To the Editor:
Of the three articles featured above the fold in Monday, two reported on the current controversy surrounding the presence of JAG Corps recruiters at the Law School’s Fall Interview Program (“Law students, faculty protest JAG recruiters” and “Law administrators weigh options,” 10/7). The third (“Bill to fund defense research at universities,” 10/7) described a piece of legislation currently before Congress that would provide exactly the kind of federal funds to universities that the government held hostage in the latest conflict over the Solomon Amendment.
The juxtaposition was not only ironic, it was poignant. “Don’t ask, don’t tell” is wrong for many principled reasons, but even for purely pragmatic reasons the government’s recent position is indefensible. In this “War on Terrorism,” in which our government needs the help of the best and the brightest, “don’t ask, don’t tell” prevents the military from enlisting the best and the brightest our school and our country have to offer. Furthermore, by holding federal research dollars captive in defense of this policy, the military threatened prospective research in the crucial field of bioterrorism.
Therein lies the irony evident on the front page of Monday’s Yale Daily News. In order to protect a policy that itself weakens our nation’s defense, the government threatened to withdraw or withhold money that would be used to strengthen our nation’s defense. “Don’t ask, don’t tell” should be lifted, and it is the responsibility not only of the president, but also of Congress to do so.
Tom Jawetz LAW ’03
October 7, 2002