While debating the repeal of Don’t Ask Don’t Tell, Rep. Louie Gohmert (R-TX), of “terror-baby” fame, claimed that the policy’s repeal may doom the military and the nation as a whole. Gohmert blasted the recent Pentagon study, which showed that an overwhelming number of military service members do not oppose repealing DADT, and said that the military could potentially lose “many thousands, or tens of thousands, or hundreds of thousands” if the policy is repealed. Gohmert uses no scientific evidence of his own to back up his claim that “hundreds of thousands” of troops could leave, even though the Pentagon’s own polling found that the vast majority of troops do not have problems serving alongside gays and lesbians, and 92 percent of those who believe they have already served alongside gays did not believe that their “units functioned poorly as a result.”
Gohmert went on to suggest that the House, which today voted to repeal Don’t Ask Don’t Tell 250-175, is opening up the floodgates to a disorganized and ineffective military. According to the Congressman, “when militaries throughout history of the greatest nations in the world have adopted the policy that it’s fine for homosexuality to be overt…they’re toward the end of its existence as a great nation.”
You want an accurate poll? Take one where military members can answer privately with no ability of the commanders to figure out who answered where. And then let’s find out how many thousands, or tens of thousands, or hundreds of thousands we can lose with this activity. That’s important.
Now we were told Don’t Ask Don’t Tell is inconsistent with American values, I would submit the military is inconsistent with American values. It does not have freedom of speech, it does not have freedom of assembly, it does not have the freedom to express its love to those in the military the way you can out here because it’s an impediment to the military mission. You can’t do that. Can you imagine military members being able to tell their commander what they think of him using freedom of speech or assembling where they wish? It doesn’t work. This is one of those issues that is so personal to the military; we need to have an accurate poll.
And to my friend who said history would judge us poorly, I would submit if you look thoroughly at history, and I’m not saying its cause and effect, but when militaries throughout history of the greatest nations in the world have adopted the policy that it’s fine for homosexuality to be overt, you can keep it private it’s fine if you can’t that’s fine too, they’re toward the end of its existence as a great nation.
Such remarks channel those made by Family Research Council head Tony Perkins. He argued that the repeal of Don’t Ask Don’t Tell would make enough soldiers “not enlist in our all-volunteer force” that “President Obama will be driven to the place he does not want to go: the military draft.” At the Values Voter Summit, Perkins maintained that countries who allow gays to serve openly are “the ones that participate in parades, they don’t fight wars to keep the nation and the world free.”
Of course, major US allies, including Great Britain, Israel, Canada, Germany, Australia, France, Italy, Spain and France, just to name a few, permit gay and lesbians to serve openly and their militaries have yet to collapse as a result of soldiers leaving en masse.