So, your favorite rabble-rousers, me, Ms. O'Neill, Mr. Coffman, and Ms. Smalls, are circulating a letter asking that you join us in condemning the visit of military recruiters to our school. I want to make it clear that I am not against the military. My step-dad is a veteran. My great-uncle Webb was signed to play basketball for Adolph Rupp, but volunteered to go to
1. The Don’t Ask Don’t Tell policy is discriminatory for no reason, and is bad for our national security. Even its most staunch defenders like former Secretary of State Gen. Colin Powell, former Chair of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. John Shalikashvili, and former Secretary of Defense William Cohen are coming around to the fact that there is no good reason to stop perfectly able Americans from serving their country. For those who fear difficulty in integrating LGBT troops, they could look to two of the best armies in the world, Great Britain and Israel, to see how all fit citizens can serve together peacefully without any damage to troop morale. I’d rather look to our own military, perhaps the greatest model of integration in American history. When the president ordered the military racially integrated, people feared the reaction of our troops, not understanding that when the commander-in-chief makes an order, it is absolute. The result is the most powerful military perhaps in world history. Integration worked once with much more baggage, and it can work again.
What’s perhaps worse for the
The bottom line is, according to our military leaders, congressional reports, the 9/11 commission, and countless soldiers whose lives have been destroyed by discrimination, there is neither a rational nor a moral basis for retaining Don’t Ask Don’t Tell. The only thing keeping it in place is pure bigotry.
2. So, Don’t Ask Don’t Tell is bad for the
Very reasonable people who are against Don’t Ask Don’t Tell will tell you that JAG recruiters should still be allowed in order to maintain our military and to dismantle the discriminatory policy from the inside-out. With all due respect to them, this would never be a question if it were women being excluded from hiring, or Muslims, or any other suspect minority, as it should not be. We all pay the same tuition, but some of us are not afforded equal opportunity. Students need to stand up and send a message to our leaders by saying that this behavior is not acceptable to us. The administration needs to do so as well. Perhaps the leaders of JAG will finally pass along the message to the Pentagon that Don’t Ask Don’t Tell is jeopardizing their efforts to be effective agents of the law just as it is jeopardizing efforts to protect our country.
3. I want to make this a bit more personal now. It was never my intention to get involved in gay activist work during my law school career. I’ve done identity politics, and I was hoping to be known as more than just That Gay Guy. Ms. O’Neill’s effort in protest of an issue that doesn’t even affect her, though, has moved me to action too. The main reason for that is, as a JAG officer, one of your responsibilities would be to prosecute gay service members. If you are in JAG, Don’t Ask Don’t Tell is more than a nebulous policy, it is your policy to uphold. I don’t seriously believe that most of my classmates would want to prosecute me simply because I share my life with a male partner of six years. That soldier could be me, or any number of our classmates, friends, or relatives.
So long as they continue to be a part of the military’s discriminatory practices, JAG does not belong on our campus.
Image snatched from the Servicemembers Legal Defense Network.