Last January, Sen. Ron Wyden (D-OR) wrote a letter to Defense Secretary Robert Gates asking him for his opinion on the military’s “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” (DADT) policy “in light of the growing call of military leaders to reconsider DADT and the mounting evidence that calls into question the rationale for this policy.”
“The Global War on Terrorism is far-reaching and unrelenting,” wrote David S. C. Chu, Defense Undersecretary for Personnel and Readiness… “A national debate on changing” the Pentagon’s ban on openly gay service members would bring “divisiveness and turbulence across our country,” which “will compound the burden of the war.”
This is a shoddy attempt to stifle debate, and in fact the opposite is true — repeal of DADT would relieve, not worsen, the “burden of the war” on our military.
Since DADT went info effect, the Pentagon has dismissed more than 11,000 servicemembers, around 800 of whom had “some training in an occupation identified … as ‘critical.’” At a time when the military faces a readiness crisis, the Pentagon can ill-afford to dismiss two service members a day as it is doing under the current policy. One study by the Servicemembers Legal Defense Network found the U.S. military could attract as many as 41,000 new recruits if gays and lesbians were allowed to be open about their sexual orientation.