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Obama is right on don't ask don't tell

Pretty much since Inauguration Day, gay men and lesbians have asked why President Obama doesn't sign an executive order ending the military's shameful, damaging and unnecessary ban on gay men and lesbians serving openly in the military. The refrain usually goes, "Why doesn't he just do what President Truman did when he integrated the armed forces? Surely this is no less worthy of principled presidential action." When Obama was asked a similar question directly at the Youth Town Hall last week, he delivered a truth the gay community has yet to accept.

I voted for you in the last elections based on your alleged commitment to equality for all Americans, gay and straight, and I wanted to know where you stood on "don't ask, don't tell." I know that you’ve mentioned that you want the Senate to repeal it before you do it yourself. My question is you as the president can sort of have an executive order that ends it once and for all, as Harry -- as Truman did for the integration of the military in '48. So I wonder why don't you do that if this is a policy that you're committed to ending.

The president bristled at the dismissive question. "First of all, I haven't 'mentioned' that I'm against 'don't ask, don't ask,' he said, "I have said very clearly, including in a State of the Union address, that I'm against 'don't ask, don't tell' and that we’re going to end this policy." And then he said this:

Point number two, the difference between my position right now and Harry Truman’s was that Congress explicitly passed a law that took away the power of the executive branch to end this policy unilaterally. So this is not a situation in which with a stroke of a pen I can simply end the policy.

Folks eager for Obama to emulate Truman ought to remember this point. Truman did not have to overcome an act of Congress to integrate the armed forces. Now, truth be told, with a stroke of a pen, Obama could end don't ask don't tell through a back-door maneuver such as a "stop loss" order. Meaning all troops who come out or are revealed to be gay or lesbian would not be discharged. The rationale could be that because the nation is at war it needs every ready, willing and able servicemember. And it would be the single-most irresponsible action the president could take.

Leave aside the antagonism it would create between the commander in chief and the armed forces. Think of the jeopardy Obama would put gay troops in if he did sign an executive order. Once such an order is signed, gay troops would be right to want to come out of the closet to finally live their lives honestly. Here's the problem: if Obama is defeated in 2012 or is succeeded by a Republican in 2016, the new president could rescind the order.

If the ban, which is an act of Congress, has not been repealed by Congress by then, all those gay and lesbian troops who have come out would then be in violation of the law banning them from serving openly in the military. To please a base constituency in the short term Obama will have endangered the careers of gay troops in the long term.

The court cases striking at the constitutionality of don't ask don't tell is one way to rid the land of this law. That the Obama administration is appealing Judge Virginia Phillips' ruling last week in a case brought by the Log Cabin Republicans appears contradictory to its oft-stated goal of ending the policy. But it's the right thing to do. By custom, the Justice Department defends laws passed by Congress that are challenged in court. To insist that Obama not defend this law would force folks to hold their tongues if a Republican administration were to refuse to defend, say, pieces of the health care law or others that liberals and progressives support.

I've explained before why it is optimal for Congress not the courts to repeal don't ask don't tell. In the meantime, a Pentagon process is underway -- instigated by the president, I might add -- that will get the military ready for when (not if) the policy is finally repealed by lawmakers. The first big deadline in that process is Dec. 1 with the release of the Pentagon Working Group's report. Obama has pushed, prodded and cajoled the military leadership for a year and a half to get us to this point. Congress must overturn the law to finish the job.

By Jonathan Capehart  | October 18, 2010; 8:39 AM ET
Categories:  Capehart  | Tags:  Jonathan Capehart  
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Comments

"I've explained before why it is optimal for Congress not the courts to repeal don't ask don't tell. In the meantime,"

another black man saying "wait for YOUR
rights"

how pathetic

Posted by: newagent99 | October 18, 2010 9:15 AM | Report abuse

This is smoke & mirrors BS, designed expressly for the November elections. What is there about "UNCONSTITUTIONAL" that our "fierce advocate" and Congress don't get? Apparently, there is no integrity in the White House or in Washington.

Posted by: Manwolf | October 18, 2010 9:41 AM | Report abuse

Has anybody esle noticed that all of Obama's homophobes are black? Tony West at DOJ, Valerie Jarrett at WH, Cliff Stanley at DOD....What is it with blacks and hating gays?

Obama is a wimp who can't even control the military, and Capeheart is his apologist, so as not to say pathetic quisling.

Posted by: cambridge-persisitence | October 18, 2010 9:53 AM | Report abuse

This is offensive, especially coming from an African American. If the same logic had been applied to Truman's Administrative Order, that the next president could simply reverse it, therefor it shouldn't be done, would Mr. Capehart agree that Truman should not have issued the Order? I doubt it.

Yes, in this case we do need to reverse an act of Congress, but does Obama have to allow his legal arm fight a federal court ruling that declares DADT unconstitutional? Oh yes, there's the argument that if we don't fight it, then any federal court judge could reverse the current order. It's the same argument as above.

Don't fight the current ruling. Let's see what happens, and if there is another ruling that is contrary, then expend our resources on defending the repeal of DADT, instead of working against it.

Mr. Capehart, you are simply saying "I've got mine. So what for yours." You should be ashamed.

Posted by: pdonnell | October 18, 2010 10:05 AM | Report abuse

Obama is playing politics, and I fear it's going to backfire on him. He is attempting to take the repeal of Don't Ask Don't Tell (DADT) issue off of the table for the November, 2010 elections, to push it back in the closet, to hide it, with promises of dealing with it later. It's the current chicken politics of the Democrat's, and it's giving the Republicans an edge in this issue.

The federal court case about DADT was initiated by Log Cabin (Gay) REPUBLICANS. They're putting it right in the middle of the table so they can say "See, WE'RE the ones supporting gay rights, not the Democrats. They, the Democrats, are fighting it.", and they are right. The Democratic administration is fighting the federal court ruling holding DADT unconstitutional. The Democratic administration is telling gays and lesbians in the military to stay in the closet, because of the "unstable legal climate". There are a lot of gay and lesbian folks who are going to give this situation a good look.

If the Democrats would be leaders and bring the argument forward instead of pushing it back, they can say "WE'RE the party of protecting the people. We protect civil rights, and we'll protect YOU."

Democrats need to start taking the risk of being leaders, and stop their chicken politics.

Posted by: pdonnell | October 18, 2010 10:36 AM | Report abuse

"that will get the military ready for when (not if) the policy is finally repealed by lawmakers"

And when oh when will that be happening Mr. Capeheart? 2020? 2030? How long do you ask people to wait?

Especially when your vaunted leadership asked that the DOD paper be held until AFTER the precious election. And when democrats loose the election... how long will gays have to wait then?

The only equality gays have gotten in this country has been through the courts.

Equal = Equal

I don't expect Obama to recognize that. After all, it was under useless democrats that DADT and the Defense of Marriage Act were put in place.

Posted by: Greent | October 18, 2010 10:46 AM | Report abuse

You're being short-sighted here Jonathan.

The DADT delay is happening because Obama made the cowardly political decision to push its repeal back until after Dec. 1...after these elections...despite the fact that 75% of people support changing the law.

The nation's LGBT community is on edge right now--uinfortunaely for Obama and his quisling timeline. A wave of 7 gay suicides, horrific torture cases, and we're still being used as a pinata by the right wing.

We desperately need a President who is our "fierce advocate" to try to change this toxic environment. INSTEAD, we have a President who filed to invalidate our marriage (DOMA) and filed to maintain formal, legal segregation in this nation on successive days. Rather than changing this toxic environment, Obama is now contributing to it. Two brutal stomach punches in two days; two acts of political violence against us, in the midst of a wave of gay youth suicide.

For the first time in my life, gays are abandoning the dem party (let alone this MIA President)...talking about greens, libertarians, even god forbid the GOP. I'm astonished.

All becase Obama made the political calculations not to life one damn finger his first halfterm to help a major part of his base, the gays, presumably because he thinks it's still 1993, and it would be damaging politically for him to be seen helping us. Well screw him. Let's see how this midterm election turnouts without LGBT money, votes, or political support.

Posted by: shumpreston | October 18, 2010 10:47 AM | Report abuse

OK, I agree with "...it is optimal for Congress not the courts to repeal don't ask don't tell..."

Where was the Farce Advocate in September when the Senate voted on repeal? Seriously, would someone PLEASE explain to me why Faux-Bama did not lift a finger, did not send anyone to the hill, and had some 3rd string lackey from his press office make a lukewarm comment before the vote?

If there is a good and valid reason it might actually calm this whole situation down...

Posted by: bobapsu | October 18, 2010 11:08 AM | Report abuse

Pitiful!

This president and his Democrat controlled Congress have had TWO YEARS to fulfill this election promise. Result - Nada.

The idea that the Justice department HAS to appeal the judge's ruling is complete garbage; the 'stroke of a pen' talk is just a red herring.

As far as I'm concerned, that's it! Time's up.

Posted by: makh55 | October 18, 2010 11:10 AM | Report abuse

Pitiful!

This president and his Democrat controlled Congress have had TWO YEARS to fulfill this election promise. Result - Nada.

The idea that the Justice department HAS to appeal the judge's ruling is complete garbage; the 'stroke of a pen' talk is just a red herring.

As far as I'm concerned, that's it! Time's up.

Posted by: makh55 | October 18, 2010 11:10 AM | Report abuse

Pitiful!

This president and his Democrat controlled Congress have had TWO YEARS to fulfill this election promise. Result - Nada.

The idea that the Justice department HAS to appeal the judge's ruling is complete garbage; the 'stroke of a pen' talk is just a red herring.

As far as I'm concerned, that's it! Time's up.

Posted by: makh55 | October 18, 2010 11:10 AM | Report abuse

Mr. Capehart writes, " Folks eager for Obama to emulate Truman ought to remember this point. Truman did not have to overcome an act of Congress to integrate the armed forces. Now, truth be told, with a stroke of a pen, Obama could end don't ask don't tell through a back-door maneuver such as a "stop loss" order. Meaning all troops who come out or are revealed to be gay or lesbian would not be discharged. The rationale could be that because the nation is at war it needs every ready, willing and able service member. And it would be the single-most irresponsible action the president could take." WHAT? If Obama issues a stop loss order preventing the discharge of gay and lesbian troops because the nation is at war it needs every ready, willing and able service member, it would be the single-most irresponsible action the president could take. WHAT? It might be the single-most RESPONSIBLE action he could take. He'd be protecting our military forces in a time of need and he'd be protecting the rights of persons not to be discriminated against for unjust reasons.

Capehart further says, "Think of the jeopardy Obama would put gay troops in if he did sign an executive order [repealing DADT]. Once such an order is signed, gay troops would be right to want to come out of the closet to finally live their lives honestly. Here's the problem: if Obama is defeated in 2012 or is succeeded by a Republican in 2016, the new president could rescind the order."

If the statistics are correct, that 1 out of every 10 people is homosexual or has homosexual tendencies, and if the chicken fears are right, that every gay and lesbian member of the military will "come out of the closet to finally live their lives honestly", then the military would be faced with the reality of having to discharge 10% of it's work active productive force simply because of institutional bigotry. Maybe then the military brass might give serious reconsideration to it's unjust and counterproductive policies.

Mr. Capehart, African Americans can be bigots too. You've avoided the underlying issue, that there is no justifiable reason to discriminate against gays and lesbians in the military. The more I read from you and the more I think about it, you are sounding like a bigot, polite, apparently well dressed, literate, but a bigot none the less.

Posted by: pdonnell | October 18, 2010 11:17 AM | Report abuse

I believe 80% of those serving in the military do not want this policy changed and the generals are really worried about moral if it is. The gay community is a very small number of people but are pushing their agenda on the entire nation. In this country today we have a tyranny of the minority interest groups. It is about time the majority had their say.

Posted by: katie6 | October 18, 2010 11:37 AM | Report abuse

Being "right" on DADT would mean he'd refuse to appeal. He's wrong on DADT and so is the Washington Post.

Posted by: madest | October 18, 2010 11:47 AM | Report abuse

Mr. Capeheart, naturally, since I once believed that President Obama was destined to be America's most loved president, because he was a young, intelligent man who had the will to restore our constitutional republic, and would do exactly what he said he was going to do, like end all discriminatory laws against gays and lesbians, like you, I believed his defense of the indefensible DOMA and DADT must be a calculated strategy to permanently destroy these monstrous laws. But now, I'm not so sure. In fact, my doubt has turned into cynicism and the loss of trust in President Obama.

If along the way of our suffering and humiliation during his administration, he would have done something to throw those of us who are most at risk, a life jacket, or not put us in jail for exercising our 1st Amendment Right to petition for redress of grievances, which itself is a gross violation of the First Amendment demand not to retaliate against a citizen for the exercise of his 1st Amendment Right - if he had shown some warmth and compassion to us, then I might second your theory. But I really don't there's any love in the White House for gays and lesbians. We're the expendable. I believe the President will help us when he decides it will be politically favorable for him to help us.

I'd love nothing more than for someone to prove me wrong, because I used to adore the President. At one time, I told my friends, Democrats and Republicans, that for the first time in my life I was proud to be an American. But all of that joy and hope - ALL OF IT - is gone, and I'm searching for other options.

As I wrote earlier in a letter to President Biden posted on my blog, "I wish the Democrats success. For me as a gay American, there's little difference between a democrat who does nothing to end vile discrimination against our community, and republicans who do nothing to end vile discrimination against our community."

Mr. Capehart, I love my country deeply, not for what it has become, but for what those before us who have worked hard and sacrificed their lives have achieved, that I see under emergency threat of being destroyed by enemies within. I'm also a gay American citizen who's beloved can't even visit me on U.S. soil, because he cannot obtain a visa, or tell the truth to an immigration officer about his relationship to me lest he be denied a visa, and he isn't at all welcome in MY country as as MY FAMILY MEMBER, because we happen to be a same-gender family. I've been separated from him for 7 years, and I don't see a light at the end of the stinking trashy tunnel! If President Obama and the Democrats want history to be on their side, and increase their chances of winning elections in November, they need to do something immediately to show Americans like me that they are serious about ending our god-awful suffering. They need to do it this week or next week. If not, let the Republicans or Democrats grab their temporary power, because WE WILL win!

Posted by: madisonreed | October 18, 2010 11:51 AM | Report abuse

The shame is that Obama does not have the leadership or nerve to issue a policy change as the Commander in Chief, with what would be a majority concurrence of Congress. He is a sad excuse for a leader.

Posted by: staterighter | October 18, 2010 12:03 PM | Report abuse

This has NOTHING to do with approving or dissaproving a particular lifestyle. One of the military's pillars is "Good Order and Discipline". As of now, living arrangements are based on two categories...male and female. These arrangements are simple and aren't concerned with lifestyle. Once we officially recategorize living arragements, there is only one option for living arragements: individual. Everyone will have to have their own living quarters. In argument if two homosexual men can be in the same living arrangment, then so can a heterosexual man and woman live in the same living arragement. Considering living arrangments on U.S. Navy ships..it will be a free-for-all. Everybody will be able to live together, sleep and use the same shower areas. I'm surprised that this dynamic hasn't been brought up yet.

Posted by: lurtis | October 18, 2010 12:11 PM | Report abuse

Bogus argument. The military would then have to go through the process of dismissing tens-of-thousands of gay and lesbian personnel all at once. There is no way in hell they'd be able to accomplish that. Aside from the fact losing thousands of troops would severely weaken our military forces.

Posted by: obtusegoose | October 18, 2010 12:19 PM | Report abuse

katie6 wrote: I believe 80% of those serving in the military do not want this policy changed and the generals are really worried about morale if it is. (blah, blah, blah, homophobic garbage)... It is about time the majority had their say.
----------------
First of all, only about 30% of military personnel filled out the DADT questionnaire. Meaning 70% don't even care enough about this issue to make an effort to comment about it.

It is "morally" wrong to force gay people to pretend to be straight (no other job requires this level of deceit), just because straight people aren't comfortable around gay people.

There are currently 35 countries that have integrated openly-gay service members. Why do you think that Americans are incapable of doing what 35 countries have already accomplished?

Posted by: obtusegoose | October 18, 2010 12:38 PM | Report abuse

to all,

BHO is CORRECT about NOTHING, including "don't ask, don't tell", just as the DIMocRATS are DEAD WRONG on essentally every issue.

the STUPIDITY, ARROGANCE & TONE-DEAFNESS of the DIMocRATS is WHY they are going to LOSE BOTH HOUSES of Congress on NOV 2, 2010 AND are going to get SLAUGHTERED in the elections of 2012/2014/2016/ETC.

if you are a DIMocRAT/"progressive", get used to being IRRELEVANT, as we Americans simply do NOT trust you anymore with our government and/or FREEDOM!

yours, TN46
coordinator, CCTPP

Posted by: texasnative46 | October 18, 2010 12:55 PM | Report abuse

Seriously? This issue has nothing to do with politics or lifestyle sensitivity..it's about the military community. I for one would not approve of my 18 year old son who is gay to be put into a barracks room with a bunch of other gay men. That would just support promiscuity...I'd rather my son live a moral and monogomous life.

Posted by: lurtis | October 18, 2010 1:05 PM | Report abuse

So basically it's OK for everyone else to achieve equality through the courts or Executive Orders, but gay American citizens must wait for Congress to actually do something. Talk about passing the buck. What a pathetic and sad response. Mr. Capehart, you can apologize for and explain away all of Mr. Obama's misgivings about, and dismissal of, the gay community, but come November when we do not show up to the polls you both sure will miss us.

Posted by: clintatl | October 18, 2010 1:14 PM | Report abuse

So basically it's OK for everyone else to achieve equality through the courts or Executive Orders, but gay American citizens must wait for Congress to actually do something. Talk about passing the buck. What a pathetic and sad response. Mr. Capehart, you can apologize for and explain away all of Mr. Obama's misgivings about, and dismissal of, the gay community, but come November when we do not show up to the polls you both sure will miss us.

Posted by: clintatl | October 18, 2010 1:15 PM | Report abuse

lurtis wrote: "I for one would not approve of my 18 year old son who is gay to be put into a barracks room with a bunch of other gay men. That would just support promiscuity...I'd rather my son live a moral and monogomous life."
____________________

... and you'd rather have your gay son stay in the closet and live in fear of discovery -- for the sake of... morality? **** YOU.

Posted by: Manwolf | October 18, 2010 1:24 PM | Report abuse

Yep! I'd rather have my son living in his own living quarters by himself. If he's put into the barracks with a bunch of gay men, then he's human and will be sexually tempted. My son's moral development is more important than some political push. If/when this goes through it should not matter what lifestyle our kids are as well as what gender. Open living for men and women regardless of homo or hetero orientation.

Posted by: lurtis | October 18, 2010 1:41 PM | Report abuse

Typically, I would be arguing that most of the gays currently in the military still wouldn't announce their homosexuality or act upon it if DADT is repealed, because most don't trust the homophobic military members anyway. Then I would typically argue that having homosexuals in the military obviously is not a threat to anything but the eons-old homophobic nature of the military, as evidenced by the militaries of other countries that allow for gays to serve openly, who have no problems. And I typically would point out that many of the people who have been and are being discharged are not coming out on their own or getting caught- instead, they are being outed by others who hack into their email addresses and read personal correspondence, violating their right to privacy. They weren't asked, they didn't tell, they were dismissed anyway. Typically, I would say repeal DADT, so that they can continue to serve with the expectation that their privacy will be honored.

But then I read a story about Army Pfc. Justin Stoner, the whistleblower who reported his platoon for "rampant hashish use" and was subsequently beaten by said platoon for being a snitch. Pfc. Stoner, who was simply trying to get his platoon to stop smoking in his tent, has been given "immunity" from the Army, even though he is not being charged criminally, in exchange for his silence, not talking to the media. Because what he has to say is pretty awful.

Not only are 5 of his platoon members charged with pre-meditating the murder of three civilian Afghans, but they are also charged with possession of a human skull, fingers and leg bones, in addition to the assault on Pfc Stoner. There are photos of the platoon with dead bodies and body parts that make the photos from Abu Ghraib prison seem lame by comparison. One news source described the murders as "killing for sport". And reportedly Staff Sgt. Calvin Gibbs likes to collect fingers, teeth and leg bones as souveniers, and has skull tattoos on his leg to represent his "kills". Is that what our military is spending billions of dollars on now?

I could go on, but read it for yourself. Not only am I disturbed, I am afraid for any soldier who thinks coming out in this military is a safe thing to do. God forbid any of them are in a unit with an animal like Gibbs- they will end up wishing they were simply being discharged.

The arguments I have read over and over regarding the behaviors of homosexuals and the distasteful discriptions of what they might do while showering with their units shows how ignorant our society is- but this story has shown me how ignorant I am. Maybe it isn't so much that our military needs to prepare for how to deal with out soldiers, maybe the hesitation is about how service men like Gibbs need to be re-trained so that they don't embarass the military by killing his own for their sexuality. If that's the case, appeal away. But call a spade a spade, if that's what it is, and let us fight the real issues then.

Posted by: JenKeenan | October 18, 2010 1:41 PM | Report abuse

There are some really disturbing posts here, not the least of which is Texasnative46's typing style. I understand the President's plan, what I don't understand is his inability to communicate his own professed frustration with the amount of time it's taking to end DADT. So far as LGBT rights issues are concerned, he issues short, terse statements, but expresses nothing. He's a blank and stony monolith; we thought we'd elected a friend. That's why he's perceived as a failure by many in the LGBT community. Instead of showing resolve, sympathy, empathy - anything, really, he "bristles" at some poor kid at a town hall meeting. Not cool.

Posted by: seabelly1 | October 18, 2010 1:50 PM | Report abuse

@lurtis: This may come as a shock to your homophobic senses, but gay men do not wantonly engage in sex with anyone who's gay just because they're gay. Most of my best friends are gay, but I wouldn't have sex with any of them. I think the story of your son is completely bogus.

Posted by: Manwolf | October 18, 2010 1:53 PM | Report abuse

Mr. Capehart, you are a pathetic sycophant who cannot bring himself to turn away from the accepted African-American view of homosexuality. I think the term for that is "self-hating."

Posted by: socaloralpleazer | October 18, 2010 2:03 PM | Report abuse

@lurtis...Are you for real? I have a gay son and I don't worry about his morals. Do you seriously think that every gay man is out of control? Gay/lesbian people can and do control their feelings the same as heterosexual people.

sounds like you are ashamed of your son!

Posted by: zzishate@yahoo.com | October 18, 2010 2:11 PM | Report abuse

According to Gen. Shalikashvili, during the Persian Gulf War there was a ban on discharging gay soldiers [non-Presidential stop loss order]. The reason you aren't citing the negative effect of this policy is because there were none.

The immoral continuation of DADT comes down to the weakness and insecurity of this president. There are good reasons for his insecurity, but showing this kind of weakness doesn't make his tenure more secure. Obama and his advisors seem to forget that strong vision and leadership begets political power.

Posted by: marcluxjd | October 18, 2010 2:23 PM | Report abuse

Even thought there a lot of very smart people in the White House, I think some there have confused the words REPEAL with APPEAL. Someone please tell Obama that there is a difference between his promise to REPEAL DADT and his OK to APPEAL judgments against it.

Even though the DOJ might traditionally defend even bad laws in court, when a cogent, convincing, accurate written judgment is entered against the bad law, there is no requirement to appeal that judgment. To do otherwise is unwise and immoral.

Posted by: marcluxjd | October 18, 2010 2:32 PM | Report abuse

socaloralpleazer,
and everyone who's blasting Capeheart as one accepting of the so-called "black view" on homosexuality.

Only idiots babble on about what they no nothing about. You are obviously not black, yet you claim a heightened awareness about what we all think. How peachy.

Here's a quick lesson: There are many churchy black people who have neanderthal views on homosexuality, many others embrace equality (and that number is growing). And we know many MANY white people have those same archaic views, just look at the Tea Party candidates for a quick sample.

And socaloralpleazer, there are "self-haters" certainly out there, but Capehart isn't one of them. You, however, appear to have ISSUES that rise beyond the matter at hand, which caused you to unfairly lash out and bring RACE into it.

You, and all the others who think this well thought out post should have anything to do with RACE, can all go screw yourselves.

Posted by: TaylorSiluwe | October 18, 2010 2:38 PM | Report abuse

Good article! But why even try to explain this to people again and again. People want things done fast and quick without ever thinking about the long turn ramifications of short sighted decisions. I hope Obama does exactly what some posters have suggested, just sign DADT away today. Then lets see where we are 2 years down the road.

Posted by: BigDunn | October 18, 2010 2:45 PM | Report abuse

In arguement, if my son was hetero I would not approve of him living in a roomful of hetero women. It's just not proper. As a parent I take it seriously to support my child's moral living.

Posted by: lurtis | October 18, 2010 2:55 PM | Report abuse

Mr. Capehart fails to mention that the president did virtually nothing to get this thing done when the repeal was up for a vote a few weeks ago. And now, with a lameduck, and likely more cowardly congress coming up (if there could be such a thing), and then a more conservative one taking its place, does anyone really believe there is a congressional repeal in the offing? We have a good remedy before us right now in the CA court's decision. And oh, by the way, it is not required nor even "customary" to defend laws that are widely regarded as out of the mainstream and which have been declared unconstitutional in the court system. Capehart is just another worker-bee, protecting the queen at all costs. Obamapology gone wild.

Posted by: fermata | October 18, 2010 3:06 PM | Report abuse

@lurtis: I know several people in the military, many of whom have told me that, depending on where they were stationed, co-habitating was allowed. One of my friends was in a long term relationship with a man while they were both in the Air Force, only to find out upon getting pregnant that he was married with children and wanted nothing to do with her and the child.

If you think immoral behavior in the military will only extend to homosexuality if DADT is repealed, then I ask you, what of the behaviors of straight military personnel since the beginning of war?

It wasn't that long ago that our men in uniform were raping women, and I wouldn't be surprised if they continue to do so now, even if it's not discussed in the media. What about the men who returned from Vietnam with numerous STDs, contracted from the prostitutes they were having sex with while deployed, or worse, the number of children born to American soldiers in various countries during enlistment, many of whom will never meet their fathers?

In August, this very newspaper published an article that stated of the 428 service members discharged under DADT in 2009, 48% (205) were female. (http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2010/08/16/AR2010081605153.html) According to USA Today women made up 209 of 619 troops discharged in 2008, and 279 of the 619 (45%) were minorities (http://www.usatoday.com/news/military/2010-05-26-dont-ask_N.htm).

This is not a uniquely gay male issue, this is something that affects many people of many races and genders.

It would be interesting to read how many of those discharged were due to sexual acts with or advances toward other service members, as opposed to third party outings after illegally hacking into email accounts or reading personal letters. I know everyone for DADT wants to believe that an openly gay soldier is a sexually active soldier, but maybe if the public were made aware of the numbers relating to the estimated 13,500 tropps discharged because of DADT they would recognize that gay soldiers are not more demoralizing than promiscuous or traumatized straight soldiers.

And by the way, sexual orientation does not determine sexual deviance. The profile of pedophiles and priests should illustrate that.

Posted by: JenKeenan | October 18, 2010 3:15 PM | Report abuse

@JenKeenan I don't see this as a sexual orientation issue in any way. I'm just saying that we need to either have 100% individual living quarters in the military, or 100% open living arrangements..all regardless of gender or sexual orientation. Nobody should suffer from gender or sexual orientation. Trust me, when I was 18 and spunky I would have loved to have been "open" and live with men of my same orientation. I'm all for getting rid of DADT and free open living arrangements for all regardless of gender or orientation.

Posted by: lurtis | October 18, 2010 3:23 PM | Report abuse

Heterosexual soldiers cannot be forced to sleep, bathe, and dress in front of anyone who could develop a sexual or romantic interest in them. If the judge chooses to decree that the military shall build private rooms with baths for each recruit, and that the expense should be added to the national debt, then that would be a bold step forward.

DADT is the compromise that permits gays and lesbians to serve while not depriving other soldiers of their privacy rights.

Everyone has rights.

Posted by: blasmaic | October 18, 2010 4:22 PM | Report abuse

@lurtis... Thank you for your clarification, though I am curious as to how you expect society's adaptation of adults (18+) to lead moral and monogamous lifestyles, regardless of housing arrangements. Have you not seen dorm rooms? I think there is equal temptation- if a person wants to get their groove on, they're going to find a way to do it, even those still living at home with mom and dad.

After re-reading your initial post, I am also curious to know if you have ever discussed with your son his take on the repeal of DADT. Specifically, were he in the military, if he would be tempted to be promiscuous or if his character is one that would honor the same morals of monogamy as you?

Posted by: JenKeenan | October 18, 2010 4:25 PM | Report abuse

to "seabelly1"; all,

we note that you complained about tn46's "typing style".- otoh, not only did you not explain to everyone why you thought it necessary to complain about his/her "typing style" but you also said nothing whatever that was important about his/her content and/or contribute anything of merit to this discussion.

complaining about silly/unimportant things like "style", rather than commenting on "content" marks you as a dunce, who has a computer keyboard but evidently neither a functioning brain noe anything of important to say.

note to all: nobody in the armed forces wants anything to do with homosexuals of either sex serving openly in the forces. period. end of story. if you want to see a mass exodus from the armed forces (in the midst of two wars, btw), just allow "open homosexual behavior" & you'll get your wish.

sincerely yours, RetiredMP46
USA, 1969-2006

Posted by: retiredMP46 | October 18, 2010 5:22 PM | Report abuse

@retiredMP46 -- The repeal of DADT isn't about allowing "homosexual behavior"; it's about equality with heterosexual soldiers, who are not asked to be closeted as homosexual soldiers are. By the way, If you're not competent with the language, then your ideas aren't likely to be competent, either. And thanks for demonstrating that principle so well.

Posted by: Manwolf | October 18, 2010 6:56 PM | Report abuse

The US military is apparently full of cowards who are scared of gay dudes. US military cowards are also incapable of defeating the rag-tag illiterate Taliban. US military cowards had to sneak out of Iraq in the middle of the night.

The US military is full of cowards, it's no wonder they can't win any wars. But it is perfect that the cowardly US military is headed by Wimp-in-Chief Barack Obama.

Posted by: cambridge-persisitence | October 18, 2010 7:35 PM | Report abuse

Manwolf; all,

"Manwolf": fwiw, your comments/opinions have been fully considered by the undersigned & discounted to their true value: NIL, NADA, ZILCH, ZERO & NOTHING.

the TRUTH is that homosexual behavior is a SERIOUS CRIME under the UCMJ/MCM & will so remain, probably forever.
(fyi, i got "into serious trouble" for living with my fiancee, off post, in 1986 as "unmarried cohabitation" is also UNLAWFUL under military law.=====> 3 weeks before our wedding we had "moved in together", as Vicki Kay didn't wish to re-sign a year lease on her townhouse. - the SOLE reason that i was NOT tried by General Courts Martial for my "situation" was that we had actually married by the time the General found out about our "living arrangements". - he & his lady had attended the wedding!)

furthermore, "RetiredMP46" is 100% correct. = any OPEN service by homosexuals will cause (in his words) "a mass exodus" from the armed services.

furthermore, there is NO Constitutional right to commit a CRIME, that is punishable under the UCMJ.
(ignorant/UNknowledgeable civilians should really keep their BIG mouths "tightly closed", so that they don't look like FOOLS to those of us who have served in the forces.- the rules of conduct are quite different for military personnel. - if you don't wish to abide by those rules, you should stay OUT of the armed forces.)

just my opinion.

yours, TN46
USA, retired

Posted by: texasnative46 | October 19, 2010 12:50 PM | Report abuse

@TN46 -- Again, no one is advocating for "homosexual behavior". If you are a good soldier, your sexual orientation should not matter. DADT WILL be repealed, and your prediction of a mass exodus WILL be proven wrong, as it already has been in other militaries across the planet where gay people serve openly. A policy such as DADT fundamentally disrespects gay and lesbian soldiers, who have always served our country.

Posted by: Manwolf | October 19, 2010 7:46 PM | Report abuse

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