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AC360: Dan Choi and Elaine Donnelly Face off on 'Don't Ask, Don't Tell'

Dadt

Anderson Cooper took on "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" last night, hosting discharged former Lt. Dan Choi and anti-gay crusader Elaine Donnelly of the Center for Military Readiness. 

As you may remember, Donnelly is the right-wing bigot nutjob assigned to this case. She dutifully brings up the 1,000 signatures of anti-gay retired military officers she presented last March to argue her case.

Responds Choi: "You can go to senior citizens center all the time and collect all the signatures you want, but they are so detached from reality. Those soldiers that are on the ground right now, they know people that are gay in their units...You can spend all the time that you want getting these petitions. But there are gay and lesbian soldiers that are serving right now. They don't have time to collect petitions like you do. And they are serving so they can protect your freedoms, so you can actually say the things that you're doing."

Watch, AFTER THE JUMP...

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Comments

  1. Say what you will about his level of national outness but in this debate Anderson was a great advocate for the right of gay soldiers to serve openly.

    Love Choi too, but his habit of grinning broadly while the other side is speaking can be a bit off-putting during discussion of a serious topic.

    Posted by: sparks | Oct 7, 2009 5:25:23 AM


  2. Well, considering so many protestors on this very blog, a prominent gay blog, have expressed how...

    "We have bigger problems to worry about..."

    "Don't be too hard on Obama, 8 MONTHS FOLKS. Just 8 months!"

    " All you queens protesting are just Hilary supporters, resentful you lost. DADT can wait!"

    ^ Above comments weren't from the message boards at the "right-wing bigot nutjob" of Fox & Friends. They were right here. On this very blog.

    I find it sad a Kylie Minogue thread gets more comments, and positively receptive at that, than those marching for our rights.

    The gays in big cities couldn't care less, cause hey! they're 15 fag hags and dozens of gay tricks love having appletinis on Friday nights. Who cares about marriage, or "don't ask, don't whatever..." I won't be signing up to be in any war, right?

    The gays in the Bible belt believe they're going to hell and come on this very blog stating how "straight marriage is more stable for society"....

    How about we teach our own friends in our own community to not be such a cluster f8ck on these issues first.

    Posted by: Bayley | Oct 7, 2009 5:26:45 AM


  3. Bayley-
    You are correct in much of what you say-
    unfortunately- gay folks have been , are and will be their own worst enemies. We don't need straight people to see that our cause is not advanced; gay folks will do the job (with their arrogance and apathy) of
    hindering human rights for themselves.

    Posted by: Nick | Oct 7, 2009 6:41:40 AM


  4. I thought Choi did an excellent job, but instead of debating Donnelly he should have been debating Obama.

    Posted by: Antony | Oct 7, 2009 7:45:29 AM


  5. I agree with the commenter who stated Choi might be off putting when he smiles like that...It's distracting to me.

    I think her point is all based on BS supposition and no one calls her on it.

    As soon as they bring up a poll of persons (military or not) opposing repealing DADT, you tell them that the Military is not a democracy. They are there following orders, and if one thinks "Well, I don't feel 100 push ups is *fair*, I'm not gonna do them!", they will get their ass handed to them.

    Choi's counter-point about the lack of relevancy (my word) of the ex-military opinion holder is correct, but poorly stated when he used the senior citizen's statement. That's bound to be a soundbite bullet against him and the position. He tried to turn it around earlier about respect for the military, but she wouldn't even blink at that.

    The basic premise should be to harp on a few things over and over:

    1. Different genders, races, politics, religions mix all the time in the same unit, even in the same quarters, with whatever results that do come from that....and have for a long time. And the battlefield environment is very different than non-war-time service....Explain the context that these are adults! Look at the impact of desegregation and women serving, as Anderson said.

    2. Other nations haven't had trouble from the open GLBT serving openly. "Why would our soldiers be worse?"

    3. They are there to follow orders. They don't get a choice on following orders, do they?

    4. All hands on deck, so get them in here! Let misconduct be the arbiter of problems with sexual *activity*, not orientation.

    Not eloquent, but all valid and the essence of the points.

    This should be a non-issue. They have no proof, especially of the ridiculous charge that "anyone who disagrees will be kicked out" canard. Challenge that! "Other than your opinion and personal believes, how do you back that up????"

    Posted by: Robert in SF | Oct 7, 2009 9:22:07 AM


  6. Robert SF

    i disagree

    I think "...senior citizen center..."

    Is spot on

    Dude, I could go right this moment to any senior citizen center and get 1,000 of signatures to repeal integration!

    senior citizen centers are stocked full of old fart neanderthals who haven't been taken out with the trash by death.

    Off putting? TRUTH! and retired brass have no real baring on current system.

    Posted by: jimmyboyo | Oct 7, 2009 9:36:50 AM


  7. You can thank Dan in person for his continuing leadership against rabid homohaters like Donnelly [he's been crisscrossing the country since coming out in March] at the DADT Protest and Memorial for Leonard Matlovich this Saturday at 2 pm.

    Ending DADT is stuck in a ditch and it's only going to get pulled out if we DEMAND it! 440 discharged since O took office!

    Anthony Woods and Eric Alva will also be speaking plus Frank Kameny, Troy Perry, and discharged veterans from the '93 effort to lift the ban.

    Congressional Cemetery
    1801 E Street SE at Potomac Avenue - Washington DC
    [Within walking distance of Potomac Ave & Stadium-Armory DC Metro stations.]

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UzFSgI1_FK8

    PS: Dan didn't get a chance to point out what the PBS NewsHour reported in June re Donnelly's letter: "One general expressed surprise his name was even on the list, since he says he had never agreed to sign the letter, and at least three officers listed as signatories are dead."


    Posted by: Michael @ LeonardMatlovich.com | Oct 7, 2009 10:24:49 AM


  8. Robert in SF raises a LOT of good points. The one I want to hit is that Dan's frustration at this woman's stupidity was pretty obvious. This was the first time I looked at him and thought "tone it down a notch, man, you're better than this", especially on the "senior citizen comment".

    On the other hand, asking her a question in Arabic to prove a point was totally spot on and relevant to the issue.

    Overall, I was disappointed because the arguments in favour of DADT have been debunked and refuted time and time again, but these anti-gay orgs continue to harp on them and make our soldiers out to be a bunch of idiots.

    Posted by: DR | Oct 7, 2009 12:34:37 PM


  9. Asking her a question in Arabic was an excellent idea but I feel the point was lost on her. Actually, I doubt any good argument against DADT would make it through to this woman.

    This shouldn't be an issue at all and that frustrates me the most. Anyone who wants to serve should. Personally, I'd never want to be in the military but that doesn't mean I shouldn't be allowed to serve and live my life openly.

    Posted by: Ray | Oct 7, 2009 2:26:39 PM


  10. This woman was so irritating and had such ridiculous arguments she totally wore out the patience of both Dan and Anderson who are normally really polite, respectful and even tempered. You can tell she pissed off both of the guys.

    She doesn't even have a military background and she's there with her ill informed alarmist arguments and condescending tone in the face of a gay serviceman and a gay former combat reporter trying to tell them whether gays can be accepted in a combat zone.

    Posted by: mike | Oct 7, 2009 3:45:54 PM


  11. I think the pejorative term "senior citizen center" was a bad choice. It distracts from the real issue involved with those persons and their opinions, and actually polarizes the discussion in a tangent that shouldn't be discussed ("disrespect for veterans").

    He could have stayed focused on the fact those persons have not served in today's military, under DADT in these foreign wars. They don't have the perspective needed to correctly understand the issue.

    That's akin to asking Pilots how submarines should be run....it's doesn't jibe.

    So while he can understand their fear of the unknown, fear is not what runs the military policy decisions. A clear chain of command, a simple, unambiguous, enforced code of conduct (Hello, Tailhook calling, remember me?) and a focus on the purpose of the military.

    And he should have asked her WTF she is talking about, claiming people will be kicked out "because they don't agree with it"...Where is that a policy? I don't think she can back that up at all and should be called on it.


    Focus on the facts:

    Some gays *do* openly serve, but the unit values them and their service so much that it doesn't matter! They don't get reported when it comes down to it.

    We (America) are wasting time, effort, energy, resources, personnell, *money*, and credibility when we selectively kick out people for their state of being (not doing!). Why get distracted with all this brou-ha-ha with investigations, trials, paperwork, etc. when we should be focused on reducing the strain on the military to acclomplish their strategic goals assigned by the government?

    Ensure that we frame our position not primarily as a civil rights issue, but a common sense issue. Kicking gays out for being gay (not for misconduct) is a distraction, and in itself is harmful to readiness and morale.

    And for every poll or collection of statements saying its harmful to end DADT, there are surely polls or statements saying, "WTF? Who cares if they are open about it...their my fellow service members first and foremost."

    Posted by: Robert in SF | Oct 7, 2009 4:10:04 PM


  12. I know some will disagree, but my business travels abroad and work here in the U.S. has shown me that Asian people tend to smile and/or laugh when they get nervous or stressed, which could explain Mr. Choi's incesant smiling as well. It's odd, but you know what I mean if you've tried to speak seriously to your local (genuine) Chinese foor restaurant staff. Live and let live.

    Posted by: Drew | Oct 7, 2009 5:31:31 PM


  13. How odd that the web site for Center for Military Readiness seems to not be accepting comments this morning. ?!?!?!

    Posted by: Perry | Oct 8, 2009 10:49:54 AM


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