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

Gates Warns Congress Not to Repeal 'DADT Before He Has Plan

Defense Secretary Robert Gates is apparently nervous that Congress might just repeal DADT sooner than he wants.

Via the AP:

Gates  "In a strongly worded letter, obtained by The Associated Press, Gates told a House committee on Friday that forcing policy changes on the military before it's ready 'would send a very damaging message to our men and women in uniform that in essence their views, concerns and perspectives do not matter.' Gay rights advocates want legislation this year that would freeze military firings of openly gay service members, and some lawmakers are planning to offer such a bill."

MetroWeekly has more on the letter

"The letter came in response to a request from the committee chairman. Rep. Ike Skelton (D-Mo.), that was sent on April 28 asking Gates for his 'views and position on the advisability of legislative proposals that may impact the 'Don't Ask, Don't Tell' policy.' Writing that the Department must 'develop an attentive comprehensive implementation plan' prior to any legislative action, Gates and Mullen also told Skelton that they would 'provide the President and Congress with the results of this effort in order to ensure that this step is taken in the most informed and effective manner.'"

Human Rights Campaign President Joe Solmonese responded to the letter:

“Today’s letter from Secretary Gates and Admiral Mullen to House Armed Services Committee Chairman Ike Skelton flies in the face of the President’s commitment in the State of the Union address to work with Congress to repeal the discriminatory “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” law this year. If the President is going to fulfill his promise it is essential that he address this contradiction immediately. It is inconceivable that the Secretary of Defense would so blatantly undermine the Commander-in-Chief’s policy commitment.

“There is no reason that Congress cannot move forward with repeal while the Pentagon’s review of how – not if – to end the ban on open service continues apace. As part of the legislative repeal, Congress can provide additional time to the Pentagon for a careful and thoughtful implementation of this change to the law. Action by Congress this year, in the National Defense Authorization bill, will not, as the Secretary suggests, ‘send a very damaging message to our men and women in uniform that in essence their views, concerns and perspectives do not matter on an issue with such a direct impact on and consequence for them and their families.’ But failure to act this year will, without a doubt, continue to send the message to the thousands of gay and lesbian Americans serving their country in silence that their views and concerns, and the impact on them and their families, do not matter to the military leadership, including their Commander-in-Chief. ”

Senator Kirsten Gillibrand released the following statement: "I respectfully disagree with Secretary Gates and Admiral Mullen.  Congress should not sit on their hands. Now is the time for Congress to show strong leadership and repeal this disastrous policy.  ‘Don't Ask, Don't Tell' is wrong for our national security and inconsistent with the moral foundation upon which our country was founded. When we repeal this policy – and we will repeal this policy – we will strengthen America - both militarily and morally."

The White House released the following statement: "The President's commitment to repealing Don't Ask Don't Tell is unequivocal. This is not a question of if, but how. That's why we've said that the implementation of any congressional repeal will be delayed until the DOD study of how best to implement that repeal is completed. The President is committed to getting this done both soon and right."

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi reacted to the letter by calling for an end to all gay discharges:

"We all look forward to the report on the review of the ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’ policy by the Defense Department. In the meantime, the Administration should immediately place a moratorium on dismissals under this policy until the review has been completed and Congress has acted."

More on this as it develops...

Dadt In related news, Nathaniel Frank, senior fellow at the Palm Center, posted an article today in the Huffington Post about the box we're in as Obama, Congress, and the Pentagon face over this issue as elections approach. A bit of it:

So: The Pentagon says it must take orders from Congress; the Congress says it will wait for the go-ahead from the Pentagon. The White House says as little as possible.

You see, President Obama knows that lifting the ban is both right and doable, morally and politically. But the White House has chosen to spend its first two years pushing other priorities, out of fear that gay rights is a political albatross. That's no longer true, as polls show consistently not only that most Americans, including most conservatives and Republicans, support repeal, but that politicians who support repeal will not suffer harm even by those constituents who oppose repeal. Yet Democrats, in both the White House and Congress, are scarred by the Rovian tactics of the past, which successfully used gay rights as a wedge issue against them.

So the White House parked repeal in a Working Group for an entire year, in an effort to build military support, while delaying repeal until after this November's midterm elections. Where Dems are expected to lose seats, and possibly the margin to achieve repeal. Does this sound like a plan?

Here's a better one: A report published in Attitudes Aren't Free authored by a bipartisan panel of retired flag officers (that was convened by the Palm Center) recommends that Congress unlock the military's hands and repeal "don't ask, don't tell" so the military can achieve equal treatment of gay troops. There is no reason that legislation should micromanage how the Pentagon makes this change, so long as it makes the change. That means there is no reason that passes the giggle test for Congress to hide behind the Pentagon's study. Its chairmen have already said their report will not answer the question of whether to end the ban, but how to do it smoothly. So why await the study before taking a vote? Everyone but the luddites will win if Congress votes now to repeal the ban, while giving the Pentagon the timetable it needs to implement the change according to the results of the study.

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  1. they need time to put a powerpoint slide together with implementation details ... LOL

    Posted by: David B. 2 | Apr 30, 2010 5:32:14 PM

  2. The fierce advocacy continues....
    Bravo DINO'S!

    Posted by: Nick | Apr 30, 2010 5:45:41 PM

  3. "before it's ready"

    And given that this was part of Obama's campaign platform, what have you been doing to prepare since he was elected?

    In the military as in government, "We need more time to study this" translates as "If we delay long enough, the public is sure to be distracted by some Hollywood ho's next drug OD and forget about it."

    "a very damaging message to our men and women in uniform that in essence their views, concerns and perspectives do not matter"

    The last time I checked, that was called "following orders." I didn't realize that serving in the military was about expressing one's views, concerns, and perspectives. Gates seems to have confused military service with blogging.

    Posted by: Bryan Harrison | Apr 30, 2010 5:51:35 PM

  4. So he was for repeal before he was against it.

    Posted by: Rob | Apr 30, 2010 5:52:35 PM

  5. Thanks for nothing President ODrama.

    Posted by: SFshawn | Apr 30, 2010 6:00:46 PM

  6. Will this naked act of treachery finally wake up the still sleeping fools who believe that Gates' boss Obama genuinely wants repeal this year; who still believe that "The Study" was not a premeditated con cooked up by the White House and the Pentagon to run out the clock on repeal?

    For the few of us paying attention, Gates [the Bushie SLDN asked Obama not to reappoint] AND Mullen made clear in their testimony to the Senate Feb. 2nd and in everything they've said since that this was a game.

    But most of our community, EXACTLY as ObamaRahm knew after McClurkingate and Warrengate ad nauseum, revealed how desperate they still were for a pat on the head that they didn't feel the bitch slap that came with it: "TRUST US! DISCHARGING GAYS HURTS US MORE THAN IT DOES THE GAYS sniff sniff BUT DO NOT TOUCH DADT UNTIL AFTER OUR PHONY STUDY KILLS THE CHANCE YOU CAN REPEAL FOR YEARS!"

    So, instead of rising up en masse and condemning another NEEDLESS "study" so loudly Obama Inc. might have backed down, Gay Inc. just kept drinking the Barry Berry Kool Aid and started building statues to The New Best Friends of The Gays Gates and Mullen for their alleged religious conversion from having defended DADT their entire careers.

    And, now, EXACTLY as ObamaRahm knew, members of Congress are using Gates' charade er "study" as an excuse not to do anything.

    But, lo and behold, our allies like Patrick Murphy and Kirsten Gillibrand and Levin and even Lieberman are refusing to take no for an answer so Gates and Mullen have to rip off his cheap ass masks of phony empathy and virtually threaten them directly.

    With what? With a "public Pentagon revolt." That's exactly what forced Clinton to cave in 1993. That's exactly what counterinsurgency war expert and Pentagon Papers hero Daniel Ellsberg said was the reason Obama let Bush's War become his.

    Obama virtually told Victor Fehrenbach at the White House Tea for The Gays last June that he was putting off fighting for repeal because of "generational" opposition.

    The public's opinion of Congress is as low as ever yet their opinion of the military remains high. Cowards in Congress fear that they'll be accused of not listening to the military. Gates KNOWS that and that's why he's not even pretending to be neutral anymore, but is still such a homophobic lowlife that he can demand further approval for asking the homophobes "how" to repeal. I would have given anyone a thousand dollars who would have ever had the balls to publicly ask him, "What the fuck does that mean?"




    Posted by: Michael @ | Apr 30, 2010 6:05:23 PM

  7. ok, haven't been this seething mad in a while;

    " would send a very damaging message to our men and women in uniform that, in essence, their views, concerns and perspectives do not matter on an issue with such a direct impact and consequences for them and their families"

    Oh, but he's NOT talking about the forcefully-closeted GAY men and women in uniform, because of course DADT does not have any kind of impact or consequence for them and their families. Well FUCK YOU, Admiral Mullen and a double FUCK YOU Secretary Gates. (Though I suppose the guts to put forth irony that baldfaced has to count for something.)

    Posted by: Zlick | Apr 30, 2010 6:26:50 PM

  8. This is simply a stalling tactic from Robert Gates, a man who wishes to keep DADT in place and who has no intention of advocating for its repeal. Don't fall for it. Robert Gates' mind is already made up and he has no intention of listening to a so-called "study" nor of waiting for it to be completed.

    What exactly do they need to study? How to build separate shower facilities for us "gays"?

    Posted by: brian | Apr 30, 2010 6:51:57 PM

  9. Oh, and what about the lives and families of gay soldiers, Mr Gates? Doesn't that matter to you? Maybe YOU should resign, Mr Gates.

    Posted by: adam | Apr 30, 2010 6:53:47 PM

  10. Wow. Solmonese actually came up with a response that's surprisingly on-point. Amazing what one can accomplish when they turn their focus from shopping sprees and vacationing abroad. Ain't it, Joe?

    Posted by: Please | Apr 30, 2010 7:01:04 PM

  11. Gates can get away with delaying the repeal of Clintons's DADT because he works for a Democrat and used to work for a Republican.

    It's bipartisan warmongering and bipartisan bigotry in action.

    Support repeal.

    Oppose enlistment.

    Posted by: Bill Perdue | Apr 30, 2010 7:24:43 PM

  12. well screwed again no wonder obama got so mad when challenged. he knew it would never happen. obama for one term president. why don't they borrow studies from england germany holland canada and most of the other western allies. this is pure bullshit.
    time to tell the demoliars that the money and votes are gone. we've been lied to....

    Posted by: walter | Apr 30, 2010 7:33:15 PM

  13. They're soldiers. Their opinions don't matter. It's their job to follow orders.

    Posted by: peter friend | Apr 30, 2010 7:33:51 PM

  14. Sounds like they are for the repeal as long as it will not happen!

    Posted by: InExile | Apr 30, 2010 7:36:47 PM

  15. since when does congress take orders from the miltary. i thought it was the other way around. gates needs to join his former boss on the unemployment line and the president should but won't remind who is in charge.

    Posted by: walter | Apr 30, 2010 7:53:26 PM

  16. When did the military become so f***ing SENSITIVE? They need an exhaustive poll of everyone's feelings, so they can process everyone's perspective, blah blah blah? It already sounds like a bunch of lesbian therapists are in charge.

    Posted by: Jeff | Apr 30, 2010 7:54:07 PM

  17. so, I don't remember hearing about a poll of the military before King George the Stupid got us into the shithole Iraq? Gates can go fuck himself. So can Obama. At this point, I hope it's a fucking bloodbath come November. I'd rather fight the Republicans for four years than have to live under useless Democratic rule. Fuck 'em all!

    Posted by: M. Bergeron | Apr 30, 2010 8:11:10 PM

  18. "How to implement repeal," Secretary Gates?

    Try this, real loud:

    "Testing 1 2 3. Is this thing on? ATTENTION! Yesterday we banned out gays. Today we don't. Paperwork to follow. Tonight's movie will be 'MASH'. Dismissed!"

    When Gates announced those minor changes to current implementation, he didn't say, "We have to wait until all the paperwork is updated." He said they went into effect immediately and the branches had 30 days to conform their documentation.

    In 1993, when Clinton ordered "Don't Ask," military recruiters didn't stop recruiting just because they didn't have new questionnaires. They simply took a pen and marked out the question about homosexuality on the old form. I'd be happy to donate some pens to Gates and Mullen.

    According to a recent Palm Center report on the 25 countries that have lifted their bans, some did it immediately and none took more than four months!

    OK, OK. We get that those crocodile tears Gates and Mullen shed for The Gays in their Senate testimony were as phony as Pamela Anderson's rack, but as for asking rank and file AND their families AND their "influencers" [whatever the hell Gates meant by that--their high school shop teachers maybe] and, now, "the broader military community" [who are they--prostitutes and drug dealers?] how to implement, what the fuck are they going to say? SEPARATE BARRACKS? NO GAY ORGIES DURING CHAPEL? NO GAY SERVICEMEMBER ALLOWED WITHIN 100 YARDS OF STRAIGHT MILITARY FAMILY HOUSING?

    "Everyone may not be comfortable. But the military is not about giving comfort to service members. It's about obedience to the chain of command. It's really not rocket science what needs to be done." - DADT expert Nathaniel Frank.

    "Those who take the point of view that there must be a long period of transition are simply setting up a straw man to hide their real agenda, which is to maintain the current ban. Given these arguments, it is critical that the repeal of "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" not be perceived as a complicated puzzle requiring complex solutions to minor problems." - Center for American Progress, March 2010.

    As Bobby and Mikey no doubt know, the Senate repeal bill already outlines the process; no "study" required:

    "(A) Revision of all equal opportunity and human relations regulations, directives, and instructions to add sexual orientation nondiscrimination to the Department of Defense Equal Opportunity policy and to related human relations training programs. (B) Revision of Department of Defense and military department personnel regulations to eliminate procedures for involuntary discharges based on sexual orientation. (C) Revision of Department of Defense and military department regulations governing victims' advocacy programs to include sexual orientation discrimination among the forms of discrimination for which members of the Armed Forces and their families may seek assistance. (D) Revision of any Department of Defense and military department regulations as necessary to ensure that regulations governing the personal conduct of members of the Armed Forces are written and enforced without regard to sexual orientation."

    Obama and Gates and Mullen's real agenda isn't how to implement repeal but how to stop it! He because homophobic cowards in the White House have deluded him into thinking we're a liability, and they because they ARE homophobes, no matter what they claim to the contrary like a wife beater who keeps saying, "But I love you, Baby!"

    Posted by: Michael @ | Apr 30, 2010 8:29:49 PM

  19. They need to pass it before the elections, because once the Republican's grab hold again, there is no chance in HELL that it will be repealed.

    Maybe they should watch my YouTube video on "Equality" (click on my name).

    Posted by: CB | Apr 30, 2010 8:39:54 PM

  20. I know this is frustrating, but "how" this is implemented is as important as that it be implemented. Remember, the military is more conservative and Christian than the country as a whole and their involvement in this process is important. So unless all the boys at Splash tonight are ready to enlist and go fight in Afghanistan, we need to respect the people who actually are putting their lives on the line for us - and that includes conservative Christians as well as our unjustly discharged gay brothers and siters. DADT will be repealed, but it must be done with respect toward those who oppose its repeal.

    Posted by: JimSur212Jim | Apr 30, 2010 8:51:44 PM

  21. No, jim. bigotry does not need to be nor SHOULD be respected. Period. It is simply not a soldier's place to question command, and their opinions (and the opinions of their family members) about the repeal of DADT don't matter just as sure as my tax dollars contributes to their welfare. Bigotry does not need to be respected--it should either be confronted or ignored. You're a shadow of a man, jim. Slink off into the corner and die.

    Posted by: TANK | Apr 30, 2010 9:17:03 PM

  22. This is all bullshit. Pass a repeal with a delay on its inaction until the beginning of next year. The military will get its time to do an implementation plan. The Republicans, if they gain control after the elections, will have to have a large enough majority to override a Presidential veto to undo the bill.

    Posted by: Vince | Apr 30, 2010 9:21:49 PM

  23. @JimSur212Jim:

    You'd have a valid point if, and only if, the so-called study was going to be fair and equal. Remember, the Secretary of the Army encouraged GLB servicemembers to talk about this and then backtracked when he was told he couldn't protect them from discharge for voluntarily outing themselves. So there will be no input from them.

    You'd have a point if we haven't lost 14000 servicemembers. No one is asking for their input.

    You'd have a point if anyone was really listening to the numerous servicemembers who have already told Mullen this is a non-issue for them.

    No one is listening to us or our allies. This is a political ploy to push this off as long as possible so that the Dems survive mid-term elections...because they know that too many GLB voters are going to vote Dem like a beaten spouse (to borrow from Michael's analogy) because the Dems have created a total sense of fear in GLB voters.

    Posted by: DR | Apr 30, 2010 9:36:39 PM

  24. To this point I have given President Obama the benefit of the doubt -- no longer. What a f*cking weak statement from the White House. The best way to implement a repeal is to JUST DO IT not wait for another study -- studies have already been completed which say it won't be an issue -- keep that promise President Obama. AND NOW!

    Posted by: robertmalcolm | Apr 30, 2010 9:57:58 PM

  25. This is total ass. The army was integrated (racially), and people dealt with it. People didn't join the army because of their moral code, they joined to serve their country. Isn't dealing with orders part of being in the fucking military?

    I mean, people aren't supposed to have sex in the military anyway. And women have been in the military for a while. Also, gay soldiers serve whether people approve or not. I mean, really.

    I don't even get why this is an issue. Personally, I think it seems to assume that our military is weak to even go into a whole discourse about whether our country is "ready" for (openly) gay soldiers anyway. Are our servicemen really so insecure?

    Posted by: ImAQueer | Apr 30, 2010 10:08:46 PM

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