Fascinating report in today’s Globe:
An article in the Pentagon’s top scholarly journal calls in unambiguous terms for lifting the ban on gays serving openly in the armed forces, arguing that the military is essentially forcing thousands of gay men and women to lead dishonest lives in an organization that emphasizes integrity as a fundamental tenet. The article in the upcoming issue of Joint Force Quarterly, which is published for the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, was written by an Air Force colonel who studied the issue for months while a student at the National Defense University in Washington and who concludes that having openly gay troops in the ranks will not hurt combat readiness….
“After a careful examination, there is no scientific evidence to support the claim that unit cohesion will be negatively affected if homosexuals serve openly,” writes Colonel Om Prakash, who is now working in the office of Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates. “Based on this research, it is not time for the administration to reexamine the issue; rather it is time for the administration to examine how to implement the repeal of the ban.”
Wow, strong words — and this is coming from inside the military! Read the whole thing. It’s hard to see how anyone can make any sort of credible case for maintaining the status quo after “Joint Force Quarterly” publishes a report like this.
And then read this part (emphasis mine):
Representative Patrick Murphy, a Pennsylvania Democrat and Iraq war veteran, is lobbying for a hearing – possibly later this year or early next year – on legislation that he has proposed that would repeal the ban. The bill has 176 cosponsors; there is no similar legislation pending in the Senate.
[T]op Senate Democrats placed Kirk on two committees with jurisdiction over issues crucial to the Bay State: the Armed Services Committee, which supervises the military and plays a role in defense spending, and the Homeland Security Committee, responsible for supervising the nation’s defenses against terrorism.
Now I’m no expert on Senate procedures, but it sure seems to me that the Armed Services Committee would be the place from which to launch a bill putting an end to the miserable existence of “don’t ask don’t tell.”
Senator Kennedy was one of the country’s leading advocates for gay rights — he was one of what, two (anyone else but Russ Feingold?) Senators who supported gay marriage, for instance. Seems to me that, if Senator Kirk wants to carry on Kennedy’s legacy, he could do a lot worse than start the DADT wrecking ball rolling in the Senate.