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Posts Tagged ‘DADT’

A Quiet Death

Overnight,  silently at midnight, DADT expired.  There was no fanfare, and as far as I can see no protests either.  It simply slipped into history and was gone.  Imagine that!

I had two major problems with DADT (aside from the simple unfairness of it).

1.  Not everyone takes naturally to the military. We have a volunteer army, and I believe the military is a calling.  I know I would have been a terrible candidate for military service.  I am just naturally so insubordinate and argumentative.   So, if some young person is called and is willing to defend me and us, why should I care whether that person has blue, brown, or green eyes,  is right or left-handed, is straight or gay?    That never made any sense to me.

2. As a taxpayer, much of what I earn and pay in taxes goes to defense.  I  help pay for some very expensive specialized training.  I resent that 14,000 specialists that I paid to train were fired.

Can we have the Arabic translators back now?  How crazy was that?

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This is cross-posted at  Still4Hill. I wanted to put it here also as a reminder to the LGBT community that Secretary Clinton fights for LGBT rights here and all over the world.

Pictured here with Secretary of Defense Gates, a fellow proponent of repeal of DADT, Secretary Clinton tonight released a concise statement in support of today’s  vote in the Senate to repeal  DADT.  Here is her statement. Short, sweet, and to the point.

Repeal of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell

Press Statement

Hillary Rodham Clinton
Secretary of State
Washington, DC
December 18, 2010

This is a historic step forward for all Americans, a step toward a more perfect union and a more perfect reflection of our core values. As the President and I have repeatedly said, we are committed to universal standards abroad and here at home. Our progress on equality here strengthens our advocacy for human dignity everywhere.

Related stories:

Senate Repeals Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell

Reid: Suspend DADT Discharges Now

Lieberman And Collins On DADT Repeal: This Is A Civil Rights Bill

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This WaPo article tells the story.

Judge in California rules on military’s ban on openly gay service members

By Robert Barnes
Washington Post Staff Writer
Friday, September 10, 2010; 1:31 AM

A federal judge in California said Thursday that the U.S. military’s ban on openly gay service members violates the Constitution, the most recent in a string of court rulings overturning restrictions on the rights of the country’s gay men and lesbians.

U.S. District Judge Virginia A. Phillips said the government’s “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy is a violation of due process and First Amendment rights. Instead of being necessary for military readiness, she said, the policy has a “direct and deleterious effect” on the armed services.

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Suddenly? After all these years? Somebody figured out how/why DADT violates the U.S. Constitution? Really? How many dedicated, well-trained, talented service members have been discharged since DADT went into effect? How hard was it to figure this out? I just saw Dan Choi on MSNBC (with a huge smile) saying that DADT does violate First Amendment rights of some people in some instances. Three little words, he explained, like “I am gay,” or “I love you,” or “I love X” (or Y as the case may be) spoken in the presence of the wrong person are enough to get an otherwise able-bodied service member discharged. How long did it take to figure this out? Where is the Executive Order striking DADT down?

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As if we really needed further evidence that running a campaign is different from running a country,  the Obama White House served up a perfect storm of unjust job losses this week, only one of which received much attention.  The level of ineptness and dysfunctionality boggles the mind.

By now, everyone has heard the story of Shirley Sherrod,  the USDA employee who was contacted on her cell phone while she was on the road for her job and told she was to resign.  The request order was a hasty overreaction to a doctored video  and came without the caution of investigation that should have preceded it.  Judging from remarks from Ms. Sherrod in the aftermath, for her this is a bell that cannot be unrung.  Things will not be the same for her even if she is offered and accepts her job back.  It is hard to believe that a DC insider like Secretary Vilsack did not know the nature of source of that video, Andrew Breitbart, when political activists of every stripe and range on the spectrum do.  That investigation was called for should have been obvious.  That the hand should have been stayed for awhile until the truth could be uncovered is very clear in hindsight.

But if hasty action robbed Ms. Sherrod of her career of more than 30 years, it is INACTION by the White House that, the very next day,  deprived Lt. Dan Choi of the military career he loved.  Lt. Choi, who is  a graduate of West Point and fluent in Arabic, is openly gay and was discharged on the basis of Don’t Ask Don’t Tell, a law that Obama keeps saying he will repeal.  We keep waiting , Mr. President.  Why is there still no moratorium on these discharges?  Why no executive order rescinding this law that you say is unfair and discriminatory?  Why no swift, sure action on this, while the action against Ms. Sherrod was so speedy?

Finally, and also relatively quietly, Gen. Stanley McChrystal retired from the military at the end of the week.  Had it not been for a few careless remarks, he would still be running the Afghanistan campaign, but it appears the Obama White House is too thin-skinned to take a few wisecracks for what they were.  When he was recalled from Afghanistan by the White House,  the media speculated that McChrystal would be Obama’s MacArthur.  Hardly.  McChrystal crossed no borders  except perhaps those of prudence and disobeyed no orders. The White House has no sense of humor.

So the folks who gave you the “perfect campaign” in contrast to the one called “dysfunctional” by unnamed “insiders” who sang to the authors of Game Change now present us with a dysfunctional White House.  And the woman who ran the “dysfunctional” campaign … she’s doing very nicely running a highly active and efficient State Department which she is in the process of reorganizing.

If you want to know what Hillary Clinton would have done as POTUS, just look at her record at DOS.  By June 1, 2009, she had granted domestic benefits to partners of gay State Department employees.  If she had been POTUS, she would have rescinded DADT by executive order on that date.  She initiated her Quadrennial Diplomacy and Development Review (QDDR) just a little over a year ago.  Were she POTUS, she would have ordered a review like that in every department.  Judging from the news of the past week regarding the incredible mess our intelligence and security agencies are in, it is shocking that the current and actual POTUS does not take that example and ORDER this at least for DHS which is so obviously a mess.  It has NEVER been an organized department.  The Bush White House created it as an umbrella and no one ever organized it.  The current secretary and the president appear as clueless about what to do as W was!

Lastly,  a President Hillary Clinton would not have established an atmosphere in the White House that would have acted incisively without investigating first.  That is why the domestic benefits did not come immediately.  She investigated first.  She would never preside over a White House that would pull an honest government worker to the side of the road while on the job, and tell her to resign.   And Gen. McChrystal?  Well, he might never have made remarks like that under Commander-in-Chief Hillary Clinton, but if he had, she might have called him in for a talk and probably would have ended up exchanging smart, funny remarks with him.  If Hillary Clinton were president, these three people would still be employed in the jobs and careers they loved.

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