Barack Obama | Don't Ask, Don't Tell | Military | News | Robert Gates

Gates: Military Exploring 'More Humane' Approach to DADT

Defense Secretary Robert Gates today called the military's "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" policy "very restrictive" and said the Pentagon is investigating "if there's a more humane way to apply [Don't Ask, Don't Tell] until it gets changed," AFP reports:

Gates "The Pentagon boss said he discussed the issue last week with US President Barack Obama and that there also has been discussion among senior military and legal counsel about possible changes in how they apply the law, which he described as 'very restrictive.' The defense secretary said one possible modification might be consider the circumstances under which a service member is 'outed' in determining whether or not he or she must leave the military. Gates offered as an example 'when we're given information from someone with vengeance in mind or blackmail, somebody who has been jilted. 'If somebody is outed by a third party, does that force us to take action?' he said."

Added Gates: "We're talking about how do we move forward on this, achieve this objective which is changing the policy."

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  1. Lt. Dan Choi just lost his hearing today. Discharge is recommended.

    And meanwhile, Gates is talking about "chamging" the policy. Since this witchhunt was supposed to be a "compromise", I don't know how you can make this "humane". A monthly quota on discharges? But, of course, if you're gay or lesbian, you're still fired.

    But like John Aravosis said today, well, hey the good news is that President Obama made a 20 minute speech yesterday. Right?

    Posted by: Terry | Jun 30, 2009 7:40:06 PM

  2. Hmm, a more humane way. Let me ponder that for a while. WAIT!! Maybe repeal the policy?? A crazy thought, I know, but it just might work!

    Posted by: Paul R | Jun 30, 2009 7:44:18 PM

  3. No, Secretary Gates, it's pretty much an inhumane policy to its core. It functions as it was intended: to hurt people.

    Posted by: Josh | Jun 30, 2009 7:51:46 PM

  4. Sorta like a state being very proud of itself for changing its method of death penalty execution from firing squad to lethal injection.

    The guy still dies just the same.

    Posted by: Gabriel | Jun 30, 2009 7:52:25 PM

  5. Oh, I'm sorry. I didn't realize there was a more "humane" way to tell someone they have to hide who they are because they are inferior to everyone else.

    Silly me.

    How about this? STOP LOSS!

    Posted by: MattP | Jun 30, 2009 7:52:30 PM

  6. We treat military CANINES in a more "humane" way than we treat gay servicemen/women. That's truly appalling, especially considering TURKEY is the only other civilized nation to ban gays from military service.

    Come on...

    Posted by: MattP | Jun 30, 2009 7:54:19 PM

  7. Gates is being fucking repulsive. How dare he speak of s fellow human being in such conditional language.

    I'm seriously unimpressed by the administrations disgusting handling of our key issues. It's time to call, write and email them relentlessly.

    Posted by: Elcamino | Jun 30, 2009 8:15:47 PM

  8. this is why gibbs should not speak. i am sick of him opening his mouth.obama needs to write speeches for him or something

    Posted by: Johnny | Jun 30, 2009 8:19:05 PM

  9. Gates may be many things, but he's do dummy. Yet the ignorance he is displaying in these remarks reveal two things:

    1. He's never cared enough about DADT before to actually understand how it works;

    2. That he's gone from "kick it down the road" to "doing something humane" in four months while embarrassing himself by revealing his inexcusable ignorance of DADT now proves that we have them on the run to DO SOMETHING FAST.

    It sounds like they specifically have the case of highly experienced combat pilot, Iraqi vet, Lt. Col. Fehrenbach in mind because he was deep in the military closet for 18 yrs. until someone outed him AND one-on-one asked the President for help at the WH tea party YESTERDAY and talked about it on MSNBC last NIGHT!

    BUT if this is a step in the right direction it's being made with a club foot.

    The Secretary of Defense should ALREADY ENTIRELY understand that the choice of investigating anyone whom someone else has accused of being gay is ALREADY ENTIRELY up to the servicemember's commander.

    The term is "credible evidence." If the commander says it isn't, CASE CLOSED!!!!

    DADTDPDH is actually a set of policies wrapped around a law and much is left to the military to determine regarding its application.

    Further, the law provides under Section (e) (2) of 10 USC 654 - "Policy Concerning Homosexuality in the Armed Forces"

    "Rule of Construction. - Nothing in subsection (b) shall be construed to require that a member of the armed forces be processed for separation from the armed forces when a determination is made in accordance with regulations prescribed by the Secretary of Defense that-

    ... (2) separation of the member would not be in the best interest of the armed forces."

    So, on top of ignoring 10 United States Code 12305 which Congress passed in 1983 to empower the President to "suspend ANY provision of law relating to promotion, retirement, or separation applicable to ANY member of the armed forces who the President determines is essential to the national security of the United States," on top of ignoring the history of stop-loss of gays whenever they've needed bodies going all the way back to World War II, Gates is apparently ignorant of the allowable legal exception above.

    Posted by: Michael @ | Jun 30, 2009 8:35:12 PM

  10. There is no humane way to force someone to lie about who they are to their coworkers so that they don't get fired. Fracking bigot.

    Posted by: bluprntguy | Jun 30, 2009 8:52:12 PM

  11. The next thing you know, the US GOVT will RESCIND the HONORABLE discharges of those of us WHO HAVE SERVED and were discharged according to our service (I was Honorably discharged in 1975) so I am Publicly saying if you want it you can have it!!! I was gay when i enlisted, i served as a gay man, and i have no problem with it !!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    Posted by: alex in boston | Jun 30, 2009 9:09:02 PM

  12. They will relax their position just enough to appease us and forget about us. There will be no changes by the 2010 elections. I'm tired of this inching forward. Our Civil Rights leaders really suck, yah know?

    Posted by: David | Jun 30, 2009 9:13:26 PM

  13. I'll tell you what's humane: Why not simply apply the UCMJ (The Uniform Code of Military Justice) as a base guide to whether to apply the DADT, in that sense, has the individual committed an egregious act by which he would be tried in accordance with the UCMJ where he/she to be straight?? If no act, crime, or infraction is committed then the individual continues to serve with full honors and service in tact!! To arbitrarily discharge someone for simply being GAY is abhorrent and flies in the face of all that is judicial and reasonable and fair!

    Posted by: alex in boston | Jun 30, 2009 9:16:46 PM

  14. "They will relax their position just enough to appease us and forget about us."

    Not if we don't let them forget about it and us. We all know the only "humane way to apply DADT" is to abolish it completely and that anything less is ultimately unacceptable. There will be changes if we continue to insist upon them and if we continue to hold the Obama administration to their promises. Our so-called leaders may "suck", but so does defeatism. We've got rightness on our side, and they know it.

    Posted by: Ernie | Jun 30, 2009 9:25:48 PM

  15. Too bad Gates wasn't in the government in the fifties and sixties; he could have come up with a more "humane" way to deal with segregation until someone, somewhere, finally, eventually got around to doing something about it, sometime in the future.

    Like maybe he could have painted some nice, pretty murals in the segregated restrooms, or made sure the water in the minority-only water fountains was at least 90% as cold as those for "Whites Only."

    Posted by: bobbyjoe | Jun 30, 2009 9:28:39 PM

  16. I stand corrected [and embarrassed] after having the conjunction "and" pointed out to me in DADT Section (e).

    The discretionary override only applies when retention is determined to be in the best interest of the armed services AND the "member engaged in conduct or made statements for the purpose of avoiding or terminating military service."

    That leaves the question of why Gates and Obama are ignoring entirely the discretionary power behind the concept of "credible evidence" and the fully legal stop-loss authority under 10 United States Code 12305 [and Bush Executive Order #13223 and prior Pentagon policy such as “Any administrative procedure is dependent on operational considerations of the unit that would administer such proceedings.”] IF Obama genuinely believes as he's said repeatedly that DADT is morally wrong, and reiterated yesterday:

    "I believe preventing patriotic Americans from serving their country weakens our national security."

    SO, until he stops discharges he is BY HIS OWN definition weakening national security.

    Posted by: Michael @ | Jun 30, 2009 10:25:23 PM

  17. A more humane approach unti the policy can be changed? Gimme a break! Eliminate the policy. Nothing else is acceptable.

    Posted by: Jack L. Crain | Jul 1, 2009 2:05:44 AM

  18. One thing the military can start doing right away is uphold the "Don't Ask" portion of DADT. Investigations into the sexuality of servicemembers is a violation of that policy. The DADT is supposed to go both ways: If you don't come outright and say you're gay, we will never know.

    3rd party informants should be disregarded completely. The military should not even follow up to ASK if that accusation is factual.

    Under the current restrictive policy, if the military would stop asking, then gay servicemembers should at least feel confident that if they don't announce that they are gay, the military's hands should be tied and unable to discharge them.

    At least that would be a start.

    Posted by: DannyI | Jul 1, 2009 3:34:52 AM

  19. Sorry Danny but you are commenting on something that you clearly know very little about. You should take the time to actually read the military's policy. It does not just say don't tell and we won't ask and all will be well. What it says is a servicemember is in violation of the policy if he discloses that he is gay, engages in ANY homosexual behavior while enlisted (this means that a servicemember is in violation of the policy if he has gay sex, goes to a gay bar, goes to a pride parade, writes a love letter to someone of the same sex, has a romantic conversation with a person of the same sex, etc. ANYTIME, ANYWHERE while enlisted in the military, including while on leave, extended leave, in one's own home or any other time or any other place.

    The policy is WAY more restrictive than most people realize.

    So NO, simply dropping the "don't ask" portion of the policy would not be anywhere near an acceptible first step.

    Posted by: Zeke | Jul 1, 2009 6:26:34 PM

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