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04/19/2007


Cadet Who Quit Over DADT Wants To Return To Military

Top 10 ranked West Point cadet Katherine Miller, who was one of the military soldiers that accompanied Lady Gaga to the VMAs earlier this year, that resigned from the academy earlier this year after deciding that living life as a closeted lesbian under DADT was not the life she wanted to leave. The Associated Press reports on her story:

Miller She wanted to be a leader at the academy, someone with honor. She excelled, ranking near the top of her class of more than 1,100 cadets going into their third year. But Miller also was hiding in fear. "I realized that I wasn't becoming the leader of character that I wanted to be," she said.

Other gay cadets in her small circle of friends tried to persuade her to stick it out. Conforming, after all, is a tenet taught in the military.

"It was definitely an option," Miller said. "I just chose not to live my life that way. I'm pretty stubborn in my values. I needed to get out and declare who I was."

She still wonders whether she should have stayed and tried to survive under the policy. "At the same time, I don't think that I would've made nearly the impact that coming out publicly made," she said.

But Miller wants back in: "I'm trying to get back into the military. I'm not trying to make that difficult when that occurs."

Meanwhile, information from next week's much anticipated DADT survey from the Pentagon continues to leak ahead of its release. It's being reported that out of all of the five branches of the armed forces, the Marines are the most resistant to seeing a repeal of the policy. Marine Commandant Gen. James Amos has made no secret he shares the same point of view though chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Mike Mullen said just last week that there was "no question" Amos would go along with a repeal if one were implemented by Congress.


Chairman Of The Joint Chiefs: DADT 'Belies Us As An Institution'

The chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Mike Mullen, who in the past has supported a repeal of "don't ask, don't tell," reiterated his personal feelings on the policy this morning on ABC News' "This Week" with Christiane Amanpour. Mullens refused to comment on the Pentagon survey which is set to be released to the public next week. An excerpt from the transcript from the interview:

Mm AMANPOUR: You support it, though, repealing "don't
ask/don't tell"?

MULLEN: From my personal perspective, absolutely.

AMANPOUR: Because?

MULLEN: Because I think it -- it belies us as an
institution. We value integrity as an institution.

AMANPOUR: You mean forcing them to lie about what
they are?

MULLEN: And then -- and then asking individuals to
come in and lie about who they are every day goes counter to who we
are as an institution.

Watch the interview with Amanpour, AFTER THE JUMP. The discussion over DADT begins at the 4:45 mark.

Mullens was busy making the political show rounds this morning. He also popped over at CNN's "State of the Union" where he told Candy Crowley that brand new Marine Commandant Gen. James Amos would have no choice but to move forward with the repeal if it was indeed put into effect.

According to CNN: "Mullen said there was 'no question' that Marine Commandant Gen. James Amos, an opponent of repealing the 'don't ask, don't tell' policy at this time, would implement all necessary changes to allow openly gay Marines to serve if Congress passes a repeal measure. 'He basically said that if this law changes, we are going to implement it, and we are going to implement it better than anybody else,' Mullen said of comments Amos recently made at a townhall-style meeting with Marines."

Continue reading "Chairman Of The Joint Chiefs: DADT 'Belies Us As An Institution'" »


New U.S. Marine Commandant: Keep 'Don't Ask, Don't Tell,' Robert Gates Urges Immediate Repeal

General James Amos, who two weeks ago succeeded James Conway as Commandant of the Marines, has a very similar perspective on "don't ask, don't tell" to that of his predecessor. Amos is publicly stating that he does not want the policy repealed due to a "possible loss of unit cohesion and combat readiness." He has made similar statements about DADT in the past.

Amos The LA Times reports:

"There's risk involved," Amos said. "I'm trying to determine how to measure that risk. This is not a social thing. This is combat effectiveness."

In August, during his last visit with troops in Afghanistan, Conway repeatedly asked gatherings of enlisted Marines throughout Helmand province whether they thought unit cohesion would be harmed if openly gay people could serve. Almost unanimously, the young Marines indicated they felt it would.

Combat, Amos said, is an "intimate" experience without parallel in civilian life. "We're talking about our young men — laying out, sleeping alongside of one another and sharing death, fear and loss of brothers," he said.

Amos, 63, said he was reviewing the results of a poll of military members and their families about the potential effects of lifting the "don't ask, don't tell" policy. He declined to characterize the findings. Amos said that, unlike other services, the Marine Corps requires many of its members to share rooms while in garrison. That complicates the issue, he said.

Meanwhile, reacting to last week's election results, Secretary of Defense Robert Gates is not optimistic about the possibility of overturning DADT.

According to the AP, "Gates said Congress should act quickly, before new members take their seats, to repeal the military's ban on gays serving openly in the military." He added: "I would like to see the repeal of "don't ask, don't tell" but I'm not sure what the prospects for that are."


Obama Choice to Lead Marines Speaks Out Against DADT Repeal

Gen. James F. Amos testified before the Senate Armed Services Committee panel today regarding Obama's nomination of him as commandant of the Marine Corps, and spoke out against repealing 'Don't Ask, Don't Tell', the AP reports:

Amos "President Barack Obama's choice to lead the Marine Corps told the Senate Tuesday that Congress should not repeal the law barring gays from serving openly in the military, dealing a blow to gay rights advocates just hours before a crucial test vote.... Amos told the Senate Armed Services Committee he worried that a shake up in personnel policy would serve as a 'distraction' to Marines fighting in Afghanistan. 'My primary concern with proposed repeal is the potential disruption to cohesion that may be caused by significant change during a period of extended combat operations,' he said in a written statement provided to the panel for his confirmation hearing. During one exchange with Sen. Pete Sessions, R-Ala., Amos said he would implement any changes in the law on gay service made by Congress. He said the Marine Corps would rely on discipline and leadership to ensure order, but that he didn't envision a gag order on troops who disagreed with revoking the ban. Some Republicans have suggested they fear troops who openly oppose gay service would be punished for speaking out. 'I don't see this as a racist issue,' Amos said. 'I see this as an anxious issue ... because we don't have the answers yet.'"

Key senators remain uncommitted on breaking McCain's filibuster today, according to SLDN: George Lemieux (R-FL);  Susan Collins (R-ME); Olympia Snowe (R-ME); Mark Pryor (D-Ark.); Richard Lugar (R-IN); Judd Gregg (R-NH); Jim Webb (D-VA); George Voinovich (R-OH); Kit Bond (R-MO).

The number for the Senate switchboard is (202) 224-3121. Call your senator now.

Vote is at 2:15 pm.


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