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Press, Congressmen Skewer Donnelly’s Testimony

Jim Burroway

July 24th, 2008

Elaine Donnelly testifying for “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell”Elaine Donnelly’s ridiculous testimony yesterday before the House Armed Services personnel subcommittee continues to elicit expressions of disbelief throughout Washington. Speaking before the first hearings on “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” in 15 years, Donnelly set back the cause of excluding gays in the military and “torpedoe[d] her own ship,” according to Dana Milbank at The Washington Post:

Rep. Vic Snyder (D-Ark.) labeled her statement “just bonkers” and “dumb,” and he called her claims about an HIV menace “inappropriate.” Said Snyder: “By this analysis . . . we ought to recruit only lesbians for the military, because they have the lowest incidence of HIV in the country.”

Rep. Patrick Murphy (D-Pa.), a veteran of the war in Iraq, called Donnelly’s words “an insult to me and many of the soldiers” by saying they “aren’t professional enough to serve openly with gay troops while successfully completing their military mission.”

Rep. Chris Shays (R-Conn.) pointed a finger at [retired Navy Capt. Joan] Darrah and glared at Donnelly. “Would you please tell me, Miss Donnelly, why I should give one twit about this woman’s sexual orientation, when it didn’t interfere one bit with her service?” Donnelly said something about “forced intimacy.” Donnelly returned to the case of “Cynthia Yost . . . assaulted by a group of lesbians.” She neglected to mention that the incident was alleged to have occurred in 1974.

Donnelly clearly seemed to unify lawmakers on both sides of the aisles against her. As Milbank pointed out, “It was tempting to think that Donnelly had been chosen by Democrats to sabotage the case against open military service for homosexuals.”

Donnelly wasn’t the only opponent of DADT to provide comic relief:

Donnelly was followed by [retired Army Sgt. Maj. Brian] Jones, a tough-talking businessman who suggested that the military’s tradition of “selfless service” would be undermined by gay men and lesbians. “In the military environment, team cohesion, morale and esprit de corps is a matter of life and death,” he said. His written statement spelled it “esprit decor”; it also warned of “a band of lesbians that harassed new females,” and noted his own military experience when “the only way to keep from freezing at night was to get as close as possible for body heat — which means skin to skin.”

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Timothy Kincaid
July 24th, 2008 | LINK

Donnelly went to Congress to report on a letter she received about the recollections from 1974 of an incident that was never reported. A story, we note, that had decidedly racist overtones.

Is it any surprise that the media is having a field day with her testimony?

Richard W. Fitch
July 24th, 2008 | LINK

Tim: Does anyone have the hard facts regarding the alleged attack on corpsman Yost? I spent nearly 4 hours last nite reviewing the CSPAN video of the hearing and a couple hours today hunting info on Donnelly and the related materials. SDLN, HRC, et al could not have done better had they been allowed to choose the witnesses on either/each side of this hearing. Coleman, Darrah and Vila gave coherent and to-the-point testimony. Donnelly and Jones not only rambled and stammered but felt at liberty to interject their skewed fantasies, without invitation, during the presentations of the Congressmen. Someone, please, give us a heads-up for the next rounds of this hearing.

Adam Robertson
July 24th, 2008 | LINK

I’m delighted that Donnelly & Jones were ruthlessly mocked in a public forum. And I second Richard Fitch’s request for a heads-up on the next hearing. I almost missed out on this one. Had I not checked a few blogs and listened to NPR this morning, I would have missed out entirely, right? I mean, where were Katie Couric & Charlie Gibson?

Timothy Kincaid
July 24th, 2008 | LINK

Richard,

As far as I can tell there is no record at all of this event ever occuring other than a letter that Donnelly claims to have received.

“I have received a letter…” may be very effective for televangelists but it’s incredibly stupid to present such “evidence” as testimony in a Congressional Hearing.

Richard W. Fitch
July 24th, 2008 | LINK

Is the prepared statement of Ms. Donnelly’s testimony on public record? She tried to explain a chart in her written stmt that dealt with the numbers of personnel separated for various reasons. It would be worth studying to see such things as disabled, homeland -vs- deployed overseas, by skill levels, etc. She claims that separation due to DADT is only a small percentage, but what is the real impact on critical assignments?
RWF – Indianapolis IN

Rob
July 24th, 2008 | LINK

I think we should all write Ms Donnelly a nice thank you note for doing such an excellent job of illustrating why DODT is just plain stupid.

tristram
July 24th, 2008 | LINK

You missed the gem from Mr. Jones –

[Donnelly was followed by [retired Army Sgt. Maj. Brian] Jones, a tough-talking businessman who suggested that the military’s tradition of “selfless service” would be undermined by gay men and lesbians. “In the military environment, team cohesion, morale and esprit de corps is a matter of life and death,” he said. His written statement spelled it “esprit decor”;]

What kind of nincompoop thinks having more of us around wouldn’t result in vast improvements to any kind of DECOR !!

Timothy Kincaid
July 24th, 2008 | LINK

perhaps he was less concerned about the spirit of the troops and more worried about the spirit of the drapes.

Rob
July 25th, 2008 | LINK

A copy of the thank you note I left for Ms. Donnelly at the CMR website:

Dear Ms. Donnelly;

Just a brief note to say thank you for the excellent job you did illustrating that DODT is a ridiculous policy. Tales of lesbian swarmings, stumbling, and insulting answers. You’ve done more to promote the cause of gays and lesbians serving openly in the military than you can possibly imagine.

Keep up the good work!

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