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Report of the Comprehensive Review of the Issues Associated with a Repeal of "Don't Ask, Don't Tell"
November 30, 2010 11:35 AM   Subscribe

Slightly ahead of schedule, the Pentagon has released its Report of the Comprehensive Review of the Issues Associated with a Repeal of "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" (PDF).
posted by Joe Beese (136 comments total) 15 users marked this as a favorite

 
Hyper-Executive Summary:
Based on all we saw and heard, our assessment is that, when coupled with the prompt implementation of the recommendations we offer below, the risk of repeal of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell to overall military effectiveness is low. We conclude that, while a repeal of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell will likely, in the short term, bring about some limited and isolated disruption to unit cohesion and retention, we do not believe this disruption will be widespread or long-lasting, and can be adequately addressed by the recommendations we offer below. Longer term, with a continued and sustained commitment to core values of leadership, professionalism, and respect for all, we are convinced that the U.S. military can adjust and accommodate this change, just as it has others in history
posted by East Manitoba Regional Junior Kabaddi Champion '94 at 11:38 AM on November 30, 2010 [27 favorites]


I wonder how long it'll take John McCain to say 'This report isn't convincing enough.'
posted by ao4047 at 11:39 AM on November 30, 2010 [20 favorites]


... in the event of repeal, we do not recommend that the Department of Defense place sexual orientation alongside race, color, religion, sex, and national origin as a class eligible for various diversity programs, tracking initiatives, and the Military Equal Opportunity program complaint resolution processes.
posted by Joe Beese at 11:40 AM on November 30, 2010


Hyper-Executive Summary:

Is that the version Obama gets after a sugar binge?
posted by shakespeherian at 11:40 AM on November 30, 2010 [9 favorites]


I wonder how long it'll take John McCain to say 'This report isn't convincing enough.'

We need a three year study to figure out how to implement the recommendations.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 11:43 AM on November 30, 2010 [2 favorites]


I wonder how long it'll take John McCain to say 'This report isn't convincing enough.'

Not long.

"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 because those leaders in the military are the ones we give the responsibility to."

-- Sen. McCain, in an interview on Hardball in 2006
posted by East Manitoba Regional Junior Kabaddi Champion '94 at 11:43 AM on November 30, 2010 [3 favorites]


a04047: "I wonder how long it'll take John McCain to say 'This report isn't convincing enough.'"

You have to hand it to him, the man wastes no time getting on the wrong side of history.
posted by mullingitover at 11:44 AM on November 30, 2010 [20 favorites]


On the safety of gays and lesbians when DADT is repealed:

Me, on MetaFilter, on this topic 2 weeks ago:

[T]hen...gay and lesbian people will be able to, like they do in every other part of their life, make the decision if where they are at is safe for them to come out or not.

Today's report:

In today’s civilian society, where there is no law that requires gay men and lesbians
to conceal their sexual orientation in order to keep their job, most gay men and lesbians
still tend to be discrete about their personal lives, and guarded about the people with whom
they share information about their sexual orientation. We believe that, in the military
environment, this would be true even more so.


I'm not sure if this makes me happy or sad.
posted by MCMikeNamara at 11:44 AM on November 30, 2010 [1 favorite]


Oh and John McCain, it gets worse.
posted by mullingitover at 11:45 AM on November 30, 2010 [11 favorites]


John McCain PSA: 'It Gets Worse' For You.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 11:46 AM on November 30, 2010 [5 favorites]


Slightly ahead of schedule

*falls dead of shock*
posted by hermitosis at 11:46 AM on November 30, 2010


Military study asks; tells.
posted by (Arsenio) Hall and (Warren) Oates at 11:46 AM on November 30, 2010 [13 favorites]


*shakes fist impotently @mullingitover*
posted by furiousxgeorge at 11:46 AM on November 30, 2010 [3 favorites]


... we do not, at this time, recommend that the Department of Defense and the Services revise their regulations to specifically add same-sex committed relationships to the definition of “dependent,” “family member,” or other similar term, for purposes of extending benefits eligibility.

... If, simultaneous with repeal, the Department of Defense creates a new category of unmarried dependent or family member reserved only for same-sex relationships, the Department of Defense itself would be creating a new inequity—between unmarried, committed same-sex couples and unmarried, committed opposite-sex couples.

posted by Joe Beese at 11:47 AM on November 30, 2010


In this continuing charade it might be noted that we have thousands of gays in our military. They are not problem. But what the "law" for them is Do Not Ask them if they are Gay (they know, you are not to know); and do not tell anyone, unless there is a personal reason. That is, gays have always functioned well in our military and non-gays have not had an issue. The repeal is meant simply to take away the simplistic legalism. Gates on tv was funny. He gave us the stats on the polling and then noted that in our system we do not poll. What the non-poll was, he said, was to see if it could be implemented and do find this out we had to ask (that is, poll).
posted by Postroad at 11:48 AM on November 30, 2010



a04047: "I wonder how long it'll take John McCain to say 'This report isn't convincing enough.'"

You have to hand it to him, the man wastes no time getting on the wrong side of history.


Yeah, you have to wonder if, since he's never going to be President, he's trying to make a name for himself as the loudest dude on the wrong side.

Like "Board of Education" or "Wade" or "Sanford" before him, maybe he's decided immortality is better than, you know, morality.
posted by MCMikeNamara at 11:49 AM on November 30, 2010 [3 favorites]


That's somewhat unexpected. Perfectly sensible, but unexpected...
posted by Windopaene at 11:49 AM on November 30, 2010


(that came out wrong -- I obviously don't feel that the examples I gave were doing it for historical notoriety.)
posted by MCMikeNamara at 11:50 AM on November 30, 2010


most gay men and lesbians still tend to be discrete about their personal lives

It's tragic how DADT has pushed so many gay and lesbian copyeditors out of the military.
posted by jedicus at 11:51 AM on November 30, 2010 [47 favorites]


If, simultaneous with repeal, the Department of Defense creates a new category of unmarried dependent or family member reserved only for same-sex relationships, the Department of Defense itself would be creating a new inequity—between unmarried, committed same-sex couples and unmarried, committed opposite-sex couples.

You know, there's a way to fix that particular problem, a way that many homosexuals would be quite happy with...
posted by jedicus at 11:52 AM on November 30, 2010 [22 favorites]


"I'm paying attention to the commandant of the Marine Corps," he [McCain] said. "I'm paying attention to the other three service chiefs who have serious concerns. They are the four guys who are directly in charge. In all due respect, the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs is not directly in charge of the troops. The Secretary of Defense is a political appointee who's never been in the military. And the president, obviously, has had no background or experience in the military whatsoever.

Weird how it is always about "chain of command" and shit, and when it is not convenient, suddenly it is about the soldiers' opinion.
posted by vidur at 11:53 AM on November 30, 2010 [3 favorites]


We'll see if this successfully shifts the news cycle away from wikileaks.
posted by rhizome at 11:54 AM on November 30, 2010


most gay men and lesbians still tend to be discrete about their personal lives,

Christ almighty. Discreet. Did no one proof this report?
posted by rtha at 11:55 AM on November 30, 2010 [1 favorite]


The estimated cost depends to a significant degree on which benefits and support
resources are refashioned to have a “member-designated” eligibility...

... the Working Group estimated... a total net annual cost estimate of $30–$40 million.


Fiscal irresponsibility!
posted by Joe Beese at 11:56 AM on November 30, 2010


Weird how it is always about "chain of command" and shit, and when it is not convenient, suddenly it is about the soldiers' opinion.

Weird how there's always a Joe Lieberman willing to take up the "irrational shit-disturber" mantle.
posted by rhizome at 11:56 AM on November 30, 2010 [2 favorites]


With McCain's wife and daughter both being vocally pro-gay-rights, I doubt McCain will ultimately stand in the way of implementing it. I'm sure he'll put up a fuss about it to please his constituency, but he won't filibuster a repeal.
posted by empath at 11:57 AM on November 30, 2010


Sorry, but given the current (and past) violence against gay men, do you really think it's a good idea to come out in a hyper-macho workplace where pretty much everyone is armed, dangerous, and enjoys fighting? If I were a gay man in the military, I'd seriously consider staying silent about what my feelings were.
Hell, Judge Joe Rehyansky called out for "corrective rape" against lesbian soldiers last week.
posted by Old'n'Busted at 11:57 AM on November 30, 2010 [2 favorites]


Christ almighty. Discreet. Did no one proof this report?

TIL that 'discrete' and 'discreet' are two different words.
posted by empath at 11:59 AM on November 30, 2010 [5 favorites]


we do not, at this time, recommend that the Department of Defense and the Services revise their regulations to specifically add same-sex committed relationships to the definition of “dependent,” “family member,” or other similar term, for purposes of extending benefits eligibility.

Joe, I'm with you that this isn't the way it should be, but were you really expecting the Pentagon to be the ones to press forward on this? I'm not trying to be combative, but the point of the study was to describe the possible effects of allowing gay soldiers to be open about their sexuality, not to prescribe further steps. There won't be equal treatment for gay civil servants, military or otherwise, without an overturn of DoMA, and this report was never going to change that.
posted by saturday_morning at 11:59 AM on November 30, 2010


empath: "With McCain's wife and daughter both being vocally pro-gay-rights, I doubt McCain will ultimately stand in the way of implementing it."

This is true. He really thinks the world of Cindy.
posted by mullingitover at 12:01 PM on November 30, 2010 [2 favorites]


If I were a gay man in the military, I'd seriously consider staying silent about what my feelings were.

Well, then, good thing the proposal isn't suggesting gay men in the military will be forced to reveal their sexual preferences.
posted by (Arsenio) Hall and (Warren) Oates at 12:02 PM on November 30, 2010 [6 favorites]




That discrete gaffe is pretty funny. Or should I say discreet gaff?
I suppose that the largest actual "problem" that they may end up having is the issue of partner benefits, which I suppose they'll sideskirt somehow. Could they get away with simply recognizing marriages from those states where it's legal? Jesus, all this ridiculous convolution over nothing.

New drill sergeant bit not as catchy: "Only two things come out of Oklahoma, steers and...tornadoes"
posted by Red Loop at 12:02 PM on November 30, 2010 [1 favorite]


Joe, I'm with you that this isn't the way it should be, but were you really expecting the Pentagon to be the ones to press forward on this?

I was expecting "separate showers for the queers". On the whole, I'm pleasantly surprised by this document.
posted by Joe Beese at 12:03 PM on November 30, 2010


It's not just a simplistic legalism. While the military can't go down the ranks and ask, "are you gay?" it can start disciplinary action based on credible reports from third parties or information discovered as part of a security-clearance investigation.
posted by KirkJobSluder at 12:04 PM on November 30, 2010 [1 favorite]




Joe Beese: "I was expecting "separate showers for the queers"."


From page 12:
Some went so far to suggest that
a repeal of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell may even require separate bathroom and shower facilities
for gay men and lesbians. We disagree, and recommend against separate facilities. Though
many regard the very discussion of this topic as offensive, given the number of Service
members who raised it, we are obliged to address it.

posted by Red Loop at 12:05 PM on November 30, 2010


TIL that 'discrete' and 'discreet' are two different words.

TIL I learned what TIL means.

The joke about gay copy editors being drummed out is particularly funny because, at least in my day, gays grew up (and, after a quick search of Craigslist M4m just now, still do) learning to spell (or at least read) that word for classified hook-ups.


(And discriminating against guys, no matter how hot, when they didn't know the difference. Oh wait, that was just me. Never mind then.)

posted by MCMikeNamara at 12:05 PM on November 30, 2010


You guys are right. The possibility that some service members might be uncomfortable around, or attempt to provoke, gay and lesbian soldiers leads to the inevitable conclusion that gay and lesbian should not be allowed to openly serve in the military.
posted by (Arsenio) Hall and (Warren) Oates at 12:09 PM on November 30, 2010


Sorry, but given the current (and past) violence against gay men, do you really think it's a good idea to come out in a hyper-macho workplace where pretty much everyone is armed, dangerous, and enjoys fighting? If I were a gay man in the military, I'd seriously consider staying silent about what my feelings were.

As a member of the military, I'm here to tell you that you don't have a good understanding of the military.

Anyway, I know plenty of gay and lesbian servicemen, and many who are "open secrets". And as the report says, most service members would be okay with the repeal and wouldn't put up too much resistance (especially not armed resistance).

If, simultaneous with repeal, the Department of Defense creates a new category of unmarried dependent or family member reserved only for same-sex relationships, the Department of Defense itself would be creating a new inequity—between unmarried, committed same-sex couples and unmarried, committed opposite-sex couples.

I agree. Since gay marriage doesn't exist on the federal level right now, it sucks, but it's reasonable. I wonder why they're not pushing the civil union angle as a place where official partners receive benefits.

In today’s civilian society, where there is no law that requires gay men and lesbians
to conceal their sexual orientation in order to keep their job, most gay men and lesbians
still tend to be discrete (sic) about their personal lives, and guarded about the people with whom they share information about their sexual orientation. We believe that, in the military
environment, this would be true even more so.


Although some see this as sad, it actually is assuaging a major fear that most in the military had: that gays would be free to "shove it in your face". The report states that this will not happen, and that if anything, homosexual service members would be less likely to talk about their sex lives in front of you than the airman who is bragging about the chicks that he banged last night.
posted by Lord Chancellor at 12:09 PM on November 30, 2010 [10 favorites]


Well, then, good thing the proposal isn't suggesting gay men in the military will be forced to reveal their sexual preferences.

No, it gives them the idea that doing so will no longer hurt their military career, so they would be more likely to do so. But the sad reality is that it will be more likely to hurt them via their co-workers.
posted by Old'n'Busted at 12:09 PM on November 30, 2010


In the words of one gay Service member, repeal would simply “take a knife out of my back....You have no idea what it is like to have to serve in silence.” Most said they did not desire special treatment, to use the military for social experimentation, or to advance a social agenda. Some of those separated under Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell would welcome the opportunity to rejoin the military if permitted. From them, we heard expressed many of the same values that we heard over and over again from Service members at large—love of country, honor, respect, integrity, and service over self. We simply cannot square the reality of these people with the perceptions about “open” service.

This thing is surprisingly readable and quite adamant. Like.
posted by kittyprecious at 12:09 PM on November 30, 2010 [4 favorites]


No, it gives them the idea that doing so will no longer hurt their military career, so they would be more likely to do so.

Do you speak for all gay and lesbian soldiers in all branches of the military, or only for yourself?
posted by (Arsenio) Hall and (Warren) Oates at 12:11 PM on November 30, 2010


My Executive Summary:

While I'm still annoyed that the government has to spend millions of dollars to come to the conclusion that if I were to serve, I wouldn't get a boner in the shower, it's still comforting to read this thing.
posted by MCMikeNamara at 12:12 PM on November 30, 2010 [1 favorite]


"In all due respect, the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs is not directly in charge of the troops. The Secretary of Defense is a political appointee who's never been in the military. And the president, obviously, has had no background or experience in the military whatsoever."

Absolutely. As stated in the constitution, the true Commander-in-Chief is the highest-ranking official who has military experience.

You know who that is, obviously.

It's President Pro Tempore Senator Inouye of Hawaii of course. The buck stops with Senator Inouye.

Unfortunately we never got to learn Senator Inouye's ruling because Senator McCain filibustered the bill which would repeal the law, thereby preventing debate. Oh well.
posted by East Manitoba Regional Junior Kabaddi Champion '94 at 12:12 PM on November 30, 2010 [12 favorites]


(Arsenio) Hall and (Warren) Oates: You guys are right. The possibility that some service members might be uncomfortable around, or attempt to provoke, gay and lesbian soldiers leads to the inevitable conclusion that gay and lesbian should not be allowed to openly serve in the military.

Riiiight.
posted by Old'n'Busted at 12:12 PM on November 30, 2010


Well, then, what's your point, Old'n'Busted, if it's not that DADT should not be repealed?
posted by (Arsenio) Hall and (Warren) Oates at 12:13 PM on November 30, 2010


I was expecting "separate showers for the queers"

I was too, if only because it would give them something else to spend military contracting dollars on.
posted by saturday_morning at 12:14 PM on November 30, 2010 [1 favorite]


Do you speak for all gay and lesbian soldiers in all branches of the military, or only for yourself?

Seriously, what the fuck is your problem?
posted by Old'n'Busted at 12:15 PM on November 30, 2010 [2 favorites]


Old'n'Busted, I also take offense at your comments that presuppose that there aren't many safe places in the military for gays and lesbians to come out to their comrades and commands. Alas it isn't absolute, but then again, it isn't that way in any society at large.
posted by Lord Chancellor at 12:17 PM on November 30, 2010


Seriously, what the fuck is your problem?

Your comments indicating that you believe you know the motivations of all gay and lesbian service members, and their ability or inability to choose whether to reveal their sexual orientation under the newly proposed policy.
posted by (Arsenio) Hall and (Warren) Oates at 12:17 PM on November 30, 2010


No, it gives them the idea that doing so will no longer hurt their military career, so they would be more likely to do so.

I think some of us prefer to look at things from a more optimistic standpoint.
posted by reductiondesign at 12:19 PM on November 30, 2010


Seems like a positive incremental step. So naturally people are going to scream blue murder over it.
posted by Artw at 12:24 PM on November 30, 2010 [4 favorites]


Also, from the linked McCain interview:

McCain argues that the Pentagon's study does not directly ask military personnel "whether" the policy should be repealed, but rather assumes that the policy will be abolished and merely addresses the question of "how."

“How best are you going to assess the effect on morale and battle effectiveness and retention unless you consult and find out what the view of the troops is?” McCain said in a brief interview on Monday.


And from page 17 of the report:

To be clear, the Service member survey did not ask the broad question whether Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell should be repealed. This would, in effect, have been a referendum, and it is not the Department of Defense’s practice to make military policy decisions by a referendum of Service members.
posted by Red Loop at 12:28 PM on November 30, 2010 [7 favorites]


No, it gives them the idea that doing so will no longer hurt their military career, so they would be more likely to do so. But the sad reality is that it will be more likely to hurt them via their co-workers.

If you gave an order that Santiago wasn't to be touched, and your orders are always followed, then why would Santiago be in danger?
posted by Doublewhiskeycokenoice at 12:29 PM on November 30, 2010 [2 favorites]


Although I haven't measured it rigorously, I have the impression that executive summaries in government reports have been getting consistently longer and more detailed since Obama took office. I like this; some of the reports generated by the previous administration looked as if Cheney had written the executive summary and then delegated someone to find some supporting material for whatever conclusion he had started with.

Anyway, awesome work in every respect - a model of good research, analysis, and transparency. Robert Gates deserves a share of the credit for that; he is the best secretary of defense in a very long time.

Jedicus, ironic too, considering the correctly spelled word is used in six other sentences - the first of which is on the very same page. It must be part of the homosexual agenda, putting something wrong and something write on the same page to brainwash us. Discretely, of course - that's how 'they' work. Or so "they" say.

I wish I could think of some ethical way to churn this kind of drivel out in return for easy cash...
posted by anigbrowl at 12:30 PM on November 30, 2010


Remember when McCain wanted to be our president! Man, that would have sucked.
posted by Astro Zombie at 12:30 PM on November 30, 2010 [11 favorites]


Poll: Most favor gays serving openly
"As opponents of the military’s Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell policy prepare a final push for repeal during Congress’s lame duck session, polling shows that they’ve got the wind of public opinion at their backs."
Moderate Republicans and Independents overwhelmingly support DADT repeal.
posted by ericb at 12:31 PM on November 30, 2010


man if McCain had the ability to slip and dodge physically as professionally as he does politically he'd be retired from the NFL/NHL/? with his own sports bar by now.
posted by edgeways at 12:32 PM on November 30, 2010


Sorry, but given the current (and past) violence against gay men, do you really think it's a good idea to come out in a hyper-macho workplace where pretty much everyone is armed, dangerous, and enjoys fighting? If I were a gay man in the military, I'd seriously consider staying silent about what my feelings were.
Hell, Judge Joe Rehyansky called out for "corrective rape" against lesbian soldiers last week.


This hyper-macho gay military man who is armed, dangerous, and enjoys fighting finds your statement both hilarious and chock full of the same stereotypes that plague John McCain's psyche. Most of my military buddies know I'm gay - they don't see me as a little effeminate lad that can't take care of himself. The see me as one of them.
posted by matty at 12:33 PM on November 30, 2010 [24 favorites]


Old'n'Busted, actually, I'd say that the numbers in the report are actually more than encouraging against the argument that you are making.

69% of Service members said that they had worked with a co-worker that they believed to be gay or lesbian. And of them, essentially, 92% said their unit's “ability to work together,” was “very good, “good” or “neither good nor poor.”

I think if we were to do this poll for the entire country, these numbers would actually be on the better end of work places.

That's not to say I haven't felt safe to be gay in 100% of my adult work places. But I've self-selected. It's a necessary skill and talent that one develops early and knows how to use. Trust me -- it's a skill any gay and lesbian member of the military is going to have in spades.
posted by MCMikeNamara at 12:34 PM on November 30, 2010 [1 favorite]


Ah, John McCain.
Navy Chief Breaks with McCain, Praises Pentagon 'DADT' Report.

In Letter, Gates Dismissed McCain’s Concerns About DADT Study.
posted by ericb at 12:35 PM on November 30, 2010


Sorry, but given the current (and past) violence against gay men, do you really think it's a good idea to come out in a hyper-macho workplace where pretty much everyone is armed, dangerous, and enjoys fighting? If I were a gay man in the military, I'd seriously consider staying silent about what my feelings were.

Seriously?? You do realise that there are other militaries in the world - other militaries like the US where there are people with access to weapons, serving in stressful situations, heck even sharing ablution facilities - that have openly gay people serving and they are not being beaten up or shot by fellow serving members?

Genuine question - have you ever actually worked in a military environment, either in uniform or as a civilian? Because your comment reads like someone who really has no clue what they are talking about.
posted by Megami at 12:35 PM on November 30, 2010 [5 favorites]


do you really think it's a good idea to come out in a hyper-macho workplace...

As an out gay serviceman, decorated Lt. Col. Victor Fehrenbach, can handle himself -- as can all enlisted gay men and women -- well in such an environment.
Lt Col Victor J. Fehrenbach is a 19-year combat veteran of the United States Air Force. He is currently assigned as F-15E Weapons Systems Officer and Assistant Director of Operations, 366th Operations Support Squadron, Mountain Home AFB, Idaho.

... In 19 years, Lt Col Fehrenbach deployed 6 times in support of 7 major combat operations. He flew combat missions over Iraq, Kosovo, former Yugoslavia, USA, and Afghanistan. He accrued 2180 total flying hours, 1487 fighter hours, 500 instructor hours, 400 combat hours, and 88 combat missions. His decorations include the Meritorious Service Medal, nine Air Medals, Aerial Achievement Medal, five Air Force Commendation Medals, Navy Commendation Medal, two Air Force Achievement Medals, two Outstanding Unit Awards with Valor, Kosovo/Afghanistan/Iraq Campaign Medals, and Korea/NATO/GWOT Service Medals.
posted by ericb at 12:42 PM on November 30, 2010


Anyway, awesome work in every respect - a model of good research, analysis, and transparency. Robert Gates deserves a share of the credit for that; he is the best secretary of defense in a very long time.

TPM also likes:
Bob Gates' abilities as a masterful bureaucrat and Washington shapeshifter has rarely been on more public display than in his just-completed press conference. He was expected to unveil a Pentagon review of Don't Ask Don't Tell that would clear the way for repeal, but Gates took it a step further with a clarion call to Congress to repeal DADT before the end of the year or else the federal courts might do it by what he called "judicial fiat."

It was classic Gates: a combination of finesse and sharp elbows. He framed the issue starkly: repeal DADT in an orderly way with enough time for me to implement it, and I can pull this off without jeopardizing our military readiness -- or you can leave it to the courts which is "my greatest fear" and which guarantees a disruptive transition that could damage the military.
posted by Joe Beese at 12:42 PM on November 30, 2010 [4 favorites]


Take a look at page 126: "As one special operations force warfighter told us, "We have a gay guy [in the unit]. He's big, he's mean, and he kills lots of bad guys. No one cared that he was gay."

For Old'n'Busted... Concerns about violence towards gays in the military, based upon violence observed in the civilian sector, just doesn't translate. Yes, there's always going to be SOME element, but there's also violence against straights on straights.
posted by matty at 12:43 PM on November 30, 2010


The Secretary of Defense is a political appointee who's never been in the military.

Gates served honorably in the United States Air Force.
posted by Ironmouth at 12:43 PM on November 30, 2010 [9 favorites]


Our recommendation is that the Department of Defense and the Services review benefits in this category and assess whether they can be extended to same-sex partners in accordance with the former approach—that is, to refashion the benefit to become a “member-designated” one.

i think this is interesting, as it resembles the concept of 'designated next-of-kin' that i always thought would be a fair way to replace legal recognition of marriage.

overall, i think the recommendations are good, and i'm particularly encouraged that they even made suggestions to try to get around some of the more limiting factors they can't legally ignore, like DOMA. i'm on the fence about some, particularly not having (from what i can tell) a specific mechanism for tracking and reporting instances of harassment and discrimination; but it seems they're weighing stuff like this against the potential for backlash against such policies.

i think it is an important document, and if the recommendations are upheld, i think the issues addressed encompass a good deal that might have been lost or disregarded had this come down to simply a court order or executive order. and there's something kinda neat in seeing an official document built on respect for gays and lesbians; i guess that shouldn't be as surprising as it is.
posted by fallacy of the beard at 12:44 PM on November 30, 2010 [1 favorite]


Oh good grief, does anyone really think that LGBT people glibly ignore the possibility of on-the-job harassment and/or violence when choosing how to come out?

But, getting rid of the threat that reporting harassment and/or violence might trigger an investigation that will result in dismissal from your job surely is a step forward.
posted by KirkJobSluder at 12:44 PM on November 30, 2010 [1 favorite]


Robert Gates deserves a share of the credit for that; he is the best secretary of defense in a very long time.

Amen to that. He has been tremendous--instead of playing bs games like not renewing the Army Chief of Staff for saying things SecDef did not like (rummy), he just fires them left and right. That's how leadership works.

Plus, slashing wasteful spending, and DADT repeal.
posted by Ironmouth at 12:45 PM on November 30, 2010


You do realise that there are other militaries in the world ...

Those would be:
Albania, Argentina, Australia, Austria, Belgium, Bermuda, Canada, Colombia, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Japan, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, New Zealand, Norway, Peru, Philippines, Poland, Romania, Russia, Serbia, Slovenia, South Africa, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Taiwan, The Netherlands, United Kingdom, Uruguay.
American troops are already serving alongside gays and lesbians (albeit closeted not by choice) in their own ranks, as well as alongside those who are openly gay from various coaltion forces in Afghanistan and Iraq.
posted by ericb at 12:50 PM on November 30, 2010 [1 favorite]


John McCain is a prick. He's always been a prick. He'll go on being a prick.

He's been on both sides of so many issues, I think he would qualify as schizophrenic. That he gets any attention at all from the media is astounding.
posted by Benny Andajetz at 12:51 PM on November 30, 2010


Wow. McCain's got some balls, denying that Gates served in the military. I know that the flimsy truth beneath his craven weasel words is that the SoD does not HAVE to serve in the military to be the SoD, but that's as disrespectfully bonkers as claiming no one on the Supreme Court has ever been a lawyer, since, after all, the Constitution is silent on the topic.
posted by Sticherbeast at 12:52 PM on November 30, 2010


Here's the deal folks, if you support DADT repeal, call your senators! E-mail, all that.

People don't realize that the stuff really works if enough people do it. They want to know exactly what you think. I've known a lot of senior senate staffers, a former Majority Leader staffer whose now a lobbyist. They all will tell you over and over again that mass numbers of people contacting their representatives is the biggest part of this game.

There's a reason it is government of the people, BY the people, for the people. Its because we have a responsibility to do it.

While you're at it, could you get them to support voting rights for DC, so I could contact my Senator?
posted by Ironmouth at 12:52 PM on November 30, 2010 [2 favorites]


Gates served honorably in the United States Air Force.

I'm looking forward to a grovelling apology from McCain that will never come.
posted by East Manitoba Regional Junior Kabaddi Champion '94 at 12:54 PM on November 30, 2010 [1 favorite]


I'm looking forward to a grovelling apology from McCain that will never come.

Let's just talk about how John McCain was never in the Navy. After all, nothing says Senators have to have been in the Navy.
posted by Sticherbeast at 12:56 PM on November 30, 2010


When I was still in the military a couple decades ago there was a lot of homophobia. This was just before DADT was implemented by Clinton. I was also blessed with a wise, kind grandmother that I idolized. These two things collided in a living room conversation one day. I don't know how the topic came up, it was probably the first rumblings of DADT. Anyway, I preceded to tell grandma of why DADT was a bad idea, and the issues it would cause. She stopped me mid-sentence, which is something grandma didn't do and said I was wrong and she was disappointed in me, and would I like some more cookies.

Okay, maybe the cookie part is a bit of rhetorical flourish, but it better describes the scene and mood since there was no rancor intended, nor perceived. The conversation moved on and it never got brought up between us again. What did happen though is I began re-examining my own internal prejudices and values and after thinking about it for a while came to the conclusion that she was right.

I realized I was taking the easy way out, sacrificing the rights of a group I had very limited interaction with to keep the boat from being rocked for "my" group. It also opened my eyes to that quiet but insidious type of bigotry where you can imagine yourself as not being prejudiced only because you have no interaction with a particular group, yet actively operate to keep a status quo that precludes that group.

Before that talk I didn't realize I was prejudiced, but I certainly did afterward. Although I didn't interact with any gays, I did know several (my mother worked with a few), and I just considered them people I knew. Of course it dawned on me that this was quite similar to the "I'm not prejudiced, some of my best friends are ____", or the almost equivalent "I don't like _____s, except for Bob, he's ok for a _____". In short I realized that what I was really saying is that I didn't want to inconvenience a group I respected and was a part, for the rights of a group that I wasn't a part of and really didn't know that well.

Of course when I came to that realization and how utterly wrong it was I knew I had to change my way of thinking. How could I advocate for inconvenience trumping rights? That conversation was a turning point for me. There were no loud voices, no attempt to force an opinion on me, no litany of how I must be a bad person for thinking such a way, no judgment of my intentions, nor any projection of future consequences. Just a calm, "No you're wrong and I think less of you for this" from a respectable person. It permanently changed my views on sexual orientation, and made me a better, more open minded person in general.

In other words, I hope this signals the end of DADT and of the implicit, insidious prejudice it enables. I know for a fact that ending DADT is not popular (in military circles), and was very worried and skeptical of motives when hearing that a "poll" was being done. I'm relieved that the military leadership is essentially saying "We're gonna do this because it's the right thing to do, it may be inconvenient but it needs to be done."
posted by forforf at 12:56 PM on November 30, 2010 [27 favorites]


anigbrowl: "putting something wrong and something write on the same page"

I see what you did there.

Also, re: McCain: I think he's moonlighting as a writer for The Daily Show, guaranteeing they always have enough of his material to make other politicians seem reasonable by comparison. That's the only explanation that makes sense for his insane behavior.
posted by yiftach at 1:02 PM on November 30, 2010


With McCain's wife and daughter both being vocally pro-gay-rights...

But, when it comes to DADT ...

November 11, 2010:
Cindy McCain Speaks Out Against 'Don't Ask, Don't Tell' as Part of NoH8 Campaign's Anti-Bullying PSA.
And...just two days later:
Cindy McCain Repeals Her View ON DADT.
Her husband didn't influence her to do a 180-degree change. No. No way.
"'Did she lie today or lie yesterday? Either way, she's a liar, and she should be removed from the NOH8 video because, as of right now, Cindy McCain is a hater. Not to mention, great message she just sent to gay youth. If someone pressures you, cave and support hate.'*

Sounds like she's backpedaling simply because, as Dan Choi pointed out to Keith Olbermann last night, her 'very significant' public objection to DADT 'underscores the values behind the repeal effort,' something her husband opposes."*
The Washington Post's Jonathan Capehart Rips Into The McCains and 'DADT.'
posted by ericb at 1:02 PM on November 30, 2010 [1 favorite]


If I were a gay man in the military, I'd seriously consider staying silent about what my feelings were.

I'm gay and I'm not in the military and there are many non-military occasions when I "stay silent" about "what my feelings are" (whatever the hell that means).

Doesn't mean that DADT shouldn't happen.
posted by blucevalo at 1:06 PM on November 30, 2010 [2 favorites]


Anyway, I know plenty of gay and lesbian servicemen, and many who are "open secrets".
"And a 2006 Zogby poll of 545 troops who served in Afghanistan and Iraq found that 72 percent of service members were personally comfortable interacting with gays and lesbians; that, of those who knew of gays in their unit, the overwhelming majority stated that their presence had little or no impact on the unit's morale; and that nearly two thirds of service members know or suspect gays in their units, giving the lie to the assumption that knowing a gay peer would harm cohesion."*
posted by ericb at 1:13 PM on November 30, 2010


Great video of Capeheart, ericb. I've never seen Dylan Ratigan before, but did you catch the bit at the end (5:15) where he wraps up by calling Capeheart "brilliant and handsome and well-spoken as always..."?

Does he compliment all his pundits on their looks and eloquence? I feel for him, because I get that he wanted to say thanks with a compliment, but that just came out wrong... Didn't some big name somebody... oh yeah, it was Joe Biden saying "well-spoken" about Barack Obama during the campaign that raised a lot of eyebrows.

Just a gaffe, I guess.
posted by yiftach at 1:19 PM on November 30, 2010


It must be part of the homosexual agenda, putting something wrong and something write on the same page to brainwash us.

Ah, Mission Accomplished! Drinks are on us tonight!
posted by ericb at 1:21 PM on November 30, 2010


Dear Sen or Officer McCain:

Like you, I am an old fashioned guy and believe in the true chain of command. When a very able but troubled General Macarthur had a military disagreement with Pres Truman, it was Trumen as commander in chief who relieved the general of his duties. Macarthur recognized and accepted Truman's authority to do so. But then thus far our current president seems a bit less than vocal.
posted by Postroad at 1:23 PM on November 30, 2010


If McCain had the ability to slip and dodge in a jet as well as he does politically he wouldn't have been shot down over Viet Nam (and we never would have heard of him).
posted by Mick at 1:24 PM on November 30, 2010 [2 favorites]


Isn't DADT mooted by wikileaks?
posted by srboisvert at 1:24 PM on November 30, 2010


Dear Sen or Officer McCain:

Get off our lawn.
posted by Threeway Handshake at 1:26 PM on November 30, 2010 [2 favorites]


According to a series of ABC polls analyzed by FiveThirtyEight, popular opinion on gay service has shifted decisively from a no-majority stalemate in 1993:

44% support open service
37% oppose any service
19% support DADT

...to an overwhelming pro-equality landslide today:

75% support open service
17% oppose any service
8% support DADT
posted by Rhaomi at 1:27 PM on November 30, 2010 [2 favorites]


In other words, I hope this signals the end of DADT and of the implicit, insidious prejudice it enables.

Joint Chiefs Chair Mullen: U.S. 'Clearly Not Leading' on Civil Rights.
posted by ericb at 1:32 PM on November 30, 2010


If I were a gay man in the military, I'd seriously consider staying silent about what my feelings were.

I think we should should officially change the policy to "Still Don't Ask But You Can Totally Tell, If You Feel Like It"

Jokey but I do think it's important for whatever new policy (hopefully) comes out of this explicitly states that coming out or should be wholly an individual's choice.
posted by naoko at 1:33 PM on November 30, 2010


Naoko, I have heard straight guys on uniform say in regards to allowing gays in the military 'I'm fine with it, just as long as they don't make it compulsory'. They meant it as a joke (as in as long as we all don't have to be gay) but your comment reminded me of it.
posted by Megami at 1:42 PM on November 30, 2010


'in uniform' not 'on uniform'.
posted by Megami at 1:42 PM on November 30, 2010


McCain is the poster child of exchanging principles for political power.
posted by notion at 1:43 PM on November 30, 2010


And now the bad news:

... the timeline to push though repeal of the policy in this Congress is so tight that the extra day may not be enough. Timing is everything: the defense bill where repeal language is embedded will have to go to conference committee, where the House and Senate then need to reach a compromise between their respective versions, before the language can be voted on again by both houses, all before the end of the year. If the DADT repeal is not passed in this Congress, it will face a Senate with six more Republicans next year, which will be much less receptive to gay rights.

... Says [executive director of Servicemembers Legal Defense Network Aubrey] Sarvis: “It will take extraordinary ingenuity by [Senate Majority Leader Harry] Reid, [Senate Armed Services Committee Chairman Carl] Levin, the White House and a few Republicans to make it happen this year.”

posted by Joe Beese at 1:43 PM on November 30, 2010 [1 favorite]


The report might give the administration political cover to drop the DADT appeal in court, though.
posted by empath at 1:45 PM on November 30, 2010


No, it gives them the idea that doing so will no longer hurt their military career, so they would be more likely to do so. But the sad reality is that it will be more likely to hurt them via their co-workers.

The Working Group surveyed nearly 400,000 service members (receiving over 115,000 responses) and also received over 70,000 comments from service members via an online inbox.

How many service members have you talked to in order to reach your conclusion?
posted by DevilsAdvocate at 1:48 PM on November 30, 2010


...to an overwhelming pro-equality landslide today:

75% support open service
17% oppose any service
8% support DADT


Hey kids, look!
Its that dread 25% of our country that are consistently assholes about every topic of discussion, every time, all-day, forever.
posted by Senor Cardgage at 1:52 PM on November 30, 2010 [2 favorites]


The report might give the administration political cover to drop the DADT appeal in court, though.

I doubt it.

From the same link:

Legal experts contend that President Obama could unilaterally repeal DADT or cease its enforcement. There are two possible justifications for this: Obama could simply repeal DADT and cite his authority as commander in chief of the military to do so, or he could drop the government’s appeal of a federal court ruling that overturned DADT as unconstitutional. Whatever the merits of these arguments, Obama has not been persuaded by them, saying that he wants to let gays serve openly and that the policy will change on his watch, but it will have to happen through Congress. The report does not give Obama much reason to reconsider. While showing surprisingly high tolerance for homosexuality among military personnel may seem relevant, the report does not affect the constitutional question of whether Obama has an obligation to defend the current law in court, as he contends. For Obama to use his commander-in-chief authority he would have to argue that the current policy is actually damaging to military effectiveness. While the report disproves the opposite contention—that repealing DADT would damage the military’s ability to carry out its mission—it does not necessarily establish that the current policy is sufficiently damaging for Obama to overrule an act of Congress.
posted by Joe Beese at 1:54 PM on November 30, 2010


Repeal of DADT doesn't mean that everyone comes out of the closet. It's actually a misleading phrase because the target of activism isn't DADT, it's prosecution of homosexual conduct under the UCMJ. DADT merely raised the standard of evidence required to start an investigation or prosecution. LGBT people can be prosecuted under DADT if they actively come out of the closet. They can also be prosecuted if they're outed by a reliable source. They can also be prosecuted if probable homosexual conduct comes to light as part of other investigatory procedures such as security clearance.
posted by KirkJobSluder at 2:00 PM on November 30, 2010


Considering how much he shifts depending on the winds of approval, I really wonder if John McCain has ever gotten really contemplative about the whole "wrong side of history" thing.

I mean, how much would it suck to realize that you are the guy arguing that blacks can't be allowed to use the same facilities as whites, or that women shouldn't vote, or any of a dozen other examples of something that seemed like a divisive at the time, but in retrospect is so clearly a this-was-the-wrong-side-to-be-on thing.

And I wonder if McCain is that introspective. I wonder if he realizes that one day he'll be seen as a laughable bad guy and he just doesn't care, or if it bothers him and that's why he is constantly playing the moving-the-goalposts game of shifting what it would take to get his approval to just a little more than currently exists.

Either way, I look to this issue being resolved, just so I finally say "It's over and done. Who gives a fuck what McCain thinks about it anymore?"
posted by quin at 2:09 PM on November 30, 2010 [1 favorite]


This is great news, but it's all for naught. This useless-as-shit Congress won't pass DADT, and the next Congress damn sure won't pass it. The only realistic hope for repeal of DADT is via the Log Cabin Republicans' law suit.
posted by dirigibleman at 2:36 PM on November 30, 2010 [1 favorite]


I really wonder if John McCain has ever gotten really contemplative about the whole "wrong side of history" thing.

He hasn't learned a thing.

Sen. John McCain (Republican of Arizona) voted against the creation of the holiday to honor King, and later defended Arizona Republican Governor Evan Mecham's rescission of the state holiday in honor of King created by his Democratic predecessor.
posted by Threeway Handshake at 2:40 PM on November 30, 2010 [3 favorites]


Statement by President Obama on DOD Report on Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell
As Commander in Chief, I have pledged to repeal the “don’t ask, don’t tell” law because it weakens our national security, diminishes our military readiness, and violates fundamental American principles of fairness and equality by preventing patriotic Americans who are gay from serving openly in our armed forces. At the same time, as Commander in Chief, I am committed to ensuring that we understand the implications of this transition, and maintain good order and discipline within our military ranks. That is why I directed the Department of Defense earlier this year to begin preparing for a transition to a new policy.

Today’s report confirms that a strong majority of our military men and women and their families—more than two thirds—are prepared to serve alongside Americans who are openly gay and lesbian. This report also confirms that, by every measure—from unit cohesion to recruitment and retention to family readiness—we can transition to a new policy in a responsible manner that ensures our military strength and national security. And for the first time since this law was enacted 17 years ago today, both the Secretary of Defense and the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff have publicly endorsed ending this policy.

With our nation at war and so many Americans serving on the front lines, our troops and their families deserve the certainty that can only come when an act of Congress ends this discriminatory policy once and for all. The House of Representatives has already passed the necessary legislation. Today I call on the Senate to act as soon as possible so I can sign this repeal into law this year and ensure that Americans who are willing to risk their lives for their country are treated fairly and equally. Our troops represent the virtues of selfless sacrifice and love of country that have enabled our freedoms. I am absolutely confident that they will adapt to this change and remain the best led, best trained, best equipped fighting force the world has ever known.
posted by ericb at 3:37 PM on November 30, 2010 [7 favorites]


That gay bashing bastard.
posted by Artw at 3:38 PM on November 30, 2010


This useless-as-shit Congress won't pass DADT, and the next Congress damn sure won't pass it.

FWIW -- The House (1/2 of Congress) has already voted to repeal DADT.

It's up to the Senate to do the same, so as to then send the repeal to the President for endorsement.

Lets hope during this "lame duck" session, or that of the next Senate (still with a Democratic majority) that popular opinion and the Pentagon findings can convince 'fence sitters' such as moderates* Olympia Snowe, Susan Collins, Dick Lugar and possibly John Ensign to vote for repeal.

* "Maybe someone should tell these moderate GOP officials that according to the internals of the new Pew poll, moderate Republican rank-and-filers strongly favor DADT's repeal. Indeed, the only group that opposes repeal are conservative Republicans.

The Pew poll finds that Republicans overall are closely divided on DADT repeal, 40-44. But the breakdown of Republicans is striking. It finds that 'moderate' and 'liberal' Republicans strongly favor repeal, 62-26. The only reason Republicans are closely divided at all is because conservative Republicans oppose it, 28-52.

This becomes even more pronounced when you factor in Republicans and Republican "leaners." It turns out that this group favors repeal of DADT, 44-39. And the only subset of this group who oppose repeal are those who support the Tea Party: They are against repeal 38-48.

By the way, independents overall also strongly favor repeal, 62-23."

posted by ericb at 3:51 PM on November 30, 2010 [1 favorite]


Rachel Maddow on the Pentagon's 'DADT' Report — 'This Report is Unequivocal'
posted by ericb at 3:54 PM on November 30, 2010


Pentagon DADT Report Dismisses 'Stereotypes' About Predatory Gays in Bathroom and Shower Facilities.
One of the main scare tactics used by conservatives opposed to repeal is the specter of "predatory" gays in shower and restroom facilities. Common sense prevails in the Pentagon report (p. 13)
Most concerns we heard about showers and bathrooms were based on stereotype— that gay men and lesbians will behave as predators in these situations, or that permitting homosexual and heterosexual people of the same sex to shower together is tantamount to allowing men and women to shower together. However, common sense tells us that a situation in which people of different anatomy shower together is different from a situation in which people of the same anatomy but different sexual orientations shower together. The former is uncommon and unacceptable to almost everyone in this country; the latter is a situation most in the military have already experienced. Indeed, the survey results indicate 50% of Service members recognize they have already had the experience of sharing bathroom facilities with someone they believed to be gay.

This is also a situation resembling what now exists in hundreds of thousands of college dorms, college and high school gyms, professional sports locker rooms, police and fire stations, and athletic clubs around the nation. And, as one gay former Service member told us, to fit in, co-exist, and conform to social norms, gay men have learned to avoid making heterosexuals feel uncomfortable or threatened in these situations.
More later on (p. 141)
Here again, we are convinced that separate bathroom facilities would do more harm than good to unit cohesion and would be impracticable to administer and enforce. Concerns about showers and bathrooms are based on a stereotype—that gay men and lesbians will behave in an inappropriate or predatory manner in these situations. As one gay former Service member told us, to fit in, co-exist, and conform to social norms, gay men have learned to avoid making heterosexuals feel uncomfortable or threatened in situation such as this. The reality is that people of different sexual orientation use shower and bathroom facilities together every day in hundreds of thousands of college dorms, college and high school gyms, professional sports locker rooms, police and fire stations, and athletic clubs.
posted by ericb at 4:04 PM on November 30, 2010 [3 favorites]


Seems like a positive incremental step. So naturally people are going to scream blue murder over it.

Right. The conservatives because it's positive, the liberals because it's incremental.
posted by Amanojaku at 4:17 PM on November 30, 2010 [2 favorites]


Lets hope during this "lame duck" session, or that of the next Senate (still with a Democratic majority) that popular opinion and the Pentagon findings can convince 'fence sitters' such as moderates* Olympia Snowe, Susan Collins, Dick Lugar and possibly John Ensign to vote for repeal.

I think, and please correct me if i am wrong, that once a new congress is seated if the bill is not already passed the House would have to vote again, so the time frame is actually pretty small.
posted by edgeways at 4:28 PM on November 30, 2010


But then thus far our current president seems a bit less than vocal.

This--i don't understand this. Its like people want the emotional experience they get with watching an episode of the West Wing, rather than see the desired policy enacted. What, exactly, would "Obama speaking out" do to advance the desired policy? Obama has already spoken out. His Chief of the Joint Chiefs and Secretary of Defense have put together a winning package. The House has voted to repeal. The Senate did not pass on one occasion, and will try again. Obama's position is well-known. No senator is going to change their mind if Obama speaks out. The Senators will vote for the bill if you speak out. Everyone must contact their senators. Its been up to us the entire time. There are 536 independent actors in the legislative process. Everybody acts as if "Obama just says more" or "wants it more" it will happen. Its never, ever been true.

A lot of people think this is like a movie. Its not. Its real life. Its up to us.
posted by Ironmouth at 5:22 PM on November 30, 2010 [6 favorites]


Ironmouth, you really think it is up to us? Like us writing to our Senators will affect their vote. Every time I've written a Representative or Senator I've gotten back a form letter politely telling me they could give two shits about what I think and they are going to vote in a manner that they have already decided on before they were ever elected.
Or I get a letter telling me how much they agree with me and how I should donate money. Still a form letter and still don't really care what I think.
posted by MrBobaFett at 6:22 PM on November 30, 2010 [1 favorite]


"The Secretary of Defense is a political appointee who's never been in the military."

Gates served honorably in the United States Air Force.


I'm seriously confused by this. Did McCain just lie about the Secretary's military record and no one cares? Is there some meaning of "in the military" which makes his statement technically true? If not, why is the press (or even the liberal blogosphere) not saying anything about it? Can someone explain what's going on?
posted by 0xFCAF at 6:32 PM on November 30, 2010


TPM delivers as always
posted by East Manitoba Regional Junior Kabaddi Champion '94 at 6:45 PM on November 30, 2010 [1 favorite]


TPM delivers as always

Yeah, whoever that Reader RW guy is he's pretty fucking smart.
posted by Ironmouth at 7:11 PM on November 30, 2010 [4 favorites]


Yeah, whoever that Reader RW guy is he's pretty fucking smart.

rofl
posted by East Manitoba Regional Junior Kabaddi Champion '94 at 7:14 PM on November 30, 2010


Ironmouth, you really think it is up to us? Like us writing to our Senators will affect their vote. Every time I've written a Representative or Senator I've gotten back a form letter politely telling me they could give two shits about what I think and they are going to vote in a manner that they have already decided on before they were ever elected.

They go into a pile. They count the numbers pro and con. They don't write you a letter saying wonderful. You bet if they are on the fence they pay attention. A friend called her congressman about an issue once. He called back and talked to her directly for 10 minutes and said he was really interested in the issue and hadn't heard from anyone.

they actually do care. they used to count telegrams.
posted by Ironmouth at 7:15 PM on November 30, 2010


Ironmouth, you really think it is up to us? Like us writing to our Senators will affect their vote. Every time I've written a Representative or Senator I've gotten back a form letter politely telling me they could give two shits about what I think and they are going to vote in a manner that they have already decided on before they were ever elected.
Or I get a letter telling me how much they agree with me and how I should donate money. Still a form letter and still don't really care what I think.


If you are writing to a Senator at his or her official address and getting a response that says anything even remotely close to asking for money, that is completely illegal and should be reported. This seems so highly unlikely to me that I wonder if perhaps you wrote someone at a campaign address rather than an official one, because that is absolutely against Senate franking regulations.

Anyway. I've helped write hundreds of these form letters. Yes, they suck. Even if they are impeccably researched and written (as I like to think mine were), they still suck because they are form letters. The people who write them know they suck and would really, really love to respond to each person who writes in a special snowflake response. Honestly, they really would, because even if the Member doesn't actually care, a happy constituent who feels attended to is a constituent who votes for that Member again. However, when an office is getting thousands or tens of thousands of letters and emails and faxes and phone calls every week, it's not physically possible. So you write one letter that at least sort of responds to as many of the incoming communications as possible, and you send it out so that at least constituents know that their letter was received, and everyone on both ends continues to be miserable about it, but what can you do? However: just because the letter you got back sucks doesn't mean your letter wasn't noticed. At the very least, staff are keeping track of how many people are writing in pro and con on various issues. Beyond that, at least some offices try to make sure that the Senator/Congressman actually reads a few of the especially noteworthy letters personally - and maybe even responds personally to a couple of them. My bosses definitely asked for tallies and for us to keep an eye out for particularly interesting personal stories. In summary, they do care what you think (well, not all of them do, but some of them do, and even more do in that they want your vote), and unfortunately they just don't have a much better way to let you know than the "Dear MrBobaFett, Thank you for contacting me about x. Please know that I will keep your concerns in mind" crap that we hate writing and you hate reading. But your letters are noticed. Really.
posted by naoko at 7:23 PM on November 30, 2010 [3 favorites]


I'm seriously confused by this. Did McCain just lie about the Secretary's military record and no one cares?

We've gotten so used to McCain lying that it's not even newsworthy, anymore.
posted by dirigibleman at 7:24 PM on November 30, 2010


Yeah, whoever that Reader RW guy is he's pretty fucking smart.

rofl


We go back quite a ways, actually, from near the beginning of the blog. I also forwarded it to the sec def's inner circle through a back channel goes right to the top. I'd be thrilled if I personally made john fucking mccain apologize to gates. mefi would get a credit too.
posted by Ironmouth at 7:25 PM on November 30, 2010


Considering how much he shifts depending on the winds of approval, I really wonder if John McCain has ever gotten really contemplative about the whole "wrong side of history" thing.

I mean, how much would it suck to realize that you are the guy arguing that blacks can't be allowed to use the same facilities as whites, or that women shouldn't vote, or any of a dozen other examples of something that seemed like a divisive at the time, but in retrospect is so clearly a this-was-the-wrong-side-to-be-on thing.

And I wonder if McCain is that introspective. I wonder if he realizes that one day he'll be seen as a laughable bad guy and he just doesn't care, or if it bothers him and that's why he is constantly playing the moving-the-goalposts game of shifting what it would take to get his approval to just a little more than currently exists.


Judging by the past ten years, being on the wrong side of almost every issue just gets you painted as a "Maverick" to be applauded, as long as you're a shitty pilot, mass murderer of US soldiers, and corrupt political buffoon.
posted by kafziel at 9:14 PM on November 30, 2010


Judging by the past ten years, being on the wrong side of almost every issue just gets you painted as a "Maverick" to be applauded, as long as you're a shitty pilot, mass murderer of US soldiers, and corrupt political buffoon.

Add another 10 years back and include Keating 5.
posted by asockpuppet at 5:57 AM on December 1, 2010


Ironmouth, you really think it is up to us? Like us writing to our Senators will affect their vote. Every time I've written a Representative or Senator I've gotten back a form letter politely telling me they could give two shits about what I think and they are going to vote in a manner that they have already decided on before they were ever elected.


Just three seconds ago I got an action E-mail from Organizing for America on this very issue. Unfortunately for me, I don't have a senator to contact, they sort of missed that one in the Constitution. But if I did I would.
posted by Ironmouth at 7:25 AM on December 1, 2010


McCain claims he misspoke.
posted by Ironmouth at 7:40 AM on December 1, 2010


That's called a "non-apology non-apology"
posted by East Manitoba Regional Junior Kabaddi Champion '94 at 7:42 AM on December 1, 2010 [1 favorite]


Sorry, but given the current (and past) violence against gay men, do you really think it's a good idea to come out in a hyper-macho workplace where pretty much everyone is armed, dangerous, and enjoys fighting? If I were a gay man in the military, I'd seriously consider staying silent about what my feelings were.

No, it gives them the idea that doing so will no longer hurt their military career, so they would be more likely to do so. But the sad reality is that it will be more likely to hurt them via their co-workers.


So, in the midst of all this "It Gets Better" project stuff and the gay teen suicides which have happened recently, the solution is to tell our gay and lesbian soldiers that it does NOT get better? That they should keep their mouths shut, because otherwise some bigot is going to beat the shit out of them?

Seriously. I don't think you're actually thinking when you type this stuff.

I'm sure the military has methods of dealing with soldiers which beat up other soldiers for bigoted reasons. (Probably for ANY reason.) It's the bullies who need to change, not the gay soldiers who should live in fear of a theoretical gay bashing.
posted by hippybear at 10:14 AM on December 1, 2010


McCain Exudes Grumpiness At DADT Hearing (YouTube link)
posted by blueberry at 10:22 PM on December 2, 2010


Hasn't McCain spent all of his political capital by now? I'd think he'd be in foreclosure.
posted by rhizome at 11:52 AM on December 4, 2010


Former NATO Commander Gen. Wesley Clark: 'DADT Puts Military In 'Culture War Crosshairs'
"What we need to do is take the military out of the crosshairs of the culture wars," said Clark. "Let this policy be decided and give the men and women who are leading the armed forces the opportunity to do their job, get the policy implemented." Indeed: there are bigger wars to fight than those surrounding people's private love lives.

Clark also said he agrees with the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Adm. Mike Mullen, and the group's Vice Chairman, Gen. James Cartwright: wartime is the right time for repeal. "I do agree with the point that the chairman and the vice chairman made," explained Clark. "If the military's focused on war, this is the ideal time to do it, because we're talking about building teamwork around a common purpose."
Video: 1 || 2.
posted by ericb at 2:59 PM on December 5, 2010


New York Times: For Pentagon Lawyer Who Co-Wrote Report on Gays, Military Bias Hits Home.
posted by ericb at 3:00 PM on December 5, 2010


Congress, White House, Military: No Confidence on 'DADT' Repeal.
posted by ericb at 8:15 PM on December 6, 2010


There's Now a Snowball's Chance in Hell 'DADT' Will be Repealed.
posted by ericb at 8:17 PM on December 6, 2010


Top Democrats 'Supportive' Of Keeping Senate In Session For 'Don't Ask, Don't Tell' Repeal.
posted by ericb at 8:20 PM on December 6, 2010


Snowball, meet hell: Senate GOP Blocks Cloture On Repeal Of Don't Ask, Don't Tell. From the article:
With the failure to find cloture, those hoping for an end to the Don't Ask, Don't Tell policy before Congressional numbers shift in favor of the Republicans next year are likely not going to get their wish. President Obama and many Democrats had committed to repealing the ban this year, but it looks like a truncated legislative schedule in the lame duck and Republican promises to block everything until tax cuts were passed put the future of a repeal this year on extremely thin ice -- and that ice just cracked.
posted by filthy light thief at 1:32 PM on December 9, 2010


rhizome: Hasn't McCain spent all of his political capital by now? I'd think he'd be in foreclosure.

That's the great thing about "political capital" - since it's largely imaginary, politicians can just "print more" and they're good to go. Say something outlandish, schedule media interviews, get some more support from people who forgot what you said before, and continue as you were.
posted by filthy light thief at 1:34 PM on December 9, 2010


Update:
In a press conference after the vote, Sens. Joe Lieberman and Susan Collins announced that they will introduce a stand-alone bill to repeal "Don't Ask Don't Tell" and that Senate Majority Leader Reid has promised to support it. Reid told Lieberman that he will bring the legislation up for a vote before the end of the lame duck session, the Connecticut lawmaker said.

"We're not going to give up," Lieberman said. "We're going to keep fighting until the last possible minute in the session."

Collins said that she was "very disappointed" that Reid "walked away from negotiations" and brought the bill up for a vote before an agreement on the process of the debate had been reached and the 60 votes needed to move forward were assured.

If the Senate approves the standalone measure, the House would have to approve it as well.
Unfortunately I think there will be so many snowballs from now and the end of this legilative session that Congress can build a massive snowman on the Capitol grounds.
posted by ericb at 2:32 PM on December 9, 2010


Igor Volsky | Wonk Room post on Twitter: "Reid told me he will 'Rule 14' the free-standing #DADT repeal so it skips cmte and can come directly to the Senate floor."
posted by ericb at 2:42 PM on December 9, 2010


Obama 'Disappointed' by Failed Senate Defense Bill, 'DADT' Repeal
"I am extremely disappointed that yet another filibuster has prevented the Senate from moving forward with the National Defense Authorization Act. Despite having the bipartisan support of a clear majority of Senators, a minority of Senators are standing in the way of the funding upon which our troops, veterans and military families depend. This annual bill has been enacted each of the past 48 years, and our armed forces deserve nothing less this year.

A minority of Senators were willing to block this important legislation largely because they oppose the repeal of ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.’ As Commander in Chief, I have pledged to repeal this discriminatory law, a step supported by the Secretary of Defense and the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and informed by a comprehensive study that shows overwhelming majorities of our armed forces are prepared to serve with Americans who are openly gay or lesbian. A great majority of the American people agree. This law weakens our national security, diminishes our military readiness, and violates fundamental American principles of fairness, integrity and equality.

I want to thank Majority Leader Reid, Armed Services Committee Chairman Levin, and Senators Lieberman and Collins for all the work they have done on this bill. While today’s vote was disappointing, it must not be the end of our efforts. I urge the Senate to revisit these important issues during the lame duck session."
posted by ericb at 2:46 PM on December 9, 2010


New Gallup Poll Shows 67% Support Repeal of 'DADT'.
posted by ericb at 2:50 PM on December 9, 2010


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