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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

DADT policy hearkens back to darker time

Last Thursday, the Pentagon released its findings about the possible repercussions of gay Americans openly serving in the military and suggested that there was little evidence that efficiency would fall by the wayside as a result. Nonetheless, Sen. John McCain of Arizona made his staunch opposition quite apparent when talking with Defense Secretary Robert Gates and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Adm. Mike Mullen, who both defended the report before the U.S. Senate.

According to The New York Times, McCain cited a recent Pentagon survey of service members as his main issue of concern. The survey found that 58 percent of Marines and 48 percent of Army combat troops felt that repealing the law would have a negative effect on their unit’s cohesiveness. Gates attempted to refute this by stating that many of those surveyed were young soldiers with limited battle experience, who had never even served with a woman. He said their concerns could be mitigated with time.

McCain, being a war veteran himself, had this gem to retort with: “”I think they’re mature enough to make a judgment on who they want to serve with and the impact on their battle effectiveness … I speak from personal experience.””

Perhaps McCain is on to something here; maybe our soldiers should be able to choose who serves next to them in battle. If Pvt. Johnson doesn’t want a homosexual in his sleeping quarters on the aircraft carrier, why should he have to put up with it? He is potentially sacrificing his life, and he might have to serve with another American who is sacrificing his or her gay life?  

If we must allow homosexuals openly in the military, perhaps we could find a way around that whole Brown v. the Board of Education’s  “”separate and inherently unequal”” decision. I suggest constructing entirely gay units. We could call them operation “”Rainbow Brigade.”” Perhaps we could contract some designer to fashion pink and white camouflage for them, too. And let’s also be sure to address every other gay stereotype, including their apparent insatiable sex drive, fabulous fashion sense, inexplicable cleanliness and effeminate speech. Heck, while we’re at it let’s apply this to more than sexual preference. Let’s get back to the good ol’ days of separate units based on race. Soldiers aren’t  going to want to serve next to people who don’t look like them anyway, right?

Of course, it is actually quite embarrassing to think that an honest-to-God American hero like McCain is suggesting that our service members should choose who they serve with. Really, McCain? You don’t see any possible issue with that? If we’re starting with choosing whether or not to serve with homosexuals, let’s let them choose whether or not they want to serve with a woman, whether they want to serve with an 18-year-old or a 25-year-old; heck, let’s even let them choose whether they want to serve with a Caucasian, Hispanic or African American. I know we all want to be optimistic and say that racism and sexism are dead, but come on back down to reality, please.

Another brilliant idea that has been pushed is “”not now.”” Many senators and military officials are saying that now is not the time to be repealing the law. Being involved in two wars leaves absolutely no time for such “”crackpot”” ideas as “”equality”” and “”fairness.””  Ignoring this issue will certainly lead to the death of all the progress already made.  

But if we don’t act now to set right this injustice, we may not be able to muster up the steam to do so for a very long time.  

One last thing to consider: African Americans were given their freedom and citizenship in 1868 via the 14th Amendment, but they wouldn’t see the day that their military recognized them as equals until President Harry Truman’s Executive Order 9981 in 1948. Do you think a majority of servicemen would’ve chosen to have an African American in their unit then?  

— Storm Byrd is a political science sophomore. He can be reached at letters@wildcat.arizona.edu.

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