It drives me crazy when people (usually right-wingers) ignore what has worked in other countries, wanting the United States to go its own dysfunctional way.
Allowing gays to serve openly in the military is a great example. The first question Congress and Defense Department officials should be asking is, "what do other countries with top-notch forces do?"
Most Western military forces have now removed policies excluding sexual minority members; of the 26 countries that participate militarily in NATO, more than 20 permit open lesbians, gays, or bisexuals to serve; of the permanent members of the United Nations Security Council, three (United Kingdom, France, and Russia) do so. The United States (see Don't ask, don't tell) technically permits gays and lesbians to serve, but only in secrecy and celibacy.
In 1993 Israel allowed homosexuals to serve openly in its armed forces, which are damn effective. A 2000 study found that military performance did not decline.
Yet former Air Force chief of staff Merrill McPeak ignored all this evidence and somehow concluded in a recent New York Times op-ed that allowing gays to serve openly would "weaken the warrior culture."
Tell that to the Israelis, McPeak.