Many thanks to Barry Goldwater for this post’s title.
Let me preface this by saying that I have absolutely no military experience. I am a linguist by trade, a libertarian, and an armchair counterjihadist with more experience in the service industry than I care to admit. Believe it or not, this gives me an interesting perspective on the issue of repealing Don’t Ask Don’t Tell which is obviously completely different from the one offered in John R. Guardiano’s Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell, and Don’t Even Pretend to Be Fair series.
I personally know several Arabic and Persian linguists who were kicked out of the military for being openly gay. I would rather have them serving my country and guarding my safety than the corrupt stealth jihadists we have now.
DADT simply must be repealed, if only because we need linguists. As a linguist I am telling you (America, not John specifically) that I have never in my life seen, met, heard of, or read about a single heterosexual male linguist who specialized in Arabic, Persian, Urdu, or Pashto. I know of no evidence that any have ever existed. There is a reason why ‘Orientalist’ has for centuries been a euphemism for ‘gay.’ We need those ‘Orientalists‘ in our military.
Most of the former military linguists I know were booted out for being openly gay around a bunch of other openly gay military linguists. One must understand that in that context they were not even so much gay as they were typically linguist-y. (Say that five times fast.) They did not dress up like the Village People or frequently break into show tunes. They were just who they were: decent, respectable specialists in high demand who proudly served their country. They bothered nobody and they certainly did not endanger anyone.
Homophobia may still have a place in the military, but it is as welcome in field of linguistics (military or otherwise) as it is in theater, hairdressing, or the service industry, where, oddly, I have also come to know a few former military linguists.
Speaking more in terms of ideology than practicality, I cannot understand how anyone can discriminate against a group of people based on identity politics and call himself conservative. Granted, I have no military experience and I am writing about principle, but DADT just seems so antiquated.
I realize how revolutionary it was once upon a time, but booting gays out of the military for being openly gay is like having a law forbidding showing pregnant women on television. It is a throwback to a much less tolerant, much more uptight, and much more ridiculous time in our history. Plus, we are the last real country to discriminate against gays in our military. Only horrible dictatorships do that anymore.
I would rather be more like this this country, which has an amazing military:
than this country:
Our military needs more gay linguists and fewer jihadis. As far as I am concerned, anyone who is more concerned with keeping gays out of the military than with keeping jihadis out of the military has his priorities all out of whack. Gays are not known for killing American troops. Well, American gays aren’t known for killing American troops.