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Gates and Mullen ask for another year before dismantling DADT

Timothy Kincaid

February 2nd, 2010

gates mullenChairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Admiral Mike Mullen and Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates spoke about “Don’t Ask Don’t Tell” before the Senate Armed Services Committee today. Both recommended reversing the law but asked for another year to figure out how to implement the change in policy. (NY Times)

To lead a review of the policy, Mr. Gates appointed a civilian and a military officer: Jeh C. Johnson, the Pentagon’s top legal counsel, and Gen. Carter F. Ham, the commander of the United States Army in Europe. Pentagon officials said the review could take up to a year.

In the interim, Mr. Gates announced that the military was moving toward enforcing the existing policy “in a more humane and fair manner” — a reference to the possibility that the Pentagon would no longer take action to discharge service members whose sexual orientation is revealed by third parties or jilted partners, one of the most onerous aspects of the law. Mr. Gates said he had asked the Pentagon to make a recommendation on the matter within 45 days, but “we believe that we have a degree of latitude within the existing law to change our internal procedures in a manner that is more appropriate and fair to our men and women in uniform.”

I have a better idea, gentlemen. Rather than wait for your report, Congress should pass the law that entirely eliminates the ban on open service in the Military and give the Pentagon a year in which to put a new policy in place. That way we don’t find ourselves a year down the road with a different Congress and insufficient votes.

In a signal that this policy change will face Republican opposition – regardless of the wishes of the Pentagon – Sen. McCain spoke strongly in opposition. He relied on Elaine Donnelly’s petition which found 1,000 former officers who were willing to put their name down in opposition to equality. McCain presented the petition as though it was a representative study.

Mr. McCain said that a thousand retired admirals and generals had signed a petition against change, and that their views reflected the honest beliefs of military leaders as a whole, whatever Admiral Mullen’s personal view.

However, such bogus sampling may not hold up to the findings of studies. In addition to the review by Johnson and Ham,

For further information, Mr. Gates said he would ask the Rand Corporation to update a 1993 study on the effect of allowing gay men and women to serve openly. That study concluded that gay service members could serve openly if the policy was given strong support from the military’s senior leaders.

However, timing is crucial. Any shifting in the Congress towards more Republicans (almost a certainty in this mid-term election) can become an excuse to yet again delay equality for gay Americans.

Comments

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Patrick
February 2nd, 2010 | LINK

“That way we don’t find ourselves a year down the road with a different Congress and insufficient votes.”

Bingo!

How convenient for the President were that to happen. He could say “well, I tried but look at the bad republicans blocking it. You gays should keep voting for us democrats because we love you, really we do.”

Ben in Oakland
February 2nd, 2010 | LINK

If I get any more fiercely advocated, either i’m going to fall asleep or i’m going to look for a larger container of lube.

penguinsaur
February 2nd, 2010 | LINK

“Both recommended reversing the law but asked for another year to figure out how to implement the change in policy.”

Translation: Both claimed to agree with the president, but then pulled an excuse out of their ass to keep from actually doing anything. A year from now President Spinelss will have forgotten all about those uppity homos.

Ben in Oakland
February 2nd, 2010 | LINK

I have the solution. A phone call.

“Hello, Great Britain? Did you have any problems when you dropped your ban on gay people in the military? Anything special you had to do besides give an order? No?

Thanks. Buh-Bye.”

Scott
February 2nd, 2010 | LINK

I listened to the hearing on CSPAN and was surprised at the ignorance of the rhetoric coming from Republicans (excepting Snowe who also seemed to be in favor of repeal). The slow deliberate process will hopefully defuse the rabid attacks and make this less of a fight.

Yes, its slow; but as Gates said, it is a matter of “when” not “if”.

John
February 2nd, 2010 | LINK

The way you force people to go on the record on divisive social issues is to have a vote. It appears that the White House and the Democrats in Congress are going to try to slow walk the repeal of Don’t Ask Don’t Tell so that there is no vote this year.

This won’t create divisiveness among Republicans, if the Democrats don’t bring it up for a vote.

Well, at least I get to vote in November.

David C.
February 2nd, 2010 | LINK

I think everybody here so far is missing an important possibility.

First of all Congress can act anytime. The stated objective of the military within the Department of Defense and Secretary Gates with respect to DADT is to develop a post-DADT-repeal implementation plan and policies within the military. Congress can choose to go ahead and craft legislation repealing the ban subject to whatever input the DOD wishes to offer. There are a lot of ways that might be handled, and Congress could even vote before the DOD plan is in place. The replacement law, which would include repeal of DADT, could include and help coordinate elements of the implementation plan developed by the military.

What might such a law look like? Well, it could do things like restore pensions for those discharged under DADT. It might go on to make special provisions for readmitting valuable personnel that are still interested in serving their country, and whose skills are needed, even vital to national security.

In our emotional zeal to see this wrong righted, we may be thinking in dimensions that are too low and miss important opportunities to help shape a more nuanced and effective response. Thoughtful proposals might lead to more comprehensive legislation which is better for GLBT service members, the military, and our country—and more likely to be supported by the rest of America.

Perhaps its time to take a step back from the rhetoric and Obama bashing to consider just what we can do to help instead of simply predicting failure.

Ben in Oakland
February 3rd, 2010 | LINK

This is always worth disseminating– so much for the “rationale” of DADT:

Compare what this fellow has to say…

“U.S. Army Maj. Daniel Davis, speaking to Stahl out of uniform to emphasize that he does not speak for the U.S. military, says don’t ask, don’t tell is necessary to achieve cohesion among soldiers, especially those in combat. Most service members are conservative, he says, and won’t readily accept gays. ‘If you have a moral or religious issue, you cannot order me to [bond] with that [gay] person,’ says Davis, a specialist in battlefield tactics. ‘Our purpose in the military is not social engineering….It’s about fighting and winning the nation’s wars.’”

…with this from testimony by Kenneth C. Royall, Secretary of the Army, before the President’s Committee on Equality of Treatment and Opportunity In The Armed Forces on March 28, 1949:

“At the outset I want to make it clear that in my opinion the policies which should be applied to the use of all Army personnel, regardless of race, are those policies which best promote a sound national defense. Our basic mission is to win battles and to establish an organization capable of winning battles.

Specifically the Army is not an instrument for social evolution. It is not the Army’s job either to favor or to impede the social doctrines, no matter how progressive they may be – it is not for us to lead or to lag behind the civilian procession except to the extent that the national defense is affected…

Another – and an important – factor to be considered on the question of segregation is the morale of the troops as a whole – their satisfaction with Army life, and the spirit with which they perform Army tasks. In war, when the chips are down, this morale factor may well be the difference between victory and defeat.

We must remember that soldiers are not mere bodies that can be moved and handled as trucks and guns. They are individuals who came from civilian life and often return thereto. They are subject to all the emotions, prejudices, ideals, ambitions and inhibitions that encumber our civil population throughout the country.

Solders live and work closely together. They are not only on the same drill field also in the same living and eating quarters. From the standpoint both of morale and of efficiency it is important in peace and in war that the barracks and the unit areas be so attractive to them that they will devote not only their duty time but a reasonable part of their optional time at the post – that they will not be watching the clock for a chance to get away.

In war it is even more important that they have confidence both in their leaders and in the men that are to fight by their sides. Effective comradeship in battle calls for a warm and close personal relationship within a unit…

In this connection we must remember that a large part of the volunteers in the Army are Southerners – usually a larger proportion than from any other part of the country. Whether properly or not, it is a well known fact that close personal association with Negroes is distasteful to large percentage of Southern whites.

A total abandonment of – or a substantial and sudden change in – the Army’s partial segregation policy would in my opinion adversely affect enlistments and reenlistments not only in the South but in many other parts of the country, probably making peacetime selective service necessary. And a change in our policy would adversely affect the morale of many Southern soldiers and other soldiers now serving…

[I]n my opinion – and I believe in the opinion of a great majority of the experienced Army men and officers – it would be most difficult – and unwise from the standpoint of national defense – to require any substantial proportion of white soldiers – whether from the South or from other sections of the country – to serve under Negro officers or particularly under Negro non-commissioned officers.”

Sound familiar? Hmm…

Ben Janken Photography
510-482-9041 http://www.jankenphoto.com

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