Mark (mhaithaca) wrote,

"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.

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