Monday, March 30, 2009

If Not Now, When?

Secretary of Defense Robert Gates told Fox News Sunday that the Pentagon has “a lot on their plates right now”, so getting rid of Don’t Ask Don’t Tell will have to wait.

The White House has said Obama has begun consulting with Gates and the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff on how to lift the ban. Gates says that dialogue has not really progressed very far at this point in the administration.

Sorry, I’m not buying it. This is the typical response from someone who doesn’t want to deal with an issue — it’s the “we’ll see” that parents often give their kids when they remind them that “you promised” something. The Obama administration promised that they would move to reconsider the Pentagon’s discriminatory policy regarding gays in the military, and now it’s time to do it.

The line about having “a lot on their plates” is a handy evasion; the military will always have a lot on their plates, just as Harry Truman did in 1948 when he desegregated the troops in the aftermath of World War II and the start of the Cold War. And before the DA/DT policy was put in place by the Clinton administration, the military didn’t seem to have too much on their plates that they couldn’t come up with a way to root out and discharge a whole bunch of well-trained and fully capable soldiers who just happened to be gay.

One thing I’ll say for the Bush administration; when it came to dealing with gays in the military, at least they were upfront about their point of view: we don’t want any flaming faeries in the military, even if we are fighting two wars, and we’ll get rid of the soldiers and officers even if they are Arabic translators and essential to the war effort. I can understand outright bigotry, but Mr. Gates kicking the can further down the road is just disingenuous.