Don't Ask? Don't Tell? : Blog Of The Nation Should servicemen be able to ask -- and to tell?
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Don't Ask? Don't Tell?

Last week, the House Armed Services personnel subcommittee held a hearing, to re-examine the "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" policy. Of the witnesses called to testify, many said they want gays and lesbians to be able to serve freely. There were critics, also. Elaine Donnelly, president of the Center for Military Readiness, testified against any repeal. (If you haven't read Dana Milbank's assessment of Donnell'y testimony, you should.)

In the first hour today, we're going to center our conversation on "Don't Ask, Don't Tell," 15 years after it was implemented.

Ben McGrath, a staff writer for The New Yorker will join us, to talk about Maj. Alan Rogers, whom he profiles in the most-recent issue of the magazine. Rogers was, perhaps, the first gay serviceman killed in action in the war in Iraq, and as McGrath writes, he kept his two identities: as a gay man and a soldier, completely separate.

And we'll hear from Jamie Barnett, a retired rear admiral, who argues that it is time to repeal "Don't Ask, Don't Tell." "An estimated 65,000 gay men and lesbians serve in the U.S. armed forces, though by law they cannot be open about their sexuality," he writes. "As we fight two wars, our military is stretched thin. Those gay and lesbian soldiers, sailors, airmen, Marines and members of the Coast Guard are essential."

What do you think? Is it time to repeal "Don't Ask, Don't Tell"? Is it working? We especially want to hear from members of the Armed forces, active or retired.