Not Asked, but Told
Popular wisdom insists that social issues are a political wedge wielded from the right to divide Americans for political gain. Experience suggests that the cynical aggressors, in this sense, are actually more likely to reside on the left. Not for no reason has President Obama played the “don’t ask, don’t tell” card as his political agenda falls apart on the grounds that it’s extremely unpopular. Gotta distract the rabble, you know.
As a political calculation, I think he’s wrong. The movement against him, most visible in the tea parties, is not going to take its eye off the economic and civic issues on which the president has us all so spooked just because he shouted “gays” in an active military. And as a policy decision, Anchor Rising contributor Mac Owens explains why Obama’s wrong in a Wall Street Journal op-ed:
The congressional findings supporting the 1993 law (section 654 of title 10, United States Code) reflect the common-sense observation that military organizations exist to win wars. To maximize the chances of battlefield success, military organizations must overcome the paralyzing effects of fear on the individual soldier and what the famous Prussian war theorist Carl von Clausewitz called “friction” and the “fog of uncertainty.”
This they do by means of an ethos that stresses discipline, morale, good order and unit cohesion. Anything that threatens the nonsexual bonding that lies at the heart of unit cohesion adversely affects morale, disciple and good order, generating friction and undermining this ethos. Congress at the time and many today, including members of the military and members of Congress from both parties, believe that service by open homosexuals poses such a threat.
Mac’s also got an FAQ of sorts related to the essay on NRO.
The bottom line is that liberals, progressives, or whatever we’re agreeing to call them these days want to disallow society from making distinctions between classes of people, even when those classes have relevant differences, in order to make certain political disagreements seem more important. How one bonds with others, and with whom one bonds in what way, has significant implications in the life-and-death situations that military personnel face regularly. But the likes of President Obama find it convenient to leverage the deep, personal feelings involved in sexual orientation, so all else must be treated as secondary.