Repeal of “Don’t ask don’t tell” amidst Restrepo

Image from the U.S. Army on flickr

I’m visiting with family and comfortably curled up in an armchair, hanging out a few feet away from a vibrant Christmas tree. I am only semi-social, with my head ducked into my laptop because I am annoyed by a disturbing documentary that somebody else put on the tube. It’s a film about soldiers in Afghanistan called “Restrepo” by Sebastian Junger.

It’s hard to watch a gritty war documentary on Afghanistan right now. I want to be in a blissfully ignorant sugar cookie-scented Christmas experience, not listening to bullets fly.

The film reminds me how young soldiers are. They have to be legal age, but some look to be 16 years old. We see them cry remembering their dead commander, and we see his blood. We see a dead Afghani child being held by her dazed father. The American soldiers are about 11 years older than the dead girl, and in my eyes, they are also “kids”. They fight where no invader has ever won.

I get the news that “don’t ask don’t tell” is repealed.

I feel weakly happy. More machine gun fire rattles out of the TV speakers. And I am brought to Afghanistan again.

I am so relieved that gay soldiers will not be denied their rights and “Don’t ask don’t tell” is going to be reduced to a bad memory.

I thank the Senators who gave their “Aye” votes to repeal DADT today, and thank President Barack Obama for giving continued support for repeal.

I support the men and women who serve, straight or gay. Thanks to “Restrepo”, I vow to quit shoving Afghanistan out of my comfortable world.

One last thing: Soldiers are warned that “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” will still be the law for, at minimum, 60 days. The President, the Secretary of Defense and the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff must certify that the Defense Department is prepared to implement repeal. For full details and continued updates, see Servicemembers Legal Defense Network information for service members: www.sldn.org/StillAtRisk.

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