Friday, March 13, 2009
Appointees, Activists, and Priorities
The Gay and Lesbian Leadership Institute's "Presidential Leadership Project" is boasting of 20 appointments that have influence in the Obama Administration, including Mark Pierriello, the Director of Priority Placement, Presidential Personnel. Secretary of Defense Robert Gates will not be in the Pentagon indefinitely, and he is not the one making appointments for key positions dealing with military personnel issues.
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In this article, "Costs of 'Don't Ask, Don't Tell," Lawrence Korb re-hashes old arguments that Elaine Donnelly analyzed and debunked in an article for the Duke University Journal of Gender Law & Policy and in her July 2008 testimony for the House Armed Services Committee. (For answers, see pages 17-25.)
The Servicemembers Legal Defense Network (SLDN) probably will use the "soldier" graphic cited by Korb during a Lobbying Day scheduled for Friday, but it doesn't change the fact that the number of honorable discharges for homosexuality-most of which occur due to admissions of non-compliance with the 1993 law-is small compared to separations for other reasons.
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Log Cabin "Republicans"
This article in the gay newspaper Washington Blade, titled "Log Cabin Under Democratic Control," indicates that the so-called Republican group is influenced if not controlled by Democratic Party interests. Note how well-known gay activist funder Tim Gill, who has personally targeted and defeated conservative congressmen in several states, has been providing a large portion of the Log Cabin organization's budget. Wonder if the group will accept the $100,000 that Gill has offered to choose their next chairman?
When it comes to supporting the military, political party is irrelevant. Equal opportunity is important, but members of Congress must assign higher priority to the needs of the military.
Thursday, March 12, 2009
Commandeering the Commanders?
This article in the San Francisco Chronicle, titled "Tauscher Renews Effort to Repeal 'Don't Ask,'" reports on the plans of the San Francisco-area congresswoman, including this:
"She also suggested that because the Pentagon is enforcing an act of Congress, Obama order the Pentagon to report on how a repeal might be implemented and thus empower top brass to take a position."
Rep. Tauscher, a member of the House Armed Services Committee, surely knows that this could be seen as an abuse of authority by the Commander-in-Chief. Members of the Joint Chiefs are obligated to answer questions from members of Congress truthfully; it would be out of line to pressure uniformed leaders to endorse in advance any type of controversial legislation.
This would be especially wrong in the case of a bill that, according to the annual Military Times Poll, active-duty troops consistently have opposed strongly for four years in a row.
The article also suggests that Tauscher wants to establish some sort of commission to "study" the issue, headed by former Chairman of the Joint Chiefs, Army General Colin Powell. In the same interview she described this cause as the next big "civil rights" issue. Rep. Tauscher keeps forgetting that the 1993 law is about conduct-not individual rights.
Tauscher also should know, as Elaine Donnelly wrote in a National Review Online article titled "Where is Colin Powell on Military/Social Issues?," that General Powell famously dismissed the civil rights issue long ago.
General Powell has made a few comments suggesting that "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" should be reviewed. (CMR agrees-President Bill Clinton never should have imposed that administrative policy on the military in the first place, and his successor, George W. Bush, should have dropped Clinton's inconsistent "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" regulations long ago.)
But that is a far cry from the unsupported assumption that Colin Powell is ready to impose the full gay agenda on the military, or that he would allow his good name to be used to lend credibility to advance the agenda of an assembly of gay activist groups who want to use the military for their own purposes.
Wednesday, March 11, 2009
Congress Will Defeat Tauscher Bill for Gays in the Military
On March 3 Rep. Ellen Tauscher (D-CA) re-introduced legislation (H.R. 1283) to repeal the 1993 law, Section 654, Title 10, which is commonly mislabeled "Don't Ask, Don't Tell." In response, CMR President Elaine Donnelly issued a news release confidently predicting that efforts by liberals in Congress to repeal the 1993 law would not succeed.
"Members of Congress are starting to take this issue seriously," Donnelly said. "Indications are that repeal of the 1993 law would hurt the 'Three R's,' recruiting, retention, and overall readiness in the volunteer force." She added, "The illusion of momentum will not be enough to overcome opposition among military people and doubts among members of Congress on both sides of the aisle who support the military." In the view of CMR, Congress should focus on the readiness of our military and its ability to remain the most effective fighting force in the world.
Donnelly emphasized that the annual Military Times Poll of almost 2,000 active duty subscribers found that 58% of respondents supported current law-for four years in a row. The 2008 survey also found that 10% said they would not re-enlist if Congress repeals the 1993 law, and an additional 14% said they would consider leaving.
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Between the lines of this Politico article, titled "Obama Faces Test on Gay Military Ban," there is evidence of more resistance in Congress than Ellen Tauscher expected. Note the pressure from gay activists on President Barack Obama. They want him to push hard and move quickly "so that he can play offense on the debate, rather than be forced into a defensive posture." How he would do this is unclear, but such an effort probably would be seen as overbearing, especially at a time when internal Pentagon controversies are simmering on several national security issues of tremendous importance.
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In this commentary for Human Events, "Democrats Launch Efforts to Repeal 'Don't Ask, Don't Tell,'" retired Army Lt. Col. Bob Maginnis provides some historic background about his role at the Pentagon when the 1993 law and Clinton's "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" proposal were being considered.
Letters from Active Duty Personnel
To remind everyone of what this exercise is all about, here are two well-reasoned letters from active duty Army Warrant Officers, provided by Commander Wayne L. Johnson JAGC Navy (Ret.): HTTP://WWW.ARMYTIMES.COM/COMMUNITY/OPINION/ARMY_OPINION_LETTERS_030209/
Tuesday, March 10, 2009
Transgenders in the Military and the Tauscher Repeal Bill
1. Transgenders in the Military?
This McLatchy-Tribune newspaper report, titled "Transgender Vets a Hidden Population," highlights the next frontier for cultural change in the military. In Britain, the Office of the Minister of Defence meets with LGBT Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender groups on a regular basis, and the Obama administration is totally supportive of transgender rights. As reported by the Naval Academy Alumni USNA-At-Large network, on November 4, 2008, West Point hosted a transgender former officer who addressed a class on behalf of the Transgender American Veterans Association.
If the law is repealed and the military cannot exercise "discrimination" based on sexual orientation in accepting applicants, gender-confused people will join in significant numbers, and have access to the military and veterans' medical systems for their transgender operations. (The Palm Center recently posted a study on the transgender cause titled Summary and Analysis of the 2008 Transgender American Veterans Association Survey.) Defense and Veterans Affairs Department-funded medical coverage is a big deal for the TAVA.
A number of practical questions come to mind-where should "transitioning" individuals be housed-in the men's quarters or the women's? Who gets to decide what a person's gender is-and when? And what about women who don't want pre-surgical men sharing their private quarters, or families who are not comfortable with transgender people teaching their kids in DoD schools and child care centers-the largest institutions of their kind in the world? The opposition's policy seems to be "don't ask, don't tell."
2. Tauscher Bill to Repeal 1993 Law on Gays in the Military
This account in NPR, "Congress in No Rush to Lift 'Don't Ask, Don't Tell'," reported that Rep. Ellen Tauscher (D-CA) would re-introduce her bill to repeal the 1993 law regarding homosexuals in the military. The article notes that Senator Carl Levin is probably acting as a surrogate for Sen. Ted Kennedy in attempting to find a Republican co-sponsor for a Senate companion to Tauscher's bill. Also note the statement of Aubrey Sarvis, Executive Director of the Servicemembers' Legal Defense Network, commenting that he is "talking regularly with Obama's staff and encouraging them to keep their word."