The religious right’s crazed reaction to the repeal of Don’t Ask Don’t Tell is nowhere more magnified than in the fevered lunacy of Worldnutdaily founder Joseph Farah, who goes so far as to call for a boycott on joining the military over it.
As much as I respect and admire the U.S. military as an institution, I would find myself actively encouraging men and women to leave – in droves.
If the U.S. military is going to be transformed into just another tool of twisted social engineering, rather than a force designed to defend America’s national security interests, dedicated, brave and upstanding young men and women should no longer participate of their own free will. It’s just that simple. Let the politicians cobble together a military of social deviants if they think they can.
He has it exactly backwards, of course. It is the military’s ban on service by gays and lesbians that has undermined our national security by depriving the armed forces of a great many competent and highly decorated people, including dozens of Arab linguists at a time when we need that particular specialty more than ever. It is the indulgence of bigotry that is a failed social experiment that has undermined the military’s effectiveness.
The Pentagon’s response has been spot on:
Col. Dave Lapan, a U.S. Department of Defense public affairs officer, dismissed Farah’s column.
“We see editorials and opinions all the time and people are free to have opinions,” Lapan said. “I would suspect that most people in the military are serving for other reasons and wouldn’t listen to that type of admonition for people.
“The military is, if nothing else, a meritocracy, people advance because they are good at what they do, regardless of where they grew up or what gender they are or what racial group they grew up with.”
Lapan added: “Historically, when other militaries have made this change, those who reported that the change would cause them to either leave the service or not join the service severely overestimated what actually happened in practice. Very small numbers actually followed through on that.”
The same is true of racial integration in the American military. Opponents predicted than that whites would abandon the armed forces in huge numbers. It didn’t happen. Farah makes a prediction:
According to the Pentagon’s survey on the impact of the move, 265,000 military service people would leave earlier than planned as a result of just this move. That represents 12.6 percent of all personnel, and, I think, that’s low-balling it.
Military analyst Bob Maginnis, a retired Army lieutenant colonel and senior fellow for national security at the Family Research Council, said the real number could exceed half a million.
“Twelve-point-six percent is just the people who said they would leave,” Maginnis told WND. “If you add in the number who said they ‘might’ leave, you get 23.7 percent. That would be 528,000, when you count both active duty and reserves.”
I’d be willing to put up $5,000 against Farah that his prediction ends up being false. And when he loses this bet, as he surely would, I would donate his money to the Servicemembers Legal Defense Network in his name.
It’s a funny thing about the religious right, though. They love to wrap themselves in the flag and declare anyone who disagrees with them to be a traitor. Yet when the military dares to think that people they disapprove of have the same rights they do, they throw a fit. The last time this happened was during the faux outrage over Wiccans in the military. Paul Weyrich, co-founder of both the Heritage Foundation and the Moral Majority, called for a boycott of the military until they banned Wiccans from serving. Yet they still love to pose as patriots.