Aubrey Sarvis, executive director of the Servicemembers Legal Defense Network (SLDN), responded Monday to President Obama’s recent signal that it could be months if not years before action is taken on “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” because further assessment is needed.
Sarvis wrote, in the Huffington Post: “What we don’t welcome — what we strongly oppose — is yet another ‘study,’ which is Washington-speak for saying ‘let’s just kick this down the road a ways.’ Out of sight, out of mind. You see, we’re for repeal but don’t really want to take a public stand right now (or we’re bigots but don’t have the guts to say so, outright bigotry being pretty unfashionable these days). So let’s appropriate money for a commission or a study, maybe both. We’ll have to appoint some members. That alone could take months. Of course the commission will need a staff. And offices. It could easily take a year before they get down to actually studying the issue (that’s already been studied to death). Eventually — and it could be a very long “eventually” — we may see a report, the most recent in a long line of reports that began in 1988. That’s 21 years ago! Let’s be clear: a commission or a study group is not about change. That’s business as usual. We do not need another report to tell us what we already know and what earlier reports have long since concluded: the sexual orientation of a service member is irrelevant. What is relevant is how well he or she does the job.”
In January 2007, former General and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff John Shalikashvili called for a repeal of the policy, agreeing with a Zogby poll on the issue that said American servicemembers are ready to serve alongside openly gay members of the military. Congress held hearings on ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’ in July 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.