This morning, former Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Gen. Hugh Shelton suggested that openly gay servicemembers could undermine the U.S. military, telling ABC’s Christiane Amanpour that the United States has never lost a war to a foreign country that allows open service:
AMANPOUR: Would you support [ending don’t ask, don’t tell] if the Pentagon review says it’s time to get rid of it?
SHELTON: If the men and women in uniform at the fighting level, particularly the Marines and Army say, ‘no it doesn’t make any difference to us,’ and therefore it won’t break the readiness of our great armed forces…
AMANPOUR: Why do you think it would? I mean some of the great allies of the United States have. Whether it’s Canada, whether it’s Britain, France, Australia, even Israel allows openly gay men and women to serve in the military. And they have great armies, great militaries.
SHELTON: They have great militaries, great armies. But if you check the historical records, Christiane, as you know, we’ve never lost to any of them. We are the top of the pile. We are the best in the world. And we want to stay that way.
Shelton’s argument is confusing because “the historical records” also show that the United States has not engaged in armed conflict with these nations since they’ve allowed open service and their experiences actually reveal that open gay servicemembers don’t undermine military readiness or effectiveness. (H/T: @tcmassie)