hot potato

The Showdown Between Lawmakers + the Pentagon on DADT Will Get Us Nowhere

Lawmakers who say they support the repeal of Don’t Ask Don’t Tell want the Pentagon involved. The Pentagon leaders who say they’re fine with killing DADT say Congress must act. It’s this game of hot potato — without President Obama serving as ref — that’s allowing for so much inaction and, by default, the continued dismal of gay servicemembers. Exactly what’s wrong with this strategy played out on Sunday’s Meet The Press.

Michigan’s Sen. Carl Levin (chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee) says the death of DADT would be had at the hands of Obama, but it “has to be done in the right way, which is to get a buy-in from the military, which I think is now possible,” adding that other Western militaries let gays serve openly just fine. “We can do it successfully. But it ought to be done with thoughtfulness and care, and with a buy-in from the military.”

Retired Air Force Gen. Richard Myers agrees the military needs to be involved, but as for whether it’s time? Yeah, he’ll let someone else decide that. (Myers also notes that gays can serve, just not openly. Good enough?)

Then there’s (retired) Army Gen. Barry McCaffrey, who doesn’t think it’s the military’s job to be running the show. “The key to it isn’t buy-in from the military, it’s for Congress to change the law. They ought to do so. And I’m confident the military will move ahead on it.”

And as for Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham, who, like Sen. Levin, serves on the Armed Services Committee? “Well, it’s my belief that if the policy — you don’t have buy-in by the military, that’s a disservice to the people in the military. They should be included in this. I’m open-minded to what the military may suggest. But I can tell you, I’m not going to make policy based on a campaign rally. And when it comes to time, the one thing I would say again about Afghanistan, history will judge not when we left but by what we left behind. And our national security interests will be determined by what we left behind and not when we left. And if this policy about Don’t Ask Don’t Tell changes, it should be done based not on politics, but on reason.”