Alex Blaze

Robert Gates wants to "push" DADT repeal "down the road a little bit"

Filed By Alex Blaze | March 30, 2009 10:30 AM | comments

Filed in: The Movement
Tags: Carl Levin, Don't Ask Don't Tell, military

Here's what happens when you appoint a Republican as Defense Secretary. Robert Gates went on Fox News yesterday to inform us that DADT repeal won't be happening for a while:

Well, there ya go. If this line sounds familiar, it's because Sen. Carl Levin (D-MI) said pretty much the same thing back in December:

Repealing Don't Ask, Don't Tell] ought to be re-examined and it ought to be on the agenda, but it shouldn't be very high on the agenda," said Sen. Carl Levin (D-MI). "There are just too many other more important things to do."

A cautious non-approach to this was also supported by Brad Luna, communications director for the Human Rights Campaign, the country's largest gay-rights group. "There is a strategically correct way to go about this," said Luna. "This policy has been in place for a number of years. It's not going to be repealed overnight."

The reason Gates gives is pretty dumb, though, considering the fact that there's a lot on everyone's plate right now but that's why we have thousands of people working in Washington on getting various legislation through - so that we can multi-task.

SLDN said pretty much the same thing:

"Sec. Gates hardly gave a sound reason for kicking 'Don't Ask, Don't Tell' down the road -- or essentially back tracking on a campaign promise made by his Commander in Chief," said Aubrey Sarvis, executive director of the Servicemembers Legal Defense Network. "I trust the secretary was not speaking for President Obama, who, hopefully, will issue the call for repeal when he sends his Defense Department budget to Congress in a few weeks. This is about timely leadership."

Sarvis continued. "It's also called multitasking. Right now is the time -- while we're engaged in two wars -- we need the most qualified men and women serving. This is not the time to keep firing linguists and intelligence analysts because of their sexual orientation. The longer the president and Pentagon delay the issue, the fewer linguists and intelligence analysts the Pentagon will have to call on to fight terrorism in Pakistan and Afghanistan."

I don't really care all that much about keeping linguists in the military or fighting "terrorism" (could someone finally explain to me how we "fight" an abstract concept but continue to participate in it through state terror programs like unnecessary wars meant to show off how much we'll fuck other countries up if we don't like them? or do we just keep on fighting the war perpetually?), and apparently the Defense Secretary doesn't either. What this comes down to, for me, is the fact that the military is the country's biggest employer and provides los of employment with good benefits to working class folks. There's no reason that they should be forced to hide who they are if they take one of these jobs, and waiting a few years on this is only going to force more people to stay closeted.

Where Obama stands on the timeline is anyone's guess, but I doubt the defense secretary would go on TV and discuss policy without at least having some idea of what Obama's opinion is on the matter. I wouldn't expect DADT to be repealed for a long while.

But at least the discussion included GLB folks in the military. Extra legislation would be required to protect transgender troops' right to work freely as well, but apparently that's not even on the table.

I learned something from all this, though: the military actually sets aside specific funding for their witch hunts. I just thought it was rolled in with other military/judiciary funding. Go figure.


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Robert Ganshorn Robert Ganshorn | March 30, 2009 11:06 AM

The usual arguments like "unit cohesion" hold no water at all. They are just reluctant to codify reality. Many portions of the military are run in a disconnect from what is outside. They live on their own plantation.

The real trial comes when it is repealed and we can serve "openly" and traditionalists within the military find other ways to find Gays unfit through undue harassment.

The real trial comes when it is repealed and we can serve "openly" and traditionalists within the military find other ways to find Gays unfit through undue harassment.

exactly. DADT isn't the end.

Just what I need to hear this morning. It's another piece of crap from the military.

President Obama is the Commander in Chief.

All four branches of the military ultimately answer to him -- not Robert Gates.

I find it interesting that President Obama found the cajones to reverse the stem cell ban of the previous administration but when it comes to gays in the military and the blatantly homophobic "Don't Ask, Don't Tell," that has led to more than 13,000 gay men and lesbians being dishonorably separated from the military for the "crime" of who they happen to love, Mr. Obama sends Robert Gates out to appear on the Sunday morning blab circuit and do the heavy lifting for him.

Predictions? I don't think DADT will be repealed during President Obama's first term. I hope I'm wrong but, this is my view.

I 100 percent agree with you, Christopher.

Ultimately, it's particularly important to note at this juncture that Obama the DEMOCRAT is even more culpable than Gates the Republican for putting the LGB (and T) service members and potential service members on the backburner. When will we stand up as a community and recognize the pandering that happens during election season -- and the lack of actual results once "our" candidates are in office?

Let's place blame where blame is due -- squarely on Obama's shoulders.

Christopher,
Bisexual and transgender people have also been kicked out under DADT, and are part of that 13,000. Don't leave us out. The military didn't.

Bill Perdue Bill Perdue | March 30, 2009 10:35 PM

For working people and soldiers here and in South Asia the real answer is not just repealing DADT (which like DOMA is part of Clintons prejudiced legacy of anti-GLBT laws) but of ending US aggression against South Asia.

Without question, the main cause of war world wide is the government of the United States which has been dominated by the military-industrial complex for 70 years. The war for oil is what politicians, the military brass and the rich call ‘national security’. But it’s not; it makes us far less secure.

The solution we need goes way beyond DADT to insure the lives of soldiers, GLBT or otherwise. It includes withdrawing all US troops, mercenaries, and secret police from the 737 US overseas military bases, ending all aid and assistance to the zionists and other rightist governments, ending all US military and security operations outside the US and signing comprehensive treaties to get rid of all nuclear, biological and chemical weapons stores. Eliminating the protection of overseas ‘US’ business interests is easily enough done by international arrangements aimed at making the military, the ‘National Security’ espionage apparatus and the military industrial complex unnecessary.

All of that is eminently reasonable and doable if the constant pugnacious and murderous aggression of the US government is taken out of the equation.

And just in terms of DADT don’t hold your breath. “Defense” Secretary Robert Gates speaking on Fox News Sunday yesterday said that DADT is unlikely to be changed any time soon.

"The president and I feel like we've got a lot on our plates right now and let's push that one down the road a little bit. It continues to be the law and any change in policy would require a change in the law. We will follow the law, whatever it is. That dialogue, though, has really not progressed very far at this point in the administration.”
Brynn Craffey Brynn Craffey | March 30, 2009 11:50 PM

"I'm shocked. Shocked!"
to find out the Dems are taking gays for granted.

Haven't we seen this film before?

Bill Perdue Bill Perdue | March 30, 2009 11:57 PM

Yeah, some even voted for it.