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Eye Opener: Repeal 'don't ask' now or wait?

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Sen. Joseph I. Lieberman (I-Conn.), Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates and Rep. Joe Wilson (R-S.C.)

Eye Opener

Happy Thursday! Senate Democrats are taking steps that could eventually lead to a vote on repealing the military's "don't ask, don't tell" policy against the wishes of Pentagon leaders and Republican lawmakers who want the military to finish a review of the policy before a vote.

Sen. Joseph I. Lieberman (I-Conn.) on Tuesday unveiled a new bill backed by several liberal senators that would repeal the ban on openly gay people from serving in uniform and ensure current and potential service members are not discriminated against because of their sexual orientation.

The bill could be taken up as part of the annual defense authorization bill in May, according to Senate Armed Services Chairman Carl Levin (D-Mich.).

"Gays are serving successfully in our military right now -- this legislation would allow them to serve with integrity," Levin said.

But the Pentagon urged patience on Tuesday -- essentially saying that yes, Congress will eventually repeal the policy, but that lawmakers should wait for the military to complete its study of how a repeal might impact the force.

"We need to know more than we know now about what the potential impact would be," Pentagon spokesman Geoff Morrell told reporters Wednesday. "And we need to be armed with that information so that we could work with the Congress to help inform the process that they undertake, if they undertake it."

Testifying before a House subcommittee on military personnel, Pentagon General Counsel Jeh Johnson, who is leading the review, also urged lawmakers to wait. "Our work would not just be relevant to implementing any regulations, but it may be relevant to how you legislate the approach," he said.

Rep. Joe Wilson (S.C.), the ranking Republican on the subcommittee, said he hopes the Pentagon assessment addresses the potential impact on military readiness, cohesion, morale and discipline. "If the study does not address these issues, then its overall credibility and usefulness for the congressional decision-making process will be significantly undermined," Wilson said.

The subcommittee's leader, Rep. Susan Davis (D-Calif.), seemed to scoff at suggestions they wait: "I would ask those who oppose repeal to join us on the right side of history," she said.

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By  | March 4, 2010; 6:10 AM ET
Categories:  Eye Opener  
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Comments

Sure - let's wait until H*** freezes over. We are losing hundreds of well-qualified military personnel per year due to the DADT - many of these are linguists that we need desperately not only in translations but in understanding of various cultures.

On the Rachel Maddow show there was a leader of a 200 person unit who was discharged - not because he "told" but because the powers that be had investigated his email and didn't find anything pertinent to their primary focus but did find evidence of his sexual preference. THIRTEEN years in the military, spotless record and they booted him - does this make sense?

The military should be more focused on performance and not sexual preference unless it impacts on that performance. Peraps they could concentrate a little more effort on prosecuting the rapes of military women.

Posted by: Utahreb | March 4, 2010 8:12 AM | Report abuse

Let's wait to treat citizens equally. We made blacks wait 400 years and we still treat them different then whites. Same with Native Americans. "The gays" need to be patient, we need to make it right for Native Americans first.

Posted by: anarcho-liberal-tarian | March 4, 2010 8:24 AM | Report abuse

Why are you so obsessed with this issue? Trying to enlist?

Posted by: member5 | March 4, 2010 3:17 PM | Report abuse

During my service career, I returned one evening to our quarters, opened the door, turned on the lights, and discovered two male soldiers involved in a sex act.

Obviously being gay, there was no reason to go off post to seek a partner.

If they cease the “Don’t ask, don’t tell, the next areas tested will be marriage between two gays, and living in base housing.

Robert

Posted by: Robersabel | March 4, 2010 4:05 PM | Report abuse

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