Despite President Obama signing legislation to enact repeal of the “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy back in December following a near year-long working study into the effects of a repeal, House Republicans are still calling the repeal damaging to military readiness and cohesion, are still predicting a mass exodus from the military and are labeling the Obama Administration’s advocacy of the repeal as being pure politics.
All this was said Friday at a U.S. House subcommittee hearing where members of the military that are overseeing the repeal reported on their progress toward retiring the open service ban. At the committee hearing lawmakers were told that military leaders would likely be ready to begin the repeal process in earnest within the next few months.
From On Top Magazine:
Clifford Stanley, the undersecretary of defense for personnel and readiness, told members of a House Armed Services subcommittee that “Implementing repeal embodies that view of total force readiness – more simply put – it is about respect. … no matter their race, color, creed, religion or sexual orientation.”
“My focus is total force readiness, caring for our people and creating a culture of relevance, effectiveness and efficiency,” Stanley said.
Republicans on the panel criticized the move, embracing the view that repealing the policy at a time when the nation was at war was a mistake.
Missouri Rep. Vicky Hartzler called the change “radical.”
“I’m very concerned that in a time of war … that we are making such a radical major shift in our policy,” she said.
Rep. Mike Coffman of Colorado said open gay service would undermine the military mission.
“I think this is a political decision obviously made by the executive branch and the military will follow it under whatever circumstances and ramifications it has to the combat effectiveness to our forces,” Coffman said.
Freshman Rep. Austin Scott of Georgia predicted an exodus of troops from the military.
This recap of arguments against DADT repeal is unsurprising given that lawmakers like Tim Pawlenty (R-MN), a possible contender for the GOP presidential ticket, have been keen to keep talking about the repeal and have said that they would like to defund the repeal process to effectively stop it in its tracks. In fact, Pawlenty has even said that, should he be successful in his presidential bid, he would reinstate the policy.
Pawlenty’s threat is likely unenforceable given the amount of resources it would take to once again enforce the ban, as well the fact that there is wider public support for open service (not to mention that the repeal was enacted with bipartisan support).
We can gather from this, however, that DADT repeal will probably feature in the 2012 presidential race and will continue to be part of political discourse for some time. We can also assume that while the repeal process is still underway, advocates would be best maintaining their attention until the policy is formally (and finally) retired, especially when some officers are still facing DADT discharge hearings.
Read more: almy v us, civil rights, dadt, dadt report, dadt survey, dont ask dont tell, gay rights, harry reid, joe lieberman, john mccain, lgbt rights, military defense, militarytmc, pentagon, president obama, susan collins, veterans
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