- The Washington Times - Monday, December 6, 2010

ANALYSIS/OPINION:

Adm. Mike Mullen, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, recently testified to Congress that members of the U.S. armed forces who oppose lifting the ban on “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” should leave the military. Maybe Adm. Mullen should heed his own advice and resign, since he is so far out of step with his own military. The majority of service members and uniformed leaders of the military do not want any changes to the current policy toward homosexual servicemen.

Regarding the national poll of Americans on this issue, Adm. Mullen and other leaders in favor of lifting this ban have not explained at all to the public the negative consequences of this new policy. For the survey, active-duty military members were not asked, “Should the policy be changed?” but rather “How should the change be implemented?” That makes a huge difference in who actually fills out the survey, especially since only 6 percent of the military responded.

The purpose of the U.S. military is to protect our nation through deterrence first; and if that fails, then through armed conflict. The fundamental ability of our military to fight and win wars is accomplished via unit cohesion. That means at the individual squad, ship and aircrew levels, all servicemen must operate at 100 percent effectiveness. These servicemen eat, work, sleep and bathe in close proximity for extended periods of time. Open homosexuality at this level will degrade the cohesiveness, and thereby, the combat effectiveness, of our nation’s warriors.

There is no civilian comparison to this type of environment. Asking this question to the general public - most of whom have never served in the military - is meaningless. This is not a civil rights issue; it is an issue of human sexuality.

HOWIE LIND

Commander, U.S. Navy (Ret.)

McLean, Va.

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