Admiral Mike Mullen held a 25-minute question and answer session with troops in Amman, Jordan today. At the end of the session none of them had asked him about "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" so he brought the subject up on his own, McClatchy reports:
"As it turned out, none of the two dozen or so men or women who met with Mullen at Marine House in the Jordanian capital Tuesday had any questions on the 17-year-old policy that bars gays and lesbians from serving openly in the military — or Mullen's public advocacy of its repeal."
"At Tuesday's session, which included not only Marines, but members of the Army and the Air Force, both male and female service members explained why they were nonplussed by the issue: They'd already served with gays and lesbians, they accepted that some kind of change was imminent, and, they said, the nation was too engulfed in two wars for a prolonged debate about it. That there's been so little reaction raises questions about how much study the issue needs and whether the Pentagon study is meant to pacify its concerns — or Congress'."
Read the whole piece. Mullen says that since his testimony "not a single servicemember" has asked him about the issue and those gathered before him in Jordan "made it clear they've already accepted the idea of gays and lesbians serving among them."
HRC insists (in a statement reacting to today's blog swarm) that there is "a clear path to repeal", however Pentagon sources recently told the AP that a repeal is "probably years away". Politico recently published an article quoting Rep. Anthony Weiner and Sen. Carl Levin which illustrates the confusion surrounding the timeline. Barney Frank and Nancy Pelosi recently offered a parallel study/repeal track timeline, and a lack of one, respectively. Nobody's on the same page.
Said HRC's spokesman today: "There is a clear path to repeal, and that’s the one we’re on." Which is a pretty frightening statement when you consider all the reports that have been coming out of Congress.
As noted in the earlier post about the blog swarm, there is a lack of leadership from the top. Our largest LGBT advocacy group is in Washington to demand it for us, and needs to stop making excuses for our self-described "fierce advocate" and demand that he be that.
Plenty more bloggers chimed in about today's call for action as well. Read the updates here.
HRC's full statement in response, AFTER THE JUMP...
HRC Statement from spokesman Brad Luna:
Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell has to be repealed this year. That has been the Human Rights Campaign’s position from the start, and at this point there is no one in the White House who does not know it. We and the community to whom we are accountable agree: This is the year.
We firmly support including repeal in the annual Department of Defense Authorization bill, and have not only indicated as much, but continue to make that case, all while working to gain support for the Military Readiness Enhancement Act….
We have been lobbying the White House relentlessly, and we’ve seen more movement in recent weeks than in the previous 16 years. Our nation’s top defense officials testified, before the Senate Armed Services Committee, that Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell should be repealed. That did not happen in a vacuum.
These events are just the start. There is a clear path to repeal, and that’s the one we’re on.