Palm Center: Elaine Donnelly Not Qualified To Testify

Jim Burroway

July 23rd, 2008

The Palm Center has announced that the Duke Journal of Gender Law & Policy is set to publish a review of Elaine Donnelly’s 2007 article in the review. Donnelly, who is president of the Center for Military Readiness, opposes the repeal of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell,” and was one of two witnesses testifying against repealing the military’s ban on gay servicemembers. According to Aaron Belkin, director of the Palm Center, Donnelly’s testimony was drawn largely from her 2007 article which is “riddled with mistakes”:

“It’s unclear why Elaine Donnelly has a platform at all on this issue,” Belkin said. “She and her organization do no research.” Belkin noted, for example, that to bolster her point that the British military has been undermined by allowing gays and lesbians to serve openly, her article cites a single footnote which refers to five newspaper and radio stories, none of which have anything to do with gays in the military.

Donnelly’s article is riddled with other errors, including misidentifying the Palm Center as a Berkeley organization, misreading the evidence on gay service during wartime and misunderstanding the statistical methodology of demographic data on the prevalence of gays in the U.S. military, as well as the research methods used in assessing polling data and the financial costs of the ban on open gays.

Here is an example of Donnelly’s performance in Washington today:

[Hat tip: Alvin McEwen]


July 23rd, 2008

Talk about being out of one’s depth!

Stefano A

July 23rd, 2008

I haven’t been following the live blogging today.

When those in favor of abolishing the ban testified, did they, or did they have the opportunity, to point out Donnelly’s incompetence and/or her factual errors?

a. mcewen

July 23rd, 2008

I think she did an excellent job of pointing out her own incompetence.

Regan DuCasse

July 23rd, 2008

Donnelly was arguing with a representative who’d had military experience and rightly, he felt insulted that SHE infered he and his fellow troops couldn’t or wouldn’t maintain professionalism if THEY served with gay soldiers.

In effect, what she IS saying, is that our fighting forces are too afraid or too prejudiced or too sexually out of control to serve effectively with each other gay AND straight together.

And her anecdote about a female soldier being attacked by lesbians, it mostly sounded like an afterthought to try and prove that lesbians are lacking in restraint. An oft given accusation regarding gay people, right?

Attacked is a broad term when talking about gay folks, in some ways. A homophobic person tends to feel attacked by gay people when they are simply looked at or challenged by who they think is gay.
Look at how Peter LaB and Matt Barber perceive being attacked by gay people!

I tend to shut the argument down well enough when I say that if our fighting forces are this insecure and afraid around gay people and our military allows recruits to give into every prejudice they might harbor…then it’s not the fighting force we need and should have.

Richard W. Fitch

July 23rd, 2008

{Please excuse the “copy-paste”}
I caught about the last hour of the hearing today (7/23) on C-SPAN3. What struck me the most was the seemingly bipartisan agreement that DADT is no longer in the best interests of the country. As to Ms. Donnelly’s testimony, if it had not already been clearly publicized that she was opposed to the repeal, I might well have been at a loss to guess where she was coming from. She repeatedly gave vague and indirect responses to the the committee members’ questions and appeared constantly on the defensive. Does anyone know the schedule for future open hearings and telecasts?

Timothy Kincaid

July 23rd, 2008


For future hearings check with SLDN.

For telecasts check with CSPAN.


July 23rd, 2008

There’s also an odd theme that tends to persist in these hearings: the Uncontrollable Sexual Urge. At least twice, Brian Jones brought up the particularly homosexy scenario of a group of marines (?) trudging across the tundra, mile after mile, huddling together–“skin to skin”–to keep warm. He mentioned, and I quote, “there can’t be any arousal.”

Few things. Firstly, again: in what elite fighting force, trained to persevere under combat conditions, is an erect penis seriously a threatening thing? And secondly: I and most gay people I know would probably have other thoughts on our minds if we were huddled together for warmth in sub-zero temperatures. Contrary to popular belief, gays don’t automatically want to screw every naked man they see.

Michael Bedwell

July 23rd, 2008

Pictures of the deceptively demur but thoroughly despicable and devious Donnelly perched next to and staring intently at Eric Alva during the hearing reminds me of the classic “V” TV science fiction series. She totally looked like she wanted to distend her jaw and swallow him whole like one of the other giant reptiles disguised as humans in the ***series as in this clip:

But the ease with which she is mocked should not lead us to underestimate her. She is a TIRELESS and ruthless opponent not just of out gays in the military but women serving generally. One of the reasons that DADT became law was that she and others organized a huge avalanche of homohating letters, e-mail, etc., upon Congress while professional gays fiddled. They will certainly repeat their efforts [she’s been screeching for months about how Obama will betray red-blooded, flag waving, God fearing straight American soldiers by letting in the Sodomites].

So e-mail your Congressperson NOW and demand the repeal of DADT! [Young, straight husband and father Rep. Murphy was STELLAR today, repeatedly challenging her nonsense.]

– Michael Bedwell

[***ironically “V” starred Marc Singer who played the roommate of my late friend Leonard (the first to make fighting the old policy a national issue) in the (unfortunately poor) TV movie NBC made about his life.]

Richard W. Fitch

July 23rd, 2008

Reviewing print and video from today’s hearing, I’m interested in any additional info available regarding the 1974 incident involving US Army Medical Corpsman Cynthia Yost. Ms. Donnelly seems to feel that this is her trump card and pulls it incessantly to “prove” her point. My recollection of the Civil Rights movement isn’t that great but it seems, in 1974, this may have stemmed as a bit of white/black tension. Not knowing any details, this is just a guess.
[TK: Thanks for the SLDN reference.]


July 23rd, 2008

All I want to know about the Palm’s rebuttal is: are they getting it in front of the people who she testified for today?


July 24th, 2008

Cameron award?

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