Bil Browning

Movement on DADT repeal

Filed By Bil Browning | January 29, 2010 12:00 PM | comments

Filed in: The Movement
Tags: Don't Ask Don't Tell, gays in the military, joint chiefs, Obama Administration, repeal

What a difference a mention in the State of the Union brings, eh? Since President Obama announced during the address that, "This year, I will work with Congress and our military to finally repeal the law that denies gay Country-Needs-You.jpgAmericans the right to serve the country they love because of who they are", the DADT repeal news has come in fast and furious.

First, the Senate Armed Service Committee announced that during their hearing on the Defense Department Authorization bill, they will allot an hour to testimony from Defense Secretary Robert Gates and Joint Chiefs chair Admiral Mike Mullen about DADT repeal. This is separate from the DADT-specific hearing currently scheduled for February 11.

The Pentagon is saying that there is the possibility of a temporary policy to dramatically lower the number of dismissals and investigations until the repeal is finished.The scuttlebutt is that the policy would change what would spur an investigation into the soldier's sexuality. Defense Secretary Gates and Admiral Mullen "have been and continue to work on an implementation plan," according to a Pentagon spokesman.

More after the jump.

Retired General John Shalikashvili put out a joint statement with NY Senator Kirsten Gillibrand the same day as the State of the Union address. In it, the former Joint Chiefs chairman said, "As a nation built on the principal of equality, we should recognize and welcome change that will build a stronger more cohesive military. It is time to repeal "don't ask, don't tell" and allow our military leaders to create policy that holds our service members to a single standard of conduct and discipline."

Douchebag Senator John McCain continues to support discrimination and proudly flaunts it in front of the cameras. For all the LGBT community continues to bitch about President Obama's progress on our issues, I can't think of a better juxtaposition of the two former presidential candidates' values.

So what do you think? Will it get repealed this year? Has DADT replaced ENDA as the administration's (or LGBT community's) top priority for 2010? Will we only get one or the other this year?

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Outside the offices of Gates and Mullin, we're all still playing "blind men and the [Democratic donkey and the Pentagon ass]. We won't know until we know.

With respect, I see nothing in the MSNBC article you linked to that justifies your characterization:

"The Pentagon is saying that there is the possibility of a temporary policy to DRAMATICALLY lower the number of dismissals and investigations until the repeal is finished." [emphasis mine]

But you have very high paid company. MSNBC failed to background the article itself deeply enough, and mischaracterize what happened last summer.

Gates did NOT ask, "the Defense Department's general counsel to examine whether the "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" [sic] is implemented humanely" but whether it could be more "humane" in its FUTURE implementation, for instance when someone is outed for vengeful reasons....clearly triggered by all the good press Lt. Col. Victor Fehrenbach was getting and the astonishingly vile details of his outing.

That might sound like nitpicking over word choice until one notes that they supplied no information updating the last report by Gates about such a search of the language of 10 USC 654 [DADT] that I read [in July] that "they COULDN'T FIND any way to "be more humane."

To the factual contrary, Gates and/or his Pentagon General Counsel had no basis for that claim because 654 gives huge leeway to the Secretary of Defense, and the local commander, in how to administer investigations and discharges, as the Palm Center publicly documented MORE THAN A MONTH BEFORE Gates announced his loophole hunting party.

But, in the absence of any indication they've finally bagged some, MSNBC seems to be clicking its ruby heels together declaring,

"This new, more humane implementation will likely be the interim policy until the U.S. military figures out what needs to be changed for a smooth transition."

[Their writing, in effect, that "a smooth transition" would AS FACT be problematic otherwise and not just Pentagon propaganda is the kind of outrageous bullshit that gay orgs have repeatedly failed to denounce.]

While salvaging some gay servicemembers would be better than salvaging none, I'm unaware of any tabulation of the varying circumstances that trigger investigations, e.g., the many ways one could be "discovered," the many ways one could be "outed," "self-outed," tho there have been some claims about the percentages of the latter.

But I pray to St. Judy they'll suggest this for another reason: it's a bomb of stupidity that will blow up in their faces, mortally wounding the ban. Administrative leeway in DADT aside, the fact is that the ban is predicated entirely on the assertion that ANY known gay servicemember is ipso facto "bad" for the miltary because he/she does/will destroy "unit cohesion."

Variance in how the gayness of an individual became known could not, by definition, vary such justification for the policy. Such an exception would be like cutting a hole in the underwater hull of a ship.

As far as how long any of this "movement" is going to take, other passages in the reports are foreboding [emphasis mine]:

"have been and continue to work on an implementation plan for ULTIMATELY achieving the president's goal of repealing 'don't ask, don't tell.'"

"A defense official said the two men WOULDN'T PROVIDE CONGRESS WITH A FORMAL PROPOSAL for legislation repealing the controversial ban. Instead, the official said Mr. Gates and Adm. Mullen would outline the PREPARATIONS the department was making so it would be able TO offer guidance to Congress." In other words, IN THE FUTURE which could be a month from now, six months from now, a year..... Which, of course, gets us back to measuring the import of what Obama said himself.

"this year, I will work with Congress and our military to finally repeal the law"

Only "the work" is given a time frame, NOT repeal itself. Given how many issues [some of them absurd to the objective or their face] the article claims are involved in "the guidance" the Pentagon is "looking at," and the footdragging in the last year, "soon" is not an adverb to put any faith in.

"Is there a drop dead date that the policy will end?" In theory, if repeal were passed through the 2011 defense budget, the investigation/discharge process could stop as soon as October 1st, the beginning of the government fiscal year.]

"Will military members who were discharged under DADT be allowed back in?" Obama claimed in 2007 that creating such a plan would be one of the things he would task his reports to do...starting in January 2009.

"What, if any, new training will U.S. military members go through (ie sensitivity training, etc)?" One of the absurd, ill-informed points. While it once did in relation to race, our miitary no longer does "sensitivity training." Instead sensitivity to ZERO TOLERANCE FOR DISCRIMINATION/CONFLICT POLICIES are is generally and routinely broadcast to rank and file, and training of officers, NCOs, and their advisors about how to enforce them is done. The closest they now get to "sensitivity to others" is in the form of materials and events, e.g, celebrations of Martin Luther King, Jr.'s birthday.

"Are any new or separate facilities necessary?" This is the first hurdle they must jump, absurd...and illegal/ it sounds. Yep, you guessed it. Just like ENDA trans-related nonsense, they're worried about showers and bathrooms plus the additional alleged "sleeping quarters" issue.

The immediate answer should be: it is not an issue because we will not allow anyone to make it an issue anymore than they we allow it now. You can't shower, pee, sleep except in circumstances that resemble the privacy of your home? Then GO HOME! Despite the lies of the Elaine Donnellys of the world, few would.

But the likelihood that the journey to common sense will take awhile is that there has also be some revisiting of the talk in 1993 of separate ASSIGNMENTS for gays. If actually put on the negotiation table this time, we will have to hope for the no-nonsense talents of people like Barney Frank and Cong. Patrick Murphy to quickly shoot down such bullshit balloons.

I certainly smile at the fact that the process that, by Obama's own formula in 2007, should have started last January seems finally to have begun.

But every day that passes without the plug being pulled on DADT means more gay servicemembers kicked out. So we must INCREASE our pressure on the Commander-in-Chief not lessen or release it to not just LEAD repeal but also immediately freeze discharges in the interim with the unequivocal powers Congress gave the Presidency in 10 USC 12305 in 1983.

Michael Crawford Michael Crawford | January 29, 2010 11:11 PM

We need to amp up the pressure on Congress to pass pro-LGBT including ENDA, DADT repeal, and DOMA repeal. We can't rest until we have full and complete equality.