It’s about time:

Obama will end ‘don’t ask’ policy, aide says

President Obama will end the 15-year-old “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy that has prevented homosexual and bisexual men and women from serving openly within the U.S. military, a spokesman for the president-elect said.

Obama said during the campaign that he opposed the policy, but since his election in November he has made statements that have been interpreted as backpedaling. On Friday, however, Obama spokesman Robert Gibbs, responding on the transition team’s Web site to a Michigan resident who asked if the new administration planned to get rid of the policy, said:

“You don’t hear politicians give a one-word answer much. But it’s ‘Yes.’ “

DADT should be repealed if for no other reason than incidents like this:

Nine Army linguists, including six trained to speak Arabic, have been dismissed from the military because they are gay.

The soldiers’ dismissals come at a time when the military is facing a critical shortage of translators and interpreters for the war on terrorism.


“We face a drastic shortage of linguists, and the direct impact of Arabic speakers is a particular problem,” said Donald R. Hamilton, who documented the need for more linguists in a report to Congress as part of the National Commission on Terrorism.

One of the discharged linguists said the military’s policy on gays is hurting its cause.

“It’s not a gay-rights issue. I’m arguing military proficiency issues – they’re throwing out good, quality people,” said Alastair Gamble, a former Army specialist.

The main argument against letting openly gay men and women serve in the military is that it would disrupt unit cohesion.  And it probably would, for a while.

But that was the same argument used against desegregating the military over sixty years ago.  And while there were some initial problems with integration, the unit adapted and today the military is stronger for it.

I’m not doubting that there will be logistical issues with repealing DADT; the military will have to adapt to a new culture.  But I have faith that the military can adapt, and I think America’s armed forces will be stronger for allowing talented people to serve regardless of their sexuality.