Thursday, January 28, 2010

Reactions to President Obama's reference to Don't Ask, Don't Tell in his State of the Union Speech

"President Obama's call to repeal 'don't ask, don't tell' marks the beginning of a new era of equality and justice in America. The military's 'don't ask, don't tell policy' is an unfair, outdated measure." — Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, D-N.Y.

"President Obama asked Congress to repeal the 'don't ask, don't tell' policy. ... At a time when our Armed Forces are fighting and sacrificing on the battlefield, now is not the time to abandon the policy." — Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz

"That's certainly a step beyond saying it in front of a bunch of gay donors...My concern has been all year that the president is dithering - that's a political mistake and an operational mistake...People of bad faith can exploit the opening and turn this into a culture war battle," he said, "and make no mistake, they can win this if people of good faith think they can coast along or show up every once in a while with a vague reiteration." -- Nathaniel Frank, author of Unfriendly Fire (a book about DADT) and a senior fellow at the Palm Center on the President's reference to DADT

Forcing soldiers to cohabit with people who view them as sexual objects would
inevitably lead to increased sexual tension, sexual harassment, and even sexual assault. America's military exists to fight and win wars --not to engage in radical social engineering.

I was out last night celebrating my birthday with my husband, so I didn't see the speech.  I did read it this morning.  These quotes are fairly representative of what seem to be four camps: (1)  Folks who believe that DADT is over and that last night's speech was the death knell; (2) The policy is working and we shouldn't change it; (3) President Obama has said nothing new, although the forum was the most significant in which he expressed his opposition to DADT (4) the far right alarmists that use words like "radical social engineering" to scare Americans into believing this as horrible an idea as gay marriage.

My question is this: if the administration opposes DADT, why not take McCain's argument and actually use it to our advantage?  It is BECAUSE we are at war that we need to change the policy.  We need every person we can get right now.  This is exactly what Bush Sr. said when he suspended the ban during the Gulf War, to almost no opposition.

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