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 It's not going to be repealed overnight."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.
"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.