Everything Changes, Except Rethuglican’s Small Minds

From Planet Washington (McCLATCHY Trusted Voices):

In 1993, when Congress strongly resisted President Bill Clinton’s attempt to end the U.S. military’s ban on gay service members, Gen. Colin Powell, then the top military officer, helped broker a compromise policy that came to be known as “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.”

Wednesday, Powell joined the Pentagon’s current leadership, Defense Secretary Robert Gates and Adm. Mike Mullen, now the nation’s top officer, in urging the policy’s repeal, saying that “attitudes and circumstances have changed.”

They have indeed.


Original DVD cover

Mullen, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, told a Senate panel Tuesday that he’d served alongside gays and lesbians since 1968, and that ending the policy was “the right thing to do.”

“No matter how I look at the issue, I cannot escape being troubled by the fact that we have in place a policy which forces young men and women to lie about who they are in order to defend their fellow citizens,” Mullen told the Senate Armed Services Committee.

…snip…

Even former Senate Armed Services Committee Chairman Sam Nunn, a Georgia Democrat who helped Powell forge the current policy, has had second thoughts, saying in 2008 that “times change.”

…snip…

According to the Defense Department, 13,000 servicemen and women have left the military because of the policy, including 1,273 in 2001.

Enter the worst terrorist attack on U.S. soil, followed by two wars and a massive increase in the size of the military. Last year, the number of discharges under the policy fell to 428.

The changes in attitudes toward gays and lesbians, in the military and in society more broadly — as well as the military’s needs — have all but rendered the policy obsolete. “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” is now more like “Don’t Care, What’s the Big Deal?”

Except for Republican lawmakers.

Arizona Sen. John McCain, who’s facing a Republican primary challenge from a conservative former congressman, Tuesday scolded Gates and Mullen for their efforts to overturn the policy. McCain had said in 2006 that he’d defer to military leaders on the matter.

Jeff Sessions of Alabama lectured Mullen, a four-star admiral.

“I don’t think (gay and lesbian soldiers) are required to lie about who they are. I think that is an overstatement,” Sessions told Mullen. “You shouldn’t use your power to influence a discussion.”

Saxby Chambliss of Georgia, who won Nunn’s former seat, said that changing the policy could lead the military to permit “alcohol use, adultery, fraternization and body art.”

“If we change this rule of “don’t ask, don’t tell,” what are we going to do with these other issues?” he asked.

From TALKING POINTS MEMO:

Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) has long been a supporter of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell,” the policy which prohibits openly gay men and women from serving in the military. But his support has been predicated on top military leaders supporting it, especially Colin Powell, the former chairman of the joint chiefs who helped institute the policy in 1993.

And now Powell, in a statement released today, has announced that he fully supports the efforts to repeal DADT.

Will McCain change his mind?

He hasn’t spoken about the policy publicly since Powell announced his support, and his spokeswoman did not return a request for comment.

…snip…

After the current chairman of the joint chiefs, Adm. Michael Mullen, yesterday threw his support behind repealing DADT, a McCain spokeswoman brushed it aside. She said McCain’s opposition to a repeal hadn’t changed, because Mullen was speaking on his own behalf and not that of the military.

McCain was citing Powell’s support for the policy as recently as last week (even though Powell has been saying for years that DADT should be reviewed).

In an appearance on Fox and Friends last Thursday, McCain gave a list of reasons describing why repealing DADT is a “bad idea,” as host Steve Doocy put it.

“It was a policy developed in the Clinton administration. General Colin Powell was one of the major factors.  It is working. We have the best trained, best equipped, most professional military in two wars,” McCain said.

If they’re the most professional, then they should be able to work professionally alongside gay soldiers, Captain Underpants! Funny that Lindseypoo Graham’s best friend should be so homophobic.

From BBC NEWS:

When the UK took the step of allowing gay men and women to serve openly in the armed forces 10 years ago, public opinion was in favour but the armed forces themselves were not.

The situation is very similar in the US today.

An NOP poll in September 1999 found seven out of 10 Britons believed lesbians and gay men should be allowed to serve in the military.

At the same time General Sir Anthony Farrar-Hockley, a leading opponent of the change, told the BBC: “Two surveys have disclosed that the overwhelming majority of those in military service today find homosexuality abhorrent.”

In the US, a Gallup poll of 1,015 US citizens in May 2009 found 69% in favour of allowing gays to serve openly in the armed forces – an increase of 6% over five years. Support among “conservatives” had jumped 12% over the same period, from 46% to 58%.

But a Military Times poll in December 2008 found a majority of active-duty respondents – 58% – were against the idea of repealing the Don’t Ask Don’t Tell law.

…snip…

Large-scale resignations from the UK armed forces were widely expected in some quarters, when the ban on gays was lifted – but in practice they did not materialise.

At least one British army brigadier publicly resigned in protest, citing “strongly held moral and military convictions” but most observers were surprised at how smoothly the new law – which was forced on the UK government by the European Court of Human Rights – was implemented.

…snip…

The Royal Navy joined the programme in 2005, the RAF in 2006 and the army in 2008 – the same year it followed the other two services in allowing servicemen and women to participate in Gay Pride marches in uniform.

…snip…

Fears that allowing openly gay soldiers to serve on the front line would lead to a breakdown of discipline and cohesion within units also proved unfounded.

It’s the example of British troops operating successfully in Iraq that has prompted the first Iraq war veteran elected to Congress – Democratic Representative Patrick Murphy of Pennsylvania – to campaign for a bill repealing Don’t Ask Don’t Tell.

British Security Minister Lord Alan West, a former head of the Royal Navy, told the Associated Press in July 2009 that allowing gays to serve openly was “much better”.

“For countries that don’t do that – I don’t believe it’s got anything to do with how efficient or capable their forces will be. It’s to do with prejudices, I’m afraid,” he said.

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23 Comments

Filed under Bill Clinton, Britain, Colin Powell, Defense Department, Gay rights, Homophobia, Homosexuality, humor, John McCain, Joint Chiefs of Staff, Lindsey Graham, movies, parody, Pentagon, politics, Republicans, Robert Gates, Sam Nunn, Senate Armed Services Committee, snark, United Kingdom

23 responses to “Everything Changes, Except Rethuglican’s Small Minds

  1. writechic

    I think this is the third time time I’ve left a comment recently that didn’t show up. I won’t be thwarted!!! 🙂

    Can’t remember what I said, but prolly shoulda been something along the lines of Jeff Sessions likes cock.

    Something mature.

    • 😆 i wonder about capt underpants, too. i think he’s the type who would insist that he’s not gay, but his boyfriend is. and a guy named saxby? seriously?

      have your comments been disappearing from here? i’ve had a few comments at a couple of blogs lately that have disappeared. i’m starting to get a complex.

      • writechic

        Oh, you know the capn is dropping a load in his underpants that he actually has competition for his seat. He’ll su….yeah.

        McCain goes with the winds of need. I’ve give him a big, fat FIVE on the Kinsey scale.

        (I may be exiting too quickly after I comment. I’ll see if being more careful helps.)

        • i know you haven’t been getting caught in the spam filter, so maybe wordpress has the hiccups.

          i think it’s hilarious that capt underpants’s crush on colin powell has taken such an interesting turn. he doesn’t know what to say.

  2. “Adm. Mike Mullen, now the nation’s top officer,”

    Ah, my little sister’s best friend’s big brother! His father was a talent agent in Hollywood, so I’m not surprised he could be brought along on repealing DADT.

    BTW, check you mail. I might have something interesting for you.

    • cool! i didn’t know anything about him. teh google says his father was a press agent and assistant to jimmy durante. that would explain his openness to repealing dadt. well, that and being an intelligent human being with empathy for others.

      • I was right about the agent part at least. Yeah, being a decent human being certainly helps. That’s better than a lot of the people standing in the way.

        • you might have been right about him being a talent agent. you know how teh google is about details sometimes.

          i don’t know how anyone can respect capt. underpants. i think he’s a disgusting person, and jeffy and saxby are beneath contempt.

  3. Removal of those hundreds of Arabic/Farsi translators for homo behavior is just unbelievable. Seems no one ever looked into the cultural reason like having to procure a dowry to be wed. In Iran, you might be 30 or even 40 before you can pony up. My experience of living in several navy towns is that drunkeness is the major problem. That and wanting to marry the first female they meet when they’ve been on China station for 11 months. In the immortal words of Churchill: “The Navy. Grog, buggery, and the lash!”

    • jerry, if it was based on behavior, that would be one thing. however, people were thrown out for who they were, not for anything they did. homosexuals will have to live by the same rules as any other soldier. if they’re caught fraternizing with an inferior or caught at other behavior that is not allowed when they’re on duty, then they should face the same consequences as everyone else. if they perform the same duties just as well or better than everyone else, they should be rewarded, not penalized.

  4. What a crock! This was a horrible idea all along– just pretend to not be who you are???

    Well if “attitudes and circumstances have changed”
    let’s see if they changed enough to reinstate those were were wrongfully dismissed WITH restored rank, backpay & benefits.

    Jon Stewart did a nice piece re McCain on this topic…
    The Daily Show With Jon StewartMon – Thurs 11p / 10c<td style='padding:2px 1px 0px 5px;' colspan='2'A Few Gay Men & Womenhttp://www.thedailyshow.comDaily Show Full EpisodesPolitical HumorHealth Care Crisis

  5. Oh, it’s so goddamn obvious why they’re getting rid of DADT.
    They need more cannon fodder to serve in their endless wars, and that’s the only reason.
    You think they’ll include domestic partners and give them VA pensions when a gay soldier steps on an IED and blows him or herself up? Oh, hell no.
    This is all bullshit.
    I wish they’d just go ahead and start drafting people so the protests and riots that would quickly ensue would put an end to all these ridiculous wars we’re in.
    We queers do not have equal rights, so I say fuck risking one’s homo life by serving in the military.

    • writechic

      KZ, don’t blame you one bit for the big FO to military service. In fact, I intentionally raised my kids to be too rational to submit the way a soldier needs to.

      But the gay friends I have who have served loved the job. A lot of them used the military as a surrogate parent simply because being gay alienated them from their own parents (mostly fathers). This measure of equality is late coming, but I’m glad it is coming finally.

    • I agree w you Karen…. they just need recruits– although the pressure is on Obama to fulfill his campaign promises.
      This one sucks.

      The true test is if those who were discriminated against- lost their military career via discrimination– wrongful termination — have their backpay & rank restored.

      • i agree with both you and melissa, fran. there are gays who are in the military who want to be there, and if the overturn of dadt makes their lives better, then it’s a good thing. i also agree that those who were thrown out are entitled to backpay and all their benefits.

    • they need recruits, but i don’t think that’s what this is about. i think it’s just common sense. when you’ve spent so much money training people, and they are doing jobs that others can’t do, it makes no sense to throw them out. i understand your anger, and i know that you hate the spiel about small steps, but this really is the first step toward full equality. would you rather they do nothing and that nobody was discussing this? that would be a sure bet that nothing will change. at least, there’s some hope now. i know it’s not enough, but that’s the way things change in this ridiculously immature country.

  6. Confession … When Pres. Clinton was devising DADT, I was against liberalizing the military’s policy that much.

    Yes, I was that far right … I have long since recanted that position, and am fully in favor of allowing open service for people fit and willing to do so … still, it seems only honest to confess my past view.

    But you can’t argue with the results — no one is charging that any of the men and women dismissed were really presenting a challenge for unit cohesion. And we’ve lost thousands of men and women who were serving honorably and in valuable roles (especially those translators!). It has been nothing but bad, for the military and the servicemen and -women being dismissed.

    It’s time for it to go, for the good of both the military and for the sake of doing the right thing.

    As for Chambliss and his concerns about “alcohol use, adultery, fraternization and body art.”

    Ummm … Alcohol use? Does he think that troops don’t drink? Just how stupid is he?

    Adultery? That would be John McCain’s area of expertise, I believe.

    Fraternization is an entirely different issue, clearly related to rank, position, and status. Easily noted as a difference.

    Body art? ‘Cause no Marine or sailor has tattoos, right?

    Do these people know anyone in the military?

    • “alcohol use, adultery, fraternization and body art.”

      Ask any former sailor what he did when he got shore leave and the answer is “stewed, screwed, and tatooed.”

      • the marines have ‘semper fi,’ the army ‘this we’ll defend,’ coast guard ‘semper paratus,’ the air force ‘above all’. the navy, ‘stewed, screwed, and tatooed.’ 😆 i like the navy motto best!

    • chambliss and sessions are morons. the best argument for getting rid of dadt is to listen to how ridiculous the arguments against it are. capt u, sessions, and chambliss live in the past. younger people don’t give a damn who’s gay or who’s straight. it’s a new world, and it’s time to leave relics like the 3 armed service committee stooges behind.

  7. jeb

    “repealing DADT is a “bad idea,” as host Steve Doocy put it.”

    Stevie’s lucky FUX has DADT and a nice closet for him.

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