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Bookmobile: Major Conflict

I've just cracked open Jeffrey McGowan's book Major Conflict: One Gay Man's Life in the Don't-Ask-Don't-Tell Military. McGowan joined the army in the 1980s and served for 10 years before retiring as a major. Since we still have a week left of February's Politics of Love, I'm diving in. Has anyone read this book?

I vividly remember when this measure was enacted. Now in its fifteenth year, I'm really hoping this book will shed some firsthand light on the subject. Not to be a spoiler, but I just flipped to the end. McGowan says:

We are diminished as a nation when our institutions fail to live up to the ideals of democracy. And the military is diminished when it fails to allow all Americans who are qualified serve openly and proudly on behalf of their country. When the awesome and terrible decision to go to war is made, all Americans must take ownership of what follows, and all Americans — rich, poor, white, black, gay, and straight — must close ranks and do their duty.

Let us marry. Let us serve. For we, too, are Americans.

What do you think of this? Have you had experience with Don't Ask Don't Tell? Even if you haven't, how do you feel about it?

Join The Conversation
CaterpillarGirl CaterpillarGirl 9 years
I agree with dont ask dont tell, it protects everyone involved. Both Clinton and Obama are in favor of repealing the policy, McCain and Huckabee are in favor of keeping it. "would create an unacceptable risk to the high standards of morale, good order and discipline, and unit cohesion that are the essence of military capability"
StPat-Jack StPat-Jack 9 years
I will simply say this, my husband, my father, father in law, uncles (on both sides), grandfathers, grandfather-in-law, heck, even my grandmother-in-law served in the military and most of them, not all, are conservative re: sexual orientation. However, they could have cared LESS if their brother or sister in arms was gay or lesbian and almost all of them knew people who were. My family is large, multi racial and multi religious, serving from the Revolutionary War to modern Iraq and no one has ever expressed bias towards a gay comrade.
lcterp lcterp 9 years
I haven't read it but I would really like to!
minaminamina minaminamina 9 years
Don't Ask Don't Tell is a military policy, so I don't oppose it in that sense - I'm not in the military, so it's really not my concern. Applied to any other organization, it's a discriminatory policy, so I view it as a discriminatory policy in the military as well. As such, I feel the military has no place to recruit alongside other organizations at high school or college events, since those schools have the right to ban institutions with discriminatory policies, which Don't Ask, Don't Tell is. It's very simple - they can enact whichever policies they like, as long as they are subject to the same rules and regulations outside of the military world that all other organizations are.
Jillness Jillness 9 years
"Let us marry. Let us serve. For we, too, are Americans." Beautiful.
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