A “More Humane” DADT

Wow. As if having “don’t ask, don’t tell” as a policy weren’t offensive enough, now we’ve got Secretary of Defense Gates adding insult to injury.

He’s talking about finding a “more humane” way of enforcing DADT.

Is this their idea of keeping promises? I hope not, because it feels more like a lousy attempt at placation. Obama promised–he PROMISED–to do away with this ridiculous policy. Most of our current servicemembers don’t care what their fellow soldiers’ orientation is as long as that person is doing their job and has their back. Israel, among other countries, did away with bans on homosexuals serving in the armed forces some time ago and didn’t experience any loss in unit cohesion.

So what is our problem?

Here’s the problem: Obama is trying too hard to make everyone happy in this case. There are some things you just can’t be that diplomatic about, and this is one of them. You cannot promise to take care of a problem and then turn around and do something like this. Of course, this is all AFTER team Obama defended DADT as a method of boosting “unit cohesion.”

They also defended DOMA. So I’d like to know where Perez Hilton is now after lambasting Miss California. Oh, wait…he doesn’t have the balls to go after anyone who’s not a Christian.

More humane? How can we make DADT more humane? If it were enforced the way it’s written, maybe, just maybe I could see the route we’re taking now (trying to convince Congress to overturn it). But considering the fact that “don’t ask, don’t tell, don’t pursue, don’t harass” is often used to oust well-qualified soldiers on the say-so of third parties who have a grudge rather than the admission of the accused, I don’t think there’s really any way to salvage it. Get rid of this ridiculous policy.

Obama could suspend it indefinitely until Congress holds hearings. He refuses because he doesn’t have the spine to do it. And all this talk about making Congress do it to make it permanent is nauseating! If the President can do it by executive order, he can certainly UN-do it the same way.

We can’t have that, though. God forbid Obama take the initiative and responsibility for this decision. He might cause more irritation to some groups than he already is. Just as long as the burden isn’t all on him, we in the gay community can wait.

While we’re waiting, though, Obama is losing money and votes. GLBT folks who voted for him won’t let him get away with this one.

More humane?

Gag me.

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15 thoughts on “A “More Humane” DADT

  1. “GLBT folks who voted for him won’t let him get away with this one.”

    Mel you are usually dead on. You lost me with that sentence.

    Name the last time the GLBT stood up to the Democrats and told them, ‘We’ve had it. We are sitting out the next election.”

    The Democrats have too many of us and they know they do. They know:

    The majority of us don’t want the Republicans running the show.

    The majority of us will never vote Republican.

    The majority of us will vote Democrat just to keep the Republicans out.

    The majority of us will lick our ever growing knife wounds and line up for yet another dagger thrust.

    This is how it works and the Democrats at the top know it. They exploit it and it works. It works perfectly.

    Bill Clinton talked a good talk but he wasn’t our friend. He was re-elected easily.

    When Obama is up for re-election too many of our fellow lesbians and gays will vote for him because it is a bigger loss to have a Republican win.

  2. I am unfamiliar with the deep nuances of DADT. I know the military can’t ask you if you are gay. You are not allowed to come out as gay. So…what if:

    Your car is seen by a fellow service member parked in the parking lot of a gay bar. That is all your fellow service member saw. Can the military ask you about that?

    You live on base. Your neighbor gets up at 6:30AM to go for a run. He runs by your home and sees a woman leaving. He knows that woman is not you. This does not mean you are gay. This does not mean that woman spent the night. Even if she did spend the night, this does not prove you two had sex. Can the military inquire about this?

    You are in the Navy. Your ship pulls into a foreign port. Your shipmates go one way. You go another way by yourself. Some of your shipmates suspect you are gay. Does going off by yourself give the miltary any standing to question you about your sexual orientation?

  3. I agree with John. My gay uber liberal brother is irritated with Obama and threatening not to vote for him the next time, but of course he will. Because no matter who the Republican candidate is, the left with convince the gay community that they’re Satan incarnate and the MUST vote for Obama lest the gay rights movement be set back 50 years.

  4. “My gay uber liberal brother is irritated with Obama and threatening not to vote for him the next time, but of course he will. ”

    You bet he will. The Democrats have a dream come true with most gay people. They truly can have their cake and eat it too. And they say Bernie Madoff pulled the worst con ever. Hardly.

  5. You both may be right, but I’m hoping all those gay liberals who hate us will begin to realize now just how nonsensical it is to keep holding out for this guy when we all know he doesn’t give two shits about us.

    It’s happened so often that this time, I will hold my breath for it.

  6. I am curious, to do away with DADT, couldn’t Obama simply issue an executive order? I know he won’t, because he doesn’t care. He doesn’t care about soldiers being killed at recruiting centers, he doesn’t care about our energy bills skyrocketing and he doesn’t care if this country falls apart. But my point is, any president could integrate the military (as Truman did in 1948) without involving Congress or anyone else, right?

  7. This issue is so fraught on so many sides that I generally avoid commenting on it (although I’ve had some of the best discussions ever with Shawmut, who is a vet himself and still very active in the community).

    There are a few things to be aware of, though, that don’t always (and usually rarely) get discussed.

    1) at this year’s milblog conference we had a live uplink with BG Oates from Iraq. Now, Gen Oates had some very interesting things to say about many issues – one of them being a recent survey of deployed military members on the issue of gay servicemembers.

    The answer was that there really is no issue. There will always be people who do not like it for whatever reason, but there will always be racists as well. They are the minority.

    2) The problem with abolishing DADT is huge. The problem with not abolishing it is huge. I would love to think that the President is thinking it through for the best result, but more than likely it will fall (I’m positive it will fall soon, and would have no matter who was elected) and be implemented ham fistedly. There are issues of pay (married military members get extra BAH and other pay differentials) to figure out when a segment is allowed to openly serve that become a problem with the issue of gay marriage/civil union not being resolved.

    There are issues of IDs (a dependent benefit – how do you decide this benefit without relenting and letting straight girlfriends/boyfriends get military IDs as well?), of base housing, of Next of Kin, etc.

    Does anyone here doubt that homosexuality matters not an ounce to me in deciding whether someone will be my friend, family member, or work mate? It doesn’t. But the military culture is not regular culture. Mentally I believe that many, many, many servicemembers could care less if the people that have their back are gay, white, black, Mormon, Buddhist, or asexually inclined. That’s no longer the main issue. The main issue is how to implement something with so many legal strings attached (see above) into a culture where those legal strings become an absolute necessity.

    Any time sex of any sort (straight or gay) is brought into the equation in the military, problems ensue. It does not mean that something should not change to avoid those problems, it just means that you cannot wipe it away with an executive order.

    Hundreds of thousands of women serve in the military and serve in outstanding ways. They work hard, they get the job done, they excel at what they do and our services are better because they are there. A FEW women do not serve well. They blame all their self-inflicted problems on gender discrimination (not to say it doesn’t exist, it will always exist to some extent, just as all prejudices will) and throw about blanket claims of sexual harrassment (again – it DOES happen and it’s horrifying when it does. It does NOT happen as often as some would have you believe). Those women make all women in the military look bad and make the entire struggle worse. No one wants to talk about that issue, because the prospect of gender discrimination, sexual harrassment, and rape are so horrifying that we don’t want to question women who claim it happened.

    But some of them lie. And they ruin morale, people’s lives, and our fighting capacity in the process.

    How do we solve this problem? How do we make sure that we have justice and compassion for the real victims while discouraging and punishing the fake?

    We haven’t figured this out yet, and it’s a significant issue.

    I think that the way women were integrated into the military is a good way to look at what could happen with the fall of DADT if it isn’t thought through well enough (well, plus the legal issues which make it even more murky).

    Do I want DADT to fall? YES. Absolutely yes, I do. We do not have so many patriots willing to shed their blood for their country that we should turn someone away on the basis of their sexual preference. But can we trust President Obama to do this well and in the right way? I don’t know. I’m not seeing it.

    (I have tons more on this, including discussion re: Israel and their homosexuality policy, but I don’t want to hog up the comment space)

  8. “You both may be right, but I’m hoping all those gay liberals who hate us will begin to realize now just how nonsensical it is to keep holding out for this guy when we all know he doesn’t give two shits about us.

    It’s happened so often that this time, I will hold my breath for it.”

    Good luck with that. Obamamessiah is the biggest hero we gays as a community have hitched our star too. Perhaps big disappointment will result if some real backlash.

  9. “There are issues of IDs (a dependent benefit – how do you decide this benefit without relenting and letting straight girlfriends/boyfriends get military IDs as well?), of base housing, of Next of Kin, etc.”

    That’s easy. Stanford University faced this issue in the early 1990’s in regards to domestic partner benefits. The solution is simple: If you are straight and in love, then get married and get your benefits. Straight couples have that option.

    Same sex couples at Stanford were treated different because they could not legally marry. However, same sex couples were required to live together to get benefits e.g. domestic partner as in live in the same domicile.

    So, the military can enforce the same policy with regards to those who shack up because they choose that and those who wish to marry but legally can not.

  10. “How do we solve this problem? How do we make sure that we have justice and compassion for the real victims while discouraging and punishing the fake?

    We haven’t figured this out yet, and it’s a significant issue.”

    The last time I worked in Fortune 500 America my employer made it very clear that any made up claims of sexual harassment would result in immediate termination of the employee who made the claim. I personally saw two employees lose their jobs over false claims.

    I was in management and trained as part of every manager’s job to take an initial filing of sexual harassment. We had a statement the employee had to read, sign, and date indicating awareness of the flase claim penalty.

    I think it was a very effective policy too.

    BTW, a false claim was defined as fabricating incidents that never happened vs. experiencing an incident and misinterpreting that as sexual harassment.

    We also had a policy if an accused person lied about sexually harassing someone else, then that was grounds for termination too. One fellow manager completely and totally denied having a romantic relationship with a coworker.

    He cooked his goose when his paramour stated there were tatoos on parts of his body one could only see when he was naked. She also knew the layout of his bedroom. He was fired for lying. He may not have sexually harassed her. But lying about it was going too far. Had he been honest, then he might have kept his job even if he sexually harassed her.

  11. John, it’s not as easy as what Stanford University did. A military base is a controlled access area. You can’t just grant benefits to people who live together (straight or gay) without some kind of legal connection between the two. It sounds like a great way to deal with the situation in the civilian world, but the military is not the same. In fact, I often feel a huge disconnect between myself and my civilian friends when it comes to certain matters. Some things are necessary and the reasoning doesn’t always seem readily apparent if you don’t have the entire background to look at it, controlled base access is one – particularly in the age of terrorism.

    That’s not to say the military could not create a “marriage” situation with the proper ensuing legalities (short of gay marriage being approved federally, that is, which is why I included the quotes. I’m speaking legally and not relationship-wise and with no disrespect intended). It may be necessary to do so. However, just granting base housing, base access, PCS benefits, medical benefits, widow(er)’s benefits, Space A benefits, Commissary and BX benefits, etc on the basis of living together will not work. It will NOT. You cannot grant such things to gay families and exclude those who do not wish to get married and are straight. It is not just a matter of health care benefits and access to pension after death, although that figures in, too.

    Furthermore, military commands have the right to be fairly involved in military family life. It may sound intrusive, but it is absolutely necessary – these are life and death issues and they involve the whole family. A servicemember worried about the state of his family back home will NOT be able to fight effectively and will compromise his/her entire team.

    This issue has already run into quite a few snags and problems in dealing with straight relationships that do not involve marriage. It’s been twisted, tangled, and hurt everyone involved. There has to be a legal basis for gay partners to be entitled to military benefits, and there must be a plan for this in place before DADT is rescinded.

    I believe the emotional aspect of DADT (that is, how accepting service-members would be of openly gay service-members) is no longer a real issue. The issue now (although I don’t believe that is what is holding up Obama’s decision) is absolutely legal and it’s a doozy.

    Oh, and in regards to false harrassment/rape claims – the military will NOT sanction people who do this because they are so over-sensitive to claims of this nature and bullying by certain organizations. They are terrified of the bad publicity that surrounds rape claims (false ones, that is, I believe that when it really happens all hell should break loose on anyone who even remotely allowed such a thing to happen).

    I’m not sure how else to explain these issues and I hope I don’t seem like I’m trying to make excuses for DADT, I’m truly not. I think that rescinding it is absolutely possible and not as difficult as some make it seem. But people have to be willing to work on it and not just order it, as well as understanding that there will be kinks that have to work out. I just don’t see this administration willing to do this.

    In fact, I see this administration hemming and hawing their time away rather than paving the way for this to happen. And when this administration can no longer hem and haw it, they will try to abolish the problem with the stroke of a pen. And THAT will create even bigger problems.

  12. “I’m not sure how else to explain these issues and I hope I don’t seem like I’m trying to make excuses for DADT, I’m truly not. I think that rescinding it is absolutely possible and not as difficult as some make it seem. But people have to be willing to work on it and not just order it, as well as understanding that there will be kinks that have to work out. I just don’t see this administration willing to do this.”

    I get where you are coming from. I do not see Obama taking this on either. He has a second term to win among other things.

    California is probably one of the most liberal states in America. When Gray Davis was governor, he was a very pro gay gov. to a point. He had aims for higher office. There was only so much pro gay lesgislation he wanted to deal with before he quietly said enough. To his credit, he dealt with much more than any other gov.

    Any openly gay person who doesn’t understand we get what we get in the form of crumbs from our politicians is either dumb or in deep denial. We get our big bites from the courts. That’s how it works. If DADT gets swept away then it will happen at lightening speed from the gavel of a judge not from the signature of any President. Just my two cents on that.

  13. AirForceWife, thank you. I knew it was more complex than just an executive order but knew I didn’t know just why or how. Your post certainly gives me some insight into the problem and I hope some day it will be fixed. Thanks.

  14. I appreciate the various viewpoints without exception. I have experienced, witnessed, reviewed the issue historically, commented upon and developed various arguments (pro and con) regarding the homosexual in the military. There is the sociological issue to it.
    As there is written into Uniform Code of Military Justice certain pro-scriptions, we are dicussing a matter encased in something stronger than even states’ laws and pro-scriptions; encased in appeals-proof terminologies.
    Given the action by Clinton was a case of showing contempt to a military he wouldn’t join, and most likely wouldn’t fit, the case currently is more serious.
    Here we have a man, who has greater contempt for a military, he would likely not join, in which would not fit and would be short-cut on security regulations. Remember, he would establish a civilian security force “better funded than the military”. He might just appoint a czar (read: military commissar).
    Implementation is the key – and the code – here.
    An executive order supported by a gooey glob of social workers seeking empathy for the victim – an armed forces of victims – won’t cut it. (Frankly, I’m more than a bit put off by Gates’ comment “humanely” – it’s a matter of an experience). Those discussing this should be the serving cadres, senior NCO’s, officers and general and flag officers. (And, yes, I meant senior NCO’s, et al. for their experience – not some token flit who polished his or her way up to Colonel’s or Captain’s Orderly.)
    This is not a matter of continuing the Military Social Experiment of Admiral Elmo Zumwalt (60’s). Nor should it be a case of political expediency.
    Ironically, the Pentagon took the initiative in modification pretty seriously in the Mid-60’s. Guess who stomped it down: Congressmen.
    One seenator, however, spoke up, saying “I don’t care a ……, can they shoot and cover their comrades”, Barry Goldwater (I’ll allow any correction to the exact quote, but my source was reliable.)
    When a couple of Upper-upper Northeast USA senators (leading liberals) heard about the (‘Life Quality’ or ‘Quality of Life’ – not sure which) reviews, their comments were anything but complimentary – “The Cute Corps”, “WACS sleeping head to toe” (sorry, gross but true).
    Now, we have to face a reality. A reality of full franchise. Think about that; full franchise in our republic; not concessions and exceptions. Is the gay community trying for one more “Gold” as a prize.
    What are the fears? Predatory behavior? Already covered in the UCMJ.
    Blackmail in security issues? When out, what’s the compromise?
    Those have been the prevailing arguments for years. (Someone might want to read the “Panther’s Feast”, Robert Asprey, 1959.) But since the “Sexual Revolution” what’s the issue?.
    On the other hand, we have to consider the presumed expectations that come with any new measure. We can’t have a troop or sailor marching into the corps with a set of discrimmination forms to fill out. The military is based upon uniformity of purpose and common discipline.
    We must watch this closely and – soberly.
    We must appraise the man who cavalierly executes any executive order that could precipititously have a cause and effect, and affect upon the morale of the military, and effect an untoward situation within the military – a whole entity; allowing for individuality within the team, but fully part of the whole team – no exceptions.
    Can the country handle it? Yes. Can the military handle it? Yes. Can the homosexual community handle it? Yes.
    Can the “Gay” (read: political) community handle it? I’m not so sure.

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