Seventeen years ago, when then-President Bill Clinton tried to repeal the then-ban on gays serving in the military, few military leaders were at te forefront of the effort for repeal. The issue was one of “social justice” and not military effectiveness.
Today, by contrast, the President is wisely working with the top military brass to repeal the ban which Clinton and the then-Democratic Congress codified in 1993. Leaders of our military are now talking about howto repeal the ban while maintaining unit cohesion and morale. They seem favorably disposed to the idea. It seems it is now the moment to repeal the ban.
The latest to appear to be leaning toward repeal is perhaps the greatest military leader still on active duty in our armed forces, General David Petraeus, Commander, U.S. Central Command.
Saying he supports the “year-long review process which will determine if the ban on gay and lesbian troops serving openly in the military should be lifted“, while appearing on NBC’s Meet the Press, he added that he has served with gay people:
“We have experienced certainly in the FBI and the CIA… I know. I’ve served in combat with individuals who were gay and who were lesbian in combat situations, and frankly, over time, you say, ‘How is his shooting?,’ or, ‘How is her analysis?’”
And that’s the way it should be–whether or not gay people can do what the military requires of them while contributing to the work of their units.