Thursday, December 02, 2010


Day one of the Don't Ask/Don't Tell hearings are over. As expected, Republican Senators tried hard to find reasons to keep the ban in place, doing back-flips and somersaults trying to simultaneously say that 1. troops opinions should take precedence 2. the report on troops opinions isn't their real opinion and 3. the troops opinions do not amount to a referendum.

These three things are irreconcilable. It's like trying to fit a square peg into a round hole using not a hammer, but only a broken Philips head screwdriver. They tried hiding behind civilian leadership, that failed. They tried hiding behind military leaders, that failed. They tried hiding behind soldiers, that failed. Now, they're hiding behind their perceived (although proven inaccurate) beliefs about what Soldiers WOULD believe, if asked properly leading questions.

SEN McCain was his usual self, ignoring the issue at hand. After arguing he wouldn't have enough time to question SEC Gates, who then agreed to stay and extra half an hour, he then used one of his six minutes of questioning to talk about Wikileaks.

McCain focuses on the statistic which shows a majority of combat troops thinks that repeal might harm troops, while ignoring the statistic which simultaneously shows that the same troops who HAVE worked with a "known gay or lesbian" believe knowing about them was beneficial to unit cohesion. To quote Mark Twain, "There are Lies, Damn Lies and Statistics."

SEN Wickers, of Mississippi, asked why Soldiers weren't asked IF the repeal should happen. As usual, Gates came back with an awesome response demonstrating his wisdom and his humility:
With respect to polling the services, you know, I didn't spend a career in the military, but I've read a lot of history. I can't think of a single precedent in American history of doing a referendum of the American armed forces on a policy issue.

Are you going to ask them if they want 15-month tours? Are you going to ask them if they want to be part of the surge in Iraq? That's not the way our civilian-led military has ever worked in our entire history. The "should" question needs to be decided by the Congress or the courts, as far as I'm concerned.

SEN Graham then spoke, and said,
We're not asking for you to turn the war into a referendum -- would you like to go to Afghanistan and fight? That's never going to be asked of the service. You do what you're told. But this is a change -- a pretty significant change.
Effectively arguing that going to War is less disruptive than integrating open service into the military.

Now, I'm sorry, but I have a lot of friends in the military, Gay, Straight, Bi and even Trans, but none of them, NOT ONE, has been the cause of death or injury to my other friends. War, however, has killed, has injured and has permanently damaged my friends. This whole debate has become a farce. In an attempt to keep the military from being "disrupted" due to this change, the civilians who make the decision (Congress) have done nothing but disrupt our leadership. For the last nine months, the Commander of Forces in the European Theatre, GEN Hamm, has been interviewing people about their opinions and fears of showing, of sleeping, of picnicking (no, seriously, that was a question) with gays and lesbians. After the report, which shows NO ONE CARES, these Republican obstructionists are STILL calling for more hearings, more questions, more polls, more disruption because they cannot accept that gays and lesbians are no big deal and simply American, like everyone else.

Allowing equal service is not about special rights, nor is it about anything other than Americans who want to be, to use a book title and quote from President Roosevelt, Absolutely American. This obstruction is FAR more detrimental to service and allowing us to "get on with the mission" than someone bringing his boyfriend to a company party. We will, very quickly, look back on today and tomorrows hearings not as a turning point to be proud of, but a moment of farce and ridiculousness the American people are above.


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