“Don’t Ask Don’t Tell” Equals 4,000 Troops Lost Each Year

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A new report out from UCLA’s Williams Institute, finds that since DADT went into effect in 1994 the armed forces have missed out on 4,000 troops each year, in attrition and dismissals, and they continue to each year that the cryptic policy is in effect. And that doesn’t even include the potential recruits lost because of Don’t Ask Don’t Tell.

So let’s get this straight: One in five Americans think that gays shouldn’t serve in the military. The chairman of the joint chiefs General Peter Pace, citing homosexuality as immoral, agrees with the DADT. And our potential presidential candidates, are cagey on the issue.

Frankly, gays in the military should be a place where everyone agrees, morality aside. The wholesale acceptance of gays in the military has nothing to do with morality or lifestyle acceptance; it’s a practical no brainer. It is a matter of—as the Army has demonstrated as their recruitment numbers have floundered—national security.

The Army has decided that it’s okay to allow convicted felons and neo-nazis to serve, and its been loosening recruitment standards for years in order to patch together a surgeable workforce. (The Army now allows clinically obese plebes to enlist and and for the first time ever recruits with recent asthma and ADD.) All in the name of Army Strong.

In fact, the military has granted a record number of “moral waivers,” handed out to one in 10, 8,129, new recruits last year. In the past three years more than 125,000 moral waivers, for everything from vehicular manslaughter, to DUI, to robbery and assault, were granted throughout the four branches of military service. So having 125,000 new enlistees who have immoral conduct on their record is fine, but enlistees who say they are gay is not?

Finally, since when is the military and its warriors held up to any standard of morality anyway? If we are really going there, and morality is on the table when it comes to military actions, homosexuality should be the least of Pace’s worries.

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SIX TRUTHS

Reclaiming power from those who abuse it often starts with telling the truth. And in "This Is How Authoritarians Get Defeated," MoJo's Monika Bauerlein unpacks six truths to remember during the homestretch of an election where democracy, truth, and decency are on the line.

Truth #1: The chaos is the point.

Truth #2: Team Reality is bigger than it seems.

Truth #3: Facebook owns this.

Truth #4: When we go to work, we're in the fight.

Truth #5: It's about minority rule.

Truth #6: The only thing that can save us is…us.

Please take a moment to see how all these truths add up, because what happens in the weeks and months ahead will reverberate for at least a generation and we better be prepared.

And if you think journalism like Mother Jones'—that calls it like it is, that will never acquiesce to power, that looks where others don't—can help guide us through this historic, high-stakes moment, and you're able to right now, please help us reach our $350,000 goal by October 31 with a donation today. It's all hands on deck for democracy.

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