Dr. Blanchard encapsulates well my sense that the folks opposed to gays serving in the military don't have much in the way of good arguments. Unit cohesion? That's all you've got?
This strikes me as a very bad argument. There are all kinds of reasons why one solider might be disinclined to trust another. He's Irish, or a Democrat. She's a privileged White girl, or a Red Sox fan. It is one of the jobs of soldiers, sailors, marines, etc., to judge their fellows by their competence and loyalty and nothing else. We expect our armed forces to do their job in harm's way, which means in the face of a kind of fear that us civilians can scarcely imagine. Compared to that, nervousness about a fellow warrior's sexual orientation seems like pretty small potatoes [Ken Blanchard, "It's Time to Dump DADT," South Dakota Politics, 2010.12.18].
Well said, Ken. Now let's sign off on this issue and do what soldiers do: drop the bull and fight our real enemies, the terrorists who want to destroy America, not the good men and women who want to defend it with honor and integrity.
Update 21:30 CST: Equality South Dakota gives me a welcome shout and shares some optimism for more positive change. EqSD also points to this WaPo article that indicates the relief and disbelief current gay soldiers feel. One compelling passage:
For some, the news was bittersweet. That was the case for a 28-year-old West Point Army captain who resigned from active duty this spring after wrestling for years with deprivation, loneliness and half-truths. His boyfriend was sitting next to him.
"Oh God, oh God," the decorated captain, who served two tours in Iraq, said by phone from Dallas as the vote neared. "My heart was thumping."
Text messages began pouring in as soon as the tally was announced.
"So when are you back on active duty?" wrote a straight intelligence officer who served with him in Iraq in 2009.
"LOL. I dunno," the captain responded.
"Let me know so I can get stationed there," the intelligence officer wrote back. "I work with a lot of morons. It'd be nice to have a battle [buddy] with some common sense and discipline again" [Ernesto Londono, "Gay Troops Cautiously Optimistic Following 'Don't Ask' Repeal," Washington Post, 2010.12.19].