Kinder and gentler bigotry: Gates makes it little bit harder to discharge gays

I’m sorry, but either we are a threat to morale and cohesion or we’re not. But for Secretary Gates to claim that there will be “enormous consequences” if we let gays serve before his little study is done, and then say that he’s making it harder to kick gays out, would seem rather contradictory. Either it’s a problem having us there or it’s not. But Gates can’t play the game of testifying that we’re not a problem, then telling the court we are, and now once again suggesting we’re not (so more of us can stay, but not everyone!)

This is supposed to appease you. But I fear it’s too little too late. New DADT discharges aren’t what’s driving the community’s anger on this issue – not anymore. The discharges have already slowed down during Obama’s term, it didn’t defuse a thing. People aren’t pissed that too many gay service members are being kicked out, they’re pissed that the promises are not being kept, period. I don’t think this change will help calm things down one bit.




AMERICAblog Gay

—  admin

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

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Although President Obama and the Pentagon’s top leaders have all said they want the law repealed, the Justice Department on Thursday asked Judge Phillips to stay her injunction while it files an appeal.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

Palm Center calls out Gates – nearly 36 hours since DADT struck down, no ‘enormous consequences’

When our own Secretary of Defense starts to play the drama queen, you have to start wondering just what’s motivating him. Aaron Belkin of the Palm Center rightfully calls out Gates:

Palm Center Director Aaron Belkin had this reaction:

“Today, Defense Secretary Robert Gates declared that a federal court’s injunction of ‘don’t ask, don’t tell’ would have ‘enormous consequences for our troops.’ Secretary Gates added that permitting gay and lesbian troops to serve openly ‘is an action that requires careful preparation and a lot of training.’

“With all due respect, Mister Secretary, implementing repeal of DADT is not difficult, and you should stop saying that it is. Indeed, there were no reports of enormous consequences for the troops yesterday after the ban was suspended. There were no reports of problems today.

As you well know, gays and lesbians are serving honorably and openly today alongside their straight peers. For this reason, and as the RAND Corporation found in 1993, the lifting of a gay ban is not difficult if leaders insist that troops work together. A protracted process involving ‘a lot of training’ is not needed.”

It’s pretty clear the Secretary of Defense holds the troops in low esteem. He keeps warning about how dire it will be to give them a simple order. Funny, I always figured we had the best military in the world, yet all those other countries, including Britain and Israel, have let the gays serve without a problem. Yet when it comes to the US military, Secretary Gates would like us to think all hell would break loose. I don’t know about you, but I think more highly of our military than that. Too bad our own Secretary of Defense doesn’t.




AMERICAblog Gay

—  John Wright

Respectfully, screw you Secretary Gates

On September 29, Defense Secretary Robert Gates addressed Duke University. He made some admirable observations about the pool of military recruits that, demographically, is perhaps not as representative of America as would be ideal. He alludes that a better educated recruitment pool might be better equipped to face the high-tech challenges of a 21st century military. He pinpoints a problem, but neatly sidesteps his own responsibility in working toward a solution.

Gates, from Department of Defense transcript:

University faculty and administrators banned ROTC from many elite campuses during the Vietnam War and continued to bar the military based on the “don’t ask, don’t tell” law, with Duke being a notable and admirable exception, with your three host programs.

I’m encouraged that several other comparable universities, at the urging of some of their most prominent alumni, including the president of the United States, are at least reconsidering their position on military recruiting and officer training, a situation that has been neither good for the academy or the country.

But a return of ROTC back to some of these campuses will not do much good without the willingness of our nation’s most gifted students to step forward Men and women such as you.  One does not need to look too hard to find Duke exemplars of selflessness and sacrifice.

Respectfully, screw you Secretary Gates. As Washington Post’s Jonathan Capeheart rightly points out:

Many colleges and universities bar the ROTC because of the military’s shameful and discriminatory ban on gay men and lesbians to serve openly in the armed forces.

You, Secretary Gates, have more power than any single human on Earth to get the military ROTC programs back on many of the campuses of the United States. The solution is simple: put some effort into doing what you say you want to do: help repeal “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.”

One press conference from you, telling America you are not able to properly recruit the army you need because of this shameful and arcane policy and it would be gone. Imagine if Bush’s Republican Defense Secretary were to shame the GOP and John McCain on their obstructionism. If you were to focus the public’s attention on the harm they are doing to America’s National Security and your efforts to run a 21st century military the resistance would be cut off at the knees.

One press conference from you telling the Senate, vote now, vote for repeal and the dominoes of obstructionism would surely fall.

But instead you work at delaying and undermining and sabotaging the repeal efforts. You remain silent as the vote failed in the Senate, telegraphing your tacit approval to the Senate and the country.

And now you’re whining because LGBT advocates found a tool that effectively applies pressure to the Pentagon to do what’s right, to do what the American people want you to do. What all our allies did long ago.

Screw you and your whining. It only underscores why these ROTC campus bans are effective and must continue until the military agrees to honor LGB servicemembers appropriately for their selfless service to our country. And it is dismaying–but not surprising–to hear President Barack Obama is working to undermine the ROTC campus bans before he fulfills his promise to Lt. Col. Farhenbach and every LGB servicemember.
Pam’s House Blend – Front Page

—  John Wright

Obama Yielded to Gates on DADT Repeal

ROBERT GATES 20100520 X390 (GETTY) | ADVOCATE.COMLacking military experience and burdened by two wars and domestic problems, President Obama yielded to Defense Secretary Robert Gates, who pursued a slow pace on repealing the “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy.
Advocate.com: Daily News

—  John Wright

NYT: Obama let Gates ‘set a slow pace in overturning’ DADT

You may recall that on April 30, 2010, Secretary of Defense Robert Gates sent a “strongly worded” letter to Capitol Hill making it clear that he did not want legislative action on the repeal of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell this year. That confirmed what SLDN had been hearing via “multiple reports” from Capitol Hill: Obama administration officials had been urging Congress not to vote on DADT this year.

It was Obama who repeatedly promised to end DADT — and he reaffirmed that commitment in his State of the Union. But, Obama has let Gates set the agenda on DADT:

Mr. Obama has relied on Mr. Gates as his ambassador to the military and deferred to him repeatedly. When Mr. Gates wanted to force out Gen. David D. McKiernan in May 2009 as commander in Afghanistan in favor of Gen. Stanley A. McChrystal, Mr. Obama signed off. Likewise, cognizant of Bill Clinton’s ill-fated effort to end the ban on gay and lesbian soldiers, Mr. Obama let Mr. Gates set a slow pace in overturning the “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy, even though it has disappointed gay rights advocates.

Yes, that “slow pace” it has indeed disappointed gay rights advocates. We’re going to be even more disappointed — actually quite angry — if the compromise DADT repeal language isn’t signed into law this year. The looming problem is that the “slow pace” set by Gates may take us into the next Congress. And, if Democrats lose control of the House, there will be no repeal.

Let’s hope Jim Messina, who (along with CAP’s Winnie Stachelberg) concocted the DADT repeal compromise, has a strategy to make sure the Defense Authorization bill, which contains the DADT repeal language, is signed by the President this year. The GOPers are going to do their part to prevent that from happening.




AMERICAblog Gay

—  John Wright

Robert Gates Seeks Retirement in 2011

Defense Secretary Robert Gates will be stepping down from his cabinet post in 2011.
Daily News

—  John Wright

Would he or wouldn't he? He did – and he didn't

Would President Barack Obama address the issue of the military’s anti-gay “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy when he delivered his first state of the union address tonight? And if he did, how far would he go?

Those were the questions national LGBT activists were asking in the days leading up to the president’s speech tonight. The answers? Yes — and no.

The man who during his campaign described himself as a “fierce advocate” of the LGBT community tonight once again called on Congress to repeal DADT. But he didn’t say anything about suspending discharges under the policy until it can be repealed. And he didn’t set any deadline for addressing the issue.

“This year I will work with Congress and our military to finally repeal the law that denies gay Americans the right to serve the country they love because of who they are. It’s the right thing to do,” the president said.

His statement drew a standing ovation from Congress and Defense Secretary Robert Gates. But many LGBT activists were not impressed.

Richard Socarides, an advisor to former President Bill Clinton – the man who signed DADT into law – told The Washington Post that just talking about ending the ban “without a moratorium on the witch hunts and expulsions and without even a plan for future action just won’t cut it. Look, we are not second-class citizens and our rights are not second-term problems.”

National Gay and Lesbian Task Force Executive Director Rea Carey said: “The time for broad statements is over. The time to get down to business is overdue. We wish we had heard him speak of concrete steps tonight.”

So, tell us what you think. Was it enough? Or should he have gone further? Is this the issue to push the president on now? What do you think?

—  admin