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Harry Reid Responsible for Failure of DADT Repeal

UPDATE FROM BRUCE:  Even Clinton’s adviser on gay issues blames the Democrats, Obama and the Gay Borg for this disaster.

“The Democrats have been against ‘don’t ask, don’t tell’ for more than a decade and why we allowed this law to remain in effect for another two years is beyond me,” said Richard Soccarides, who served as an adviser to Clinton on gay rights. “The Washington-based gay rights groups made a decision early on that they were better off going along with the president’s timeline and that right now that looks like a serious miscalculation.”

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In 1993, then-President Bill Clinton moved too quickly in trying to overturn the ban on gay people serving in the military, seeking to effect the change in the first days of his Administration.  President Barack Obama — or at least his party’s Senate leadership — made the opposite mistake, waiting until election season was well underway to vote on repeal.

The former president wasn’t prepared for the media firestorm.  The current Democrats let the issue become a political football.

It seems neither really had a political strategy to seek repeal.  There were times, though, particularly at the beginning of this year where the Administration did seem to have a plan, dispatching, in February, “the nation’s top two defense officials,” Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates and Adm. Mike Mullen, to Capitol Hill to press for repeal of Don’t Ask/Don’t Tell (DADT).  Having learned from Clinton’s mistakes, the incumbent president wisely sought to work with the military, having them make the case.

But, they didn’t have a timetable for a vote.

And that made it more difficult for pro-repeal groups to rally their troops and to try to persuade wavering lawmakers, particularly Republicans, of the merits of repeal.  While John McCain has not distinguished himself in the current debate, walking back from his previous position that he would listen to military leaders on repeal, Harry Reid deserves the brunt of the blame.  Were he sincere about repeal, he would have pressed the Senate to act soon after the House voted on repeal in May.

Then, by tacking the controversial DREAM Act onto the “defense policy bill” onto which he had already tacked DADT repeal, Reid made passage even more difficult.  Republicans Susan Collins (Maine) “voted to block the bill for procedural reasons despite supporting the provision to” allow repeal of’ DADT.  Scott Brown (Massachusetts) offered a similar rationale, saying “his vote against considering the bill was not necessarily an endorsement of keeping the ‘don’t ask’ policy, but a protest against Democratic political maneuvering to limit debate while adding unrelated amendments.

Reid’s political machinations cost him the support of Republicans favorable to repeal. (more…)

Military effectiveness preserved in nations which allow gay people to serve openly

As Congress prepares to debate repeal of Don’t Ask/Don’t Tell (DADT) today in Washington, our federal representatives should consider the experience of those nations which have allowed gay people to serve openly in their nation’s military.  In Politco yesterday, Maj. Peter Kees Hamstra of the Royal Dutch Army, Leif Ohlson of the Swedish Armed Forces and Lt. Com. Craig Jones, retired from the Royal Navy of Britain observe:

Moral opposition to homosexuality, while real, is just not allowed to undercut our militaries’ missions.

Nor do we think it will have any impact on yours after you repeal “Don’t ask, don’t tell.”

This is an important point because many Americans seem to believe that ending anti-gay discrimination in European and Israeli militaries faced no resistance because our cultures are more tolerant.

 In fact, our polls, rhetoric and even threats of mass resignations were quite similar to the continuing resistance in America. Yet none of the doomsday scenarios came true.

 According to research and assessments of our transitions, the new policies had no negative impact on military readiness.

Once again, the experience from nations which have allowed gay people to serve openly in the military shows that such service does not compromise military readiness or unit cohesion.

The plan before Congress appears to be a good compromise, repealing the Clinton-era legislation which prevents gays people from serving openly while giving the Administration the authority to work with the military to allow for a smooth implementation of the new policy.

Milbloggers favor open service “regardless of sexual orientation”

So much to blog about when I have so little time to blog about it.

I still need do my post on George Alan Rekers and pseudo-science.  May just do it as a short bullet-point post and leave it as an item for discussion as I doubt I’ll have the time to turn my ideas into a thoughtful essay before I depart on my “odyssey.”

A number of readers have alerted me to this great post where a number of milbloggers, most highly respected in the rightosphere, issued a statement on DADT, concluding thusly, “we welcome open and honorable service, regardless of sexual orientation.

Another sign of the emerging consensus for DADT repeal, even among the military community.

Read the whole thing.

Gates’ DADT Memo to Skelton Not as Horrific as Gay Left Wants You To Think

Defense Secretary Bill Robert (d’oh! thanks, Kurt…I do decaff) Gates’ letter yesterday to Ike Skelton, Chairman of the House Armed Services Committee urged Congress to postpone any legislative action on reversing Don’t Ask Don’t Tell.

Here’s the main part:

I believe in the strongest possible terms that the Department must, prior to any legislative action, be allowed the opportunity to conduct a thorough, objective, and systematic assessment of the impact of such a policy change; develop an attentive comprehensive implementation plan, and provide the President and the Congress with the results of this effort in order to ensure that this step is taken in the most informed and effective manner.

What the Secretary was saying is just what I’ve said many times (and speifically here): The military doesn’t change it’s toilet paper without an exhaustive investigation into its impacts on effectiveness and performance.

Naturally, the Leftist blogosphere is apoplecitc. The paragon of measured and rational thought, Pam Spaulding calls the letter “incredibly offensive and craven”. Then she goes on to completely miss the point I make above by basically dismissing the role of the Pentagon in the recinding of the rule.

What’s more, by choosing to demonize Gates (and the entire Pentagon, apparently), she’s alienating an ally who’s already stated his desire to see DADT repealed. It’s the unhinged lunacy of people like Pam and other “advocates” who clearly put “gay” “rights” above National Defense who are debasing the actual discussion.

Don’t Ask Don’t Tell should be repealed and gays and lesbians allowed to openly serve. But it needs to be done because it’s in the best interest of our defense, not because it’s unfair. What’s more, if we make this change simply because it’s the “fair” thing to do, we’re setting a very dangerous precedent: That our National Defense decisions are not a carefully determined series of choices based on what will best protect our Nation and her interests; rather they’re politically and socially motivated reactions to certain civillian cultural pressures. That is no way to run a military nor defend a country.

Would that such vocal opponents had more rationality behind their arguments, we’d likely have solved this long ago.

(As a self-promoting whore, I’d like to once again direct you to my series on the topic from a few years ago.)

-Nick (ColoradoPatriot, from HQ)

Another Group Comes Out For DADT Repeal

Posted by B. Daniel Blatt at 2:30 am - April 27, 2010.
Filed under: DADT (Don't Ask, Don't Tell),Gays In Military

The nation’s largest lawyers group has has officially come out against “Don’t ask, don’t tell,” the 1993 law that forbids openly gay people from serving in the military“:

In three separate letters Monday to both chambers of Congress and the Department of Defense, the American Bar Association [ABA] called for an end to DADT and offered legal assistance in drafting a new policy. . . .

[ABA President Carolyn] Lamm notes that Americans don’t have a fundamental right to serve in the military, but writes that “there is no sufficient reason in our view to continue to deprive these men and women of the opportunity to serve their country and to deprive the nation of their talent and skill.”

Very well said, Ms. Lamm.  Nice to see her acknowledge that this is not an issue of fundamental rights.  And while I agree these gay men and women who want to serve and are otherwise qualified to do so should have the opportunity to serve, I also think we need point out the national security aspect of repeal, that by limiting the pool from which military recruiters can draw, we limit the number of able bodied Americans who can serve.

Simply put, the ban deprives the military of thousands of men and women eager to serve, to risk their lives to defend the nation that we all love.

Mr. President, with the ABA coming out for repeal, it’s clear a consensus is building for you to keep your campaign promise.  Please tell us your press secretary misspoke when he said the Administration had no intention to push DAT repeal this year.  The time for action is now.

BigJournalism: Media Kept At Bay While Gays Protest Obama

Check out my newest posting at BigJournalism.  Here’s a sample:

Now I don’t really get into the whole “shouting down the President” and “handcuffing to the White House gates” approach to things. But it is very disturbing that Obama’s people are using the District police to prevent reporters from doing their jobs and covering an act of peaceful civil disobedience. I can only imagine the breathless and shrill outrage by network news anchors tonight if Bush-Cheney had kept the press away from the White House during an anti-war protest in 2005? Surely the Bush Press Secretary would be “The Worst Person In The World” tonight on MSNBC’s Countdown with Keith Olbermann. So why shouldn’t Robert Gibbs be tonight?

<….>

Not surprisingly, the demonstrators [in Los Angeles on Monday night] have not received much national media attention despite the shocking rebuke to the President most favored by gay rights groups in recent years.   I do seem to remember that during the 2003-2008 time period, network news reporters and camera crews seemed to be just a phone call away for even the smallest chance that a Code Pink or Cindy Sheehan appearance might interrupt then-President Bush or then-VP Cheney.

It seems King Barack I doesn’t like protests, especially from his left flank.

Please read the whole thing so they keep me over at BigJournalism!

-Bruce (GayPatriot)

Army Secretary Won’t Pursue DADT Discharges of Service Members Who Told Him They’re Gay

It now appears most of the forward motion in the Obama Administration on scaling back Don’t Ask/Don’t Tell comes from appointees with Republican backgrounds.  Last week, we reported that the only Bush appointee in the Obama cabinet, Defense Secretary Robert Gates, had approved new rules making it harder to discharge gays from the military.

Now, we learn that

The secretary of the Army, John M. McHugh, said Wednesday that he was effectively ignoring the “don’t ask, don’t tell” law because he had no intention of pursuing discharges of active-duty service members who have recently told him that they are gay.

Mr. McHugh, the Army’s civilian leader and a former Republican congressman from upstate New York, said that he had initiated the conversations with service members in recent months as part of the Pentagon’s review of how best to carry out a repeal of the “don’t ask, don’t tell” law, which requires that gay service members keep their sexual orientation secret or face discharge.

Seems if Obama wants to get something done, he turns to a Republican.

While this is a step in the right direction, it appears only to apply to conversations openly gay soldiers have with the Army Secretary.  Still, that he will allow such exchanges indicates he’s willing to listen to such service members, a necessary step toward understanding the concerns and learning how best to allow their service while continuing to maintain the army’s effectiveness.

The New York Times headline, Secretary of the Army Says He Will Not Pursue ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’ Discharges, does seem to miss the mark, not accurately summarizing the article’s content.

What’s In The Water at NATO HQ?

Posted by Bruce Carroll at 4:13 pm - March 30, 2010.
Filed under: Gays In Military

I saw former NATO Commander US Gen. John Sheehan’s remarks made a couple weeks ago during a Congressional hearing on “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.”  I was surprised it didn’t receive more media attention when he said it:

Sheehan claimed that Dutch leaders, including the former chief of staff of the Dutch army General Henk van den Breemen, had told him that the presence of gay soldiers had contributed to the fall of the enclave which led to the massacre of nearly 8,000 Muslim men and boys.

When I saw the original testimony, I was flabbergasted and wondered who on Capitol Hill had vetted this guy.  Then again, he was NATO Commander.

Sheehan has since apologized, under threat of lawsuit by Dutch groups.

“To be clear, the failure on the ground in Srebrenica was in no way the fault of the individual soldiers,” states Sheehan’s letter, dated Monday and addressed to the now retired Van den Breemen.

“I am sorry that my recent public recollection of those discussions of 15 years ago inaccurately reflected your thinking on some specific social issues in the military.”

What is it with NATO Commanders and their grasp of reality.  Sheehan, Wesley Clark, and Alexander Haig.  All three seem to have been a few cards short of a full deck, no?

-Bruce (GayPatriot)

New Rules Make it Tougher to Discharge Gays Under DADT

Chalk one up for a Bush appointee in the Obama Administration:

Defense Secretary Robert Gates Thursday approved new rules that will make it harder to discharge gays from the military, calling the changes a matter of “common sense and common decency.”

Gates announced new guidelines for how the Pentagon carries out the 1993 law banning gays from serving openly in the military — rules which essentially put higher-ranking officers in charge of discharge proceedings and impose tougher requirements for evidence used against gays.

The new guidelines go into effect immediately and will apply to cases already open.

Here’s something which shows just how reprehensible the ban has been:

To discourage the use of overheard statements or hearsay, from now on any evidence given in third-party outings must be given under oath, Gates said. Cases of third-party outings also have included instances in which male troops have turned in women who rejected their romantic advances or jilted partners in relationship have turned in a former lover.

So, up until now, someone cold ruin a military career based on an accusation not made under oath?  So, people may well have used a bad law to get at rivals.

“Nathaniel Frank, a senior research fellow with the Palm Center, which supports a repeal of the ban, said it is unclear how much of an impact the new guidelines would have because regulations already restrict third-party allegations.”

Still, this does seem a step in the right direction, toward repeal of the ban.

Petraeus: Time To Reconsider DADT

First, a major hat tip to the folks at the leftie blog, Think Progress, for posting the video embedded below.  General David Petraeus, them man widely admired on the right, the man who, we believe, was the real man of the year in 2007 and who, I believe, would make a fine presidential candidate in two years time, now says “the time has come to consider a change to Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell,”

The good general is exactly right that this should be done in a “thoughtful and deliberative manner,” not the willy-nilly manner in which the the Clinton Administration tried to enact it..

According to the folks at Think Progress:  “This week, the Pentagon’s Office of the General Counsel is also expected to release the results of its 45-day review of how Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell could be implemented in a fairer manner.” Seems the process has been pretty deliberative so far.  Let’s hope it leads to repeal before the year is out.

Lieberman Introduces Bill to Repeal DADT

One of the smartest moves this Administration has made has been to delegate to the 2000 Democratic Vice Presidential nominee the task of introducing the bill to repeal Don’t Ask/Don’t Tell.  And yesterday, that good man introduced legislation to that effect:

Sen. Joseph I. Lieberman (I-Conn.) introduced the Military Readiness Enhancement Act, legislation that would lift the ban and prohibit discrimination against gay service members. Senate Armed Services Committee Chairman Carl M. Levin (D-Mich.) said he expects his panel to take up the measure in May as part of the annual defense authorization bill.

Given the respect the soon-to-be senior Senator from the Nutmeg State enjoys in military circles, advocates for repeal (including yours truly) could better make the argument that repeal won’t compromise military readiness or unit cohesion.

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, it was a smart move to put Lieberman at the forefront of this effort.

Now, let’s hope that where there’s a will, there will be a way.  And that the superextended vote on health care won’t sap the energy out of Congres from moving forward on repeal.

Obstacles Still Remain to DADT Repeal

As I hope my regular posts on repealing Don’t Ask/Don’t (DADT) have made clear, I believe now is the time to move forward on repeal.  Yet, I understand obstacles may emerge.  Right now, it appears that with pressure from the president’s base, he is beginning to budge, yet there are signs that he might not be up to the challenge.

Earlier today, Glenn Reynolds linked a post saying that the White House won’t commit to repeal of DADT.  At the same time, that prolific blogger also took note of a poll showing that 69% support letting gays serve openly in military — including 62% of Republicans.  That poll is consistent with a Gallup poll last year finding that 58% of conservatives thought gays should be allowed to serve openly in the military.

But, we’re hearing some concerns from top military brass:

The top officers of the U.S. Army and Air Force told lawmakers Tuesday that they should go slow in repealing the military’s ban on openly gay service members, parting ways with the nation’s senior uniformed officer who testified earlier that it was “the right thing to do.”

“I do have serious concerns about the impact of repeal of the law on a force that’s fully engaged in two wars and has been at war for 8 1/2 years,” Army Gen. George Casey told the Senate Armed Services Committee. “We just don’t know the impacts on readiness and military effectiveness.”

Across Capitol Hill, Air Force Gen. Norton Schwartz echoed that sentiment. He told the House Armed Services Committee it was his “strong conviction” that “this is not the time to perturb the force that is at the moment stretched by demand in Iraq and Afghanistan.”

Given that some generals have concerns about the plan, we see once again the wisdom of the Administration’s go-slow approach, studying the issue to find a means to implement repeal without impacting military morale or unit cohesion. (more…)

Lieberman to spearhead DADT repeal

As yet another example that while Democrats in today’s Washington may be out of the loop on any number of issues, at least they do get it in when it comes to repealing Don’t Ask/Don’t Tell (DADT).

Our pal James Kirchick reports that Joe Lieberman will become the “chief sponsor” of legislation to repeal DADT:

Next week, the Connecticut senator will announce that he’s taking the lead on repeal of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell, the 1993 law that prohibits gay people from serving openly in the armed forces. Since implementation of the statute nearly 20 years ago, the military has discharged some 14,000 qualified men and women, many of them serving in critical jobs like Arabic and Persian translation.

Nice to have a man well-regarded by the military at the forefront of this effort.

Petraeus leans toward repeal of DADT

Seventeen years ago, when then-President Bill Clinton tried to repeal the then-ban on gays serving in the military, few military leaders were at te forefront of the effort for repeal.  The issue was one of “social justice” and not military effectiveness.

Today, by contrast, the President is wisely working with the top military brass to repeal the ban which Clinton and the then-Democratic Congress codified in 1993.  Leaders of our military are now talking about howto repeal the ban while maintaining unit cohesion and morale.  They seem favorably disposed to the idea.  It seems it is now the moment to repeal the ban.

The latest to appear to be leaning toward repeal is perhaps the greatest military leader still on active duty in our armed forces, General David Petraeus, Commander, U.S. Central Command.

Saying he supports the “year-long review process which will determine if the ban on gay and lesbian troops serving openly in the military should be lifted“, while appearing on NBC’s Meet the Press, he added that he has served with gay people:

“We have experienced certainly in the FBI and the CIA… I know. I’ve served in combat with individuals who were gay and who were lesbian in combat situations, and frankly, over time, you say, ‘How is his shooting?,’ or, ‘How is her analysis?’”

And that’s the way it should be–whether or not gay people can do what the military requires of them while contributing to the work of their units.

Ask HRC to tell Obama to get DADT repealed this year

I have praised John Aravosis before for leading the boycott of the Democratic National Committee in order to spur the White House to act on gay issues.  Now, he’s doing something else I support, asking people to “contact the Human Rights Campaign on behalf of the repeal of ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell‘”:

Publicly demand that President Obama take the lead in getting DADT repealed this year.

1) That means the President needs to state publicly that he wants Congress to repeal DADT this year; and

2) The President needs to take the lead in working with Congress to make sure the repeal happens.

If you’re a member or donor to HRC, tell them, and ask to speak to Members Services:

HRC Front Desk: (202) 628-4160
TTY: (202) 216-1572
Toll-Free: (800) 777-4723

HRC Web site comment page.

Given HRC’s resources, this appears to be a smart move, having the well-funded Washington group deploy on behalf of DADT repeal.  That said, I wonder at the competence of their officials.  The folks at Servicemembers Legal Defense Network (SLDN) have shown a much better understanding of the way Washington works.

That said, if HRC could direct their efforts toward DADT repeal, it could make a difference.

Of course, Cheney Favors Repealing DADT

Like us, Little Miss Attilla was not surprised that former Vice President Cheney favors lifting the ban on gays serving openly in our armed forces:

This is the guy whose daughter-in-law was the first same-sex partner at official state dinners in any Presidential administration.

Of course Cheney thinks that the change should be considered as soon as the military authorities figure out how to implement a new approach. And given the fact that the Israelis and the British have managed it, there’s really no reason we can’t.

Nice to see a lot of the bloggers and blogresses on the right coming out against DADT.

(H/t:  Instapundit.)

But He Hates Us, Don’t You See?

Hm.. I thought the eeeevil torture advocate was supposed to be against us.

Oh that’s right, he’s got a long history of supporting homosexuals (including his daughter). One wonders whenever this great man will get any sort of credit or respect from the gay “community”. Probably the day after its leadership is wrested away from the angry Leftist mob currently in charge. Dream on, huh?

-Nick (ColoradoPatriot, from HQ)

Dick Cheney favors Repeal of Don’t Ask/Don’t Tell

Do hope gay leaders/activists acknowledge this good man for saying so in a public forum After all, as Vice President, he earned little praise for distinguishing himself from then-President George W. Bush on the Federal Marriage Amendment.

Appearing on ABC’s “This Week”,

[f]ormer Vice President Dick Cheney, who served as defense secretary under President George H.W. Bush, expressed support for the repeal of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy, which President Barack Obama has asked Congress to work on this year.

“Society has moved on,”  he said.  Pointing out that Admiral Mullen, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff favors repeal, he said he’s “reluctant to second guess military in this regard,” Cheney said

the first requirement you have to look at all the time whether [military units are] capable of achieving their mission and does the policy change, i.e., putting gays in the force, affect the ability to perform their mission.  When the chiefs come forward and say we think we can do it, then it’s strikes me that it’s time to reconsider the policy.

Nice to see that he frames the issue exactly as it should be framed–one of military effectiveness.  Let’s hope more people take note of Cheney’s position on the issue.

UPDATE:  (Somewhat related):  “Cheney ‘a complete supporter’ of Obama Afghanistan Strategy.

More Americans Favor Allowing Gays to Serve in Military
than the number favoring allowing homosexuals to serve

According to a CBS News/ New York Times poll, the wording of the question makes a significant difference:

In the poll, 59 percent say they now support allowing “homosexuals” to serve in the U.S. military, including 34 percent who say they strongly favor that. Ten percent say they somewhat oppose it and 19 percent say they strongly oppose it.

But the numbers differ when the question is changed to whether Americans support “gay men and lesbians” serving in the military. When the question is asked that way, 70 percent of Americans say they support gay men and lesbians serving in the military, including 19 percent who say they somewhat favor it. Seven percent somewhat oppose it, and 12 percent strongly oppose it.

“No ill effects” when gays serve in some of world’s best armed services

Just caught this link on Instapundit, skimmed the article, but don’t have time to offer much additional commentary, save that it confirms a lot of stuff I’ve been saying about lifting the ban on gays serving openly in our our armed forces:

ILYA SOMIN: “The Australian, British, Canadian, and Israeli armed forces are all among the best in the world. If they allow gays to serve openly with no ill effects, that strongly suggests that the US can as well.”