I read this piece by Matt Kennard at Salon.com with real interest. By the time I was done, I felt even more angry about the policy of "Don't Ask; Don't Tell." The U.S. Military is continually, according to Kennard, relaxing or not enforcing the standards that govern who should be allowed in the military with regard to racist or criminal activity. Yet, it seems comfortable with the notion of drumming out gay or lesbian service members. WTF!!!!???????
It offends me to my core that there are straight up racists, intent on actual violence (eventually) within the U.S, allowed to serve this country. Our military is training these folks, shrugging its shoulders when evidence shows that they are infecting like a cancer our troops. Is it widespread? I hope not. But, it would no doubt send some on the right into full apoplexy if we focused on finding out. We all remember the reaction that hit DHS for a Bush era requested report on right-wing extremism (a reaction that pretended that there was not an earlier report issued about left-wing extremists), in spite of its prescience.
Let me break it down this way. My father was in the Marine Corps (Vietnam vet). My step-father was in the Army (Vietnam vet). One of my brothers was in the Air Force (first Iraq War vet). Both of my grandfathers were WWII veterans. I grew up in the Hampton Roads area of Virginia. I care about the military. I recognize its value, and honor what it stands for. But it amazes me that I would not be welcome, just as I am. It bothers me even more that someone like me is seen as a threat to unit cohesion, while someone who is a gang member, criminal or supremacist (as long at he/she is straight) gets a pass.
That makes no damn sense.
UPDATE: The NPR show "Fresh Air" focused on DADT today. Here is a link on historian Nathaniel Frank's perspective on the issue, as well as information on his book Unfriendly Fire: How the Gay Ban Undermines the Military and Weakens America. And here is a link to Terry Gross' interview with Alex Nicholson, a recent veteran.