Barack Obama | Colin Powell | Don't Ask, Don't Tell | Military | News

Obama: More Analysis Needed Before 'Don't Ask, Don't Tell' Repeal

While Obama's press secretary Robert Gibbs said in a video that "Yes," the President would lift the ban on gays in the military, Obama is signaling that it will be months if not years before enough canvassing of military officials and congressional leadership can be done for him to be comfortable in moving forward:

Dadt"Obama is hoping to avoid the missteps of the Clinton administration when it tried to open the ranks to gays and lesbians, only to be confronted by fierce resistance from lawmakers and commanders...At the Pentagon, officials say they have been told not to expect the administration to seek to lift the ban quickly. One senior officer, speaking on the condition of anonymity because he is not authorized to speak to the press, said staff officers for Admiral Mike Mullen, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, have been told it will be several months at the earliest - possibly not even this year - until the top brass will be formally asked to weigh in on a change in policy. And even then, he said, the military has been assured it will have wide latitude to undertake a detailed study of how a change in the policy would affect the military."

Nathaniel Frank, a researcher at a think tank in Santa Barbara, California, says there is "good reason" for Obama to proceed with caution, but points out the issues with moving too slowly: "A delay could let opposition fester and build."

In December, Colin Powell said it was time to re-evaluate the policy. And in November, over 100 retired generals and admirals called for the repeal of the policy.

The NYT: "Mr. Obama’s cultivation of the military has reached the point that it is already causing unease among some members of his liberal base, who say they will hold him to his promise on troop withdrawals and pressure him to move more quickly on'don’t ask, don’t tell.' The nation’s largest gay rights lobbying group has called on the president to develop a plan to end 'don’t ask, don’t tell' within his first 100 days, and another group is asking that Mr. Obama push for repeal by the end of the year. 'I’d be very concerned if they don’t seize this opportunity in 2009,” said Aubrey Sarvis, the executive director of the Servicemembers Legal Defense Network, an advocacy group that represents gay men and lesbians in the military. “We take the president at his word, and we plan to keep his feet to the fire.'"

Obama seeks assessment on gays in military [boston globe]

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  1. blah blah blah. two weeks in, obama is sure doing a great job!

    Posted by: rick | Feb 2, 2009 12:06:31 PM

  2. There will be gay marriage in this country before they allow gays in the military-count on it.

    Posted by: JerzeeMike | Feb 2, 2009 12:09:57 PM

  3. What else is new? Looks like Uncle Tom-bama has finally shown his true color; Red-neck. I am so dissapointed in him. I should have known better.

    Wonder if Uncle Tom-Bama intends to use the right-wing nut version of 'Don't ask, Don't Tell' or the truth: Don't Ask, Don't Tell, Don't Pursue'.

    None the less, this president lied to everyone again. It just usually takes a lot longer for us to find out we've been conned. Should have paid a little more attention to the whole Rick Warren thing.

    Shame on me for believing in Hope.

    Posted by: RogerRamjet | Feb 2, 2009 12:12:11 PM

  4. Why is anyone shocked at this?

    Obama will do little if anything to change the situation for LGBT folks. That much is clear.

    Posted by: Nick | Feb 2, 2009 12:16:02 PM

  5. I can see how it would be smart politics to move forward with deliberation rather than charging in as Clinton did. Having said that, I think I admire Clinton's approach for it's all out ballsy-ness not to mention the message it originally sent that we are equal before Clinton was forced to cave in to the homophobes. At least a *little* more force from the Obama camp would be appreciated.

    Posted by: peterparker | Feb 2, 2009 12:16:53 PM

  6. No kidding, PETERPARKER. Canvassing? Why don't we canvas the majority of people in Kentucky, Alabama and Tennessee about whether black people should be able to date white girls, and guage African American civil rights accordingly? Just do it already for goodness sake. They've already canvassed the generals (in favor) and other more progressive nations where gays are in the military already (no problems - not one single issue in over a decade here in Canada alone). Come on already!

    Posted by: Strepsi | Feb 2, 2009 12:29:07 PM

  7. It's the lesser of the two evils. While the current Pres might not do much for us, he's not out to destroy us like the other side. It sucks, but sometimes you gotta look at the risks, and take the path that's gonna hurt less.

    Posted by: JASONASIAN | Feb 2, 2009 12:37:27 PM

  8. I can't be the only one who's noticed the extreme hilarity of the permalink URL for this post, yes?

    Posted by: Andy Schultz | Feb 2, 2009 12:41:12 PM

  9. And McCain would have done more at 2 weeks in office? He is one man who is trying to change the world... it is NOT going to happen overnight - good grief!

    Posted by: JayDub | Feb 2, 2009 12:41:33 PM

  10. Surprised? Hardly. It will be late in Obama's second term before this and other gay issues are addressed by this administration. It is called "politics" and not about to change any time soon.

    My baseline concern remains The Supremes. With Obama about to achieve a non-fillibusterable 60 vote majority in the Senate, the longer-term goal of a solid progressive majority on the high court is becoming achievable.

    Posted by: rudy | Feb 2, 2009 12:48:31 PM

  11. On most everything else, Obama IS doing a great job, but this?

    He should just repeal it, and let the resisting lawmakers and other assorted asshats be the bad guys!

    Posted by: J.P. | Feb 2, 2009 12:54:36 PM

  12. Why are we even focusing on the most difficult issues first?

    Even among Democrats, the military and marriage are the most divisive areas of our agenda. Discrimination (generally) and hate crimes, on the other hand, are not really an issue within the party. Instead of wasting our time trying to convince Obama to move up the timetable on DADT and DOMA, which he clearly won't do anyway, we should be pressuring Congress to finish up work on the Matthew Shepard Act and Employment Non-Discrimination Act.

    We have the votes. We can affect real change with these pieces of legislation. And yet, we continue to waste our precious money and time on "Peter Pan" pipe dreams. Look HRC, just get what you can out of this Congress, even if it means putting contentious issues like DADT and DOMA in the drawer. Something is better than nothing.

    Posted by: John in CA | Feb 2, 2009 1:03:54 PM

  13. The RNC is wounded and the economy's down for the count. This is a perfect time for a third party to take its place.

    Posted by: TANK | Feb 2, 2009 1:36:49 PM

  14. The problem is that the military recruits heavily in conservative areas like the South. However, they can hold promotions on the line until the brass concedes defeat.

    Posted by: anon | Feb 2, 2009 1:45:11 PM

  15. Let them analyze it and study it. Every single study has found DADT counterproductive. It's politics, but armed with yet another study they can move forward.

    Posted by: Kevinvt | Feb 2, 2009 1:46:27 PM

  16. Jessica H. Christ! The ignorance that the press is allowed to get away with. Clinton did NOT sign an Executive Order only to have it shot down by Congress as suggested by the Globe article. @#$#!!#$

    More to the point, Obama Inc. is NOT "avoid[ing] the mistakes of Bill Clinton," they are wilffully REPEATING them!!!!

    Clinton's first mistake was the one that castrated him in the end: the moment he got pushback from the Pentagon troglodytes, led by the insubordinate-should-have-been-fired-on-the-spot Gen. Rectum Powell, he decided to "work with the military" instead of saying, "Excuse fucking me, I AM the Commander-in-Chief. You WILL do what I say or your military career is over." [Even some grunts who opposed integration said, "We will follow orders" just as Mullen did on "60 Minutes" recently in relation to Iraq.]

    Clinton's choice gave the civilian opposition time to flood Congress with calls, letters, etc., screaming bloody murder which contributed to the defeat of a bill in Congress by Boxer, Schroeder, et al., to open the military and the passage of DADT after homohating cracker Sen. Sam Nunn, eager to get even Clinton for passing him over for Secretary of Defense, led TV camera crews through a dog-and-pony show in the cramped sleeping quarters of a submarine, stacked televised hearings with military opponents of integration. Yes, the opposition is already there but this gives them more time to do the same kind of damage then did in '93.

    In the primary debates, when asked what he would do if the Pentagon opposed withdrawing from Iraq, Obama quickly responded that he would remind them that he was Commander-in-Chief. But all this nonsense about getting "buy in" from the Pentagon is historical ignorance and political cowardice. Studies commissioned by the military going all the way back to NINETEEN FUCKINNG FIFTY-SEVEN have already proven that open gays can serve with distinction, and in the intervening half-century mountains of evidence have risen that the average soldier doesn't care as long as the gay soldier does his/her job well.

    Congress, which is, again, only required to repeal the ban because of Clinton giving them time to formally legislate one, is a different matter, they will need persuaded. But Commander-in-Chief Obama is CREATING a second obstacle, doubling the delay to repeal, by giving the tail permission to wag the dog.

    According to the NYT article at the link below, Obama developed a young, former military officer posse during the primaries that are now continuing to advise him, even getting Administration jobs. Sweet that members of a national gay business group was invited to join advisors to him on the economy. WHEN is he going to invite a group of recent GAY VETS to advise him about what's really going on in the military on the ground, like those who were interviewed months ago on "60 Minutes" about being out with impunity to their superior officers and comrades?

    Posted by: Leland Frances | Feb 2, 2009 2:04:23 PM

  17. OK, everybody! Now, bend over.

    Posted by: mike | Feb 2, 2009 2:12:25 PM

  18. just checked the mirror, yep those are in fact tire marks on my face. Obama has thrown us under the bus.

    Posted by: Dan B | Feb 2, 2009 2:27:13 PM

  19. You know I'd much rather he use his "political capital" --if any--for an inclusive ENDA bill....but this was what he indicated and this pull back has to be another dissapointment to the GLBT as well as the American Family.

    I do think that President Barrack-I-Just-Want-To-Be-Loved-Obama has not demostrated any fire in the belly for this or really ANY issue so far.

    Posted by: MCnNYC | Feb 2, 2009 2:37:37 PM

  20. 'More analysis' = 'This will never happen while I'm President'

    Posted by: Matt | Feb 2, 2009 3:26:05 PM

  21. Surprise, surprise.

    Posted by: shane | Feb 2, 2009 3:26:13 PM

  22. I'm going to shun the blue Kool-Aid ("I *trust* him!!") and the black bile ("he's betraying us!") for the bland evidence of deeds.

    Obama gets no credit for any supportive words or an uplifting website. He will earn (or lose) my respect by actually getting things done for gay people. I gave him a pass on Donnie McCluken, and then Rick Warren burned off my good will. If he's still spinning the charm and has nothing to show for it in two years, anyone who still believes in him will be an idiot.

    Posted by: Yeek | Feb 2, 2009 4:33:34 PM

  23. Maybe he thinks it gets easier after more anal...ysis.

    Posted by: Ben Dover | Feb 2, 2009 5:32:47 PM

  24. He better not wait too long. Historically the party in the Whitehouse will lose seats duirng the first mid-term election. He has the votes to do this NOW. He will lose some of those votes as the honeymoon wears off, and he will lose seats in 24 months.

    Posted by: Brix | Feb 2, 2009 5:34:44 PM

  25. i met two guys last week who are in the service and are together. talking with them was fascinating. they were really great guys. despite the fact that they are ingrained with the military command structure as part of their lives (they had the aura of military personnel) they were open about their history and relationship because where we were was a totally accepting and open environment at the time and they had nothing to fear. everyone else was lgbtq or friends there. [i realize i'm being a little evasive here, but i don't want to take any chance of compromising their jobs in any way.]

    i was very proud to meet these two men. they are doing something they truly believe in by being in the military, yet the sense of how careful they knew they had to be and hiding who they really are has to be so much hard work, and they talked about the impact it has on their lives, both together and individually.

    i felt a sense of sadness, and i told them this, because no matter what we've all gone through, they have to deal with something that has to be so constraining it has to be stifling at times.

    i also feel safer because of them; they are helping to protect me and the country. their sense of dedication and duty was so obvious. they wouldn't want to be doing anything else. i applaud them wholeheartedly.

    i don't see an end to DADT in the near future; i see Obama doing exactly what he did when he was here in Illinois as a state senator - placating everyone. i see him working for one thing and one thing only - reelection in four years!

    anyone who was hoping he would make the changes he talked about is a dreamer. take for example his repeated statements during the campaigh that he was "not in favor of" same-sex marriage. for those of you who may not have heard, Chicago's "Windy City Times" has a taped interview with him when he was running for state office when he "explicitly" stated that he supports total marriage equality.

    what do you think changed his mind...?

    i also feel a sense of helplessness for the two guys i mention above. i don't know what i can do. i support SLDN monetarily and spreading the word on doing away with DADT, but i don't feel it to be enough.

    no one should be forced to live in fear of being who they are. if you're older, as i am, i have to tell you that we have only felt a tiny amount of the fear of being outed compared to them. if you are younger, i want to tell you how lucky you are because it has been so much easier for you. i also thank the gods, fate or whatever you believe or don't believe in that it is going to become easier - just not as fast as we want or it should.

    Posted by: mike/ | Feb 2, 2009 6:47:32 PM

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