NYT: Obama DOJ’s stay cites Robert Gates desire to consider separate facilities for gays

Posted on 17 Oct 2010 at 2:44am

Oh boy, here comes the influence of Robert Gates and Company again…floating as justification the spectre of separate barracks because of privacy issues and some kind of “religious objections” to working with the same gays and lesibians they are already working with now. (NYT):

Although President Obama and the Pentagon’s top leaders have all said they want the law repealed, the Justice Department on Thursday asked Judge Phillips to stay her injunction while it files an appeal.

As justification, the administration made overheated claims that a precipitous change in wartime would have adverse effects on morale, good order, discipline and unit cohesion. Those are the same specious arguments used to justify the benighted policy in the first place. The administration wants to leave it in place while it finishes a study on how to carry out a repeal.

Clifford Stanley, the under secretary of defense for personnel and readiness, said in a court filing that ending the antigay policy would require training, and reworking regulations on issues like housing, benefits and standards of conduct. He said the Army had to consider the “rights and obligations of the chaplain corps.” Secretary of Defense Robert Gates said the military had to consider whether barracks should be segregated and whether partners of gay soldiers should have benefits.

This sounds disturbingly like the creation of a “separate but equal” system. The armed forces do not need to be protected from their gay and lesbian personnel. The military has always had its own culture and rules of behavior, but it has not been living in a cave.

Excuse me, who is Commander-in-Chief? And let’s wind the Blend clock back to July, when a harried Pentagon spokesbot Geoff Morrell said that reporters had it all wrong — separate facilities were not on the table

I guess it’s time to measure and order those shower curtains…

Igor Volsky @ Think Progress spoke with Department of Defense spokesperson Geoff Morrell, who probably had a knife at his back from the Pentagon brass to “clarify” his earlier statement that suggested segregated facilities might be one answer to handle straight service members with modesty issues.

In an interview with Morrell this afternoon, the Pentagon spokesman told the Wonk Room that his comments were twisted and taken out of context and vehemently denied that the Defense Department was considering segregating the troops. “So what I said, I used the term ‘facilities adjustments’ and I think people have gotten carried away as to what that could mean,” he began:

MORRELL: So, when I was asked, about the, you know – this is in the context of “why are you even asking these questions?” – well, we’re asking these questions because in our engagements with the force thus far, this has been an area of some concern. Now we need to test it to see if that holds for-if it really reflects the concerns of the force, and which members of the force. Is it older members? Is it younger members? Are they, you know-which ones? And, and then along with this information, the working group will make some recommendations about how to deal with those concerns. It could be, as I said, who knows? This could be dealt with through education programs, through training programs, or it may require “facilities adjustments.” But no one, no one is considering “separate but equal” bathing or living facilities for you know, gay and straight troops. That’s just not ever a consideration.

Q: So that’s off the table.

MORRELL: Absolutely off the table.

…MORRELL: Well we’re gonna have to figure out how we overcome that. Whether it’s through additional training or education or recruiting techniques – I can’t tell you what the working group may or may not come up with. This is not in any way intended for us to find potential landmines that would cause us not to proceed with a repeal, but rather is to edify us about the kinds of challenges associated with repeal that would need to be dealt with post-repeal. I guess what I don’t understand here is why you and some of these others who are writing on this issue can’t take what we say at face value.

Oh lord have mercy. Since Obama has taken office, all we’ve had from the Administration and the Pentagon is a delay and deny pantomime, from Robert Gibbs feigned ignorance at the podium, to letters from Sec Def Gates to Congress trying to stop votes on repeal until the report is completed. Yes, trust them.

So in desperation to restore DADT while this case is on appeal, this administration is throwing anything against the wall, including BS it previously said was “off the table.” Again, the hand of Gates is driving this show, and the boldness is epic in the face of prior statements of his own Pentagon PR machine.  
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