(Repost) Brig. Gen. John Adams on DADT Repeal

Posted by AzBlueMeanie:

Contributor to Blog for Arizona and my friend, Brig. Gen. Ret. John Adams, wrote this op/ed on DADT repeal for the Arizona Daily Star back in August 2009. Op Ed: Arizona Daily Star, Brigadier General John Adams | Servicemembers Legal Defense Network:

Time for US to let gays serve openly in military
By Brig. Gen. John Adams

Tucson, Arizona | Published: 08.19.2009

This fall Congress will revisit the "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" law barring openly gay people from serving in the military. It's about time. This law damages our national security. Every time we discharge someone under the law, the American people lose someone we need for our defense.

Lt. Col. Victor Fehrenbach, an Air Force weapons systems officer with more than 2,100 flight hours, flew combat missions in Iraq, Afghanistan and the Balkans. He received nine air medals – one for heroism. He defended our country in combat, but he will be discharged soon because the military discovered he's gay.

His loss – and the loss of thousands of other gay and lesbian service members under Don't Ask, Don't Tell – denies the American people the service of loyal, capable combat veterans.

My 30 years in the Army taught me that performance and loyalty to our Constitution is what counts. Gender, race, religion and sexuality are irrelevant when it comes to defending our Constitution.

Being gay or lesbian has no bearing on how well a soldier, sailor, airman or marine does the mission.

Since 1993, 13,000 service members have been discharged under the law, including nearly 300 linguists and 60 Arabic linguists.

At a time when our military leadership has requested thousands more troops for the fight in Afghanistan, discharging loyal, competent troops – many with critical, low-density skills, is irresponsible.

Many of the same arguments made today by opponents of repeal – chaos and disruption will ensue – were made to oppose President Truman's executive order to desegregate the armed forces in 1948.

Disruption didn't occur then, and it won't occur today with open service.

Some predict that if gay people served openly, straight service members will exit. There is no evidence this will happen.

All credible studies – as far back as a 1993 RAND report – conclude that openly gay people in the U.S. military have no negative impact on unit cohesion, morale and good order.

Moreover, attitudes within the military, particularly among the younger generation, are ready for open service. According to a 2006 Zogby poll of Iraq and Afghanistan veterans, 73 percent said they were comfortable with lesbians and gays.

Notably, there was no exodus by straight service members in Britain, Australia or Israel after they changed their policies to allow open service. As one British general put it, "Allowing open service in the British forces was the biggest non-event of the century."

Only Congress can repeal Don't Ask, Don't Tell, and there is new momentum in Washington to do so. In the House, a U.S. Army Iraq veteran is the lead co-sponsor of the bill to repeal. Hearings are set in the Senate this fall – the first time the issue has gotten a national public hearing since 1993.

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It's important to contact [our senators] and our other representatives to let them know we can't afford to wait any longer – it's time to repeal this destructive law.

Write to John Adams at bakatu@msn.com

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