Rep. Buck McKeon, the Republican from California, is getting an early start to shooting down the Pentagon’s study of Don’t Ask Don’t tell just as its lead researchers — General Counsel Jeh Johnson and U.S. Army Forces Europe commander Gen. Carter Ham — are set to testify before the House this morning. This is what we call “strategy”!
On Sunday we pointed out that in order for conservative Republicans, like John McCain, to crap on the DADT repeal effort, all they need to do it find fault with the study right away, given the review will by all accounts recommend a DADT repeal.
And it’s a move that McKeon, and soon more members of the GOP, are doing. “Many of us on this committee have serious concerns with putting our men and women in uniform through such a divisive debate while they are fighting two wars,” says Rep. McKeon, the leading Republican on the House Armed Services Committee, in his attack on the review:
McKeon is also unhappy with the selection of the RAND Corp. think tank to do much of the legwork for the study. In an e-mail obtained by The Associated Press, a staffer for McKeon told Pentagon officials working on the review that the company had “significant shortcomings” in past work analyzing the issue and partnered with a group advocating repeal last year.
“Given RAND’s track record on this issue, there is no way that any study it produces can be called credible or objective,” staffer John Chapla wrote.
RAND spokesman Jeffrey Hiday said the company did not work side by side with the pro-repeal group last year.
“A RAND researcher did some work on her own time” for the Palm Center, Hiday said, and is no longer doing so. “RAND has no ideological perspective. We approach every problem by focusing on the facts and analyzing the facts.”
(For what it’s worth, the Palm Center maintains it has no political stance on DADT, but even we know that’s a laughable assumption. The Palm Center, with Nathaniel Frank out front, is actively pursuing DADT’s repeal.)
By preemptively saying the study is worthless, GOP lawmakers don’t have to worry what it will conclude a year from now. By handicapping the effort from the get-go, even today’s introduction of the Military Readiness Enhancement Act, which would repeal DADT and prohibit military discrimination based on sexuality, gets shortchanged by criticism.
Funnily enough, we actually agree with McKeon: The study is bunk. Not because RAND is some progressive organization, or because the Pentagon is ill-equipped to study military issues, but because the study itself is a waste of time, money, and resources. Which could be better spent, oh we don’t know, on our troops abroad.
(Pictured: Rep. McKeon with Missile Defense Agency Director Lt. Gen. Patrick O’Reilly)