This is my first diary, but I’ve been lurking around. I joined not only to be part of this community, but also to post this diary…because I was sick of getting in tussles with some egotistic self-absorbed poster over at MyDD, but nevermind that.
I had a conversation this weekend with a friend of my father’s who works at the Pentagon. My father is a former Major in the US Army. I chatted up my dad’s friend about DADT and got some interesting scoop as to what’s going on with it and why is it difficult to repeal
It had been clear in talking to my dad’s old Army buddies, some of whom are still in the Army and have high rankings, that the military brass opposes any repeal of DADT. They had fired warning shots about it to Democratic Presidential candidates last year and what makes it exceptionally difficult is the lack of respect among the brass for the President, who is not “one of them.” That respect is lessened by the fact that he defeated “one of them” (It’s worse in the Navy, where McCain had been idolized)
The brass essentially warned Obama to move slowly on DADT.
Now as for what my dad’s friend tells me…DADT is enforced only selectively…before the Bush administration it had been enforced very strongly. It was during Rumsfeld’s tenure that enforcement lapsed and now it is being used not for it’s original intention.
DADT is being enforced only by those who are true believers, in attempts to find ways to expel more liberal members of the military (don’t forget, LGBT soldiers are likely more liberal than your average soldier), and commonly used on soldiers who are either in a relationship, been caught have relations, or had gone public outside the military about it (“embarassing the institution”). Dad’s friend told of a well known example of the boyfriend of a Real World roommate who’s sexuality was well known around Fort Bragg, but the higher ups tried to find him and out him and get him out of the military…he eventually left the military anyway.
He also points out that it has been used almost exclusively on men, with some exceptions, because the higher ups don’t mind lesbians. “There’s more lesbian porn in Fort Bragg than in all of California” said my dad’s friend.
A final reason is that higher ups tend to use “gay intimidation” on their subordinates…when yelling at their troops, they tend to use language offensive to gays, such as the dredded F word and offensive remarks about gays not being manly…men raping other men, anal sex, oral sex and so on. I won’t use the phrases he did here, but you can imagine them.
and so on…and they fear harrassment lawsuits from gays. (They just want to feel comfortable using the inflammatory language).
Interesting fact I learned is that the Bush Administration considered rescinding DADT if they had to reinstate a draft because they feared men would “fake gay” to dodge the draft. I found friends of mine saying they would do that back in the day. Even dad’s friend admits that among younger soldiers, jokes and insinuations of being gay don’t rub them the wrong way.
While it’s true the President can stop DADT with an executive order…the order could easily be overturned by a future president and is not something I favor (neither does my dad’s friend, who, up until now, is the only Army person in my dad’s circle I met who favors a repeal).
The reason is simple…Congress, who ultimately has to permanently repeal DADT, has not moved on this…if Obama rescinds DADT by executive order, Congress will IMO wash their hands of it and move on. I want to see Congressional legislation…should that fail, an executive order needs to be the backup plan.
So what do we do?
Push Congress…this is probably not something they’ll take up in the middle of healthcare, but one thing to do, and I’ve done this, is write to your elected representatives and move to get others writing to them, asking them to co-sponsor, push for, and speak on the floor in favor of, a repeal of DADT. In the end it has to come from Congress to really be permanent.
Dad’s friend is almost certain DADT will be repealed by the next Presidential election and “is willing to bet” by the midterms.
For the Record: I wanted to join the Army (In August 2001, so dodged a bullet there) but dehabilitating Asthma kept me from taking the APFT…I would have probably died during the 2 mile run or one of the alternatives, but almost certainly would not have finished it in under 20 minutes. Anyway, dad didn’t want me to join, I’m an only son, and everything turned out great anyway.