Don’t lie, do tell

It’s hard to argue with Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Mike Mullen’s assessment of the 15-year-old policy for dealing with gays in the military. Testifying before Congress Tuesday, Mullen said “don’t ask, don’t tell” forces homosexual service members to “lie about who they are in order to defend their fellow citizens.”

For military organizations that value honor and integrity, a policy under which gay people can serve only if they lie or keep quiet about their sexual preferences has never made much sense.

“Don’t ask, don’t tell” was a compromise during the Clinton administration, a means to allow homosexuals to serve without overturning the unwritten policy against gays in the military.

But that unwritten policy was developed long ago, when there were fears that homosexuals would threaten military capability during combat. Those fears appear long gone for the military now. An Associated Press report this week shows few young people now in the military have any qualms about gays serving with them.

Mullen is right. Eliminating “don’t ask, don’t tell” is the right thing to do, and the sooner the better.


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