I often wonder what would have happened differently, if anything, if Bill Clinton had chosen some other issue as the first thing he addressed as president. Aside from the fact that he was new to the job, he didn’t have the respect of the services to win their support, primarily because he did not serve himself (though he DID enlist for the Vietnam War, as he noted in “My Life,” but was not called). The result of this mistake was the stupid “don’t ask, don’t tell” compromise, stating that gay men and women could serve without disclosing their sexual orientation, a mistake which ended up forcing 10,000 gays from military service.
I read an editorial in The Philadelphia Inquirer earlier this week (companion background articles here and here – registration required as always) that basically stated that the right of the military to recruit for our all-volunteer forces trumped the right of the universities to invoke the free speech clause of the first amendment of the Constitution in protest of the Pentagon’s policy. I have to very reluctantly agree with that because I think any infringement upon free speech is a “slippery slope.” Besides, as the court and the Inquirer noted, the universities are certainly free to protest the policy while still allowing access to the recruiters.
That being said, though, I hope the universities place strict requirements upon the recruiters by assigning them to certain areas of the universities and designate those places as the ONLY locations where they can seek recruits. I still remember vividly the scenes in “Fahrenheit 9/11” where recruiters chased kids all over shopping mall parking lots and told them all kinds of nonsense in an effort to get them to sign on. I’m not unsympathetic to them if they’re representing themselves and the services truthfully, but it was obvious a few of them weren’t doing that.
Also, this language from chief justice John Roberts, who wrote the opinion for the court, was a bit startling to me:
"Law schools remain free under the statute to express whatever views they may have on the military's congressionally mandated employment policy, all the while retaining eligibility for federal funds," he wrote.Are those the only means that Roberts believes the universities should have at their disposal to protest the policy? I’m not a “legal eagle” by any means, but someone help me out here please.
Roberts said law schools are not "speaking" when they aid students in the recruitment process.
"Law schools facilitate recruiting to assist their students in obtaining jobs," he wrote. "A law school's recruiting services lack the expressive quality of a parade, a newsletter, or the editorial page of a newspaper."
One of the things I wondered about after I heard of the Supreme Court decision was what other countries do concerning gays in the military.
Well, it turns out that the UK doesn’t have a problem, the policy of the Israeli Defense Force has been evolving over time towards acceptance since 1993 (ironic that they had more success that year on this issue than Clinton did), and the Netherlands, Sweden, and Germany accept gays also, though
The policy of Russia, though, appears to be harsher than that of the U.S.; they ban gays in the military in peacetime, but allow them in wartime. That sounds like the worst of both worlds (Update 4/17/09 - No further info on this at this time).
Oh, and by the way, now that the Supreme Court has issued this ruling, can those idiots in Congress abolish the Solomon Amendment now and forever, please?