The White House has recruited two powerful allies in its mission
to repeal Don't Ask, Don't Tell
Defense Secretary Robert Gates and Admiral Mike Mullen, the Chairman of
the Joint Chiefs of Staff. At a hearing today before the Senate Armed
Services Committee, Gates and Mullen declared
their personal belief that DADT should be repealed and called on
Congress to do so. Rolling back the policy, which bars gay servicemen
and women from openly serving in the military and results in several
hundred dismissals annually, will require an act of Congress. The
Pentagon will begin work on a report on how to integrate openly gay
soldiers, which they say will take a year. Then what?
- Preview: What Congress Will Fight About The New York Times's Elisabeth Bumiller parses
today's statements from Democratic Senator Carl Levin and Republican
Senator John McCain, whose stances may foreshadow the coming
Congressional debate. "On one thing, they agreed: many gay men and
lesbians are serving
honorably and effectively in the military today, despite a policy that
has driven thousands of others out of the services. But Mr. Levin said
the military should act in this matter as it has in others, as a force
against discrimination. And Mr. McCain said the military culture was so
different from civilian life that the rules for its members, too, must
- Why Review Will Take a Year The Atlantic's Marc Ambinder explains, "For one
thing, Gates and Mullen will argue that full integration of gays and
lesbians must be pursued carefully, in order to protect the rights of
gay soldiers and to make sure that the policy, when finally
implemented, is well accepted and seen as legitimate. Civil rights
groups are likely to protest the delay, but the White House is on board
with the timetable."
- Congress Could Start Now Mother Jone's Kevin Drum writes that it could be sooner. "[W]e're still on track to firmly end DADT in an amendment to the
budget this year, but implementation will be left up to Gates and he'll
be given until, say, January 2011 to publish new regs." However, it's
possible that "Congress won't do anything until the Pentagon review is
would mean delaying repeal until 2011 and implementation until 2012."
- The Case Against an Executive Order Liberal blogger John Cole argues
that letting the Pentagon and Congress take charge, even if it takes
longer, frames repeal as "not 'if' it will be repealed but 'when.'" He
warns Obama against simply issued an executive order, "causing a huge
congressional and military backlash with a media
narrative about nothing but Obama over-reaching his mandate and the
Frame It As 'Military vs GOP' National security think-tanker Adam Blickstein suggests Obama exploit the fact that Republicans oppose the repeal but military leaders support it. "GOP spent nearly all of 2009 playing politics with national
security, and was pretty consistent in not supporting the men and women
of the military: two filibuster attempts on Defense spending bills;
attempts to block funding for military efforts in Iraq and Afghanistan;
and senatorial holds on spending for Veteran's benefits. In 2010, this
pattern of the Republican Party vs. the military continues."
- What You Can Do The Awl's Ana Marie Cox liveblogs
the hearing, ending with an appeal to her readers. "Your homework:
Write Adm. Mullens a mash note.
Call your representatives. Makes a life-sized Jeff Sessions doll and
make him tell you where his 'unit cohesion' is. " Sessions is a
Republican Senator from Alabama. She adds, "I really appreciate that
Mullens and Gates, who
both appear to be in favor of repeal, have thought through the EFFECTS
of repeal much, much more than the GOPtards, i.e., housing, benefits,
promotions, current cases..."
- The Soldiers Are Ready Veteran paratrooper D.B. Grady writes
that troops up and down the ranks would be ready today. "Contrary to
naysayers, the United States military is institutionally prepared today
- at this very moment - for the repeal of Don't Ask, Don't Tell." He
explains that the military's infrastructure and chain of command are
perfectly suited to handle the transition. "A key to the military's
managerial success is strict adherence to conflict resolution at the
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