One reason that I will, in a way, cast aside is my opposition to having queer people (and women who are also in something of an unequal position) join the military. I believe that the military is plagued with a number of disturbing problems that have created a system that is broken. It is a recipe for disaster and not a recipe to which queer folk (and women) ought be added with the view that equality could or would be achieved. I view the military as systematically oppressive, exploitative, violent and damaging to those who enlist. I say this not simply as an idealistic activist but as someone with numerous friends, family and loved ones who have been/ are enlisted. But again- this is the argument I will cast aside.
I take issue with the contents of the legislation to which the proposed amendment repealing DADT would be attached and the blanket support that we, in contacting legislators, are giving to this bill. Each organization encouraging people to support passage of the amendment to S. 3454/ NDAA should make note of that to which the amendment would be attached. So far I have not gotten an email from any organization that both encouraged me to contact Washington to support the repeal of DADT that also included the slightest bit of education regarding the bill which we were to request the amendment be made. This is dangerous and irresponsible.
True- we all have a responsibility to research and educate ourselves regarding any and all legislation we support, oppose, etc. People don't always have the time, energy, knowledge or resources to do this and very often people rely on trusted organizations to give them a heads up about action they need to take. Maybe I've missed the piece on Bilerico that included discourse on the pros and cons of the repeal of DADT via NDAA - if so, I do apologize! I am reaching out to Bilerico because of the nature of the organization. Bilerico has been an awesome place for voices that are not always heard to have a much needed outlet and a chance to reach a larger audience than they otherwise might.
I spent some time last night researching NDAA because of my aforementioned displeasure with the military- I wanted to know what exactly I might be supporting if I called into my officials and what I might be suggesting my friends support. In case you haven't noticed thus far I am pretty hard core about politics and tend to be known as such by friends who are less so. Like many of us who have trusted organizations whose call to action we almost immediately heed, many of us have friends we respect and whose leads we frequently follow on specific topics. I think I am occasionally that friend for some- the one who has rather obsessively researched a matter! I put together the following as a Note on Facebook to share with my friends with the hope that should they decide to contact their elected officials that they would do so with knowledge of some of the contents in the entire bill.
Aside from my opposition to adding queer folks to the very broken system that is the military industrial/ scientific/ technological complex which has proven itself repeatedly to be skilled at oppression, exploitation and dehumanizing (never mind violent)- well, I've got some issues with the rest of the bill. So to all who might make a call, might have made a call and those who might encourage others to pick up their phones as well I remind you that if YOU Don't Ask what is in S.3454 they sure Don't Tell!
In case you haven't met, I'd like to introduce you to Thomas. Thomas is the go to place for reading up on legislation! Why trust the media pundits when you can read it yourself? Ok, it's a little dense. But sometimes it is VERY important to do a bit of research!
So S.3454 is titled National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2011- it isn't just legislation that seeks queer the military. We queer folk would need to be attached via amendment which is what some are saying could happen with the DREAM act as well. It's about a whole lot more than DADT and/ or the DREAM act which is why, I think, that many of my queer family members might want to reconsider jumping onto the bandwagon and calling your elected officials in support of NDAA/ S.3454 and you actually might want to make some calls in opposition to it- even if you're all for queering the military. At base this is a military spending bill- this is how we're going to pay for continued involvement not only in Afghanistan and Iraq but in South America, Africa and Asia. Is that something you can support? Have a look yourself at some of the parts I picked out and better yet, have a look at the whole thing for yourself!!!
Here is the current outline:
It's a lot to go over- I've been skimming over it to find some parts that might be of interest!
Subtitle C: Counter Drug Matters ----discusses what I would refer to in general as War on Drugs stuff like involvement in Colombia and Nicaragua
Subtitle E: Miscellaneous Authorities and Limitations ----makes sure that at least 6,000 National Guard Personnel will be heading down to the southern border to build a fence (double and triple layered) do unarmed aerial and other types of surveillance to protect the border.
And a little further on there is a bit on what the military is and is not going to be required to make available to the public (reports and that sort of thing).
I'll jump down a bit to...
TITLE XII--MATTERS RELATING TO FOREIGN NATIONS
Subtitle A: Training and Assistance ----lending military equipment to foreign forces for use in Iraq, Afghanistan and in other peacekeeping missions. Not only that- the Yemen Ministry of Interior Counter Terrorism Forces are getting support (supplies, training, equipment) and $75,000,000 if the Sec of Defense and State decide that is the way to go! Payment/ travel expenses may also be given to students, officers and others for cooperation in African countries.
Subtitle C: Reports ----some reports related to exiting Afghanistan look to be getting an extension of a couple of years but it is nice to see that some reports are to be generated in regards to the relationship between the U.S. and Iran (unless that's the next step for our endless war). There is also to be a report on Cuba and their ties to terrorism/ drugs/ cyber warfare...And also investigation on any possible involvement of Venezuela with terrorist groups to include (but not limited to) Hamas, Hezbollah, National Liberation Army, and the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia and then back in Africa there is the focus on dismantling the Lord's Resistance Army and capture/ removal of Joseph Kony and crew from the battlefields.
TITLE XIV--OTHER AUTHORIZATIONS
Subtitle B: Chemical Demilitarization Matters ----they'll be trying to get rid of stockpiled lethal chemical agents/ munitions by the end of 2017 (those that existed in 1985, that is) and Kentucky and Colorado facilities are going to be handled separately from those in other areas.
TITLE XV--OVERSEAS CONTINGENCY OPERATIONS
Subtitle C: Other Matters ----no more than $105,000,000 will be used for detainee operations at Guantánamo
So that is what is on the table, aside from the possible DADT amendment.