Ever since President Barack Obama pledged to overturn the “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy in his State of the Union address, conservatives have been hiding behind the claim that politics should not dictate to the military, that military culture is unlike civilian culture, and that the military should not be an avenue for social policy.
Of course, if these objections sound familiar to any student of history, all of them were raised when Harry S. Truman desegregated the military by executive order. In 1948. An election year. You will also recall that this decision did not cost Mr. Truman the election.
What the conservative zealots and anti-gay bigots misunderstand is the basic sense of fairness that is an integral part of American culture and the American psyche.
Now, of course, the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs, Admiral Mullen, has said that ending “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” is “the right thing to do.” He pointed out that the issue was one of integrity, both the individual’s and the institution’s. So, there is no more hiding behind the military, and conservatives need to rethink that talking point about not interjecting politics into military considerations.