Defense Secretary Robert Gates: Don’t Lift the Ban

Saturday, May 1, 2010

Defense Secretary Robert Gates and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Adm. Mike Mullen told the House Armed Services Committee to not repeal the ban on openly gay and lesbian Americans serving in the military.

Candidate Barack Obama pledged to repeal the viciously homophobic, Clinton-era policy called “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell,” and as president, has come under pressure to act immediately to suspend enforcement of the policy until Congress sends him a bill to sign to end the ban.

In a letter to House Armed Services Committee panel’s chairman, Missouri Democrat Ike Skelton, Gates and Mullen said:

“Our military must be afforded the opportunity to inform us of their concerns, insights and suggestions if we are to carry out this change successfully. [Repealing the ban before] would send a very damaging message to our men and women in uniform that in essence their views, concerns and perspectives do not matter.”

Since Mr. Obama was sworn in as president on January 20, 2009, 792 Americans have been discharged under “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.” Adding to the 13,500 previously discharged since the policy became law in 1993.

In a statement by Aubrey Sarvis, executive director for the Servicemembers Legal Defense Network (SLDN), Sarvis wasted no time repudiating the stall tactics by Gates, Mullen and the White House:

“The President of the United States appears to have reversed himself from what he told the American people in his State of the Union Address. We have the votes in the House and we’re close to having the votes in the Senate Armed Services Committee — the President, however, is not helping us to get the votes we need. Service members around the world took the President at his word; we still do.

“It’s time for the president and commander in chief to speak clearly and frankly on this issue. The commander in chief sounds like he is deferring to his Defense Secretary, to a House Chairman who opposes him on repeal, and to his political operatives.

“With all due respect to Secretary Gates, it is Congress that determines the legislative schedule, not the Secretary of Defense. Congressional leaders and repeal advocates may need to give the Pentagon leaders a gentle reminder.

“Servicemembers Legal Defense Network repudiates the delay game plan worked out among House Armed Services Committee Chairman Ike Skelton, Defense Secretary Robert Gates, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Admiral Michael Mullen, and the White House. Repeal legislation can and should move forward this year that is most respectful of the Pentagon Working Group.

“This objective can be accomplished by amending both the House and Senate bills to expressly provide for the Pentagon recommendations to be received and considered by the Armed Services Committees before any repeal action is final. There is no need to bring the legislative repeal effort to a screeching halt to ensure that the views of the Pentagon Working Group are carefully and respectfully considered. If the White House agrees, we need to hear that and soon.”

As I have said many times before, if “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” isn’t repealed before the end of President Obama’s first term, he will have an extremely difficult time making a compelling case to his LGBT base why they should reward him with a second term as president.

This entry was posted in DADT, LGBT, Military, News, President Barack Obama, SLDN and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

14 Responses to Defense Secretary Robert Gates: Don’t Lift the Ban

  1. Estacada says:

    This is utter and complete bullshit.

    Gays and lesbians are already serving honorably in all 4 branches of the military and Robert Gates knows this for a fact.

    If I didn’t know better I would bet Gates is giving the Congress and President Obama an official cover to delay repealing the ban until after the 2010 midterm elections.

  2. feminazi says:

    Well, well, well. I go away for a week and all hell breaks loose. Another official delay and calls for more studies and input. I have to wonder, if African American, or Hispanic soldiers were being kicked out of the military for the crime of being a minority, what would President Obama’s response be? Would he allow Robert Gates and Mike Mullen to study the issue and let white soldiers express their discomfort with serving along side soldiers of color? The last time I checked, Obama was the Commander in Chief and the leader of the military. It’s time he started acting like it. End the damned ban.

  3. Tiny Dancer says:

    I’m not sure Obama even wants to be reelected in 2 1/2 years from now.

    If he did, he would start cleaning house by selling the Obama/Rahm Clown Bus, and make a 180′ back to his progressive principles that propelled him to victory in 2008.

    But I agree with your assessment. If DADT isn’t relegated to the dust bin of history before the next General Election, it’s tata to Barry.

  4. Harry says:

    If the ban isn’t lifted by 2012, I don’t think it will be lifted. I don’t think Obama will be reelected. There’s a tabloid story brewing about an affair.

  5. Stephan Iversonn says:

    The problem with the assertion by Gates and Mullen that the military “must be afforded the opportunity to inform us of their concerns, insights and suggestions if we are to carry out this change successfully” ignore the core tenet of military.

    The Commander-in-Chief is the commander of a nation’s military forces or most of those forces, and this is the President of the United States.

    In the military, if the President says “jump,” then you jump. The term “Commander-in-Chief” comes from the Latin “imperator.” This is spelled out in Article II, Section 2, Clause I of the United States Constitution which states that the President:

    “shall be Commander in Chief of the Army and Navy of the United States, and of the Militia of the several States, when called into the actual Service of the United States.”

    So, while the US Congress will need to write a bill for the President sign to repeal the ban, Defense Secretary Robert Gates has no overriding authority to the President other than as an adviser or to make recommendations.

    If President Obama remains committed to sending Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell packing, then he can direct the Congress to write a bill doing this and have it on his desk before the summer Congressional recession starting in August.

  6. Matteo says:

    The always excellent Palm Center has an enlightening study of the impact of the ban on women of color.

    Perhaps, the president, all flush with the authority that goes along with the job, has forgotten than he is a black man?

    Black Women Disproportionately Impacted by “don’t ask, don’t tell.”

    http://www.palmcenter.org/node/1159

    African Americans are overrepresented in the U.S. military, especially in the Army. The percentage of African Americans in the military still exceeds that of the general population: around 17 percent in the military, versus 12.8 percent in the U.S. population.

  7. Brigadoon says:

    None of this is complicated. President Obama is the Commander in Chief. Robert Gates has no business sending letters to House Armed Services Committee to not repeal the ban. Imagine in corporate America is the CEO said “I want such and such,” and some piss ass underling said, “Nope,” and told the company to ignore the CEO’s orders? The underling would be fired immediately. This is exactly what Obama needs to do with Robert Gates.

  8. Jolly Roger says:

    Yeah, I don’t understand what Gates is doing. This isn’t the way it’s supposed to work.

    Perhaps the President doesn’t actually have any authority over the DoD anymore?

  9. Seriously, people? It’s bad enough that chicks are going to be serving on subs. There’s gonna be a LOT of fraternization and subsequent cradle rocking after the implementation of that bad idea. If homosexuals can openly serve, just imagine how many of the babies in those cradles will be gay! Oh, shudder!

  10. Arizona Leatherneck says:

    Obama needs to ditch Robert Gates.

    Letting a Bush appointee remain on the payroll when Obama told the nation (and the world) that “change” would be the mantra of his administration makes him look less than credible.

  11. Kate Novotny says:

    According to the Palm Center, at UC Santa Barbara, reports 25 countries allow gays and lesbians to serve in the military. They include:

    Australia
    Austria
    Belgium
    Canada
    Czech Republic
    Denmark
    Estonia
    Finland
    France
    Germany
    Ireland
    Israel
    Italy
    Lithuania
    Luxembourg
    Netherlands
    New Zealand
    Norway
    Slovenia
    South Africa
    Spain
    Sweden
    Switzerland
    United Kingdom
    Uruguay

    The U.S. once more, hangs back, mired in the 1950’s and even with an African American president, can’t quite figure out how to join the rest of the civilized, evolved community of nations when it comes to LGBT equality. I expected more from Obama when I voted for him.

  12. fran says:

    Gates is a leftover from the Bush admin, so he’s still in that mindset.

    Canada is looking better all the time.

  13. Woodcliffe says:

    Obama and the Dems are digging themselves a deeper hole every day they delay the inevitable.

    The ban is going to be repealed. Think about how much political capital they would earn to be the party credited in history books as ending this terrible law that grew out of Bill Clinton’s cowardice.

  14. bradfrmphnx says:

    Secretary Gates should be reprimanded for overstepping his authority. Why Obama chose to keep anything left over from the Bushy administration is beyond comprehension. As much as he dissed Bushy about how he ran the war, he kept the guy who did the running. It’s hard to tell where Obama is coming from when he talks out of both sides of his mouth. I thought McCain swayed with the breeze just to please…Obama is showing he has the same abilities.

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