

June 15, 2010 19:02

Don’t sacrifice unit cohesion for a social experiment. ‘American soldiers in battle don’t fight for what some president says on TV, they don’t fight for mom, apple pie or the American flag, they fight for one another.’ —Lieutenant Colonel Hal Moore, U.S. Army, We Were Soldiers Once, and Young

BY Stuart Koehl at The Weekly Standard

On May 27, 2010, the House of Representatives voted to repeal the so-called “Don’t Ask/Don’t Tell” (DADT) law of 1993 that, while leaving intact the military’s ban on homosexuals serving in uniform, prohibits the military from inquiring into the sexual preferences of military personnel or requiring them to answer questions about it. The Senate is expected to follow suit in coming weeks, though the public dissent by the chiefs of the individual Armed Services in opposition to Admiral Mike Mullen, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, shows how contentious the issue remains. Just a month earlier, the Navy announced that it would allow women to serve on submarines, further eroding the military’s traditional prohibition on women to fill combat roles.

Both issues—women in combat and gays in the military—are different manifestations of a single problem: the failure of America’s political leadership to understand the factors that motivate men to fight in battle and to continue fighting under the most horrific conditions—what professionals call “combat effectiveness” and “unit cohesion” respectively. In all the discussions of the issue, these terms seldom come up; when they do, it is only to be dismissed out of hand by those who wish to see all military positions opened to both women and homosexuals.


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