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December 08, 2010

Report: Senate To Vote On Taking Up Defense Spending Bill Which Includes DADT Repeal

Here we go again. Harry Reid is going to try and bring up the Defense Authorization Bill that failed to achieve cloture before because it included a repeal of Don't Ask, Don't Tell.

A senior Democratic leadership aide said Mr. Reid planned a move to reconsider the vote on the annual defense authorization bill, a key piece of legislation that includes language that would begin the process of repealing the law. The move, known as a cloture vote, would effectively close debate and bring the bill to the Senate floor. It requires 60 votes to pass.

Realistically, the aide added, that vote would not happen until late this afternoon or early this evening.

...Several Republican senators have strongly opposed the repeal effort, and today’s effort is expected to fail.

I'm so sick of this. DADT is not in the top 100 list of problems facing the military today (we are at war you know) yet it takes up almost all the attention the public gives to military issues and the Democrats are using it to hold up passing the defense budget authorization (thanks to Dave from Garfield Ridge for the correction) for this year.

Most milbloggers I read, including some of the guys over at Blackfive, either support repeal or are more or less indifferent to it. If you are interested in the case against repealing DADT, check out this thread by "Grim" over at Blackfive. His number one point is mine as well.

The single appropriate determining factor in answering the question "Who should serve in the military?" is the needs of the military. This is because the military is the last cordon that holds back the world, and the final defender of the space in which our way of life is possible. It is a special responsibility, different from any other duty entrusted to any other government agency. This is a well-established principle in our nation's history: sometimes we have followed this principle even so far as to command involuntary service in the name of the needs of the military, as during the drafts of WWII or Vietnam. Currently, we seek volunteers, but only those who fit the profile of what the military needs.

The question before the Congress has been, "How much trouble would it be to repeal DADT?" The proper question is, "What is the military benefit of allowing openly gay soldiers and Marines?" Is there one?

I've heard a lot about how it will be good for individual gay servicemen and women to be able to live their lives openly or that allowing them to serve openly probably won't hurt the services. What I haven't seen is anyone make the positive case that repealing DADT leads to more dead bad guys and battle field victories. Short of that, I'm simply not all that interested in messing around with something that's working pretty well.

According to Marine Corps Commandant General James Amos, repeal will be a detriment to combat effectiveness.

Amos repeatedly cited the strong negative feelings of many Marines who fear gays in all-male combat units will undermine the close-knit bonds of infantrymen. He pointed to the “intricate, woven … almost a filial love” that characterizes the bonds among infantrymen.

Amos quoted the comments of one unnamed Marine lieutenant who said: “If you were to add any element of sexual competition into a unit, intra-unit sexuality or hesitancy of trust, it would unquestionably prevent those bonds from forming.”

Amos urged lawmakers to block immediate repeal of the ban.

“Based on what I know about the very tough fight on the ground in Afghanistan, the almost singular focus of our combat forces as they train and deploy into theater, the necessary tightly woven culture of those combat forces that we are asking so much of at this time, and finally the direct feedback from the survey, my recommendation is that we should not implement repeal at this time,” Amos told lawmakers.

In fairness, the Chiefs of Naval Operations Air Force (thanks to Y-not in the comments) says they are ready to implement a repeal now.

Here's a modest proposal...why not remove the ban in those services and leave it in place in the Army and Marine Corps? While all service is important, there's no denying that each service operates in different ways, in different environments. Why should there be a one sized fits all policy? Gays who want to serve openly can do so, just not necessarily in the service they want. Seems that if people are really concerned with the opinions of the troops and the well being of the country, this would be a reasonable compromise. Now, if advocates of gays serving openly oppose this, then perhaps they are more concerned with a social agenda and not military policy.

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posted by DrewM. at 01:33 PM

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