Best Defense

Thomas E. Ricks' daily take on national security.

Openly gay soldiers and sailors: The view from a Navy submarine

Here’s a sensible note from a young Navy submarine officer who says he is writing because he wants people to understand that the obstacle to being openly gay in the military lies in Congress, not in the uniformed military: The debate may exist in the media, and certainly exists in Congress, but on the ship, ...

history.navy.mil
history.navy.mil

Here's a sensible note from a young Navy submarine officer who says he is writing because he wants people to understand that the obstacle to being openly gay in the military lies in Congress, not in the uniformed military:

The debate may exist in the media, and certainly exists in Congress, but on the ship, if it's talked about at all it with a little bit of confusion about what the big deal is. Don't get me wrong, there is homophobia and there are a few loud, mostly uneducated, mostly very junior, and mostly still well-meaning people who would tell you they think its wrong -- but they're the kind of people who are just saying it because its what they were brought up to say, and even they aren't saying it with much fervor. I can tell you with certainty that if the ban were lifted tomorrow -- no year of preparation -- life would go on exactly as it did before....

Life would go on. Mostly what I heard after Admiral Mullen's declaration was, "it's about time." There is no question if the military is ready -- the military is waiting.

Here’s a sensible note from a young Navy submarine officer who says he is writing because he wants people to understand that the obstacle to being openly gay in the military lies in Congress, not in the uniformed military:

The debate may exist in the media, and certainly exists in Congress, but on the ship, if it’s talked about at all it with a little bit of confusion about what the big deal is. Don’t get me wrong, there is homophobia and there are a few loud, mostly uneducated, mostly very junior, and mostly still well-meaning people who would tell you they think its wrong — but they’re the kind of people who are just saying it because its what they were brought up to say, and even they aren’t saying it with much fervor. I can tell you with certainty that if the ban were lifted tomorrow — no year of preparation — life would go on exactly as it did before….

Life would go on. Mostly what I heard after Admiral Mullen’s declaration was, "it’s about time." There is no question if the military is ready — the military is waiting.

… I just want the press to understand that it is the Congress that needs pushing, not the military, and that excuses such as "senior military officials like the CJCS and SecDef are out of touch with the low-level, young guys on the ground" may be true on many issues, but not this one.

Thomas E. Ricks covered the U.S. military from 1991 to 2008 for the Wall Street Journal and then the Washington Post. He can be reached at ricksblogcomment@gmail.com. Twitter: @tomricks1

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