Paul Revere by Cyrus Dallin, North End, Boston



Thursday, February 4, 2010


John McCain said in 2006 that if military leaders decided that it was time to repeal the "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" policy, he would defer to their judgement.

The head of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, the Secretary of Defense, and the Commander in Chief, all heads of the military, and yesterday, Colin Powell, all agree that DADT is detrimental to the military's integrity.  DADT requires that gay and lesbian military personnel lie about who they are, or get thrown out of the service:

In October of 2006, McCain explained that he understood the arguments against repealing DADT, but promised that “the day that the leadership of the military comes to me and says, Senator, we ought to change the policy, then I think we ought to consider seriously changing it because those leaders in the military are the ones we give the responsibility to.”

But this week, McCain refused to “consider seriously” repealing the law, arguing that the Pentagon should not change policies in the middle of two wars. The logic of course, makes little sense, and something McCain himself may have rejected in October of 2006. It’s particularly during times of war, when the military is stretched thin and is asking its members to fight for freedoms in distant lands that it should grant all of its soldiers the right to be who they are. As Mullen put it, “No matter how I look at the issue, I cannot escape being troubled by the fact that we have in place a policy which forces young men and women to lie about who they are in order to defend their fellow citizens.”

Mullen admitted that the military had not conduced a review of the policy but also said that he hasn’t seen any research showing that openly gay members undercut military moral. Instead, Mullen pointed to studies that concluded that ending the policy would not hurt military preparedness and cited personal conversations with nations that have fully integrated their forces. “I have talk talked to several of my counterparts in countries whose militaries allow gays and lesbians to serve openly, and there has been as they have told me, no impact on military effectiveness,” Mullen said. “I have served with homosexuals since 1968,” he added. “Everyone in the military has.”

h/t The Wonk Room

It's time to end this hypocrisy and join other western democracies in allowing all citizens, regardless of their sexual orientation, to serve their country with dignity.

How does John McCain explain his hypocrisy and flip-flopping?  In this case, he's behaving like a political hack, that's how.  Shame on him for being obstructionist on something he supported, because it is a wrong the Obama administration wants to right.


Pamela D. Hart said...

Shaw: When I was researching my "Cindy McCain Supports Gay Marriage" post I read up on John McCain and I DID read that he SAID he would support a repeal on DADT if the commanders came to him with a repeal. He said they were in charge and knew what was best.

I think it's terrible that he's now going back on "his word". This is just typical, isn't it? Typical BS from a politician. Talk out of one side of their mouth to appease their base but then the other side is yaking what they REALLY mean.

I'm sick of this crap. These jerks need to get called out for every untruth so that when election time rolls around we can pull out a list and PROVE they can't be trusted!

Octopüß said...

Pamela and Shaw,
Today, I am feeling very discouraged. It is not just about the state of the economy, its about our state of public discourse ... and the obdurate pride, petty posturing, and incivility that goes with partisanship and makes constructive dialogue impossible these days.

Why did McCain reverse course? Because he is facing re-election and catering to the reactionary fringe his party. McCain's statements speak of political expediency, not principles such as full equality under law or service to one's country.

I follow the comment threads at various weblogs. Same old sniping. Same blanket stereotyping. Same name calling. Anger without forethought, and no willingness to put differences aside and consider the common good. There is no willingness to shake hands, act as friends and neighbors, and consider the common good without being called a "socialist." This is no longer the America that I knew.

I intend to withdraw for awhile and do my own thing ... my academic blogging with charts, graphs, numbers ... and stay away from these encounters. There is no satisfaction or future in it.

Shaw Kenawe said...


You bring up a very good point to illustrate the probable reason behind McCain's reversal on the DADT issue.

He is facing re-election, and he needs his base to vote for him.

As Pam said, typical BS from a politician.

I'm tired of it from both sides.

I don't blame you for being discouraged; I am as well.

The country will not survive if it continues to move in the direction it has been these last few years.

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Shaw Kenawe said...

Anonymous @ 4:34

I googled several parts of your rant and found it on at least two blogs.

Your comments had absolutely NOTHING to do with the topic, therefore, you have wasted your time here.

The Griper said...

shaw, off the topic of the post for a minute but this is an invite.

landshark5150 is starting a discussion on the Constitution and i'm sure that any imput on your part would informative. it probably will be done over time so as to cover the whole document.

Shaw Kenawe said...

I'll check it out "The Griper." Thanks for the heads up.

tnlib said...

Shaw: I see red when I even read or see the name McCain. He's unreliable politically and psychologically.

Octo: I've been having the same feelings of late - pretty discouraging. But we need your humor and good mind, so please don't stay away.

Jim said...

Back in the 70's I served on a fast attack sub. We were on the front line of a very active Cold War. All on board served professionally and expertly at their jobs, even me!

Their were gays on board as well. They did not make a show of it nor would they want to be singled out, except for doing a job well done, just like hetero's.

Patriotism not an exclusive province of some sexual orientation. It is love of country and the desire to serve and protect that country, life, and family.

I served proudly with my shipmates and would do so again if asked.

I know for a fact that an openly gay person would not put his/her unit in danger. The pride in serving would prevent it.

Octopüß said...

Jim, thanks for sharing your service experience. Very much appreciated. My oldest daughter is a Major in the Army, now serving at the Pentagon. During three tours in Iraq, she had LGBT soldiers in her unit whom, she says, were among the most dedicated and finest in her command. She spent a lot of time counseling them in private on how to avoid running afoul of DADT and protecting them because she valued their service very much.

This is a very sorry and tragic state of affairs, this discrimination against gays serving in the military. Most hypocritical of all, our armed forces serve alongside NATO allies, who have gays in their military that serve with our troops. To claim that our military is not yet ready, or this policy change requires time to study and implement is frankly bullshit ... and a stalling tactic.

Arthurstone said...

Good post Jim.


I said it.

And it's true even.

Keep up the good work!

Shaw Kenawe said...

Tom Ricks wrote this on his blog, and his reader agrees with what Jim said:

Here's a sensible note from a young Navy submarine officer who says he is writing because he wants people to understand that the obstacle to being openly gay in the military lies in Congress, not in the uniformed military:

The debate may exist in the media, and certainly exists in Congress, but on the ship, if it's talked about at all it with a little bit of confusion about what the big deal is. Don't get me wrong, there is homophobia and there are a few loud, mostly uneducated, mostly very junior, and mostly still well-meaning people who would tell you they think its wrong -- but they're the kind of people who are just saying it because its what they were brought up to say, and even they aren't saying it with much fervor. I can tell you with certainty that if the ban were lifted tomorrow -- no year of preparation -- life would go on exactly as it did before....

Life would go on. Mostly what I heard after Admiral Mullen's declaration was, "it's about time." There is no question if the military is ready -- the military is waiting.

... I just want the press to understand that it is the Congress that needs pushing, not the military, and that excuses such as "senior military officials like the CJCS and SecDef are out of touch with the low-level, young guys on the ground" may be true on many issues, but not this one.

dmarks said...

Jim: Good one.

libhom said...

I remember when "Keating Five" McCain said that Putin was the president of Germany. I wonder if he even remembers what he said back then.