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Gates Being Completely Disingenuous About DADT

I don’t know if Robert Gates thinks we’re stupid or is genuinely this clueless about electoral realities.

The Pentagon’s review of its “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy will determine how — not whether — the military can best prepare for a possible repeal of the ban on openly gay soldiers, Defense Secretary Robert Gates clarified in a letter written Thursday.

Quoting from his February testimony before Levin’s committee, Gates said, “The question before us is not whether the military prepares to make this change but how we … best prepare for it.” The team — led by Defense Department General Counsel Jeh Johnson and Army Gen. Carter Ham — is “developing a plan to implement such a repeal in the most informed and effective manner possible,” Gates said.

It doesn’t matter what the purpose of Gates’ little review is – which could have begun a year before it actually did. The practical effect of not taking any Congressional action this year – Gates’ stated goal – is to not pass anything related to DADT for the near future. That’s because expected losses in the House and Senate will usher in legislators who are simply unwilling to end discrimination in the armed forces, or anywhere else, really. So either the current Democratic, pro-LGBT majorities get used, or they get wasted. And Gates either knows this and doesn’t care, or he’s the least connected public official in America.

Fortunately, Carl Levin doesn’t appear to be listening to Gates. From the article:

Gates’s request infuriated gay rights groups eager to see a repeal included in this year’s Defense Authorization bill. Levin supports that strategy and advocates are working to secure 15 “yes” votes for the repeal ahead of a vote on the authorization bill later this month.

It’s unclear whether Levin wants to embed a repeal of DADT in the defense authorization bill, or a moratorium on further discharges pending the completion of the study. Ultimately, the latter is the middle space where this all could end up. But even that would take dismissing Robert Gates’ disingenuous strategy.

CommunityThe Bullpen

Gates Being Completely Disingenuous About DADT

I don’t know if Robert Gates thinks we’re stupid or is genuinely this clueless about electoral realities.

The Pentagon’s review of its “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy will determine how — not whether — the military can best prepare for a possible repeal of the ban on openly gay soldiers, Defense Secretary Robert Gates clarified in a letter written Thursday.

Quoting from his February testimony before Levin’s committee, Gates said, “The question before us is not whether the military prepares to make this change but how we … best prepare for it.” The team — led by Defense Department General Counsel Jeh Johnson and Army Gen. Carter Ham — is “developing a plan to implement such a repeal in the most informed and effective manner possible,” Gates said.

It doesn’t matter what the purpose of Gates’ little review is – which could have begun a year before it actually did. The practical effect of not taking any Congressional action this year – Gates’ stated goal – is to not pass anything related to DADT for the near future. That’s because expected losses in the House and Senate will usher in legislators who are simply unwilling to end discrimination in the armed forces, or anywhere else, really. So either the current Democratic, pro-LGBT majorities get used, or they get wasted. And Gates either knows this and doesn’t care, or he’s the least connected public official in America.

Fortunately, Carl Levin doesn’t appear to be listening to Gates. From the article:

Gates’s request infuriated gay rights groups eager to see a repeal included in this year’s Defense Authorization bill. Levin supports that strategy and advocates are working to secure 15 “yes” votes for the repeal ahead of a vote on the authorization bill later this month.

It’s unclear whether Levin wants to embed a repeal of DADT in the defense authorization bill, or a moratorium on further discharges pending the completion of the study. Ultimately, the latter is the middle space where this all could end up. But even that would take dismissing Robert Gates’ disingenuous strategy.

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David Dayen

David Dayen