Gay issues got a little attention at Sunday’s Democratic debate. Hillary was asked whether “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” was a mistake.
It was a transition policy, and it was an effort to try to deal with the reality that probably since the very beginning of our nation we’ve had gays serving in our military with distinction and honor on behalf of our country, as we do today. And yet I have watched how “don’t ask, don’t tell” has been implemented, and I’ve concluded that it is not the best way for us as a nation to proceed.
It has been in many instances implemented in a discriminatory manner. You know, after the first Gulf War, there was a big flood of discharges of gays and lesbians because they let them serve, and then after they finished the war, then they discharged them. In this particular time period, we’ve had Arabic linguists discharged under “don’t ask, don’t tell” when we are, unfortunately, so short of having people who speak the very language that our men and women in uniform have to understand in the streets of Baghdad.
So I believe we could change the policy to let gays and lesbians serve in the military and be covered by the Uniform Code of Military Justice so, just like those who are not gays and lesbians, if there were conduct problems, then the conduct problems would be looked at, but people would not be judged on who they are.
And I just want to end by saying Barry Goldwater once said you don’t have to be straight to shoot straight, and I think he was right, and I believe we should open up our military.