Army and Air Force Chiefs Voice Concern Over Ending ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’

From the Los Angles Times, “Military Chiefs Voice Concern Over Ending ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’“:

In a sign of possible differences among top military officials, Army and Air Force chiefs voiced concern Tuesday about ending a ban on gays serving openly in the armed forces while the country is in the middle of two wars.

Army Gen. George W. Casey Jr. and Air Force Gen. Norton A. Schwartz both told Congress that they supported the Pentagon’s plan to spend a year studying a change in the policy that allows gays to serve only as long as they keep their preferences hidden.

However, both generals were mum about their own views on gays in the military, and neither followed the lead of Adm. Michael G. Mullen, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, who this month said gays should be allowed to serve openly.

The appearances by Schwartz and Casey will be followed Wednesday by those of Adm. Gary Roughead, the chief of naval operations, and Gen. James Conway, the Marine commandant.

Lawmakers and advocates are carefully watching the congressional testimony, trying to gauge where the various service chiefs stand on the issue of gays in the military as a barometer for the eventual outcome.

Opponents of the ban, including President Obama and many congressional Democrats, want to quickly overturn it. However, backers of the ban, including some congressional Republicans, are looking to military officials for possible support for keeping the policy in place.

RTWT.

The report notes the support of Army Gen. Ray Odierno, top U.S. commander in Iraq, for the administration’s policy proposal:

‘My opinion is everyone should be allowed to serve, as long as we’re still able to fight our wars and we’re able to have forces that are capable of doing whatever we’re asked to do,’ Odierno said.”

I had the best “teachable moment” on Monday in my 11:00am class. I have two students who are retired from active duty, one from the Army and the other from the Navy. Neither of them had any problems with gay service-members. As we were discussing this, I pulled up Mackubin Thomas Owens’ recent WSJ essay, “The Case Against Gays in the Military.” As Owens argues there, “open homosexuality is incompatible with military service because it undermines the military ethos upon which success in war ultimately depends.”

I reminded the class that I was NOT taking a position on the issue, but that I was sharing the military-strategic side of the argument. It was a powerfully engaging exchange. One of the students came up after class to thank me for the vigorous discussion. “That was fun,” he said.

More on this later …

Cross-posted from American Power.

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