31 January 2010

DADT, continued

The most recent "Weekly Standard" includes an editorial by Bill Kristol himself, trying to make the (non-bigoted!) case for retaining "Don't Ask Don't Tell."

It works about as well as you'd expect.

The editorial itself is an incoherent mix of insinuations and attacks, so I want to unpack some of them. He starts by talking about how the military is the only government institution left that a significant majority of citizens still respects, which polls have proven quite often. Therefore, he says, we shouldn't subject it to an "untested, unnecessary, and probably unwise social experiment". Of course, this neglects the fact that many, many other countries already allow homosexuals to serve openly. This list includes most of our NATO allies and even Kristol's beloved Israel.

His next tack is to say that President Obama is moving too fast on this issue. He was just elected last year, after all, so it's not like the American people have been clamoring for this for a long time! An overwhelming majority of Americans, however, have supported removing DADT since at least 2005. (This also puts the lie to his claim that a large number of Americans aren't clamoring for this change.)

He also makes the claim that the military is against it. I'd like to see evidence to that effect. Bob Gates and Admiral Mullen both support the change; Shalikashvili has come out against it. All of my personal experience with service people (admittedly, a skewed sample) think of it as an unfortunate relic that they ignore as strongly as possible.

However, he gets at his most absolutely blind when he tries to brush aside the argument of it being the "right thing to do."

Here is contemporary liberalism in a nutshell: No need to consider costs as well as benefits. No acknowledgment of competing goods or coexisting rights. No appreciation of the constraints of public sentiment or the challenges of organizational complexity. No sense that not every part of society can be treated dogmatically according to certain simple propositions. Just the assertion that something must be done because it is in some abstract way “the right thing.”

This from the man who dogmatically calls for bombing and attacking every tin-pot dictator. From the most relentless champion of the Iraq War. He dares to call out liberals for not taking into account the challenges of large undertakings?

Interestingly, he never actually tells us what the dreaded unintended consequences would be, except for a short little line saying "the effect of open homosexuals on unit morale and cohesion in training and combat situations remain relevant." This is in the second to last paragraph, and is the first time he even uses the word "homosexual."

I've long known that Kristol was completely intellectually dishonest. I don't actually expect anything more from him. But as someone who still gets to be on TV to spout his BS, I'd at least like slightly better arguments.

And, for a lighter side (and a much funnier deconstruction of all arguments in favor of maintaining DADT), here is Gerard Butler:

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