Monday, February 2, 2009

Is Obama backing away from overturning DADT?

John at Americablog seems to think that he is doing just that. He quotes the Boston Globe:
"The Obama administration is telling the Pentagon and gay-rights advocates that it will have to study the implications for national security and enlist more support in Congress before trying to overturn the so-called "don't ask, don't tell" law and allow gays to serve openly in the military, according to people involved in the discussions.

They said Obama, who pledged during the campaign to overturn the law, does not want to ask lawmakers to do so until the military has completed a comprehensive assessment of the impact that such a move would have on military discipline. Then, the president hopes to be able to make a case to members of both parties that overturning the 1993 law would be in the best interest of national security."
While it is interesting that President Obama would call for such a study, it is not definitively or even partially indicative that he's planning on going back on his promise to overturn Don't Ask Don't Tell. I have to say that if I was President right now, I might do the same thing and here's why: conducting a study prior to overturning a stupid rule proves that the rule is stupid.

One of two things will happen when the study is concluded: either the Pentagon will say "you know, what, no one in the military really cares if other members are gay, and the sexual orientation of soldiers doesn't have an impact on national security", which means that the President will be completely justified in overturning Don't Ask Don't Tell and conservatives won't be able to point to pentagonal studies (see what I did there?) that say the homos are destroying our military.

The other possible outcome will be the revelation (omg!) that there is prejudice toward gay people in the military and at the Pentagon. What a motherfuckin surprise. In which case, President Obama will say "this prejudice can't stand, we need to make sure that gay people are allowed to serve in the military and not face discrimination for it", and not only will he overturn DADT, but will put in place protective measures for gays (and women) to prevent and deal with harassment (and that pesky thing called rape) in the military. And, officers who have prejudices toward gays and women will not have their commissions continued because, well, they're douchebags and the President isn't going to put up with that shit.

There is no possible way that the Pentagon can conclude that openly gay service-members are a threat to national security: because they aren't!!! Despite the ravings of the Westboro Baptists, homosex is not a threat to national security. It's not possible for a consensual sex act to have any impact on national security (despite what Republicans thought during Bill Clinton's presidency), and a person's inclination to have sex with persons of their same gender has no impact on their ability to do their jobs. Period. President Obama knows this, and wants to make sure that the rest of the country knows it too.

I don't think that President Obama will reneg on his promise to overturn DADT. I believe that he believes in civil rights, and while he may be opportunistically against gay marriage (for the moment -- it's up to us to change his mind, you know), there's no reason why he would change his mind on DADT now.

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