Bob Barr, former Republican congressman from Georgia and widely viewed as an arch conservative, has an op-ed in the 6/13/07 edition of the Wall Street Journal calling for the repeal of the military's "Don't Ask Don't Tell" policy. Mr. Barr was one of the most visible members of Congress in the 1990's during the Republican Revolution started in 1994 by Newt Gingrich.
Here are some excerpts I've selected from the article:
"The bottom line here is that, with nearly a decade and a half of the hybrid 'don't ask, don't tell' policy to guide us, I have become deeply impressed with the growing weight of credible miltary opinion which concludes that allowing gays to serve openly in the military does not pose insurmountable problems for the good order and discipline of the services."If a dyed-in-the-wool conservative like Bob Barr sees that this policy should be repealed, and is alarmed at the politically expedient positions being espoused by the current club of Republican presidential candidates.
"The fact is, equal treatment of gay and lesbian service members is about as conservative a position as one cares to articulate. Why? First, true conservative political philosophy respects the principles of individual freedom and personal privacy, particularly when it comes to what people do in private."
"...the ban on gays openly serving in our armed forces is hurting a mililtary that is stretched thin...The U.S. has fired over 11,000 pepole under the current policy, and in the process has lost over 1,000 service members with 'mission-critical skills,' including 58 Arabic linguists."
"Instead, the mililary is firing badly needed, capable troops simply because they're gay, and replacing them with a hodge podge that includes ex-cons, drug abusers and high-school dropouts."
"...the gay ban has cost taxpayers over $360 million, and even this figure did not include many of the actual costs of rounding up gays and lesbians, firing them and training their replacements. The training of an Arabic linguist alone costs some $120,000; that of medical or aviation specialists can cost up to a quarter million dollars."
Referring to a December 2006 Zogby poll, "A majority of those who knew someone gay in their unit said the person's presence had no negative impact on unit morale."