Saturday, April 24, 2010

These Democrats Don't Want to Wait On DADT; And A Thank You

This is an interesting turn of events. Recently, I reported that Obama is starting to face some real push back from Gay Rights groups over his lack of concrete action on "Don't Ask, Don't Tell." He had hecklers the other day, as well as military personnel discharged under this policy handcuff themselves to the White House fence (and the Lafayette Park police refusing to allow reporters access to do their jobs), and finally, Robert Gibbs, Obama's SpokesWeasel, admitting that the "study" Obama implemented on DADT will not even be finished until December 1, 2010.

Well, Gay Rights groups aren't the only ones upset about the lack of action on DADT. Honestly, I was a bit surprised by this article, but I am glad for it:
Dems In Congress Unwilling To Wait On Lengthy Repeal Of Military "Don't Ask, Don't Tell"

WASHINGTON — The White House is facing a budding revolt over its carefully crafted strategy for repeal of the ban on gays serving openly in the military that would have pushed the decision past the November election.

Democrats in the House and Senate — including two key lawmakers from Colorado — say they are unwilling to wait for completion of a 10-month Pentagon study on repeal of the policy known as "don't ask, don't tell" and are instead moving to include immediate repeal in the defense reauthorization bill, scheduled for mark-up next month.

Sen. Mark Udall, D-Colo., among the Democrats on the Senate Armed Services Committee backing the move, said the committee was "within a vote or two" of including repeal in the must- pass legislation. He met with three discharged members of the military Tuesday, using their stories to highlight the need for repeal this year.

Rep. Jared Polis, a Boulder Democrat and one of three openly gay members of Congress, holds a key position on the Rules Committee that he is willing to use to insert a similar provision in the House version of the spending bill, he said Tuesday.

Congressional aides said both approaches are likely to face opposition from the White House, which in February laid a timetable built around an extensive Pentagon study that won't be completed until Dec. 1, pushing a final move on the contentious issue past what's expected to be Democrats' toughest election cycle in years.

That's just it - this study, which is basically reinventing the wheel in terms of openly homosexual military personnel since many other countries already have LGB people serving openly. Not to be too cynical or anything, but it does provide cover for Obama to NOT have DADT repealed. If the study isn't completed until AFTER the elections, when Republicans are expected to at least reclaim the House, he can blame THEM for it not being repealed down the road.

Meanwhile, real people are being affected by DADT:
3 tales of careers ended

But the White House is facing pushback on several fronts at once. On Monday, repeal activists heckled President Barack Obama for several minutes at a fundraiser for Sen. Barbara Boxer in California.

"The sooner we can end this policy, the better," Polis said. "There have been plenty of studies about this policy and how it continues to weaken our military every day that it exists."

The three former military personnel gathered in Udall's Senate office Tuesday each had stellar careers cut short when officials discovered they were gay.

Mike Almy was an Air Force major commanding a sensitive communications unit in the Middle East when a colleague discovered personal e-mails sent to relatives back home. After a 16-month investigation, he was discharged and escorted from the base by police "as if I were a common criminal or a threat to national security," he said.

David Hall spent five years loading bombs and missiles on F-15 fighter jets when he was accepted into an officer-training program, with a chance to become a fighter pilot. Ranked No. 1 in his cadet class, he was discharged when a female cadet told his superiors he was gay.

Stacey Vasquez had a career as a distinguished noncommissioned officer, including being named the top recruiter in the Army. It ended when a colleague's wife saw her kissing another woman in a club in Dallas, she said.

"Once I was discharged, I remember a distinct feeling as I was driving away from Fort Hood thinking, How could my country let me down like this?" Vasquez said.

"How could I give 12 years, how could I go out and tell kids how great the service was, and then one day — due to no misconduct — my country tells me that I'm not a valuable asset?" she said.

Udall cited the record of each and called repeal "the most common-sense step we could take to enhance our national security."

There are so many stories like these, TOO many stories like these. How is it that these people who have sacrificed so much, and are willing to make the ultimate sacrifice, be turned away like common criminals from serving? It is heartbreaking to hear these stories, to endure one's country turning its back on years of service.

What will it take to repeal this law then? The article continues:

Backers' strategy

Opponents of repealing don't ask, don't tell, which allows gays to serve in the military as long as their sexual orientation remains a secret, make the opposite argument: Allowing homosexuals to serve openly in the military presents of risk of significant disruption in the midst of fighting two wars.

Sen. Carl Levin, D-Mich., who chairs the Senate Armed Services Committee, supports including immediate repeal in the defense spending bill, aides said, a strategy that would require a super majority of 60 votes to remove it. Two or three Democrats on the committee are opposed, which means supporters will have to pick up some Republican allies.

But the most significant factor may be how far the White House is willing to go in opposing the idea.

"I'm going to push everybody possible to see this happens this year. We've had this discussion long enough," Udall said.

"The Pentagon has taken some big forward steps that they've never been willing to take," he said. "I don't under estimate the steps they're taking, but in the end we need to change the law." (Michael Riley: 303-954-1614 or

I think we have already seen how far the White House is willing to go. Obama commissioned a study to end AFTER the mid-term elections. I think that says it all.

I continue to marvel at the intestinal fortitude of those who continue this fight to serve their country when their country has let them down, when their Commander in Chief has let them down. This speaks volumes about them, and the stuff of which they are made.

And so, I would like to conclude by thanking those service members who have been discharged under this policy for their service; for those who are fighting to serve their country; and to all who put on the uniform for this country, past and present. I know this isn't Veterans Day, or Armed Services Day, but it doesn't mean this cannot be a "Thank Our Military" Day, especially for those who are fighting to stay in the service: