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Building Trust In The Trenches

Today’s story in "Stars and Stripes" is yet another illustration why overturning “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” would be a virtual non-event in the U.S. Armed Forces.

An anonymous gay officer “William,” says that more qualified service members would join the military and re-enlist if Don't Ask Don't Tell (DADT) got the boot:

“[A repeal] would make a sincere difference to those considering re-enlisting." William said, noting that many gay servicemembers find it difficult to maintain long-lasting relationships while in the military. "There’s a very strong argument to get out of the military to pursue that.”

“John,” an anonymous gay Army officer, says that ending DADT would build trust among colleagues and create a more cohesive, effective team:

“I was forced to keep it from my teammates [in Iraq], and I honestly believe that it drove a wedge between us," John said. "I couldn’t be completely open about who I was, even though they seemed to be completely open about themselves. So I’m more convinced than ever that [DADT] is more of a hindrance to team-building than having openly gay people in the military.”

We’ve seen some of the strongest militaries in the world – including Great Britain and Israel – allow open service without incident. It is long past the time to treat our own service members with the respect they deserve as professionals.