Monday, July 6, 2009


The nation's top military officer said Sunday he has advised President Barack Obama to move "in a measured way" in changing the "don't ask, don't tell" policy that bans gays from serving openly in the military....

"I haven't done any kind of extensive review. And what I feel most obligated about is to make sure I tell the president, you know, my — give the president my best advice, should this law change, on the impact on our people and their families at these very challenging times," he said.

[For the full article, see here.]

Who is dictating policy here: Admiral Mike Mullen, Chariman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff or Barack Obama, President of the United States?

The President is supposed to be Commander-in-Chief of the armed services, and as such it is up to him to dictate military policy on such issues as DADT. Obama is the supreme commander of all the armed forces of the United States and, as such, Mullen is to do what Obama says; Obama is not to follow Mullen's directives, especially when Mullen admits, "I haven't done any kind of extensive review."

It is not up to Mullen, or any other military official for that matter, to articulate policy for public consumption, and by the public nature of Mullen's statement it indicates to me one or two of both possibilities: 1. Obama has ceded influence and decision making regarding DADT (and other matters) to the military and to Congress, thereby thinking he can wash his hands of the revulsion that is bound to ensue when DADT is not rescinded, and still keep his base for his re-election; 2. Mullen, and perhaps other military leaders, don't respect Obama enough to defer to him to be the first to present military policy statements that are designed for public consumption.

On May 21st, David Broder, although coming from a different point of view, had this to say about Obama:

The most controversial decisions of this period -- expanding the troop commitment and replacing the commander in Afghanistan, opposing the release of photos of abused detainees, keeping the system of military tribunals and delaying any change in the "don't ask, don't tell" policy on gays -- are of a pattern.

In every instance, Obama heeded the advice of his uniformed and civilian defense leaders and in each case but Afghanistan, he abandoned a position he had taken as the Democratic presidential candidate....

He picked a vice president, Joe Biden, who visited the battlefronts repeatedly as chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee; a secretary of state, Hillary Clinton, who immersed herself in defense issues as a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee; and a defense secretary, Bob Gates, who ran the wars for Bush. Then, most strikingly, as his national security adviser he chose not another of the academics who have customarily filled that role but a very tough retired Marine general, James L. Jones.

They are the ones whose advice and counsel Obama has heeded in recent weeks -- not the political aides who guided him through the campaign and into the White House.

[For the full article, see here.]

Given Obama's lack of experience, he chose to defer to others when it comes to military matters, and given his indolence in rescinding DADT (which is in his power to do), and given his Justice Department's attacking DOMA in federal court, even linking same-sex marriage to incest and pedophilia in its brief, I can't see how DADT will be repealed in the foreseeable future. Moreover, DOMA is likely to be with us for a very, very long time.

John Aravosis of AmericaBlog received an email from Richard Socarides that reads as follows:

Mullen's comments are offensive and insulting. It's shocking that the civilian leadership allows him to talk about a group of Americans as if we were second class citizens.

How can you advocate a measured approach to equality? Deliberate is what I'm looking for. Deliberate is what we were promised.

And his comments about "the impact [of a policy change] on our people and their families" is outrageous. What about the impact of the current policy on gay servicemenbers? Are they not "his people." Not to mention the chilling effect official, government sanctioned discrimination has on all of us as Americans.

This is one of the most senior leaders of our government talking about us as if we were second class citizens. It has got to stop.

Sixteen years ago Sam Nunn and Colin Powell did this to us and no one called them on it. And we ended up with this policy. Now we must speak up. These are not legitimate opposing views. He, Mullen, is not expressing an American view of equality. And, shockingly, one of his main jobs is to articulate the policy views of his boss, the president.
[See here.]

Despite his campaign promises and his meaningless rhetoric about equal rights, I never felt that Obama was ever interested in equal rights for LGBT people, and this latest story on that issue merely reaffirms my contention!

Many progressives and LGBT activists have still failed to grasp that Obama is a traitor who never had any desire to move the cause of civil rights for LGBT people forward, and merely used those communities to garner money and votes. Now that he has those votes, only his empty rhetoric exists.
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And yet you can be sure, Jerry, that come re-election time certain LGBT "leaders" will be urging everyone to vote for him again because "he's the best we can hope for." What is it that he can't get away with doing to us? He disrespects us to the point of comparing our relationships to incest and pedophilia in a DOJ brief. We reward him by attending his cocktail parties and applauding his empty promises. Meanwhile, back in the "community", our leaders are debating why society has no respect for "queers" (such a conversation was engaged recently on Laura Flanders' "Grit Radio" program). This state of affairs would be funny if it weren't so tragic!

Jerry Maneker said...

Hi Don Charles: W.C. Fields once said that "you can't smarten up a chump." And there are a lot of chumps out there.

It seems that things are going to have to get a lot worse before those who are quick to "give Obama more time," and who lap up Obama's empty rhetoric, finally see that without meaningful, aggressive, and coordinated grassroots and organizational activism their faces will continue to be rubbed in the dirt of institutionalized and personal homophobia. Take care, Jerry.