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Chair of Joint Chiefs says Gays should be allowed to serve in military.

Discussion in 'BBS Hangout: Debate & Discussion' started by rocketsjudoka, Feb 2, 2010.

  1. rocketsjudoka

    rocketsjudoka Contributing Member
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    http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/35197645/ns/us_news-military

    Top military officer: Gays should serve
    Admiral Mullen says he is deeply troubled by ‘don’t ask, don’t tell’ policy

    NBC News and news services
    updated less than 1 minute ago
    WASHINGTON - The military's top uniformed officer declared Tuesday that gays should be allowed to serve openly in uniform, arguing that it is "the right thing to do."

    It was the strongest statement yet from the Pentagon on this volatile issue.

    Adm. Mike Mullen told the Senate Armed Services Committee he is deeply troubled by a policy that forces people to "lie about who they are in order to defend their fellow citizens."
    Mullen said he knows many will disagree about abandoning the "don't ask, don't tell" policy and said there are practical obstacles to lifting the 1993 ban. But he said he thinks the military can handle it. Mullen is chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and chief military adviser to President Barack Obama.

    Before Mullen's statement, Defense Secretary Robert Gates said he is tapping his chief legal adviser and a four-star Army general to lead a landmark study on how the military would lift its ban on openly gay service members.

    Pentagon General Counsel Jeh Johnson and Gen. Carter Ham, who leads Army forces in Europe, will conduct the yearlong assessment.

    Gates' announcement marks a measured step toward Obama's goal of eliminating the military's policy against gays, which is based on a 1993 law. Ham is a former enlisted infantryman who rose to command troops in northern Iraq. Johnson played an integral role in the effort to close the military prison in Guantanamo Bay.

    The yearlong study could pave the way for the biggest social change to the military since the 1948 executive order for the racial integration of units.

    Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., said at the hearing that he opposed any changes to the existing policy, declaring that the military has "been working well" without openly-gay service.

    "'Don't ask, don't tell' has been an imperfect but effective policy," said McCain, the top Republican on the Armed Services Committee. "And at this moment, when we are asking more of our military than at any time in recent memory, we should not repeal this law."

    His remarks were in direct contrast to Mullen.

    A more lenient standard
    Gates and Mullen are to outline a more lenient standard for enforcing the current ban while the yearlong study is completed. The interim policy would make it harder for a third party to turn in a gay service member and would raise the standard for evidence that the service member is gay before the person could be dismissed.

    Under the 1993 law, engaging in homosexual conduct — even you don't tell anyone — can been enough to qualify a person for dismissal.

    The law was intended as a compromise between then-President Bill Clinton, who wanted to lift the military's ban on gays entirely, and a reluctant Congress and military that said doing so would threaten order.

    According to figures released Monday, the Defense Department last year dismissed the fewest number of service members for violating its the policy than it had in more than a decade. Overall, more than 10,900 troops have been fired under the policy. The 2009 figure — 428 — was dramatically lower than the 2008 total of 619.

    End of a dream
    David Hall, a former Air Force sergeant, said he was discharged in 2002 after someone else reported that he was gay.

    "That ended it," said Hall, who now works for a gay rights advocacy group. "Just like that, based off what one person said, ended my dream of getting to fly planes."


    Click for related content
    Pentagon to tap ‘don't ask, don't tell’ advisers
    Obama urges repeal of ban on gays in military

    In addition to addressing the military's policy on gays, Gates and Mullen planned to outline the military's $768 billion budget for 2011 and another $33 billion requested in war spending this year.

    Both Gates and Mullen were expected to underscore the importance of succeeding in Afghanistan, where Obama has ordered 30,000 more troops.

    "Our future security is greatly imperiled if we do not win the wars we are in," Mullen said in prepared remarks.

    Further, he added, "the outcome of today's conflicts will shape the global security environment for decades to come."
     
  2. Depressio

    Depressio Contributing Member

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    Is it difficult to eliminate "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" or something? Why is it not getting done? Seems like it ought to be a mere flick of the switch.
     
  3. B-Bob

    B-Bob "94-year-old self-described dreamer"

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    Just don't let them near the Super Bowl!
     
  4. basso

    basso Contributing Member
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    Good for him, but i don't think Obama will go along.
     
  5. Dan B.

    Dan B. Member

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    It's a Federal Law. Congress has to rescind it before Obama can act (unless you favor him overstepping his Constitutional boundaries by refusing to enforce the law).

    Hopefully if the Joint Chiefs say they don't want it, the public says they don't want it, and Obama says he doesn't want it, Congress will listen. Still, Lieberman may get a bug up his ass....
     
  6. YallMean

    YallMean Member

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    Of course he did. It's not like kids are waiting in line to sign up for the service. Notice how said it. He said the military can handle it, not accommodate it. You only "handle" a bad situation. What I really want to see is military promotes gay officers and give them the access to the same opportunities as those given to the straight officers.
     
  7. mc mark

    mc mark Contributing Member

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    have you ever been right about anything?
     
  8. SamFisher

    SamFisher Contributing Member

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    I just made your statement relevant.
     
  9. Depressio

    Depressio Contributing Member

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    I wasn't inferring that Obama would be the one to do it. It seems like everyone wants it rescinded. Obama (and by extension, Democrats) keeps saying he's going to get it done. Republicans keep reprimanding him for not doing it, implying that they want it done.

    So again, what the hell is the hold-up?
     
  10. pgabriel

    pgabriel Educated Negro

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    I wish people would understand this.
     
  11. SamFisher

    SamFisher Contributing Member

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    Who exactly? I haven't heard McConnell/Boehner agitating for this, in fact Boehner was last seen on Sunday trying to shelve debate on the issue and preserve Don't Ask Don't Tell.

    http://www.vetvoice.com/showDiary.do?diaryId=3676
     
  12. pgabriel

    pgabriel Educated Negro

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    MSNBC was disussing some of the implications of this last night, including benefit rights. its not as simple as just over turning the law.
     
  13. Dan B.

    Dan B. Member

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    Apologies for misinterpreting your post.

    The hold up is because Congressional Legislation takes forever to get done. Washington moves very slowly. Our government was created to move slowly and deliberately. A lot of people are just now discovering this wrt health care too.
     
  14. rocketsjudoka

    rocketsjudoka Contributing Member
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    I'm not aware of many Republicans wanting don't ask don't tell repealed. They are only reprimanding Obama just to take political potshots, like criticizing that health care hasn't been passed, but I think the vast majority of Republicans want the current policy to remain in place and only replaced with something stricter.
     
  15. Dubious

    Dubious Contributing Member

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    For the life of me I can't envision what the new policy would look like.
    I assume if you just eliminate the restrictions some level of personal discretion would be the norm, much as in the common workplace of today. Spousal rights would depend on the recognition of marriage from whatever state allows it. But I know I wouldn't want to be an openly gay recruit in boot camp among hundreds of testosterone fueled homophobes.

    Maybe it will be don't ask, don't tell, don't tell on and don't muster out. But if I'm gay and going into the military, I'm not telling anyone and I'm being as discreet as I can be. Certainly until I gain a level of respect and responsibility.
     
  16. uolj

    uolj Member

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    I'm not sure why it was necessary to wait a full year for this, but it's still good that some progress is being made.
     
  17. Batman Jones

    Batman Jones Contributing Member

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    You are so ****ing stupid.
     
  18. pgabriel

    pgabriel Educated Negro

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    just save the post
     
  19. Batman Jones

    Batman Jones Contributing Member

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    I save it 999/1,000 times. Every once in a while I just can't help myself.
     
  20. Ottomaton

    Ottomaton Contributing Member
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    The same arguments were made about black recruits among hundreds of testosterone fueled racist rednecks in the 1950's. But the Army has become among the most color blind institutions in the USA.

    They also said the same about women in boot camps. People were afraid that these testosterone fueled young men wouldn't be able to help themselves and there would be all sorts of poor, victimized soldiers "forced" to rape the women.

    In both instances if we listened to the fear mongering, the US military would be weaker today.

    They are soldiers. Their whole existence is dealing with orders that many times they will not like. Obviously, you don't want to piss them off for no reason, but if the benefits to the military are sufficient, they can learn to deal. And anybody who has a problem that they can't control will visit a court marshal, just as if they raped a woman because they wanted sex and "couldn't help themselves", or decided to beat down a black man because they were black and "couldn't help themselves". And when that happens, they will deserve the time they spend in jail.
     
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