The military's top uniformed officer on Tuesday made an impassioned plea for allowing gays to serve openly in uniform, telling a Senate panel it was a matter of integrity and that it is wrong to force people to "lie about who they are in order to defend their fellow citizens."
The comments by Adm. Mike Mullen, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, set the stage for the military's yearlong study into how the ban can repealed without causing a major upheaval to the fighting forces.
Well, that should do it, right? The Commander in Chief, Secretary of Defense and the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff are on board, so what's the problem?
The problem is that John McCain appears determined to shred the last tattered remains of my respect for him, that's what. (One more reason to be sincerely grateful to Cindy McCain.)
Arizona Sen. John McCain, the top Republican on the committee, icily told Gates he was disappointed in his position. In sharp questioning, McCain angrily suggested that the Pentagon was usurping Congress' job in rewriting the law should it choose to do so.
"Has this policy been ideal? No, it has not," McCain said. "But it has been effective."
Pardon me while I beat my head against a wall. Effective??!??! Effective at what? What specific effect has this law had, other than allowing America's homophobes a place where they can tell themselves there are no gays. Has it made America safer? If so, how? "Effective," my eye.
McCain's fellow Republicans covered themselves in glory.
Mullen looked pained when Sen. Jeff Sessions, R-Ala., suggested that Mullen had preordained the outcome of any study of the wisdom of repeal by signaling his own opposition to the ban.
"This is about leadership, and I take that very, very seriously," Mullen replied, tightlipped.
Several other Republicans sided with McCain, warning Mullen and Gates not to pursue a change at a time when the United States is fighting two wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and facing a continuing threat of terrorism. Democrats said they would back a change in policy.
Because, once you allow gays to serve openly, they'll be too busy doing each other's hair in the midst of battle to shoot the enemy. Lord knows, there are no decorated gay combat veterans.
For a particularly well-written response to this embarrassing claptrap, over to D.B. Grady at Casa de Ambinder:
[A]ssuming President Obama is successful in leading the charge for a policy change, the only real question is what will it look like from a solder's perspective. Contrary to naysayers, the United States military is institutionally prepared today - at this very moment - for the repeal of Don't Ask, Don't Tell. The Department of Defense has long established a robust Military Equal Opportunity program, which quite effectively protects service members from discrimination based on gender, race, religion or national origin.
But... but what about those wars we're fighting? Surely the flood of fey, effete homosexuals (because surely we all agree that gays are nothing if not fey and effete) will cause our wars to descend into a nightmare of tickle fights and drag shows!
A good NCO, in the interests of both unit cohesion and simple human dignity, can make such arrangements with ease. If all else fails, the United States need only look to her allied nations for guidance on policy. Homosexuality is not without western military precedent. Of the Coalition of the Willing that invaded Iraq in 2003, only the United States forbade homosexuals from serving without fear. Of the NATO International Security Assistance Forces in Afghanistan, the United States joined a small minority of nations banning gays, including Jordan, Turkey, Singapore, and the United Arab Emirates. Meanwhile, staunch allies such as the United Kingdom, Australia, Canada, and Poland continue to fight with no regard to sexual preference.
Well, there's your trouble. Were it not for those Polish gays lousing up our war in Afghanistan, Kabul would have an NFL expansion team by now. Curse you, homosexuals!!
Switching off my "irony" function (something that comes standard on all current model gays) can't we all just agree that DADT is a disgrace? By "we," of course I mean "people whose social attitudes are in keeping with the correct century," a category that apparently does not include Senate Republicans.
Update: Whoops-a-daisy! It appears that Sen. Straight-Talk Express (no pun intended there, friends) apparently doesn't remember his saner stance from three short years ago.