Done Deal

Well, Congress has gone ahead and repealed Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell. I’ve already written about this topic, taking the position that the overriding concern here, by far, should be the effect of whatever policy is adopted on the effectiveness of the military. (I don’t claim to know what that effect will be — allowing gays to serve openly might not have any lasting, negative effect at all, for all I know — and I understand the well-intentioned wish to end our ridiculous “DADT” policy, and to let them in. But maximizing the cohesion and effectiveness of our military should never be made secondary to confused notions about ‘rights’ to serve, and other nonsense.)

Were I running the show, we’d have made sure to get a clear answer to this question before bringing the matter to a vote in Congress. What we have instead, however, is this (forgive the crude formatting):

(a) Comprehensive Review on the Implementation of a Repeal of 10 U.S.C. 654-

(1) IN GENERAL- On March 2, 2010, the Secretary of Defense issued a memorandum directing the Comprehensive Review on the Implementation of a Repeal of 10 U.S.C. 654 (section 654 of title 10, United States Code).

(2) OBJECTIVES AND SCOPE OF REVIEW- The Terms of Reference accompanying the Secretary’s memorandum established the following objectives and scope of the ordered review:

  • (A) Determine any impacts to military readiness, military effectiveness and unit cohesion, recruiting/retention, and family readiness that may result from repeal of the law and recommend any actions that should be taken in light of such impacts.
  • (B) Determine leadership, guidance, and training on standards of conduct and new policies.
  • (C) Determine appropriate changes to existing policies and regulations, including but not limited to issues regarding personnel management, leadership and training, facilities, investigations, and benefits.
  • (D) Recommend appropriate changes (if any) to the Uniform Code of Military Justice.
  • (E) Monitor and evaluate existing legislative proposals to repeal 10 U.S.C. 654 and proposals that may be introduced in the Congress during the period of the review.
  • (F) Assure appropriate ways to monitor the workforce climate and military effectiveness that support successful follow-through on implementation.
  • (G) Evaluate the issues raised in ongoing litigation involving 10 U.S.C. 654.

(b) Effective Date- The amendments made by subsection (f) shall take effect 60 days after the date on which the last of the following occurs:

(1) The Secretary of Defense has received the report required by the memorandum of the Secretary referred to in subsection (a).

(2) The President transmits to the congressional defense committees a written certification, signed by the President, the Secretary of Defense, and the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, stating each of the following:

  • (A) That the President, the Secretary of Defense, and the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff have considered the recommendations contained in the report and the report’s proposed plan of action.
  • (B) That the Department of Defense has prepared the necessary policies and regulations to exercise the discretion provided by the amendments made by subsection (f).
  • (C) That the implementation of necessary policies and regulations pursuant to the discretion provided by the amendments made by subsection (f) is consistent with the standards of military readiness, military effectiveness, unit cohesion, and recruiting and retention of the Armed Forces.

In this, we see that the priorities, and the sensible sequence of events, are exactly reversed. The DOD is now told, with the change of policy already a fait accompli, to “Determine any impacts to military readiness, military effectiveness and unit cohesion, recruiting/retention, and family readiness that may result from repeal of the law and recommend any actions that should be taken in light of such impacts.”

Shouldn’t we have determined those impacts before we passed this bill? I think it is safe to assume that even if, after a frank assessment, the determination is made that having homosexuals serving openly will in fact have, as some suggest, a disastrous effect on unit cohesion, morale, etc., “repealing the bill” is not going to be among the available “actions that should be taken in light of such impacts.”

In other words, the greatest evil, as always, is discrimination. To the liberal mind, only that is America’s real enemy, not the many mortal foes of our Republic against whose lethal designs a maximally effective military is our only bulwark.

Again: I want to make clear that I have no opinion at all about whether gays should be allowed to serve openly in the military. Ceteris paribus, it’s fine with me if they do. But our priorities are completely topsy-turvy here.

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15 Comments

  1. Once again, Malcolm, you are searching for logic in an institution which has banned it, along with reading. Nancy Pelosi’s staff is only charged with writing legislation that appeases various donors. Logic, consideration of potential consequences, even reading the bills is not part of the process.

    Posted December 20, 2010 at 12:31 am | Permalink
  2. JK says

    Hopefully David Duff will drop by and cross-post his “take” on the subject as posted on D&N – with David’s, I’m fundamentally in agreement with. But he’s across the pond and so I expect, personally, to take some incoming. (I’d link his post – if I could find it – but probably shouldn’t without his permission).

    And while I have some reservations as to whether I should add to your thoughts Malcolm… oh hell, full steam ahead (except not in the way you might think):

    http://blog.usni.org/2010/12/18/from-dadt-to-dkdc/

    From a strictly “personal viewpoint” the provisions of the UCMJ should provide an adequate “safety valve” (that’s not the precise term but) for the new policy’s implementation.

    Posted December 20, 2010 at 12:35 am | Permalink
  3. Malcolm says

    Well, JK, the link you attached argues that the new policy should not make a significant or lasting difference in the effectiveness of the military, as long as the same criteria and standards for enlistment are observed. If that’s true, then it’s fine with me.

    Again and again that has not been the case with our public institutions, however: when inclusion and diversity become the overarching goal (and begin to trump the very purpose for which the institution exists in the first place), standards, qualifications, and best practice are often degraded, or discarded altogether, to achieve the desired outcome. (See, for example, Fort Hood.)

    Posted December 20, 2010 at 12:45 am | Permalink
  4. JK says

    Notice my reference to the UCMJ Malcolm, and the linked article’s text [para 2] “…openly serving in the military should not be made a cause célèbre. Nor should it be another opportunity for some offices to counts numbers and build diversity only for diversity’s sake instead of individual competency for collective capability’s sake.”

    I must point out, when I served, it was males only on combat ships and the UCMJ almost certainly has changed since the embarkation of females – but I doubt to a degree “change advocates” have a real life appreciation for.

    Take for instance Articles 117, 120, 125, 133, & 134 and I can see instances where 78 & 80 might apply:

    http://www.au.af.mil/au/awc/awcgate/ucmj2.htm

    Posted December 20, 2010 at 1:51 am | Permalink
  5. JK says

    Well, I kinda figured when they allowed girls women on ships and putting them in cockpits the JAGs (lawyers) would have a field day.

    (The relevant Article’s numbers seem to be the same, only longer and more complicated).

    http://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/html/uscode10/usc_sup_01_10_10_A_20_II_30_47_40_X.html

    Posted December 20, 2010 at 2:38 am | Permalink
  6. JK says

    Well David, as you can see, I took liberties but damn, do something about your cataloging:

    http://duffandnonsense.typepad.com/duff_nonsense/2010/10/dont-ask-dont-tell-dont-let-em-in.html

    Posted December 20, 2010 at 3:24 am | Permalink
  7. the one eyed man says

    You were doing pretty well until the penultimate paragraph, where your argument fails.

    Nobody on the Left has an issue with discrimination per se. The blind and the lame should not serve in the military.

    If the reason for discrimination is irrelevant to qualification for service, then it is wrong. Absent a compelling justification, public and private entities should not discriminate, for both moral and legal reasons.

    However, your argument excludes the possibility that repealing DADT is indispensable to achieving the “maximally effective military” which we all want. Serving in the military is a tough job which pays little and requires enormous personal sacrifice. Attracting and retaining the most qualified people to serve is always a challenge, and whenever you exclude one group from consideration, your talent pool shrinks and your lowest common denominator gets lower. With DADT, some gays who would have served decline to do so, while decorated combat veterans are fired once their orientation became known.

    When Truman integrated the military in 1948, the same arguments were made. The races can’t live together, so having blacks and whites in the same military unit would be antithetical to military cohesion and effectiveness. The armed forces are now disproportionately comprised of people of color, who have served with distinction from Colin Powell on down. Race is irrelevant to qualification for service. According to Secretary Gates and other top Pentagon brass, so is sexuality. In their view, discriminating against gays makes as much sense as discriminating against redheads or Mets fans.

    Hence the statement that “to the liberal mind, only that is America’s real enemy, not the many mortal foes of our Republic against whose lethal designs a maximally effective military is our only bulwark” is not only unsupported by fact, but fails to take into account those who believe its opposite: the end of arbitrary discrimination is the best way to get the most effective military we can have.

    I don’t think Gates would be a passionate advocate of ending DADT if he thought in any way it would impair military effectiveness. Nor is it the cart-before-the-horse scenario which you suggest: the determination has already been made, at the highest levels, that allowing gays to serve openly is a net positive. It is not, as you suggest, the product of a liberal mind that values people feeling good about themselves over national security. It is, to a large measure, because liberals (and others) want to have the strongest possible security that Congress acted correctly in eliminating DADT.

    Posted December 20, 2010 at 9:51 am | Permalink
  8. Malcolm says

    Nobody on the Left has an issue with discrimination per se.

    Peter, this statement is so stupendously detached from reality that I can hardly bring myself to respond to the rest of your comment. But…

    If the reason for discrimination is irrelevant to qualification for service, then it is wrong. Absent a compelling justification, public and private entities should not discriminate, for both moral and legal reasons.

    This is as obviously true as your previous statement is obviously false. The question, as I have made abundantly clear, is what rises to the level of a “compelling justification”. This in turn depends upon how one weighs priorities (as was amply in evidence after the Fort Hood shooting, when the Army Chief of Staff, George Casey said “As horrific as this tragedy was, if our diversity becomes a casualty, I think that’s worse”).

    Will allowing gays to serve openly in the military improve the military? Was its fighting effectiveness so diminished by not allowing gays to serve in combat units (and women on submarines, etc.) that it was clearly in need of this sort of improvement? We can now expect the military to be encumbered and distracted by legions of LGBT sensitivity trainers, diversity counselors, etc., and no doubt there will be lawsuits to settle, and an entirely new category of difficulties to manage, as yet another dimension of the potent sexual forces that act so strongly in young adults is added to the volatile mixture of emotions that is a central, and necessary, feature of military life. Once again, the relentless pursuit of “diversity” as society’s summum bonum entails yet another mandatory effort to mitigate the “challenges” it always presents.

    We must ask: is the military improved as a fighting force by this transformation, to an extent that provides a “compelling justification” for the costs of its implementation? To what extent is the opinion of “top Pentagon Brass” colored by social goals that are completely independent of military considerations? If “the determination has already been made, at the highest levels, that allowing gays to serve openly is a net positive”, then why are we only now, with the bill already passed, attempting to “Determine any impacts to military readiness, military effectiveness and unit cohesion, recruiting/retention, and family readiness that may result from repeal of the law and recommend any actions that should be taken in light of such impacts”?

    As I’ve said all along, all other things being equal, I have absolutely no problem whatsoever with gays serving, and I think DADT is ridiculous. All I want is for us to make having the best military we can be our top priority. But even though we’ve had racial integration in the armed services since the Truman administration, there is still a great deal of racial friction. The addition of women has led to all sorts of problems with sexual tension and pregnancies. From the standpoint of military effectiveness, is it really so forehead-smackingly obvious that for us now to add homosexuals to the mix is a “net positive”?

    Posted December 20, 2010 at 11:14 am | Permalink
  9. the one eyed man says

    1) Not detached from reality at all. If you can find me a prominent Leftist who advocates opening the military to felons, the insane, the blind, or any other group which is clearly unqualified to serve, then I’m eager to see it. There are bona fide reasons to discriminate, and I don’t think there is any controversy surrounding this obvious fact.

    2) Rachel Maddow (a true LILF) has had a steady succession of decorated combat veterans on her show who were dismissed once their orientation became known. When you lose qualified people, it obviously impairs effectiveness. Moreover, the knowledge that you could lose your job at any time is surely a disincentive to serve, eliminating an unknown number of otherwise qualified people from joining the military. Also impairs effectiveness.

    3) I think the specter of “legions of LBGT sensitivity trainers” is somewhat far-fetched.

    4) Regarding the language in the bill: it’s a big change, and it involves more issues than who gets the lubrication concession at the PX. Sure, there are decisions which have to be made so the transition is as seamless as possible. I don’t read it as ending DADT and then deciding whether ending it is worth doing or not.

    5) I want us to have “the best military we can have” too. So does Robert Gates. I have a lot of respect for him – he’s probably the best appointee of the Bush administration. (I realize that sounds like being the third tallest guy in Japan.) If it’s good enough for him, it’s good enough for me.

    Posted December 20, 2010 at 11:40 am | Permalink
  10. Malcolm says

    1) I give you once again General George Casey, as quoted above. Aversion to discrimination as an evil in itself is a hallmark of the Left, and manifests itself in almost every aspect of its ideology. Think Notre Dame is of inherently greater worth than mud huts and teepees? Intolerable cultural discrimination. Want your firefighters to be big strapping men, of demonstrable intelligence and literacy, capable of assessing complex situations and throwing you over their shoulders and carrying you to safety? Despicable discrimination against women and minorities. Think it might make sense to focus on Muslims when planning anti-terrorism security measures? You’re a hate-filled racist. Etc., etc., world without end.

    2) And how many guests has Ms. Maddow had? A dozen, perhaps? Out of a military force of over a million? I have no doubt that there are outstandingly-qualified gay people whose services would not be available if gays were not allowed to serve; the question (about which, again, I remind you that I have no settled opinion) is whether this repeal is a net positive. Parading a few beribboned vets before the camera does not answer that question. (I suspect that she has not invited PFC. Bradley Manning on air to buttress her case.)

    3) We’ll find out, I guess.

    4)

    Regarding the language in the bill: it’s a big change, and it involves more issues than who gets the lubrication concession at the PX.

    Indeed it is.

    I don’t read it as ending DADT and then deciding whether ending it is worth doing or not.

    Well, read it again, especially the part that says “Determine any impacts to military readiness, military effectiveness and unit cohesion, recruiting/retention, and family readiness that may result from repeal of the law…”

    5) I respect Mr. Gates also, but he is under a lot of pressure on this one. I hope he is making the right decision here.

    Posted December 20, 2010 at 12:25 pm | Permalink
  11. JK says

    I’d bring up a point here that doesn’t get much press – there have been many instances of ‘training for certain professions at government expense’ – then, when it’s time to fulfill the commensurate active duty, “Oh by the way, I’m gay” and under DADT about the only punitive measure the government had up it’s sleeve was, “You’re out!”

    I won’t make the leap that Mr. Hasan might’ve been more likely to’ve been ‘outed’ by “somebody” who’d attended long-term training alongside him, that’s “a bridge too far”…

    Yet. These sorts of occurrences have been frequent enough that I am mindful of the possibility.

    While I agree with much of what you’ve written Peter – Malcolm’s points about women on submarines and such, er, coupled with ‘[in]convenient timing’ of pregnancies just as units were about to deploy (or already deployed) aren’t particularly rare events either.

    Posted December 20, 2010 at 1:23 pm | Permalink
  12. Malcolm says

    Well, one thing I imagine we can all agree on is that DADT was an absurd policy (it was never even the law).

    Posted December 20, 2010 at 1:48 pm | Permalink
  13. Malcolm says

    Now that this is a done deal, perhaps the best arrangement will be all-gay units. (They’d certainly have the best-kept barracks.)

    You know, there’s a sitcom in this somewhere, I think, or at the very least a Broadway show.

    Posted December 20, 2010 at 1:54 pm | Permalink
  14. JK says

    “You know, there’s a sitcom in this somewhere, I think, or at the very least a Broadway show.”

    Yeah I read that somewhere. I think it’s called, “Remember the Spartans.”

    Posted December 20, 2010 at 2:14 pm | Permalink
  15. JK says

    Oh, not exactly a done deal. Admiral Roughead weighs in:

    http://www.navy.mil/search/display.asp?story_id=57818

    Posted December 20, 2010 at 2:20 pm | Permalink