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Posted at 8:10 AM ET, 12/ 7/2010

Don't leave until don't ask don't tell is done

By Jonathan Capehart

The compromise struck on extending the Bush tax cuts, unemployment insurance and other measures should (hopefully) keep the anemic economic recovery going. Fine. Great. Okay. But I'm more happy the framework for a deal has been achieved because it frees up the legislative calendar to repeal of don't ask don't tell. No one should think of leaving town until that's done. Not Congress. Not the president.

Yesterday, I called on Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) to keep the chamber in session until it acted on the shameful policy, which is part of the larger defense authorization bill known as NDAA. Sen. Joe Lieberman (I-Conn.) endorsed the idea. As did Sen. Mark Udall (D-Colo.), who said in a release, "I'm willing to stay through Christmas and New Year's, if that's what it takes" to get work done on NDAA and other issues. By the afternoon, Reid gave a floor speech where he urged his colleagues to "roll up our sleeves - not dig in our heels" in "the final weeks of this year...."

The vagueness of Reid's timetable is noteworthy because he had set Dec. 17 as the Senate's adjournment date. President Obama, scheduled to take off for Christmas vacation in Hawaii on Dec. 18, must tell the Senate he's willing to stick around. He delayed his departure last year to ensure the Senate passed the health-care reform bill. What's at stake in the NDAA is no less important.

Remember, passing NDAA is more than getting rid of the ban on gay men and lesbians serving openly in the military, which only takes up two of the bill's 849 pages. The rest of the measure would give our overstretched troops a pay raise, provide benefits for them and their families and allow the Pentagon to buy the materiel needed to help ensure that the greatest fighting force in the world stays that way, among many other things.

The NDAA is considered a must-pass bill and has been passed for 48 consecutive years. The Senate can't possibly leave Washington without taking action on this vital national security legislation. And the president shouldn't leave town until it is done, either.

By Jonathan Capehart  | December 7, 2010; 8:10 AM ET
Categories:  Capehart  | Tags:  Jonathan Capehart  
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Ever hear of a "poison pill"? NDAA is only one of a dozen "must pass" authorization bill that will be kicked down the road with another CR.

Posted by: kitchendragon50 | December 7, 2010 10:48 AM | Report abuse

I mean....I'm Asking AND I'm Telling. Read more @imeanwhat

Posted by: IMeanWhat1 | December 7, 2010 2:25 PM | Report abuse

I oppose this repeal for 4 reasons. 1) Introducing any 'open' sexuality position makes no sense for a organization that prepares for war. An 'open' heterosexual environment never was the environment when I served in the Marines because we were focusing on preparing for war, not sex. 2) The homosexual lifestyles carry a heavy medical cost based on statistics from the Center For Disease Control and Prevention and the Gay and Lesbian Medical Association. Based on the statistics from these organizations, 3) any 'equal' status for homosexual inductees should also require an 'equal' capability of functioning disease free in a tough military environment. Unfortunately for homosexuals this is impossible to guarantee based on the practices associated with the homosexual lifestyles. Nor should it be the military’s business to train homosexual soldiers in safe sexual practices. Not only this, but when homosexual service personnel encounter any of these disabilities, they will be placed in a non-deployed status, but guaranteed life care to combat diseases incurred during military service. Treating these diseases is an unnecessary budget buster for the military. 4) Morale - I wanted to be and became one of ‘The Few, The Proud, The Marines’. Introducing a sexually charged, political, activist environment will ruin our military. The tough will stop enlisting if this is compromised, and our military and our country will not survive such a needless suicide of policy.

Posted by: striderrt | December 7, 2010 3:09 PM | Report abuse

Military personnel train to kill our nations' enemies. To enable this 'act of killing', service men and women are desensitized so that the natural hesitation to killing can be overcome. Military personnel must not hesitate when killing is required. This desensitization does not facilitate genteel behavior, but it could facilitate violence if overt, unwanted sexual solicitations are encountered.
Don't misunderstand me, beating gay people is wrong and should be prosecuted like any other assault, but it could be understandable when the idea of two men or two women doing each other, grab-assing or eyeing others in the showers does not appeal to virtually all the troops. To force acceptance of such actions results in temporary political gain and permanent military shipwreck. The country cannot be protected by destroying the community that protects us.

Nearly all of the gender-based problems encountered by our military could be simply eliminated by separating the genders, both women and gays, from their attractive opposites. Separate straight men and women from each other, lesbians from other women, and gay men from other men. This would remove the fire from the gasoline. Understanding that this is not likely to happen, the simpler solution is DON'T CHANGE THE CURRENT 'DON'T ASK, DON'T TELL' POLICY! Yes, it is that simple. The military environment is not and should never be a democracy - if it were, it could not function. Demanding democratic equality introduces distractions that create unnecessary internal tensions. It could be suggested that internal tensions are absent only if gays are not openly gay - this effectively is ‘don’t ask, don’t tell’.

To place the interests of the gay few (<=3%) over the interests of the country and its military is simply incredible. The policy of 'Don't Ask, Don't Tell' is already in error, but repealing it is a greater one.

Posted by: striderrt | December 7, 2010 4:44 PM | Report abuse

The military is full of young, strong, hormone-driven people. The military is not a place of courtly gentlemen and women who blush and hide their faces from improprieties. It's a tough world where people train to kill and may have to kill their country's enemies. It's a high stress world and high stress for young people with proximity and opportunity results in sexual encounters. These encounters may be consensual or not, but this is the real world, not Pat Schroeder's or Jonathan Capehart's fantasy-land.

Posted by: striderrt | December 7, 2010 4:53 PM | Report abuse

Striderrt -
If this was a longer thread you would be pummeled with the usual taunts of homophobe. You are absolutely right, and the pundits so favorable toward this repeal have no clue how bad the consequences will be. Please try to post in other forums; the prevailing winds of opinion, at least in a lot of media and Internet forums, are blowing against you.

Posted by: CraiginJersey | December 7, 2010 7:33 PM | Report abuse


That is what this blog entry by Jonathan Capehart is all about.

However, and Thank God for this Fact, that there is no hope for this DADT repeal to go through in this Congress or the next.

It is IMPOSSIBLE that the Republican's will hand Obama a banner of victory to carry in his hand, to rally his base, in the 2012 election.

It is IMPOSSIBLE that the Republicans will send a smashing left hook into the jaw of their own political base, making sure there will be zero enthusiasm to go to the polls to elect a Republican president in the 2012 election.

The Republicans have made the political calculation, that in the final analysis, if they don’t block DADT Repeal here, and now, that they will give Obama the edge in the 2012 presidential election, first, by giving him a banner of victory that he can carry before his troops, and second by delivering a heavy blow against the morale of their own troops, a one-two punch that would deny them the one or two percentage points they need to make the difference between defeat and victory in their quest for control of the White House in 2012.

The Republicans have the votes to block this. And they will block this. That is what the famous 42 signature letter was all about.

Posted by: GoldenEagles | December 8, 2010 2:22 AM | Report abuse

Mr Capehart,

could it be that you constantly harp on repealing DADT, on Sarah Palin & on the TEA PARTY to try to divert everyone's attention away from the FACT that BHO:
1. is an arrogant fool, completely UNqualified for the office that he occupies, a weakling
4. makes Jimmy Carter look qualified/competent & Richard Nixon look honest?

but fear not, we voters are not deceived & i have the same chance as BHO does of living in the WH in 2013.
furthermore, the DIMocRATS are FINISHED as a major politcal party.

yours, TN46
coordinator, CCTPP

Posted by: texasnative46 | December 8, 2010 12:59 PM | Report abuse

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