- The Washington Times - Monday, June 14, 2010


As early as this week, the Senate may turn to the annual legislation known as the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), which is supposed to provide the Pentagon what it needs to defend our nation. Unfortunately, thanks to an amendment added in the Senate Armed Services Committee that would impose the radical homosexual agenda on the U.S. military, a more appropriate title for this bill would be the “Bring Back the Draft Act.”

Mind you, none of the bill’s sponsors would want it given such a descriptor. Nor are they likely to own up to the reality that their effort to repeal the present statutory prohibition on avowed homosexuals serving in uniform (popularly, though incorrectly, known as “don’t ask, don’t tell”) would have the effect of destroying the highly successful all-volunteer force.

Yet that is, nonetheless, the professional judgment of more than 1,160 retired senior military officers who joined together earlier this year to warn President Obama and Congress of this danger.

Specifically, these distinguished officers - who included among their ranks two former chairmen of the Joint Chiefs of Staff; several service chiefs; a number of combatant command, theater and other major U.S. and allied force commanders; and two Medal of Honor recipients - wrote: “Our past experience as military leaders leads us to be greatly concerned about the impact of repeal [of the law] on morale, discipline, unit cohesion and overall military readiness. We believe that imposing this burden on our men and women in uniform would undermine recruiting and retention, impact leadership at all levels, have adverse effects on the willingness of parents who lend their sons and daughters to military service, and eventually break the All-Volunteer Force.”

Such a grim assessment has been informed by, among other data, the results of a poll of serving military personnel (as opposed to civilians) conducted by the Military Times. It found that roughly 10 percent of those currently in uniform would leave the armed forces if the proponents of the amendment to the NDAA succeed in repealing the current law. The pollsters reported that another 15 percent would actively consider doing so. In a time of war, even the more conservative estimates of such losses would be devastating - particularly if, as seems likely, they come disproportionately from the critical ranks of field-grade and noncommissioned officers.

Those who decide no longer to serve are not “homophobes.” They are men and women who quite understandably do not want to be put in settings of forced intimacy (foxholes, barracks, showers, submarines, etc.) with individuals who find them sexually attractive. Civilians, who polls say mostly support the idea of gays serving in the military, tend to have little idea of what such circumstances would be like. They certainly are ill-equipped to understand the impact more generally of repeal on the military culture and the essential “good order and discipline” it requires that would be inflicted by the sort of “zero-tolerance” policy demanded by zealots of the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) community.

Interestingly, a front-page article in Sunday’s Washington Post provides a flavor of how problematic such arrangements would be in practice. Headlined “In Limbo Over ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell,’ ” the news item was transparently designed to promote the inevitability of repeal and tout the accommodations already being made by the armed forces to the anticipated post-repeal order of things.

Still, the article could not avoid the reality that there will be serious issues involving conduct, discipline, spousal benefits, housing arrangements and the ability of military chaplains to practice and minister to their respective faiths. These are precisely the sorts of problems an internal Pentagon review has been given until December to assess.

Legislators more interested in appeasing homosexual activists than understanding - let alone avoiding - damage to the armed forces are insisting that the current prohibition be repealed now. In order to secure sufficient votes for passage, they adopted a cynical gambit: The repeal would go into effect only after the Pentagon’s study is done and three officials (all of whom already have made up their minds, namely, President Obama, Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates and Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Mike Mullen) give the go-ahead. The House of Representatives already has approved such a rigged game, voting recently to strike the existing law over the bipartisan objections of its Armed Services Committee and the four serving chiefs of the Army, Navy, Air Force and Marines.

As a practical matter, the result likely will be a hemorrhage of talent from the military. If so, the nation would be required to make one of two choices: The first would be to accept defeat on today’s battlefields - and leave the country wholly ill-prepared to deal with those of tomorrow. Assuming that outcome is still deemed unacceptable to most Americans, the only alternative would be to reinstitute conscription, better known - and reviled - as the draft.

Whether they own up to it or not, legislators who vote to allow radical homosexuals to inflict their social experiment on the only military we have (in a time of war, no less) are on notice: As Colin L. Powell once famously said in another context: “You break it, you own it.” The trouble is, the rest of us will pay the possibly exorbitantly high price of such irresponsible breakage of the all-volunteer force.

Frank J. Gaffney Jr. is president of the Center for Security Policy, a columnist for The Washington Times and host of the syndicated program “Secure Freedom Radio,” heard in Washington on WTNT 570-AM at 9 weeknights.

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