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Bill Clinton disavows DADT

Timothy Kincaid

September 22nd, 2010

Bill Clinton is not pleased when reminded that he signed the Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell policy into law. Talking to Katie Couric following the failure of yesterday’s repeal effort, Clinton recalled his role as being a cork tossed on the storm.

The president said he resorted to “don’t ask, don’t tell” when it became apparent that both houses of Congress would enact an absolute ban on gay people serving in the military unless he did something else. He also said that Powell misrepresented how the policy would work.

I agree that Clinton does not deserve to be saddled with the blame for the policy, but his role was perhaps not as passive as he is now presenting. I seem to recall the White House advocating for a “compromise”.

Clinton also claims that he misunderstood exactly what Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell would mean.

Now, when Colin Powell sold me on ‘don’t pass, don’t tell,’ here’s what he said it would be: Gay service members would never get in trouble for going to gay bars, marching in gay rights parades as long as they weren’t in uniform, getting gay materials for any of the places they went or any of the things they did, as long as they didn’t talk about it. That was what they were promised. That’s a very different ‘don’t ask, don’t tell’ than we got. What we got as soon as Gen. Powell retired was this vicious mid- and lower-level officer feedback where they, for a year or so, made it worse than it had been before. Then they sort of settled down. But, the reason I accepted it was because I thought it was better than an absolute ban, and because I was promised it would be better than it was.

Well, rather than get snarky, I think I’ll just note that times have changed. Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell was considered too much of a concession at the time by many Americans and now, 17 years later, most everyone (except Republican legislators) consider it to be ill advised and discriminatory.

Comments

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Rob San Diego
September 22nd, 2010 | LINK

Times have changed, just not the bigots in high power nor has our military itself.

th
September 22nd, 2010 | LINK

The Rhodes scholar misunderstood the Army guy… yeah, right!

Bubba is such a jackass!

gar
September 22nd, 2010 | LINK

I wrote President Clinton a very pointed e-mail about what an absurd double-standard DADT is, but never heard back from anyone. Sadly, his administration took their base for granted very much like the current one does.

Richard W. Fitch
September 22nd, 2010 | LINK

Correct me if I’m wrong, but isn’t Colin Powell now advocating strongly for the repeal of DADT himself?

BMan
September 22nd, 2010 | LINK

Let’s not forget that Bill Clinton was the first president in the U.S. to support gay rights and paid a price for attempting to make good on his promise within his first year in office. I will never forget his support. It was more than brave, and many of us were stunned and felt that perhaps he could have waited. Imagined that. Today we’re tired of waiting and want everything…yesterday!

Jennifer
September 22nd, 2010 | LINK

Well lets not forget, Bill Clinton also signed DOMA into law. Has he explained that yet?

Matt
September 22nd, 2010 | LINK

If only WE could disavow Bill Clinton…

Rob San Diego
September 23rd, 2010 | LINK

DADT passed because they added it to the Defense Authorization Bill back in 1995

customartist
September 23rd, 2010 | LINK

Well now’s a fine time.

Kinda like Laura Bush if you ask me.

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