Unless we misheard (which is always possible!) what was said at yesterday’s Don’t Ask Don’t Tell hearings, neither Joint Chief Chairman Adm. Mike Mullen nor Sec. of Defense Robert Gates promised to do anything except study the policy to see if it should be repealed or left in place. So why is the Human Rights Campaign celebrating the hearings as if there was a stop-loss order issued?
Testifying before the Senate, Gates said there could, theoretically, be new rules set up to halt some of the worst elements of DADT, including dismissing personnel who are outed by vengeful third parties. But even that was not, in fact, promised; Gates said there’d be a 45-day review period to consider it. In fact, when Sen. Carl Levin asked Gates if would support a moratorium on DADT discharges, Gates replied that he couldn’t “answer that question.”
The only thing Gates said they’d do? Follow orders from the president. In the meantime, he’s readying the Pentagon to prepare to change policy once those orders are delivered. Nothing can happen, Gates told lawmakers, unless Congress acts.
So someone explain why HRC’s Joe Solmonese yesterday released a statement that reads in part (emphasis ours): “We acknowledge and appreciate President Obama’s leadership in bringing the military into line with his ideal. Make no mistake — this would not have happened without his insistence. And we’ll need more of that commitment in the months ahead. Today’s announcement blunts the day-to-day damage of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell, but we call on Congress to rescind this law and give the Pentagon the full authority to close the books on this stain of discrimination.”
What announcement “blunts the day-to-day damage” of DADT? The one that said the Pentagon needs to study a possible repeal? Or the one where Mullen said we need “balance and thoughtfulness” through this process. As far as we can tell, the Pentagon made no material changes to DADT, nor its execution of the policy, as of yesterday.
Is this an example of HRC once again giving the Obama administration a pass? Or completely misunderstanding what happened? Or are we the ones in the fog?