Michael Hamar

Admiral Mike Mullen Proves To Be A Class Act: Obama? Still Missing in Action

Filed By Michael Hamar | December 03, 2010 4:00 PM | comments

Filed in: Living, Politics
Tags: Admiral Mike Mullen, Barack Obama, broken campaign promises, DADT repeal, Democrat primaries, gays in the military

I will admit that I never initially trusted the Pentagon to be above board with its DADT study. Indeed, I feared the top military brass would endeavor to have the study skewed so as to justify retaining the religious based discriminatory policy that is DADT.

However, to my surprise, I have been pleased with it overall. Moreover, I have been even more impressed with some of the military leadership who understand - without directly stating it - that DADT is an assault on the U.S. Constitution and the supposed guarantee of equality and religious freedom for all citizens.

If DADT is not repealed, in my view, the U. S. Senate and the leadership of the Republican Party will be confirming to the world that America and it's Constitution are, in fact, a fraud.

I was impressed with these remarks made by Admiral Mullen when challenged by John McCain - or is John McSenile more apt? - in respect to Mullen's leadership experience:

With all due respect, Mr. Chairman and Sen. McCain, it is true that, as chairman, I am not in charge of troops. But I have commanded three ships, a carrier battle group and two fleets. And I was most recently a service chief myself. For more than 40 years I have made decisions that affected and even risked the lives of young men and women.

"You do not have to agree with me on this issue. But don't think for one moment that I haven't carefully considered the impact of the advice I give on those who will have to live with the decisions that that advice informs. I would not recommend repeal of this law if I did not believe in my soul that it was the right thing to do for our military, for our nation and for our collective honor."

And meanwhile what's Barack Obama doing? According to the Washington Blade, nothing! The man is proving again and again in my opinion that his honesty and truthfulness is zero. All those campaign promises to LGBT Americans truly meant nothing to the man. Here are highlights from the Blade:

White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs said he's unaware of any attempt by President Obama to convince fence-sitting senators to support "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" repeal following the release of the Pentagon report on the military's gay ban -- but said Defense Secretary Robert Gates has made calls to influence lawmakers.

Asked by the Washington Blade on Wednesday whether the president has been reaching out to senators following publication of the study, Gibbs replied, "Not that I'm aware of."

Living in the Hampton Roads area with a huge miliary personnel population (we have service members in the Navy, Army, Air Force and Marines in abundance), I see the corrosive damage done by DADT on a daily basis both in terms of the stress it places on my LGBT friends who are in the the military and many of my LGBT clients who must live a lie every day to avoid potential discharge. Believe me, the witch hunts for gays do happen regardless of claims to the contrary.

DADT does nothing but perpetuate Christianist anti-gay bigotry. And frankly, It's to the point with Obama where I stand ready to work on the campaign of any Democrat that will challenge him for the 2012 nomination. If that challenger is credible, I know many folks in this region who are ready and waiting to drop Obama like a putrid hot potato.


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I'm not understanding the Obama rant. He's is one of the reasons we are looking DADT. Please convince me and many others that calling republicans who already voiced their opinions DADT is to magically change their minds. This argument is tired

"If DADT is not repealed, in my view, the U. S. Senate and the leadership of the Republican Party will be confirming to the world that America and it's Constitution are, in fact, a fraud."

...I hate to break it to you but our allied forces already know that first hand. While deployed on a US Navy ship in a NATO battle group, it was routine for the US crew to ask like asses towards the GLBT servicemembers of our allied navies. They know that DADT as a policy is supposed to bar harassment but it only encourgages it. And the fact that our allies have to take such abuse really pisses them off and they do react at the deck level on those matters.

(YES, they even have Transgender citizens serving)

Wonderman,

First, DADT should have come up LONG before when it did ealier this year - like fall or earlier of last year. Rather than lead, Obama waited for Congress to exercise leadership and the rest is history. Secondly, there are DEMOCRATS on the fence and/or possibly voting "no" and I and others would like to see some arm twisting by Obama. Thirdly, there are outgoing Republicans who might be convinced to do the right thing with some encouragement from the president.

The sad reality is that Obama is a follower and not a leader. And this failure to lead is not limited to just LGBT issues. Rather it's the norm on just about every issue he campaigned on. He leaves it to Congress to lead and only gets engaged - if at all - when things are about to go down the toilet.

Rick Sutton | December 3, 2010 4:33 PM

Michael: if you think the President isn't arm-twisting, you're not paying attention.

We would not even be having these discussions if the President weren't on board.

He's working the phones. Count on it.

In this environment, public ranting accomplishes little.

Adm.Mullen has been known as the '"Class of the Brass" for a long time.

I can hear the president's arm-twisting all the way out here in Indiana. Where are you?

This popular piling-on has got to stop. We are where we are because the President insisted we proceed. If you don't see him working, you automatically assume he's sleeping?

That concept would crash and bill in the private sector. Deservedly.

Sandra Louise Sandra Louise | December 3, 2010 5:35 PM

I agree with you Michael. You've hear of RINO, and DINO, how about PINO.

I am beginning to think that Mr Obama has become a sock puppet for the republican party.

He is very good at rhetoric. His campaign had ample examples of that. And he has done things that, on surface, appear to be progressive. I know he has more openly gay and trans people on his staff than any other administration. And yes, he is the one who introduced the action to repeal DADT. But these things did not cost anything do do. It did not require an act of congress to hire staff. Nor did it cost anything (in political capital) to tell the congress to start a process to implement a review and repeal of DADT. I expect that he thought that all he had to do then was sit back and wait for the repeal to land on his desk to sign. No effort.

But, when it came time to put skin in the game. To twist arms, to call bluffs, to be strong. In short, to be a LEADER, little is shown.

It is the same with the bloody tax cuts. The repugs have lead him around by the nose on this. He should have called their bluff months ago. I am worried sick that the "compromise" that is currently being discussed, behind closed doors, is nothing more than a way for the repugs to get their way for temporary or perhaps even permanent extensions on the tax breaks for the upper 2% AND take away DADT, DREAM, and DOMA and everything else that we hold dear. And in exchange they'll allow, maybe, unemployment benefits and the START treaty to go forward. Or not. I wouldn't put it past the repugnants to go back on their word, just like they did after that political theatre where supposedly Bohner and the Prez sat around the table and sang Kumbayah and the next day delivering a letter that saying that the repugs weren't going to let anything go through until they got the tax bill voted on.

If he gives away the store, AGAIN(!), I would settle for someone even half credible as a challenger to the current sitting President.

If Obama lost the election, there would have been no hearings the past two days. Do you have no idea how good we have it now? Are you too young to remember Reagan and Nixon?

Sandra,

Thanks for the support, You see things as I do - and as many others do as well. Have a great weekend.

Michael

It's irrelevant when it "came up" during the last two years, it has never had 60 votes in the US Senate. It has only 56 votes in the lame-duck session.

Obama doesn't have a magic-wand that he can use on the Congress. For US Senators, LGBT-issues are still a "moral issue," nobody influences that. Not the President, not the LGBT-advocacy industry and certainly not calls, emails and faxes.

You have to change the minds of constituents to change a Senator's vote. Everything else is just grandstanding. Ineffective (yet good for fund-raising) grandstanding.

Alot of people feel that President Obama does
not appear to be supportive of the Gay community.
This commentary illustrates that point clearly.

I think a lot of people thought Obama was the new Messiah and had magical powers. He doesn't control the Congress or the Democratic Party - he's just President.

Its all theater. Lets think about this a moment. Hmm... how do we distract the American public from excessive defense spending and continued engagement in unnecessary foreign incursions?

The country is being "played". The brass will get its funding and a hollow repeal will be included but it will be years before "certification" if ever.

Rick Sutton | December 4, 2010 9:41 AM

That loud "boom" you heard in DC yesterday, was not a reaction to anything related to the DADT debate. It was the Deficit Commission's screaming sub-text: hundreds of billions in wasteful defense procurement. They spoke it out-loud. That concept was endorsed in a bipartisan manner. Let's hope it gains steam.

Deena is right: excessive defense spending is the toxic drug that's slowly killing us. Former Congressmen-turned-defense lobbyists, aided by former generals-turned-defense-lobbyists, are the gateway drug pushers. As in: campaign cash, and duplicitous projects shoved on an America whose Pentagon brass don't want the projects. Our Army, Marines, Navy and Coast Guard all fly. In addition, of course, to the one service branch that's charged with air defense: the USAF. The examples continue, sadly.

There are stupid defense projects that get re-upped every budget cycle, because powerful Congressional committee or subcommittee chairs or RMM, have influence over the WHOLE Pentagon budget. So the lobbyists pony up campaign cash for the MCs who want the wasteful projects, to curry favor with the powerful.

To demonstrate how ridiculous it's become: there is an entire department within the Pentagon's Congressional liaison office, that does NOTHING but track the projects the Pentagon doesn't need. The cost of that office in 2008? Over $20 million.

Another unseen Pentagon task over the last two years, has been SECDEF Gates's subtle attempts at procurement reform. He has made progress, but it's slow.

This is the backdrop against which we want to repeal DADT.


As a footnote:

Isn't it interesting that another Democratic President (Bill Clinton) also said he was a friend of the Gay community. After Bill Clinton took office one of the first things that occurred was DADT. That was eighteen years; what has changed?

Mark Fischer | December 5, 2010 10:09 PM

Perhaps you missed this. If not, why did you ignore it?

Anti-DADT Repeal forces in Congress don't care what Obama says. Their excuse is "what the military thinks." That is why Obama is smart enough to repeat his often-stated support for DADT repeal while letting the DOD and the military commanders do the talking.


The White House Blog
President Obama on the DOD Report on Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell
Posted by Jesse Lee on November 30, 2010 at 05:03 PM EST
http://www.whitehouse.gov/blog/2010/11/30/president-obama-dod-report-don-t-ask-don-t-tell

The President released the statement below on the DOD report released earlier today on the impact of repealing "Don't Ask Don't Tell":

As Commander in Chief, I have pledged to repeal the “don’t ask, don’t tell” law because it weakens our national security, diminishes our military readiness, and violates fundamental American principles of fairness and equality by preventing patriotic Americans who are gay from serving openly in our armed forces. At the same time, as Commander in Chief, I am committed to ensuring that we understand the implications of this transition, and maintain good order and discipline within our military ranks. That is why I directed the Department of Defense earlier this year to begin preparing for a transition to a new policy.

Today’s report confirms that a strong majority of our military men and women and their families—more than two thirds—are prepared to serve alongside Americans who are openly gay and lesbian. This report also confirms that, by every measure—from unit cohesion to recruitment and retention to family readiness—we can transition to a new policy in a responsible manner that ensures our military strength and national security. And for the first time since this law was enacted 17 years ago today, both the Secretary of Defense and the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff have publicly endorsed ending this policy.

With our nation at war and so many Americans serving on the front lines, our troops and their families deserve the certainty that can only come when an act of Congress ends this discriminatory policy once and for all. The House of Representatives has already passed the necessary legislation. Today I call on the Senate to act as soon as possible so I can sign this repeal into law this year and ensure that Americans who are willing to risk their lives for their country are treated fairly and equally. Our troops represent the virtues of selfless sacrifice and love of country that have enabled our freedoms. I am absolutely confident that they will adapt to this change and remain the best led, best trained, best equipped fighting force the world has ever known.