The Obama administration has been having a little problem with Don’t Ask Don’t Tell. President Obama says he wants to repeal the law, but he’s done nothing to actually show it. The Pentagon says it’s got no plans to even review DADT’s repeal, but then was forced to amend its statement when it was reminded that, hey, that conflicts with Obama’s official stance. So when Adm. Mike Mullen, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, hit the weekend talk show circuit, we didn’t know what to expect. And then Adm. Mullen showed his cards:
Nope, the armed services still really does not have any plans to repeat DADT. Mullen uses words liked “measured” and “deliberate” and talks about how “we’re in our sixth year of fighting two wars” and how he wants to “avoid a polarizing debate that puts a force that’s very significantly under stress in the middle.” And the kicker? “We follow the law, and if the law changes, we’ll comply,” which is about as passive a statement you can spit out on this.
There’s no definitive statement that DADT will not be repealed in the near future; Mullen is careful to follow directions not to own up to that. But just about everything else he says makes clear there is a “measured” and “deliberate” approach to telling the media to STFU about all this, that it’s a non-issue, and that Obama will one day get around to it.
Congratulations, military gays! You’ve once again received your answer as to whether you’ll be able to serve openly and proudly any time soon.
STEPHANOPOULOS: Let me talk about the issues of gays in the military. The president has told you that he wants to repeal the “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy so that gays and lesbians can serve openly in the military. And the Pentagon said this week that you personally, along with Secretary Gates, are working to address the challenges associated with implementing the president’s commitment.
What exactly are you doing? And what exactly are you worried about?
MULLEN: The president has made his strategic intent very clear. That it’s his intent at some point in time to ask Congress to change this law. I think it’s important to also know that this is the law, this isn’t a policy. And for the rules to change, a law has to be changed.
STEPHANOPOULOS: And there’s legislation introduced in the Congress.
MULLEN: And there is. Exactly. And so I’ve had discussions with the Joint Chiefs about this. I’ve done certainly a lot of internal, immediate staff discussions about what the issues would be and how we…
STEPHANOPOULOS: What are they? What are the challenges?
MULLEN: Well, it’s my job as the senior military adviser to provide best advice, best military advice for the president. And what I owe him is an objective assessment of what these changes would be. What they might impact on. And there could be speculation about what that might be, but my goal would be to achieve an objective assessment of the impact, if any, of this kind of change.
In addition, you know, I would need some time for a force that’s under a great deal of stress — we’re in our sixth year of fighting two wars — to look at if this change occurs, to look at implementing it in a very deliberate, measured way.
And what I also owe the president, and I owe the men and women in uniform, is an implementation plan to achieve this based on a timeline that would be set, obviously, after the law is changed.
STEPHANOPOULOS: One of your predecessors, General John Shalikashvili, who was the chairman of the Joint Chiefs back in the early ’90s, has said he has second thoughts on this whole issue now. He was against opening up service to the gays and lesbians then. Now he’s written, “I now believe that if gay men and lesbians served openly in the United States military, they would not undermine the efficacy of the armed forces. Our military has been stretched thin by our deployments in the Middle East, and we must welcome the service of any American who is willing and able to do the job.”
Is he right?
MULLEN: He’s certainly entitled to his own personal opinion. And certainly, I have the greatest respect for him.
There are also lots of retired generals and admirals on the other side. STEPHANOPOULOS: What’s your opinion?
MULLEN: And what I would hope to do in this, George, again, given the strategic intent of the president, is to avoid a polarizing debate that puts a force that’s very significantly under stress in the middle. And to get this, get to this, assuming the law is going to change, and, again, a measured, deliberate way. And that, as the senior military leader, is what I consider my principal responsibility.
STEPHANOPOULOS: Measured, deliberate way. So it sounds like if the Congress calls you up to testify in this, you’re going to say now is not the time to repeal?
MULLEN: No, I actually — I’m going to talk to the process that we have in this country, which is we follow the law, and if the law changes, we’ll comply. There’s absolutely no question about that.
Stop firing the gay soldiers and retire the gay-hating generals!!!
didn’t you post this story and the same interview already?
Repealing DADT should be a no brainer. Apart from it being the right thing to do, it’s necessary. Their arguments against repealing it are specious, it’s not as if there will suddenly be an influx of hairdressers, or the Queer Eye guys are going to show up, it will be the same people as were always there, nothing will change.
The reference to fighting two wars is ironic because when the recruiting targets were being missed, DADT was not being enforced. Openly gay men and women were being signed up. There were gays openly serving in the military and not being discharged.
Blah blah “IT’S THE LAW” blah blah “NOT MY JOB” blah blah “IT WAS ON FIRE WHEN WE SAT DOWN ON IT” blah blah “HE WEALLY WEALLY WILL DOOD IT” blah blah STALL blah blah CHANGE THE SUBJECT blah blah MAKE EXCUSES blah blah REFUSE TO ANSWER blah blah RECYCLE LIES & MYTHS blah blahtedy blah. And, BTW, Mr. Stephanapoulos, if you believe all that, would you like to buy a share in the Brooklyn Bridge?
That sound you hear is the approaching army of Obazombies who will grunt and groan and regurgitate their outrage and outlandish excuses for the Coward-in-Chief.
The Only Queerty Is Bitching Excuse: Forget former Big Time Barack Cheerleaders like PamsHouseBlend, JoeMyGod, Towleroad, Andrew Sullivan, Dan Savage, and certainly forget Frank Rich and mulitple others at the NY Times, WAPO, ad infinitum; CNN, MSNBC, ABC, CBS, Newsweek, Time, the WSJ, ad infinitum. Buy, yeah, Judy Shepard was very thankful for that whole 60 seconds he gave her.
The Sally Field Excuse: But he loves us, he really loves us.
The Nixon Excuse: He has a secret plan to repeal DADT.
The Hillary Excuse: Sure, this is just one of the promises to gays he’s broken but you’re just saying that because he’s not Hillary.
The Hillary Excuse 2: All those Clintonites he hired won’t let him keep his promise to fight to overturn DADT or “Stop Loss” gay discharges. They’e making him defend DADT in court, too.
The Bad Word Choice Excuse: “Fierce advocate”? Are you sure he said “fierce”? Maybe he was talking about the gay magazine “Advocate.” … “It will start when I take office.” He meant, “in my second term.” Simple mistake.
The Bottom Up Excuse: We have to do it for ourselves. Sure he’s the most powerful man in the world, but somebody made him [Hillary?] make all those promises about being a leader on gay equality. [Also known as the Bend Over & Take It Excuse.]
The He’s Too Busy Excuse: You don’t get how important to our national security and advancing equality overseeing an Easter Egg Hunt on the White House lawn is. You don’t get how hard it is to lead a pack of trained dogs er reporters to a greasy spoon outside of town and turn an hour of cheeseburgers into another YouTube masturbation fest. You don’t get how much work went into giving Stevie Wonder an award. Or how important it was for the President to call a radio show to defend his NCAA basketball Final Four picks.
The Excuse Excuse: We haven’t thought of it yet. Can we get back to you?
10, 9, 8, 7, 6…..
Jason in WV
My thing is, if I’m not good enough for the military now, then what makes them think I would ever join it when DADT is repealed? I could give a FUCK if this ever gets repealed at all. If the military doesn’t think I’m good enough, that I’m going to “cripple” their morale, and destroy the integrity of the “stressed” organization, – then fuck them.
Fight your own wars, breeders. I’m already “polarized” in the other direction.
My partner and I watched Spike Lee’s “Miracle at Saint Anna” this past weekend and it brought me to tears. I was ashamed to admit that I had never really thought hard about how blacks had served and died in the face of horrible overt racism and systematic mistreatment. (I knew it happened but I avoided the harsh reality that Lee artfully portrayed) Also sad that, I suspect, the vast majority of Americans don’t know this history — it should required viewing. Anyway… watching that film heightened my already high level of disgust with DADT, military policy, and stalling by the joint chiefs and Obama. The president needs to step up to the plate and exert leadership on this issue. His near silence on it is becoming deafening.
This is ridiculous. LGBTs in the military should do the same thing as was done in the days of Ike. I remember watching this documentary, and a woman was telling of her days meeting Ike, while she served during the preps by Ike to institute mandatory discharge for gays and lesbians. She just told him that there were a lot of gays and lesbians in the military, and he reconsidered.
The point is – and I know it is impossible to ask this of the LGBTs in the military – but I think if there’s one mass coming out by all LGBTs in the forces, Obama won’t be able to stall.
@Andrew: Yeah, it’s time for the President to stop talking about repealing DADT and start DOING it.
@Alexa: Yep. The military won’t suddenly become “demoralized”. Rather, we’ll finally have enough soldiers ready to keep us safe.
It is time for you guys to have some patience. If he rolls back DADT without anouther law in place at the same time then every lgbt person in the military can be discharged, because they would go back to the old military rule of complete exclusion. Why not let Obama do it right. He knows exactly what he is doing and all of you are way off base.
Chairmen of the Joint Chiefs of staff serve two year terms. Most are reappointed for a second term. Admiral Mullen’s first term ends on October 1. It’s time to start telling the President and the Senate that we do not want Admiral Mullen coming back for a second term.
Having served in the military I sit back and listen to the rants of those who clearly have never served.
I am borrowing from a well repeated but true statement: those who rush to join a non-democratic society clearly have no idea what living in a non-democratic society is all about. You have no say in where/under who you will be serving and for the most part you will have a very miserable career once you are labeled a complainer.
I saw the careers of many a soldier go up in smoke because of an a-hole officer or NCO who just did not like a particular soldier. Sexuality had nothing to do with it but may the lord help you if it were suspected you were gay too.
Those who rush to join an organization whose purpose is to be ready to kill on a moments notice clearly have never seen war before. Don’t just picture all the men you are going to be around. Many of these men HATE you and they are armed and out in the field/desert where THEY are the law.
Please stop for a moment and think about the job you ARE BEGGING for and the conditions that come with it. It might be possible the job is not as attractive as you are being led to believe. Bullets fired by an enemy, especially an enemy that you have invaded and are telling them their culture is now defunct because you said so, will not discriminate because you are gay.
If they were letting anybody join when their numbers had no other choice but to do so didn’t tell you about their sincerity then I don’t know what else will. I always thought gays had just a tad more common sense then the rest of the population but I am having my doubts.
Have to disagree. The president has the authority (through three distinct means) to halt the implementation of DADT. The statute itself provides that the Defense Dept. promulgates the regs for its implementation. Thus, the DOD can halt discharges under its own regs. Further, the president has other statutory authority (and authority as commander in chief) to halt DADT. A stop-loss order is one example.
Bottom line: The president has the legal authority to put DADT “in neutral” — to stop discharges in process and future discharges. He’d have to provide himself with some political cover — perhaps that they are reviewing and trying to work with congress on the issue. But it’s absolutely false to state that Obama does not have the power to halt DADT.
Michael @ LeonardMatlovich.com
“they would go back to the old military rule of complete exclusion”?????
Raving LUNACY! If Obama would use his Congressionally mandated power to stop discharges under DADT why wouldn’t he stop discharges under ANY excuse as Commander-in-Chief.
It’s one thing to disagree, it’s another thing to MAKE THINGS UP!
Powerful, thanks for sharing that.
Also, no one acknowledging “Anonymous'” post??! Of course not, easier to send out Obama hate and accuse him of being a homophobe and a bigot rather than deal with the reality that changing the complex, entrenched “fucked-up” (sorry-anon) power structure of the military is better accomplished with congressional support, rather than presidential action alone.
End DADT by pressuring Obama AND congress to work together.
“the reality that changing the complex, entrenched “fucked-up” (sorry-anon) power structure of the military is better accomplished with congressional support, rather than presidential action alone”?????
That’s a false construct simply meant to give cover to Obama’s cowardice. Of course, it would be “better” but it is not the only way to begin the process, no excuse for discharges not being frozen in the interim, and no excuse for Obama to cherry pick when he’s going to wear his Commander-in-Chief hat and when he’s not.
If you’re ever fucked up in a traffic accident I trust you’ll be consistent and say to any mere passerby trying to stop you from bleeding to death, “NO! Let me bleed! I’ll wait for a doctor to arrive!”
Prof. O. G. Whataschnozell
@Anonymous: I have always wondered too if those who are armchairing from the sidelines really understand what the military is all about. They do not fully understand what they are joining. Many who have served would NOT do it again if asked.
Though I was lucky I never saw the horrors of war I would not want to be anywhere near some of the homophobic soldiers I served with right after vietnam. Many of them were holdovers from that era and would talk about certain soldiers who would keep weapons confiscated from the enemy for a “just in case opportunity knocked” situation.
War and it’s environment are not to be taken lightly and that IS NOT the place for social experimentation. Has anyone read up on how veterans are treated? Has anyone read up on how inferior prosthetic devices were used for soldiers and were it not for pittbull like reporting by the press was it exposed. Has anyone read up on the horrific housing conditions at Walter Reed hospital for veterans? Has anyone ever thought about just what it is gays are BEGGING to join?
I say leave as is as is. Don’t ask Don’t tell sounds like a good enough political solution to me. Only if ordered to do so would I go back to the military, don’t ask, dont tell be damned. These people coming forward look like the type who are after fame and profit more than they are gay patriotism. Speaking tours and tv interviews are the perfect place to launch careers and made for tv movies.
@Prof. O. G. Whataschnozell: I have to disagree with your rational; gays should be happy with getting kicked out of the Army because it’s dangerous? That is ridiculous, everyone should be free to make there own choices; if someone wants to ride into hell they should have the same opportunity as anyone else anything else would be discrimination against both groups. All of the issues facing the Gay community on a moral basis I find fairly simple religious as I am or not there is no room in the United States law for discrimination period. If someone hates gays in there military or church they are free to do so but if they chooses to harm the individual or act out against the laws of the land then they should face justice.
Prof. O. G. Whataschnozell
@1star: Unless I’m wrong (and please correct me if I am) the law says Don’t ask, Don’t tell, correct?
Doesn’t that mean ok, you can serve in the military but you may not tell anyone your gay nor can is anyone allowed to ask if you are gay? It sounds like they told the hardliners in the military “look guys, you know damn well there are already are gays serving in the military so in order to make peace and put a lid on their political agenda we are going to announce DADT”.
I think or always thought what was the purpose of this truce. I think it was a good idea. But that is just my opinion. Even if the law is repealed and replaced with total acceptance there are still going to be people who are NOT going to accept that.
@Prof. O. G. Whataschnozell: I am aware of the policy encompassing DADT, and I don’t agree with it. People should not have to suffer because of someones hateful views. Truces are for lawless societies, here in the United States we value freedom and equality. No one should have to hide because of hardliners and tyrants; there are people that hate blacks, Jews and Hispanics so should those groups hide in there house or cover up in body suits to accommodate bigots. DADT is a discriminatory policy and has to be reversed. I understand if the law is repealed there is going to be people that do not accept it and that is their right; the glory of living in a free society is your allowed to make your own judgments. I hope my point is a little clearer.
@alan brickman: Retire them? Nah, send ’em to Leavenworth!
Prof. O. G. Whataschnozell
@1star: Your point was clear from the start. Between the two of us this is a conversation we would be having at a village happy hour as far as I am concerned and I enjoyed it because you do have valid points and I have my views as well.
War is hell baby, and I hope people think three more times before signing there name on that dotted line to join a non-democratic society where you have no say so in how or what you are told to do. You either do what you are told to do or wish you had done it. I am just reminded of the days when I was in the military and the sargeants who were responsible for strait men claiming they were gay just to get out of the Army because of the pressure put on them by officers and NCO’s who didn’t like them.
I don’t like to think back about how I felt then but I can actually relate to the men who did go to “extremes” when their life was put on the line by an incompetent officer/NCO who had a chip on their shoulder and put their lives in jeopardy while knowingly doing so and making no secret their dislike of that particular soldier.
WAR IS HELL BABY. Many of the shouting protesters would not make it through basic training let alone a fire fight. THINK BEFORE YOU SIGN UP TO GIVE YOUR LIFE SEARCHING FOR WEAPONS OF MASS DESTRUCTION THAT ARE NOT THERE.
It seems like such a pandoras box. All America has fought since WW2 are illegal wars which aspire to retract peoples’ freedom and enlarge our Empire. What’s the point.
What makes things confusing at this point with the marriage agenda looming is that the I’m sure noone knows if gays want to be housewifes or buchaneers.
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