On the advice of more than 50 retired generals and admirals, the House Armed Services Committee agreed this week to revisit the utility of the “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy. The discriminatory standard, which has led to the discharge of thousands of capable troops serving in the midst of two wars, has already been rejected by voters, and lawmakers are prepared to rethink the approach.
But what’s the best way to win the policy debate? Emphasize fairness? Military readiness? The fact that gay soldiers are already serving their country honorably? The fact that it costs a lot of money to undermine our own national security?
No, as it turns out, the way to make it painfully obvious that the right is wrong about this is simply to let conservatives present their argument out loud.
Holding the first hearing in 15 years on the “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy, lawmakers invited a quartet of veterans to testify on the subject and also extended an invitation to [Elaine Donnelly], who has been working for years to protect our fighting forces from the malign influence of women.
Donnelly treated the panel to an extraordinary exhibition of rage. She warned of “transgenders in the military.” She warned that lesbians would take pictures of people in the shower. She spoke ominously of gays spreading “HIV positivity” through the ranks.
“We’re talking about real consequences for real people,” Donnelly proclaimed. Her written statement added warnings about “inappropriate passive/aggressive actions common in the homosexual community,” the prospects of “forcible sodomy” and “exotic forms of sexual expression,” and the case of “a group of black lesbians who decided to gang-assault” a fellow soldier.
At the witness table with Donnelly, retired Navy Capt. Joan Darrah, a lesbian, rolled her eyes in disbelief. Retired Marine Staff Sgt. Eric Alva, a gay man who was wounded in Iraq, looked as if he would explode.
Ironically, the more this apparently unhinged lunatic railed against gays in her testimony, the more lawmakers realized there are no legitimate arguments in support of the DADT policy.
Oliver Willis concluded, “In the near future some kid is going to ask his dad: ‘You mean they really stopped people for serving their country, not because they couldn’t perform the job but because they were gay? That’s dumb.’”