It’s one thing to advocate for the repeal of "Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell" (DADT). It’s altogether another to maintain that you find the other side of the argument “incomprehensible.” But that’s what Washington Post columnist Ruth Marcus did in her Feb. 24 column, “The Inevitable Backlash on ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.’”
While stating that DADT should be repealed, Marcus professed to be perplexed at why some are hesitant to repeal the military’s policy and frustrated that the top brass chose not to precipitate the change all at once.
“I don’t spend a lot of time chatting up generals,” Marcus wrote. “But I’ve spent enough to know that, just below the top-most ranks, there remains an enormous, if incomprehensible, amount of squeamishness about letting gay men and women serve openly in the military.”
And she found it “disappointing” that those generals she doesn’t kibbutz with have attempted to slow down the process of repeal. She apparently thinks they should rush into things without understanding the impact.
Marcus even went back 17 years ago and stated that the generals managed to, “intimidate them out of lifting the ban, or at the very least putting a moratorium on its enforcement.”
She also bashed the current generals and wrote, “Do Casey and Schwartz really have so little faith in their troops that they think serving with people they probably already know are gay will impede their performance?” Marcus continued to ask, “Do they think U.S. personnel are less capable of adapting to this change than those in the many countries – including Israel, Argentina, the Philippines, South Africa and the entire European Union, with the exception of Greece – that allow gays to serve openly?”
She didn’t mention that, except for Israel, none of those militaries has particularly heavy defense responsibilities. Some of those EU countries she sited have militaries in roughly the same way Britain has a monarchy – more out of nostalgia than anything else.
Marcus maintained that ending DADT would increase the troop levels, although she failed to give the number waiting to join. And anyway, it’s only old cavemen that could possibly be opposed. “In the military, as elsewhere, this is, thankfully, a generational issue. Casey is 61, Schwartz just a few years younger. Younger officers, I suspect, are not much different from younger people outside the military: more comfortable with gay colleagues and friends.”