Reason Writers Around Town: Shikha Dalmia Debates Fellow Forbes Columnist Melik Kaylan Over Don't Ask, Don't Tell


Over at Forbes, Reason Foundation Senior Analyst Shikha Dalmia and her fellow Forbes columnist Melik Kaylan have been locked in an argument royale about the sagacity of Don't Ask, Don't Tell (DADT). Melik devoted an entire column earlier this week critiquing Dalmia's previous column in which she called DADT "particularly dumb" because it compromised the country's commitment to equal protection and still exposed itself to alleged harm from the gay presence, maximizing the damage on all fronts. The time, she concluded, was "overdue" to end this charade and give gays the right to serve openly.

Kaylan, however, accused Dalmia of being a victim of the Old Whig fallacy according to which the time is "always overdue for something or other in the area of political rights." He claims that DADT is a good compromise because it allows gays to serve while making their identity a non-issue.

Dalmia, however, points out in her riposte this morning that far from making gay identity a non-issue, since DADT went into effect in 1993 over 12,000 gay servicemen have been fired, far more than before. "Gays are now being discharged not because they openly flaunt their sexual orientation or demand special favors…but because they don't do everything it takes to stay in the closet," she writes. "If Kaylan genuinely wants to make gay identity a non-issue then he should advocate not Don't Ask, Don't Tell but something along the lines of When Asked, Do Tell!"

Go here for Dalmia's full response and follow the links to read the whole slug-fest.