Monday, December 20, 2010

Now That DADT's Behind Us...

... can we please focus on solving serious problems? Like unemployment and the economy?

As I've said before, I have mixed feelings about Don't Ask Don't Tell. However, I don't feel strongly enough about it to get very excited over the Senate's vote to end it. Hopefully it will result in the benefits it's proponents expect, with little or none of the drawbacks suggested by critics.

One point which has escaped most commentators so far is the repeal's effect on universities that today don't allow ROTC on their campuses. A primary reason given by many of them is the military's so-called discrimination against gays. Now that that crutch has been removed it'll be interesting to see what happens.
Some top universities moved quickly Saturday to respond to the vote repealing the ban on gays in the military, and those who don't restore their ROTC programs in the wake of the vote are likely to face immediate pressure on the issue.

The ROTC programs have been absent from a number of Ivy League and other leading campuses since the Vietnam War, and many schools subsequently linked programs' return to open service for gays and lesbians. The vote, said Columbia University President Lee Bollinger, provides "the opportunity for a new era in the relationship between universities and our military services."

"This is an historic development for a nation dedicated to fulfilling its core principle of equal rights. It also effectively ends what has been a vexing problem for higher education, including at Columbia -- given our desire to be open to our military, but not wanting to violate our own core principle against discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation," he said in a statement through a spokesman.

Harvard University President Drew Faust today signaled that she would move to restore ROTC to the campus.

"Because of today's action by the Senate, gay and lesbian Americans will now also have the right to pursue this honorable calling, and we as a nation will have the benefit of their service," she said in a statement through a spokesman. "I look forward to pursuing discussions with military officials and others to achieve Harvard's full and formal recognition of ROTC."

A spokesman for Yale University also suggested that change may be coming soon.

"We are aware of the vote and have plans in consideration," said Yale spokesman Thomas Mattia in an email.

A Stanford official declined to comment for the record but noted that the school's Faculty Senate is already reviewing the restoration of ROTC, a process that began last "in part in anticipation of the 'Don't ask Don't tell' issue," and is due to consider a report and recommendation in the next few months.

The Weekly Standard's Bill Kristol suggested today that repeal should trigger an immediate press for reinstating ROTC on campus, a battle that has been a front in the culture wars since the 1960s.

"One trusts the presidents and trustees of colleges that have been keeping ROTC at arm's length, allegedly because of DADT, will move posthaste to ensure a hearty welcome and full equality for ROTC at their universities," he wrote, pointing to Senators who are alumni of the relevant schools. "One would expect that patriotic alumni of those universities would insist on quick action."
Also lost in all the hullabaloo about DADT is that it is not the military's policy. It stems from the "Military Personnel Eligibility Act of 1993," passed by congress during the Clinton administration. As with most things controversial, the media over time has rewritten facts and history to suit the liberal perspective.

In any event, all that's behind us now (no pun intended). So can we please move on to any number of serious issues that desperately need to be addressed? 

Like global warming...

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