DADT was crafted by military advisers, according to Dr. Frank, that relied on no empirical data and was crafted on purely subjective conclusions.
The policy that ended the military careers of over 12,000 servicemembers was completely made-up.
In 1993, the Military Working Group, which was the task force created to craft the policy, admitted to Dr. Frank that it was based on nothing, yet primarily rooted in their own prejudices and fears. They didn't even know what 'sexual orientation' meant.
The unit cohesion argument was completely made-up out of whole cloth.
Dr. Frank was a guest on Rachel Maddow's show this evening, and his interview should be of interest to those who want to overturn DADT. The seeds continue to be planted.
NOTE FROM PAM: You can read more at Unfriendly Fire. Here are some tidbits Dr. Frank shared with me. They are below the fold.
From the promotional material for the book:
- In behind-the-scenes negotiations about the question of gay service, senior military officers who viewed the gay ban as a moral imperative consulted with military and civilian religious leaders on a dishonest strategy to claim the ban was necessary to preserve “unit cohesion” while minimizing the true religious and cultural basis of their opposition. Colin Powell reportedly wrote a “moral argument” against gay service which was distributed to top brass, and General Carl Mundy, then a member of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, praised and circulated an inflammatory anti-gay video and essay produced by leaders of the religious right (46-51).
- General Robert Alexander, the first head of the Military Working Group, a panel of generals and admirals that essentially wrote “don’t ask, don’t tell,” acknowledged that its members did not understand what “sexual orientation” meant, and “had to define in the first few sessions what we figured they were talking about.” When Alexander warmed to the idea of letting gays serve, he was quickly removed from his position. Alexander admits in the book that the MWG “thought they knew the results of what was going to happen” before they met, and that it was “going to be very difficult to get an objective, rational review” of the policy. “Passion leads and rationale follows,” he says, adding that his group “didn’t have any empirical data” about gay service and the MWG position was based on fear, politics and prejudice (115-116).
- Sen. Sam Nunn, chief Congressional architect of the ban, reveals in the book for the first time that he believes his own policy is now “getting in the way” of military readiness. Although Nunn said last year that he would support taking “another look” at the policy, his remarks in the book go much further by criticizing the policy as harmful to the military (289).
- According to witnesses and activists, Sam Nunn’s hearings about gay service were “rigged” from the start. Judith Stiehm, a professor at Florida International University, found that Professor Charles Moskos, a personal friend of Nunn’s who is credited as the academic architect of the policy, “had already found an agreement” with Nunn before the hearings began. Nunn removed two witnesses when he learned they would oppose the gay ban, retired colonel Lucian Truscott III and former senator Barry Goldwater, and placed a virulently homophobic general on an “academic panel” (he was not an academic) (92, 104).
- The book contains the most in-depth interviews with Professor Charles Moskos, chief architect of the policy. It includes his last-ever interview on the topic, in which he admits he defended his policy in part because he worried he would disappoint his friends if he “turncoated.” Moskos also admits in the book that “unit cohesion” is not the real reason he opposed openly gay service; he says “Fuck unit cohesion; I don’t care about that.” Despite rooting his public opposition to openly gay service in unit cohesion, he says the real reason is the “moral right” of straights not to serve with known gays. In fact, the book reports that Moskos told lawmakers that the principal reason for the gay ban is to repress the homoerotic desire that is an inherent part of military culture. This “homoerotic thesis” explains why “don’t ask, don’t tell” does not bar the presence of homosexuality but the mention of it, and gives the lie to the “unit cohesion” ruse (290, 27, 132-136).
- The book reveals for the first time that Admiral William Crowe, the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff under Reagan and Bush I, reversed course and opposed the gay ban last year just before he died. Crowe is only the second JCS chairman to oppose the gay ban (280).
- Admiral John Hutson, former JAG of the Navy and a supporter of the gay ban in the internal Navy debates over gay service in 1993, says in the book that senior military officers exaggerated the risks to unit cohesion while minimizing the true religious and cultural basis of their opposition to gay service. He says the Navy brass “declined” to discuss the issue in terms of morality even though moral animus against homosexuality was the real reason they resisted the change. IN fact, Hutson, who now opposes “don’t ask, don’t tell,” calls the policy a “moral passing of the buck” because senior military and political leaders tried to blame the supposed intolerance of young recruits for the ban. None of the Navy officials responsible for helping formulate the policy “had much of a sense of what was going on,” he says, and “decisions were based on nothing. It wasn’t empirical. It wasn’t studied, it was completely visceral, intuitive.” The policy was created entirely “by the seat of our pants” (279, 122).
- Evidence has repeatedly been concealed or suppressed by the military when it concluded there was no rationale for the gay ban. UNFRIENDLY FIRE describes all this evidence, and contains the most extensive summary of the complete body of evidence on gay service in one volume (see Chapter 5, “The Evidence,” especially 114-120).
- A top gay civilian Pentagon insider says that Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld and Vice President Dick Cheney were privately against the gay ban (279).
- John Holum, the transition aide who recommended that President Clinton delay issuing an executive order to lift the ban, reported he was surprised to find a “live and let live attitude” among military members about gay service. When he consulted with the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Colin Powell vocally opposed lifting the ban in front of his subordinates, but some service chiefs privately expressed to him a “problem-solving” approach that signaled a willingness to support Clinton. Holum concluded that ending the ban was “doable,” but he advised delaying the executive order, saying he had already taken too much time away from his law practice (72-73).