Seven-year-olds don’t care about DADT

SEVEN-YEAR-OLDS DON’T CARE ABOUT DADT…. On “The Simspons,” Helen Lovejoy’s lament that we need to “think of the children” has become a cliche entirely because of its vapidity. Someone really ought to let Ike Skelton know. (via Kevin Drum)

House Armed Services Committee chairman Ike Skelton said Tuesday that his constituents aren’t interested one way or the other in the congressional drive to repeal the military’s “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy, but he’s going to keep opposing it anyway. […]

[W]hy is Skelton so determined to keep the law in place, above the objections of the White House, Defense Secretary Robert Gates, Joint Chiefs Chairman Mike Mullen, the House of Representatives, and the Senate Armed Services Committee? It’s about the kids, apparently.

“What do mommas and daddies say to a seven-year-old child about this issue? I don’t know,” Skelton said. “I think it would be a family issue that would concern me the most … What they might see in their discussions among the kids.”

I’ve never heard a good argument in defense of DADT, but keeping the policy around to help inquisitive seven-year-olds understand military service standards seems unusually insane.

Let’s try approaching this in a different way. I’d like Ike Skelton to consider the case of Lt. Col. Victor Fehrenbach. He’s an F-15 fighter pilot, and an 18-year veteran of the United States Air Force. He flew combat missions over Afghanistan in 2002, and over Iraq in 2003.

The U.S. government invested $25 million in training Fehrenbach, and it was money well spent — he’s a highly decorated pilot, having received nine air medals, including one for heroism. He’s flown 88 combat missions, and logged more than 2,000 flying hours. In the midst of two wars, this war hero is ready to deploy again, serving his country honorably, but because of his sexual orientation, the government has said Fehrenbach’s services are no longer needed.

I’d like Ike Skelton to explain why the country is better off throwing Fehrenbach out of the military. If he says it’s necessary to prevent awkward conversations with seven-year-olds, then perhaps Skelton needs to reevaluate his priorities.