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.”

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  • Scott NYC

    70% of the current Congress is AGAINST ending DADT and DOMA. You can’t change their minds. We need to replace them.

  • Michael @

    A country only needs “buy in” from its military when THE MILITARY is the agency that CONTROLS that country.

    This is SUPPOSED to be a democracy led by three branches of government and NONE of those three is the military. The military, per a little document called the US Constitution is supposed to be controlled by the Congress and ultimately COMMANDED by the President.

    When asked during the Philadelphia primary debate what he would do if the military did not agree to what he wanted to do in Iraq, Mr. Obama unequivocally said that he would remind them who was Commander-in-Chief.

    Lifting the ban didn’t just come up yesterday, but over three decades ago. The brass asshats have had more than enough time to digest it [if they were GENUINELY ordered to] and THEIR OWN studies have proven for over half-a-century that it would NOT harm the military.

    IF Mr. Obama is sincere about caring more about, in his own words, ending not only the injustice of DADT but the way it weakens national security than keeping a handful of Troglodytes in the Pentagon and Congress happy he will use his power given to him by Congress to stop discharges immediately under 10 USC 12305, and keep his campaign promises to throw “the full weight of my administration” behind repeal.

    As DADT expert and author of Unfriendly Fire Nathaniel Frank has written:

    President Obama appears to have absorbed an unfortunate—and incorrect—lesson from the Democrats’ alienation from the military since Vietnam: that to earn the trust of the brass, the president must plead with the uniforms for a little R-E-S-P-E-C-T. Yes, Dems must win over the military; no, that is not done by having the president ask permission to act like Commander-in-Chief; it’s done by showing the world that the president knows how to lead. Sometimes moral and political leadership really are one and the same. Ending the needless firing of gay troops is one of those times.

  • tinkerbell

    Why do we even get involved with the whole Dem vs Rep debate??? One party hates us to our face, the other hates us to our backs.

    Let’s take to the streets, disrupt civil proceedings legally, interrupt straight marriages (legally) since we don’t have the same rights. Let’s tell them that we are brothers and sisters who are next of kin when our partners fall sick. That way, we can care for them, love them and make decisions for them.

  • Concerned

    You’re being incredibly fatalistic, Scott NYC.

    Not being a cosponsor does not indicate being part of the opposition. A good many, if not the majority, of those who are not cosponsors do so because they need a) buy-in from the Pentagon for political cover; b) support from their constituents; or c)both. Educating and activating constuents at the grassroots level will, in effect, “change their minds.”

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