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John Stossel
John Stossel
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Don't Ask/Don't Tell Should Go


America is one of many countries that forbid openly gay people to serve in the military. Others are: Cuba, China, Egypt, Greece, Iran, North Korea, Pakistan, Yemen, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, South Korea, Turkey and Venezuela.

See a pattern?

With a few exceptions, those are not countries where free people want to live.

By contrast, Australia, the United Kingdom, Israel, Belgium, Canada, the Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, France, Germany, Italy, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Netherlands, Norway, Slovenia and Spain all allow gay people to serve.

No country has America's in-between policy: Gays can serve — as long as no one finds out about it. Where did that come from?

It happened because Bill Clinton campaigned for the presidency promising to allow gays to serve. After his election, the Democratic Congress decreed that "the presence in the Armed Forces of persons who demonstrate a propensity or intent to engage in homosexual acts would create an unacceptable risk ... ."

So a compromise was born. The media labeled it "don't ask, don't tell."

Since then, nearly 12,500 service members have been discharged because of their sexual orientation. These have included 800 "mission critical" troops such as Arabic linguists (59 of them), Farsi linguists (nine), medics, pilots and intelligence analysts.

In May, the House of Representatives voted to repeal "don't ask, don't tell," but only after the Defense Department studies the matter and the president, secretary of defense and chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff declare that ending the policy would not reduce military effectiveness. The Senate has not voted on its version of bill.

So, should it be repealed? Here are some things to consider:

The American Psychological Association states: "Empirical evidence fails to show that sexual orientation is germane to any aspect of military effectiveness including unit cohesion, morale, recruitment and retention. ... When openly gay, lesbian and bisexual individuals have been allowed to serve in the U.S. Armed Forces, there has been no evidence of disruption or loss of mission effectiveness."

OK, of course they said that.

It's the APA. But that doesn't make them wrong.

The Government Accountability Office studied four countries that allow gays to serve — Canada, Israel, Germany and Sweden. It found that "military officials from each country said that, on the basis of their experience, the inclusion of homosexuals in their militaries has not adversely affected unit readiness, effectiveness, cohesion or morale."

How would members of America's military feel about repeal of the policy? A Military Times poll found: 71 percent of respondents said they would continue to serve if the policy were overturned, 10 percent said they would not re-enlist or extend their service, and 14 percent said they would consider terminating their careers after serving their obligated tours. That's a pretty strong majority for acceptance.

Where do I come down on this issue? It's easy. I'm a libertarian, not a conservative. I don't think government should have any role in our sex lives.

Just as I see no reason why gays should not be free to marry, I see no reason why they shouldn't be free to be in the military. As I wrote in the conclusion to "Myths, Lies, and Downright Stupidity": "I want government to leave people alone. I think people should be free to do anything they want — as long as they don't hurt anyone else. I may disagree with their choices, but I don't think The State should take their choices away."

I draw my inspiration from Nobel laureate F.A. Hayek. He wrote a postscript to his classic, "The Constitution of Liberty," titled, "Why I Am Not a Conservative," in which he said, "One of the fundamental traits of the conservative attitude is a fear of change, a timid distrust of the new as such, while the liberal (today I call it "libertarian") position is based on courage ... to let change run its course even if we cannot predict where it will lead ... ."

I'm with Hayek. Unless we do identifiable harm to others, the State should leave us alone.

John Stossel is host of "Stossel" on the Fox Business Network. He's the author of "Give Me a Break" and of "Myth, Lies, and Downright Stupidity." To find out more about John Stossel, visit his site at <a href="" <>></a>. To read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate Web page at




17 Comments | Post Comment
I find it hard to believe how much I agree with all your opinions! And your on FOX! I really can't even begin to understand why this is even an issue. You are right, people are reacting based on senseless fears. But that is their issue - they have to learn to deal with their fears - we shouldn't force the rest of the country to act according to what a few fear.
Keep up the good work Mr. Stossel....I love your incredibly sane and reasonable insights!
Comment: #1
Posted by: MomsThoughts
Wed Jul 28, 2010 1:32 PM
I find it hard to believe how much I agree with all your opinions! And your on FOX! I really can't even begin to understand why this is even an issue. You are right, people are reacting based on senseless fears. But that is their issue - they have to learn to deal with their fears - we shouldn't force the rest of the country to act according to what a few fear.
Keep up the good work Mr. Stossel....I love your incredibly sane and reasonable insights!
Comment: #2
Posted by: MomsThoughts
Wed Jul 28, 2010 1:32 PM
24% of military members said they would consider quitting their job if gays are allowed in. I don't think I would consider that a "pretty strong majority for acceptance". You would probably get similar responses if you asked how many would quit if you reduced their pay by 20%. Most wouldn't quit. Doesn't mean they are in favor of it.
Comment: #3
Posted by: Rich
Wed Jul 28, 2010 6:10 PM
The "Don't Ask/Don't Tell" policy was an easy way for the military to sweep issues under the rug. It is stereotypical to label the military as "homophobic". There are many soldiers who do not care what sexual orientation a fellow soldier is as long as they serve their country well. What's not addressed is that military is about family too. If gays are accepted openly, would a gay soldier's partner get the same benefits as a married soldier? Would the soldier's partner get family housing, PX/Commissary privileges, health/dental benefits, survivor benefits, etc? If same sex marriages are not legal in many states, the military will not treat a gay soldier's family equal to a heterosexual couple. The government/military should address this issue first, because a soldier not only fights for his/her country but for his/her family.
Comment: #4
Posted by: Common Sense
Wed Jul 28, 2010 7:14 PM
"let change run its course even if we cannot predict where it will lead ... ." Change for the sake of change isn't necessarily progress. Back in the 60s, when mixed-race marriage became legal, the idea that it would lead to same-sex marriage was ludicrous. What will your grandchildren be campaigning for? Polygamists? Pedophiles?
Comment: #5
Posted by: John S.
Thu Jul 29, 2010 6:43 AM
Great article. Why not take Libertarianism to its logical conclusion: the fact that the state itself is illegitimate. I would be great for you to do a piece on Lysander Spooner's "No Treason VI: The Constitution of No Authority" ( or on the Voluntaryist philosophy (
Comment: #6
Posted by: Steve
Thu Jul 29, 2010 8:13 AM
Really there is only one reason why anyone currently serving in the United States Armed Services should not be discharged if they are doing their jobs, and that's one reason is that as Americans they must be unconditionally constitutionally equal. Who we are, how we look, what we believe, how we vote or who we love has nothing to do with the fact that we are all unalienably and immutably Americans. Americans must never require permission, approval, acceptance, agreement, respect, understanding or tolerance to have the exact same rights as every other Americans. Our rights must not be based on a ballot or a survey or a poll.

Would the military poll all the people serving and their families and ask them if they could serve with people who did not vote the same way they did? Would they poll them and ask if they would not serve with anyone who did not go to the same church they went to?

If gay, lesbian,bisexual and transgender Americans are Americans when we pay our taxes and vote, we are Americans all the time. When we are told that we have no right to equal rights, we are being told that we are not Americans. Some people take it even further and tell us that we do not have the right to human rights, as only heterosexuals are human.
Comment: #7
Posted by: Demand Equality
Fri Jul 30, 2010 9:48 PM

Well written. I echo your comments and applaud your position. We Libertarians truly have what it takes to make sound decisions. It's courage that binds our countrymen, not fear of change. Let's continue to welcome adversity at our federal level in favor of limited government and individual freedoms.

I wish more Republicans felt that way, but then again, they're probably just afraid of not being conservative!

Comment: #8
Posted by: Costello
Sat Jul 31, 2010 6:09 PM

I like what you say most of the time but your wrong in giving one group special rights over another.

Why are homosexuals Superior to heterosexuals? This is what bothers me more than anything is the fact that a gay man is Superior to a straight man. I am not against homosexuals in the military if we make the military gender neutral. But why is it okay for a gay man to shower with men, but it's not okay for a straight man to shower with women who he is attracted to? Because it's not about being equal but special rights for a select group. If it's about being equal it would be about making our military gender neutral not allowing one group special rights. So gays in the military. NO. Gender neutral army that is equal for all yes. Gay, straight, women, men, all equal, no special rights for select groups. All shower and eat and sleep as one.
Comment: #9
Posted by: Bryan
Sun Aug 1, 2010 12:29 PM
Last time I'll watch Stossell. Where is his service? Got a PHD from Princeton, never served a minute in the support of his country and he's rich. The vast majority of vets and active service (I'm one of them and my family has been in all but the 1st Gulf war) are opposed to this.

So we served so he could pontificate. What an a$$.

The US Military is the greatest fighting force the Earth has ever seen... not a social experiment.

From his comments on O'Reilly he shows his complete spoiled pampered ignorance of life in Basic, the Barracks, and Permanent Party.

What a cmplete elitist that's had everything handed to his colege boy butt.
Comment: #10
Posted by: Warrior
Tue Aug 3, 2010 6:19 PM
Hi John,
I am a libertarian too, and I agree with you 99% of times. This time, is not that I don't agree, but I just want you to see it from the realistic point of view of an insider: the soldier. I know many countries allow openly gay soldiers to serve. So would I, if I would not know about the tough reality. I have gay friends, but I am a civilian now. You can't imagine how different this is. The civilian life and the military life are two completely different worlds.
I served in the United States Army. I could write a book about my experiences, but I want to stay on the subject. In the present conditions, if you allow an openly gay soldier to serve it will be him - the gay soldier - who will suffer, and not the moral of the rest of his unit.
I don't know how they do it in other armies, but I will address what I know, the US Army. We live 24 hours a day together, we do everything together, we take showers together, we use the bathroom together, we sleep together. Now, with 'don't tell', we assume we are all the same and we don't think about different sexualities, and this way all is fine, everyone feels at home: you don't tell me what you are and I don't care. But if the guys know for a fact there is an openly 'gay' in their platoon, hey Stossel - you are an intelligent guy - you tell me, do you think that his platoon will take a shower with him? How about using the bathroom when he is around, or even sleep next to him? The US Army is the group of finest soldiers in the world. This is their job, to defend the best country ever created. But like all groups of people, they are all different, and some, not few, who, for religious or macho reasons (we're in the army) will make the life of the openly gay guy a living hell, if not worse. You may say those are not up to the necessary moral standards, etc., but should we rather allocate training classes, time and money for sensitivity courses for them in order to fit and accept one openly gay guy, talented and speaking arabic? Should we get rid in the process of the soldiers who were brought up to hold different standards and oppose the gay lifestyle? I know, in an ideal world it will all work out great. But the lifestyle of a soldier is very hard at times, so hard you cannot immagine, and you don't want a gay soldier to become the escape valve of frustrations.
Keep the 'don't tell' for the benefit of gay soldiers.
And you, Stossel, are great. Keep up the good work!

With friendship,
Comment: #11
Posted by: Sergio Di Laurenti
Tue Aug 3, 2010 10:03 PM
Mr. Stossel, you're kidding, right? The miitary losing 24% of its troops is not a "pretty strong majority for acceptance" of the repeal of DADT. That's a tragedy. For the sake of keeping a small minority of gay service menbers, you're willing to lose 24% of those serving?
You get another thing wrong as well. Gays are NOT prohibited from serving in the military. They are only prohibited from telling everyone about their sexual orientation. As a military member, I don't go about telling everyone that I meet about my current sexual practices. I believe I'm like you in that respect. What consenting adults do in the privacy of their bedrooms should stay there, and the government should stay out of everyone's bedroom. Just because a man looks at another man and gets turned on, that that act should convey some sort of privilege, is a ridiculous supposition. Does that mean Bill Clinton should have special rights because he likes to use women as humidors?
Leave the military as a meritocracy, not a social experiment, as long as gays serve with straight service members and they all keep their mouths shut about what they do behind closed doors.
Comment: #12
Posted by: Bob Lee
Wed Aug 4, 2010 7:50 AM
People are physically born male and female and the rest is behavioral and I content that promiscuous and deviant behavior should be discouraged by society. Most Christians believe that promiscuous behavior and deviant sexual behavior are sins and they should not be discriminated against for holding those biblical beliefs. Sexual deviancy including homosexual, trans gender, bestiality, etc. should not be normalized by society. Historically it leads to the degeneration of that society and it is a violation of natural order. I find it interesting that you have not served in the military and yet presume to tell those of us you have or are serving what our world should be like. I have been in the chain of command when a sailor exhibiting homosexual behavior perpetrated a sexual and physical assault and it had a very negative impact on the victim of the attack and was disruptive to the barracks and unit. There are numerous other incidents where these behaviors have caused serious problems including lesbian rings that indoctrinate newly reporting females into their activities using coercion or threats. (of course it is not politically correct to point this out and you would never see it in the lamestream media) I would ask you to consider why there are so many discharged when they could stay if they did not confront their units with their behavioral tendencies. And... if you have an openly homosexual person in a Muslim country, they do not just disagree with their life style, they end their life. So, I think we are already being tolerant by allowing individuals who are confused about their sexuality to serve if they keep it to themselves and do not allow it to affect their performance.
Comment: #13
Posted by: Seawolf74
Wed Aug 4, 2010 1:12 PM
Don't Ask Don't Tell. If you check the Enterance Physical. Before all recurits for all services deploy for
"BOOTCAMP" The Doctors would ask you you if you had "SEX WITH SOMEONE OF THE SAME SEX" That was
one of the three questions asked. Before you were ever processed to even enter the military.
And anyone whoever had a military speciality in the medical field . Are aware of this So, all you high ranking
ASS HOLES "ie" ALPHA HOTELS quick this "BULLSHIT" you all no the deal.
Comment: #14
Posted by: Johnny Creamo
Wed Aug 4, 2010 1:14 PM
I believe in people because talent should not be discriminated by just a mere so called political party, you could by chance all at once have a group of nitwits.
Comment: #15
Posted by: @Awareness
Fri Sep 24, 2010 12:53 AM
Gay is NOT and never a identity; as in wanting to know how a person is.

But how SOME do "it" is not my concern.

Better that than HAVING "NOTHING" AT ALL. Or you would have to crush each other to the bone.

For a man and a woman it is then so easy to "touch and reach" each other, if love was the case.

It is real STUPID to say as long as it is not known.

Being gay is a natural thing in life.

Accepting is bullshit, knowing every aspect is just a better way to communicate.

I love people, they are somebody, using this word in the most natural way, sombody.

That is what makes a identity, ONLY your feelings dictate whom you are.

Comment: #16
Posted by: @Awareness
Fri Sep 24, 2010 1:13 AM
Re:People are physically born male and female and the rest is behavioral and I content that promiscuous and deviant behavior should be discouraged by society. Seawolf74



Comment: #17
Posted by: @Awareness
Fri Sep 24, 2010 10:16 PM
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