Begakis’ article, “Military Culture Overrules Rights of Individual Soldiers”(Daily Nexus, Oct. 20, 2009), is outright spin and filled with glittering generalities to distract readers from the truth: “Don’t ask, don’t tell” is discriminatory. Being openly gay is completely unrelated to an army’s performance on the field. Conservatives defend it without valid reason because of moral bias, and military personnel have used the law to persecute and harass servicemen who have volunteered to defend the country.

Abuse of the policy is rampant. If you are harassed in the army and complain, you are at risk of being kicked out. The don’t ask, don’t policy tell puts gay servicemen at the mercy of anyone in the chain of command who may think being gay is immoral and use the policy to get them discharged, even if they’re the victim. So-called “evidence” such as an online profile that says you’re into men, has led to McCarthy-esque investigations into your sexuality. You don’t have to be flamboyant to be perceived as gay; being silent when asked about a girlfriend or having another individual out you to your commanding officer are things that have led to hazing, harassment and then discharge from the military. The don’t ask, don’t tell policy has also been used by male officers to coerce lesbian women into performing sexual favors.

The truth is there’s no evidence or study showing that openly gay servicemen have a negative effect on the military. Most western nations, like Britain, Canada and Israel, have been allowing gays to serve openly for years without a negative impact on recruitment or morale. Any claim that it would affect the atmosphere in a negative manner is unsubstantiated and the policy itself is another product of conservative bullshit attacks on civil rights.