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  • Don't Ask, I'll Just Tell You What the Law Should Be

    Pentagon (Photo by Newscom)

    Late last week a federal district court in California struck down the military policy on service by homosexual persons, an activist ruling that, among other things, faulted the 1993 law on constitutional due process  grounds. Next week the U.S. Senate is scheduled to take up the legislative repeal of the 1993 law using a process that limits amendments and ignores the expressed preferences of the Secretary of Defense and the Joint Chiefs of Staff, all of whom have asked the Congress to wait for completion of the Defense Department review due on December 1 of this year.

    The sequence of events in this truncated debate leaves the U.S. Senate preparing to legislate in the dark next week. It began last January, when President Obama exhorted Congress in his State of the Union Address to repeal the policy that has come to be known by the misleading name “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.” In subsequent testimony to Congress, both Secretary of Defense Robert Gates and Joint Chiefs Chairman Admiral Michael Mullen announced the Pentagon review and testified that they personally favored repeal of the prohibition on military service by homosexual persons. Both men, however, indicated that their statements did not represent the views of the individual service chiefs, all of whom—General James Conway (Marine Corps), General Norton Schwartz (Air Force), Admiral Gary Roughead (Navy), and General George Casey (Army)—weighed in that they opposed congressional action to repeal the law before the completion of the planned review.

    In late April, Secretary Gates and Admiral Mullen sent a letter to House Armed Services Committee Chairman Ike Skelton (D–MO) telling him “in the strongest possible terms” that they opposed congressional repeal of the law, 10 USC Sec. 654, before the Department had had “the opportunity to conduct a thorough, objective, and systematic assessment of the impact of such a policy change.” Ignoring this advice and bypassing the House Armed Services Committee altogether, the full House voted in May to repeal the law, subject to a timetable involving receipt of the review by the Secretary of Defense on December 1 and follow-on certifications by President Obama, the Secretary of Defense, and the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs.

    An amendment to the same effect passed the Senate Armed Services Committee on the same day that the repeal bill passed the full House. The Senate bill will reportedly go to the Senate floor under a rule that allows limited amendments either to the repeal language or a separate controversial amendment that would open U.S. military medical facilities for the performance of elective abortions.

    Proceeding against the wishes of the nation’s military leaders, and with little or no opportunity for amendments, is no way to run a railroad, much less the nation’s armed forces. As Senator John McCain (R–AZ) notes, the Defense Authorization bill is not the place to be “moving forward with a social agenda on legislation that was intended to ensure this nation’s security.” The “cooling saucer” of the Senate is transformed into an overloaded hotplate.

    Worst of all, a headlong rush on “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” in the Senate would, as Secretary Gates and Admiral Mullen said last April, “send a very damaging message to our men and women in uniform that in essence their views, concerns and perspectives do not matter.” There is never a right time to send such a message.

    Posted in Security [slideshow_deploy]

    18 Responses to Don't Ask, I'll Just Tell You What the Law Should Be

    1. dannyroberts Phoenix says:

      heres my take on the homosexual thing going on with the military at this time,i spent six years in a naval air unit and interacted with hundreds of men on shore bases and on aircraft carriers at sea, and not once did the subject ever come up about what my private life was about or if i was a catholic, a jew, or what ever my sexual preference was.

      we had flight ops,other prescribed duties, we did what was asked of us

      and that was it, i don't get it, i don't need to know anything about your personal situation, your religion, your race, all i need to know is,i got your

      back ,you got mine,lets deliver the message to the bad guys,end of story eh??

    2. David, Arlington, VA says:

      Keep in mind, in late 1940s surveys, 75% of caucasian troops opposed racial integration of the armed forces. Truman desegregated anyway – over objections that looked very much like the ones you proffer now. History, for the most part, has judged Truman correct on this matter.

      Furthermore – the military is not a democratic organization – troops are told on a daily basis to get over their "perspectives and concerns" and follow orders. If it comes, they'll follow this order, like they followed racial and religious desegregation.

    3. Pingback: » Don’t Ask, I’ll Just Tell You What the Law Should Be

    4. Jeanne Stotler, Wood says:

      Just as there are no Atheist(sp) in foxhalls, there need not be a reason to know what your fighting buddy is in combat. I worked in Hospitals and nursinghomes with a vast number of people of the course of my career(nurse), I did not know sexual preferences and didn't care, we were there to do our jobs. This should be the same with the armed forces, as long as they live up to the codes set by each branch, then who cares. Our private lives should remain just that,PRIVATE, right now we have a bunch who insist they know more than anyone else how we need to live. Weneed to end all this interference into our everyday lives. VOTE, NOV.2, help someone else get to the polls

    5. Dennis Georgia says:

      I think the laws needs to stay the way it is. The way that reid and obama want to go about this is wrong. They know the bill will not pass on its own feet, so they attach it to something that is needed, then if anyone votes aganist it they can say all sorts of things. Noit only did he attach this bill, but also the so called dream act. Both should be stand alone bills and then they either pass or fail. Personally all be bills need to be stand alone, not attached to another. That way we know what each voted for or aganist.

    6. Jim, Washington DC says:

      It is simply contradictory to state that the greatest military in the world would be rendered ineffective by this change in policy. The greatest warfighters can't deal with a few openly gay men and women. Ludicrous. Maybe it's those who should be prohibited from enlistment.

    7. Tim Az says:

      Trueman would not have had to desegregate the armed forces if, Woodrow Wilson had not resegregated the armed forces as well as all govt. agencies during his liberal rain of terror. Learn your history my friend.

    8. Charles, DC says:

      Skin color is not the same as behavior. As General Powell said before he changed his mind on DADT: “Skin color is a benign, non-behavioral characteristic . . . sexual orientation is perhaps the most profound of human behavioral characteristics. Comparison of the two—racial and sexual discrimination—is a convenient but invalid argument.”

      Behavior is the key characteristic of this debate. Homosexuals, bisexuals and lesbians, by their own admission, share only one attribute on which they base their claim to protected class status: They choose to perform sexual acts with members of the same sex. Behavior alone is not a compelling reason to reward protected, minority or ethnic class status with all the attendant entitlements (quotas on recruitment, leadership positions specifically coded for homosexual service members, unit homosexual representatives, etc.).

      Other thoughts: The primary purpose of the Armed Forces is to prepare for and to prevail in combat should the need arise. Any new policy change affecting the Armed Forces should be considered only if the policy enhances the military’s ability to organize, train and equip formations that are effective on the battlefield. We must ask ourselves if repealing DADT will allow the Armed Forces to prepare for and to prevail in combat should the need arise. Can one make the claim that American men and women will fight better when openly gay soldiers are included in the ranks? If the answer to that question is yes, let's move forward. If no, why are we addressing it?

    9. Hyhybt, Georgia says:

      Why do people keep trying to spread the notion that this bill would force *anything at all* on military leaders, much less an unwanted repeal? All it does is set the groundwork so that, if and when they are ready, they can simply lift the ban rather than *then* having to wait for Congress to act. If they want to keep the ban after this passes, there is nothing other than decency and good common sense stopping them from doing so.

    10. Drew Page, IL says:

      I don't know if having gays or females in combat situations improves or worsens combat effectiveness of a military unit. I would leave that to the professional military commanders to determine. As long as it doesn't worsen combat effectiveness, I have no problem with it.

    11. Marcus, Minneapolis says:

      We are one of the only developed countries that dismisses people for being gay. Most of the service men/women who were discharged were outed by a third party and they themselves did not say anything about themselves being gay; keeping their personal lives personal. Don't Ask, Don't Tell (DADT) violates the first amendment of freedom of speech. This website defends the constitution yet does not talk about the injustices about DADT until now. You recently published maybe three articles in the past couple of months but before that there is nothing except in 1993 which one of the main points in opposition of gays serving in the military was to prevent the spread of AIDS. It took this site 17 years to publish another report. You are a great conservative think tank in many ways, but I feel your position on gay rights in any aspect is outdated and never forward.

    12. Charles, DC says:

      Marcus from Minneapolis:

      So if DADT violates servicemember's first amendment rights, why can't servicemembers go to a political rally wearing their uniform? Isn't this a violation of first amendment rights? Why didn't the good judge issue a ruling on this issue?

      Also, why can't servicemembers display certain flags on military posts? Why can't they display them on Navy boats or Army tanks or Air Force aircraft? Why can't they get tattoos on certain parts of their body? How come they have to meet certain height, weight, age, and medical requirements to serve? How come officers and enlisted servicemembers aren't allowed to fraternize? Why are there separate male and female housing and shower facilities at our military posts and our overseas bases? If we are not going to separate homo and hetero men from one another based on sexual preference, then why would we continue to separate hetero men and hetero women from one another based on their sexual preferences?

      If being gay is not a choice (which no medical study has been able to prove), then why should those who are genetically pre-disposed to being obese also be removed from the service? After all, they were born with it! They can't help the fact that they are overweight, regardless if they aren't able to carry a weapon, maneuver around obstacles, or wear certain protective equipment.

      Let's just remove all barriers to service in the military. After all, anyone willing to serve their country should be able to, right?

    13. Alicia, California says:

      It would be naive to say that "private" matters such as sexual orientation should stay that way, and thus the removal of the "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" (DADT) policy is unnecessary as such. When we have service members being pursued, investigated, and forced out of the military because of their sexual orientation, no matter how private they attempt to keep it, then obviously the policy as is, fails.

      During my 7 years of active duty service, passing references by fellow soldiers as related to their racial/ethnic or religious identity while not common place, did occur. And it was clearly understood by all that neither race nor religion were cause for separation from military service. This is, sadly, NOT the case with sexual orientation. Requiring service members to actively HIDE their sexuality or LIE when confronted with queries about their dating, etc, tears at the very fabric of trust and unit cohesion.

      The repeal of DADT is not meant (I should think) to be about allowing gay/lesbian service members to shout out their sexual habits — it is about providing them to be honest when (and if) comments are made about the aspects of their life outside of the uniform.

    14. Marcus, Minneapolis says:

      Charles from DC

      You are assuming because a person is gay that they will fraternize with someone of the same sex? Also, your comment about gay being a choice which no medical study has been able to prove. This is true but has a medical or scientific study proven there is a God? Just because there is no scientific proof does not mean God does not exist. I understand you want facts so have you looked at the studies conducted where gays do serve openly in the military such as England, Israel, France, Germany, and the UN? Men/women who served opened had no affect on the overall performance of these countries armed forces. I go by facts and if gays in the military did somehow harm a troops performance on/off the field then I would agree with DADT, but gays don't.

      As for your questions in the first paragraph about the judges verdict. A judge can only rule on the issue at hand and nothing else.

      Have you asked a service man/woman who was discharged from the military because of DADT? I have and these service men/women only wanted to serve their country and never identified themselves as a gay person yet were outed by a third party. I come from a family that has served in the armed forces and fought in Vietnam, Iraq, and Afghanistan and all them agree that sexuality was never an issue and DADT is completely flawed.

    15. Pingback: » Left Pushes Pre-Paid Abortions in Defense Bill

    16. Billie says:

      what ever happened to people keeping their personal business to themselves? Nobody should be getting rights over anyone else, this is just pathetic to consider rights on sexual behavior and in the military of all places, just shows weakness…

    17. 3percentofdoom says:

      if soldiers act professional ,as soldiers..well there is no issue.leave your personal preferences at the door and we have no problem.however just as perusing members of the opposite sex in the mil is looked down upon so should gays actions.

      the bottom line is,you are in the military to defend & fight for our country ,not to hit on other troops & get laid.if sexual bs is left out then no one would have any reason to feel uncomfortable.

      however i do think the fact that homosexuals are more likely to have aids amongst other things is a big issue.do you want a combat doc to get aids from treating a hiv/aids infected soldier?no! regardless of orientation, i think regular disease testing should be conducted regularly & if you fail you get a dishonorable discharge,i mean it is dishonorable that you would put fellow troops in danger because of your selfish ways.

    18. B Guinn, Boston Mass says:

      It's interestting that we seem ready to lift DODT yet no plan has been put forth to allow for billeting, accomodation of "married" homosexual personnel, rules regarding the chaplaincy and even rules regarding the Boy Scouts. Has anybody addressed the blood supply. Homosexual sodomy, only once, disqualifies a soldier from giving blood. Does this rule stand and if so, will homosexual males be allowed in forward deployed units? Will the Boy Scouts, who refuse to have homosexual scoutmasters now be forced off post because they refuse to accomodate soldiers wishing to participate as leaders? Franklin Graham was recently disinvited from a Pentagon sponsored National Day of Prayer because, in part, he has repeatedly expressed opposition to the goals of the Sodomy Lobby. Is this the new standard that clergy members that don't embrace sodomy will not be allowed within the service?

      The military should be required to lay out just what standards are going to have to be enforced to accomodate homosexuality within the military. Congress may well take a pass once they see precisely what is in store in order to accomodate a very vocal minority.

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