The Instigator
untitled_entity
Con (against)
Winning
24 Points
The Contender
Cody_Franklin
Pro (for)
Losing
7 Points

The Don't Ask, Don't Tell Policy Is Beneficial To The United States

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Post Voting Period
The voting period for this debate has ended.
after 5 votes the winner is...
untitled_entity
Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 5/24/2009 Category: Politics
Updated: 7 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 1,530 times Debate No: 8401
Debate Rounds (3)
Comments (2)
Votes (5)

 

untitled_entity

Con

actual debating will begin in round two, aff goes first.
Cody_Franklin

Pro

Just a side note- I'm going to post my argument here then, I guess, so that the PRO can actually 'go first', as you specify.

To quickly define, The Don't Ask, Don't Tell policy prohibits a soldier's superiors from investigation into their sexual orientation (Don't Ask); Don't Tell, obviously, prohibits soldiers from openly expressing their homosexuality.

Beneficial; Producing benefits and social well-being.

Now, on to the arguments;

1) Bigotry still exists in the world; just as gays and lesbians are often hazed and degraded in schools and cities all across the nation, one can easily take this treatment and multiply its intensity in the military; as wonderful as equality would be in an ideal world, the public at large is not yet ready to accept homosexuality; and, although it may sound somewhat stereotypical, anti-homosexual, pro-war conservatives are more likely to serve in the military than their liberal counterparts on the other side of the coin. So, we can see that, to some extent, Don't Ask, Don't Tell is still needed until the period of time where all military personnel are ready to see their fellow soldiers as soldiers, not homosexuals.

2) Even though DADT is unpopular (http://en.wikipedia.org...), it is still beneficial in that it is a sign that people are beginning to come over to the side of equality and tolerance. DADT has served its function as a transition; at first, the United States banned homosexuals entirely from military service; DADT reduced this only to openly homosexual soldiers; because of this progressive policy, we are now standing at the brink of change, where soon, people will not have to hide their orientation, or feel a sense of shame when they are serving, because they are 'different'; without DADT, there would not be so much debate and forward movement over equal rights for homosexuals; so, out of necessity, DADT has been beneficial to equality, by truly moving us towards full application of the 14th Amendment (Equal Protection of the Laws for ALL citizens).

3) We can further this claim by looking at historically set precedents; specifically, Blacks. When we imported slaves, they brought the Barbados Slave Codes, which treated blacks as property, and had little to no regulation of diet, shelter, work conditions, and even basic rights under English Law were denied (http://en.wikipedia.org...); after the Civil War, we freed our slaves, but things like the Black Codes were set up, restraining much black freedom; however, we soon began to bring things like the 15th Amendment to the table (The Right to Vote shall not be denied based on race, color, or previous condition of servitude); the Civil Rights Act of 1964; And even the overturning of Plessy v. Ferguson and the Jim Crow Laws by Brown v. Board of Education, abolishing the 'Seperate but Equal' institutions. And today, we even have a black President; the progression of laws shows us just how far we have come; DADT is the same way; it is a stepping stone on the way to homosexual equality, a rung on the ladder; so, while it may seem oppressive, bigoted, prejudiced, or even 'unfair' as some would call it, it is necessarily beneficial; Separate but Equal institutions we see as retrospectively unjust, but in comparison to the Barbados Slave Codes, Separate but Equal was far more favorable; in the same way, DADT is far more lenient than the days of banning them entirely, or even in biblical times, when they were stoned or beaten to death.

So, before judging the DADT policy as a cruel, bigoted tool of the government, I would ask you to keep in mind that the darkest hour is just before the dawn; only with less-than-favorable policies like DADT can we make landmark changes in America like Brown v. B.O.E. for the blacks; only with DADT do we have a way to quantify and prove injustice in society; and only with DADT do we have something to build on, and a way to move forward to a new era of peace, understanding, and equality.

I look forward to the rest of this debate. And please, for the sake of social progress, please vote PRO.
Debate Round No. 1
untitled_entity

Con

I agree with both my opponents definitions but would like to illustrate that he left out one key element from his definition of DADT. You must recognize that in the armed forces if you do disclose your sexual orientation or are "outed" by your colleagues then you must resign or are dishonorably discharged. I will now list my own contentions and then illustrate what weaknesses there may be in my opponents argument.

I negate the resolution "The Don't Ask, Don't Tell Policy is Beneficial To The United States"

First and foremost, DADT is not beneficial due to the amount of money it costs the United States Armed Forces. For the 9,448 troops discharged between 1993 and 2004 the government had to spend 95.4 million dollars on recruiting costs, and 95.1 million on training the troop's replacements. This amasses to over 190 million dollars just in the time between 1993 and 2004. Currently, the Government Accountability Office ((http://en.wikipedia.org...) released numbers stating that the government has spent 14.3 million dollars removing service members, 17.8 million for training officers, 252.4 million for training enlistees, and another 79.3 million dollars in recruiting costs. In this time of economic recession and bail out scandal it is obvious that this is an unnecessary amount of money to be spent, just to keep the gays out of the military. This is one of the many reasons that shows DADT is not beneficial to the United States.

Second, the policy in and of itself is impractical. By fighting a two front war we are militarily, spread far too thin. With troop surges and deployments we have sent far too many troops overseas with at least a fourth of them coming back in body bags. Relatively soon the armed forces are going to need to not be so picky - we are running out of people to fight mindless wars. In addition to this, Clinton stated this in his rationale when imposing DADT, " having openly gay service members would create an unacceptable risk to the high standards of morale, good order and discipline, and unit cohesion that are the essence of military capability." I would like to point out the ridiculousness of this statement - in America, we allow convicted criminals (http://www.army.com...) to serve in the Military. Are we assuming that they have the high standards or morale, good - order, discipline and the unit cohesion? Let's not go into what happens to males in federal/state prison, or shall we? The military also helps to expunge the records of their recruits - where is the morality in this? They can expunge a felony off of Joe Schmoe's record but can't expunge the homo out of Daniel Choi? Daniel Choi, West Point graduate, Iraq veteran, and Arabic translator who came out on national television. Having violated the "don't tell" part, Choi was informed that he would have to resign from his National Guard unit. This is absurd and obviously does a great disservice to the United States.

Finally, the policy itself is unpopular throughout the United States. A Washington Post - ABC News Survey showed that 75% of all Americans were in favor of having openly gay members of the military and were against DADT. Now, if the rationale behind banning gay marriage is that most people are against it, and most people is what makes up democracy, shouldn't the most people help to abolish this program? It seems the Government is wielding a shiny double - edged sword that they refuse to point at themselves in this blame game of simple segregation. (http://en.wikipedia.org...).

Though my opponent, by his own admission states the DADT is unpopular he is saying that it is a sign that people are beginning to come over to the side of equality and tolerance. DADT is the exact opposite of what he says it does. DADT is a tool of segregation and demoralization. It alienates a specific group of people and prevents them from having a simple right. This program was not serving as a transition, this program was serving as a blockade from the gay community and "gay panic defense". (http://en.wikipedia.org...). The fact of the matter being that the United States Military would prefer to keep the gays out all together than deal with issues that may arise.

All members of the GLB(T) community should be able to serve in the military regardless of whether they do or do not disclose their sexual orientation. Due to the fact that it segregates, costs the country more money than it is worth, and is unpopular - the DADT policy is not beneficial to the United States.

The rest of this debate should be interesting, to say the least, and for the sake of the United States economy, and its democratic values, I urge a negative vote.
Cody_Franklin

Pro

I'd like to go ahead and clarify that, while I did leave out that part of the definition, I did so only to better highlight that aspect of DADT later on in my post.

My opponent's first contention deals with economic costs.

First of all, keep in mind that many of these numbers she throws out (like the 252.4 millon) are not even associated with keeping gays out of the military; the approximately 250 million turns out to be training enlistees; this number would be just as high with or without DADT, so its impact is truly minimal; this is furthered by the fact that she provides no statistic in her case to tell you how many homosexuals are actually thrown out of the military as a result of DADT.

Second of all, we're talking about hundreds of millions of dollars. She talks about how this is a frivolous expenditure, how it's wasting money; while this might be rhetorically pleasing to read, the fact is that, look at what President Obama is doing right now; We've had hundreds of BILLIONS of dollars in stimulus packages passed, along with the national debt, which is going up by trillions at this point; my opponent is truly overestimating the economic impact of DADT; take one hundred million dollars for DADT; compared to 100 billion, around 1/10 of current stimulus plans being passed around, and DADT is about 1/1000 of what we're spending.

Third and finally on this argument, even if you buy into it, you have to accept that a program like this is going to cost SOMETHING; there's no way that it could be free. Understand that simply because something has costs does not mean that, overall, it is not beneficial; I will hammer this idea home a bit more in a few paragraphs.

Next, she talks about matters of practicality.

She gives us the idea that our troops are spread too thin, that we simply don't have enough men to fight these wars.

First of all, I honestly don't agree with these wars, and so a shortage of soldiers encourages the United States, ideally, to seek the quickest possible end to those wars.

Second, the fact is that less homosexuals are being discharged now than ever, so the impact as far as loss of men is, again, quite minimal; http://usmilitary.about.com... The report points out that between 1994 and 2003, nearly 10 years, less than 10,000 homosexuals were discharged; compared with the hundreds of thousands in America's standing army, coupled with technology that allows us to have less soldiers on the battlefield, this argument really works better for the PRO side.

Third, as far as criminals in the military are concerned, the belief goes that the military will teach these people discipline, respect, and will make principled men out of them; obviously, this isn't 100% the case (as nothing ever is), but you can't discipline someone straight, assuming that homosexuality is a natural-born case; if it were a choice, homosexuals could simply choose not to be so before joining the military. So really, DADT is a minor inconvenience, worst case scenario.

As far as the unpopularity argument is concerned, look at my first post; the fact that is unpopular is the benefit; it works as proof that people finally ARE beginning to come over to the side of tolerance and equality; she completely drops the idea I give you that Blacks had to deal with all kinds of unjust laws, whcih acted as stepping stones in a way, slowly paving the way for equality; in the same way, DADT might not be ideal, but the fact that society is of that same opinion shows that we are ready for change, and that in and of itself is beneficial in that we are ready to 'hop to the next stone', so to speak; and while my opponent says that it is a 'tool of segregation and demoralization', I ask you to again examine the closing statement from my first post:

"So, before judging the DADT policy as a cruel, bigoted tool of the government, I would ask you to keep in mind that the darkest hour is just before the dawn; only with less-than-favorable policies like DADT can we make landmark changes in America like Brown v. B.O.E. for the blacks; only with DADT do we have a way to quantify and prove injustice in society; and only with DADT do we have something to build on, and a way to move forward to a new era of peace, understanding, and equality."

So, while I agree that anyone should have the right to be in the military, I also know that we can't skip the stepping stones in between; we as a society cannot simply jump straight into equality; sadly, this kind of change takes time, and the fact that DADT is unpopular benefits this change by showing us that we are nearly ready to move to the next stone.

In the end, you can vote one of two ways.

You can vote for the CON, who provides you with some very minimal-impact arguments, and one argument (unpopularity) that I really pre-empted in my first post.

Or, you can vote PRO, who advocates accepting that we aren't ready to go straight to equality, and that DADT is simply part of the long-term transition; I've given you evidence, logic, even historical precedents that parallel the situation that we are currently seeing.

The one thing that I want you all to remember, no matter which side you are leaning toward at this point, is that every situation is going to have its costs and benefits; what I hope you take into consideration is that the minimal economic and 'practical' costs are far outweighed by the progressive political and social benefits.

I am thankful to my opponent for providing me with the most engaging, in-depth, well thought out debate that I have had on this site thus far; and I sincerely look forward to the final round.
Debate Round No. 2
untitled_entity

Con

I'd like to point out that, as the source indicates these numbers directly correlate with DADT. Each year, about 10,000 military service personnel are dishonorably discharged due simply to their sexual preference. This is irrational and is simple denial of human rights, something that my opponent has failed to touch on.

The fact of the matter is, this is money that does not need to be spent. Whether it is hundreds of millions of dollars or hundreds of billions. In this time of swift economic downturn the money matters, and its going to waste with pointless programs like DADT. Obviously this program is going to cost something, all programs due, however, would it not just be more beneficial to scratch the plan in the first place and get rid of the problem in its entirety? I think so.

Exactly, the wars need to end quickly. We cannot immediately send troops over when we have requirements such as DADT preventing openly gay service men and women from serving. It is impractical. If my opponent is going to argue that these surges are necessary to end the war expediently, he must also find a way to create more troops to do so.

DADT is much more than a minor inconvenience, as I illustrated with the scenario of Daniel Choi. The military lost one of its most experienced members of the National Guard on a program that is nothing more than a tool of segregation. My opponent keeps to rely very heavily on the fact that blacks had to face the same sort of oppression years ago. I'd like to point out to my opponent that blacks have been oppressed for centuries, this progress is just starting with the gays. In addition to this, people are not as pro - active as they were with the blacks. As we all know you cannot choose your skin pigment (however gene therapy is moving its way up the totem pole) but there are still people who believe that being gay is a choice and can be corrected. Back to my unpopularity argument, if the rationale behind banning gay marriage is that it is not what the public wants and the public is the major voice in our democracy then it should be the same for DADT. Calling DADT a 'stepping - stone' is like prescribing a band - aid for a bullethole. It will work, for a very minimal amount of time before the wound bleeds through. I reiterate that DADT is in fact a tool of segregation, it targets one specific group of people and denies them the rights that every other group of equip people have.

I would again like to reiterate that DADT is in fact unpopular, is expensive and is unnecessary as it does not promote one specific benefit to the United States. I thank my opponent for a very enjoyable, well - thought out debate, and appreciate his debate ability as well as his non - forfeiting skills. I urge a pro vote and thank my opponent for a great debate.
Cody_Franklin

Pro

First of all, I'd like to point out that my opponent is misconstruing the numbers; it is not 10,000 per year; that is 10,000 in the period from 1994 to 2003; again, a far smaller impact than my opponent claims.

And, while we've agreed that the right to be in the military should be had by all, society does not see it that way; just look at what I've already said about the fact that moving straight to equality is going to produce more culture shock between homo and heterosexuals than what we're already seeing; and this is a consequence that neither myself nor my opponent endorses.

The point I was trying to make on the economic argument was that, she is trying to pick on DADT for wasting money, but I'm trying to point out that this spending is not even close to the waste posed by government bailouts on companies like AIG and GM; we have to understand, once again, that all programs are going to have a cost; and we certainly have to prioritize the social benefit of DADT over the tiny financial loss; and I'll elaborate a bit more on this social benefit later on; for now, just keep in mind the 'stepping stone' idea I've already presented.

She says that the wars need to end quickly, but that we also need to have troops to send in; she is essentially contradicting herself; the point that I'm trying to make is that a shortage of troops will actually PRESSURE our government into finding a way to end these wars more quickly; having more troops at the politicians' disposal would only serve to extend these wars. This is evidenced by things like conscription and/or the draft; it's empirically proven by cases like Vietnam that having more soldiers increases the likelihood of maintaining a longer foreign war.

As far as the historically set precedents, my opponent argues that segregation is just now starting with gays; first of all, historically, this is untrue; look back to the fact that gays used to be stoned or beaten to death; DADT is nothing like that; however, even if you accept this argument, keep in mind that this doesn't remove the benefit of DADT as a stepping stone; all journeys have to start somewhere, and she doesn't answer the fact that the unpopularity of DADT simply proves that we as a society are close to progressing to the next step towards acceptance and equality; so her argument about the public being the voice of our democracy, while rhetorically pleasing, works better for the PRO than the CON. Add to that the fact that many states still ban gay marriage, so that argument is really irrelevant, considering that the public chose to keep it from becoming acceptable. She even tries to say that people aren't as proactive about gays as they were about blacks; but when slavery began in the United States, you probably wouldn't find a person around in favor of emancipation; yet, I remind everyone again that we now have a black President.

She then makes this analogy that DADT is essentially putting a band-aid on a bullet hole; all she really does is try to replace my analogy, and while I have thoroughly explained the relevance of mine, she simply presents the analogy with no application to the topic at hand; even if you want to use the analogy, I would still say that it is better to cover the wound temporarily until a permanent solution is found, rather than let the wound bleed all over the place; so even by her own analogy, you will vote PRO.

So, at this point, I offer you two options; one, you vote on the fact that the CON simply reiterates most of her arguments, and doesn't even address the fact that her arguments are of the most minimal impact; not to mention a few blatant contradictions in her logic here and there.

Or, hopefully, you will vote PRO, based on the fact that long-term social and political progress is far preferable to saving an extra buck in the short term, and is certainly better than exposing the military, one of our most crucial organizations, to the kind of culture shock that occurs between two diverse sects of the population.

I truly have to thank my opponent for what I can honestly say has been my most challenging, stimulating debate on this site so far.

In the end, I do have to admit that I agree with my opponent on ONE thing that she says: "I urge a pro vote and thank my opponent for a great debate." You heard it from my opponent herself. Vote PRO. :)
Debate Round No. 3
2 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 2 records.
Posted by sherlockmethod 7 years ago
sherlockmethod
Pro's stepping stone argument was the best one, but it did not address the stigma of a dishonorable discharge very well. Con's arguments, other than the cost issue, held. I recommend abandoning the cost argument as Pro refuted that in perfect form. I gave a slight edge to con due to pro not addressing the dishonorable discharge in this stepping stone process. This was a great debate and was very close to being a tie for me.
Posted by untitled_entity 7 years ago
untitled_entity
Haha, dang Cody, got me on that line... I was flipping between windows on my computer for my AP NSL class debate and got the two mixed up. Damn, talk about fatal flaw.
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Vote Placed by LipstickandLightplay 7 years ago
LipstickandLightplay
untitled_entityCody_FranklinTied
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Vote Placed by SKEPTICISM 7 years ago
SKEPTICISM
untitled_entityCody_FranklinTied
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Vote Placed by sherlockmethod 7 years ago
sherlockmethod
untitled_entityCody_FranklinTied
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Vote Placed by untitled_entity 7 years ago
untitled_entity
untitled_entityCody_FranklinTied
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Vote Placed by Cody_Franklin 7 years ago
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untitled_entityCody_FranklinTied
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