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Top 10 “Don’t Ask Don’t Tell” Repeal Lies That Never Came True

by David Badash on December 22, 2011

in Civil Rights,Discrimination,Don't Ask Don't Tell,Politics

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Despite a year of Congress’ wrangling and dirty tricks, false testimony, lies, paranoia, and prejudice, the promise President Barack Obama made at his 2010 State of the Union Address, to repeal Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell,” came true when Congress finally passed the Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell Repeal Act of 2010 in December of that year, and President Obama signed it into law one year ago today.

As you know, the law provided a roadmap to repeal the ban on openly gay service members, and certification that repealing the ban would not harm “military readiness and effectiveness, unit cohesion, and military recruiting and retention” took place in July. The ban officially ended in September.

Below is only a sampling, but they are ten of the worst lies about repealing “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell,” told to the American people by military, political, and so-called “moral,” leaders and “experts,” only during the past few years. No doubt far worse ones were told by some of them, in private. Certainly, these and others were told by other “experts,” in public. Yet here we are, and none have come true.

The eminent Dr. Nathaniel Frank, a Senior Research Fellow at the Palm Center at the University of California, Santa Barbara, and an adjunct professor of history at New York University, is author of the book, Unfriendly Fire: How the Gay Ban Undermines the Military and Weakens America, and the author of the just-published, extensive report, “Accountability And DADT.”

All the statements below are directly from Dr. Frank’s excellent report, and from his Huffington Post article, “Will Defenders of DADT Stand By Their Dire Predictions?,” and we thank him. I hope you’ll take a moment to read the report and his article, and I hope you’ll take time to share them and this list below with everyone you know.

Lastly, Happy Anniversary.

Top 10 “Don’t Ask Don’t Tell” Repeal Lies That Never Came True

  •  “[Lifting the ban] may even prove decisive to the viability of the all-volunteer force. That viability may, in turn, determine our ability to avoid in the years ahead — as we have for the past four decades — a return to conscription to meet our requirements for warriors in those conflicts.”
    –Frank Gaffney, Jr., Center for Security Policy, 2011
  • “I hope that when we pass this legislation that we will understand that we are doing great damage, and we could possibly and probably — as the commandant of the Marine Corps said and I’ve been told by literally thousands of members of the military — harm the battle effectiveness, which is so vital to the support, to the survival of our young men and women in the military.”
    –Sen. John McCain, 2010
  • “When your life hangs on the line, you don’t want anything distracting… Mistakes and inattention or distractions cost Marines’ lives… Assimilating openly homosexual Marines into the tightly woven fabric of our combat units has strong potential for disruption at the small unit level.”
    –General James Amos, Commandant of the Marine Corps, 2010, discussing his reasons for opposing openly gay service
  • “If the law is overturned and open homosexuals are welcomed into the military, the number of homosexuals in the armed forces can only increase — leading to a corresponding increase in same-sex sexual assaults.”
    –Peter Sprigg, Family Research Council, 2010
  • “What if [proponents of lifting the ban] are wrong? Is there any way to find out without taking a real risk with national security? Are the advocates of gays in the military prepared to say, fiat justitia, ruat caelum ['Let justice be done, though the sky may fall']? And if so, do the rest of us, the majority of gays and straights alike who would prefer not to take such a risk with our lives, property, and freedom, have any say in the matter?”
    –James Bowman, Ethics and Public Policy Center, 2009
  • Lifting the ban would lead to “inappropriate passive/aggressive actions common in the homosexual community,” “forcible sodomy” and “exotic forms of sexual expression.”
    - Elaine Donnelly, Center for Military Readiness, 2008 
  • “The presence of open homosexuals in the close confines of ships or military units opens the possibility that eros—which unlike philia is sexual, and therefore individual and exclusive—will be unleashed into the environment. Eros manifests itself as sexual competition, protectiveness and favoritism, all of which undermine the nonsexual bonding essential to unit cohesion, good order, discipline and morale.”
    - Mackubin Thomas Owens, Naval War College, 2011
  • “24,000 current members of the armed forces might be lost over and above normal discharge attrition in a one-to-three year period… Because these personnel would be completing one or more terms of service, they would, in fact, represent a hemorrhage of mature, skilled losses from the professional ranks. This is an enormous risk to the viability of our armed forces… If you vote to [lift the ban,] I believe you will inflict significant damage on the All-Volunteer Force.”
    - General Carl Mundy, former Commandant of the Marine Corps, 2010, in a letter addressing Congress 
  • “When your life hangs on the line, you don’t want anything distracting… Mistakes and inattention or distractions cost Marines’ lives.”
    - General James Amos, Commandant of the Marine Corps, 2010, discussing his reasons for opposing openly gay service 
  • “If this kind of agenda is forced on the Marine Corps, if it’s okay for the Marines, why is it not okay for the local school, the local marriage bureau, ultimately all of civilian life will be affected.”
    - Elaine Donnelly, Center for Military Readiness, 2010 
  • “When you’re in training situations, where you have an individual that has the power, really, of life and death, in some circumstances, over individuals, there can be a lot of coercion. And this can be a very dangerous situation and very intimidating situation. It’s just not healthy for the well-being of the military.”
    - Tony Perkins, Family Research Council, 2010 

Sorry, I couldn’t stop at just ten. That was eleven.

Every one of the people on this list owes a profound apology not only to the gay, lesbian, and bisexual service members who are or who have served our nation, but to all the heterosexual service members as well, whose reputation was diminished by these lies.

Telling lies about gay people doesn’t only affect — or implicate — gay people. It infects and diminishes straight people, too. For example, by saying straight soldiers would quit if openly-gay service members were allowed to serve. Soldiers — good ones at least — don’t cut and run.

Tony Perkins, Senator McCain, Elaine Donnelly, Peter Sprigg, General Amos (who at least changed his opinion), General Mundy, Mackubin Thomas Owens, Frank Gaffney, Jr., and all the others whose lies diminished our service members, and our nation, we’re waiting. Apologize. It really is the very least you can do.

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