John Stossel

America is one of many countries that forbid openly gay people to serve in the military. Others are: Cuba, China, Egypt, Greece, Iran, North Korea, Pakistan, Yemen, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, South Korea, Turkey and Venezuela.

See a pattern?

With a few exceptions, those are not countries where free people want to live.

By contrast, Australia, the United Kingdom, Israel, Belgium, Canada, the Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, France, Germany, Italy, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Netherlands, Norway, Slovenia and Spain all allow gay people to serve.

No country has America's in-between policy: Gays can serve -- as long as no one finds out about it. Where did that come from?

It happened because Bill Clinton campaigned for the presidency promising to allow gays to serve. After his election, the Democratic Congress decreed that "the presence in the Armed Forces of persons who demonstrate a propensity or intent to engage in homosexual acts would create an unacceptable risk ... ."

So a compromise was born. The media labeled it "don't ask, don't tell."

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.

In May, the House of Representatives voted to repeal "don't ask, don't tell," but only after the Defense Department studies the matter and the president, secretary of defense and chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff declare that ending the policy would not reduce military effectiveness. The Senate has not voted on its version of bill.

So, should it be repealed? Here are some things to consider:

The American Psychological Association states: "Empirical evidence fails to show that sexual orientation is germane to any aspect of military effectiveness including unit cohesion, morale, recruitment and retention. ... When openly gay, lesbian and bisexual individuals have been allowed to serve in the U.S. Armed Forces, there has been no evidence of disruption or loss of mission effectiveness."

OK, of course they said that. It's the APA. But that doesn't make them wrong.

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."


John Stossel

John Stossel is host of "Stossel" on the Fox Business Network. He's the author of "No They Can't: Why Government Fails, but Individuals Succeed." To find out more about John Stossel, visit his site at >johnstossel.com. To read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate Web page at www.creators.com. ©Creators Syndicate