Tuesday, October 12, 2004

Don't Ask, Don't Tell

While browsing The Record - Harvard Law School's independent newspaper (blame Waddling Thunder) - I came across three exemplary Letters to the Editors over the vexed issue of the US military's "Don't Ask Don't Tell" policy.

First off I should say that, on balance, I probably favour not having gays/lesbians in the military, but it not a firm view. My basis from this is mostly my own experiences at boarding school, which I was at from the age of 7 to 18. All I really know for sure is that it is a difficult issue.

From the letters this is the background I have worked out. Colleges that do not allow on-campus military recruiting forfeit federal funds. HLS has decided to allow recruiting rather than forfeit these sums, but continue to oppose recruiting in principle because of the Don't Ask, Don't Tell.

Letter 1 rather neatly describes how unprincipled, and frankly avaricious, the current stance is. It also draws a comparison between this and the recent plaigarism scandal in the Faculty.

Letter 2 really looks at the focus of the apparently annual protest, or perhaps misfocus.

Letter 3 laments a specific, judicial, consequence of the Don't Ask Don't Tell policy.

What really struck me about all three letters was how well-thought out they were. Critical indeed - all plainly oppose Don't Ask Don't Tell - but also reasoned and constructive. Generally when the issue of homosexuality comes up these days I tune off as the hate level on both sides is reaching stratospheric levels. It was wonderfully refreshing to read something civilised.

I simply lament that such well-thought comments are likely to be forgotten all too quickly.

Incidentally, if anything all three letters combined made my own views on this issue even less decided than they already were.

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