I have been accused on this blog — by a certain conservative Assemblyman now running for the US Senate — that I don’t understand military ethos because I’ve never served.Â This despite the fact I grew up in a city with a major Air Force base and had many “base brats” as friends, but I have never had the desire to be in the military myself.
That all said, a perhaps the folks at Joint Force Quarterly don’t understand military ethos as well.Â in an upcoming issue, they will be calling for an end of the absurd “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy and go a step further by saying there’s no reason why a gay solider couldn’t serve his or her country.
From a Boston Globe story on the pending publication:
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.
The views do not necessarily reflect those of Pentagon leaders, but their appearance in a publication billed as the Joint Chiefsâ€™ â€œflagshipâ€™â€™ security studies journal signals that the top brass now welcomes a debate in the military over repealing the 1993 law that requires gays to hide their sexual orientation, according to several longtime observers of the charged debate over gays in the military.
While decisions on which articles to publish are made by the journalâ€™s editorial board, located at the defense university, a senior military official said yesterday that the office of Admiral Mike Mullen, the Joint Chiefs chairman who is the nationâ€™s top military officer, reviewed the article before it was published.
â€œAfter a careful examination, there is no scientific evidence to support the claim that unit cohesion will be negatively affected if homosexuals serve openly,â€™â€™ writes Colonel Om Prakash, who is now working in the office of Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates. â€œBased 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.â€™â€™
Col. Prakash uses data from other NATO and allied countries who haveÂ gay members of their militaries and says there is no evidenceÂ to support the claim that openly gay soliders will result inÂ a loss of unit cohesion:
“Prior to lifting their bans, in Canada 62 percent of servicemen stated that they would refuse to share showers with a gay soldier, and in the United Kingdom, two-thirds of males stated that they would not willingly serve in the military if gays were allowed. In both cases, after lifting their bans, the result was â€œno-effect.â€ In a survey of over 100 experts from Australia, Canada, Israel, and the United Kingdom, it was found that all agreed the decision to lift the ban on homosexuals had no impact on military performance, readiness, cohesion, or ability to recruit or retain, nor did it increase the HIV rate among troops.
This finding seems to be backed by the 2006 Zogby poll, which found that 45 percent of current Servicemembers already suspect they are serving with a homosexual in their unit, and of those, 23 percent are certain they are serving with a homosexual. These numbers indicate there is already a growing tacit acceptance among the ranks.”