Greg Sargent's evening read-out noted this highlight from the executive summary of the Pentagon's study of "Don't Ask Don't Tell," cited over at Daily Kos. In it, the current state of resistance to allowing gays to serve in the military is compared to the previous resistance to the racial integration of the military back in the mid-20th century. As it happens, it was a bigger hurdle that was nevertheless surmounted, all to the good:
In the late 1940s and early 1950s, our military took on the racial integration of its ranks, before the country at large had done so ... By our assessment, the resistance to change at that time was far more intense: surveys of the military revealed opposition to racial integration of the Services at levels as high as 80-90% ... Some of our best-known and most-revered military leaders from the World War II-era voiced opposition to the integration of blacks into the military, making strikingly similar predictions of the negative impact on unit cohesion ...
The story is similar when it came to the integration of women into the military. In 1948, women were limited to 2% of active duty personnel in each Service, with significant limitations on the roles they could perform. Currently, women make up 14% of the force, and are permitted to serve in 92% of the occupational specialties. Along the way to gender integration, many of our Nation's military leaders predicted dire consequences for unit cohesion and military effectiveness if women were allowed to serve in large numbers.
I can't help but be reminded of this scene from the April 20, 2000 episode of The West Wing, titled (serendipitously, perhaps), "Let Bartlet Be Bartlet." [Apologies for the embed quality, below. To view the scene in a clip that looks less like it was shot through Instragram on your nephew's iPhone, click here.]
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