Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell, Do Discriminate

A wretched manifestation of an old problem has come under the scrutiny of the United States. The subject is the “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy. Besides the injustice it does to otherwise perfectly functional military personnel, this policy undercuts any moral arguments one might make to justify the wars. Soldiers are fighting for liberty and freedom while simultaneously being denied these Western amenities. The “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy forces discrimination on homosexual soldiers by creating a double standard: homosexuals will be discharged for disclosing their sexuality, but heterosexuals will receive no unfair treatment in this regard.

The United States is currently fighting several factions in its hopelessly -labeled war on “terrorism,” a phrase which suggests an assault on what is invariably a consequence. One of these belligerents is the Taliban, an organization for whom terrorism is merely a means, not an end. Their self-styled anti-Western restrictions include prohibitions of among other things, “any equipment that produces the joy of music”. There also seems to be a deficiency of Islamic tolerance of homosexuality. There is a Muslim majority population in each of the seven countries that punish homosexuality by death. Religious extremism has many faces: some tolerable, some terrible, all blind to reason.

Discrimination against homosexuals is a distinctly Judeo-Christian legacy. Zeus, king of Greek gods, suffered no discrimination for his bisexuality. Tolerance and even integration of homosexuality in ancient Greek culture carried over into Rome until Paul’s endowment of Christianity to the world. Homosexuality was a capital crime in Judaism, and Christianity did not reverse the intolerant sentiment. According to CNN, the consequences of this are extensive, because as of 2003, homosexuality was effectively banned in thirteen states by outlawing sodomy.

Much is different in the United States, where religious extremism cannot so easily control the law. Rhetoric on the issue of homosexual rights echoes Taliban discrimination, and “don’t ask, don’t tell” puts this into practice. The fact that intolerance of homosexuality in America is shared in much of Islam undercuts the legitimacy of the war. Despite this, as quoted in McClatchy Newspapers, Sen. John McCain complained the policy was not a “compelling issue at a time when we’re in two wars”. As a heterosexual white male, the senator is perhaps ill-qualified to brush off the discrimination of others, but in any case fails to recognize the urgency of amending injustice. What makes the United States worth living in is the freedom it permits, not the strength of its military. The “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy brings dishonor on otherwise perfectly honorable homosexual soldiers because it forces them to be dishonest in order to be treated equally. The “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy accommodates the intolerant instead of promoting justice and equality.