Tuesday, April 28, 2009
Barney Frank's Sidestep Strategy
An article published in the Capitol Hill newspaper Roll Call last Thursday indicated that the combined voices of more than 1,000 retired Flag & General Officers for the Military are being heard.
The article, titled "Frank: Democrats Punting on 'Don't Ask, Don't Tell' Until 2010" (available by subscription only) quotes Rep. Barney Frank and Rep. Tammy Baldwin, Co-Chairs of the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender Equality Caucus. Both openly gay, Frank and Baldwin expressed doubts that Congress will repeal the 1993 law regarding homosexuals in the military this year. Said Frank, "We haven't done the preliminary work, the preparatory work. It would be a mistake to bring it up without a lot of lobbying and a lot of conversation."
This is interesting, since the activist Servicemembers Legal Defense Network (SLDN) and other groups have had numerous lobbying days on this issue, going back several years.
To the extent that the votes are not there for repeal right now, credit must go to the sheer weight of the Open Letter signed and delivered by the Flag & General Officers for the Military. Their strong statement in support of the law has clearly given pause to the congressional Democrat caucus, and "changed the game" by blunting Obama's attempt to create a false appearance of "consensus" among military leaders that it is OK to repeal the law.
It is important to consider the source of the Roll Call article. Barney Frank and Tammy Baldwin are determined advocates of repeal. In his comments to Roll Call Barney Frank is merely offering advice to the SLDN on how, not if, Congress might repeal the law with a free-standing bill next year. Frank played a similar intermediary role in 1993, when he infuriated gay activists by telling them that Bill Clinton's administrative policy known as "Don't Ask, Don't Tell," (DADT), the only option left to them, would be a step in the right direction that would ultimately lead to repeal of the 1993 law.
Where does the issue stand today? It is very possible that one of the Democrats on the House Armed Services Committee will raise the issue during Defense Department (DoD) budget authorization hearings. Short of repealing the law, the next recourse for Democrats would be to enlist a supposedly non-threatening sounding, bi-partisan "commission" or "panel" to study the issue. A tax-funded "Gays in the Military Commission" would subsidize and empower homosexualist groups sure to come up with a report on how, not if, the DoD should implement repeal of the 1993 law.
Members of Congress should oppose any such effort on no uncertain terms. Given current leadership in the White House and Congress, the composition of such a commission would amount to a foreordained result in favor of repeal. Single-minded activists would control the agenda and outcome, wasting millions of taxpayers' dollars along the way.
The stalwart efforts of the Flag and General Officers for the Military and congressional supporters have gotten the attention of congressmen and women who may have told Barney Frank to back off-at least for now. This is encouraging news, but far from victory. Efforts to establish and subsidize a "Gays in the Military Commission" persist as a threat as Congress considers the Defense Department budget for this year. CMR will continue to monitor ongoing developments, and take the lead in defending the 1993 law.
Puerile Prattlers for Gays in the Military
Miss California Carrie Prejean is not the only patriotic, principled American public figure to come under attack from activists for the homosexual agenda.
On April 15, 2009, four founding members of Flag and General Officers for the Military in a Washington Post op-ed titled Gays and the Military: A Bad Fit. More than 1,100 retired flag and general officers have taken a firm stand in support of the 1993 law stating that homosexuals are not eligible to serve in the military. That statute, Section 654, Title 10, U.S.C., frequently is mistaken for the administrative policy known as "Don't Ask, Don't Tell."
The huge impact of the high-ranking officers' unequivocal, game-changing statement was proven by the near-hysterical reaction of immature advocates of gays in the military. They did not expect to see this op-ed published in one of their primary house-organs, the Washington Post, apparently. Many online comments and letters to the editor descended to the level of personal attack against the authors. The usual flapping around in the comments section inadvertently confirmed just how threatening to their cause the op-ed really was.
CMR President Elaine Donnelly submitted a letter to the Post-not to respond to juvenile attacks, but to address several points of misinformation regarding the acceptance of homosexuals in the militaries of several foreign countries. The text of Donnelly's letter follows:
To the Editor:
Several letters resorting to personal attacks against the distinguished authors of an op-ed supporting the 1993 law regarding homosexuals in the military reflect poorly on the critics. Objective readers should know that in 1999, Britain capitulated to a European court order to accept professed gays in their military. Recruiting problems persist even though same-sex couples live in military housing, and the British Ministry of Defence meets regularly with LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgendered) groups to discuss unresolved problems that uniformed personnel are not allowed to discuss openly. Britain is an ally, but its Army and Navy are not comparable to American forces on the high seas and in combat theaters such as Afghanistan.
Denmark, the Netherlands, and Canada include gays in their militaries, but these nations have assigned higher priority to liberal social objectives than to readiness for aggressive combat. Other militaries without restrictions on gays are very restrictive in actual practice. Germany, for example, imposed many restrictions on open homosexual behavior and imposed career penalties such as denial of promotions and access to classified information. In Israel, where able-bodied citizens including women must serve, military personnel usually do not reveal their homosexuality and are barred from elite combat positions if they do. America's military is a role-model for the world, and the 1993 law deserves continuing support.
President, the Center for Military Readiness
Show us a movement that constantly resorts to personal attacks to get their way, and we will show you a movement that has no legitimate argument.
* * * * * * *
CMR appreciates the American Society for the Defense of Tradition, Family and Property, which published a comment in support of the Post op-ed authors titled Keeping America Free. The article recognizes that few appreciate better the unique conditions, challenges and sacrifices of military service than those who have devoted their lives to it.
Monday, April 13, 2009
Parsing Colin Powell
Listening to retired Army General Colin Powell, former Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, it is difficult to figure out where the knowledge and experience of the general leaves off and personal political correctness begins. Witness the self-contradictory interview that Gen. Powell recently did with MSNBC-TV talk show host Rachel Maddow, a self-identified lesbian and liberal, on April 1.
On the day before, March 31, the Associated Press broke the news that more than 1,000 retired flag and general officers had signed and delivered to the White House, Pentagon, and Congress an open letter endorsing current law regarding homosexuals in the military. Someone at MSNBC, a notoriously liberal network that few people watch, may have brainstormed about a way to make "news" by upstaging the thousand-star-studded open letter.
If Maddow was expecting Powell to break sharply with hundreds of his former Army colleagues, she had to be disappointed. After a chat about conventional foreign policy and military matters, Maddow sprang this question on General Powell: "[D]o you still think that "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" is necessary for good order and discipline in the military? You have discussed the idea that it should be reviewed. Would you support the move if Congress decided to get rid of that policy?"
Powell made some comments about the history of the issue, explaining why Congress passed a law making homosexuals ineligible for the military, which prior to 1993 had been long-standing Defense Department policy. He repeated the PC-bromide about "changing times" creating the need to "review the policy," but added this: "I am withholding judgment because I am not the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff anymore. And I think we have to hear from our senior military leaders about the effect of a change in the law would have on the force."
Perhaps unimpressed with Powell's response, Maddow tried the "everybody else is doing it" angle:
Maddow: "The examples of other countries that have successfully integrated openly gay people into their forces, are those good reference points for that sort of a study?"
Powell: "Those are reference points that have to be taken into account, sure. I would study every one of those cases...I don't think, however, the armed force of the United States is the same as the armed force of one of our European friends or Canadian friends. And therefore as the courts have held traditionally over the years, and the Congress has as well, the military is a unique institution with rules and regulations and a way of living in close proximity with other soldiers-and you're told whom you're going to live with-that the military can have a set of regulations and rules that would not pass any kind of legal or constitutional muster if it was in civilian society. (Emphasis added)
"And so I think because it is the quality of the force and the ability of the force to apply the nation's power wherever it's called upon to do so, we have to be careful when we change this policy. But if the military leaders think that enough time has passed since 1993 that we ought to take a look at this and perhaps change the policy, I'll be completely supportive. I'm not going to make a judgment until I hear from the chiefs."
Gen. Powell appears conflicted between his high-profile endorsement of candidate Barack Obama last fall and his past support for the 1993 law, which President Obama opposes and has promised to repeal. As CMR President Elaine Donnelly explained in an October 2008 article for National Review Online, this is not the first time that Powell spoke about this subject in a way that appeared politically correct and supportive of President Barack Obama, but actually confirmed concerns of those who support the current law, Section 654, Title 10, U.S.C.
An old saying has it that if you weigh into a debate and both sides disagree with you, you probably have the strongest argument. But the issue of gays in the military is not just an academic or philosophical argument. As more than 1,100 retired Flag and General Officers for the Military recently affirmed, "We believe strongly that this law, which Congress passed to protect good order, discipline, and morale in the unique environment of the military, deserves continued support."
Several gay activists writing on leftist websites have expressed displeasure with Powell's equivocation. Now that the 1,000-star flag and general officers have spoken out in favor of the 1993 law, that is probably as far as the general is willing to go.
Gen. Powell's widely-respected record of distinguished service to our country stands on its own. He could serve America again by affirming the difference between the civilian world and military life, without apology or the contradictory suggestion that political correctness can overcome human characteristics or military realities that remain unchanged.
-- Tommy Sears
Thursday, April 9, 2009
Major Media Miss AP Report on Flag & General Officers for the Military
On March 31 David Crary of the Associated Press covered the release of the Flag & General Officers for the Military statement in support of Section 654, Title 10, the law regarding homosexuals in the military. Among other things, AP reported that more than 1,050 retired flag and general officers had signed the open letter, which was delivered to the White House, Congress and the Pentagon on that day. The story made the Washington Post (online only), Washington Times, Newsday, Miami Herald, and many more newspapers nationwide. The Gannet-owned Military Times, however, let down their many active duty readers by burying the story in two sentences surrounded by statements from advocates of gays in the military. This treatment contrasts with the coverage usually given to the smallest story generated by activists who are determined to repeal the 1993 law.
The April 13 Military Times story by William H. McMichael mentions the 1,000+ retired flag officers in two sentences, but does not provide information about the distinguished signers, 47 of whom achieved four-star rank in all branches of the service. Nor did the article provide information that would help readers to locate the Flag & General Officers for the Military website, which provides background on what the retired military leaders said, and why.
Military Times also ran this week an unquestioning endorsement/review of a polemic book authored by Nathaniel Frank of the activist Palm Center, formerly known as the Center for the Study of Sexual Minorities in the Military. The book reportedly attempts to revise the legislative history of the 1993 law and disregards the harmful consequences of its repeal. Given this treatment of the Frank book, a more prominent placement of the Flag & General Officers for the Military story would seem in order. The editorial position of the Military Times supports repeal of the 1993 law, but in view of its annual polls of its active-duty subscribers solidly rejecting that position (for four years running), journalistic responsibility requires more balanced and informative coverage on the consequences of repealing the 1993 law.
CMR is grateful to the more than 1,000 distinguished retired officers, among them former service chiefs and combatant command leaders, who have stepped forward to defend sound principles and policies for the All-Volunteer force.
Defense and foreign policy commentator and President of the Center for Security Policy Frank Gaffney explained the significance of this in an April 1 NewsMax.com article titled, "Former Officers Rally Against Gays in Military." In the face of conventional wisdom that repeal of the law is simply a matter of time, the former military leaders who lent support to the Flag & General Officers for the Military project have rallied to our nation's cause with nothing to gain for themselves. Their unequivocal support for sound policy and a law designed to protect military morale and readiness could and should turn the tide of the entire debate.
Active duty men and women and civilians who care about the military expect the media-particularly newspapers specifically devoted to coverage of military news--to take note and report stories such as this. Active duty people also expect their elected and current military leaders to pay attention and to defend the culture of the armed forces, on which our national security depends.
Saturday, April 4, 2009
SLDN Calls Names, Can't Count
On Tuesday, 1050 retired general and flag officers presented a statement to the White House, Congress and the Pentagon expressing their strong support for Section 654, Title 10, U. S. Code, the law making homosexuals ineligible for military service. This distinguished group of retired Flag & General Officers for the Military, includes 47 four-star officers from all branches of the service. Among them are a former Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, several service chiefs, numerous U. S. and combatant and allied forces commanders, and a Medal of Honor recipient. With absolutely nothing to gain, these distinguished men and women have affirmed strong support for this law based on many decades of experience at all levels of our armed forces.
Of course, dissent from the mainstream media-favored, politically-correct, gay-activist agenda requires swift retribution. Enter the Palm Center, a "research institute" originally known as the "Center for the Study of Sexual Minorities in the Military [CSSMM]," and the Servicemembers Legal Defense Network, a gay-activist non-profit group with a primary objective of repealing Section 654, Title 10. The inestimable years of leadership and sacrifice that these officers' signatures represent mean little in the face of the single-minded, intolerant agenda of Palm and SLDN.
No, what Palm and SLDN really can't stand is that after lifetimes of selfless service during and after distinguished military careers, a few of them happen to be in their 70s.
SLDN, in a post on its "Frontlines" blog dated April 1 by its Executive Director, Aubrey Sarvis, goes on to take gratuitous shots at one of the statement's signers, former Commandant, General Carl E. Mundy, Jr., USMC (Ret.). Never mind that General Mundy's record of leadership, both as Commandant and for many years in an active life of public service, have made him one of the Marines' most respected leaders. The gay activists' name-calling reflects far more badly on them than on him.
Sarvis lamely questioned the number of signers on the Flag & General Officers for the Military statement, even though all of their names are posted on www.flagandgeneralofficersforthemilitary.com and 54 pages of hand-written signatures were presented to the White House, Pentagon, and Congress. Instead, Sarvis tried to change the subject by mentioning the Palm Center-assembled "hundred plus admirals and generals who have called for repeal" of the law. We do not know and did not ask if any of these are in their 70s. As far as keeping Section 654, Title 10 is concerned, today there are over 1,100 general and flag-rank supporters. And counting. It has been an honor to work with them, and we will continue to build on their impressive work.