05
Sep
11

One Argument for Keeping DADT

If you know my politics you probably did a double take at the title of this post. What reason could there possibly be for keeping a discriminatory policy like DADT? Isn’t it great that Obama got rid of it?

An emphatic yes to the last question, but I was talking to a veteran the other day, and he became very disillusioned with the military and he wanted to get out early but with an HONORABLE discharge. This is hard to do, but one way that many people were able to do this (and he did not take this route) was to become “gay.” (look at this report for stats and analysis; it mentions that a lot of people used this way out).

Now, depending on what your general view of the military is, this could be good or bad. You might think that people getting out of their service early is bad and so therefore think that this is just another reason to get rid of DADT — it will end the “leak” of service people out of the military.

You might though, see this phenomenon of fake homosexuality as a cost of ending the policy. The reason is that some people start out supporting the military’s operations when they join up, but they become disillusioned (Iraq will do that to you) and so think they are ethically required not to participate in the duties they’ve been asked to perform. For these people, DADT helped them realize their ethical ideals and so acted as a “moral escape hatch.” And since admitting to homosexuality when one is not homosexual has a high cost, the route is not likely to be abused. In other words, not just anyone will fake homosexuality to leave the military, but those who have strong moral convictions can use this route.

All told, DADT was (in some cases) a kind of a quirky and interesting mechanism that some people used to stay true to their ethical beliefs

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