Archive | Military

Closer and closer

to a repeal of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell. Sen. Ben Nelson (D-Nebraska) has now said he will vote for repeal, Politico reports:

“I don’t believe that most Nebraskans want to continue a policy that
not only encourages but requires people to be deceptive and to lie.
The ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’ policy does just that,” Nelson said. “It
also encourages suspicion and senior officers to look the other way.
In a military which values honesty and integrity, this policy
encourages deceit.”

“I will support the Lieberman compromise because it removes politics
from the process. It bases implementation of the repeal on the
Pentagon’s review and a determination by our military leaders that
repeal is consistent with military readiness and effectiveness, and
that the Pentagon has prepared the necessary regulations to make the
changes,” he said, adding that he spoke with Defense Secretary Robert
Gates about the issue.

“He advised that while he preferred waiting until the study is
completed, he can live with this compromise,” Nelson said.

Add that to pledges from Susan Collins (R-ME) and moderate Democrats Evan Bayh (Indiana) and Bill Nelson (Florida) to support repeal. While some gay activists and analysts have denounced the proposal as too weak because it does not actually require the military to stop discharging gay personnel, that criticism is misplaced. This is a “compromise” that eviscerates the statutory basis for the 16-year-old policy.

UPDATE:  Developments are coming quickly.  The Weekly Standard says that Sen. John McCain is organizing resistance to the repeal, releasing letters from the heads of the military branches opposing it until the Pentagon review of the policy is completed in December.  By then, it would be much more difficult to repeal the policy because a repeal would be subject to filibuster.  Additionally, action after this year would be more [...]

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DADT Repeal Soon?

A deal is in the works to add a repeal of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell to this year’s Defense Authorization bill, the method by which it was originally made law. It’s not clear that the votes are there in the House to do it, and if they aren’t there this year they’re unlikely to be there in the next Congress. It would not be subject to filibuster in the Senate. 

The repeal is limited in one sense. It does not ban discimination against gays in the militery. It returns the status quo ante DADT in 1993 when the president had sole authority to set military personnel policies on gays. The difference is that now the president has promised to reverse the old policy after a study is issued in December on how to implement the change. 

In theory, the next president could reassert the ban. But that’s very unlikely to happen once gays are serving openly. Liberalization of anti-gay public policy tends to be governed by one-way ratchet. Plus, the experience in other countries has been that allowing service by openly gay personnel presents no real problems for recruitment, retention, or discipline, and controversy about it quickly subsides. [...]

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Add Bad Ethics to the Problems of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell”?

My colleague Richard Painter, former chief ethics counsel to President Bush, thinks so because it “institutionalizes dishonesty.” Last fall, he sent a letter outlining his concerns to President Obama, whose administration has been lumbering toward pushing for a congressional repeal. “It is the only instance I know of,” writes Painter, “in which an employee of the United States government can formally suffer discipline and dismissal for telling the truth.” No response yet from the administration. [...]

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