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Sec. Gates and Adm. Mullen show leadership on gays in the military

What happened at Tuesday's Senate Armed Services Committee hearing on the military's ill-advised "don't ask don't tell" policy was nothing short of extraordinary. The policy that bans gay men and lesbians from serving openly in the military is on its way out -- and with the backing of the secretary of defense and the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.

"I fully support the president's decision," Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates said yesterday. "The question before us is not whether the military prepares to make this change, but how we best prepare for it. We have received our orders from the commander in chief and we are moving out accordingly." But it was the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Adm. Mike Mullen, who delivered the show-stopping comments of the day. "No matter how I look at the issue," he said, " I cannot escape being troubled by the fact that we have in place a policy which forces young men and women to lie about who they are in order to defend their fellow citizens....For me it comes down to integrity -- theirs as individuals and ours as an institution."

This integrity talk leads me to Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.). He told Chris Matthews on "Hardball" in 2006, "[T]he 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 gave the responsibility to." Yesterday, McCain said, "Numerous military leaders tell me that Don't Ask, Don't Tell is working and that we should not change it now. I agree."

This switch in position is disappointing and unprincipled. McCain can follow the "numerous military leaders" he's talked to. I'll go with Gates and Mullen, the men tasked with running the military and who have provided new profiles in leadership.

By Jonathan Capehart  | February 3, 2010; 7:20 AM ET
Categories:  Capehart  | Tags:  Jonathan Capehart  
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Comments

Maureen Dowd quotes McCain as saying that "1,000 former generals and flag officers" had weighed in in favor of keeping Don't Ask Don't Tell.

Yes, she does write an op ed column. But it was a quote.

It seems to me that the "former", if accurate, speaks volumes about the opposition to ending Don't Ask Don't Tell. My dad is a veteran, and he's opposed to ending it, too. But he's nearly 80, believes that President Obama is a practicing Muslim with Kenyan citizenship, and watches Lawrence Welk reruns. (Younger readers: never mind.)

Posted by: Itzajob | February 3, 2010 9:58 AM | Report abuse

I was not surprised yesterday when Robert Gates showed his true Republican colors by trying to slow walk changing DADT by using the tactic of calling for a yearlong STUDY to figure out how to implement a new policy. Just another right wing tactic to slow down or stop anything that the President thinks is the right thing to do.
Admiral Mullen had no such agenda. He stated he was embarrassed to enforce a policy that so harshly discriminates against young people willing to lay down their lives for our freedom.
It was also no surprise that "the Maverick" McCain succumbed and was actually angry that he was not asked about a policy he said he would support if the military leaders supported it. He showed us why he was not elected and may be on his last legs in his own state. I had to laugh at the old guy. But that is another story.

Posted by: Lincoln74 | February 3, 2010 10:40 AM | Report abuse

Repealing the DADT policy would be a huge mistake; many civilians don't realize that.

http://www.examiner.com/x-3108-Baltimore-Republican-Examiner~y2010m2d3-Why-the-Dont-ask-dont-tell-policy-should-stay

Posted by: BaltimoreRepublicanExaminer | February 3, 2010 11:33 AM | Report abuse

Just what the US military needs to deal with in the middle of 2 complex and difficult wars and eminent terror attacks against the US. Good one, Obama.

Posted by: mock1ngb1rd | February 3, 2010 11:57 AM | Report abuse

Hey, mock1ngb1rd, why we are at it, let's repeal the integration of the services too.

People like you are sickening. You try to come off as patriotic, and clearly have no idea what it means to be an American.

Posted by: eternalemperor | February 3, 2010 12:30 PM | Report abuse

I really wanted to give McCain enough credit to believe that his "machine," rather than he, made Sarah Palin a celebrity. It is examples such as this that sadly tell us otherwise.

Posted by: Philosophe | February 3, 2010 12:31 PM | Report abuse

"This integrity talk leads me to Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.). He told Chris Matthews on "Hardball" in 2006..."

You really ought to give credit to MSNBC's Rachel Maddow Show which is most likely the only reason you know this tidbit.

Posted by: trblmkr1 | February 3, 2010 12:33 PM | Report abuse

Big tough Marine marching to "The Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairy" is not American.
I was a Semper Fi guy and find BO to be of low ethics.

Posted by: Tony27 | February 3, 2010 12:35 PM | Report abuse

Leadership by Polling numbers.
I enjoy the fact Collin Powell
has changed his mind, too.
Yet, His switch in position is Not disappointing and unprincipled.

Spin it baby!
come on'
Everything is coming up snake eyes
for liberals, lately.

Posted by: simonsays1 | February 3, 2010 12:36 PM | Report abuse

Look up the excuses given preventing the racial integration of the US army, mock1ngb1rd. Read history much?

Personally - as a 20-year USN vet, I am glad that this morally ambiguous (at best) policy is going to be rescinded. Either allow or don't allow gays in the military, don't force them to lie about it as a retention policy.

I knew a 4.0 sailor drummed out of the Navy for reasons that had nothing to do with his technical or leadership abilities - only because, let's face it, some men feel uncomfortable around homosexuals, or because their religion proscribes it.

Posted by: iamweaver | February 3, 2010 12:36 PM | Report abuse

An old soldier explained it to me this way: When the Army integrated, he said, you could still be a racist in the Army, but if you showed it, you got in trouble. The issue here is not homosexuality. It's homophobic bigotry.
When this rule changes, you'll still be able to be a bigoted homophobe and serve in the military, but if you tell anybody, you'll get in trouble. It's about time.

Posted by: Jamste | February 3, 2010 12:37 PM | Report abuse

All you people need to understand McCain has every right to flip-flop.

He's a conservative.

Posted by: Garak | February 3, 2010 12:44 PM | Report abuse

McCain is a weasel. What he nor we will ever know is how many gay soldiers worked for his release from his torturers in Hanoi; how many of the fifty thousand dead in that war were gay; how many gay soldiers have fought in the wars this old man has urged upon us in the last ten years. The Senator is, in a word, despicable.

Posted by: medogsbstfrnd | February 3, 2010 12:47 PM | Report abuse

Anyone whose ever lived in a barracks situation as I did in the early 60s, will know that for the most part a man's sexual orientation had nothing to do with his ability to do his job.

The straights didn't bother the gays and the gays never bothered the straights. We all just tried to do our job.

I suspect the situation is the same now.

Gays should be allowed to serve openly as long as they adhere to ordinary standards of military conduct.

I can't understand what the fuss is about; gays have served in the military for years.

Posted by: Carl_Goss | February 3, 2010 12:48 PM | Report abuse

Well said, Jamste

Posted by: joebanks | February 3, 2010 12:49 PM | Report abuse

Fact is, we the American people need gays to help defend us. Some of those fired were linguists whose talents are sorely needed.

Bush/Cheney fired a number of Arabic translators who were gay at the outset of the invasion of Iraq. In fact, between 1998 and 2004, the military discharged 20 Arabic and six Farsi speakers.

More recently, Dan Choi, a West Point graduate and officer in the Army National Guard who is fluent in Arabic and who returned recently from Iraq, has been informed that the military is about to fire him because he came out of the closet as a gay man on national television.

Aside from that, a gay man or lesbian woman can be as intelligent and brave as any straight person.

We need them!

Posted by: FedUp1 | February 3, 2010 12:52 PM | Report abuse

As a former Air Force JAG, I can't wait to see "don't ask, don't tell" repealed. I agree with Admiral Mullen's comments about integrity and from a practical standpoint, it makes sense.

In my time, I remember having to do discharge hearings for individuals based solely on their homosexuality. These hearings usually take up an entire day and require a JAG from the legal office, a defense counsel, a senior level JAG as the "judge" and three senior level officers (Col to Maj usually) to act as a jury. Months can be spent prepping the case and the end result is sometimes a fifty/fifty crap shoot.

Here's the thing a lot of people don't understand. If a servicemember is caught committing a homosexual act, that isn't grounds alone to discharge them. It has to be proven that they are predisposed to engaging in such activity. The only time a single act is grounds for discharge is if there is some element such as violence, abuse of power, or other aggrevating factor; which would make it an actual crime if it was a heterosexual act.

I remember the Post running an Op-Ed about a year ago where a collection of retired generals stated why repealing it would be bad. One of the reasons listed was the cost and lost time training people on what is and isn't acceptable behavior in interacting with gay servicemembers and the undue burden of having to punish those who don't understand. This is a hollow argument coming from someone who had to annually train servicemembers on "Don't Ask, Don't Tell." This could take a long time, especially for commanders as we have to explain the nuance between suspicion versus credible information and whether or not to proceed based on a hundred different hypotheticals. As for the argument about punishing those who violate some rule against harassing or offending a gay servicemember; compare that with the months to prep a discharge board discussed above. Anyone who was guilty of such a crime would be treated the same way as any other misconduct is treated today; with reprimand, Article 15, or (if serious enough) courts-martial.

The argument which is so sad it's laughable; is servicemembers afraid of being hit on or inappropriately propositioned, oogled, or sexaully assaulted (it was in the op-ed piece, I swear). To that I have to respond; ask a female servicemember what they go through sometimes.

It is honestly more of a hassle and drain on resources to keep "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" in place than it is to repeal it. Servicemembers are good at adapting. The military was one of the first American institutions to be fully integrated. All they need is an order and instructions. People need to get over this irrational fear and biggoted attitude about homosexuals.

Posted by: jabacevi | February 3, 2010 12:53 PM | Report abuse

Simonsays1 writes:

Leadership by Polling numbers.
I enjoy the fact Collin Powell
has changed his mind, too.
Yet, His switch in position is Not disappointing and unprincipled.

Spin it baby!
come on'
Everything is coming up snake eyes
for liberals, lately.
-------------------------------------------

The difference is that McCain is prevaricating. He's claiming that his position hasn't changed; but there's a significant difference between listening to the people RUNNING the military, and us retired codgers (like Gen. Powell) who are armchair-quarterbacking things. So he's clearly hedging his bet, or really welshing on his original position. Colin Powell, on the other hand, is changing his position openly, and IMO, it's about time.

His famous quote at the time that Don't Ask went in place was IMO logically flawed, because he neglected to see the tie between the perceptions of fellow soldiers that linked racial integration with the homosexual issue. Yes - for the individual African-American or homosexual soldier, "Skin color is a benign, non-behavioral characteristic. Sexual orientation is perhaps the most profound of human behavioral characteristics" - but for the MILITARY, the consideration used is purely about the effect it has on morale and efficiency on OTHER soldiers - and in that case, it's point-for-point identical to the racial problem, because it's all about the reactions of others, not any real effect the characteristic has on the soldier in question outside of those that affect his or her personal abilities.
What's more, Gen. Powell's original thought is only true in a color-blind society. In actuality, skin color played a huge part in the "behavioral characteristics" that he pooh-poohed.

Posted by: iamweaver | February 3, 2010 12:54 PM | Report abuse

I am really tired of all this noise over gays. They are entitled to all the rights the straights enjoy - including not having to lie about their orientation. This also includes the right to marry, as far as I'm concerned. Those of us who are not gay loose nothing if they finally get their rights.

Posted by: benbury | February 3, 2010 12:58 PM | Report abuse

Seems to me that if homosexuals are not allowed in the military, then bigots, fornicators, and women should also not be allowed. Only upstanding, morale men should be soldiers and airmen and sailors and marines. Men who do not have extra-marital sex, who do not read pornography, who do not use four-letter words, etc. Only those men who are psychologically prepared to kill others in righteousness should be allowed. Frankly, I see this today in the majority of police officers.

Posted by: schaeffz | February 3, 2010 1:02 PM | Report abuse

McCain has typical Republican ethics.
None.

Posted by: chucky-el | February 3, 2010 1:03 PM | Report abuse

I'm sick of you McCain apologist punks continually going back to him being a hero and all. Is that the point of this discussion? Does he know better because he was a POW? Let's get to the point here. Whether or not you believe the current policy is correct, and I know from my own son's telling me he's seen good men under his command forced to leave because they were gay, the point is I feel more comfortable with the men in charge making this decision. Not the man who wanted to be in charge...

Posted by: billm32 | February 3, 2010 1:03 PM | Report abuse

We should follow Gates and Mullen to immediately abandon this policy.

As for McCain: I changed my registration to support him in the 2000 primary, but am disappointed by what I have seen him become. I thought he was a man of integrity, who put "Country First." But then first Palin and now this.

It's too bad he didn't retire before he brought this shame on himself.

He has sold his soul and tarnished his reputation - and for what? I predict he will lose his seat anyway in the next election.

Posted by: janetsf | February 3, 2010 1:10 PM | Report abuse

Old man McCain - flip flop, flip flop -
his mantra.

Thank you voters for electing President Obama.

Inept McCain and wingnut Palin would have
destroyed our country completely - finishing the destruction done by Bush

Posted by: Sirius2 | February 3, 2010 1:14 PM | Report abuse

For employers in all sectors of American society except the US military it is ILLEGAL to discriminate based on "ethnic/national origin, color, race, religion, and sexual orientation."

Why then does the US military (with the backing of the US Congress) feel that these laws should not extend them. Its just plain wrong.

Posted by: lamorc | February 3, 2010 1:14 PM | Report abuse

Jonathan Capehart,

If you are going to write opinion pieces on DADT, praising those who oppose it and castigating those who support it, in the interest of journalistic ethics, shouldn't you disclose that you are gay?

Posted by: hisroc | February 3, 2010 1:14 PM | Report abuse

Hisroc's comment regarding disclosure highlights, I think, a serious disconnect in the thinking about this issue. Ending DADT, recognizing gay marriage, and the like are not homosexual issues, they are civil rights issues. The denial of freedoms and rights to our fellow Americans is something that affects us all. We are, as a nation, rather less admirable when we permit our individual beliefs and petty bigotries to deny other Americans their full measure of the freedoms, rights and responsibilities we seem never to tire of congratulating ourselves for supposedly exemplifying.

Oh, and as for the Marine guy above who has a beef with the Sugar Plum Fairy - it's a shame that in defending American interests, you never managed to appreciate American freedom.

Posted by: PeterJEsq | February 3, 2010 1:39 PM | Report abuse

I'm not sure why it takes years of study to figure out how to do it. Why don't they simply use as a case study those countries that have done it. In England, it was law today, gone tomorrow. They still have a military.

Posted by: dotbombus | February 3, 2010 1:47 PM | Report abuse

eternalemperor wrote: "Hey, mock1ngb1rd, why we are at it, let's repeal the integration of the services too. People like you are sickening. You try to come off as patriotic, and clearly have no idea what it means to be an American."

------------------------------
========================

Actually, eternalemperor is exactly the "Real American" Sarah Palin gushes about at her little old "you betcha" rallies. The rest of us? We're fake americans. I love being a fake american. Sarah and Rush get so angry at me!

Posted by: swatkins1 | February 3, 2010 1:48 PM | Report abuse

McCain's flip-flop is him just "blowing" in the wind (or maybe just blowing wind). Even Colin Powell has now come out in favor of repealing DADT.

McCain is playing politics with the issue because he is faced with a primary opponent who will base him with his original statements about not opposing repeal if military leaders supported repeal.

Posted by: mehrenst1 | February 3, 2010 1:50 PM | Report abuse

I can't wait for next year's Marine Corps Birthday Ball when I'll get to see two male Marines slow dancing together. Amazing.

Posted by: edwardlee35 | February 3, 2010 2:03 PM | Report abuse

"Just what the US military needs to deal with in the middle of 2 complex and difficult wars and eminent terror attacks against the US. Good one, Obama."

You think terrorists are eminent?

Posted by: kevrobb | February 3, 2010 2:09 PM | Report abuse

http://fablog.ehrensteinland.com/2010/02/02/fait-diver-dont-explain/

Posted by: cllrdr | February 3, 2010 2:22 PM | Report abuse

Hisroc's comment regarding disclosure highlights, I think, a serious disconnect in the thinking about this issue. Ending DADT, recognizing gay marriage, and the like are not homosexual issues, they are civil rights issues...

Posted by: PeterJEsq | February 3, 2010 1:39 PM

******************************************

PeterJEsq,

Thank you for your comment. I esp. appreciate the fact that you did not interpret my comment as homophobic or in any way hostile to gays.

You may be correct that this is a civil rights issue. However, the interest of the gay community is a subset of the overall civil rights concerns and is certainly more intense then that of other groups who have struggled for civil rights protections.

My understanding of journalistic ethics is that a writer should disclose any possible association or factor that could conceivably bias their opinion, even if that factor has been previously disclosed or is well-known. For example, Anne Appelbaum was rightfully criticized for posting a column in this very space last year defending Roman Polanski, but without disclosing that she is married to the Polish diplomat that has been seeking Polanski's pardon and return to the US.

I think that Capehart came up short on that standard here.

Posted by: hisroc | February 3, 2010 2:25 PM | Report abuse

"The first time this came up was with the question, should there be gays in the military?" Goldwater says. "Having spent 37 years of my life in the military as a reservist, and never having met a gay in all of that time, and never having even talked about it in all those years, I just thought, why the hell shouldn't they serve? They're American citizens. As long as they're not doing things that are harmful to anyone else. ... So I came out for it."

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-srv/politics/daily/may98/goldwater072894.htm

Posted by: lichtme | February 3, 2010 2:29 PM | Report abuse

Simonsays1 writes:
I enjoy the fact Collin Powell
Yet, His switch in position is Not disappointing and unprincipled.
Posted by: simonsays1
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Collin Powell explained his change in position.

Perhaps John McCain will explain why in 2006 he thought the opinion of military leaders on the issue of gays was decisive, and now it makes sense to ignore military leaders.

Lets cut to the chase: McCain opposes gays in the military because he doesn't think they should be accepted, soldiers should not have to work with them, and he's too set in his ways to change. It's an emotional response. The 31 countries that have successfully integrated openly gay soldiers belie all of the pragmatic objections.

Posted by: HuckFinn | February 3, 2010 2:30 PM | Report abuse

Seriously, you're capable of being disappointed in McCain? You really buy the mavericky patriot bs? McCain's about McCain first, last and in between. He doesn't want a primary challenge from his right, so he'll do what he can to mollify that wing of his party.

Posted by: Gutavo | February 3, 2010 2:31 PM | Report abuse

Why do we still care what McCain thinks about anything?

Posted by: djmolter | February 3, 2010 2:32 PM | Report abuse


McCain is a military man. Yet, when the Secretary of Defense and the Chair of the Joint Chiefs call for change that the far right does not like, McCain looks to a thousand other officers for his direction. Since when was the highest ranking military officer in the nation and his direct civilian boss subject to the veto of one, a hundred, a thousand or all of the subordinates in the military? I think McCain served in a Navy different than the one I served in.

There was a time when I thought John McCain was the only politician in Washington that you could listen to and rely upon his word. When he proclaimed in 2004 that ELECTIONS MATTER, it was hard not to agree, even if you did not like President Bush. Since 2006, Senator McCain has over and over again proved POLITICS MATTER, NOT ELECTIONS. The man did not even have the integrity to back his own legislation (McCain - Feingold) when struck down by the Supreme Court. Just recall all of McCain's past comments about not wanting an activist court. Well that is true, so long as he is not burdened by a left leaning activist court. Right wingers are appreciated. Look at his record on immigration reform. When the right wing screams down a bill he helped form, his response is the people have spoken. I am guessing that along with all his other maladies he is deaf in his left ear as the only thing he seems to hear lately comes from the right.

Posted by: kermit5 | February 3, 2010 2:36 PM | Report abuse

Just what the US military needs to deal with in the middle of 2 complex and difficult wars and eminent terror attacks against the US. Good one, Obama. Posted by: mock1ngb1rd

------

Just what America needs - more conservative sycophants who don't have an original thought in their heads because all available mental capacity is apparently consumed by having other people's words on knee-jerk recall that they can parrot on demand. Squawk!

Posted by: washpost18 | February 3, 2010 2:39 PM | Report abuse

McCain's bizarre presidential campaign should have tipped everyone off that the man had become unprincipled and, well, loopy. (Who else would have chosen an unvetted running mate and based a campaign on a "Joe the Plumber"?) Now, with the issue of gay people serving in the military (which they already do and always have), McCain decides to abandon his integrity and cow-tow to the fear and bigotry crowd. What ever happened to the thinking John McCain?

Posted by: jaynashvil | February 3, 2010 2:46 PM | Report abuse

THe spin you leftmeisters continually put out is amazing. What is it exactly that McCain "flipflopped" on? Not ONE service chief has come out yet and said they support ending this policy. Not one.

Posted by: silencedogoodreturns | February 3, 2010 3:00 PM | Report abuse

THe spin you leftmeisters continually put out is amazing. What is it exactly that McCain "flipflopped" on? Not ONE service chief has come out yet and said they support ending this policy. Not one.

Posted by: silencedogoodreturns | February 3, 2010 3:00 PM | Report abuse
+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

They don't need to, the CHARIMAN OF THE JOINTS CHIEFS OF STAFF has already said what he (THE HIGHEST RANKING MILITARY OFFICER) has said what he believes the policy should be. His subordinates (WHICH IS EVERYONE ELSE IN UNIFORM FOR THIS COUNTRY) don't get to override what he says. "Well sir, although you are the general, we colonels disagree with your policy so we have decided to do our own thing and not follow your orders." That's not how the system works, the military is not a democracy, period. Crap flows downhill, just like orders in the military. It's a one-way street.

Posted by: nsu1203 | February 3, 2010 3:28 PM | Report abuse

"THe spin you leftmeisters continually put out is amazing. What is it exactly that McCain "flipflopped" on? Not ONE service chief has come out yet and said they support ending this policy. Not one."

Uhhh Mullen & Gates...head of Jt Chiefs & Sec of Defense. Who else are you looking for?

Posted by: jjj141 | February 3, 2010 3:32 PM | Report abuse

McCain has become a right wing fool. He has no values anymore. I bet if a Republican Pres issued this he would be all over it.

Posted by: jjj141 | February 3, 2010 3:34 PM | Report abuse

As Barry Goldwater who preceded McCain in the Senate seat from AZ said "As long as they can shoot straight"

Posted by: MerrillFrank | February 3, 2010 3:41 PM | Report abuse

"THe spin you leftmeisters continually put out is amazing. What is it exactly that McCain "flipflopped" on? Not ONE service chief has come out yet and said they support ending this policy. Not one."

Uhhh Mullen & Gates...head of Jt Chiefs & Sec of Defense. Who else are you looking for?

Posted by: jjj141
---------
Uhhh...I know you are just a liberal so are ignorant about the military. Mullen and Gate are not service chiefs, they are political appointees heading the shop. They are not head of the Navy, nor of the Marines, nor of the Air Force nor of the Army. NONE of those service chiefs, who own the troops that will be affected, have said they favor a change.

Posted by: silencedogoodreturns | February 3, 2010 3:45 PM | Report abuse

Big tough Marine marching to "The Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairy" is not American.
I was a Semper Fi guy and find BO to be of low ethics.

-------------------------------------

You may have been a Semper Fi guy once but your not anymore. You're a disgrace to all the brothers of the green cloth. And you can't shine BO's shoes.

3/3 3rdMarDiv, USMC, 1969 Quang Tri

Posted by: sr31 | February 3, 2010 3:46 PM | Report abuse

: nsu1203: you apparently are also ignorant of how the military runs. The Chairman does not make policy for the services. He does not speak for the services, and he specifically made clear yesterday that he was not.

Get a clue before you comment on things you know nothing about.

Also, the service chiefs are hardly "colonels." They are the same rank as the Chairman.

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

Uhhh...I know you are just a liberal so are ignorant about the military. Mullen and Gate are not service chiefs, they are political appointees heading the shop. They are not head of the Navy, nor of the Marines, nor of the Air Force nor of the Army. NONE of those service chiefs, who own the troops that will be affected, have said they favor a change.

Posted by: silencedogoodreturns |

Uhhh I know you are just a conservative and tend to make things up so why don't you provide the quote where McCain(itworse) said, "service chiefs"?

Posted by: washpost18 | February 3, 2010 3:49 PM | Report abuse

Uhhh...why don't you provide the quote where he said SECDEF/CJCS are the "military"

Posted by: silencedogoodreturns | February 3, 2010 3:50 PM | Report abuse

Some people on here are a trip. Gay people are already in the military and serving this country proudly!! Two years ago one of my good friends died when his unit ran into an IED. He had served in the military for over 20 years. This friend was gay and died for this country. Him being gay had no detriment to this country. The funny thing is, he was open about being gay and even at his going away party there were straight and gay military members. No one cared. Like one of the straight guys said at the party, a persons sexuality is the last thing on a persons mind while in Iraq...the thing that matters is that the person is going to have your back.

It is time to repeal this legislation and let these members of our military serve proudly and open with their lives. These men and women have families too and they deserve recognition and support.

I salute the Sec. of Defense and Chairman!!!

Posted by: DCJUSTICE | February 3, 2010 3:51 PM | Report abuse

McCain acts as if another mans rear will be more important than a barrage of gunfire. Every since John McCain did not defend Max Cleland and John Kerry when their Military service was being assaulted by Republicans, I knew he was a compromised public servant. Unscrupulous and calculating. A true, moral, American Patriot? NOT!

Posted by: minco_007 | February 3, 2010 3:51 PM | Report abuse

The members of the GLBT community should realize that McCain and other members of the Party of No will not support anything that might provide support or comfort to their community, they need the GLBT to continue to be their political scapegoat for the Conservative members of the Deep South and factions in the mid-west and Western regions of the country to do otherwise might turn their political base to run to the Tea-Party and abandon what little political clout the Republican Party has left.

Posted by: Tommytoons | February 3, 2010 3:53 PM | Report abuse

Uhhh...why don't you provide the quote where he said SECDEF/CJCS are the "military"

Posted by: silencedogoodreturns


You should have stayed silent, silence. So you admit to just making s!*% up. Typical conservo doublespeak.

Posted by: washpost18 | February 3, 2010 3:54 PM | Report abuse

I would not care if every military leader in the country supported DADT, it still needs to be repealed. Its not up to the military leaders to decide, it's up to the civilians, theirs bosses. DADT is clearly unconstitutional.
I am a Vietnam era Vet and I am profoundly disappointed in John McCain. He needs to retire. DADT never worked and should have never been enacted.

Posted by: hmrc1 | February 3, 2010 4:00 PM | Report abuse

@BaltimoreRepublicanExaminer: All major democracies allow gays in the military. You know who doesn't - Russia, China, North Korea, Saudi Arabia and others. Nice company we have in our backwards policy.

Posted by: johnnyd2 | February 3, 2010 4:04 PM | Report abuse

McCain lost all credibility when he picked the nitwit from Alaska as his running mate.
Apparently, he lost his honesty also once Obama won and is on a crusade to 'just say no' even if it means going back on his earlier statements.
Either that or he's just plain senile. He needs to be defeated in his home state.

Posted by: crenza | February 3, 2010 4:10 PM | Report abuse

Just what the US military needs to deal with in the middle of 2 complex and difficult wars and eminent terror attacks against the US. Good one, Obama.

Posted by: mock1ngb1rd | February 3, 2010 11:57 AM | Report abuse

###########################################

So it really helps the military to throw out experienced servicemen and women in a time of war? Typical conservative logic.

Posted by: maggots | February 3, 2010 4:17 PM | Report abuse

These arguments to continue DADT are red herrings. They said the same thing in 1947 when Harry Truman desegregated the military. Gimme a break. Adm. Mullin is absolutely on point when he says he's troubled by a policy that forces the men and women who protect our liberties to have to lie for the privilege of doing so. And John McCain is a hypocrite who has served well past his prime.

Posted by: BethesdaLawyer | February 3, 2010 4:24 PM | Report abuse

BTW - Jonathan Capehart is one of the BEST reasons to watch Morning Joe each morning on MSNBC. Especially when he disses Mike Barnacle!

Posted by: BethesdaLawyer | February 3, 2010 4:27 PM | Report abuse

I guess McCain thinks that our military is more homophobic than the brits, or that they have a better military.

Posted by: privacy3 | February 3, 2010 4:58 PM | Report abuse

All you people need to understand McCain has every right to flip-flop.

He's a conservative.

Posted by: Garak
---------
Hahaha very funny but true on the mark.

Posted by: beeker25 | February 3, 2010 4:58 PM | Report abuse

The question here should be what effect it would have on the current state of readiness and that should be studied. We need to see how many of the people we depend on for fighting our two wars will quit as a result of having to serve with homosexuals and how many others we will be able to bring on with the new policies and our ability to cope with the transition. What may be required is that we delay implementation of the policy until we are drawing down our involvement in both Iraq and Afghanistan so that we can better handle the transition from our current forces and their beliefs and prejudices to one where those who honor us with there service are more accepting of people from all walks of life.

Posted by: ThomasFiore | February 3, 2010 5:01 PM | Report abuse

We shouldn't be hiring bigots and training them with guns anyway.

Let the new policy serve as an invitation to bigots in the armed services to get the h@ll out.

Posted by: AIPACiswar | February 3, 2010 5:03 PM | Report abuse

It's a shame there aren't more officers like Adm. Mullen who understand that the armed forces ultimately reflect the nation they serve. I remember the stories my late father-in-law, a career artillery officer, used to tell about the integration of the services. "The commander-in-chief gave the order and we saluted smartly and carried it out. That's what soldiers get paid to do." I seem to recall, too, that he indicated that the soldiers, sailors, airmen, and marines may not have liked the order, but they understood that the commander-in-chief, regardless of what they thought, was the commander-in-chief and not to be the subject of derogatory remarks from the ranks.

Adm. Mullen deserves thanks from all of us, military or civilian, for demonstrating how to serve based on principle.

Posted by: jlhare1 | February 3, 2010 5:05 PM | Report abuse

I must say that I have lost any respect that I ever had for John McCain. When he endangered the country last year by naming the spectacularly unqualified Sarah Palin as his running mate, I thought that was the last time he could "go to the bank" on his war hero status. And while he is to be commended for his service, the "war hero" bit is a little overblown since he did just what was expected of him (and what many of his comrades did also) while he was being held by the North Vietnamese.

But now it has become apparent that he has sold out whatever integrity he may have once had. His call to "listen to the Generals" apparently only matters when the Generals (and Admirals) are saying what he wants to hear. He said he would support changing DADT when those in charge of the military supported it, but now that they (including Colin Powell) do support it, he has changed his tune. He has shown himself to be nothing more than a politician who will say anything to get re-elected even to the point of contradicting his own established positions whenever they become inconvenient, a sign that he can no longer be trusted.

Sadly, he should have quit while he still had some self-respect.

Posted by: alert4jsw | February 3, 2010 5:08 PM | Report abuse

let's discriminate against gays. It's the American way. Oops,I meant it is the Republican way. The rest of America isn't that sorry. And I suspect there more than a few Republicans that are gay and just aren't willing to say. That includes Republicans in the military.

Posted by: moxford0 | February 3, 2010 5:40 PM | Report abuse

Hi Jonathan...I think you're adorable! Every time I see you on MSNBC, I just smile.
Now, since I'm here I will enlighten most of you regarding DADT. Once it is repealed (and it will be) many service members will know exactly whom to see to let off a little steam. Everyone's happy. Everyone's SAFE! Get over yourselves! Half of you are a bunch of Macadamia's. Live and let Live! Peace and Love.....

Posted by: jorge9332 | February 3, 2010 5:54 PM | Report abuse

could it be that mccain and others that oppose this are not comfortable with their own sexuality?

Posted by: donaldtucker | February 3, 2010 6:10 PM | Report abuse

Using "principled" and McCain in the same sentence is a joke, as he has amply demonstrated on the campaign trail and since he lost the Presidential campaign. In fact it's almost funny to see him paying "opposites" with Obama, and flip flop even on issues that he championed in the past, merely because Obama shares that position.

His opposition to Medicare Advantage cuts in the healthcare debate was shameful, especially after he had advocated bigger cuts himself during the campaign! Just this week he opposed the deficit reduction commission that he had supported, and voted against pay-as-you-go rules which, as a so-called deficit hawk, he should have been enthusiastically behind.

And his betrayal of his positions and his country is just beginning. Just wait until climate change legislation (which he has been supportive of in the past) comes up.

The man has neither the principles nor the temperament to be a Senator, let alone President. But then that puts him right in the mainstream of his party, doesn't it?

Posted by: sambam | February 3, 2010 6:35 PM | Report abuse

Just what the US military needs to deal with in the middle of 2 complex and difficult wars and eminent terror attacks against the US. Good one, Obama.

Posted by: mock1ngb1rd | February 3, 2010 11:57 AM | Report abuse


"eminent"?

Are you a complete idiot or simply incapable of proof-reading your own comments?

You are an embarrassment to wherever you were schooled.

Posted by: law1946 | February 3, 2010 6:37 PM | Report abuse

Repealing the DADT policy would be a huge mistake; many civilians don't realize that.

http://www.examiner.com/x-3108-Baltimore-Republican-Examiner~y2010m2d3-Why-the-Dont-ask-dont-tell-policy-should-stay

Posted by: BaltimoreRepublicanExaminer
*******************************************
Read the article. Nice mishmash of unsubstantiated opinion sprinkled with outright BS. Next!

Posted by: st50taw | February 3, 2010 7:19 PM | Report abuse

Careful students of American politics are never surprised when a "maverick" is unmasked as an opportunist.

Posted by: douglaslbarber | February 3, 2010 7:38 PM | Report abuse

I hope Mullen runs for public office when he gets out in Oct 2011. He's shown more spine and character than most of the elected folks in DC.

Posted by: jdarby21 | February 3, 2010 7:45 PM | Report abuse

McCain is flip flopping because his butt is being bagged in Arizona. His principles are tied directly to getting re-elected.

Posted by: creatia52 | February 3, 2010 8:01 PM | Report abuse

McCain is a sad, terrified old man now. The rightwing teabaggers are after him. He can be expected to blubber rightwing conservative views, no matter how ludicrous, until election day.

Posted by: dudh | February 3, 2010 8:22 PM | Report abuse

McCain has flip-flopped on DADT because he's worried about having to defend his Senate seat in a primary race against a more conservative Republican.

He might have learned from his disastrous selection of Sarah Palin that brown-nosing the far-right isn't good for his career, but he's never been the sharpest knife in the drawer. (At Annapolis, he finished near the bottom of his class.)

Posted by: HughBriss | February 3, 2010 8:33 PM | Report abuse

In 2003, the liberal news journalists were publishing polls showing that 60-70% of Americans were in favor of "gay marriage". In 2004, the Massachusetts Supreme Court legalized "gay marriage" in Massachusetts and 60% of the states promptly banned it by writing the definition of marriage as "one man, one woman" into their state constitutions. "Gay marriage" has not passed in any state where a vote was permitted. That tells me the following:

LIBERAL NEWS JOURNALISTS ARE LIARS

Americans want neither "gay marriage" nor "gays in the military".
Americans still find homosexuality reprehensible.

Posted by: penniless_taxpayer | February 3, 2010 8:49 PM | Report abuse

Disappointing and unprincipled.

Why do you think he and his disappointing and unprincipled running mate weren't elected?

Posted by: arancia12 | February 3, 2010 9:03 PM | Report abuse

I can't wait for next year's Marine Corps Birthday Ball when I'll get to see two male Marines slow dancing together. Amazing.

Posted by: edwardlee35
______________

Hey, I saw four Generals dancing to The Village People's YMCA once. Gays couldn't look any sillier.

Posted by: arancia12 | February 3, 2010 9:09 PM | Report abuse

penniless_taxpayer:

I feel sorry for you. Your twisting of facts and twisted attitude are pathetic.

Posted by: jdarby21 | February 3, 2010 9:17 PM | Report abuse

Uhhh...I know you are just a liberal so are ignorant about the military. Mullen and Gate are not service chiefs, they are political appointees heading the shop. They are not head of the Navy, nor of the Marines, nor of the Air Force nor of the Army. NONE of those service chiefs, who own the troops that will be affected, have said they favor a change.

Posted by: silencedogoodreturns
______________

Well gosh. I'm a liberal who spent 24 years in the military.

"[T]he 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 gave the responsibility to." John McCain

Secretary Gates is the "leadership" of the military. Admiral Mullen is the "leadership" of the military. President Obama is the "leadership" of the military.

McCain said "the military," not the Air Force, not the Navy, not the Army. Not the Service Chiefs. And the Service Chiefs are appointed too, by the way.

Well, gee. Who looks ignorant now?

Posted by: arancia12 | February 3, 2010 9:28 PM | Report abuse

In 2003, the liberal news journalists were publishing polls showing that 60-70% of Americans were in favor of "gay marriage". In 2004, the Massachusetts Supreme Court legalized "gay marriage" in Massachusetts and 60% of the states promptly banned it by writing the definition of marriage as "one man, one woman" into their state constitutions. "Gay marriage" has not passed in any state where a vote was permitted. That tells me the following:

LIBERAL NEWS JOURNALISTS ARE LIARS

Americans want neither "gay marriage" nor "gays in the military".
Americans still find homosexuality reprehensible.

Posted by: penniless_taxpayer


Let's dissect what you have written.

You said in 03 some polls showed 60 to 70% of Americans were in support of gay marriage.

Then in 04 Mass passed gay marriage legislation.

So, Americans might have been in favor of gay marriage...but not Massachusetts Americans.

You might have well have said 60-70% of Americans are were for sending men to Mars and then Massachusetts passed gay marriage legislation. The two have no relationship to each other.

Poster, it's common for people to support something, as long as it's it not in their backyard.

I served. Gays served. Let it go.

Posted by: arancia12 | February 3, 2010 9:32 PM | Report abuse

Fine commentary!

Was it that Rep. from Ohio, Jean Schmidt, Tea Party matron, who started screeching "flip-flopper" every time someone changed their mind.

Well, Sen. Flip-Flopper extraordinaire, McCain, look at YOU now. Fibbing through your teeth yet again.

How many times have you flip-flopped in your Senate career, Mr. McCain?

Maybe it's time for you and Lindsey to go on a shopping trip in Baghdad again? How many innocent Iraqi's were killed last time? One, two, three?

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Posted by: ewyrtuyioetyerhytiu | February 3, 2010 10:08 PM | Report abuse

I like that I won't have to care about this anymore. I also like that the new policy forces people to keep their hands out of other peoples pants, and keeps them away from other people's bedrooms.

Anti-gay people are the biggest crowd of flaming perverts in society today, and they just refuse to leave other people alone. It's tiresome and disgusting, and anything that's done to reduce their ability to involve themselves in that cherished activity, I am going to be very happy with.

It's one huge stinking waste of time. Now they get to shut up & mind their own business.

Posted by: Nymous | February 3, 2010 10:13 PM | Report abuse

Great comment by Jabacevi! Informed and rational! Former military here as well. Repeal it.

Posted by: callmeljok | February 3, 2010 10:27 PM | Report abuse

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