Friday, June 12, 2009

Ask Not


The Pentagon’s “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy has been polarizing since it was implemented in 1993 the Clinton Administration. But today the law, which prohibits gay and lesbian service members from revealing their sexual orientation, is increasingly drawing criticism.

In 2008, over 100 retired generals and admirals signed a statement calling for an end to the policy, putting to rest a widely held misconception that it was unanimously supported by top military officials. While on the campaign trail in 2008, Barack Obama pledged to repeal the controversial policy. Since taking office, however, the president has made it clear he will approach the issue tactfully by working with military leaders before making a legislative push in Congress.

Proponents of the legislation point to the original language of the law, which states that, “The presence in the armed forces of persons who demonstrate a propensity or intent to engage in homosexual acts would create an unacceptable risk to the high standards of morale, good order and discipline, and unit cohesion that are the essence of military capability.”

The most recent event in the life of this controversial law occurred on June 8, when the Supreme Court decided against reevaluating the constitutionality of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.” The court rejected an appeal from former Army Capt. James Pietrangelo II, who was dismissed under the rules of the policy and subsequently filed a lawsuit against the government.

That’s part of the history of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell”—it’s the part that’s sterile and abstract, existing mostly in legal documents and politicians’ mouths. Now, Independent Lens will explore the impact this keep-it-quiet strategy is having on lives of individual service members in the new documentary “Ask Not,” airing on MPT Tuesday, June 16 at 10 p.m. and MPT2 Wednesday, June 17 at 10 p.m.

What do you think the military’s attitude toward gay and lesbian service members should be?

Duncan Russell
Communications Intern

1 comment:

Elizabeth Sheri said...

The "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" policy is outdated and unpatriotic. The young men and women serving in our armed services are doing a job many Americans are not willing to do. They are fighting and risking their lives for all Americans. The fact that our own government seems to have a problem with showing them the respect they deserve tells me that the problem is not in the rank and file of the military. The problem is with the Old Boys Club in D.C.

I have a solution. Why don't we round up the loud mouth old farts who don't want gays and lesbians in the military, put them through boot camp, arm them and send THEM to the Middle East (and points beyond) so that those against whom they are campaigning can come home and get back to their lives. These dusty old buggers have lived their lives. Why not let them go out in a blaze of glory?

Honestly, I have the utmost repect for anyone willing to risk their lives to defend the freedoms we all hold dear. Our government needs to follow suit. To do otherwise is dishonouring our service men and women and dishonouring the Nation itself.

"We hold these truths to be self evident that ALL men are created equal." The blood that stains the sand in Iraq and Afghanistan is the same colour, no matter who is comes from. Our leaders need to remember that.

Lynn Gleason