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Posted by on Oct 3, 2009 in Society, War | 24 comments

Strong Rebuke Of DADT From Inside the Military

Col. Om Prakash, author of The Efficacy of ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell, published in Joint Force Quarterly, an official Department of Defense journal published by the Chair of the Joint Chiefs:

The law as it currently stands does not prohibit homosexuals from serving in the military as long as they keep it secret. This has led to an uncomfortable value disconnect as homosexuals serving, estimated to be over 65,000, must compromise personal integrity. Given the growing gap between social mores and the law, DADT may do damage to the very unit cohesion that it seeks to protect. Finally, it has placed commanders in a position where they are expected to know everything about their troops except this one aspect.

Pentagon officials point out that the piece only appeared because it won an essay contest. (I say, “hey, it won!“) It was not commissioned by the chairman. Still, says NPR:

Prakash works in the Pentagon for the undersecretary of defense for acquisition, technology and logistics… [He] is one of only a handful of active military officers who, in published comments, have called for a repeal of the law.

“It’s pretty important that he would speak publicly,” says Aaron Belkin, director of the Michael D. Palm Center, a public policy think tank at the University of California, Santa Barbara.

Belkin says, though there may be more, he can recall only two other military publications that have printed strong pro-repeal articles: a 2003 piece written by Belkin himself for Parameters, the U.S. Army War College quarterly; and a 2005 opinion piece written for the Army Times by an active-duty lieutenant colonel at West Point.

Mark Kleiman is impressed with Prakash’s first paragraph:

“Though the epigraphs echo arguments made against homosexuals serving openly in the Armed Forces, they are the words of Senator Richard Russell of Georgia and General Omar Bradley in opposition to President Truman’s 1948 executive order to racially integrate the U.S. military.”

Kleiman says the battle for ‘don’t ask, don’t tell’ is done for:

The equation of sexual orientation with race as a form of human difference is, of course, central to the position of advocates of DADT repeal and fiercely denounced by opponents. (Similarly, proponents of same-sex marriage insist that bans on it are like anti-miscegenation laws while opponents furiously deny it.)

So before the author has even started his argument, he has already chosen his side. And that was the paper that won the Secretary’s essay contest and was published in JFQ after review by the Chairman. Anyone who can read military tea-leaves – and no one makes Colonel or Navy Captain, let alone flag or star rank, without expertise in that form of divination – can see that the Battle of DADT is over, and the mopping-up operations are ready to begin.

OTHER DISCUSSION: Crooks & Liars, Steve Benen, Adam Blink, Gabriel Winant, Marc Ambinder, Joe Sudbay (twice), and Alex Blaze.

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