Wednesday, May 26, 2010
CT Post: Credit Lieberman on 'don't ask' shift
It's taken a few decades too long, but officials have made real progress of late in overturning the nonsensical rule that bars gay men and lesbians from serving openly in the nation's armed services. No small amount of credit belongs with Connecticut Sen. Joseph Lieberman.
For almost a decade, the nation has been fighting at least one war on the other side of the world. Whatever the merits of those engagements, they require personnel at a time when the armed forces have struggled to attract recruits. The idea that qualified, determined people were prevented from serving for no valid reason is baffling.
The Obama administration, to its credit, is following through on a campaign promise to do away with a 17-year-old compromise, the so-called "don't ask, don't tell" policy. This allowed people to serve but required their dismissal if their homosexuality became public.
Lieberman has long been a leader in this fight, and his persistence has helped ensure the wrongheaded policy does not stand. Democratic leaders in Congress said they may raise the matter as soon as this week, and the president has vowed to support the policy shift.
Arguments against changing the rule are based on the same discredited notions of compromised morale and diminished unit cohesion that were raised in opposition to integrating the armed forces and allowing women to serve. These hang-ups are not shared, in general, by the people who matter most -- the men and women who serve our country today.
It's an outdated, unfair policy. It's time to scrap it.