No military in the world is quite like America's. Now, I'm not talking about its technological capacity, its extraordinary reach, or its servicemen. I'm talking about the American military's singular policy towards gays serving in its ranks. Gays can serve ... so long as they don’t tell anyone that they're gay. No other country in the world has a policy like that. As I explain in my syndicated column this week, it was the product of a compromise early in President Clinton's Administration. Clinton wanted to lift the existing ban on gays serving in the military, but his Democratic Congress did not agree. "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" was born:
Since then, nearly 12,500 service members have been discharged because of their sexual orientation. These have included 800 "mission critical" troops such as Arabic linguists (59 of them), Farsi linguists (nine), medics, pilots and intelligence analysts.
...The Government Accountability Office studied four countries that allow gays to serve -- Canada, Israel, Germany and Sweden. It found that "military officials from each country said that, on the basis of their experience, the inclusion of homosexuals in their militaries has not adversely affected unit readiness, effectiveness, cohesion or morale."
... Other countries that forbid openly gay people to serve include: Cuba, China, Egypt, Greece, India, Iran,
North Korea, Pakistan, Yemen, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, South Korea, Turkey and Venezuela. Do you see any pattern here?
... How would members of America's military feel if the military accepted gays? A Military Times poll found: 71 percent of respondents said they would continue to serve if the no-gays policy were overturned, 10 percent said they would not re-enlist or extend their service, and 14 percent said they would consider terminating their careers after serving their obligated tours.
Full column here.