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Victor Fehrenbach Challenges Don't Ask Don't Tell

Don't Ask, Don't Tell: Save or Scrap?

Victor Fehrenbach, an F-15 fighter pilot in the US Air Force, has been serving his country with honor for 18 years. In that time, he's flown 88 combat missions, logged 1,500 fighter hours, and received nine air medals. He's gotten word, though, that his record doesn't matter as much as the fact that he is gay.

Under the Pentagon's Don't Ask, Don't Tell policy, he will be fired two years before he could receive a full Air Force pension, which he discussed recently on The Rachel Maddow Show. Don't Ask, Don't Tell, which allows gay people to serve in the military as long as they don't disclose their sexual orientation and which forbids their supervisors from asking if they are gay, was enacted in 1993 and approved by Bill Clinton, who saw it as a compromise between his campaign promise to let all people serve in the military regardless of sexual orientation and what was a ban on gays in the military.

Don't Ask, Don't Tell is based on the premise that being gay "would create an unacceptable risk to the high standards of moral, good order, discipline, and unit cohesion that are the essence of military capability." Many argue that it's time for President Obama and Congress to review — and get rid of — Don't Ask, Don't Tell. Do you think it's a good policy based on sound reasoning, or is it antiquated and discriminatory?

dikke-kus dikke-kus 8 years
It's the men with the problem. It's the men in charge making these rules. Maybe they think these gay guys have a feminine nature and will act weak in times when needed in battle. I bet it could be as simple as that. Plus you know, the old fashioned fears of being a target of some sexual fantasy in the next bunk over. I do know someone who was let go from the Air Force for being gay. That was before the don't ask don't tell policy. So did this pilot tell? He knew the risks. Maybe the future will change but until then that's the way the cookie crumbles for now.
cirrus1701 cirrus1701 8 years
umm...yikes. Let me try this again. It is possible to have a civil disagreement with other people. I am also well aware that I am in the minority here. That's fine. What I find so wildly amusing is that anytime someone dares speak out against something, the 'ics and the 'isms come flying in at warp speed. You know...homophobic, racist, etc. Oops! Almost forgot the best ones-hater, hate filled, just plain hate. Perhaps it was a lame joke on my part. But, I will not apologize for my beliefs and opinions. However, I will apologize to CG. I misread you. I will not make that mistake again. :(
staple-salad staple-salad 8 years
Isn't it better to have an army of lovers than an army of friends anyway (provided that everyone's a polygamist) since you "fight harder for a lover than a friend"? Don't know if it was true or not, but didn't Sparta encourage their soldiers to sleep with each other for that reason? And yeah, don't ask, don't tell, is stupid. Though, if someone's going with the whole "sexually repressed army" approach, then isn't it more appropriate to have the same "don't ask, don't tell" thing apply to straight people? Just "assume" everyone's asexual.
CaterpillarGirl CaterpillarGirl 8 years
cirrus, dont quit your day job, comedy isnt your forte
RockAndRepublic RockAndRepublic 8 years
I do. I think everyone who isn't comfortable is a bigot and a bad person. I completely think that. It's a fundamental flaw of character.
I think they should be pointed at and ridiculed for being so ignorant and hateful.
Meike Meike 8 years
I am a military brat. I have lived within the military community for 18 years. My dad served in the Air Force for 22 years. Most people do not care. The ones who care and believe "Don't Ask. Don't Tell" should stay are nothing but homophobic bigots. As far as I remember, it was the misconduct of straight servicemen who constantly tainted our U.S. military's name in a foreign countries because of crimes committed off base. For example, marines raping Japanese girls in Okinawa. It was also straight men who were constantly getting in trouble for harassing their fellow servicewomen. A friend of ours had the task of disciplining these airmen. It was ridiculous. So, don't tell me that gays and lesbians would degrade the moral standards of the military. The stupid ones regardless of their sexuality already do.
MissSushi MissSushi 8 years
Has anyone stopped to think WHY the "people that matter or are enforcing these policies" feel this way? It has NOTHING to do with human nature. Becuase thats how they were raised, thats how their peers felt, thats how they have been conditioned to feel about this certain topic. They have been bred and fed this, and I dont think its agreeable to simply go on how they feel with it considering its completely discrimitory and times are changing. So, no, I dont agree with this policy, and I hope that as more of us try to raise our children with tolerance for people instead of hate, that eventually we can overturn policies like this. Its absolutely the same as any intolerance that we find deplorable today. Why exactly does someones sexuality, something that you have NOTHING to do with in any shape or form, make you feel uncomfortable?
bluebellknoll bluebellknoll 8 years
It's absolutely discriminatory and should be scrapped. "I just hate the kind of people who think that every gay person wants to get with them! Get over yourselves." Agreed.
cirrus1701 cirrus1701 8 years
*raises hand* Hi. I'm cirrus and I'm a bigot and a bad person. I brought snacks for after the meeting. It's your turn next week, CG. (sorry. couldn't resist. :) ) Seriously, without jumping into the fray, the loss of such high value people is just horrifying! Pilots, Arabic speakers, these are the people we desperately need!
CaterpillarGirl CaterpillarGirl 8 years
Its not just the opinions of a few. But i understand what you are saying.
bgorgeouss bgorgeouss 8 years
This is ridiculous, and yes, definitely very discriminatory. I understand if the military doesn't want people to make sexual advances or have sex with other soldiers, but that could be between a man and women as well! If they must, they should just kick out those people who make inappropriate sexual comments/acts/whatever- I don't see how being straight or gay makes any difference! I just hate the kind of people who think that every gay person wants to get with them! Get over yourselves.
Symphonee Symphonee 8 years
True CG but one has to wonder at how the new guard will handle it when they come to power. Maybe at that time, people will be more tolerant of the reality that homosexuals have served and will continue to do so. Penalizing them and possibly the country because of a difference of opinion in a few is not worth losing or scaring away those who would be honorable enough to serve.
CaterpillarGirl CaterpillarGirl 8 years
well symphonee, the people who are running the military are against repealing DADT. So I am going to defer to them on this in the end.
zuke zuke 8 years
I have no problem with gays in the military, and this is certainly discriminatory. They are fighting to protect our freedom, and beggars shouldn't be choosers. Everyone who has ever served in the military is a hero, and sexual orientation has nothing to do with it.
Symphonee Symphonee 8 years
Actually CG you didn't. You just stated that you knew people in the military, that's why I asked. I didn't try to attack you for your belief but I do think that things like this should be left up to those who are serving or at least have an inkling to serve in the future. Talking to people and actually living it, while it does afford you your own opinion, are not on the same level. I personally, belief that while this policy does spare a very small percentage of bigots and people who are uncomfortable, it hurts those who have been unfairly targeted by the policy.
telewyo telewyo 8 years
I think this is the same type of intolerance for a group that we have already been through (and are still dealing with) for other races, women, and religions (Jewish, Muslim (or even just middle-eastern looking, they might not be Muslim)). We are now appalled at the way some of these groups were discriminated against! The whole purpose of Jim Crow laws were so that white people could continue to feel "comfortable" and I think most people would now agree that was ridiculous! So why should we do that again against another group of people? The people who feel "uncomfortable" around gay people are the ones with the problem, not the gay person. It seems like many times they've never really gotten to know a gay person and if they did then they would be less "uncomfortable". Have we learned nothing from our history of discrimination!?
morninghurts morninghurts 8 years
I don't know enough to make a solid statement on this but perhaps someone else will know better than I do but haven't other armies/military allowed openly homosexual people in them without problems. I'm thinking I heard this specifically about the Roman Empire but it could be true for other nations too. I'm looking this up now but want to see if anyone can validate what I'm thinking. I think it should be repealed.
Beauty Beauty 8 years
DADT is not only discriminatory, it also just doesn't make sense on a tactical level. Consider Dan Choi, an Arabic-speaking linguist who came out this year. He's been dismissed from the military for being gay. Considering he was serving in Iraq, and the military needs more people who speak Arabic, how does this decision make any sense? DADT is a discriminatory relic that doesn't help our servicemen and service women — regardless of sexual orientation.
CaterpillarGirl CaterpillarGirl 8 years
and this policy just doesnt protect bigots, and I dont think that everyone who isnt comfy with homosexuals is a bad person.
CaterpillarGirl CaterpillarGirl 8 years
Listen I am just speaking from my experience, my world, I am sure many others have different ones, I am in no way saying my opinion is the only one and my views are the last word.
Phil Phil 8 years
It is not in my human nature to be "afraid" or "defensive against" gay men. Most men I know aren't. Gay men are serving in the military right now, unfortunately afraid of coming out because of a policy that protects no one but bigots. Yet, if they were to be allowed to come out, all of a sudden these people would be having sex in the barracks, and all of a sudden checking out all the guys they're bunking with? I don't follow this logic. Couldn't a man and a woman be off having sex as well? Couldn't a male be checking out a female soldier as well? Why not just make Don't Ask Don't Tell universal and kick out people who make it clear that they are straight, too?
CaterpillarGirl CaterpillarGirl 8 years
didnt I just say I had family members (sisters,father, brother in law), friends, ex's in the military? thats a personal insight, not just a theory. I have been in the barracks at Ft Campbell Ky, and on Guam, and in San Diego, Riverside california. Army Navy and Marines.
Symphonee Symphonee 8 years
CG- I am not trying to sound snarky or be picky but have you ever served in the military? Do you have an honest idea of how things are run, not just the theory? There were days when I did not see another person in my unit at all and I lived in the barracks. Most E-5's and above are allowed and required to live off now base due to space restrictions. Depending on which branch you serve in some rooms are bigger than dorm rooms that are provided to college students. I was stationed on a mutli branch bases so I lucked out and got great rooms but I spent plenty of time during my Check in at FT. Stewart in Georgia. That place is horrible but it did not stop me from hearing to guys getting it on down the hall, while the guys that were in their unit made jokes to make me comfortable. It seems that most people who have this big problem with it either have not served or are vets. Their opinions don't matter as much as the men and women serving now. Your poll statistics were published in 2006. A poll taken today might be very different.
CaterpillarGirl CaterpillarGirl 8 years
I also dont think women should be in combat unless she can pass the same tests as the guys do in terms of strength and endurance, but thats just me. COps and Firefighters dont usually live 24 hours 7 days a week around eachother, in the next bed over. Listen I wish people could be taught to be more tolerable but human nature, especially in guys, is to be afraid and to be defensive against gay men, and i dont blame them in the situation they are in for feeling that way. I wouldnt want to know if the dude next to me is checking me out, or that two guys are having sex in the barracks down the hall, its not good for morale.
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