New Clinton Papers Reveal Just How Bad The Discussions Leading Up To DADT Were. (Hint: Gay = Nazi)

rotc_dadt-360x248A new batch of White House documents from the Clinton presidency have just been released, and they confirm what was long suspected: the discussions that ultimately resulted in the Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell policy were rife with homophobia.

As his first act in the White House, Clinton promised to lift the military’s ban on gay service personnel. Instead, he ran into a military buzzsaw. In a meeting held in the White House just five days after Clinton moved in, the Joint Chiefs of Staff, led then by Gen. Colin Powell, rejected Clinton’s decision out of hand.

“Homo[sexuality] is a problem for us,” Powell said, according to the notes taken at the meeting. He also recited all the same bogus fears that led to DADT, including the old predator canard; the notes say Powell was “concerned about forced association and immaturity of 18-year-old.”

The most offensive remarks came from Marine Commandant Carl Mundy, who 16 years later was still urging the president (now Obama) not to repeal DADT.  According to the notes, Mundy said that the statement “I’m gay” was the “same as I’m KKK, Nazi, rapist.” Coming out “fractures teamwork” and tells the world “I commit [an] act Amer[ica] doesn’t accept.”

Mundy wasn’t moved by the experience of other nations either. “It doesn’t matter what the Dutch have done,” he said. “We’re the best.”

Clinton was prone to stereotypes as well. “People I would like to keep [in the military] wouldn’t show up at a Queer Nation parade,” the president said, referring to the activist group.

The person who comes across best in the meeting is then-Vice President Al Gore. Gore challenges Powell directly when Powell insists that race is just one of several “benign characteristics” while “sex[uality] is different.” (Powell did come around, supporting the repeal of DADT in 2010 and the legalization of marriage equality in 2012.)

Gore objected. “Assuming you have a soldier born w/ [a] predisp[osition] + patriotic…if that person sep[arates] due to status then that person in a way is discriminated against in a way similar to black[s.]”

After the meeting, Gore also told Clinton, Secretary of Defense Les Aspin and the other White House attendees that Mundy was “borderline” in his remarks, taking particularly offense at the Nazi comparison. No one else was as pointed in their criticism–at least not in the notes.

Just one more reminder of how the first decade of the century might have been different if Gore had become President.

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  • Harley

    “Just one more reminder of how the first decade of the century might have been different if Gore had become President.” You mean if “The republican juggernaut that ran thru Florida fighting to suppress accurate vote counts and ultimately requiring the Supreme Court to intervene by choosing (wrongly).” One more reason EVERY vote counts. Everyone, PLEASE VOTE!

  • Trippy

    Harley is correct. Everyone must VOTE, and that goes double if you live in NC. We have to keep Tom Tillis (R) out of the US Senate. NC got marriage equality yesterday (yea!) and that dumbass spent all day running around our capital pandering to the most vile bigots in the state and wasting tax dollars on lawyers to try to stop the inevitable. He’s disgusting. I’m not a huge fan of Kay Hagan, but I’d rather have ten of her in the senate that just one of Tillis.

  • Ronbo

    Clinton is becoming so tarnished that he is fading into history. Good. Couldn’t happen too soon. He was the best Democrat that the Republicans could buy.

  • Nancy Kaposi

    Just a friendly reminder: a Democratic juggernaut- more than 200,000 registered Democrats in Florida- did vote in that election… but for George Bush. Had they voted for Gore the election would have been won quite handily.

    And perhaps it’s a bit hasty to write Clinton off just yet. After all, we’re looking at the dismal prospect of another 4-8 years of a Clinton White House. All these Democrats that are being encouraged to vote are going to vote for Hillary. She and Bill have (finally) seen the light on gay rights/campaign donations but will continue their program of austerity and, taking the reins from Obummer, will further the aims of Imperial America.

    We’ll be married but many of us will be unemployed, under-employed, or working as waiters in a militarized police state.

  • tdx3fan

    @Ronbo: Other than you being an idiot, would you like to tell me how you come to this conclusion? This hardly tarnishes Clinton. He is still the most popular president EVER. His wife will most likely be our next president. Suck on that!

  • Trippy

    Ronbo is correct, Hillary does stand a good chance of becoming our next POTUS, but she’s not Bill, and her term(s) will be markedly different from her husband’s. For one thing, she’ll work to make sure that the gains of the LGBT community aren’t turned back by Cruz and company, which is a good thing, and she’ll get my vote for that reason alone.
    Then there’s the added benefit that she’s less likely than her husband to sexually abuse and harass female staffers in the White House, which I’m sure will please feminists and the P.R. team of the Democratic Party.

  • hephaestion

    The greatest tragedy of recent decades is that the smarmy Republicans managed to steal the election of 2000. Al Gore would have been the best president imaginable, for gay rights and for dealing with climate change.
    Hilary will be a much better president than Bill. Any woman who would visit Gore Vidal at his home in Italy has got my vote. And Hilary did!

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