Don’t Ask, They Might Tell!

February 4th, 2010

Inspired by Obama urges repeal of ban on open gays in military (Washington Post 1/28/10), Military scaling back ‘don’t ask, don’t tell’ (Washington Post 2/02/10), Republicans Attack Military Leadership to Defend Ban On Gays , Prop 8 Trial + DADT Debate = Death Rattle of the Right Wing, Countries Where Gays Do Serve Openly In The Military, Mullen Testimony On DADT Puts Senior Republicans In A Bind (Huffington Post 2/03/10), Pentagon now backs gays serving openly in the military, Give Mullen a medal for bravery in hostile Senate territory, McCain appears to change his stance on repeal of ‘don’t ask, don’t tell’ policy (Washington Post 2/03/10), Good advice on ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’ (Washington Post 2/04/10), and  Where in the World Can You Find Some Gay Soldiers? (Chang.org 2/04/10). Sign the petition below, and watch the Daily Show videos below, in particular the 2/03/10, 5/14/09, and 5/09/09 ones. The latter is Jon Stewart’s interview with Nathanial Frank, author of the book Unfriendly Fire: How the Gay Ban Undermines the Military and Weakens America. Frank interviewed many high level military figures involved in establishing DADT and found they now admit it was based mostly on their prejudices at the time and now support its repeal. 

“The day that the leadership of the military comes to me and says, ‘Senator, we ought to change the policy,’ then I think we ought to consider seriously changing it.” – Senator John McCain, October 2006

“You don’t have to be straight to shoot straight.” – McCain’s political mentor Barry Goldwater (R-AZ, and as conservative as they come in Republican circles), quoted by Sen. Mark Udall (D-CO) at the hearing

“I look forward to hearing from the military exactly what they believe is the right way to have the right kind of cohesion and support in our troops and I listen to what they have to say.” – Republican Presidential candidate Mitt Romney, Nov. 2007

“They should be included in this. I am open-minded to what the military may suggest, but I can tell you, I’m not going to make policy based on a campaign rally.” — Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), Oct. 2009, adding that for a reversal of DADT to be successful, there would have to be a “buy-in by the military.”

“It is my personal belief that allowing gays and lesbians to serve openly would be the right thing to do… No matter how I look at the 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. For me personally, it comes down to integrity—theirs as individuals, and ours as an institution.” — Chairman of Joint Chiefs of Staff (appointed by George Bush) Admiral Mike Mullen testifying Feb. 2, 2010 before the Senate Armed Services Committee

“Admiral Mullen, I want to salute you for the courage of what you said.” – former Secretary of the Navy Sen. Jim Webb (D-VA)

“I think we have all expected this would come in time. My sense is that it isn’t a big deal among the other majors I am serving with, and even less so among junior soldiers. We have become accustomed to the idea that gays have served honorably alongside us for some time.” – Iraqi war veteran Maj. Neil Smith

“In the almost 17 years since the ‘don’t ask, don’t tell’ legislation was passed, attitudes and circumstances have changed. I fully support the new approach presented … this week by Secretary of Defense (Robert) Gates and Admiral Mullen.”  — Former Joint Chiefs of Staff Chair Colin Powell, who led the group of military leaders who opposed integrating gays into the military as originally proposed by President Clinton, resulting in development of DADT as a compromise

“You expect people to do their jobs and be competent. We’ve talked about it in my company of late. But the consensus is that it isn’t a big deal.” – A company commander who just returned from Afghanistan interviewed by the Post Feb. 2, 2010 on whether eliminating Don’t Ask Don’t Tell will have a negative impact on the troops

Admiral Mullen and Secretary Gates are both political appointees. They’re going to be biased. They’re going to say what the administration wants them to say.” — Rep. Duncan Hunter (R-CA), in spite of the facts that (1) Secretary Gates is a lifelong Republican who served under Ronald Reagan, George H.W. Bush, and George Bush, (2) Admiral Mullen was appointed Chairman of the Joint Chiefs by President Bush, and (3) neither man is the “go along to get along” type.

“At this moment of immense hardship for our armed services, we should not be seeking to overturn the ‘don’t ask, don’t tell policy.” – Senator John McCain, Feb. 2, 2010, declaring himself “disappointed with the testimony

“There has to be a determination from our military leaders that they think it is a good idea to change the policy; then, of course, Senator McCain will listen to them.” – McCain spokesperson Brooke Buchanan, shortly thereafter

     The GOP strategy for Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell

Isn’t working out very well.

It’s satisfying when your opponent gets caught faking

And gets hoisted on a petard of his own making.

     Republicans have been telling us for so long,

That when the military brass speaks, civilians should go along.

The GOP always with the brass agrees

Because the brass has the military expertise.

     But now the shoe is on the other foot,

And the latter in their collective mouth is put.

Admiral Mullen, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs

Has upset Republicans by revealing his beliefs.

     Mullen has come out strongly in favor

Of eliminating DADT, to great GOP disfavor.

Republicans accused him of trying to curry favor.

Their opposition makes him all the braver.

     He’s a Bush appointee and in his second term,

Which is all he can serve, so that should confirm

That he’s not “towing the line” to get appointed again.

If that’s not his reason, you ask, what, pray tell, could it be then?

     As Admiral Mullen himself eloquently upheld

Gays serving their country shouldn’t have to worry about being expelled.

He cited studies of other armies that show gays pose no threat

Unit cohesion and morale to upset.

     More than 13,500 people have been forced out under Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell,

Which especially in wartime doesn’t serve our country well.

Those brave soldiers so desperately needed were forced to become civilians;

To retrain them has cost the country hundreds of millions.

     Of the 11 Republicans on the panel, six didn’t even show.

McCain and the four others that did come got up early to go.

I guess they didn’t want to listen to things they don’t like to hear,

And when things don’t go there way, they disappear.

     A word of advice, if they want to ask me,

Which I’ll tell them happily:

If you don’t want to hear the answer, don’t ask the question.

If you’ve already made up your mind, don’t ask for a suggestion.

     Next time don’t ask the military what they propose

And when they don’t tell you what you want, flip-flop and oppose.

***

Here’s a selection of Daily Show episodes from 2/03/10, 10/06/09, 5/14/09 (including a special comment by John Oliver), 5/09/09, 7/28/08, 8/02/06, 1/17/05, and 9/29/99 on gays in the military.

The Daily Show With Jon Stewart Mon – Thurs 11p / 10c
A Few Gay Men & Women
www.thedailyshow.com
Daily Show
Full Episodes
Political Humor Health Care Crisis
The Daily Show With Jon Stewart Mon – Thurs 11p / 10c
The Gay After Tomorrow
www.thedailyshow.com
Daily Show
Full Episodes
Political Humor Health Care Crisis
The Daily Show With Jon Stewart Mon – Thurs 11p / 10c
Moral Kombat
www.thedailyshow.com
Daily Show
Full Episodes
Political Humor Health Care Crisis
The Daily Show With Jon Stewart Mon – Thurs 11p / 10c
Dan Choi Is Gay
www.thedailyshow.com
Daily Show
Full Episodes
Political Humor Health Care Crisis
The Daily Show With Jon Stewart Mon – Thurs 11p / 10c
Nathaniel Frank
www.thedailyshow.com
Daily Show
Full Episodes
Political Humor Health Care Crisis
The Daily Show With Jon Stewart Mon – Thurs 11p / 10c
Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell Hearing
www.thedailyshow.com
Daily Show
Full Episodes
Political Humor Health Care Crisis
The Daily Show With Jon Stewart Mon – Thurs 11p / 10c
Mess O’Potamia – Tossed in Translation
www.thedailyshow.com
Daily Show
Full Episodes
Political Humor Health Care Crisis
The Daily Show With Jon Stewart Mon – Thurs 11p / 10c
K.O. Computer
www.thedailyshow.com
Daily Show
Full Episodes
Political Humor Health Care Crisis
The Daily Show With Jon Stewart Mon – Thurs 11p / 10c
Headlines – God Save the Queens
www.thedailyshow.com
Daily Show
Full Episodes
Political Humor Health Care Crisis

The “go slow” view: Defense Secretary Gates also testified at the hearing in favor of repealing Don’t Ask Don’t Tell, but doesn’t want to “rush into” anything. Gates: Don’t rush to lift ban on gays in military (Washington Post 2/04/10) gives a well-reasoned analysis of this. On the one hand, I’m definitely opposed to delay for it’s own sake (I’m not saying Gates, Mullen, or Obama would countenance that, but there are many others who would), but on the other I understand the need to make major changes deliberately. My tolerance for delay is increased by the decision to scale back or delay DADT’s enforcement (see Military scaling back ‘don’t ask, don’t tell’).

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Posted in Freedoms, National Security, Republicans, What ails us | 3 Comments »

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3 Responses to “Don’t Ask, They Might Tell!”

  1. Newsericks » Blog Archive » Telephone (or, Gaga for Gaga) Says:

    […] (McCain previously said he’d support repeal if the generals did too, […]

  2. Newsericks » Blog Archive » Don’t Know, Don’t Care Says:

    […] follow up to Don’t Ask, They Might Tell and Don’t Debate, Don’t Vote, inspired by Senator John McCain’s tirade about the rectitude of […]

  3. Newsericks » Blog Archive » Chain Says:

    […] That when the military leadership supported repeal, you’d go along. […]

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