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12,000 Flags to Wave on National Mall in DC on DADT Anniverary

RETIRED ADMIRALS AND GENERALS URGE CONGRESS TO REPEAL GAY BAN

The Human Rights Campaign and Servicemen's Legal Defense Network along with the Log Cabin Republicans and the Liberty Education Forum are sponsoring a three-day event on the National Mall in DC beginning today in which 12,000 flags will be planted on the mall representing every servicemember discharged under "Don't Ask, Don't Tell".

FlagAccording to HRC, "These flags will stand as a testament to the waste to our military, our security, and our country caused by this discriminatory law." Today is the 14th anniversary of the signing of "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" and events will kick off with a press conference at 10 am, after which the mall exhibit will be open to the public.

Additionally, the New York Times reports that 28 retired generals and admirals will be releasing a joint letter today "urging Congress to repeal the law."

Says the letter: "We respectfully urge Congress to repeal the ‘don’t ask, don’t tell’ policy. Those of us signing this letter have dedicated our lives to defending the rights of our citizens to believe whatever they wish."

According to the paper, "The retired officers offer data showing that 65,000 gay men and lesbians now serve in the American armed forces and that there are more than one million gay veterans."

UPDATE: Here's the text of the letter.

KerrThe anniversary falls just days after openly gay retired Brigadier General Keith Kerr's question about gays in the military at the Republican YouTube debate was clouded by accusations that he was a "plant" from the Hillary Clinton campaign.

And yesterday, conservative pundit Pat Buchanan attacked Kerr for not having the courage to come out while he was still serving!

Said Buchanan: "There’s an element of fraud here. When the general did not identify himself as a fierce partisan of Hillary Rodham Clinton and presented himself simply as a military man who had served and was gay. And who obviously did not have the courage, frankly, when he was in the military to come out of the closet and say I’m gay. And to attack the Republicans for lacking the courage to take a position he was unable to take, I think makes him look rather bad."

Regarding Kerr's background, CNN's president Joe Klein responded yesterday: "I think it’s pretty obvious, in retrospect, our search should have turned this up. It’s in the nature of doing something that hasn’t been done before — you’re going to try to anticipate everything, and you’re going to fail at that. Had we known ahead of time. we would probably not have used his question. It raised too many flags, in terms of motivation."

"12,000 Flags for 12,000 Patriots" tribute will honor American soldiers discharged under Don't Ask Don't Tell [hrc backstory]
A New Push to Roll Back ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’ [nyt]
Buchanan Attacks Gay General For Not Having ‘The Courage’ To ‘Come Out’ While Still Serving [think progress]

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Comments

  1. Pat Buchanan has no clue what gay men and women in the military go through. It's called don't ask, don't tell for a reason Pat. It could have been a great question if not for him being part of the Hillary Campaign which made the question totally lose it's effectiveness.

    Posted by: Matt | Nov 30, 2007 8:57:29 AM


  2. Yes, it was a great question and it WOULD HAVE BEEN a great question if CNN/Anderson didn't then allow the man to get up on his soap box and hijack the debate with his own 3-minute speech.

    Don't Ask/Don't Tell is a disaster, and I completely agree with everything Gen. Keith Kerr had to say, AND I disagree with all of the candidates' responses...BUT the whole stunt was shamefully transparent, and I was embarrassed for CNN.

    Posted by: another matt | Nov 30, 2007 9:17:56 AM


  3. CNN should be making public statements as to why they allowed a question from Grover Norquist (who advises all kinds of Reoublicans) and why we had no questions about the economy.

    Posted by: Rich | Nov 30, 2007 9:59:24 AM


  4. Grover Norquist???? That fucking neo-Nazi??? The Grover Norquist who compared the estate tax to the Holocaust. I didn't see the debate, but if he was allowed a question/comment and not identified as a professional hitman for the extreme right wing, then this is just further evidence to support the rhetorical title of the book, "WHAT Liberal Media?" Both Anderson AND CNN know EXACTLY who HE is and what he's about. For those still slamming Kerr, who is nothing more than a NON-paid activist with credentials to back up his beliefs, how does it feel to be so willing to help the Bush Reich just a two x four up your asses?

    The goddamn Repugs are using one of the tricks they invented—divert the attention away from the issue—which, in this case is the fact that ALL Repug candidates SUPPORT Don't Ask Don't Tell—to one that has no merits on its face—WHO was asking the question. And many of you are FALLING FOR IT!

    Must one give up one's right to endorse a candidate in order to ask other candidates questions? The conditions that narrow that do NOT apply: Kerr is NOT on her staff; he's not being paid by her campaign. He asked a fair question about a issue that affects tens of thousands of gays and some of YOU are attacking him for it. Bend over and smile, guys, and have a another!

    Here's a little background on Norquist from ye olde Wikipedia. I assure you the whole truth is MUCH worse!

    QUOTE: "Norquist is one of the so-called "Gang of Five" identified in Nina Easton's 2000 book by that name, which gives a history of leaders of the modern conservative movement. He has been described as "a thumb-in-the-eye radical rightist" (The Nation), and "Tom Paine crossed with Lee Atwater plus just a soupçon of Madame Defarge" (P.J. O'Rourke). Norquist's page on the web site of Americans for Tax Reform includes a laudatory quote about him from former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich. Indeed, Norquist co-authored the 1994 Contract with America.

    In 1999, he was instrumental in securing early support for then Texas Governor George W. Bush, continuing a decades-long association with Karl Rove ("The Wall Street Journal's John Fund dubbed him "the Grand Central Station" of conservatism and told The Nation: "It's not disputable" that Norquist was the key to the Bush campaign's surprising level of support from movement conservatives in 2000") After Bush's election to the White House in 2000, Norquist was the prime architect behind the many Bush tax-cuts ("Grover Norquist: 'Field Marshal' of the Bush Plan")

    Norquist is "adept at media appearances ... writes a monthly politics column for the American Spectator magazine, and frequently speaks at regional and state think tanks of the conservative movement," according to the critical website MediaTransparency.Org.

    Shortly after Bill Clinton was elected president of the United States in 1992, Norquist began hosting a weekly get-together of conservatives in his Washington office to coordinate activities and strategy. "We were sort of like the Mensheviks after the Russian Revolution," recalls Marshall Wittmann, who attended the first meeting as a representative of the Christian Coalition.

    In 1994 Norquist worked with Newt Gingrich and the Heritage Foundation to draft the Contract with America.

    The "Wednesday Meeting" of Norquist's Leave Us Alone Coalition has become an important hub of conservative political organizing. George W. Bush began sending a representative to the Wednesday Meeting even before he formally announced his candidacy for president in 1999. "Now a White House aide attends each week," reported USA Today in June 2001. "Vice President Cheney sends his own representative. So do GOP congressional leaders, right-leaning think tanks, conservative advocacy groups and some like-minded K Street lobbyists. The meeting has been valuable to the White House because it is the political equivalent of one-stop shopping. By making a single pitch, the administration can generate pressure on members of Congress, calls to radio talk shows, and political buzz from dozens of grassroots organizations."

    Ya know, kinda like showing up at the CNN debate.

    Posted by: Leland Frances | Nov 30, 2007 11:17:24 AM


  5. I fail to see the relevance of the backgrounds of the questioners. Who cares if Hillary Clinton herself asked a question of the Republicans?? What, they can't take it? What's going to happen during the general campaign? The same is true with Norquist. Who cares?? This is a primary, so presumably conservatives get a chance to vet their potential nominees. This the rare Republican primary without a presumptive nominee (the old saying is that Democrats fall in love while Republicans fall in line). The real point, is who's going to ask the best questions? Apparently, reporters have run out of them, or are too lazy, leaving the task to others.

    On DADT, a straight repeal would leave the original ban on gays in place, so enabling legislation would need to update the UCofMJ to remove sexual orientation alone as a reason for dishonorable discharge AND homosexual acts as well.

    Posted by: anon (gmail.com) | Nov 30, 2007 1:09:34 PM


  6. Leland,

    Hush. You didn't even watch the debate. How can you comment on a debate you didn't even watch. It's one thing to bash something you have paid attention to but it is ignorant to bash something you didn't even watch yourself.

    Posted by: Matt | Nov 30, 2007 1:10:30 PM


  7. Matt, you are so obviously a Repub. Why won't you own it?

    Posted by: Jorge | Nov 30, 2007 1:26:59 PM


  8. Matt,

    Blow me! Norquist was allowed to ask a question which is the relevant issue in response to all of the crap about shills for the Dems, CNN complicity, etc.

    "While political analysts praised the first YouTube/CNN debate for its attempts at innovation, this time they questioned the degree to which this melding of old and new media is progressing. If soliciting videos online was supposed to be a way for "ordinary people" to directly question the candidates, then why did Grover Norquist, a leading anti-tax conservative with a Rolodex full of A-list Republicans, get to ask his question?"

    - http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?file=/c/a/2007/11/29/MN7KTKVIT.DTL

    Posted by: Leland Frances | Nov 30, 2007 1:28:50 PM


  9. Jorge,

    Norquist shouldn't have been able to ask a question either. I'm actually a registered independent. I think both parties suck. Both are liars and will say anything to anyone who will listen and give them a buck or two. It's the reason I don't vote, well that and jury duty.

    Second, I just don't like Leland at all. It's fun to anger old bitter gay men.

    Posted by: Matt | Nov 30, 2007 2:07:54 PM


  10. Once again MSM sucks on the GOP joystick allowing them to assasinate the messenger when they don't want the issue to resonate.

    No one is asking for Grovers balls in a vice.
    PATHETIC
    CNN will be kissing the GOP's ass til Nov with this one cause they are afraid of having the closet doors blown wide open.

    Posted by: MCnNYC | Nov 30, 2007 4:44:04 PM


  11. egad,, how about a word-limit on 'leland's
    hysterical, hateful, angry and endless rants ? they've really turned the comments section into such a bore. anyone who uses terms like "repugs" isn't worth reading.
    having said that, it IS true that it shouldn't matter if the debate questioner licks hillary's ass in his spare time. he's a citizen, a general, and gay. he asked about DADT. what the heck is so nefarious about that ? i'm more concerned about cnn's editing out the entire sequence from repeat showings of the debate. WTF is up with that ?!

    Posted by: el polacko | Nov 30, 2007 6:20:12 PM


  12. As usual, no one here is actually seeing the point of the poston Pat the Nazi. For probably the only time in my life, I will have to almost agree with him.

    Many, and I mean many, in here shout to the rooftops when ever a clebraty hides his gayness or screams that people who are in the closet are somehow bad people because they won't stand up and shout to the world that they suck cock. Well guy's....thats what's called hypocrisy.....Pat's right, according to the Lelands and Anon's and the many other's of the gay world who say coming out is a must...regardless of the situation. The General (by Leland and others point of view) SHOULD have had the courage to come out when he was actually in a position of authority and doing so would have had some damn clout.....not 13 years after he safely retires.

    Hypocrisy is alive and well among a lot of you.

    Posted by: Joshua | Nov 30, 2007 7:39:47 PM


  13. I am an Independent.....let's get that out of the way before I say what I have to say.

    Gay's are bitching because all of the Republican candidates SUPPORT DADT.....according to my Uncle(who is gay and unlike me wasn't 12 y/o when DADT was put into effect)before DADT a gay person in the military was immed. discharged with a bad discharge and could even face brig(jail) time. And if DADT is rescinded without the proper changes in the Uniform Code of Military Justice, being gay in the military would revert to the old policy. My Uncle says the fact that the Republicans now support a policy they swore would undermine the military is nothing short of amazing. He say's you have to look at the Republican's like they were your 5 y/o brother and getting him, screaming and kicking into the bath tub for his bath. They will never be as quick to change on an issue like this as the Democrats, but eventually they will.
    Let's face it...except for Kucinich and Gravel, NONE of the Democrats are saying they would get rid of DADT or make it ok for gays to serve openly in the military either.(unless you count John Edwards winks and nod's from his wife).

    This is one issue that you really can't base your vote on alone.

    Posted by: Joshua | Nov 30, 2007 7:54:34 PM


  14. Sorry Joshua, but neither you nor your uncle know enough of what you're talking about. The Universal Code of Military Justice was and is separate from the policies that preceded DADTDP simply denying out gays the opportunity to serve in the military. It only regulates conduct, in this case "sodomy" just as it regulates "sexual misconduct" [in the Troglodytic eyes of the Pentagon] for straights. The repeal of DADTDP would not cause an automatic reversion to the last policy in effect before it was enacted anymore than repealing the current speed limit law wherever would by itself reauthorize the previous speed law. The result would be a void. There is some truth in his assertion that the previous policy was, despite the disingenous propaganda of well-meaning people at SLDN, etc., more heinous, but by 1993 you wouldn't be brigged simply for being gay [or put into a military mental hospital], and discharges became more "general" than "dishonorable."

    Worse still is your woefully ignorant assertion about the Democratic candidates' position on DADT. All, each, every one has said they support its repeal.

    But, hey, don't just believe an allegedly old bitter gay man like moi:

    http://www.sldn.org/templates/dadt/record.html?section=145&record=4245

    Posted by: Leland Frances | Nov 30, 2007 8:32:33 PM


  15. The problem is that there is both the UCMJ and the internal policies of the various services under both civilian and military control, so when DADT became part of UCMJ it was to overrule the existing administrative policies and replace them with a Congressional mandate. Were DADT repealed, the military might revert back to its old definition of sodomy, etc, and ban gays, so the Congress should update the UCMJ to prevent this.

    Posted by: anon (gmail.com) | Nov 30, 2007 11:11:35 PM


  16. Pat B's point is irrelevant. The question posed still stands. It could have been asked by anyone. You might argue that the general was cowardly for not attacking DADT when it came out, but generals are not known for their bravery in these kinds of policy matters. If Pat is saying that the pols were misinformed by the military when debating DADT and mistakenly enacted a policy that the brass actually opposed then he's being particularly obtuse.

    Posted by: anon (gmail.com) | Nov 30, 2007 11:16:59 PM


  17. Right wing thugs like Buchanan, Clinton supporter Rupert Murdoch and sows like Anne Coulter put the neo in neo-Nazi. They have no business commenting on elections, even the bogus fixed elections in the US.

    It's especially disgusting when a chickenshit chickenhawk like Buchanan opens his mouth. Like most right wingers in the Democratic and Republican parties he prefers to let others do the fighting. But all is not lost. Buchanan can renounce his spinelessness and join the Blackhawk mercenaries; with all their recent scandals they must be behind in their murder and torture quotas, If we're lucky the Iraqi resistance will find out when Buchanan arrives and arrange a suitable welcome. It'll probably be more ka-boom-ba than koom-by-yah.

    I wonder why Kerr says the bigoted brass of the armed forces are now 'professional enough' to end the bigotry of Bill and Hillary Clinton's DADT. My evidence is purely anecdotal but it seems that most are still bigots and still dangerous. They supply the Shiite and Sunni jihadists with the arms they use to hunt down and murder GLBT folk in Iraq.

    Bigotry in the military will have to be criminalized, instead of sanctified as it is in the Clintons DADT. Then it could be suppressed with long sentences at Ft. Leavenworth, loss of pay and pension and revocation of rank. Bush won't do that and neither will his successor. If all the Democrats in Congress opposed DADT they could repeal in now. But they won’t.
    If they wanted to end the war they could end it now. But they won’t.

    Until he retired General Peter Pace was Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of staff. Hillary Clinton and Barak Obama pigheadedly refused to criticize his outrageous bigotry. It got so bad that even the gutless wonders over at HRC HQ had to demand that they repudiate him. When they did it was a slap on the wrist. Why didn't the Senate or House Armed Services Committees hold hearings? Why isn't Pace in Leavenworth?

    I'm glad Kerr is against the open bigotry of the Clinton's DADT because we should all oppose discrimination in the armed forces, and the accompanying violence that bigoted laws like DADT breeds. But I can't help thinking it would have been better if he'd opposed it before he retired on a brigadier generals pension. Kerr is a general and they don't get the same harsh treatment that was given seaman Allen Schindler and private Barry Winchell, both hacked and bludgeoned to death by bigots emboldened by the official sanctioned bigotry of the military brass and politicians, codified in DADT before Winchell’s murder.

    Generals don't have much in common with privates just like Frank, Pelosi, Feinstein and the Democratic and Republican candidates don't have much in common with working people or GLBT folk. I hope that before enlisting GLBT folks will remember that most to the 650,000 plus civilian causalities in Iraq are due to the invasion. We don't want to be part of that.

    Posted by: Bill Perdue, RainbowRED | Dec 1, 2007 12:00:22 AM


  18. P.B.'s comment about a gay soldier to come forward... is like... a jew telling the Nazis that he is a jew...

    Posted by: Martin Kautz, Obrigheim, Germany | Dec 1, 2007 11:19:16 PM


  19. So Far, I am Not Impressed with Mrs Clinton, she will need to pull a Rabbit out her ass to get my further attention.

    Posted by: Richie | Dec 4, 2007 7:14:50 PM


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