On Tuesday, the Missouri State Senate debated President Obama’s call to repeal Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell (DADT) with dueling “non-binding resolutions alternately calling for the repeal and preservation of the military policy.” Both sides regurgitated familiar arguments but State Senator Gary Nodler, who is running in the Republican primary for Rep. Roy Blunt’s (R-MI) seat, carved out a new reason for maintaining the current policy.
Nodler said that “being openly gay in the military ‘in and of itself’ could be grounds for a sexual harassment complaint by another serviceman, and characterized Don’t Ask Don’t Tell as a way to accommodate gays’ service ‘in a way that doesn’t create a hostile workplace.’” Then, Nodler suggested that allowing openly gay soldiers in the military “could represent a ‘cultural affront’” to terrorists intent on killing American troops.
“So you would create specific geopolitical strategic dilemmas for the U.S. military — specifically in the war in Afghanistan, “ Nodler said. “There are real-world implications. This is a policy that would directly threaten the lives of soldiers today.” St. Louis Post Dispatch columnist Tony Messenger summed up Nodler’s argument this way:
The Muslim nations of Iraq and Afghanistan, where America is fighting two wars, are opposed to homosexuality. Changing “Don’t ask, don’t tell” would offend the terrorists in such a way that could put soldiers — and America — at risk of further terrorist attacks.
Nodler’s logic is simple: adopt a new nondiscrimination policy and the terrorists win. So, therefore, we should re-segregate the military along sex and racial lines to appease the terrorists?
Cross-posted on The Wonk Room.
Gary Nodler responds in the comments section on The Wonk Room:
I never said that this would be a cultural affront to terrorists. I don’t care what they think. I said it would be a cultuaral affront to the Muslims in who’s country we are operating. We can not win the hearts and minds of the people by insulting them and ignoring the standards of their culture. This is about the people who live there and the armies we are serving with. Your comment makes the common mistake that all Muslims are terrorists.
Still, Nodler is comfortable allowing foreign nations and cultures to dictate U.S. policy.
,VoteVets’ co-founder and chairman Jon Soltz issued this statement to ThinkProgress in response to Nodler:
Sen. Nodler is as clueless as he is offensive. We have women serving in uniform, in theater, every day, despite many people in the region believing women should play no such role. It has posed no problems for our Armed Forces. What is a problem is that we’ve lost hundreds of translators, and thousands overall, under Don’t Ask Don’t Tell, so our troops are fighting shorthanded. Sen. Nodler should be a lot more concerned about that.