Friday, December 24, 2010

Midland, Tex... Ending 'don't ask don't tell' wasn't a priority

Editor’s Note: Vice President Joe Biden has reportedly said that voters favored the repeal of “Don’t Ask Don’t Tell,” despite the polls that indicated most in the military were against it. I did a web search… this editorial from the Midland (Tex.) Reporter-Telegram was the only commentary on it that I could find…

From the Midland Reporter-Telegram…
Ending 'don't ask don't tell' wasn't priority No. 1

With the political life of many Democrats close to an end, Congress has taken an ill-advised path to hurried legislation with the repeal of the military's "don't ask, don't tell" policy.
In fact, we were more than disappointed that a few Republicans joined in this effort. President Barack Obama is expected to clear the way for gays to serve openly in the military when he signed this bill into law. It is, after all, one of his campaign promises.
It is said that polls now indicate that a majority of Americans think it's OK for gays to serve in uniform. Judging from this obvious shift in public opinion, we assume that it was only a matter of time before this step was forthcoming, but it does little to wipe away some of the fears we have over the new policy.
Marine Corps Commandant Gen. James Amos shares our concern. He argued against the policy change and fears there could be problems in combat units where military personnel serve in close quarters for extended periods of time. We hope our military mission will not be compromised by this move, but we have too little data to know for sure.
We also wonder if current troops will accept this decidedly different course of action. A Pentagon study showed nearly 60 percent of those serving in the Marine Corps and Army combat units thought repealing the law would hurt their units' ability to fight. So, there is reason to believe troops may feel threatened by the gay lifestyle that is surely bound to arise in the open.
The acceptance of open homosexuality may prove to be far more difficult to implement than repeal advocates ever envisioned, especially during war-time conditions, and reversing this policy is unlikely.
Lastly, this reeks of the kind of politics America supposedly voted against in November. We also believe America's biggest problems deal with a broken economy, its citizens out of work and government spending that is out of control. Where are the priorities of this Congress and our president? In the list of things that needed to be accomplished this fell way short, and we frankly expected more of leadership in Washington.
However as we move forward, we have confidence that the men and women who volunteer to protect us will put the mission before our politics. The military has shown itself to be able to adapt to changes, because there are things in place to keep the focus on the fight. So while we have reservations about the repeal of "don't ask, don't tell," we have confidence in a military that is the envy of the rest of the world.

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