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Reflections on DADT’s Repeal

Today truly is an historic day for the military. As Dan posted earlier this morning, cloture was reached on a bill sponsored by hawk Joe Lieberman (I-CT) and Susan Collins (R-ME) (<--notice no "D" in there) and minutes ago the full Senate voted 65-31 to enact the "Don't Ask, Don't Tell Repeal Act of 2010".

I'm very pleased for a few reasons:

First of all, this happened fairly. While there's an argument that this was thrust into the waning (and flailing) moments of a lame-duck session of the legislature, given the way the vote came down, it would likely have passed in the next Congress anyway, save for the leadership's likely reluctance to bring it to a vote in the first place. In that sense, there's a bit more democracy going on here in that the majority who would vote for it actually did get a chance to have the vote today that they probably wouldn’t have gotten in the 112th Congress next year.

Another aspect of fairness is that it passed on a stand-alone basis, not tucked into the Defense Authorization Bill as Harry Reid had tried to do earlier. By tying such a monumental act to an authorization bill that must be passed every year, Sen. Reid displayed his typical underhandedness and craven lack of integrity that in the end turned out to not even be necessary. That this vote was on its own bill shows the type of transparent and out-in-the-open nature of government that the Tea Parties were trying to achieve. It’s a shame that it came only after Sen. Reid’s back-room bargaining failed. In the end, though, baby-steps…

Third, I cannot express how grateful I am that this didn’t happen at the rap of a judge’s gavel. Nothing could have been more destructive than had our military been forced to make this change not because our commanders had been directed to do so by our elected civilian leaders, but by judicial fiat. Simply put, the judicial branch is not (despite this Administration’s obsession with trying our enemies in civilian courts) charged with, nor does it have the temperament for, taking on the responsibility of national security. While all would agree that the policy is discriminatory, that in and of itself is a very very poor reason to make such a huge change to policy. For example, the ADA doesn’t quite apply to the military, now, does it? On the other hand, give me a truly national-defense reason for considering applying it so, and I (and all military commanders) will be all ears.

Also, while the actual voting seemed to come up quickly, this action was actually very soberly taken and with great deliberation and thought. When the DoD commissioned a survey and the Secretary of Defense implored Congress to wait until that survey’s results and the larger study’s recommendations could be made on how to implement repeal, many looked at the calendar (after the election in which everybody knew the Democrats would lose much power) and sighed. However, patience has paid off and many minds (including those of some Senators’) were changed as a result of the study. Serious thought and concern for our military and the impacts of this action led many of our civilian leaders to support this repeal. Had the activists at HRC (and, yes, LCR also) had their way, this would have been rammed through this summer or fall before the study was made public. The result would have been certain defeat as the effort would have been seen as what it would have been: Another attempt to once again rush through legislation before we’ve had a chance to come up for air and think (and talk) it over.

Finally, and most consequentially, I’m pleased for our Nation. As I’ve stated many times in the past, DADT is a policy that puts our national security at risk. Forget all the whining and pleas about how “unfair” and “bigoted” the policy is. Set aside the childish theatrics of chaining oneself to the White House gate in order to stand up for your “rights” (which, apparently to some, include service in the military for some reason). And let go of the false premise that the policy either drummed out an inordinate number of troops or otherwise dissuaded so many from enlistment in the first place (both are extremely broad generalizations that don’t stand up to statistical rigor). After this repeal is implemented and gay men and women are allowed to openly serve, as I’ve mentioned before, those with security clearances will no longer be blackmailable (for being homosexual, that is) and therefore no longer pose that threat to national security.

As I’ve maintained from the beginning of this debate, the real reason for repeal of this policy should be rooted in national security. While I regret that, even up to the end (as I watched speeches on C-SPAN2), that argument was rarely raised, and when so, was poorly made, the end result will be that national security is strengthened. In these days of Wikileaks and our lowest-ranking members having access to our highest-priority information, removing this security risk is vital.

I’ve got some more thoughts on this, and I’ll be writing a lot this weekend and over the next few weeks as the policy is hashed out in practical terms. But for now, let’s enjoy the knowledge that our nation will be that much more safe as this security threat will soon be removed.

-Nick (ColoradoPatriot, from TML)

Before this all goes down…

Posted by ColoradoPatriot at 2:23 pm - December 18, 2010.
Filed under: DADT (Don't Ask, Don't Tell)

There will surely be many words written here and in other places—many by yours truly—about today’s repeal of DADT. Before the deluge, please allow me to indulge this:

I thank God for the gay men and women who have been serving during (and even before) DADT in spite of it. While many gay activists have been on the sidelines carping about “rights” and “integrity” and “honor”, these brave men and women put their Nation before themselves and sacrificed as their colleagues never had to. They were called by service and answered in a way that speaks volumes about their dedication to the mission of the military. They chose to serve even as doing so meant keeping such a big part of themselves under wraps.

They were infantilized, pitied, and even demeaned by their supposed “supporters” for having consciously put their nation ahead of their own desires and identities. Many of them will continue to serve silently and with great dignity. I am humbled to have served with them.

I welcome into our ranks those openly gay men and women who will now choose to join the military, but I will forever be honored to have served next to those who answered the call without requiring their own terms as a prerequisite for their service.

-Nick (ColoradoPatriot, from TML)

A Nightmare Over

Posted by ColoradoPatriot at 1:58 pm - December 18, 2010.
Filed under: 111th Congress,Illegal Immigration

Before we all get jubilent over the impending repeal of DADT (oh, and we will), let’s also take a moment to celebrate this morning’s defeat of the preposterous DREAM Act.

With our Nation’s borders breached so frequently these days by criminals entering our Country illegally and the current Administration having the cajones to actually sue a border state for doing its job, can we pause and agree that rewarding criminals by guaranteeing their progeny legal citizenship status is a bad idea?

Just a thought before we throw our caps in the air over DADT’s repeal later this afternoon, that there are other reasons to celebrate today also.

-Nick (ColoradoPatriot, from TML)

DADT Repeal Imminent

Posted by B. Daniel Blatt at 1:30 pm - December 18, 2010.
Filed under: 111th Congress,DADT (Don't Ask, Don't Tell)

Seems Harry Reid finally got his act together:

In a landmark vote for gay rights, the Senate on Saturday voted to advance legislation that would overturn the military ban on openly gay troops known as “don’t ask, don’t tell.”

The 63-33 test vote all but guarantees the legislation will pass the Senate, possibly by day’s end, and reach the president’s desk before the new year.

Interesting that the AP bills this as a vote for gay rights.  This issue shouldn’t be about gay rights, but instead about military effectiveness.  If gay people can serve without harming unit cohesion, then the ban should be lifted.  Fortunately the legislation under consideration returns the decision-making authority over this issue to those who should the final decision, our military leaders:

Even after the measure were to become law, the policy change wouldn’t go into effect right away. Obama and his military advisers would have certify that the change wouldn’t hurt the ability of troops to fight, and there would also be a 60-day waiting period.

Not sure I’ll have much opportunity today  to blog on the matter, but will try to update as time allows.