Friday, June 08, 2007

Gays in the Military, Round #32,008

by shamanic

It's a really remarkable thing that every single candidate for the Democratic nomination for president supports the repeal of the military's Don't Ask, Don't Tell anti-gay compromise measure. (They also all back federal rights for gay families, generally as civil unions. Kucinich, alone, supports full marriage equality for gay couples). Unremarkable is the fact that no Republican candidate supports the repeal of Don't Ask, Don't Tell, trotting out the old "the military isn't a social laboratory" argument as a reason to persist with more-of-the-same.

My brother is a National Guardsman who has worked closely with a number of units who've deployed to Afghanistan and Iraq since 2001. Granted, he has a lesbian sister so maybe certain war stories from his buddies stand out, but I was thrilled to hear one particular story that he shared from a friend who'd spent time in Kabul just after the overthrow of the Taliban.

According to his soldier friend, one of happiest groups to have been liberated from Taliban oppression was gay Afghans. As my brother told it, "It wasn't like they were waving rainbow flags, but they knew they wouldn't be hunted anymore."

In other words, our troops are aware that when they liberate a nation from despotic rule, one of the groups most grateful for their efforts, most supportive of modernization and progress, is that country's homosexual population, almost always a deeply oppressed segment.

And our troops serve alongside gay soldiers from nations that allow that, all over the world. Europe's militaries are mostly open to openly gay and lesbian soldiers; Israel's has been for many, many years. And of course, America's military has plenty of gay and lesbian soldiers serving, many of whom are effectively out to their colleagues, if not their superiors.

There really isn't an argument for excluding gays and lesbians from the military except that a lot of older Americans still haven't managed to get past their ick factor when pondering the sexual behavior of gay men. Most of the younger generation finds this reaction silly if not offensive, but that's pretty much where the GOP finds itself today.

The party of the old, the party of the outmoded, the party of yesterday's thinking. Your Republican Party: Perfectly suited for the White House, if only this were 1950.

No comments: