I’m very proud of our president for taking the steps to permanently change the Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell policy of the military. I thought he was bold during the campaign to say that he would and have believed all along that he was going to do it. Many in the LGBT community have been impatient with his lack of movement on it…until recently. I figured he was trying not to have a repeat of President Clinton’s first year, where the gays in the military issue completely distracted everyone, the media, the public and the legislators. Those type of social issues get people riled up and with our dysfunctional, sensational media, I’m sure it would have been even worse this time around. Our media likes to obsess about these type of social issues, it sells magazines and increases ratings, so I think it was a tactical move to focus on the economy and health care. It’s terrible that some have had to suffer over the last year because of the delay, but when you look at the long term prospects, he is doing it right. Admiral Mullen’s testimony a couple of weeks ago sent a very strong message to the world that it will change. From a TPM story….
“The fact that the military’s senior leadership (both in and out of uniform) sees no significant threat to unit cohesion and combat effectiveness from permitting openly gay men and women to serve will make it all but impossible for Congress to articulate a rational basis for excluding them,” they wrote.
Mullen’s testimony, alongside that of Defense Secretary Robert Gates, was unequivocal.
“No matter how I look at this 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 said. “For me, personally, it comes down to integrity, theirs as individuals and ours as an institution.”
Things are moving pretty quickly since Admiral Mullen and Secretary Gates spoke out.
On the Senate Armed Forces Committee, for example, Sens. Susan Collins, Lindsey Graham and George LeMieux have all said they are open to repealing DADT if the military study concludes they should.
Sen. John McCain, the ranking member of the committee, also says he will define his stance by the results of the review. It’s a bit of a backtrack from previous statements, in which he said he’d only support a repeal if military leadership does too. McCain contends that because Mullen spoke on his own personal behalf, it’s not enough for McCain to rescind his support of DADT.
But it seems unlikely that Mullen and Gates would have put themselves on the line for a repeal if they expected the review to show that DADT should remain.
Now I hope those bloggers who have attacked the president so relentlessly over the last year about this issue, will come back to reality and give this administration some credit for delivering the change he promised. I don’t necessarily think that will happen, but I’m hopeful.