As featured on p. 218 of "Bloggers on the Bus," under the name "a MyDD blogger."

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

How Many More Times?

Rachel Maddow hosted another American hero tossed out of the military because of who he chooses to love. At the same time, the Pentagon has no plans to change the policy.

Pentagon spokesman Geoff Morrell today said there are no plans to repeal the "don't ask, don't tell" policy that prohibits openly gay troops from serving in the military.

President Obama vowed to repeal the controversial 1993 policy during the campaign, but according to Morrell, there have not been serious discussions between the White House and the military about doing so.

Defense Secretary Robert Gates and Joint Chiefs Chairman Adm. Mike Mullen are "aware of where the president wants to go on this issue, but I don't think that there is any sense of any immediate developments in the offing on efforts to repeal 'don't ask, don't tell,'" Morrell said.

Morrell indicated that the White House has not formally sent a request to Congress to abandon the policy. He said there have only been "initial conversations in their early stages" about the situation.

Morrell is a Bush-era holdover, by the way, so it's entirely possible he's spinning and/or lying. But I don't think so.

As Steve Benen says today, there's a solution sitting on the table that the President could enact today if he were serious about changing the policy.

The White House continues to say the president supports repealing DADT, but is looking for Congress to change the law. Fine. In the meantime, as the LA Times reports today, the president has short-term alternatives: "Under the 'stop-loss' provision, Obama can issue executive orders to retain any soldier deemed necessary to the service in a time of national emergency, the report said. The president also could halt the work of Pentagon review panels that brand troops as gay and thus excluded from service, the report said. And Obama and his Defense secretary could revise discharge procedures, as allowed under the 1993 law banning gays in the military."

I realize the administration would catch some flak for this. Obama should do it anyway.

There's simply no excuse for throwing out people who are willing to serve and provide skill and talent to the military. One can only conclude that the President doesn't want to make any changes. He's making a huge mistake.

By the way, Rachel, I've got another guest for your show: Anthony Woods.

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