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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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…)
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.
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.
“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.
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.
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.
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?
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.
[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.
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.
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:
I have praised the way the president has been moving to repeal Don’t Ask/Don’t Tell (DADT) because he has been working with military commanders to develop a means to effect repeal without compromising the effectiveness of our armed forces.
To see that it is possible for gay people to serve openly while retaining military morale and unit cohesion, one only look at the examples of the nations which allow gays to serve openly in the military, including one nation which faces threats to its survival on an almost daily basis and has thus developed one of the world’s most effective armed services. I’m speaking of course of Israel.
Dr. Aaron Belkin, Director of the Palm Center, cited three questions raised about “twenty-five foreign forces that allow open gay service:”
Did the decision to allow open gay service undermine military readiness? How was implementation managed? To what extent can lessons from abroad help U.S. officials plan for an inclusive policy?
This conference can only help ease doubts among those who believe allowing gays to serve openly in the military is merely a social experiment or perhaps done to please an interest group without regard for the welfare of our armed forces. (more…)
On the same day I was finishing the second chapter of my dissertation, I was asked to write two pieces on Don’t Ask/Don’t Tell. I linked the first here. Earlier today, Pajamas Media published the second of those pieces. Here’s the opening.
Seventeen years ago, just days after becoming president, Bill Clinton rushed to fulfill a promise he had made several times on the campaign trail in 1992–he would repeal the ban on gays serving in the military. At the time, the presdient could have repealed the ban with the stroke of a pen. It was an administrative directive, not federal law.
Clinton, however, did not lay the groundwork for repeal. His fellow Democrat, Senator Sam Nunn (D-Ga), then-Chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, an opponent of the ban, held hearings which upstaged the president. Colin Powell, then-Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Stuff, voiced his opposition. And Clinton had Barney Frank, an openly gay Democratic Congressman, defending him. That Massachusetts Democrat had no history of military service and was not well regarded in military circles. He cast this issue as one of gay rights.
In the end, Frank helped craft a compromise, legislation that would come to be known as Don’t Ask/Don’t Tell (DADT). It allowed gay people to serve provided they don’t openly declare their sexuality. But, it also codified the ban. No longer an administrative directive, it was no federal law. The president would need an act of Congress to repeal it.
Amidst the frenzy of activity on Don’t Ask/Don’t Tell this week, the folks at AOL asked me to write a piece on the hullabaloo and I decided to tip my hat to bloggers with whom we are often at odds, but who, this time, got one right:
While President Barack Obama’s decision to move forward with the elimination of the military’s much hated “don’t ask, Don’t tell” policy has attracted widespread coverage, the reason behind the sudden push hasn’t.
To be sure, some small efforts were made by the administration months ago toward repeal.
The same month, Kevin Nix, a spokesman for the Servicemembers Legal Defense Network — a group that advocates for gay members of the armed forces — welcomed the appointment of retired Marine Gen. Clifford Stanley as undersecretary of defense for personnel and readiness as a sign of the administration’s seriousness of purpose to move forward.
Yet, despite these and other rumblings, there was no evidence that the White House had a strategy (or timetable) to effect repeal.
Following the news these past two weeks, I have been pretty bullish about the Administration’s new-found commitment to repealing Don’t Ask/Don’t Tell (DADT). The president sent signals to Congress and directed his top defense officials to develop a strategy to repeal the ban without compromising the military’s effectiveness.
the Senate Armed Services Committee he believed the “don’t ask” restrictions—which require gay troops to keep their sexual orientation a secret—could be eliminated without harming military morale, recruitment or readiness.
[House Speaker Nancy] Pelosi on Thursday did not commit to a clear legislative timeline on “Don’t ask, don’t tell.”
“It would be my preference to go first with legislation,” Pelosi told reporters. “But we’ll have to examine and see what the model is for what the review is.”
Now, while she may claim she’s waiting for the Pentagon to review this, we can more readily translate her remarks as, “We’re kicking this can down the road.”
Other Democrats, including Senate Armed Services Committee Chairman Carl Levin (D-Mich.) do have some plans to pursue full or partial repeal. While it’s nice to see Mrs. Pelosi so concerned about the Pentagon review, perhaps she should consider legislation for repeal to kick in once the Pentagon has produced plan for its smooth implementation, an implementation that would not compromise morale or readiness.