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by Peter Moskos

June 3, 2010

Time to Tell

I have an op-ed in today's Washington Post about my father and "Don't Ask Don't Tell."

It's got absolutely nothing to do with policing.
I was the first critic of "don't ask, don't tell." It was 1993, and I was home on break from college. My father, Charles Moskos, and I were watching TV and drinking ouzo.
My father ... came up with the concept and coined the phrase ["don't ask don't tell"]. He had lots of crazy ideas. But this one, I declared, was "the stupidest idea you've ever come up with."

A few months later ... "don't ask, don't tell" was the law of the land.
Today ... I am convinced that my father would support the repeal of "don't ask, don't tell."
Read the whole thing here.

Of course I can't be 100% certain that my father would support repeal... but with 100% certainty I do know he would have loved that I got a Washington Post op-ed out of this!


Anonymous said...

Your dad seems to have been quite the character. In the article you mentioned he had all sorts of other crazy ideas. What were they?

-From Canada

PCM said...

I don't mean to be coy, but a lifetime of them. He was quite the character.

Of course you think that is almost normal if that's your father -- almost... I knew it wasn't totally normal, while walking around in public, to grab your young son in a full nelson and go up to young strangers urging them, "hit him... go ahead!"

We also had a gag where if I brought a new friend home from school, he would take an (unlit) cigarette from his mouth and jam it on my bare leg. I would howl in pain like I was being burned!

That was a good one... But there were so many gems.

I'll never be half the man the old man was (something his grandfather used to tell him). But I do take after him in many many ways.

He always said me and and my brother turned out OK because he told us dirty jokes and took us to R-rated movies. My brother is trying that one on the next generation.

(p.s. my mom is good, too... and she reads this!)

Anonymous said...


Those are some pretty good stories. But I guess what I was trying to get at with the reference to crazy ideas was more along the lines of what other outside-the-box thinking with regards to policy prescriptions did he have other than DADT? For instance wasn't he a supporter of bringing back the draft? What did he think of the All Volunteer Force?

-From Canada

PCM said...

He was a supporter of the draft. But more as a means to implement civilian national service--which would be an alternative to serving in the military.

That was his big push before don't ask don't tell.

And he also talked about what the rest of society could learn from successful racial integration in the armed forces.