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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)

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128 Comments

  1. Third, once more, you ignore the fact that we have already (and successfully) long had gays in the military. If sexual jealousy (with / because of gays, I mean), and for that matter privacy issues as well, were going to be that great of a problem, then the military should have already fallen apart 200 or more years ago.

    The rebuttal to that is this: while there have been gays and lesbians serving in the military, they have been under strict rules and screening in which engaging in the type of behavior described was grounds for immediate removal. You are stating that a situation in which there is heightened scrutiny for such behavior would produce the same outcome as one in which there is no scrutiny.

    In addition, this argument of there previously being successful gay and lesbian individuals in the military would demonstrate that DADT and the outright ban on gay and lesbian individuals in fact did NOT significantly impair or reduce the ability to perform their military functions.

    Therefore, in my opinion, the removal of DADT represents an unnecessary lowering of standards and conduct. The previous success of gay and lesbian individuals under this policy demonstrates that it does not significantly impair or reduce the ability of committed gay and lesbian individuals to serve. Meanwhile, while you state that the effect would be small due to the small number of gays and lesbians, I would simply say that, based on that, why create the effect in the first place to accomodate such a small number of individuals?

    In addition, Michael Ejercito’s example brings up an excellent point: in the hierarchy of risk mitigation, the default solution is always to eliminate the risk completely. if you have a slippery marble floor, getting rid of the marble is always a better solution than having the janitor out with towels every rainy day; the janitor may be sick, busy, or have better things to do than be drying the floor for everyone, but that is irrelevant if the marble is no longer there.

    Similarly, I would state this: there is no pressing reason or requirement for gays and lesbians to serve under non-DADT conditions. We have an all-volunteer army whose total size, including reserves, represents barely 0.5% of our population. Why take on the risk for essentially no gain?

    Comment by North Dallas Thirty — December 19, 2010 @ 7:21 pm - December 19, 2010

  2. Like I said, which obviously some of you here did not hear, or rather chose not to hear, even in the 1980s political correctness ran rampant in the US Navy. “Jeff” who was actually quite a nice guy who everyone pretty much liked when he was sober, got nothing more than a slap on the wrist for sucking off Seaman Nachoff (who btw, eveyone on the ship hated cause he was pretty much a dirtbag).

    Point is; it doesn’t matter if it’s rape. A Gay guy will get off, cause of political correctness. The ACLU will be all over it. He’ll have lawyers out of the wazoo.

    A Straight guy would get whacked for 30 years in the brig for the same offense that a Gay guy commits, cause a Straight guy, particularly a Straight white guy is not a member of a protected minority.

    Comment by Eric Dondero — December 19, 2010 @ 7:33 pm - December 19, 2010

  3. Bwhahahahaha! Are you friggin’ kidding me???!!!

    Are you all seriously suggesting that Gay guys won’t stare (or even jerk off) to Straight guys in the common shower areas? That is absolutely absurd, even comincal. You all obviously haven’t served in the Military.

    It would happen ALL THE TIME! in the Navy. And we Straight guys would get super, super pissed off about it. But if we complained? Deaf ears. Political correctness kicked in. Even in the 1980s people in the chain of command were worried about making a ruckus cause of worry over litigation by the ACLU and other liberal special interests groups.

    Comment by Eric Dondero — December 19, 2010 @ 7:36 pm - December 19, 2010

  4. Look, I’m gonna say this here, please listen you all.

    I am a LIBERTARIAN. I’m with you all on 100% of all other issues concerning Gay rights.

    What’s most important here in this debate is that this issue will now drive a serious wedge between those of us who are for tolerance but against Gays in the Military, and the rest of pro-tolerance conservatives who are in favor of Gays in the Military.

    I’m serious you all. This is causing some serious heartache. And has seriously endangered our coalition for the future.

    And by the reaction here, of gloating over this DADT repeal, you all are causing even more of a wedge.

    Comment by Eric Dondero — December 19, 2010 @ 7:39 pm - December 19, 2010

  5. I’d put it this way; since the gay and lesbian community is already shrieking that it is “homophobic” to fire someone that even the whacked-out San Francisco Commission on Human Rights found to be sexually harassing people, expecting them to suddenly develop restraint and respect for the decisions of the military chain of command is an act of optimism on the order of expecting Nancy Pelosi to develop a sense of propriety.

    Comment by North Dallas Thirty — December 19, 2010 @ 8:13 pm - December 19, 2010

  6. What’s most important here in this debate is that this issue will now drive a serious wedge between those of us who are for tolerance but against Gays in the Military, and the rest of pro-tolerance conservatives who are in favor of Gays in the Military.

    Eric, if I may, here’s how I see the problem.

    – You are convinced that gays and lesbians will abuse the legal system to demand “protections” and “special privileges”.

    – ILC, Nick, and others here would also agree with you 100% that such abuse of the legal system would be an absolute travesty and should be completely opposed.

    – The difference is that you (and I) believe that this will happen (and has happened already); they do not believe that this will happen, or that it can be avoided.

    Like you, I am not sanguine about this. The Obama administration is the most racist and minority-status-obsessed in the history of this country, and it listens only to the extremist gay and lesbian left who not only hate the military, but want to litigate it out of existence. The Obama Party and Barack Obama himself have zero problem with quotas and special treatment for gay and lesbian soldiers, and with political puppets like Mullen in charge, that is exactly what we will get.

    That being said….please realize that, when push comes to shove and something does happen, Nick, ILC, and others will be right there with you condemning and attacking the Obama Party and the left for its quotas and outright discriminatory treatment.

    This isn’t the place to be leveling your guns. The place to be leveling them is at the gay bigot organizations and gay bigots.

    Comment by North Dallas Thirty — December 19, 2010 @ 8:29 pm - December 19, 2010

  7. So now that gays can serve openly in the armed forces there will NEVER again be any blackmailing of servicemen by foreign agents. There will NEVER again be any spying, or leaking of secrets, or treason committed out of ideology, or spite, or plain old greed.

    Because, of course, that would never happen to straight soldier, who are having affairs with people they shouldn’t.

    Comment by Sonicfrog — December 19, 2010 @ 8:42 pm - December 19, 2010

  8. I’m serious you all. This is causing some serious heartache. And has seriously endangered our coalition for the future.

    And by the reaction here, of gloating over this DADT repeal, you all are causing even more of a wedge.

    Sorry Ol’ beast! Won’t happen again.

    Seriously, are we having a Rodney king moment here?

    Comment by Sonicfrog — December 19, 2010 @ 8:48 pm - December 19, 2010

  9. I haven’t been gloating. I am a little worried that my being sanguine (defined as optimistic) about this change might be misplaced. My nephew is in the military, I hope it all works out. I’m 75% sure that it will. Eric, I respect what you have to say – and, there are other military people who tell me the opposite of what you do. A couple of them are even here (Nick, John).

    Comment by ILoveCapitalism — December 19, 2010 @ 10:56 pm - December 19, 2010

  10. Sonicfrog at #107, you missed my point. Nick claimed he wanted DADT repealed for national security reasons, basically saying that allowing gays to serve openly in the military will prevent security breaches caused by closeted gays being blackmailed (You better get us that info or we’ll tell your CO you’re queer). I was mocking that notion in the comment you partially quoted above. The point I was trying to make is that there are many other reasons why security can be breached and, therefore, Nick’s national security argument for repealing DADT was bogus. I was NOT implying that straight people, civilian or military, were incapable of disloyalty. Sorry you didn’t get that.

    Comment by Seane-Anna — December 20, 2010 @ 12:09 am - December 20, 2010

  11. It all sure sounds like gloating to me. And as rightwingers we need to be gloating over the demise of the Democrat Party; not about us defeating our friends and allies.

    Again, this has created seriously hard feelings for those of us WHO ARE WITH YOU GUYS ON 100% OF THE REST OF YOUR AGENDA.

    This is the one issue, and the ONLY ONE ISSUE, where we Right-Libertarians disagree with our Gay Conservative buddies on. And you’re really pissin’ on us over this. And quite frankly, it sucks.

    I honestly don’t feel like being buddies and/or allies with you folks any more. It’s going to take a while for me to get over this and find a way back to being aligned with you guys.

    Eric Dondero, publsher
    LibertarianRepublican.net

    Comment by Eric Dondero — December 20, 2010 @ 7:38 am - December 20, 2010

  12. Again, this has created seriously hard feelings for those of us WHO ARE WITH YOU GUYS ON 100% OF THE REST OF YOUR AGENDA.

    You are going to hold a grudge on persons that agree with you on everything, except on one issue?

    I honestly don’t feel like being buddies and/or allies with you folks any more.

    If that’s the case, I have to question whether they were buddies or allies with you.

    Comment by Pat — December 20, 2010 @ 7:59 am - December 20, 2010

  13. “It’s going to take a while for me to get over this.”

    Yeah, well, in the meantime we’ll just have to try to carry on.

    “Yellow makes me sad.”

    Jackwagon.

    Comment by Lori Heine — December 20, 2010 @ 9:52 am - December 20, 2010

  14. Sorry Seane-Anne, I was trying desperately to catch up on this thread, and didn’t read in context very well.

    Eric…. I’m a libertarian / center right kind of guy. I get in spats with some of the regulars here all the time (ask NDT, American Elephant, ILC). You would stop coming over here, stop being “buddies” (what ever that means) with us over this, the legislative repeal of a policy we didn’t like, something we’ve advocated for since this blog came on line? Really? That sounds more like the response of a liberal than a libertarian.

    You say “we are upset”. Well, I’m a conservative-ish libertarian, and I’m not upset at all. The only guys upset seem to be the regular right wingers opining over the “homosexual agenda” over at Volokh. So far, the only libertarian I’ve come across to have the same feelings about this you are expressing, this “I honestly don’t feel like being buddies and/or allies with you folks any more.” angst… is you.

    Comment by Sonicfrog — December 20, 2010 @ 10:29 am - December 20, 2010

  15. Seane-Anna:

    Now, finally at comment #110 in this thread, you get around to putting actual words to your argument. Alas, I hope I still am misunderstanding you, because your argument—if I get it correctly—is completely nonsensical.

    The point I was trying to make is that there are many other reasons why security can be breached and, therefore, Nick’s national security argument for repealing DADT was bogus.

    You seem to be suggesting that because other threats to the security of our classified information exist, it’s “bogus” to address this one.

    That logic is laughable, and I’m grateful that those who are charged with our national defense (and the protection of our classified information) don’t share that sophomoric view. By this thinking, it would be “bogus” to investigate how Assange got the Wikileaks information and plug that hole because, well, “there are many other reasons why security can be breached”.

    But then maybe this is more “sarcasm” that I “don’t understand”.

    Comment by ColoradoPatriot — December 20, 2010 @ 11:04 am - December 20, 2010

  16. Agree with Pat’s response to this:

    I honestly don’t feel like being buddies and/or allies with you folks any more.

    Then don’t. I mean, your reaction to this or any national event is your choice. I don’t get to control your reactions or your choices. (nor do I wish to)

    It all sure sounds like gloating to me.

    I’m sorry you feel bad. I’ve done as much as I ought to, to reasure you as to my own feeling (i.e. not gloating). If you are going to call me a liar in essence, there’s not much left for us to discuss. At some point, your imagination takes over and I don’t care to stop you.

    Comment by ILoveCapitalism — December 20, 2010 @ 12:04 pm - December 20, 2010

  17. Eric Dondero,

    Again, this has created seriously hard feelings for those of us WHO ARE WITH YOU GUYS ON 100% OF THE REST OF YOUR AGENDA.

    What, exactly is the rest of the gay agenda? Since you agree 100% with it, you must be in a position to inform me.

    Comment by Heliotrope — December 20, 2010 @ 12:13 pm - December 20, 2010

  18. […] an earlier thread, a reader brings up a legitimate beef regarding the treatment of gay and lesbian servicemembers in a post-DADT world. His concern stems […]

    Pingback by GayPatriot » DADT Repeal Strengthens Commander’s Hands? — December 20, 2010 @ 12:44 pm - December 20, 2010

  19. ask NDT, American Elephant

    Have we “spatted”?

    Comment by American Elephant — December 20, 2010 @ 3:42 pm - December 20, 2010

  20. I think we have… 🙂

    Comment by Sonicfrog — December 20, 2010 @ 4:08 pm - December 20, 2010

  21. Well I guess I was wrong about people being adults and rolling with the punches. Now it’s straight peoples turn I guess to DEAL.
    We have had to for how many decades????

    Comment by Gene in Pennsylvania — December 20, 2010 @ 4:31 pm - December 20, 2010

  22. Gene, ever since about the 1300s.

    Comment by ILoveCapitalism — December 20, 2010 @ 5:42 pm - December 20, 2010

  23. re 88 .And rusty: I wish you could meet NDT some day

    that would be great, and I think I said it in the past, I would probably give him a big hug too.

    but it would be great to meet most of the folk here.

    and again, ILC, on bended knee a smooch to you.

    Comment by rusty — December 20, 2010 @ 6:07 pm - December 20, 2010

  24. Eewww! That’s SO gay!!! 🙂

    Comment by Sonicfrog — December 20, 2010 @ 7:06 pm - December 20, 2010

  25. Just discovered this bizarre site. I’ve heard of “love your enemies,” but this is ridiculous. What’s next? Jewish Nazis? Black Guys Who Love the KKK?

    Comment by Ray — December 21, 2010 @ 2:16 am - December 21, 2010

  26. Dude! We’ve been around since 2005. Yer slowwwwww.

    Comment by Sonicfrog — December 22, 2010 @ 1:22 am - December 22, 2010

  27. and can’t come up with anything original either. Coem on Ray, if you’re going to be a pathetic slogan quoting hack, at least get some new material.

    Comment by The_Livewire — December 22, 2010 @ 11:00 am - December 22, 2010

  28. Not well thought out. Tons of unintended consequences. For instance. This repeal will open the door for “Trans Gendered” soldiers. What barracks will they be assigned? Also, what about the partially trans gendered? Women who have had their breast removed and take hormones to be male but still have female genitial? Or men who take hormones and have breast implants but still have male genitial? Keep in mind that poor hormone maintenance dictates that when the artificial hormones wear off the previous chacracteristics return. Where will these creatures shower? Will female solders stay in the same baracks as “Chaz Bono”? Or would he/she shower with the men? I don’t believe Chaz has the full male toolset.

    Comment by john — December 23, 2010 @ 1:00 pm - December 23, 2010

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