Ask, Tell—Don't let us stop you!

Call me a cynical old cow (I know you will!), but I'm just not getting a huge thrill out of former chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and retired army general John M. Shalikashvili throwing his support behind repealing Don't Ask Don't Tell at the same time an escalation in Iraq is being contemplated. In fact, I'm so super-cynical about this one that I'll go so far as to say that there are undoubtedly certain folks who have one eye on simply increasing recruitment and another eye on removing one big honking potential draft dodge. I know it's an insulated group in D.C. these days, but even they can't be unaware that among the sorts of young men who aren't particularly interesting in fighting their war, identifying as gay isn't catastrophically controversial. There might have been a time when most straight American men would rather have died than said they were gay, but times they are a-changing…

Shalikashvili says that conversations with gay servicemembers have convinced him "just how much the military has changed, and that gays and lesbians can be accepted by their peers… I now believe that if gay men and lesbians served openly in the United States military, they would not undermine the efficacy of the armed forces. Our military has been stretched thin by our deployments in the Middle East, and we must welcome the service of any American who is willing and able to do the job."

Uh huh. Well, it's good to see that we're all starting to come around in our hour of need.

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