Now, Sunday's WSG contained an editorial by Richard Socarides, calling on President Obama to end the "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" policy about gays serving openly in the military. Obama campaingned on ending what he called a "policy of discrimination" but has been strangely silent about it since taking office.
Many question why the White House avoided dealing with Don't Ask, Don't Tell last year, when Democrats had big majorities in Congress and polls showed that a majority of Americans favor changing the policy. A Quinnipiac poll in April, for example, found that 56% of Americans support repealing the policy.
A big part of the reason why the White House hesitated is fear of a backlash similar to the one suffered by President Bill Clinton in 1993 when he tried to allow gays to serve openly in the military. Recently we saw the potential beginning of an antigay fear campaign—much like the one in 1993 when then Sen. Sam Nunn (D., Ga.) was leading the charge—in the form of a leaked memo from a legal adviser to Mr. Mullen. The legal adviser opined that "now is not the time" to lift the ban because of "the importance of winning the wars we are in." Also, the New York Times reported recently that the Pentagon had begun considering "the practical implications of a repeal—for example, whether it would be necessary to change shower facilities and locker rooms because of privacy concerns."
Fortunately, these scare tactics are for the most part relics of an older era. People understand that our military needs every talented American it can get, and that excluding gays from the military detracts from our ability to win wars.
As wrong as the WSG was about torture, they are absolutely right on this one, and I am pleased to offer credit where credit is due. This is discrimination, pure and simple, and I am disappointed that our president is bowing to political calculus rather than doing what is right.