According to Gates, "The question before us is not whether the military prepares to make this change, but how we best prepare for it." He announced a yearlong study on how to implement a repeal of the law and baldly asserted that "we have a degree of latitude within the existing law to change our internal procedures in a manner that is more appropriate and fair to our men and women in uniform." In other words, in the Obama administration, enforcing the current law, which overwhelmingly was enacted 17 years ago, no longer matters.
Gates now acknowledges in the midst of war that he is implementing a policy of "selective enforcement" to disregard a law that clearly states 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 to the high standards of morale, good order and discipline, and unit cohesion that are the essence of military capability." So much for our national security.
Though Mullen expressed his "personal belief that allowing gays and lesbians to serve openly would be the right thing to do," he conceded he does not "know for a fact how we would best make such a major policy change in a time of two wars." The Joint Chiefs chairman also made this curious observation: "We have in place a policy which forces young men and women to lie about who they are in order to defend their fellow citizens." How that can be the case in a "don't ask, don't tell" era seems to have eluded the good senators.
Unasked and unanswered are these "where do we go from here?" questions the senators should have posed: If Congress changes the law and allows overtly practicing homosexuals in the ranks, should NAMBLA members be allowed to serve? Will those who advocate abolishing "age of consent" laws be allowed to don uniforms? Will the military have to acknowledge same-sex marriages? If so, will military chaplains be required to perform such rituals? Will same-sex couples be entitled to military housing? Will these couples be allowed to serve in the same unit or aboard the same ship?
Supposedly, those issues and many more will be resolved over the next 10 months in a "working group" headed by Pentagon General Counsel Jeh Johnson and Gen. Carter Ham, commander of U.S. Army forces in Europe. Allegedly, they will consider ways to ameliorate the effects of this inane decision on readiness, recruitment and retention in the world's finest military. Then, in 2011, Congress will vote on whether to repeal a law the O-Team is willfully ignoring anyway.
Congress should not wait to decide this issue and become party to potentially irreparable damage to our military. Congress controls the purse strings of the Pentagon. Both houses should go on record now so "We the People" know who favors treating America's soldiers, sailors, airmen, guardsmen and Marines like lab rats in Mr. Obama's radical social experiment.
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.