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Op-Ed: Prejudice as a Tool

Don’t Ask Don’t Tell (DADT) has never been as advertised. It was never intended to protect the ability for any military unit to be cohesive. There are numerous studies done by our own Federal government that analyzed the militaries of other allied nations where gay service members serve openly. These studies have proven that there is absolutely no truth to the allegation that gays serving openly have a negative impact on unit cohesion.

Additionally, our service members have often cohabited with these militaries during joint exercises, and there has never been an issue reported regarding unit cohesion due to anyone’s openness about their sexual orientation and or gender identity. Not even in wartime scenarios.

This is really about the fact that there are those who have used and continue to use prejudice as a tool to obtain profit, privilege, prestige, and power. We must stand together as obstacles to their success. The persecution of gay service members is wrong and no matter the excuse, it is never justifiable. Since 1940 over 100,000 U.S. service members have been kicked out for being gay. In some cases, service members rumored to be gay suddenly disappeared, ended up missing, and others even mysteriously died. We will never know the real number of how many were actually murdered.

In a letter written to Defense Secretary Gates dated November 28, 2008, Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) President Richard Cohen pointed out that extremist neo Nazis were prevalent in the military and that no action had been taken to date by the Department of Defense (DOD) to address it.

For the record the DOD does not promote hate groups. In fact there is a directive that states “Must reject participation in white supremacy, neo Nazi and other such groups which espouse or attempt to create overt discrimination. Active participation, including public demonstrations, recruiting and training members, and organizing or leading such organizations is utterly incompatible with military service”. However, the numbers of neo Nazis are probably larger than the numbers of lesbians within the military and the record demonstrates that many more lesbians have been kicked out than neo Nazis.

Consider that in 2007, USAF servicewomen were 20% of the USAF active duty population, but comprised 49% of discharges based on homosexuality. The only neo Nazis that I know have been kicked out of the service were in the midst of committing a “hate crime” and were as a result, being tracked by the FBI. In fact many of these hate groups have been instructing young skinheads to join the military to get training.

50% of homosexual investigations are begun based on flimsy evidence, despite the guidance DADT provides against such measures. Proactive expulsions of gays are pursued. Reactively, neo-Nazis are dealt with. The military, now faced with war on multiple fronts has reduced its standards and are even recruiting people that have been convicted of felonies. Yet good, well-respected, well-trained Americans without criminal backgrounds continue to be kicked out simply for being gay.

The Government Accounting Office (GAO) in 1990 reported that at a minimum, homosexual expulsions had cost $27,000,000.

Back then the average officer was worth $125,000. Today, an officer newly educated at West Point in Middle Eastern Linguistics but without full military experience is worth $200,000. The added wartime experience of LT Dan Choi is worth significantly more, and is in fact, priceless.