"We respectfully urge Congress to repeal the 'don't ask, don't tell' policy," the letter says. "Those of us signing this letter have dedicated our lives to defending the rights of our citizens to believe whatever they wish."
I'll start with a quick background on myself to help you know where I'm coming from. I was born in Bremerhaven Germany in '62, shortly after the wall came up. While not technically a Military Brat, I spent 16 of my first 25 years living in Europe in, on and around the US Army and Air Force. My sister is married to a retired military and, even over these last two decades living here in the States, my whole family has worked for DoD at one time or other. Basically, I have some familiarity with the Military. And I know why they are afraid of gays.
It's the same reason it took over 300 years for them to let Women and Blacks in. And believe it or not, the same reasoning they used for excluding them are now being used on gays.
The military is, by it's very nature, hyper-masculine. Fighting and killing are traits ingrained in all males but only the toughest of the tough would want to put themselves in the path of potential war. Call it hyper-macho-masculine (HMM for short). Women, Blacks and Gays are seen as an affront to this HMM'ness that is ingrained onto them by genetics and social/cultural reasons. Let's break down a few of them...
- Women/Blacks/Gays are weak and to emotional to handle battle
- Women and Gays will abuse their sexuality to "get over" on men by using their sexuality to get "real men" in trouble so they don't have to work
- Blacks/Women/Gays are cowards and will run away when the shooting starts
- Blacks/Gays/Women are lazy and won't hold up there end, even in peace time
My position on Gays in the Military has always been, "Who frelling cares!" When you are really in that foxhole with bullets flying around the only thing anyone is thinking about is how do I perform my mission get back home. Kill the bad guys and don't get killed yourself. That's really all there is to it.
The Military has long been far behind the curve when it comes to social and cultural issues. Race, gender and sexual preference, while not being expunged from the world, are far less important in the US than they were decades or centuries ago. It will take a lot more time for the Military to catch up, though. It is, good or bad, the nature of the beast.