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Terrorists won’t wait for us to improve communications before their next attack. America’s first responders know better than to wait for the government’s interoperability solution.

KIRK MOIR

CEO

In Motion Technologies Inc.

Vancouver

Gays, the military and the law

The letter Saturday from Steve Ralls of the Servicemembers Legal Defense Network attacked me personally for clarifying the issue of homosexuals in the military (“On repealing ‘don’t ask, don’t tell’”). The Center for Military Readiness has given the law an unofficial but accurate name the Military Personnel Eligibility Act of 1993. Mr. Ralls’ intemperate attack is typical of the high-powered public-relations campaign promoting repeal of the 1993 law regarding homosexual conduct, technically identified as Section 654, Title 10.

Mr. Ralls’ letter referred to the “‘don’t ask, don’t tell’ law.” There is no such law. The catchphrase describes a proposal made by President Clinton on July 19, 1993, that Congress considered but rejected with bipartisan, veto-proof votes in both houses. Members recognized the illogic of saying homosexuals could serve in the military as long as they did not say they were homosexual.

“Don’t ask, don’t tell” also describes convoluted Defense Department enforcement regulations Mr. Clinton imposed on the military that are not consistent with the law Congress actually passed. That statute, which should have been called the Military Personnel Eligibility Act, simply codified regulations in effect since 1981. The only compromise involved allowed Mr. Clinton to drop the question about homosexuality that used to appear on induction forms. The secretary of defense, however, can and should restore the routine inquiry at any time.

President Bush should administratively drop Mr. Clinton’s don’t ask, don’t tell regulations and faithfully enforce the Military Personnel Eligibility Act of 1993. Clarity instead of confusion would eliminate the cost of training and discharging persons who are not eligible for military service. In the meantime, informed people who care about the military will not be misled by personal attacks, skewed polls, faux studies, or unconvincing public relations campaigns funded by homosexual activists.

ELAINE DONNELLY

President

Center for Military Readiness

Livonia, Mich.