Anonymous Comments from Readers on DADT Repeal


dadt.jpegThis morning I sent this note out to about 7,000 people:

Dear Friends & Colleagues:

Senator Harry Reid
has committed himself to a cloture vote on repealing Don’t Ask Don’t Tell in the US Senate. The partner stand alone bill has already passed the US House of Representatives. Today, Saturday, could be a historic day when it comes to another notch in America’s civil rights history.
I have written some pieces pasted below on the subject that I want to forward to you. I recognize that not everyone is as interested as I am in this subject. Just delete if not your thing — but today’s vote is a big deal and would be a very big score for the nation as a whole, the US military, and for the Obama administration.
Thanks for reading – and all best to you for the holidays!
On the Don’t Ask Don’t Tell Fight Now:

Chatting with Joe Manchin on DADT
Corker’s Price on Nuclear Warhead Safety is Bigotry?

On these issues but written in earlier years:

When Intolerance Kills Christmas II: Why Should Gay US Soldiers Still Fear Saluting Barack Obama?
December 2009
When Intolerance Kills Christmas: My Gay Friend’s Holiday Story
December 2007

Steve Clemons
Publisher, The Washington Note
@SCClemons on Twitter

Here are some of the responses that have come in:
Response 1:

I agree fully with you on DADT. My generation is the closet generation. When I was in HS (1945-49) we had a group of lower class (no matter their parents’ income), thuggish Guys who actually did beat up a homosexual student and got away with it. When I was in the Army (1951-53) there were several homosexuals in our unit. We all knew them and didn’t give a damn as long as they did their job.
I have known several homosexual Professors who were good friends and excellent teachers or not, depending . . . But they were friends.
We have many people openly homosexual/lesbian in various professions who are superb at what they do.
Now, as a so called disclaimer, I have an emotional problem with homosexuality, largely due to my cultural background, but also due to being raped by a young man when I was 14.
However, as with any other form of Racism, I cannot allow emotion to rule! I, for the life of me, cannot see what skin color, language, culture, or sexual orientation has to do with what one is worth as a person. I was brought up to suppress prejudice and emotion and to use reason and logic, and usually I am successful. Anyone who holds National Policy hostage to Racism deserves the full approbation of society.
Unfortunately society all too often fosters that behavior.
Well, enough of that.
Thanks again for the help.

Response 2:

I agree it’s a big deal. I’ll be glued to the news today.
Gates (one of my heroes) has had his task forces, but the remaining implementation details are many and some will require legislative action to get it right. To name one, regulations need to be changed for such everyday, but important, issues as who to notify in case of the death of a soldier — current regs require notification of a gay soldier’s parents as next of kin, even though he/she may be married. There here are many more, some of which will require DOD to change regulations and some of which will require additional legislation. We’ll need to keep our attention on this space.
I spoke not long ago with a Lt Col. in the army who had been part of one of the Gates task forces on morale and unit cohesion in the field. He’d had responsibility at various levels for troops on the ground in both Iraq and Afghanistan and said that at no point in his army career had he ever been part of a unit, large or small, that did not have at least one gay soldier. He also said that he didn’t really know much about the gay political agenda, but that he did know a lot about the military and that the gay soldiers with whom he had served had been patriots and good soldiers and he couldn’t personally imagine why the country would not take advantage of their service.
Keeping my fingers crossed.

Response 3:

Interesting reading, and fingers crossed. And as a small added bonus, nice to be able to feel good again about Joe Lieberman at least for the time being!

Response 4:

As my great grandmother would have said, I’m keeping my fingers and toes crossed. …

Response 5:

Dear Steve,
One of my closest and dearest friends is Dixon Osburn, co-founder of SLDN. Today is his birthday and all he has asked for is repeal. It’s all I want for him, and the many others who’ve been removed from their calling to national service by the travesty of a law.
Should this happen, there will soon be a small but heartfelt celebration……and you’ll be included.
Keep talking about this your readers are educated by it regardless of they agree….
Your old friend

Response 6:

It will be great if at least one positive thing comes out of the lame duck.

Response 7:

Steve—two years from now, this will be a non-issue. Badly handled
from the beginning the issue should have been a matter of standards of
conduct under the UCMJ and the repeal of the idiotic sodomy provisions
still in it.
But as a good friend and former head Chinese spy here told me years
ago when he was being posted home, “it is good going back to a really
civilized country.”
The really big deal is START as DADT will be resolved. If START is
not passed, that will present some real problems and sadly the
Republican opposition over missile defense and warhead reliability is
nonsense too. But this is not a civilized nation.

Response 8:

Isn’t this exciting!!!

Thanks to everyone for these constructive and interesting comments. They continually flow in.
More soon — hopefully with historic news.
— Steve Clemons


11 comments on “Anonymous Comments from Readers on DADT Repeal

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  3. about time says:

    Well, perhaps the military could “deal” with the out of control incidence of sexual harassment of female soldiers as an indication that the military is at least on the right track in addressing issues that directly affect the integrity and effectiveness of our forces. Surely the “problems” associated with DADT can’t be insurmountably greater. Or, more ignored.


  4. nadine says:

    All I know is that our combat forces are already overstretched — and they told the Pentagon they don’t want to deal with the repeal of DADT (the questionnaire carefully avoided asking yes or no on the repeal itself, not wanting to get that answer).
    I just don’t share your confidence that policies imposed on the military by people who know little about the military at best, and are actively anti-military at worst, won’t negatively affect our forces.


  5. About time says:

    . . . and I’ll bet some of your best friends are gay too!
    No, seriously, nadine, you actually think that because the law is changing that human behavior is going to immediately change too? Hasn’t happened yet. But you choose to postulate only the worst happening as a result of some gay person acting out. I hardly think so, especially in the ‘macho’ military. I rather think that forms of gay intimdation will continue maybe even increase. Maybe you are blind to the informal ways gays are intimidated for even being suspected of being gay. Few intelligent gay persons will go out of his/her way to attract that sort of attention. And you know what, many gay people are far more sensitive to negative attitudes than you might know. So keep the foxhole in Afghanistan scenario in perspective. You and John McCain. If other Western nations can welcome gays in the military, the US can too. Possibly you think that American exceptionalism extends to some benighted realm I can’t even imagine.
    As to the Marine Corps’ supposed rabid opposition, well those jarheads can just man up if they’re so proud of their fealty to following orders. Last I checked they were still under the Constitution.


  6. nadine says:

    questions, isn’t it nice to be so absolutely sure that everything will be hunky-dory in a foxhole in Afghanistan? Combat is not like office work.
    If you ask me, would I have a problem working with a lesbian? absolutely not. Would I have a problem sharing a bed and a studio apartment with a open lesbian? um, probably. The second situation is closer to combat conditions than the first…
    What particularly worries me is the amount of PC flowing top-down in this army. Take the Major Nidal Hassan case, for example. Note: I am NOT comparing being homosexual in any way to being a jihadi; the Hassan case just provides an extreme example of PC run amok.
    Hassan was an army psychiatrist who literally gave a Powerpoint to his fellow officers explaining why he would turn against them and wage jihad. Nobody reported it, knowing it was a career-ending move to do so. Then Major Hassan committed mass murder while shouting Allahu Akhbar! The Army report AFTER THE FACT tried to look every which way but the obvious direction for his motivation. Even after the fact, they couldn’t cite ideological radical Islam as the culprit! How much PC does it take to do that?
    What might happen in combat brigades, if the same see-no-evil-hear-no-evil mentality is applied to any gay solider whose behavior creates disruptions? The one thing you can say about the current gay soldiers is that because of DADT, they have had to be discreet. That may not be true in future.


  7. questions says:

    “Very real fears” are generally not, ummm, very real.
    One of the data points in the study is that those who knowingly serve with known gays and lesbians knowingly know that they know that they are fine.
    Knowing vs. fear….. I’ll side with knowing on this one.
    Please, know also, by the way, that the end of DADT is a process not a product. There will be a phase in, several months of reports and reports on the reports. People will make power points, charts, and graphs.
    There will be counseling, there will be C.R. groups toasting marshmallows over fires in the evening, tellings of ghost stories that will include gay ghosts…..
    In short, everyone knows that everyone knows that in the end, there isn’t an issue here, but we will all behave as if there is an issue in deference to those who have “very real fears.”
    It’ll be ok. People can cope with many many adverse life adventures. Even, good lord, serving with open gays and lesbians — which isn’t even adverse when you get down to it.
    We have odd fantasy structures that make us fear all sorts of odd things. It’s time to get over this one, at any rate.


  8. nadine says:

    Steve, I would have felt better if you had at least addressed the fact that 40% to 60% of the combat arms think repeal of DADT will significantly harm morale and reduce reenlistment — and this comes from a Pentagon study that was skewed to produce the most positive possible result for repeal.
    I’ve seen the Left do a lot of boo-hooing over the sufferings of our combat troops when it suited their agenda – the repeated deployments, the trauma, the PTSD, the mental illness, the suicides, the horror! – and so on and so forth, all in service of the Left’s anti-war policies.
    But let our combat troops express an opinion contrary to the Leftist Agenda, and they are told to sit down, shut up, and stop being “medieval”.
    Did this have to be done right now, in the midst of two protracted wars?
    Of course, the timing was entirely political. Obama really needed to throw a sop to his base. So much for concern for the troops.
    I can only hope the very real fears expressed in the Pentagon study turn out to be overblown, and that the military is not ordered to accept behavior from gay soldiers that would not be tolerated from straight ones, for the sake of PC. With this administration, I have little confidence of that.


  9. questions says:

    “The Senate voted Saturday to proceed to debate on a bill ending the military’s “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy, putting the campaign to end the ban on gay men and lesbians one vote away from completion.
    Senators voted 63 to 33 go proceed to debate on the bill. Fifty-seven members of the Senate Democratic caucus and six Republicans — Sens. Scott Brown (Mass.), Susan Collins (Maine), Mark Kirk (Ill.), Lisa Murkowski (Alaska), Olympia Snowe (Maine) and George Voinovich (Ohio) — voted yes. Four senators — Jim Bunning (R-Ky.), Judd Gregg (R-N.H.), Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) and Joe Manchin III (D-W. Va.) — did not vote.”
    I am truly happy that this group of Republicans crossed the aisle to side with justice.
    Be proud that you did this, look in your kids’ eyes.
    And at that moment, remember that there is much more to justice than this one vote, and you really need to get past partisan triumphalism and tribalism. There are some things that are simply right to do, regardless of party loyalty.
    The rightness of your actions is what will keep you from feasting on your children.
    Keep the Myth of Er in mind. It is the ultimate judgment of your soul.


  10. questions says:

    63-33 according to HuffPo!!!!!!!!
    Congratulations to all who voted the right way! Congratulations to all who deserve respect. Congratulations to Barack Obama who did this the right way, keeping Gates in, letting the process and social readiness and endless task forces and reports ease the social anxiety of those who aren’t always ready to see the world in the right light.
    Congratulations to the Senate for at least occasionally being on the right side of history. I know it can be painful sometimes, and I know it’s easier to do things when it’s overdetermined that they need to be done.
    There is much work to do. We are never done with our labor on the world.


  11. PissedOffAmerican says:

    Its amazing how some banners get waved, while ignoring others. The repeal of DADT is, like questions says below, a no brainer. Its simply the right thing to do.
    But after the gays are allowed to serve openly in our military, to wage the criminal wars that our leaders deceive us into launching, will we be as vocal about their illnesses caused by DU dust, and a myriad of other toxins our government will claim has done them no harm? And what about when they land in missions begging a meal after having ventured out from their sidewalk abodes of cardboard boxes????
    Will we see a comparable chain of postings from Steve Clemons, demanding that we take care of these patriots in the manner they deserve? Somehow I doubt it. Just like their straight counterparts, they will be “Use once, than throw away”.
    Food for thought, Steve. What battle will you fight on thier behalf after you have won this one? Or will you abandon them, just like Joe Lieberman and the rest of the scum you laud will do?
    Lieberman doesn’t give a shit about gays, or right, or wrong. Its ALL politics, and he’ll do whatever politics demand of him. Yeah, he’ll let them serve openly. Then he’ll send them to die for lies, empire, and misplaced loyalties. And after they get out, damaged and emotionally crippled, he’ll piss on ’em. Its simply the way its done in DC.
    You gonna laud this sack of shit Lieberman when he asks them to die in Iran on Israel’s bidding? He will, you know. All Israel need do is give him the order.


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