Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell, Don’t Speak: Obama To Get Rid Of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell

obama-and-gibbsWhile the war crimes controversy continues and questions linger over Barack Obama’s willingness to allow such crimes to be investigated, he is planning a major change that should please civil libertarians: he will reportedly rescind the Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell policy put into place by Bill Clinton. The policy has always been viewed as classic Clintonesque: not fighting on the principle and adopting a murky standard that satisfied no one. The result has been ridiculous cases where military investigators respond to spite claims of homosexuality, often discharging decorated soldiers and sailors. Incoming White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs appears to have jumped the gun and is now trying to rollback on the story.

The strange thing is how the announcement was made. It was an aside comment from incoming White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs. Gibbs was almost glib on such a major policy change and it is not clear that this is how they intended to roll out the change. The statement came in an exchange with members of the public who sent in questions that were answered on YouTube. Gibbs was asked: “Thadeus of Lansing, Mich., asks, ‘Is the new administration going to get rid of the “don’t ask, don’t tell policy?'” Gibbs responds: “Thadeus, you don’t hear a politician give a one-word answer much. But it’s, ‘Yes.'”

That seems a bit curious for such a change. Usually, the White House will leak the story to prepare the ground, lining up allies to support the change to control the message. Instead, Gibbs unleashed a response from the right before the ground was ready. The Obama team has now gone into radio silence after Gibbs appears to have backtracked by saying it may have to wait. It appears that Thadeus still won’t hear many one-word answers from a politician.

It is a rather poor start for a new Administration in terms of tactics but a great start in terms of principle.

10 thoughts on “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell, Don’t Speak: Obama To Get Rid Of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell”

  1. Here is what youfolks dont understand. No matter how much you legislate policy, the soldiers in the foxhole wil be the determining factor. Most soliders dont like gay people. And they are not comfortable around gay peeople. be it right or wrong. it is reality. SO no matter how much congress makes laws in the units it is goiong to be a mess

  2. Hugh:

    Sorry but I ‘m not buying your premises that the armed forced mirror the US population as a whole demographically, or that the gay/lesbian community comprises 10% of the population. I do not believe however that sexual orientation should determine fitness to serve.

  3. Ben:

    You are probably not aware (of much), but studies suggest that the US armed forces are demographically a microcosm of the US population. Since the gay population is about 10% of the US population, the gay population of the US armed forces is about 10%. So before you go off on polemics and hysterics, get your facts straight (no pun intended).

    Also, just about every other armed forces in the world, including some of the most revered forces (you are probably all quivery at the thought of the Israeli Defense Forces, those bad-asses), accept gay troop.s Yes, those tough IDF troopers- 10% of them are gay, too.

    But don’t let any facts get in the way of your opinions.

  4. This isn’t 1993 anymore. Compared Ellen DeGeneres then and Ellen DeGeneres today. We’ve had over a decade to get over this idea and actually, if anybody saw it, “60 Minutes”‘s Lesley Stahl did a great report about this not too long that was really insight.

  5. Don’t Ask,Don’t Tell should have never happened to begin with.
    Homophobes need to get over their fear of Gays and Lesbians.

  6. OH COME ON! This will never happen.

    20% of members in the military have said they WILL NOT RE-ENLIST if Don’t Ask Don’t Tell is overthrown!

    So you nincompoops want to risk 20% of our experienced military members not re-enlisting to make what is not more than 1% of our military that is gay from having to keep their preferences TO THEMSELVES!


    RUN THE WHITE FLAGS UP: IT IS ALL OVER! The left in America is siding with the terrorists out to kill us again!

  7. Why not just say “yes”? Those who oppose civil rights for lesbian and gay people aren’t going to like the policy no matter how much you may obscure the change in your wording. Gay and lesbian people have been serving in the military forever. If you can serve in secret you can serve in the open.

    rcampbell, that’s a great line!

  8. I heard an apt line used to herald other breakthroughs in gay/civil/human rights: It’s about fairness. It’s about justice. It’s about time.

  9. I have to admit that I raised an eyebrow at this news. It seems so brazen to simply state “Yes, we’re ending the policy”. My Schadenfreude senses are all tingly at the thought of the fundamentalists going ape over this, too. Bold moves are what is needed to end this ridiculous policy and that is what they are apparently going to do.

Comments are closed.