Leading from the Left

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Would You Lie for Your Country?

Well, would you lie for your country? Even if the reason for the lie was based on out-dated prejudice?

Today, I'm going to take a break from mental health to post about the US government's "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" policy.

Several years ago, gay sailor Jason Knight was booted out of the Navy under the rules of the "Don't Ask, Don't Tell (DADT)." Knight, a highly trained Hebrew linguist, was then brought back into the Navy last year even though the US military knew that he's gay. Seems they had a wartime need for linguists. Go figure.

And then, in a plot twist worthy of a daytime SOAP, Knight was booted out again last week after his story appeared in "Stars and Stripes." Here's a report on this turn of events.

There are several questions that beg to be addressed. First, what benefit does our society gain by encouraging Americans to lie? The only way Knight could keep his job was to lie. How does that make a better country, or make better military?

Second, why is the government firing personnel with highly desirable skills during a time of war? It's never right to fire someone because of an immutable characteristic, of course. But to do so at a time like this is just down right stupid.

Third, how was sailor Knight a threat to the military? Knight's own colleagues say that he was an asset to their organization. So much for the military's claim that openly gay soldiers and sailors are a threat to unit cohesion.

Finally, if he was good enough to invite back in, why fire him now?

It's time to end the "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" policy. It was always wrong, always useless, and now it's time to send it to the dustbin of history. No decent government purpose is served by requiring personnel to lie in order to keep a job.