WASHINGTON -- No nation ever has had a better military than today's all-volunteer U.S. armed forces. Though I wouldn't trade anything for the young Americans I served with in Vietnam -- or afterward -- those presently wearing America's uniforms are the brightest, best-educated, best-trained and most combat-experienced military the world ever has seen. Now, in the midst of an unprecedented ninth year of war and nonstop high-stress deployments, their commander in chief intends to put the capabilities of this extraordinary force and our nation's security at risk to carry out a radical social experiment.
During his presidential campaign, Barack Obama frequently promised he would reverse the U.S. military's long-standing policy prohibiting homosexuals from serving in our military. Last October, at a Human Rights Campaign dinner, he said: "I'm working with the Pentagon, its leadership and the members of the House and Senate on ending this policy. ... I will end 'don't ask, don't tell.' That's my commitment to you."
Last week, tucked into the closing paragraphs of his State of the Union address, the president said, "This year, I will work with Congress and our military to finally repeal the law that denies gay Americans the right to serve the country they love because of who they are." Set aside the disingenuous rhetoric. (It's not about "who they are"; it's really about "what they do.") We now know the "repeal" process is already well under way.
This week, Sen. Carl Levin, D-Mich., chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee and an advocate of ending what he calls "this discriminatory policy," convened a remarkable hearing to determine the "next steps" in "meeting the president's commitment."
Testimony by Defense Secretary Robert Gates and Adm. Mike Mullen, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, revealed the Department of Defense isn't going to evaluate whether repealing Section 654 of Title 10 of the U.S. Code -- the 1993 statute that bars active homosexuals from the military -- is a good idea. Instead, the Pentagon already is working to undermine the law and allow practicing homosexuals to enter and remain in our military.
Oliver North is a nationally syndicated columnist, the host of War Stories on the Fox News Channel, the author of the new novel Heroes Proved and the co-founder of Freedom Alliance, an organization that provides college scholarships to the children of U.S. military personnel killed or permanently disabled in the line of duty. Join Oliver North in Israel by going to www.olivernorthisrael.com.