Actually, no, not every military type wants to get rid of Don’t Ask Don’t Tell. More than 1,000 retired officers signed a letter addressed to President Obama urged him to keep the law on the books, because repealing it “would undermine recruiting and retention, impact leadership at all levels, have adverse effects on the willingness of parents who lend their sons and daughters to military service, and eventually break the All-Volunteer Force.” AND CAUSE THE NEXT TERRORIST ATTACK!
Among the signatories were Gen. Carl E. Mundy, Jr., a former commandant of the Marine Corps; Adm. Leighton W. Smith, a former commander of U.S. Naval Forces Europe; Gen. Charles A. Horner, who commanded U.S. aerial forces during the 1990-91 Gulf War; and Adm. Jerome L. Johnson, a former vice chief of Naval Operations.
The retired officers said they strongly supported the principle that “homosexuality is incompatible with military service” and warned that repeal of current law could jeopardize morale and “unit cohesion.”
Mundy said in a telephone interview that he believed a “large segment” of currently serving officers shared the views expressed in the statement.
“We just see a great many downsides to attempting to enforce on the military something I don’t know is widely accepted in American society,” he said.
The statement was criticized by Aubrey Sarvis, executive director of the Servicemembers Legal Defense Network, an advocacy group seeking equal treatment of gays in the military.
“The signers of this petition are mired in the fears and politics of the past,” Sarvis said. “More than 75 percent of the American public, including most younger service members as well as many active duty flag officers, realize the question is not if ‘don’t ask, don’t tell’ is repealed, but when and how.” [AP]
“…have adverse effects on the willingness of parents who lend their sons and daughters to military service…”
Yeah, because parents own their children. Like books, or cars. Fools.
People like that are always going to exist. I did serve and I’m someone everybody always guess about. I didn’t have any problems, except one guy who, when we were forced to bunk in the same room together, would sleep with his back against the wall. He did it so I couldn’t “rape him in his sleep.” The sad/funny part was that he never acted like he had a problem, I never even noticed how he slept. Someone else had to tell me.
There is this vicious urban legend about a guy who started having trouble sleeping. He would always wake up groggy. His asshole would hurt and leak fluid. He went to the doctor, who told him that the fluid was sperm. Finally, the guy found out that his roommate would wait till he fell asleep, then use ether on him and rape him.
Stupid people repeat that story like it is gospel.
Make no mistake: this dropped an atomic bomb on the hopes of repealing DADT. The ease with which its author Elaine Donnelly is mocked, the ease with which its arguments can be empirically disputed, are irrelevant to a Congress looking for camouflage for their own homophobia and/or cowardice in the face of their constituents’ prejudice and ignorance regardless of what general public polls say. Far from the “‘Will & Grace’ Generation,” its members have the highest average age of any Congress on record.
Even before this bomb dropped, barely a fourth of the House of Representatives had agreed to cosponsor Rep. Ellen Tauscher’s DADT repeal bill. Strangely, even she didn’t show up for an SLDN rally in front of the Capitol to generate public support for her own bill. Perhaps it was because she is now effectively a lame duck after having been nominated for a State Department job. Unfortunately, again, even before this bomb dropped, I’ve heard of none of her colleagues rushing forward to grab her baton.
Even before this bomb dropped, no companion bill in the Senate had yet been introduced. After years of searching for the right “moderate” sponsor, apparently Sen. Kennedy is considering introducing it himself IF he can find an appropriate Republican cosponsor. We have the greatest respect for him; he has become an unparalleled champion for LGBT equality in the Senate, but his fragile health makes such a strategy equally fragile, and, without Executive leadership, this bigotry Blitzkrieg makes it futile.
Even before it dropped, the fiction we wanted to believe that President Obama was actively working behind the scenes toward repeal exploded Sunday when the Secretary of Defense revealed that they’ve barely discussed it and that he, and apparently the Commander in Chief, thinks it should continue to be “pushed down the road.”
Even before it dropped, only aggressive action by the President could have possibly persuaded Congress to repeal in the same way he has lobbied for the stimulus package and other controversial issues on his agenda. For whatever reason, he left the ground unguarded and the ruthless enemies of equality have overrun it.
The day thirty-four years ago Leonard Matlovich was discharged from the Air Force simply for being gay, he held a Kennedy Bicentennial half-dollar up to the TV cameras and told the nation:
“It says ‘200 Years of Freedom’. Maybe not in my lifetime, but we are going to win in the end.”
If you understand that no issue still has the power to advance progress in every other area affecting LGBT Americans that repealing DADT has, if you care for all of those who were discharged before and since Leonard, for those carrying on his battle in the courts, for those still being forced to serve in silence, for those in the process of being discharged this very moment, please immediately write the President through the URL below and demand that he finally keep his repeated campaign promise by PUBLICLY dismissing this letter while calling on Congress to repeal DADT and ordering Secretary Gates and the Pentagon to begin preparing for it. Is thirty-four years not long enough?
@Michael: Michael, your post is very persuasive, particularly your understanding of the link between seving openly and broader progress. I have followed through on the link you provided, and am preparing letters for the President and for Secretary Gates. Latter was two years behind me at William and Mary; didn’t know him, but I’ll use that or any “hook.”
We must make this happen.
Thank you, Richard, for trying to make a difference. This will only change if our voices are heard—something Candidate/President Obama has said so many times himself.
@Michael: Agreed, as did FDR.
Rachel Maddow’s interview with Colin Powell is to include her questioning him about DADT tonight, per RM last night. Eager to hear his response. If it’s favorable, it would trump every signer of that nasty letter.
In my letters to BO and RG, I’m asking them to suspend DADT dismissals immediately while final overturning is pending.
Hey folks… I know DADT is a pile of horse shit… but if we don’t repel DOMA (Defense of Marriage Act) first, all our brave gays and lesbians will be welcomed with open arms into the ranks – where they’ll die for their country and where their spouses won’t have access to death benefits because of DOMA. So anyone who honestly and sincerely supports the repeal of DADT **ABSOLUTELY MUST** educate themselves and others about how DOMA will shoot us all in the foot unless both are repealed together! With DOMA in place, and DADT repealed, all we’re going to get is openly gay and lesbian service members in bodybags, not true equality in the ranks.
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