DADT and National Security: A New Year’s Resolution


This is as good a place as any to clear the air on something that’s troubled me for a few weeks…and to announce a New Year’s resolution. I enjoy the privilege (and responsibility) of writing about military and international affairs for Mother Jones‘ readers. Many issues fit under that umbrella: the continued costs of war in Iraq and Afghanistan; the demilitarization of American society, the transition of combat veterans to civilian life, and the civil-military gap; WikiLeaks’ impact and implications for future policy; persistent threats, real or perceived, to US security beyond our current conflicts; how we as progressives square our values—from human rights to social and economic justice—with the pressures posed by domestic politics and international conflict.

Yet in the past few months, my attention has been dominated by one story: the full integration of gay and lesbian Americans into the armed forces and the national culture at large. It should be a minor story. The empirical arguments against gays have been dispatched by the facts time and again. The moral and religious objections, too, have been raised and soundly rejected—by the White House, by the Pentagon, by the troops themselves, and by an overwhelming majority of the citizenry. And so I’m a little flummoxed that so much of our time continues to be consumed in covering and challenging the low, petty, frankly bigoted voices in the small but dedicated anti-gay camp.

In 2011, we hope to spend more time reporting and commenting on the many facets of American—and human—security. But the transition to a military and civilian cultures that recognize LGBT equality will be a long, bumpy one, and we’ll keep looking for ways to cover it.

Which leads to the other resolution: inviting you to be a bigger part of the process. What national security issues concern you the most? Where do you think the media are falling down on the job? Whether it’s DADT, or leaked cables, or wounded warriors, or cunning contractors, or something altogether different, we want your input. Send your tips, comments, blog posts, or anything else my way, and I’ll integrate the best contributions into our work here. After all, we’re a nonprofit here: It’s your magazine. And it’s your country.

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