Thursday, March 25, 2010
CMR Press Release: Continued Confusion About 1993 Gays-in-Military Law
In response to an announcement by Secretary of Defense Robert Gates regarding the results of a 45-day review of the so-called "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" (DADT) policy, Elaine Donnelly, President of the Center for Military Readiness, issued the following statement:
"Secretary Gates has sent a confusing message to the troops. By applying new regulations applying only to the small number of discharges that occur for homosexuality, he has invited noncompliance with the extant 1993 law, Section 654, Title 10, in future cases and those that are still pending."
"Instead of taking the opportunity to clarify the meaning and intent of the law, Secretary Gates seems to be condoning unwarranted delays. Local commanders who are trying to do their duty by enforcing the law deserve support, not second-guessing by higher-level officials who seem more concerned about President Obama's views than they are about the terms and intent of the law."
Donnelly continued, "Whether intended or not, regulation changes announced today could create an incentive for 'third parties' to 'out' someone who is not eligible for military service. This will undermine respect for the law and perpetuate the institutional dishonesty that Joint Chiefs Chairman Adm. Mike Mullen complained of in February."
She added, "It is unfortunate that Adm. Mullen has mischaracterized the views of active-duty subordinates who are not truly free to express their own opinions, due to the Chairman's inappropriate personal statement prematurely calling for repeal of the law. Admiral Mullen has disingenuously claimed little disagreement with his personal view among active-duty troops. But junior personnel will not disagree with the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs during focus group meetings, and those who do agree with Mullen should not be used as props in the presence of the media."
She added, "It is also ironic that Adm. Mullen has criticized a three-star general for expressing a personal view in support of the 1993 law, even after Mullen himself expressed a personal opinion favoring repeal of the same law before the Senate Armed Services Committee on February 2. This appears to be a double standard that is not helpful.
"Furthermore, Secretary Gates has once again insisted that the Comprehensive Review Working Group (CRWG) that he has established should limit its report only to 'how' and 'when' to repeal the law---not 'if' the law should be repealed. This posture effectively cuts out Congress and the American people, who will oppose any attempt to impose a European-style LGBT Law and lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgendered policies on our military by what Sen. John McCain described as a 'fiat'."
She continued, "If Secretary Gates really wants to make enforcement of the law 'more humane,' he should follow the legal mandate to explain the purpose and meaning of the law more accurately, and exercise his legally-authorized option to reinstate 'the question' about homosexuality that used to appear on induction forms. All of the personal stories about servicemembers discharged for homosexuality could have been avoided if the Bush and Obama Administrations had taken steps to more fully explain and enforce the actual law.
"Despite the unnecessary and unfortunate confusion caused by Secretary Gates today, I remain confident that members of Congress ultimately will retain current law, which is important to protect recruiting, retention, and readiness in the All-Volunteer Force."
Background: Why Exceptions in Enforcement Are Not Justified
With regard to the matter of "third party outings" generally, Finding #15 in the statute clearly states that "the presence in the armed forces of persons who demonstrate a propensity or intent to engage in homosexual acts would create an unacceptable risk to the high standards of morale, good order and discipline, and unit cohesion that are the essence of military capability." Because there is no constitutional right to serve, the creation of an unjustified exemption for persons revealed to be gay by others would contradict the plain meaning and intent of the law.
In a prominent case that sparked the discussion of "third parties" last year, Air Force Lt. Col. Victor Fehrenbach, a former weapons systems officer, continues to claim that he should be spared discharge. An investigation by Fehrenbach's local newspaper, the Boise Statesman, found that he was accused of sexual assault by a "third party" he solicited for consensual sex on a gay website. A police report ensued, but Fehrenbach was cleared when he proved the incident was consensual.
Defining Discipline Down
It is unclear whether new regulations will allow Fehrenbach to remain in the Air Force. Nothing in cases involving "third parties" justifies a suspension of enforcement, since the law clearly states that homosexuals are not eligible to serve.
Monday, March 22, 2010
Former Marine General Challenges NATO Military Myths
Now that we are about to get a European-style health-care system, do we want a European-style military too? This was the underlying question discussed at a March 18 Senate Armed Services Committee hearing on legislation to repeal the 1993 law stating that homosexuals are not eligible to serve in the military.
The Center for Military Readiness has posted a detailed article reporting on the strong testimony of retired Marine General John Sheehan, who had served as Atlantic Commander of NATO and American forces during a time when the consequences of harmful social change became evident in European militaries.
Senate Testimony: European Militaries Are Not Role Models for U.S.
CMR appreciates Gen. Sheehan for stepping up to defend the 1993 law in a difficult two-against-one situation. He drew upon 35 years of experience as a Marine Corps infantry officer who has served in combat, led a platoon, three companies, an infantry battalion, and an infantry regiment. And because his career also included command of units from 26 different nations, Gen. Sheehan was well-qualified to refute the notion that European militaries should be role models for ours. The general also noted that the British military capitulated to a 1999 European Court order to include gays in their military-something that America's military would never do.
The apparent agitation of SASC Chairman Sen. Carl Levin (D-MI) indicated that Gen. Sheehan had presented his points effectively. Gen. Sheehan's colloquy with Sen. McCain about the male-on-male sexual assault incident in Vietnam exposed the folly of depending on judicial proceedings after the fact to "handle" disruptions in the ranks.
Major media missed some unintended humor from Sen. Roland Burris (D-IL), who tried to play the race card. When Sen. Burris asked Gen. Sheehan whether he had ever commanded minority troops, the general replied that he had never commanded troops that were not fully integrated with blacks, whites, Hispanics, Orientals, etc. Then Burris reminded the general about minority role models such as the tennis champion Williams sisters and golfer Tiger Woods. Tiger Woods in a discussion about sexual misconduct? Score that one as a gaffe.
Raunchy red-headed entertainer Kathy Griffin caused a minor disruption when she left the hearing room for a rally on Freedom Square organized by the Human Rights Campaign. The rally was upstaged by Lt. Daniel Choi, a West Point graduate and professed homosexual who thanked Army officials for their inexplicable forbearance by violating uniform regulations and getting arrested for chaining himself to the White House gate. Many gay activists who were trying to stay focused on Congress were outraged by Choi's stunt. His antics suggested that Choi knows little about team cohesion, even in his campaign to repeal the 1993 law.
Sen. McCain effectively countered the notion that the Pentagon's Comprehensive Review Working Group (CRWG) should only discuss "how" and "when" to repeal the law, but not key questions of "whether" and "why." Showing his LGBT rainbow colors, Sen. Levin asked General Sheehan, "If you could be satisfied that there would be no harm to combat cohesion or effectiveness, would that be satisfactory to you?" Gen. Sheehan said no, members of Congress need to demonstrate how repeal of the law would actually improve military effectiveness.
If Sen. Levin prevails, America's armed forces could start to resemble European militaries-boasting about liberal "equal opportunity" policies that have little to do with military deterrence or effectiveness. Is this what we want? For the sake of national security, America's military must remain the best in the world.
Monday, March 15, 2010
Op-Eds and Commentaries of Interest on Gays in the Military
We appreciate the efforts and support of all commentators who have stepped up to write and speak for active-duty troops whose voices otherwise would not be heard on the issue of gays in the military:
-Retired Gen. Merrill McPeak, former Air Force Chief of Staff, surprised us with his article, which makes excellent points even though he endorses the de facto policy "Don't Ask, Don't Tell": Don't Ask, Don't Change
-Peter Sprigg, Family Research Council: Sex Matters in the Military
-Robert Knight of Coral Ridge Ministries: Don't Ask Who They Are But What They Do
-Frank Gaffney, Center for Security Policy: Hail to the Chiefs
-Bob Maginnis: Gay Review and Combat Effectiveness
-Jane Chastain: Our Military Needs Your Help
-Maj. Gen. Patrick Brady, USA (Ret.): Don't Stress the Military With Quad-Sexual Units (Maj. Gen. Brady was awarded the Medal of Honor for his service in Vietnam.)
-John Guardino, Part IV: "Don't Ask, Don't Tell," and Don't Even Pretend to Be Fair---Unbalanced, Inaccurate, and Unfair, and
-John Guardino, Part V: Lies, Damn Lies, and Polls
-The Optimistic Conservative: And So It Begins
Former Rep. Eric Massa: Military Record Shows Inappropriate Conduct
The story of recently-resigned Rep. Eric Massa (D-NY) is reminding members of Congress why it would be unwise to recruit professed homosexuals and bisexuals for our military. Former Navy Lt. Cmdr. Massa reportedly had a history of inappropriate sexual approaches against male subordinates while he was in the Navy.
-The Atlantic: Massa's Navy Files
-New York Daily News: Former Navy Officers Who Served with Rep. Eric Massa Say He 'Groped' Subordinates on Ship
Massa's alleged record demonstrates a point we have made many times. Subordinate personnel in the military are unlikely to file complaints when confronted with inappropriate sexual approaches from their own superiors. Congress should not elevate the risk of new types of sexual misconduct, which would make military life more difficult and more dangerous.
Tuesday, March 9, 2010
Lieberman, Levin Can't Explain Terms of Repeal Legislation
Sen. Joe Lieberman (I-CT) has introduced legislation to repeal the 1993 Eligibility Law. His bill, S. 3065, is nearly identical to H.R. 1283, a bill sponsored by Rep. Patrick Murphy (D-PA). Lieberman has several liberal co-sponsors, but it is significant that he did not get the support of a single Republican co-sponsor.
-Jen Mascio, Politico: Lieberman Bill Would End "Don't Ask"
-The Hill: Lieberman, Levin Take Lead on Measure to Repeal "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" Policy
CNS News Video Reporter Nicholas Ballasy did a fine job trying to pin down Senators Lieberman and Carl Levin (D-MI) on the terms of their own bill. Senator Levin was particularly inept in trying to discuss the meaning of the Lieberman bill, of which he is a co-sponsor. Take a look at the video, and watch the body language of both:
-Sen. Lieberman Proposed Legalizing Bisexual Behavior in the U.S. Military
-Sen. Armed Services Committee Chairman Did Not Know That Bill He is Sponsoring Would Legalize Bisexual Behavior in the Military
Thursday, March 4, 2010
More Questions from Congress, and CMR Meets with Pentagon Leaders
March 3 House Armed Services Committee (HASC) Personnel Subcommittee Hearing
Rep. Susan Davis (D-CA) conducted a hearing with the two co-chairs of the Pentagon's Comprehensive Review Working Group, DoD General Counsel Jeh Johnson and Army General Carter Ham, and with the DoD Under Secretary for Personnel & Readiness, Clifford L. Stanley. Committee members repeatedly asked Mr. Johnson and General Ham about their plans to conduct a review of the issue, including a survey of active-duty troops. In response to persistent questions from HASC Personnel Subcommittee Ranking Member Rep. Joe Wilson (R-SC), working group co-chairman Johnson agreed that the committee should answer two key questions: Is there evidence that current law is harming military readiness? Secondly, Would repeal of current law improve military readiness?
Rep. Wilson also highlighted many problematic issues that were framed in detailed questions submitted to the Pentagon by HASC Ranking Member Rep. Howard P. "Buck" McKeon (R-CA). One of the most controversial issues was a potential conflict that could result in repeal of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) if Congress votes to repeal the 1993 law. Rowan Scarborough provided more detail on family issues in this article for the Washington Times:
-Group Wants Same Military Benefits for Gay Spouses
On March 4, CMR and representatives of the Family Research Council, the Alliance Defense Fund and the Center for Security Policy met with the Comprehensive Review Working Group co-chairs at the Pentagon. (The CRWG also met with activists for the other side separately on the same day.) CMR will provide assistance to the CRWG whenever we can in the coming months.