Don't ask: Congress repeals DADT

This is not the end of western civilization but I think the issue could have used a little less political hyperbole and lot more sober reflection:

The Senate voted decisively Saturday to repeal the "don't ask, don't tell" law, beginning the process of ending a 17-year ban on gays serving openly in the military and reversing decades of official military policy.

In the end, the contentious bill passed by a lopsided 65 to 31as 57 members of the Senate Democratic caucus and eight Republicans voted to end the ban.

In a statement, President Obama praised the procedural vote earlier in the day that allowed for Saturday's historic passage: "I am also absolutely convinced that making this change will only underscore the professionalism of our troops as the best led and best trained fighting force the world has ever known."

That last remains to be seen. The Commandant of the Marine Corps General James Amos, is decidedly against the idea of openly gay men serving in combat. Does he know something that DADT opponents don't? He is guessing as much as they are. Nobody knows what impact, if any, there will be which is why rushing this thing through a week before Christmas doesn't make any sense. 

Using the military as a social science lab is a fine old Washington tradition. But it should be pointed out that historically, these social experiments have proven out. Everyone said that southern soldiers would quit en mass and never serve with black soldiers when the armed forces were integrated. Similar warnings were issued when women were given expanded roles in the military. Both "experiments" worked out well, so there's a chance that openly homosexual men will have no impact on unit cohesion or combat effectiveness as some proponents of DADT argue they will.

We'll all just have to wait and see.