Friday, November 21, 2008

Stonewalling on Don't Ask, Don't Tell? No Action Until 2010

Yesterday, I wrote a blog entry which argued that if Obama picked Robert Gates as Secretary of Defense this would not inspire confidence that the he would move forward on his promise to lift the ban on gays and lesbians in the military. Remarkably, Gates, who currently heads the Department of Defense under Bush, has argued that he is too busy fighting terrorism and wars to deal with the issue of anti-gay discrimination. He also contends that the military does not even ban gay and lesbian people, but any person who wants to engage in gay sex, have a gay wedding, or who says he or she is gay, lesbian or bisexual (yes -- he said that!).

Today's Washington Times cites "insiders" who say that Obama will probably not attempt to repeal the ban until at least 2010. The source says that Obama wants to establish a consensus among military leaders before acting. Certainly, he should act smartly and in a strategic fashion. But military leaders do not want to end the ban. Retired military leaders have argued against it, but current leaders have not. Gates has made horrible statements about gays and lesbians, and Obama proudly accepted the endorsement of Colin Powell who orchestrated the military's vocal and swift rejection of Clinton's effort to repeal the ban. A compromise forced by Powell gave us the wretched "Don't Ask, Don't Tell." Accordingly, I am not holding my breath on this one.

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