Over the weekend at CPAC, former senator Rick Santorum accused military leaders of misleading America over what was best for America when they came out in favor of repealing “Don’t ask, don’t tell,” the unpopular policy banning gays from serving openly in the military. “Political correctness is reigning in the military right now,” he said. “Some people say: whatever the generals say! I’m not too sure that we haven’t so indoctrinated the officer corps in this country that they can actually see straight to make the right decision.” In case Santorum’s complete lack of personal experience with the military wasn’t enough to make you question this view, a study came out today revealing that quick adoption of openly serving gays in foreign armed forces had no bad repercussions.
The report concludes that in foreign militaries, openly gay service members did not undermine morale, cause large resignations or mass “comings out.” The report found that “there were no instances of increased harassment” as a result of lifting bans in any of the countries studied. In addition, the report says that none of the countries studied installed separate facilities for gay troops, and that benefits for gay partners were generally in accordance with a country’s existing benefits for gay and lesbian couples.
The results of the study also indicated that even swift reversals of gay bans had no ill effect — which even contradicts what Admiral Mike Mullen and other American military leaders have said about the need for a slow transition.
This news, combined with polls that increasingly show the majority of Americans back a DADT repeal, should make it all the less surprising that far-right Democrat (of sorts) Joe Lieberman plans to become the chief sponsor of such a bill in the Senate. All Americans should be granted “an equal opportunity to do whatever job their talents and sense of purpose and motivations lead them to want to do — including military service,” he told columnist Jamie Kirchick in the Daily News. “When you artificially limit the pool of people who can enlist, then you are diminishing military effectiveness.” Lieberman’s role as chairman of the Senate Homeland Security Committee and member of the Armed Services Committee will likely lend weight to his endorsement with Republicans, who have warmed to him as Democrats have simultaneously cooled. It will also put liberal Democrats in the position of having to back a measure fronted by a senator they increasingly distrust and even despise.
Gay Soldiers Don’t Cause Disruption, Study Says [NYT]
On ‘ask,’ Lieberman answers the call: An exclusive chat about Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell [NYDN]
Earlier: So What Happens Next for ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’?