Repealing DADT is a Social Experiment...Like Desegregation Was

The Economist brutally fisks Bill Kristol's attack on the repealing of Don't Ask, Don't Tell:

The advocates of repeal say, it’s a matter of basic rights. No, it’s not. Leave aside the fact that there are difficult and unresolved questions of how our society should deal in various areas of public policy with questions of sexual orientation. There is no basic right to serve in the military. That’s why forms of discrimination we would ban in civilian life are permitted: Women have less opportunity to fight than men. The disabled are discriminated against, as are the short, the near-sighted, and the old.

Except homosexuality is not a disability. In the other categories Mr Kristol mentions, people are discriminated against because they have been deemed physically unfit to perform tasks necessary to be a soldier. Being gay doesn't make one less able to perform as a soldier, unless we assume that everyone around them is disruptively homophobic. Luckily, though, Mr Kristol is not representative of the average military man.

Advocates of repeal will say sexual orientation is irrelevant to military performance in a way these attributes are not. But this is not clearly true given the peculiar characteristics of military service.

What "attributes"? What "peculiar characteristics"? Perhaps military service demands that all sexism be directed towards women?

We’ll hear a lot, as the debate moves forward, about gay Arabic translators being discharged from military service.

What?! Our one Arabic translator may also be gay? Good lord. Maybe God is on their side…

A decision to separate from the military someone who is sitting in an office in Northern Virginia may look silly. But the Obama Defense Department is entirely free to ensure that those men and women continue to use their skills to serve their country in those same offices as civilians.

Wait, so they'd be given separate jobs, but equal ones. Have I got that right?

(Full article)