General Kerr’s Question

I have no interest whatever in the highly managed, contrived, joint press conferences improperly advertised as debates. Those events resemble debates no more than the Metro Goldwyn Mayer lion resembles Calvin Coolidge. However, something that’s been reported about the debate did interest me. I am puzzled about the substance of the question that General Kerr asked via YouTube. It was not my understanding that the Clinton Administration and now the Bush Administration thought that the armed services weren’t professional enough to have openly homosexual people serving alongside heterosexual people in our military. It was my understanding that first the Clinton and now the Bush Administration had deferred to our military’s leadership in this matter. Perhaps someone could clear that up for me.

Note that I’m not asking about the merits of homosexuals serving openly in our military but about the process by which our present policy was reached. If my recollection is correct, is the general implying that the president should issue an executive order over the objections of the joint chiefs to allow homosexuals to serve openly in the military? I think that Harry Truman’s issuing of Executive Order 9981 which effectively banned racial segregation was entirely right and proper but the situations are not entirely comparable: race is a protected class under the Constitution while sexual orientation is not.

I think that the circumstances under which civilian control should and should not prevail with respect to our military is an extremely important topic and I wish that the conversation had turned more to that subject than to the “Gotcha!” subject of gays in the military.

2 comments… add one
  • Don’t Ask Don’t Tell (DADT) is frequently cited as “policy” when it is, in fact, a law the military must implement. Changing the law (something that I support) therefore requires Congressional action.

    My personal opinion is that DADT was a necessary compromise at the time it was implemented, but a lot has changed since then. Women have proven themselves in combat roles, for instance, and the military’s demographics have changed quite a bit to say nothing of the general attitude of society.

    So I support an end to the DADT policy/law. There will still be limitations on sexual conduct, so the “fear” of people copulating in foxholes is misplaced.

  • PD Shaw Link

    Andy’s right. Clinton campaigned on a promise to imitate Truman and sign an executive order liftiong the ban on gays in the military. The order was even drafted when Clinton was told that the Democratically-controlled Congress would overrule his order. Clinton then negotiated with Congress on a compromise, which was the DADT law.

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