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"If you are not honorable enough to fight without prejudice, go home!" - Lady Gaga - Mark's Journal
"If you are not honorable enough to fight without prejudice, go home!" - Lady Gaga
The widespread wailing that Republicans have just vetoed the repeal of the so-called "Don't ask, don't tell" policy in effect in the U.S. armed forces is somewhat misleading. In fact, many Republicans just declined to provide the Department of Defense with crucial funding for fiscal year 2011, and thanks to the magic of amendments, also killed a measure that would have moved forward the DoD's plan to repeal "Don't ask, don't tell."

So, the headline should be, "Republicans obstruct funding for U.S. Armed Forces."

But, as absurd a spokesperson as Lady Gaga might be for the cause, I think she has the right idea. U.S. service members are supposed to be out in the field fighting for freedoms, liberties, and justice. We just need to keep in mind that it's unlikely in the extreme that the average member of our armed forces is against equality in uniform. Mostly, they quickly get used to serving alongside a crazily diverse cross-section of society.

The argument, being made by Senator McCain and others, that such a measure should wait until after the DoD finishes its review of the planned repeal, is specious. The measure in Subtitle J of Title V of this massive spending bill already specifies that the change isn't to take effect until 60 days after the review is not only completed, but acted on by the President, the Secretary of Defense, and the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and only then after confirming that the implementation is "consistent with the standards of military readiness and effectiveness, unit cohesion, and military recruiting and retention." It's one of the most qualified measures I've ever seen in a defense spending bill.

Perhaps once the Pentagon finishes its analysis, and comes to the conclusion that the average military service member either approves equality in uniform or doesn't care, the change will simply happen... quietly.
4 comments or Leave a comment
kamarag From: kamarag Date: September 21st, 2010 09:36 pm (UTC) (Link)
Actually, the headline should read "Democrats force Republicans to obstruct defense bill". Harry Reid tacked unrelated amendments to the defense bill and blocked any chance at open debate on the issues. Don't As is ridiculous and should be repealed. There are plenty of GOP votes to overturn it, but Reid & Company don't want it overturned this close to mid-term elections.
sskipstress From: sskipstress Date: September 21st, 2010 10:42 pm (UTC) (Link)
If Don't Ask, Don't Tell gets repealed does it go back to being, We can ask you and you have to tell us, then we'll kick you out?
mhaithaca From: mhaithaca Date: September 21st, 2010 11:06 pm (UTC) (Link)

No, included in the plan the Pentagon has been reviewing is explicit intent to include non-discrimination language.
blaisepascal From: blaisepascal Date: September 21st, 2010 11:52 pm (UTC) (Link)
As near as I can tell, it's.... complicated.

The bill simply repeals the 1993 law codified in 10 USC 654 ("Policy concerning homosexuality in the armed forces") (and conforming amendments), and does nothing to directly put in place a pro-gay policy. But that doesn't mean things will return to how things were before.

If I understand the situation, before 1993 there was no legislative prohibition on gays in the military, but they had been traditionally been considered unacceptable and kept/kicked out by an array of strategems. The immediate predecessor to the 1993 law was a 1983 defense directive, issued by Reagan. The 1993 law enacts the DT provisions, while a new defense directive by Clintion enacted the DA provisions of DADT.

My presumption is that those two actions, the 1993 law and the 1993 DD, completely replaced the 1983 DD, and that except for 10 USC 654, there is no other existing authority to separate gays from the military. It is possible that UCMJ 125 (Sodomy) might apply, but it only prohibits one particular bit of conduct ("unnatural carnal copulation") for both gay and straight service-members.

So while a straight-forward reading would be that repealing 10 USC 654 would just return the legislation to pre-DADT, I think the political climate would cause the repeal to be interpreted as a mandate for integration.
4 comments or Leave a comment