During her first appearance on Fox News Sunday, Sarah Palin criticized President Obama for calling for an end to ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’ in his State of the Union address, but did not defend the policy. “There are other things to be worried about right now with the military. I think that kind of on the back burner, is sufficient for now,” Palin said:
PALIN: I don’t think so right now. I’m surprised that the President spent time on that in his State of the Union speech when he spent only about 9 percent of his time in the State of the Union on national security issues. And I say that because there are other things to be worried about right now with the military. I think that kind of on the back burner, is sufficient for now. To put so much time, and effort, and politics into it, unnecessary.
Palin suggested that the policy is working without adopting a more reactionary tone towards gays openly servicing in the armed forces. Unlike her other proclamations, this answer sounded almost reasonable. After all, should the military really alter DADT during a time of war?
It should. It’s particularly during times of war, when the military is stretched thin and is asking its members to fight for freedoms in distant lands that it should grant all of its soldiers the right to be who they are. But the argument against change during wartime also doesn’t work because “there is no end in sight to the war on terror” and endless war cannot be a reason for “permanent stasis in military policy.”
In fact, as historian Mary L. Dudziak points out, wartime has actually “the context for the expansion of equality rights” within the military and civil society. President Truman desegregated the military in the context (and largely because of) the Korean War. Congress passed ‘The Women’s Armed Services Integration Act’ — granting women permanent status in the Regular and Reserve forces of the Army, Navy, Marine Corps and the Air Force — in 1948, and President Johnson signed sweeping Civil Rights legislation during the conflict in Vietnam.