Alexander's Column

Do Ask, Do Tell?

By Mark Alexander · Dec. 9, 2010

The only legitimate DADT survey is…

“A good moral character is the first essential in a man…” –George Washington
New Unit Service Patch

Now that Republicans have temporarily halted Barack Hussein Obama’s effort to increase income taxes, will they be able to stop his effort to undermine the moral character of military combat units? Probably not, given that a Republican House majority will be sworn in next month, and as a parting shot, Democrats will likely repeal the so-called"don’t ask, don’t tell" (DADT) policy against open homosexuality in the military.*

By way of defining the DADT debate, let me say that it is not about the sexual habits of consenting adults. This debate is about making the normalization of homosexuality a matter of law in regard to Defense Department personnel, practices and policy.

In order to provide context for this debacle, here is a brief background.

One of Obama’s earliest campaign coming-out pledges was his promise to “end discrimination against gays and lesbians” who want military jobs. That “discrimination” was enacted by the Clinton administration and codified as law in Section 654 U.S. Code Title 10, which states, “The presence in the armed forces of persons who demonstrate a propensity or intent to engage in homosexual acts would create an unacceptable risk to the high standards of morale, good order and discipline, and unit cohesion that are the essence of military capability.”

On 12 October this year, DADT policy was subject to an injunction by U.S. District Judge Virginia Phillips in California. Phillips, a Clinton appointee, ordered the Department of Defense “immediately to suspend and discontinue any investigation, or discharge, separation, or other proceeding, that may have been commenced” under Section 654.

However, because the Obama administration wants full faith and credit for ending the policy, they actually asked Phillips for a stay of her injunction, which she denied. Obama then appealed to the San Francisco-based Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, which agreed to enter a stay so Obama could reclaim his political turf. U.S. appellate courts have consistently upheld this law.

In response, a homosexual advocacy group, Log Cabin Republicans, appealed to the U.S. Supreme Court to vacate (overrule) the stay. In mid-November, SCotUS refused to lift the Ninth Circuit’s stay.

In the meantime, trying to beat the courts to the punch so Obama could curry favor with one of his most fervent constituencies, his DoD appointees released a “survey” which they claim justifies lame-duck Senate action to repeal “don’t ask, don’t tell” before the 112th Congress (with a strong House Republican majority and six more Senate Republicans) is seated. (Soon-to-be-Former Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s House had already voted to repeal on 27 May of this year.)

“Today I call on the Senate to act as soon as possible so I can sign this repeal into law this year and ensure that Americans who are willing to risk their lives for their country are treated fairly and equally,” Obama said this week.

There is no question that Obama, given the beating he’s taken from his heretofore stalwart Leftist cadres on his broken promise to raise taxes, desperately wants to “win” the DADT debate, even though less than one percent of forced military discharges are related to sexual orientation, and the majority of those are, according to DoD, “uncontested and processed administratively.”

Defense Secretary Robert Gates lamented that there is a “very real possibility that this change would be imposed immediately by judicial fiat” and noted that such a “disruptive and damaging scenario” would be “most hazardous to military morale, readiness, and battlefield performance.”

So if the courts, instead of Obama, lift Section 654, it would be “hazardous to military morale, readiness, and battlefield performance”?

That is quite a revelation from an administration, which, in the Leftist tradition, seeks to use judicial diktat to amend the so-called “living constitution” and wholly subvert Rule of Law as established by our Founders.

For the record, the reliability of that voluntary DoD survey as a catalyst for revoking Section 654, is questionable. Of the 400,000 surveys that were distributed to military personnel and their families, some 115,000 were returned. But that does not constitute an authentic statistically random survey to study of the effect that revocation of DADT would have on frontline military units. That question was not in the survey.

Questionable reliability notwithstanding, the Leftmedia’s reports implied that 70 percent of respondents answered that open homosexuality would either have a positive or mixed effect on morale. However, those same results could just as accurately have been reported as 70 percent of respondents answered that open homosexuality would either have a negative or mixed effect on morale. In fact, 30 percent answered “positive” and 30 percent answered “negative,” while a plurality answered “mixed.”

Gates did, however, admit that there was a much higher level of “discontent, discomfort and resistance to changing the current policy” among combat specialty units and the Service Chiefs, and added, “These findings do lead me to conclude that an abundance of care and preparation is required if we are to avoid a disruptive and potentially dangerous impact on the performance of those serving at the tip of the spear in America’s wars.”

To that end, I would argue that the DADT survey that matters most would be a scientific survey of combat forces, warfighters and combat veterans, active, reserve and guard. Indeed, if our fighting forces exist for the purpose of winning wars, then unit cohesion and combat readiness must be sacrosanct. Any new policy that would impose a “disruptive and potentially dangerous impact” on those essential attributes must be opposed.

By no means am I suggesting that Uniformed Service in non-combat capacity is any less honorable than serving in the Korengal Valley in eastern Afghanistan but it is combat unit cohesion that is in question.

Complicating matters for Obama is the little-reported fact that, while he is advocating for homosexuals in the military, one who made it through the screening process, PFC Bradley Manning, is facing charges for unauthorized use and disclosure of classified information (UCMJ Articles 92 and 134). Manning will likely face charges of treason after taking it upon himself (with the “moral support” of his “self-described drag queen” partner) to release volumes of classified reports to WikiLeaks info anarchist Julian Assange, who himself may also face charges of espionage if he is extradited to the U.S.

George Washington, Commander of the Continental Army and our first Commander in Chief, offered this timeless observance: “The foundations of our national policy will be laid in the pure and immutable principles of private morality.”

Unfortunately, our current CINC’s national policy positions are a reflection of his corrupt, capricious and unprincipled private morality.

Footnote: In a tender moment between some Leftmedia reporter and Marine Commandant, General James Amos, the reporter challenged his position on maintaining DADT. Gen. Amos responded, “Have you been out with the Marines in an intense firefight, you personally?” (Obama and Gates certainly have not.) “Right now is a very intense period of time for a pretty healthy slice of the United States Marine Corps. This is not training. This is the real deal. And the forces that wear this uniform…told their commandant that they have concerns. That’s all I need. I don’t need a staff study. I don’t need to hire three PhDs to tell me [how] to interpret it… [I]f they have concerns, I do too. It’s as simple as that. … When your life hangs on the line, you don’t want anything distracting. Mistakes and inattention or distractions cost Marines' lives.”

Got it?

*As a parting shot before leaving for the “holiday break,” Barack Hussein Obama’s NeoCom House majority and the Demo-controlled Senate passed a measure to repeal military rules barring open homosexuality in the uniformed ranks. At the signing ceremony, Obama declared, “This law will strengthen our national security and uphold the ideals that our fighting men and women risk their lives to defend. As Commander-in-Chief, I am certain that we can effect this transition in a way that only strengthens our military readiness; that people will look back on this moment and wonder why it was ever a source of controversy in the first place. There will never be a full accounting of the heroism demonstrated by gay Americans, but at every turn, every crossroads in our past, we know gay Americans fought just as hard, gave just as much to protect this nation and the ideals for which it stands.”

View all comments


Aubrey Short said:

I served in the Marines from 1952 to 1955. I distinctly remember the name of every homosexual draftee that I served with but have forgotten the names of those in my platoon who were lost in Korea. I remember how one homosexual visited my bunk one night after hours and how I told him where to go. My fellow Marines never let me forget this encounter. Disgusting!!! I wonder if there will be separate quarters for the homos if DADT is repealed.

Thursday, December 9, 2010 at 11:23 AM

Gregory Gerjerts said:

I am entirely in Mark Alexander's camp with respect to his "Do Asl - Do Tell?" column, but his statement that 115,000 survey responses from a population of 400,000 ". . . does not constitute an authentic statistical study with a genuine margin of error" is completely off base. A population of 400,000 can be represented with a cofidence level of 95% and a confidence interval of 5% (standard accuracy for most social/psychological studies) with only 384 responses. In fact, with a population of 400,000, you could achieve a wildly-greater-than-necessary confidence level / interval of 99/3 with only 1,840 respondents.

Thursday, December 9, 2010 at 11:23 AM

The Editor replied:

My reference "does not constitute an authentic statistical study with a genuine margin of error" was in regard to the "population" in question -- members of combat units, not the 400,000 recipients. But their was no question about effect on unit cohesion. In regard to the only survey that matters, I would put this DoD poll one on par with an Internet poll of the day.

Mark Albertson said:

Well written with excellent points to the CINC's obvious concern for public opinion over the welfarer of the country or the military. However, to draw the line at combat troops is virtually impossible, at least on the Army side of things. Support troops are intermingled on and off the battle field. Supply operations take the supplies to the combat troops - the combat troops don't come back and get them. Thus the edict that all troops are soldiers (combat) first and then specialist in their field - not the other way around. Soldiers are taught to trust anyone who wears the same uniform - we are all in this together - as squad, as a platoon, a company, a brigade, a division, as AN ARMY. To allow gays to openly serve in non-combat specialties would still creat a devisive, volitile issue for unit commanders.

Thursday, December 9, 2010 at 11:28 AM

Minuteman in Michigan said:

I think this has been asked before but I don't recall anyone giving a legal review of it: What will it mean to "repeal" DADT with regard to the applicable law prior to DADT? Will this only return us to the law prior to Section 654 U.S. Code Title 10? And wasn't that law more restrictive? What action forces a change to UCMJ?

Thursday, December 9, 2010 at 11:34 AM

Barry said:

This is a good article on a very difficult topic. Here are some thoughts.First, there is a growing body of evidence, as far as I can tell, that says that homosexuality is biological, not cultural. In other words, any talk of character, morality, etc., may be off the mark. I don't know if this is true, but if it is, then this removes morality from the discussion.Second, DADT never made sense to me. It didn't prevent homosexuals from serving; it merely made them serve under what amounted to false pretenses -- false on both sides. Not a good precedent for commanders and commanded.Third, the statistical arguements don't matter, nor do the preferences. The military is not a democracy. When commanders send men into combat, all involved know that some will die; there is no vote. What the statistical studies may show is the opinions of warfighters, which woudl presumably show the effect on enlistment rates and reenlistment rates of the new policy. I think we can look at the effect that President Truman's integration of the forces in the late 1940s had on the services for a bit of guidance. There were some difficult times, but the forces figured out how to make it work, to the point where the US military is the most color-blind institution in, maybe, the world. I wonder if the same will happen with the homosexual policy -- a poeriod of confusion fololowed by a genuine effort to make it work.Fourth, I think Gates's concerns were more about the time the forces would have to implement the policy. His statements indicate that he would prefer a bit of time to plan and get things right rather than an overnight change.All in all, it appears that we will have had homosexuals in the military and we will continue to have them. The discussion is over the terms of their service.

Thursday, December 9, 2010 at 11:49 AM

The Editor replied:

To pick up only on your first point, the "growing body of evidence [suggesting] homosexuality is biological, not cultural," that evidence has been so thoroughly refuted that even the most activist homosexual groups no longer cite it as justification for their agenda. If you will check the link in in the essay from "normalization of homosexuality," you will find more details. The genetic link theory has its origin in 1991, with the work of UCLA researcher and homosexual activist Simon LeVay, who claimed that there were some minute physiological differences between the brains of heterosexual and homosexual men. His research was heralded by pop media outlets as proof of a genetic link to sexual orientation, but even LeVay, upon publishing his research, noted, "It's important to stress what I didn't find. I did not prove that homosexuality is genetic, or find a genetic cause for being gay. I didn't show that gay men are born that way, the most common mistake people make in interpreting my work."

Army Officer said:

Although I agree with the basic premise of the article, I strongly object to one thing Mark wrote.First, Mark is correct that allowing openly-homosexual people serve in uniform is a VERY bad idea. The purpose of the military is to win wars... period. Human biology, not bigotry, makes the administration's position untenable.I also agree that the survey is methodologically flawed as well. I don't recall it crossing my desk (although it may have), and the percentage of respondents makes it mathematically unreliable anyway.Where I strongly disagree with Mark is in his assertion that only "frontline combat forces" should be polled. That is nonsense on stilts, Sir. Perhaps he is unaware of how the military actually works, but anyone in uniform for more than 20 minutes could tell him that people switch between positions MANY TIMES over the course of their careers. The guy in the rear with the gear "in a National Guard Armory in Kansas" today may well have been in a fire-fight in the Korengal Valley six months ago. The Civil Affairs guys that take a disproportionate share of the casualties spend their time doing... Civil Affairs stuff. Of all the news and opinion venues I visit the Patriot Post is the last place I expect to find commentators being dismissive of the validity of the opinions of ALL military personnel.Mark, those support guys whose opinions you want to ignore come under fire too - in ambushes, by IEDs, by indirect fire on their bases, etc. Here's a test for you. Army personnel who have been deployed to a combat zone are authorized to wear their unit patch on their right sleeve under the flag. Go to your local National Guard or Reserve armories when they're drilling and see how many right shoulders you find without combat patches. My guess is that you won't find very many.

Thursday, December 9, 2010 at 11:57 AM

The Editor replied:

I knew some of our readers would mistake my assertion about polling combat units as discounting the service of non-combat units. The point is not that service in non-combat units is not every bit as honorable, but the issue raised by SecDef Gates pertains to combat unit cohesion, and it is those units whose opinion matters most. In regard to the tens-of-thousands of combat veterans now back in CONUS, obviously I would not exclude their opinion, and should have made that more clear. Point well taken.

Larry said:

Agree completely. However, would like to point out that members " a National Guard Armory in Kansas" have served honorably in both Iraq and Afghanistan.

Thursday, December 9, 2010 at 11:58 AM

milret said:

There are many disqualifying traits for military service; overweight, criminal record, et al. Homosexuality is one of the others. That is not a capricious, "anti-gay" concept. Homosexuality as a lifestyle is unacceptable in the military role. Warfighting, as an occupation, has no parallel in any civilian endeavor. Period.The primary reason for disqualification, if known, is that homosexual concepts and practices do not incite trust. The contrary is more accuarate. TRUST is an absolute in a warfighting unit. Without it there is hesitation, question, and therefore a loss of efficiency. I, and many others, have served with known homosexuals. They can survive in spaces that do not demand absolute trust. Combat aboard ship is not the same as battlefield trust in the infantry. Marines are infantry. A suspicion of such behavior immediately creates distrust. It cannot be tolerated. Mission effectiveness is reduced. Open homosexual behavior, as a military proactice, will destroy the effectiveness of all fighting units. It is not acceptable, and those that oppose it will not enlist. Is this, after all, the purpose of this Republic leadeship? To destroy the military? It does seem so, and the Republic, one step at a time.

Thursday, December 9, 2010 at 12:02 PM

Jack said:

Tell me about the bathroom situation. Tell me about the showers and the toilets. I know that men and women have separate facilities. Women wouldn't feel comfortable at the idea of walking around naked in front of a bunch of men. Regardless of whether the men made any sexually suggestive remarks, whistles or catcalls, it would definitely prove to be damaging to the morale of the women serving in our armed forces.Take the same argument and add homosexuals to the problem. Straight men would be required to shower and perform other bathroom functions in the presense of men who might be sexually interested in them. Imagine if you were a straight heterosexual man taking a shower and looked over to see another man pleasuring himself while apparently looking at your naked soapcovered body. No, they're going to have to have three bathrooms at the very least for this to have any possibility of working.

Thursday, December 9, 2010 at 12:38 PM

John Westcott said:

Aside from "Dont ask , dont tell", my recollection is the Uniform Code of Military Justice (UCMJ) contains a provision that sodomy is a violation of this code and is punishable by the appropriate military justice action.

Thursday, December 9, 2010 at 12:40 PM

bill scott said:

Why not just do away with separate showers and sleeping quarters for everyone? That would only be fair to some horney heterosexuals.

Thursday, December 9, 2010 at 12:40 PM

Jimmy D said:

Barry,The "growing body of evidence...that says that homosexuality is biological, not cultural" is like the growing body of evidence that the planet is warming - "beyond debate" for those who know they'd lose the debate. Search Mark's archives for the best discussions of this question.

Thursday, December 9, 2010 at 12:42 PM

Stacie Ferry said:

I was one of the 114,000 who responded to this ridiculous survey. As reported by some, it didn't truly ask what we thought about DADT being lifted but what open homosexuality would do to our participation in life on an installation, a family support group, etc. Any conclusions that this surveys represents any REAL sentiments of those that it would affect is ridiculous. My husband just cam off active duty. I have three sons who serve and one who is joining this Spring. The quote by Washington sums my comments on my survey: I don't want to live next a homosexual couple anymore than I want to live next to an adulterer or a fornicator. It is a moral issue and an affront to all those who serve that are faithful to judeo-christian principles!

Thursday, December 9, 2010 at 12:53 PM

Tara S said:

A quick comment in response to "First, there is a growing body of evidence, as far as I can tell, that says that homosexuality is biological, not cultural." I just don't agree that it is biological, and I feel quite qualified to speak because my older sister was gay "most" of her life, but not all of it. As far as I'm concerned, it is a choice. A choice that might be made earlier in life, or later in life, but it is still a choice. To say, "I was born that way" removes all PERSONAL RESPONSIBILITY for your actions, and that is crap. So a murderer, an adulterer, a child molester, a rapist, they all just get to say 'I was born that way' and remove their responsibility? Nope, I don't think so. I also agree strongly with Jack's point of view on the bathroom, shower, and sleeping issue. Women do not want to shower or go to the bathroom with men mostly because of the sexual nature of the situation, we do not want to sleep in the same quarters as men, so having a lesbian woman sleeping next to me and showering with me is the same as having a man in that position. Same goes for males and gay men. I think what the repeal of DADT is trying to do is normalize abnormal behavior, and if we continue down the path of normalizing every abhorrent behavior, where do you think this road will end?

Thursday, December 9, 2010 at 1:19 PM

Richard said:

Another great essay from Mark Alexander. I pass them along and I re-read them from time to time while enjoying a cup of tea on the porch in the warmer weather or with a cup of cappuchino in my rocking chair by the fireplace.Every Amercian Constitutionalist should read, study, and inwardly digest them.Thank you for writing them. It helps one keep the faith in our Republic.

Thursday, December 9, 2010 at 1:19 PM