Feb 8, 2010

Listen to the Generals on the ground and kill don’t ask, don’t tell

Remember not too long ago when anyone who talked about strategy in the war in Afghanistan or the unnecessary war in Iraq, the Republicans response was to “listen to the Generals on the ground.”

But they are ignoring their own advice when it comes to the discriminatory "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" policy prohibiting gays from serving openly in the military. The Senate Armed Services Committee took testimony last week on the issue, and military commanders and civilians from Defense Secretary Robert Gates to Adm. Mike Mullen, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said they supported President Obama's decision to do away with the ridiculous and outdated policy.

"I cannot escape being troubled by the fact that we have in place a policy that forces young men and women to lie about who they are in order to defend their fellow citizens," Mullen said. "For me, personally, it comes down to integrity -- theirs as individuals and ours as an institution."

We have become accustomed to the hysteria on anything having to do with gays from the right and Republicans, and the hysteria and hypocrisy coming from Republicans did not disappoint.

Former Navy pilot Sen. John McCain‘s reaction was stunning.

In October of 2006 he had this to say on the don‘t ask, policy: "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," McCain said to an audience of Iowa State University students.

That day came last week, but McCain flip-flopped. In response, McCain declared himself "disappointed" in the testimony, according to the Washington Post. "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," he said bluntly, before describing it as "imperfect but effective."

Obliviously he’s facing a primary election, and he has to veer to the right.

The criticism from the Republicans on the committee is just ridiculous. I have heard them saying the military is not the place “for a social experiment.” That’s sounds like the reaction on July 26, 1948, when President Harry S. Truman issued a then-controversial executive order that called for "equality of treatment for all persons in the armed services, without regard to race, color, religion or national origin."

I spent 20 years in the Navy, and for anyone to say there are not gays in the military is stupid or they have their head in the sand. It is working fine in the armed services of some of biggest allies, like Australia, Great Britain and Norway, and it will work fine here.

The military has survived and thrived with women in traditional combat roles, and the military will not skip a beat when it does the right thing and repeals “don’t ask, don’t tell.”

I don’t know they will accomplish getting rid of that discriminatory policy, but to quote a famous sales pitch, just do it.


Labrador Blue Dog said...

It doesn't really matter that it works in other militaries- what matters is whether or not OUR military is ready. I believe it is- our miltiary today asked one question- can you do the job? If the answer is yes- then we need that man or woman to serve. Period.

It's time to change the policy. It's time to listen to the troops, and the leadership of the military, and do the right thing.

I am holding Senator Levin accountable here-- it's his committee that is holding hearings. It's up to him to draft the right legislation to move things along.

Communications guru said...

I agree with you to a point. Like you, I believe it’s ready, and has been for some years. But the fact of the matter is, doing the right thing trumps whether they are ready or not.