Data: Don't Ask, Just Spend

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"Don't ask, don't tell" isn't just a controversial military policy; it's an expensive one too. The Government Accountability Office estimates that the Defense Department has spent $95 million recruiting men and women to replace the 9,488 gays and lesbians chucked out of the service during the last 10 years–and that doesn't include the costs of inquiries, investigations, counseling, and discharge reviews, or the millions spent training the new recruits.

Pentagon brass have said gay personnel would complicate missions, but tossing out 322 enlistees with skills in important languages, including Arabic and Farsi, might create some complications as well. And the incidents that have most frequently prompted dismissal do not suggest that a gay-friendly military would be a sex-crazed one: 83 percent of the recruits? shown the door simply admitted they were homosexual, as opposed to attempting to engage in sexual activity.

In March 53 members of the House introduced a bill to repeal "don't ask, don't tell" and allow homosexual service members to serve openly, as they do in the ranks of America's closest ally, Britain. As Patrick Guerriero, president of the Log Cabin Republicans, put it, "we need people who can shoot straight, not necessarily who are straight."

Graph (not available online): Cost of Replacing Homosexual Armed Forces (in millions)