Monday, December 26, 2011

Will Defenders of DADT Be Held Accountable for Their False Predictions?

In the run up to the repeal of the discriminatory - and purely religion derived - Don't Ask Don't Tell policy, the haters of the far right hyperventilated and foamed at the mouth over the supposed dire consequences that DADT repeal would inflict on the U. S. armed forces. A funny thing has happened, however. None of the dire predictions are materializing thus proving that the justifications for the policy were lies. Yep, outright lies. But then, lying seems to be one of the hallmarks of the self-anointed defenders of "family values." The truth always seems to be the first casualty with these folks whether it's their peddling of fraudulent "ex-gay" programs to claiming that gays in the military serving openly and proudly would destroy the military. A piece in Huffington Post written by Nathaniel Frank, author of "Unfriendly Fire: How the Gay Ban Undermines the Military and Weakens America", that I bookmarked last week asks the much needed question of whether those who peddled lies and untruths will be held accountable. Here are some highlights:

For years, defenders of anti-gay exclusion in the military have claimed that equal treatment was incompatible with a strong military. For nearly as many years, researchers pointed out that there was no evidence to support this claim that letting gays serve openly would harm cohesion, recruitment, or readiness, and that all the data actually showed the opposite: discrimination and dishonesty were what undermined the military; equal treatment strengthened respect for military law, helped expand the pool of qualified recruits, and removed an impetus for harassment and denigration that are anathema to good order and discipline.

This week . . . . marks three months since the new policy of open service went into effect. So how do we assess the change, and, equally important, now that it's behind us, does it even matter anymore?

in the U.S., fear and anxiety about change had swelled into full-blown paranoia. And this sentiment was being exploited and inflamed by political opportunists. There is even firsthand evidence that military and cultural leaders exaggerated the threat to unit cohesion throughout the debate over "Don't Ask, Don't Tell," in an effort to give credibility to what was, at bottom, simple prejudice.

This is why assessing the ultimate impact of ending "Don't Ask, Don' Tell" matters. And it matters enormously. Throughout our history, opponents of equal treatment have insisted that it would wreak havoc on society, indeed that it would cause such grave disruptions that equality was an unacceptable threat to civilization. This "disruption" theory was wielded against African Americans, immigrants, women, gays and lesbians, and transgender people, to name a few. It is perhaps the sharpest tool in the arsenal of people who refuse to rise above passions and prejudice . . .

For years, we heard that lifting the ban would undermine cohesion, spur a mass exodus of troops from service, hurt military families, and actually cost lives, that it would disrupt our defenses, weaken our country, and threaten civilization. Yet the ban ended three months ago, with little fanfare. Were all the naysayers wrong? Have any of them been held accountable? And will opponents of equality going forward get away with using the same "disruption" theory to convince policymakers to oppose full equality for LGBT and other Americans?

Because that's what they're trying.
We hear that letting gay couples marry will disrupt the social fabric of American life, undermine marriage, kill a "culture of life," dry up the Western population, and threaten our civilization. If this is what was said about gay people serving openly (which it was), and if none of it happened, then the lesson is monumental: a culture of anxiety has become a politics of paranoia, which has pulled the wool over our collective eyes in service to maintaining an unjust status quo. Will we let it happen again and again and again? Will anyone be held accountable for steering us so terribly wrong?

The report, "Accountability and DADT," documents -- all in one place -- 60 of the main predictions of disruption that would allegedly result from openly gay service, and the names of the people who made them.

Below are excerpts of some of the most dire predictions. . . . . accountability is essential to justice -- past, present, and future. The next time you have a discussion about the costs and benefits of equal treatment, remember (whatever your position) what history shows: opponents of equality always claim it will disrupt society; almost always, it doesn't. If this holds true for ending DADT, will the naysayers have the courage to say, "I was wrong"?

Sample Predictions of Harm and Disruption Resulting from Openly Gay Military Service (from the new report, "Accountability and DADT"):

"[Lifting the ban] may even prove decisive to the viability of the all-volunteer force. That viability may, in turn, determine our ability to avoid in the years ahead -- as we have for the past four decades -- a return to conscription to meet our requirements for warriors in those conflicts." --Frank Gaffney, Jr., Center for Security Policy, 2011

"[Surveys suggest that if the ban is lifted, a minimum of] 24,000 current members of the armed forces might be lost over and above normal discharge attrition in a one-to-three year period... Because these personnel would be completing one or more terms of service, they would, in fact, represent a hemorrhage of mature, skilled losses from the professional ranks. This is an enormous risk to the viability of our armed forces." --General Carl Mundy, former Commandant of the Marine Corps, 2010, in a letter addressing Congress

"If the law is overturned and open homosexuals are welcomed into the military, the number of homosexuals in the armed forces can only increase -- leading to a corresponding increase in same-sex sexual assaults." --Peter Sprigg, Family Research Council, 2010

Read the full report here to see more of the lies and untruths put forward and the hate and fear merchants who made them. Here's one from the utterly insane Elaine Donnelly:

Lifting the ban would lead to “inappropriate passive/aggressive actions common in the homosexual community,” “forcible sodomy” and "exotic forms of sexual expression.” - Elaine Donnelly, Center for Military Readiness, 2008

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