Relative safety will have to come at the cost of DADT, it’s time we got over ourselves

or: Let’s all be honest, you would rather find boas than bombs in a closet

or: fun fact, gays can smell terrorists…but sadly they can’t tell us

Right now in Washington D.C., there are investigations in to the recruiting policies and monitoring of enlisted soldiers as to their religious affiliation in congruence with the mental stability of our soldiers. These hearings and investigative panels, of which there was one Thursday led by I-Joe Lieberman, are the direct result of the alleged actions at Fort Hood on Nov. 5, 2009, by Maj. Nidal Malik Hasan. Investigations are going to delve deep, eventually, and massive overhauls of privacy rights for soldiers and further screening in recruiting as well as monitoring while in the armed forces will come, doubt on this can be none. These findings of the panels will be arbitrary at best on an isolated incident that has been categorized as ‘terrorism’ before the blood even dried in Texas. What will come out of this fear is policies put in place to allow for the government to monitor and spy on it’s servicemen and women…but what if they find something they don’t want to? How does this new ideology that will come from the aftermath of this tragedy affect the long standing “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy put in place under Bill Clinton? Reconciling our fear of attack and the consequences of full disclosure run contradictory leaving us in nothing less than a moral and legal stalemate.

I foresee that within six months from now panels will find that monitoring the personal e-mails, contacts, phone records, and personal interactions of its soldiers as necessary to the further security of this nation. It will be stipulated that extensive background checks will be called for, and recruiting standards are going to come under close scrutiny as to allow for enough soldiers, but not let in too many ‘questionable’ individuals. What will occur is that each soldier will have to agree to give up their civil liberties, which to some extent they already do, but they will now be under full discretion of the Patriot Act and every facet of their lives will be a matter of military record and available for review at all times. Psychological exams and test as well as regular counseling and drug testing will be mandatory. Before enlisting every soldier will be subject to military, and the finding of the hearings will also dictate an outside department, the FBI, to fully screen every single candidate. Becoming a solider will now become a moment of being all that you can be, and then letting the government see exactly what that is, intimately.

Will this be the right path? Time will tell, as will public outcry or protest from soldiers, but it will happen. The nation is terrified at the possibility of the very idea that some ‘terrorist’ could possibly infiltrate US military defenses, weapons stockpiles, et al, and as with 9/11 we will allow for the government to take any measure to assure our safety. No doubt that incidents against Muslim servicemen and women will go up, we probably won’t hear about it though. As a minority, especially of middle eastern decent, they will be profiled and most likely scrutinized further than anyone else; they will be unfairly profiled, this is America and that is our knee-jerk reaction. Sorry. What will follow will be a Muslim witch hunt that will both embarrass and weaken the strength of our branches of the military. The shifting eyes from soldier to soldier started on that day, don’t pretend they didn’t, and now we are weary of one another which leads to fear which leads to incidents. Indeed.

Well, how does this effect those in the military who are under a prime directive put forth by the Commander in Chief, the President of the United States? What happens to those men and women serving, or wanting to serve, in the military who have something to hide because it is the law? For those in the military who must keep their sexual orientation and relationships secret, don’t you think that with enough snooping for terrorists we might uncover a few gays? “Sir, Private Jones is not a terrorist, he’s a queen, sir.” What then? It kind of defeats the purpose of a law that stipulates that a serviceman will not initiate a conversation on the nature of a soldiers orientation, but what if an investigation does the leg work for him? Then we have a primary issue, once it is known the soldier must be discharged, right? That’s the law. Wait, but we weren’t looking for gays, we were looking for terrorists. Look the other way then, but wait, that soldier is a gay…back to the shifty eyes.

What these investigations present us with a need to take a good, long look in the mirror as a nation and decide where we draw the line. The end result of this incident, the longest standing victim besides those killed, injured, and effected, will be the policies of full disclosure and something I think will be called the ‘Servicemen Activities/Identity Transparency’ act, or “say-it” (SA/IT, get it?), the antithesis of the DADT policy of today. This will, of course, require that we have full disclosure from all troops on all subjects, but this might be hard without first ending the DADT policy of the last nearly 17 years. Installing this policy shift without repealing DADT will be one slippery slope indeed, you cannot have two orders that are so utterly contradictory; they are both compromised by the presence of the other. We, as a country cannot have a full investigatory policy of all servicemen and women without first coming to terms with what we may find and how to deal with it. Has anyone even given a thought as to how we would arrest, imprison, court martial, sentence, or just discharge, a serviceman or woman…if they were either gay or a terrorist? How the hell would either of those proceedings go? We need to, before putting in new policies, decide about the end game and what the consequences might be if we got our wish and started outing people.

It is clear that there is a fundamentally philosophical issue at hand, “How much do we want to know to feel safe?” We are shining the light of scrutiny in to the closets of our citizens, and some of those closets may be quite flamboyant; that is not a military issue boa. What will happen to our puritanical beliefs and ‘ignorance is bliss’ mentality when we find answers to questions we weren’t asking? We want safety, but we don’t want [to know about] queers; what the fuck do scared, bigoted lawmakers do!? Well, I think in the interest of national security after this singular isolated incident of ‘terrorism’ by and ‘islamic extremist’ that is not the fault of policy or of any specific layer of governance, that we need to DO something; or at least appear to do something. We will rape the civil rights of soldiers and sodomize personal privacy for the good of the nation. However, this cannot go on while DADT is in place. I think I speak for everyone that, in this matter of relative safety, we can’t have two standing orders that contradict themselves; “Say It” and “DADT” cannot both be followed, and in the interest of the people’s feelings of safety, we might want to get over ourselves and be open about…everything, so as to further secure this country. I can’t speak from experience, but I would rather the man in a foxhole next to me be a confirmed ‘gay’ than a suspected ‘terrorist’, but that’s just me.


One thought on “Relative safety will have to come at the cost of DADT, it’s time we got over ourselves

  1. Your essay excellently demonstrates how ‘unintended consequence theory’ results in the continuing degradation of our Armed Forces with regard to DADT. Is it not becomming more and more difficult for DADT defenders to promulgate convincing arguments favoring its continuance in the face of an ever-increasing mountain of evidence defining DADT’s negative aspects?

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