Lindsay warns of "mass resignations" if DADT policy is repealed
Retired Army General, James L Lindsay, who is leading the campaign against allowing gays to serve openly in the military warns of "mass resignations" if Section 654 of US Code Title 10, the section that bans gays and lesbians from serving openly in the military, is repealed.
Writing in the Concord Monitor, James L Lindsay argued that "grave harm" would be caused to the US defence service if the law were to be changed.
Mr Lindsay cited a survey by the Military Times which suggested ten per cent of subscribers said they would not re-enlist if the gay ban was repealed and 14 percent said they would consider leaving.
He estimates that even if the lesser number were to leave, the military would lose 228,600 service members.
Mr Lindsay wrote: "We don't need a study commission to know that tensions are inevitable in conditions offering little or no privacy, increasing the stress of daily military life.
"'Zero tolerance' of dissent would become official intolerance of anyone who disagrees with this policy, forcing additional thousands to leave the service by denying them promotions or punishing them in other ways.
"Many more will be dissuaded from ever enlisting. There is no compelling national security reason for running these risks to our armed forces."
He concluded: "Everyone can serve America in some way, but there is no constitutional right to serve in the military."
Last month, a letter written by Mr Lindsay and another retired general, Carl Stiner, urging President Barack Obama to preserve the gay ban was leaked to the Palm Center, a research institute at the University of California.
In it, they wrote: "We believe that imposing this burden on our men and women in uniform would undermine recruiting and retention, impact leadership at all echelons, have adverse effects on the willingness of parents who lend their sons and daughters to military service, and eventually break the All-Volunteer Force."
In other news, U.S. Defence Secretary Robert Gates has indicated that repealing the Don't Ask, Don't Tell (DADT) policy could take years, or might not happen at all. Speaking at the U.S. Army War College on Thursday, Gates was said to have urged a cautious approach on the issue.
"“If we do it, it’s important that we do it right, and very carefully.’’
When asked by an officer about the policy, he said it was a "complex and difficult problem".
Gates also cited the example of racial integration in the 1940s, saying that it took five years for be completed.
He said that gauging opinion on the issue was a particular problem: “To get people’s real feelings about it, you have to have almost a one-on-one private conversation.
“I think it’s very difficult for people to speak in front of their peers about this issue.’’
Gates reiterated President Barack Obama's support for changing the law, saying: "The president has made it clear where he wants to go."
A comprehensive 2008 review of the policy found "there is no evidence showing that openly gay service would harm the military, and a great deal of evidence showing it would not."
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Redwater, Alberta, Canada