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National Security Argument for DADT Repeal

Just a quick comment today on the upcoming repeal of Don’t Ask Don’t Tell. On last Friday’s episode of Countdown, author and strong gay-rights activist Dan Savage made an argument for repeal that I hadn’t considered before but which I think could actually get through to some hardcore conservatives no matter how homophobic they are.

If a soldier has to keep a secret from his fellow soldiers and commanding officers, that presents a security risk. If an outsider knows that secret, he or she can use it as leverage against the soldier. For instance, if a soldier beats up an Afghan civilian without provocation, that solider faces court-martial if anyone finds out. Witnesses to the event could use it against him, threatening to go to his commanding officer unless he looks the other way while they sell weapons to terrorists or something.

Being gay shouldn’t be something that anyone can hold against a soldier. By forcing gay soldiers to keep this a secret, the United States Army is handing over power to anyone—friend or enemy—who discovers that the soldier is gay. It may be unlikely but it’s not impossible that a gay soldier might let national security be compromised in order to protect his secret and keep his job.

It’s looking inevitable that repeal will happen this year, but there’s no harm in keeping pressure on Obama right now. As commander-in-chief he could, with a stroke of a pen, end implementation of the policy immediately and issue an order that no gay personnel are to be fired until the policy is repealed or the next president overrides his order. He almost certainly won’t do that because, as we all know, he has Foxnewsophobia and is too scared of Glenn Beck to do anything that might piss off conservatives. But every day that goes by in which gay soldiers have to be afraid of someone outing them is a day in which national security is a bit more compromised than it needs to be.

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