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The end (still) is near for 'don't ask don't tell'

By Jonathan Capehart

You know that sound you hear when carpenters are busy hammering nails at a construction site? Well, that's what I'm hearing now that there is a second leak about the impending Pentagon report on the ban on gay men and lesbians serving openly in the military. The details aren't due until Dec. 1, but this much is clear: the military isn't freaked about the demise don't ask don't tell.

Citing sources familiar with the Pentagon Working Group survey last month, the Associated Press reported that "most troops and their families don't care whether gays are allowed to serve openly and think the policy of 'don't ask, don't tell' could be done away with." Then today, the hammering of the nails in the coffin of the gay ban grew louder with today's story in The Post, which reported that "A Pentagon study group has concluded that the military can lift the ban on gays serving openly in uniform with only minimal and isolated incidents of risk to the current war efforts."

These stories have been integral in laying the groundwork for the demise of a shameful policy. Americans willing to serve and protect their country shouldn't be denied the honor because of who they are. That such discrimination is very close to ending should be cheered. But we're not there just yet.

The House passed its repeal earlier this year. So, all eyes are now on the Senate and whether Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) can get the repeal passed in the lame-duck session next week. But if the Senate fails then as it did in September, other moves are being contemplated, I learned last night.

I'm a little late getting to this today, because I was moderating a panel in Los Angeles last night on the state of gay rights issues, including don't ask don't tell, in the wake of the 2010 midterm elections. This afternoon, I'm in New York City to sit on a panel on where things stand on ending don't ask don't tell. But already I've picked up a lot of good intelligence that don't ask don't tell as we know it is on its way out one way or another. I'll bring you the details as soon as I can. It may take a while to hammer in the last nail in the coffin of this disgraceful policy. But rest assured, the hammering will stop.

By Jonathan Capehart  | November 11, 2010; 3:51 PM ET
Categories:  Capehart  | Tags:  Jonathan Capehart  
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Next: Someone to lead the Marines out of 'don't ask, don't tell'


From the Ed O'Keefe article in the WaPo:

"The survey results led the report's authors to conclude that objections to openly gay colleagues would drop once troops were able to live and serve alongside them."

And, everyone will love ObamaCare after it is passed. How's that working out?

Posted by: kitchendragon50 | November 11, 2010 7:43 PM | Report abuse

Repealing "don't ask, don't tell" is something like minded congress people of both parties should be able to work together on too.

It is wrong to ask people to serve their country in a military which won't acknowledge who they truly are.

Posted by: tinyjab40 | November 11, 2010 8:32 PM | Report abuse

"How's that working out?"

The military aren't going to sit around and wait to see how it works out. They will make it work. That includes bouncing out on their ears anybody it's not working for.

Posted by: fzdybel | November 12, 2010 4:27 AM | Report abuse

Don't Ask, Don't tell is a system I think most American's think should be changed. So your constant campaign on the why is not necessary. It's the how that gets sticky. I think you can see that changing the way people live and work together in these unique environments is going to take time and the military is bogged down with a lot of other things right now. I suggest you become a little less hostile and start to read the military's policies and procedures on how to handle the huge changes it has made on women serving, etc to see how they could incorporate gays as well. For example, before women came aboard on long cruise, the guys would walk to and from showers in towels. Now they are required to wear work out gear. Not a huge deal, but a written down change one must adhear to. So now you have gays in the same shower, probably not a big deal for gays but you have to admit a weird situation for the other guys. How will we handle that? Please educate yourself on the number of showers, time each man gets to take one, etc before you act like it's no big deal.

Posted by: dcjayhawk2 | November 12, 2010 6:33 AM | Report abuse

It is so disingenuous to read all of the defending comments re:homosexuals in the military! Not one post ever cites the destructive, disease spreading acts of sodomy and the devastating AIDS problem-especially the millions of our tax dollars that are spent in attempting to cure, or at least stem the AIDS holocaust!
No study has ever proved the source of a "sexual orientation",yet we continue to allow homosexuals to claim special rights to simply practice the degenerate acts of "fisting, golden showers, and feltching'!
Tell the TRUTH and quit tip-toeing around this issue!

Posted by: lyn3 | November 12, 2010 11:30 AM | Report abuse


Reading your whatever it is makes me think of what happens when someone "passes gas" around others. Should we politely say nothing as we try to hold our breath or discreetly cover our nose? Or should we burst out laughing hysterically, and shout, "Stop farting!!!"

Posted by: tttvance | November 12, 2010 3:29 PM | Report abuse

dcjayhawk2 "...I think you can see that changing the way people live and work together in these unique environments is going to take time and the military is bogged down with a lot of other things right now."

I've been giving this some thought and came up with some of the ways this will take some time to work out.

For instance, as for gays and straights showering together, once DADT is removed, gays and straights will...Oh wait! Gays and straights are already showering together. Never mind.

Or, for example, once DADT is removed, there will have to be rules about sexual harassment or assault and...Oh wait! There are already rules about sexual harassment and assault.

Or this, for example: if a chaplain thinks that homosexuality is an abomination, that Jews are going to hell, that the only way to Heaven is through Jesus then, once DADT is lifted...Oh wait, there are already guidelines on how a chaplain addresses troops with religious doctrines or views on God that are diametrically opposed to his.

Frankly, I am sort of stymied. How does knowing that someone is gay rather than simply conjecturing really change the rules? Doesn't really tell you much.

I don't see why it's any different from the current situation. There are already rules in place on what soldiers are allowed to do or not allowed to do.

Not sure I see substantive changes needed to make "it" work once DADT is lifted, because, frankly, "it" seems to work fine already.

Posted by: ricklinguist | November 13, 2010 9:52 AM | Report abuse

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