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Posted at 12:31 PM ET, 12/ 3/2010

Can we please have some nuance?

By Greg Sargent

It's being widely reported right now that at the Senate hearings this morning, the Service Chiefs issued very stark warnings against repealing Don't Ask Don't Tell. And it's true that Army Chief of Staff George Casey and U.S. Marine Corps Commandant James Amos did say negative things about repealing DADT immediately.

But come on, let's have some nuance here. What's missing from the discussion is that these same men also said that in an overall sense they do in fact favor repealing DADT. And more crucially, under subsequent questioning, they said they found it reassuring that the current repeal proposal gives Defense Secretary Robert Gates the leeway to implement repeal on a flexible timeline that would work for them.

Here, for instance, is what General Casey said:

"I believe that the law should be repealed eventually. It seemed to me that the report calls into question the basic presumption that underlies the law. And that is that the presence of a gay and lesbian service member creates unacceptable risk. I don't believe that's true. And from the surveys it appears that a large number of our service members don't believe that's true either. So eventually it should be repealed. The question for me is one of timing...I would not recommend going forward at this time."

But that last line could easily be about implementation. And Senator Joe Lieberman followed up, asking Casey if he felt reassured that if Congress does in fact repeal DADT, Gates would carry it out on a timetable that took into account his concerns. Casey replied:

"Senator, I am very comfortable with my ability to provide military advice to Secretary Gates and have it heard."

Amos, who is thought to be the most opposed to repeal, also warned against carrying it out right now, because he worries that Marines in combat already have enough on their plate. But then under subsequent questioning from Lieberman, this exchange occured:

LIEBERMAN: It's possible that Secretary Gates and the Chairman might decide not to immediately implement this for Marines or Army in combat, but to do this over a period of time. how would you respond to that, General Amos?

AMOS: That would probably be acceptable for us.

General Norton Schwartz, the chief of staff of the Air Force, did say that "full implementation in the near term" is "too risky." But he also said that "full implementation" in 2012 would be "an acceptable approach."

Bottom line: These men are concerned about the timetable of implementation of repealing DADT. But they generally support the goal, and they generally trust Gates to take their concerns about timing into account if repeal does become a reality. It's an important distinction that shouldn't get lost.


UPDATE, 1:09 p.m.: Post edited slightly for accuracy.

By Greg Sargent  | December 3, 2010; 12:31 PM ET
Categories:  Foreign policy and national security, Senate Dems, gay rights  
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Next: Scott Brown comes out in favor of DADT repeal

Comments

Great point, Greg.

The problem? McCain, who is a liar, and lazy reporters, mostly on cable news, whose reason for being is to drum up controversy and melodrama where none exists.

Jackals.

Posted by: BGinCHI | December 3, 2010 12:47 PM | Report abuse

President Obama is very fortunate that Secretary Gates agreed to stay on and serve as Defense Secretary in his administration.

At some point when he finally retires, they should consider the Presidential Medal of Freedom for him.

Posted by: jnc4p | December 3, 2010 12:47 PM | Report abuse

Kind of leaves Johnny Mac hanging out on a limb. Someone bring the saw.

Posted by: filmnoia | December 3, 2010 12:48 PM | Report abuse

I can't wait for his daughter, that I-have-a-tattoo-and-I'm-a-Republican skank, to get drunk and bust a homophobic gaffe. She is long overdue. Haven't heard from Meghan since she blew off her book tour stop with a lie to go partaay with her "favorite sinners in Vegas baby."

Posted by: shrink2 | December 3, 2010 1:09 PM | Report abuse

A national treasure, shrink, a national treasure.

It don't fall far from the tree, unless your last name is Bayh.

Posted by: BGinCHI | December 3, 2010 1:18 PM | Report abuse

Nuance? Are you crazy? Why don't you call Obama a spineless capitulator again and then ask for some nuance.

Posted by: mgoetzesq | December 3, 2010 1:20 PM | Report abuse

I'll give you some nuance


Obama just said that he will do whatever he can "to defeat Obama"

And he said the same thing during the campaign


However, in Woodward's book, Obama is doing everything he can over a year's time to pull our troops OUT of Afghanistan, whether the job is done or NOT.


There is a clear DECEPTION here.


Obama CAN NOT BE TRUSTED ON ANYTHING.

.

Posted by: RainForestRising | December 3, 2010 1:22 PM | Report abuse

All, this is potentially big: Scott Brown comes out in favor of repealing DADT:

http://voices.washingtonpost.com/plum-line/2010/12/scott_brown_comes_out_in_favor.html

Posted by: Greg Sargent | December 3, 2010 1:30 PM | Report abuse

Under Don't Ask, Don't Tell, can the Secretary of Defense be gay???


How about putting Al Franken in there?

Posted by: RainForestRising | December 3, 2010 1:40 PM | Report abuse

Barney Frank for Secretary of Defense


That will fix 'em.


.

Posted by: RainForestRising | December 3, 2010 1:41 PM | Report abuse

I spoke to my grandfather, a retired Marine (Korea vet), about this issue. He said that all Marines are riflemen first. In his rather crude away, he just wanted to make sure that all Marines can shoot straight, not whether they are straight.

Posted by: NoVAHockey | December 3, 2010 1:42 PM | Report abuse

Andy Stern personifies everything that is wrong with this country now


Causes the problem - IS THE PROBLEM


Refuses to be part of the solution.

Case closed.

Posted by: RainForestRising | December 3, 2010 1:44 PM | Report abuse

It is time that three homophobes were separated from the military and younger fresher minds took those slots. The greatest general of the ancient world, Alexander the Greek, conquered the known world in his time -- his homosexuality neither disrupted his military nor caused any reduction in effectiveness.

EVERY Samuri was inducted to the Samuri code by his mentor/master in an explicitly homosexual relationship, and not the best US combat warrior could ever defeat a mediocre Samuri in hand-to-hand combat.

King David in the Bible, the winingest general the Isrealis ever had, then or now, was openly homosexual with King Saul's son.

You can argue what you like but the historical facts call you a liar if you claim that gays cannot produce the best soldiers the world has ever seen. In fact, showing up the wimpy straights could be the cause of homophobia -- the gays are just so obviously better qualified that it's embarrassing to the red-neck drunk 30% of whinny complainers.

Posted by: Liann | December 3, 2010 2:53 PM | Report abuse

The Marine Commandant is being a bit disingenuous. Repeal of the law instituted by Congress does not mandate any change in military policy. Only another law from Congress -- one not in the works and with no prospect of being raised -- would IMPOSE any particular solution on the military.

It's true that the recommendations on policies in a military which is no longer required to discriminate, those put forth in the survey report, are not to the Commandant's liking, but he should take that up with his superiors and peers, not rely on Congressional meddling in military policy -- which is what DADT was -- just because he likes the results.

Posted by: rmnelson | December 3, 2010 3:30 PM | Report abuse

I am proud of Joe Lieberman for in this one instance making a serious effort to do the right thing. No person without his hour, etc.

Posted by: 4jkb4ia | December 5, 2010 2:21 PM | Report abuse

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