Dispatches from the Creation Wars

National Review on DADT

Here’s a shock: Deroy Murdock, a contributing editor to the National Review Online, has come out strongly in favor of allowing gays to serve openly in the military. It’s quite a powerful essay, in fact. He contrasts the fact that the Pentagon is continually lowering standards and granting exceptions to get people with violent felony convictions on their record into the military while throwing out gay soldiers with impeccable service records and badly needed skills:

Between 2006 and 2007, the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee recently revealed, convicted felons accepted by the Marine Corps rose 68 percent, from 208 to 350. Equivalent Army admissions rocketed 105 percent, from 249 to 511. Between 2003 and 2006, U.C. Santa Barbara’s Michael D. Palm Center calculates, “106,768 individuals with serious criminal histories were admitted” to the armed forces.

Last year, the Army gave moral waivers to 106 applicants convicted of burglary, 15 of felonious break-ins, 11 of grand-theft-auto, and eight of arson. It also admitted five rape/sexual-assault convicts, two felony child molesters, two manslaughter convicts, and two felons condemned for “terrorist threats including bomb threats.”

“The Army seems to be lowering standards in training to accommodate lower-quality recruits,” RAND Corporation researcher Beth Asch observed at a May 12 Heritage Foundation defense-policy seminar in Colorado Springs.

Conversely, expelled military personnel include Arabic linguists and intelligence specialists who help crush America’s foes in the War on Terror. “Don’t Ask” has ousted at least 58 soldiers who speak Arabic, 50 Korean, 42 Russian, 20 Chinese, nine Farsi, and eight Serbo-Croatian — all trained at the prestigious Defense Language Institute. Al-Qaeda intercepts need translation, and Uncle Sam may need people who can walk around Tehran with open ears. Yet these dedicated gay citizens now are ex-GIs.

And he points out that the vast majority of those discharged under the DADT policy were discharged solely for the fact of their sexuality, not for actually doing anything wrong:

Under “Don’t Ask,” the Pentagon reported in February 2005, only 1 percent of gays were sacked for pursuing or achieving same-sex marriage. Just 16 percent were dismissed for seeking or performing gay sex. Fully 83 percent of those fired between 1994 and 2003 merely stated their gay or bisexual status.

In March 2007, the Navy discharged Petty Officer Stephen Benjamin, an Arabic cryptologic interpreter. Supervisors investigated him when a message he transmitted said, “That was so gay — the good gay, not the bad one.” He also mentioned his social life, thus exposing his homosexuality.

His captain previously graded him an “EXCEPTIONAL LEADER. Extremely focused on mission accomplishment. Dedicated to his personal development and that of his sailors. Takes pride in his work and promotes professionalism in his subordinates.”

Never mind. Out he went. U.S. soldiers in Iraq now have one less colleague to give them translated, real-time, operational intelligence.

His conclusion is dead on:

“Don’t Ask” should yield to equality: Sexual orientation should be irrelevant while inappropriate sexual conduct — gay, straight, or otherwise — should be punished. Our enemies are Islamofascists who murder Americans, not gay patriots who unravel terrorist plots and introduce jihadists to Allah.

“Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” is a Clinton-era relic. It belongs in the Museum of the 1990s, wedged between the Nirvana CDs and shares of WorldCom stock.

Quite so.