- The Washington Times - Monday, July 6, 2009

ANALYSIS/OPINION:

The Washington Times quoted Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates as saying that the Pentagon is looking into a “more humane way to apply the law until the law gets changed” and that the “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy that is permitted under the 1993 law “doesn’t leave much to the imagination for a lot of flexibility” (“Military seeks stopgaps to deal with gays,” Nation, Thursday).

Congress wrote the 1993 law for the specific purpose of preventing President Clinton from allowing gays to serve openly. The quotations presume that the 1993 law will be changed, but even Rep. Barney Frank, Massachusetts Democrat, admits there are not enough votes to make that happen. They also show that Mr. Gates knows he has no flexibility other than keeping or totally dropping “don’t ask, don’t tell.”

The law mandates the discharge of gays from military service and allows for only one option: whether or not the Pentagon keeps “don’t ask, don’t tell.” If “don’t ask, don’t tell” were dropped, the military would go back to the pre-1993 policy of asking about homosexual behavior and bar honest gays from serving. Unfortunately, that is not what Mr. Gates is considering. What he is considering would be a clear violation of federal law. Based on his comments, he knows it.

Any softening of “don’t ask, don’t tell” would violate the law. All military personnel, required by oath to obey all laws, would have to disobey any policy that allows open gays to serve. We are a nation of laws.

WAYNE L. JOHNSON

Commander, Judge Advocate General’s Corp, Navy (retired)

Alexandria

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