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The writers react to each other

By Aubrey Sarvis and Elaine Donnelly
February 8, 2009
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Aubrey Sarvis responds to Elaine Donnelly's op-ed.
Putting on hold for a moment that she opposes women serving in the military, Elaine Donnelly makes a flimsy case for keeping the "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" law in place.

Her main argument is that "repeal would increase misconduct problems three-fold, to include male/male and female/female incidents." How she knows this, we don't know. She fails to cite objective studies to support this assertion.

What we do know is that openly gay service members, like their straight counterparts, would be subject to the uniform code of military justice (the military's legal system), which applies regardless of gender, color, or sexual orientation.

Donnelly cites a "poll" by the Military Times. By its own acknowledgment, the paper's "poll" SF poll is an unscientific, limited sampling, as noted by ABC News' professional pollster.

National security will only be strengthened if qualified gays and lesbians can serve openly.

Elaine Donnelly's response to Aubrey Sarvis's op-ed
The issue here should not be civilian polls, anecdotes, demands for political payoffs, or fixation on past discharges that were very small compared with separations for pregnancy or weight standard violations. Most separation cases start with voluntary admissions of homosexual conduct, not investigations. Clarify the law, and such losses could be zero. Repeal the law, and personnel losses could be huge.

Four times the annual Military Times Poll of almost 2,000 active-duty subscribers found that 58 percent of respondents supported current law. In 2008, 10 percent said they would not reenlist if Congress repeals it, and an additional 14 percent said they would consider leaving. This survey does not claim precision, but when major efforts are underway to increase the Army and Marine Corps, we cannot afford to lose almost a quarter of the volunteer force, including skilled careerists who cannot easily be replaced.

The issue is eligibility to serve, not "sexual orientation," a vague phrase not in the law. A future-oriented Congress will support the 1993 law, written to protect discipline, morale, and readiness. Social engineering must not be allowed to make military life more difficult and more dangerous.

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