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Zia McCorgi by Cooner

"Spill it, Short Legs!"

The Journal of Zia McCorgi

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Dont Ask Dont Tell or Senator Lieberman impressed me today
Zia McCorgi by Cooner
I did in fact watch the full debate, or as much as I could with the streaming software which cut the sound during the vote tally.

I'm going to give my thoughts now about Public Law 103-160 aka Don't Ask Don't Tell forthwith refered to as DADT.
First some History:

First some history: In the 1992 election Bill Clinton did in fact campaign on full active service for all American citizens. As in GLBT can serve openly. This was a departure from the modern Uniform Code of Military Justice which under several different presidents had stated clearly that even suspicion of homosexuality was unacceptable. President Regan himself had signed documents to that effect.

DADT was a congressional outmaneuvering of President Clinton as it codified into law that he could not change the Uniform Code of Military Justice to out right allow GLBT soldiers. As a consequence NO President can change that part of the code through executive order. To explain why in legal circles Congressional Bills that become laws supersede Executive Orders. However the Clinton Administration did make a few deals and lightened the language of the document.

The vote itself however was not a straight vote on Don't Ask Don't Tell. The DADT language was an amendment added in the House and then passed in the Senate and part of the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 1994 (which was passed in 1993).

Now this doesn't mean Clinton and the Democrats weren't highly culpable. Clinton could have vetoed the 1994 National Defense Authorization Act. Clinton could have campaigned against it. The Democratic Congress (remember for forty years at least one house or another congress was Democratically controlled and in the 1992 election Democrats controlled both chambers) could have been better martialed to not do this. The DADT policy was passed as a bipartisan compromise between the parties. The Clinton administration even acted as if DADT was a success.

In some regards it was an improvement. It ended officially sanctioned harassment to compel soldiers to reveal their orientation. Some say it stopped violent acts against some soldiers. It allowed the policy to be that as long as a soldier did not admit to being gay they couldn't be thrown out on a suspicion. At the same time GLBT soldiers couldn't serve openly meaning partners couldn't collect benefits. Partners could not live on base. Soldiers often had to lie to military doctors increasing the risk of disease. It also meant that highly trained dedicated individuals in our volunteer army could be summarily dismissed if evidence appeared.

So it was counted as a compromise and other events occurred taking full attention off of it (health care budgets, power changes in the congress and so on) and the policy stayed in place for now three administrations. in the meantime activists have complained about it. Thousands of soldiers have been ejected from the military (According to some accounts the way they admitted their orientation was questionable such as the story of one officer who had revealed her lesbianism to a military psychologist. The psychologist is still practicing last I heard. The soldier was removed. This story is anecdotal and I have little hard evidence to present on it). There were legislative attempts over the years to remove it and some court cases but nothing came close to finally snapping it.

That is the basic simplified history. Anecdotal evidence presents to me, as someone who lives near a base and interacts with a fair number of servicemen, having them in my family, neighbor's family or neighbors, that the policy is unpopular. A lot of airmen and soldiers seem deeply distrustful and critical of the policy as they have lost friends and capable people. They fear speaking out against the policy in the military because of reprisals from either up the chain of command or from their fellows. The general public also seems to dislike it. Not just in my circle but in several major polls. A recent CNN poll saw support for the repeal near 70% of respondents. Its a poll so grain of salt but this creates an obvious situation.

I'll get to what happened today in a moment let me give my views: In my personal view in an all volunteer army it is extremely foolish and ill advised to have the Don't Ask Don't Tell policy. This means rejecting highly qualified capable individuals, many of whom have undergone months if not years of expensive training, because of their orientation. In an era where we are lessening standards of grades (yes the military won't accept anyone you need a decent GPA) and criminal history (namely violent criminal history). Some how homosexuality has become worse then that. Trained translators, experts, commanders, infantry and pilots have been and are being ejected for the act of being Gay. Yet there is no scientific evidence that being GLBT confers mental instability, mental deficiency, physical deficiency or anything else that would inhibit military service. This is frankly a waste of money and a waste of time. in my opinion of course.

Now then as for what happened today:

Now as I said I listened to the Debate. The situation is this: without the sixty votes to bring cloture Senator McCain and a coalition of other Republicans promised a filibuster of the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2011. Last year the Matthew Shepherd Hate Crimes Bill was amended to the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2010. This had little to do with the bill but its become standard senate and house policy to sometimes attach bills that are difficult to pass or which will see filibustering or attack ad generation to more popular bills. It allows for some cover "oh i wasn't voting for Y I was really voting for X and had no control over those amendments." its a silly argument but you'd be surprised how often members of both parties use it. Last year Reid used senate by laws to hamper the addition of further amendments and the removal of the Shepherd act among others. This left a sour taste in a lot of mouths.

Now in this case two controversial amendments were on the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2011 but I felt that they had a lot to do with military spending and troops. One was a repeal of DADT the other was the DREAM Act which, shortly, was a ten year old bill that had been wending through the Senate which would allow illegal immigrants, mainly those who came here as children, to serve in the military openly and gain citizen ship and education access through service.

The debate today was over whether to allow cloture or not. Cloture would bring it from the armed services committee to the floor for final vote. Unfortunately as we've all grown accustomed the Senate's rules mean you need 60 votes to do it.

The Republicans made the following arguments:

1)We should give the military time to do a full study of the impact before it is repealed (This was McCain's personal point and a few other republicans said it. The counter is that this will take a few years and the study can't be utilized until it is repealed)
2)It is disgusting and wrong that we can't add amendments BEFORE Cloture (I can see the point here. Senate rules can be complex and Reid did screw with the Republicans a bit last time around on this one. At the same time there was a fairly disturbing amount of evidence from memos and other documents that they planned to drag out every bill to increase senate time and make it difficult for Democrats to accomplish anything. We could go twenty rounds on this but I concede this is a valid argument. Reid did have an opportunity right before cloture to allow more wide voting as a procedural vote but he refused clamping it into the vote we had. it does make the mind wonder what would happen if he acquiesced to that demand.)
3) DADT works (I'm going to have to hear what is meant by "works" but I'd disagree)
4) Only One Senator brought up the DREAM act and it was to complain about it vehemently but he only did that after attacking the repeal.

Democrats countered claiming that this would help the military and the bill would allow time for the study and that of course once on the floor general voting and amendments would happen. Etc. they brought the DREAM Act up a lot more.

Probably the most dramatic and interesting point in the entire event was Senator Lieberman stepping up and sparring with McCain. Truly it was a thing of beauty to behold Lieberman stating calmly and assuredly that DADT should be repealed. People forget that he voted against the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 1994 because of DADT and has been a long time critic as he feels it impedes military effectiveness. Consistency. He was firm and impressive and if you can find audio or video of him commenting I highly recommend it. He and McCain sparred for a bit but it never got vicious.

End of the day the vote went 56 to 43 (one abstention). The entire Republican Party voted as a bloc against moving to cloture and thus filibuster. Senator Pyror and Senator Lincoln both of Arkansas voted with the Republicans. In a shocking twist Senator Webb of Virginia voted FOR cloture after saying he would not. Reid changed his vote to a nay vote so he'd be able under senate rules to bring the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2011 back up for another vote later.

Filibuster in place this will not come to a floor vote yet but it can occur again. White House released a rather milquetoast comment. Some people are upset. We'll see what happens. But DADT should be repealed.

I'll comment in another LJ post about the recent court ruling on DADT next as i feel that deserves its own post.

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Lieberman is an enigma. Just when I get around to not liking the guy for something, he tends to reel me back in.

I can't say I'm utterly shocked DADT wasn't repealed, but I am disappointed. Still, McCain and senators are asking for a delay until the data comes in, and that's not some kind of adamant refusal, as much as I tend to get frustrated when I hear it. All that's going to be shown is a small chunk will indeed report having a problem with it, and someone, somewhere is going to say 'we can't risk losing these 10% of soldiers'. I can see it coming from a mile away.

And after 2010 elections, who knows. I'm hoping since the report is in Dec and the changeover is in Jan, the lame duck Senate will still pass it.

I think he's complicated and not being as tied to party politics he's more willing to not compromise personal views for party accomplishments. again I would go see what he said.

The delay seems arbitrary to me. Especially after it became public that the survey distributed to troops would not be anonymous and their was no promise of protection. This seems like one more study to delay the inevitable. Even if it would effect short term recruitment and make some soldiers uncomfortable this is a bigger issue of wasted billions of dollars in training and losing capable soldiers. McCain can rationalize his point as much as he wants about wanting more time. It remains a waste of man, money and material.

Assuming their is a lame duck session and there is not a hew and cry about that. There is a long and storied history of out going representative changing their vote to match the new representative.

Hmm, how quickly we forget Lieberman's key role in turning the healthcare bill into the monstrosity that it ultimately became, such that the only Dems daring to campaign on it at this point are the ones who voted No...

This doesn't win him back anything as far as I'm concerned, he's still a sleazy toad who cares for nothing but himself and which way the wind is blowing.

Hey I'm not forgiving him for being against the public option. I still maintain the health care bill does a lot of good. What I am saying is that yesterday on this issue his stance was powerful and he did a surprising good job. i may not agree with the man but I get where he comes from. He's complicated and he might be fair weather on some issues. I don't love him or like him much. But I do give the man points what what he did today even if that doesn't forgive him.

It may be harsh to say, and usually I shy away from putting things in black and white myself, but I really don't think Lieberman is complicated at all and saying he is gives him far too much credit. He's proven his true motivations on many separate occasions, and any good he may have done this time is a thimbleful of dirt to the Grand Canyon of harm he's done in the past.

It reminds me of a friend who defended Penn and Teller and their show Bullshit because, despite being horrifyingly and demonstrably wrong on a whole host of issues of real and critical importance, at least they stuck up for gay people! At which point some might ask "With friends like these...?"

No points for Lieberman here until he answers for the rest.

ugh i hate that show. Glad i dont have cable.

Okay you make a valid point. in the meantime thoughts on the locked up article? can you see that one?

Wait I thought the report wasn't going to be out for another two years...

I heard December. Pretty sure it was just December.

December? how late in December if it comes out after christmas then there won't be ANY legislative from this congress.

I better look into this do you remember the proper name for the report?

Mm. Nope, this was months back and it was tucked into a news article I was reading at the time. Lemme dig.


'McCain blasted Democrats for trying to "jam" it through "without even trying to figure out what the impact on battle effectiveness would be." Sens. Scott Brown (R-MA) and George Voinovich (R-OH) concurred, insisting that the repeal was "premature" and should "wait for the Department of Defense to issue its report" in December.'

I'll concede the point that it was closer then I thought but I'm not sure what you were trying to say with this quote. As i said above IO watched the proceedings and I heard this argument. I just disagree with it. Again because the military follows the civilian government and its my opinion that this policy is unpopular, useless and a waste of money and personnel.

You're not going to find me argue against any of that. I'm just saying, that's the stance and that's when the report is in. I think it should have been repealed years ago.



There are a few more. They indicate the Dept of Defense will release a report then. Doesn't give an exact date in December that I've seen, though... I could've sworn I saw Dec. 1 somewhere.

Forgive the spam replies, but AHA!


"We should all have the opportunity to review that report which is to be completed on December 1, as we reevaluate this policy and the implementation of any new changes," Snowe's statement said.

Yeah I'll trust Snowe on this. but that is still a late date and as I said before above and here I disagree with the argument.

Obama should still order a stop loss until the report is done and this is voted on.

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