THE FIRST 100 DAYS: Repealing Don't Ask Don't Tell Would Be a Disaster

By Matt SanchezWar Correspondent and Political Commentator

It's been one week since Barack Obama was sworn in as commander-in-chief and the new president has not hesitated to push his agenda--the repeal of Don't Ask Don't Tell.

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Although "the primary purpose of the armed forces is to prepare for and to prevail in combat should the need arise", forcing the military to legitimize same-sex relationships will be a Trojan Horse for imposing gay marriage nationwide and all in the name of "change."

A 2008 Military Times poll of members of the armed forces found that the troops were opposed to the repeal of Don't Ask Don't Tell by a margin of 2 to 1.

The queer thing about Don't Ask Don't Tell is that President Bill Clinton mandated the policy after numerous campaign promises to the Clinton lesbian, gay and transgender constituency. Don't Ask Don't Tell was designed to protect those who serve and participate in the LGBT lifestyle against unfair prosecution from their superiors.

The compromise was this: You keep your private life private and we won't bother you.

Americans are a fair people who understand that some men and women in uniform may have same-sex relationships or self-identify as gay and lesbian. Most Americans do not condone discrimination, but they understand national defense is paramount. Not everyone agrees.

The Servicemembers Legal Defense Network (SLDN)--a national, non-profit legal services--would like to see gay pride extended to the military to advocate the LGBT cause and they're not the only ones.

Many pro-gay groups hold up the example of international armed forces throughout the world that have lifted bans on homosexuality.

It is true: France, Germany, Italy and Spain all permit openly gay service members. But in Afghanistan, neither France, Spain, Italy or Germany will confront the Taliban. For many nations, the military has become more of a social symbol rather than a true fighting force. This is not the politically correct example for the American military to follow.

"There are just Marines," is what drill instructors tell their young recruits in order to leapfrog the cultural, social, regional, economic and ethnic differences between the thousands of young strangers who are forged into the U.S. Marine Corps. Most Marines will agree, there are no "black" Marines, "white" Marines, "Asian" Marines, "Latin" Marines or "gay" Marines--there are just Marines.

This is counter-intuitive in our current culture of celebrity, hyphenated Americans, color coded Americans and the endless examples of self-promotion that parade through the media every day.

Despite what gay advocates call an "oppressive" job environment, most of the gay veterans I've spoken with over the years recall their time in service with nostalgia and pride.

The military workplace has no civilian equivalent. The military rigorously separates male and females, to avoid loss of morale and fraternization. However the rules permit heterosexual men and women to date. "Office romances" take on a drastically different meaning when the tools of the trade include heavy equipment, explosive devices and semi-automatic weapons. If infantrymen in an all-male combat unit hooked up, would that cause a problem with crucial unit cohesion? Will gay service members have to be separated from their non-gay service members? Will separate showers and living quarters be required? Or will there be all-gay military units? Will gays who don't wish to self-identify be forced to do so?

Gay activists have a mission for the military and it's not national defense. Gay groups want Americans who have had sex changes to also be permitted to join the armed forces.

In the tireless quest for equality, the Servicemembers Legal Defense Network told me, via e-mail, that the non-profit is "working with other organizations to address the medical and grooming regulations which prohibit service for transgender people."

The new commander-in-chief can unilaterally repeal Don't ask Don't Tell with a stroke of a pen, but he has held back. After winning the election in 2008 Obama said he:

"...first wants to confer with the Joint Chiefs of Staff and his new political appointees at the Pentagon to reach a consensus, and then present legislation to Congress."

With two wars and danger clearly present, Americans and the Obama administration will have to ask if the mission of protecting the country should take a back seat to the agenda of promoting social change.

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