correspondence

Wives, 2nd Cousins, Love Children of American Soldiers: It’s Time to Weigh In On Gay Soldiers!

Well, America: Here is your chance to weigh in on Don’t Ask Don’t Tell. By America, of course, we mean only “active duty soldiers.” Oh, and their families.

We couldn’t believe it last month when we saw a letter from Air Force Sec. Michael Donley notifying servicemembers that they and their freakin’ families would soon have a chance to tell the Pentagon what they thought of the discriminatory policy. You know, because since when did the U.S. military care about the warm fuzzy feelings about its soldiers, let alone their spouses, when deciding policy that has a direct impact on national security?

But here it is. All part of Defense Sec. Robert Gates to give off the illusion of “investigating.” Reads a Defense Department release:

A new online inbox that enables servicemembers and their families to comment anonymously about the impact of a possible repeal of the “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” law has gone live.

The inbox will enable servicemembers and families to offer their thoughts about how a repeal of the law that prohibits gays and lesbians from openly serving in the military might affect military readiness, military effectiveness and unit cohesion, recruiting and retention, and family readiness, a defense official explained.

Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates created an intradepartment, interservice working group to conduct a fair, objective, comprehensive and dispassionate review of these issues, the official said. The online inbox is one method the group will use to systematically engage with the force and their families.

A non-Defense Department contractor will monitor comments made through the inbox and eliminate any identifiable information inadvertently submitted to ensure anonymity, the official said.

Supposedly you can access the “inbox” here, but we’ve been trying all morning and it’s offline. Like this ridiculous stunt should be.

Meanwhile, the inbox is, allegedly, “anonymous,” which means the Pentagon can’t trace back who is submitting what. (The idea that the Pentagon isn’t tracking who’s doing what on its website, however, is a whole other conspiracy theory I don’t have time for.) So how does the inbox ensure that only active duty personnel and their families are the ones contributing, and not, say, subscribers to the Family Research Council’s email list?

Or readers of Queerty?