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More military leaders asked about 'don't ask, don't tell'

By Ed O'Keefe

Top leaders of the Air Force and Army weighed in on Tuesday about the possible legislative repeal of the armed forces' ban on gays in the military, saying they want to hear more from an ongoing Pentagon review.

“I do have serious concerns about the impact of a repeal of the law on a force that is fully engaged in two wars and has been at war for eight-and-a-half years,” Army Chief of Staff Gen. George Casey told the Senate Armed Services Committee. “We just don't know the impacts on readiness and military effectiveness.”

Casey also said he opposes a moratorium on dismissing of service members that violate the policy and prefers that the Pentagon first complete its study on the matter. Sen. Carl Levin (D-Mich.) has considered introducing legislation that would stop discharges for violations of "don't ask." Army Secretary John McHugh echoed Casey's concerns, saying a moratorium might complicate cases currently under review.

Around the same time, Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. Norton A. Schwartz told the House Armed Services Committee he is concerned with the lack of solid survey data on a potential repeal.

"This is not the time to perturb the force that is at the moment stretched by demands in Iraq and Afghanistan and elsewhere without careful deliberation," Schwartz said in response to a question on the matter. The current standards of conduct should still apply if the policy changes, Schwartz said.

Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates and Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Adm. Mike Mullen expressed their personal support for a repeal at a Senate hearing last month. Gates also appointed an Army general and the Pentagon's top lawyer to lead a working group that will review the current policy and survey the force on the matter.

A study released Tuesday found that 25 countries swiftly lifted similar gay bans with general success. Countries such as Canada, Great Britain and Israel did not establish separate living facilities for gay troops and did not establish rules that treat them differently, the report said.

When asked, Casey told senators that he knew of no conflicts within British or Canadian forces in the field regarding gay service members.

Leave your thoughts in the comments section below

By Ed O'Keefe  | February 23, 2010; 12:36 PM ET
Categories:  Congress, Workplace Issues  
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I wasn't aware our military were going in for the sex. I just wonder how many truly valuable soldiers have been outed just so the person outing them could have their spot. I have wondered how many soldiers ask themselves if the person who has been on their squad, soldiering just as the rest of the soldiers have, is gay or not when they are in battle.

In my world sexual preference only matters in consideration of choosing a life mate. We have all heard women can't be infantry soldiers, women can't vote, blacks don't make good soldiers, etc., etc., and all these are just without basis. People are people, there are no "blue bloods", there are no only right kinds of people.

Hoe much does it cost to train a soldier? If these gay people are so unacceptable how is it they make it through basic training and go on to be leaders until some self serving soldier outs them.

If I understand correctly sexual assault is just assault like any other assault and assault is illegal whether military or civilian. This seems to be of such great concern. Maybe we need some new Chief's of Staff, some up to date soldiers.

It is time we quit with the paranoia and look at the capabilities of a soldier who, by the way, like the rest of the soldiers has signed up to lay their lives on the line for their country and fellow American Citizens.

"Don't ask, don't tell" was and is so crude and unacceptable. Worried about your Army soldiers being upset .. which soldiers, the ones who don't want to be there or the ones who have signed on to put their lives on the line for their country and her Citizens?

Posted by: softsheffie | February 23, 2010 1:23 PM | Report abuse

I love the bureaucratic response of let's study it more. Enough already - been there done that. No problems in 25 other countries. Why is the US so backwards on this!

Posted by: seaduck2001 | February 23, 2010 1:26 PM | Report abuse

Come! On! DADT is an embarrassing waste that has cast international attention on our federally-legislated protection of rednecks and religious freaks in the military workplace. Those Members of Congress who balk at lifting the ban are sending a message of mistrust about our soldiers' professionalism. Get with the 21st century already.

Posted by: USNAAlum | February 23, 2010 1:38 PM | Report abuse

Tired of the excuse about now not being a good time to repeal DADT because we have a stressed military due to war and repeated deployments. Now is the perfect time. Gays and straights alike are already sharing sacrifice and dangers. We have allies in the region who allow gays to serve ... don't think much has changed since I served and I don't recall one time wondering or caring whether the British soldier on my flank was gay. Similiarly I didn't give one second of thought about whether any soldier of mine was gay --- what mattered then and what matters today is what they bring to the fight. We already know they are loyal and brave and by repealing this act we allow them to serve their country openly with pride. As for potential problems: If leaders set the example of tolerance and acceptance the soldiers will follow, perhaps reluctantly at first, but they will follow.

Posted by: army164 | February 23, 2010 2:10 PM | Report abuse

When General Casey says, “We just don't know the impacts on readiness and military effectiveness," that is just flatly false. We actually know that every study conducted by the Pentagon over the last fifty years has found no substantive reason to maintain a ban on gays serving openly in the military. We know that twenty-five other countries have taken this step with no consequences whatsoever for their preparedness.
And we know that General Casey's boss, Admiral Mullen, has been serving with homosexuals in the military since 1968--because he said so.
Charles Kaiser

Posted by: cbrdgbk | February 23, 2010 3:04 PM | Report abuse

Now that you've gotten this far down the comment section, go back and review the post by:Posted by: seaduck2001 | February 23, 2010 1:26 PM. It is "well said"!

Posted by: rh-MD | February 23, 2010 3:26 PM | Report abuse

seaduck2001, had it ever occurred to your majestic appraisal that the American policy might be the right one? What qualifies you to make such a sweeping decision and declaration....hmmmm?

Posted by: churchlionjudah | February 23, 2010 3:28 PM | Report abuse

It is a policy inherited from the Bush administration and hence a war crmie.

Posted by: member5 | February 23, 2010 3:31 PM | Report abuse

So the Secretary of Defense and the Joint Chiefs do not fully agree on this issue. Thanks heavens for our Secretary of Defense and may he hold some classes for his Joint Chiefs and enlighten them. It's 2010, gentlemen, now 1910. Old dogs, new tricks!!!

Posted by: scottsandy02 | February 23, 2010 3:35 PM | Report abuse

I had just joined the Waf's as the Korean
war started heating up and there was a
scramble to double the size of basic
training classes. Classes were shortened
to speed up graduation, we were all being
doubled up in classes tech schools were
enlarged etc. It was then I witnessed
one of the most frightening and demoralizing witch hunts I had ever seen.
We were all subjected to "investigation"
by the CID, interviewed by a "psychologist"
intimidated to get us to "turn in" friends,
were accused ourselves if we had nothing
to offer. The rumors abounded, "don't' cut
your hair too short, be careful your
jestures are not masculine when being
questioned, don't have any close friends
and of course the men started hitting on
us, threatening to turn us in as lesbian
if we didn't put out" I am an 80 yr hold
mother of 3 and grandmother of 4, married
for 50 yrs. My brother had served in the
navy in WWII, and considered myself very
patriotic, but after that I was so
disillusioned with my gov & the military
I could not wait to get out. At a time
of crisis they discharged the best trained
women stationed at Lackland and decimated
the bonds of friendship that made us a
unit. I wonder how often that was repeated
on other bases. Bigotry is a terrible
thing, tarnishing all who practice it.
It doesn't seem possible that these
practices are still crippling our military
at this time in our history. IT'S TIME TO

Posted by: barlowtl | February 23, 2010 3:47 PM | Report abuse

The gay and lesbian members of the military have more courage, strength of purpose and the conviction to do the right thing for everyone to a degree that makes the "leadership" look soft. Our troops are strong, resilient, have lived with gays in the service and they will do just fine, Thank You very much, with the abolition of the insane law known as Don't Ask, Don't Tell.

Any military chief who is not willing to take this on, today, should be relieved by sundown!!! The public says it is wrong, the President says it is time for the law to go, and a lot of brave service members are being asked to be other than what they deserve to be because of an artificial limitation. Casey and Schwartz, your leaders are for this, go make it work. IF you can't, if you are too weak and you don't trust your troops, you should not be wearing the uniform. Your troops deserve better than what you are giving them, PERIOD!!!!!!!

Posted by: ronjeske | February 23, 2010 4:29 PM | Report abuse

Since when is someone's sexual orientation subject to public policy debate? And since when does the Commander In Chief waffle on such an important order?

Time's up. Kill DADT. And that's a direct order.

Posted by: luv2bikva | February 23, 2010 4:41 PM | Report abuse

Reading all the comments WRT open admission of homosexuals into our Armed Forces it would seem that the homophiles have jammed the comment section with their expected responses.

Let's keep the military as it is. "Don't ask. Don't tell." isn't perfect but it keeps the soldiers' morale in good shape. Finally, let's stop this Politically-Correct attitude!

Posted by: Truth-Be-Told | February 23, 2010 4:46 PM | Report abuse

While I have reservations about openly gay people serving in the military, I do not want to see people minding their own business outed by a third party.

That can be a way of getting revenge that is below the belt, if you'll pardon the expression.

I find I must bear in mind the experience of our NATO allies, as well as Israel, which have had few,if any problems assimilating homosexuals into the armed forces.

Posted by: CharismaticPriest | February 23, 2010 5:10 PM | Report abuse

CATHOLIC CHURCH and their experiment with homosexual permissiveness had a result not intended. CAN WE afford to try it on national defense for the sake of some PC requirment?

Posted by: NeoConVeteran | February 23, 2010 5:13 PM | Report abuse

Well, I guess that the USA wants to stay behind. Obviously, Casey wants to keep gays "Protected", so they don't have to take a hit in the military. Perhaps that's more equitaqble. Keep the morbidity and mortality rate strictly in the hetereosexual population. That could sound good to a lot of people! A straight guy isn't tough enough to stand up to a gay man? Let him take a hit!!!!

Posted by: ray17 | February 23, 2010 5:43 PM | Report abuse

Do any of you think that straight guys are better of dying in line of fire than gay guys? Sounds like your Military leaders think so.

Hey, maybe it's not such a bad idea. Let gays live; let straights do all the sweating!!!!!

Posted by: ray17 | February 23, 2010 5:46 PM | Report abuse

Wow you still don't get it!!!! THIS IS A ISSUE OF MORALITY AND NOT POLITICS. The UNITED STATES ARMED SERVICES. Is one of the last organizations to still hold some sense VALUE for MORALITY. I have served along side homosexuals and lesbians in uniform. This issue is NOT about thier ability to shoot a weapon or march in formation. IT IS NOT A RACE ISSUE.AS A BLACK AMERICAN I TAKE OFFENSE TO THAT NOTION AND TO THOSE OF YOU WHO WOULD TRY TO MAKE A MATTER OF CIVIL RIGHTS. But it is about the MORAL STANDARD set by an organization. Which says this type of behavior is not in line with thier VALUES and MORAL STANDARDS and will not be tolorated. America has become a haven for what ever feels good do it. You have put on your rosy colored glasses and painted a picture of pretty white clouds and rainbows. While you want live in this utopian fantasy world where everyone is ok
and we all get along.You still have a society in moral decline.STDS are more prevelant and thier strains are greater.Society has made queer eye for the straight guy the norm. We celebrate some forms of Immorality and we condemn others. I have yet to see how it is ok for 2 men or 2 women indulge in a relationship that is still unnatural even in nature. But society says it's ok if its 2 consenting adults.In the old days you had a father and a mother that had children. I believe that is how most of us got here. But I digress. Morality is not a tenet in the land of utopia. I wonder why we don't see a push to lift the law on child porn or lets make it ok for pedophiles to have relationships with kids afterall they think it's ok. there is an organization out there that supports man boy love. After all it's right in thier eyes. LEAVE THIS ISSUE ALONE! POLITICIANS NEED TO STOP PANDERING TO THIER SPECIAL INTEREST GROUPS AND START LISTENENING TO THE AMERICAN PEOPLE!!!!! Ask the Men and Women serving OUR COUNTRY how they feel about this. WAKE UP AMERICA!!! A man is right in his own eyes!

Posted by: Esmitty71 | February 23, 2010 6:15 PM | Report abuse

i don't understand why it matters. unless someone takes it to an illegal level (like forceful displays in the shower *such as drop the soap*) it has nothing to do with how much they care about the country or how they are willing to fight for it. the whole bill is upsetting, just the thought that they have it to begin with, they're americans like anyone else and deserve to do what they want for the country.

Posted by: Evil_angel1324 | February 23, 2010 6:36 PM | Report abuse

What does openly gay mean? Two gays in the barracks humping each other? Who would protest it.? If anyone protests two gays humping each other in the barracks, would that be considered sexual discrimination?

Posted by: Chuck8764 | February 23, 2010 6:39 PM | Report abuse

Sexual preference has absolutly nothing to do with this issue. The true issue is the coersive structure of the military. A senior officer has an absolute right to expect unquestioning obeyance from his/her soldiers. Once established, that can rapidly include sexual favors irrespective of the junior officer's sexual preference. Major problem!

Posted by: IQ168 | February 23, 2010 6:40 PM | Report abuse

Well I wondered when someone would go to the "moral" issue! Give me a break! Who shall cast the first stone?? Esmitty71, who are you to judge and say it is a moral issue? I submit that the general population does not have a clue about how many gay individuals are in the military, in the workplace, in the churches, and yes, even in your families. You need to read many of the comments by generals who have been proud to serve with gay men and gay women!

Posted by: Texasgolfer | February 23, 2010 6:41 PM | Report abuse

Casey is a disgrace as Army leader. He made it difficult for Bush to do the right thing in Iraq--which was only apparent as a rare glimmer of opportunity--and is poking his finger in the current president's eye. His opinion should not be taken seriously.

Posted by: axolotl | February 23, 2010 8:22 PM | Report abuse

If one needs to formulate an argument in favor of literacy tests as a precursor for voter registration, one need only read the posts here that oppose the repeal of DADT. It is no wonder this country is in decline. Stupidity, ignorance, and mediocrity continue to be a virtue even after 8 years of George W.

When can we stop being embrassed to be American? The rest of the world looks at us like the retarded cousin. Good grief.

Posted by: gilbert6 | February 24, 2010 8:17 AM | Report abuse

One would think that a sexually diverse armed forces would be less interested in killing brown people.

Posted by: fireball72 | February 24, 2010 9:19 PM | Report abuse

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