Tag Archives: DADT

General Petraeus On DADT: “The Time Has Come”

Posted by: Bluedog89

from The Huffington Post

CENTCOM Commander General David Petraeus came to the meeting of the Senate Armed Services Committee preparing to deliver an “eight-minute statement” expressing his personal feelings about the repeal of the military’s “Don’t Ask Don’t Tell” policy. Unfortunately, Senator Carl Levin, who chaired the committee, put the kibosh on those plans, citing time constraints. Instead Petraeus simply told the committee that “the time has come” to give a repeal some due consideration. Petraeus endorsed the ongoing review of the matter that commenced at the direction of Secretary of Defense Robert Gates.

General David Petraeus told a congressional committee that "the time has come" to consider repealing the "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" policy.

PETRAEUS: I believe the time has come to consider a change to Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell. But I think it should be done in a thoughtful and deliberative matter that should include the conduct of the review that Secretary Gates has directed that would consider the views in the force on the change of policy. It would include an assessment of the likely effects on recruiting, retention, morale and cohesion and would include an identification of what policies might be needed in the event of a change and recommend those polices as well.

Of Levin’s decision decision to disallow Petraeus’s longer statement, The Hill‘s Roxana Tiron reports:

Chairman Carl Levin (D-Mich.) did not allow Petraeus to deliver his statement after ranking member Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) asked the general whether he believed thorough review was necessary before “Don’t ask, don’t tell” was repealed. Levin’s reason: the committee rule on Tuesday was only a six-minute round of questions and answers for each senator.

Petraeus averred that repealing “Don’t Ask Don’t Tell” is “not a sound-bite issue,” so it’s unfortunate that this is where we’re left today.

Back on February 21 of this year, Petraeus took up the matter with David Gregory on “Meet The Press”:

GREGORY: Do you think soldiers on the ground in the field care one way or the other if their comrade in arms are gay or lesbian?PETRAEUS: I’m not sure that they do. … You heard Gen. Powell who was the chairman when the policy was implemented, had a big hand in that, who said that yes, indeed, the earth has revolved around the sun a number of times since that period 15 months ago. You have heard a variety of anecdotal input. We have experienced certainly in the CIA and the FBI — I know, I served, in fact, in combat with individuals who were gay and who were lesbian in combat situations. Frankly, you know, over time you said, hey, how’s this guy shooting or how is her analysis or what have you?

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Filed under DADT, Gay (LGBT) Rights, Military, Robert M. Gates (Sec of Defense), United States

Gordon Brown Calls On America To Repeal DADT, Calls UK LGBT Soldiers ‘The Pride Of Our Country

Posted by: Betsm

Gordon Brown speaks at reception at Downing Street to celebrate Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transsexual History Month, 24 February 2010; Crown copyright

ThinkProgress/Amanda Turkel~As conservatives in the United States try to argue that repealing Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell (DADT) would lead to all sorts of horrors like an increase in “body art,” natural disasters, and a reinstatement of the draft, British citizens are serving comfortably alongside openly gay men and women. Yesterday at a reception at Number 10 Downing Street to celebrate February’s LGBT History Month, UK Prime Minister Gordon Brown underscored the country’s more progressive position. Brown singled out the lesbians, gays and bisexuals from the Army, Navy and Air Force who attended the event in uniform. He told them: “You are the pride of our country and we thank you very much. We know this debate continues in America today. I would say to people who still favour ‘don’t ask, don’t tell’, look at our experience in Britain.”

Brown also hosted a reception for LGBT History Month last year, when he slammed California’s Prop. 8 as “unacceptable.”

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Gordon Brown hosts a reception at Downing Street to celebrate Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transsexual History Month, 24 February 2010; Crown copyright

Gordon Brown hosts a reception at Downing Street to celebrate Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transsexual History Month, 24 February 2010; Crown copyright

Gordon Brown promises gay people they ‘will not have to walk alone

Pink News/Jessica Green~Prime minister Gordon Brown paid tribute last night to gay and lesbian members of the armed forces at a reception to mark the contribution of the LGBT community for Britain.

He told guests at 10 Downing Street, including a number of gay servicemembers, that there was a “debt of gratitude we can never fully repay”.

He said that the pride they felt was “nothing compared to the pride we feel in them”.

Mr Brown cited the current struggle in the US to repeal Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell, which bans gays and lesbians from serving openly in the military, saying he knew debate on the issue continued.

In 2009, for the first LGBT reception at Downing Street, Mr Brown said that the ban on gay marriage in California was “unacceptable”.

This year marks the tenth anniversary of the British military allowing out gay soldiers.

Mr Brown said: “I promise you that no one need walk the road to equality alone again.”

He also listed the achievements made for gay equality in the last ten years, such as gay adoption and fertility rights for lesbians, saying people had warned these things could not be done.
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Filed under DADT, England, Gay (LGBT) Rights, Military, Uncategorized

Don’t Ask Don’t Tell Repeal Activist Lt. Dan Choi Recalled To Active Duty

Posted by: Audiegrl

Lt Dan Choi

Lt Dan Choi

In a sign that momentum behind a repeal of the military’s “Don’t Ask Don’t Tell” policy is having an impact, openly gay U.S. Army National Guard Lieutenant Dan Choi has been recalled to active duty.

Choi, a West Point graduate and trained Arabic linguist, was dismissed from duty in the spring of 2009, because of “Don’t Ask Don’t Tell.” Since then, he’s been a leading voice for the cessation of the policy.

The Advocate has more……

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Filed under Army, Barack Obama, Change, DADT, Gay (LGBT) Rights, History, Law, Marines, Media and Entertainment, Middle East, Military, Navy, News, Obama Administration, Politics, Pres. Barack Obama, Presidents, Veterans, War, Women in the Military

Shoshana Johnson Pens Her Story In “I’m Still Standing”

Posted by guest contributor: Shanti

Shoshana Johnson poses for a picture in New York, Tuesday, Feb. 2, 2010

Shoshana Johnson poses for a picture in New York, Tuesday, Feb. 2, 2010 (AP Photo/Seth Wenig)

“In March of 2003, when Operation Iraqi Freedom was only days old, world headlines were made when a U.S. army convoy was attacked in the city of An-Nasiriyah en route to Baghdad. Several soldiers were killed and others were taken prisoner.

Jessica Lynch became the face and name associated with this tragedy, but another female soldier, Shoshana Johnson, was also wounded and captured in the ambush. A video of Shoshana being interrogated by her captors was soon broadcast on Spanish-language television and then picked up by American media. Shoshana had become the first black female prisoner of war in United States history. She was held for twenty-two days.

When Shoshana returned to the United States, she received numerous awards for her valor, including the Bronze Star, Purple Heart, and Prisoner of War medals. She appeared on news networks and national television shows such as Oprah, Ellen, The Tonight Show, and Larry King Live, but she was bound by a military gag order. She was unable to discuss what really happened in Iraq — until now.

Shoshana holds nothing back in this harrowing account of an ordinary woman caught in an extraordinary circumstance. She reveals decisions made by higher-ups that may have led to the capture, describes the pain of post-traumatic stress disorder, and shares the surprising story of how a specialist in a maintenance company ended up on the front lines of war.

Divulging personal emotions and frustrations while raising fresh political issues, I’m Still Standing is the never-before-told and much anticipated story of the headline-making ambush, capture, and rescue described with the exceptional bravery and candor of a single mom and soldier who became an American hero. Source

CNN’s Larry King Live ~ Transcript of Interview with Shoshana Johnson aired February 2, 2010

KING: We welcome Shoshana Johnson back to LARRY KING LIVE. She is a veteran of Operation Iraqi Freedom. She and other members of the 507th Maintenance Company were taken captive March 23, 2003. She was held prisoner 22 days. Author of a terrific new book I’m Still Standing; From Captive US Soldier to Free Citizen, My Journey Home.”

Before we get into this, what do you make of the Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell controversy?

SHOSHANA JOHNSON, FORMER POW: Silly. If men and women want to serve in our military, I really don’t care who they want to sleep with. It’s all about serving your country.

KING: So you would repeal it?

JOHNSON: Yes, definitely.

KING: It’s been seven years since you were a POW. Do you think about it a lot?

I'm Still Standing by Shoshana JohnsonJOHNSON: Still. Very much so. The conflict in Afghanistan and Iraq is still in the media, so it’s hard to forget.

KING: How were you caught?

JOHNSON: During an ambush, vehicles were disabled. Basically, it seemed like the whole city of Nazariyah came out and participated in the ambush. I was shot and — shot and caught, basically.

Read the entire transcript here
Read a sample chapter

Shoshana Johnson tells her side of the story to Matt Lauer of The Today Show

Vodpod videos no longer available.

Shoshana Johnson actually said she wanted to tell her story, because there were a lot of distortions and half truths about the details of her capture. She wanted to set the record straight. I appreciate Shoshana’s resolve and passion for not only surviving the trauma of being a POW, but her courage and drive to THRIVE.~Shanti

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Filed under African-Americans, Army, Books, CNN, Culture, Entertainment, History, Iraq, Larry King, Larry King Live!, Marines, Media and Entertainment, Middle East, Military, NBC, News, Politics, Television, Terrorism, The Today Show, TV Shows, Uncategorized, United States, Veterans, Video/YouTube, War, Women's Issues

Pentagon to detail steps to repeal DADT

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The Pentagon will unveil steps next week that the military will take to lay the ground for a repeal of its “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy, which permits gays to serve in uniform as long they hide their sexual orientation, officials said on Thursday.

Defence Secretary Robert Gates and the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Admiral Mike Mullen, will present an “implementation plan” to U.S. lawmakers next Tuesday, spelling out measures that the Pentagon will take internally before the White House and the Congress move to change the law.

In his first State of the Union speech on Wednesday, President Barack Obama called for ending the policy, saying: “This year, I will work with Congress and our military to finally repeal the law that denies gay Americans the right to serve the country they love because of who they are.”

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From NBC’s Courtney Kube
A senior defense official says to expect Defense Secretary Robert Gates and Admiral Mike Mullen provide more details about the end of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” during the Senate Budget hearings next Tuesday and Wednesday.

more here:

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White House Plans To Push For Don’t Ask Don’t Tell Repeal

Posted by: Audiegrl

DADT Repeal: Democrats Move Forward With Plans

Huffington Post/Sam Stein~Congressional negotiators and White House officials are moving forward with plans to add the repeal of Don’t Ask Don’t Tell to the upcoming defense authorization bill, Democratic sources tell the Huffington Post.

In Congress, members are being whipped to ensure that the votes will be there for passage, should the legislation be placed in the bill. At this juncture, aides say, the prospects look good. Meanwhile, a source close to the White House says the president has instructed the Defense Department that he believes the repeal of DADT should be placed in the authorization bill.

However, disagreements could emerge when it comes to crafting the actual legislative language, over which Defense Secretary Robert Gates will wield his influence. And at this juncture, few of the offices working on the issue said they were willing to take passage as a fait accompli.

People have said publicly and privately that this is a good place for repeal to be placed,” said one Democratic aide on the Hill. “It would be reasonable to expect that repeal might be in this year’s defense authorization… But we aren’t assuming anything yet.”

Lt. Dan Choi is an Iraq war veteran, Arabic speaker and West Point graduate who is fighting his dismissal from the Army National Guard for violating the military's DADT policy


If repeal of DADT is added to the defense authorization bill, critics of the program will view it as a long-overdue move. The initial law, in which members of the military weren’t asked about their sexuality nor allowed to serve openly, was passed as part of the defense authorization for FY1994. Since then, a delicate balance — which no particular side of the debate appreciated — has been the law of the land. As a result, thousands of military personnel have hidden their sexuality from their superiors and even more have been dismissed for making their sexuality public.

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Filed under Barack Obama, Cabinet, Culture, DADT, Democrats, Elections, Gay (LGBT) Rights, Government, News, Obama Administration, Politics, Presidents, Robert M. Gates (Sec of Defense), War, Women's Issues

DADT Repeal Likely to Be Part of Defense Bill

DADT Likely to Be Part of Defense Bill
By Kerry Eleveld

Repealing “don’t ask, don’t tell” will likely be included as part of next year’s Department of Defense authorization bill in both chambers of Congress, Congressman Barney Frank, a Massachusetts Democrat, said Wednesday.

Rep. Barney Frank (D-NY)


“Military issues are always done as part of the overall authorization bill,” Frank said, insisting that this has been the strategy for overturning the policy all along. “’Don’t ask, don’t tell’ was always going to be part of the military authorization.”

Frank said he has been in direct communication with the White House, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s office, and other congressional leaders about the strategy for ending the 1993 ban on gays serving openly in the military.
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Sen. Schumer at ESPA 2009 Fall Dinner: ‘If Dick Cheney Can Support Same-Sex Marriage, So Can Every Senator’

Speaking last week at a fundraising dinner for the top New York gay rights group ESPA, Senator Chuck Schumer articulated a far broader vision for same-sex marriage than he or most Democrats typically state publicly. “If Dick Cheney can support (same-sex) marriage, so can every Senator.”

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86 Year Old, Life-long Republican and WWII Vet on Gay Marriage- “What Do You Think I Fought For?”

Posted by Audiegrl

votenoon1maineIn this poignant video below, 86 year old Philip Spooner, who is a life long resident of Maine and a Republican, speaks out on the reason we need marriage equality in this country. The fight for marriage equality in Maine is coming up in two weeks. If the “No on 1” campaign is successful, Maine will become the first state in the nation to successfully defend marriage equality in the voting booth.

Get this video out to as many people as you can.

Transcript: Good morning, Committee. My name is Phillip Spooner and I live at 5 Graham Street in Biddeford. I am 86 years old and a lifetime Republican and an active VFW chaplain. I still serve three hospitals and two nursing homes and I also serve Meals on Wheels for 28 years. My wife of 54 years, Jenny, died in 1997. Together we had four children, including the one gay son. All four of our boys were in the service. I was born on a potato farm north of Caribou and Perham, where I was raised to believe that all men are created equal and I’ve never forgotten that. I served in the U.S. Army, 1942-1945, in the First Army, as a medic and an ambulance driver. I worked with every outfit over there, including Patton’s Third Army. I saw action in all five major battles in Europe, and including the Battle of the Bulge. My unit was awarded Presidential Citations for transporting more patients with fewer accidents than any other ambulance unit I was in the liberation of Paris. After the war I carried POW’s back from Poland, Hungary, and Yugoslavia, and also hauled hundreds of injured Germans back to Germany.

I am here today because of a conversation I had last June when I was voting. A woman at my polling place asked me, “Do you believe in equal, equality for gay and lesbian people?” I was pretty surprised to be asked a question like that. It made no sense to me. Finally I asked her, “What do you think our boys fought for at Omaha Beach?” I haven’t seen much, so much blood and guts, so much suffering, much sacrifice. For what? For freedom and equality. These are the values that give America a great nation, one worth dying for.

I give talks to eighth grade teachers about World War II, and I don’t tell them about the horror. Maybe [inaudible] ovens of Buchenwald and Dachau. I’ve seen with my own eyes the consequences of caste systems and it make some people less than others, or second class. Never again. We must have equal rights for everyone. It’s what this country was started for. It takes all kinds of people to make a world war. It does make no sense that some people who love each other can marry and others can’t just because of who they are. This is what we fought for in World War II. That idea that we can be different and still be equal.

My wife and I did not raise four sons with the idea that three of them would have a certain set of rights, but our gay child would be left out. We raised them all to be hard-working, proud, and loyal Americans and they all did good. I think it’s too bad those who want to get married, they should be able to. Everybody’s supposed to be equal in equality in this country. Let gay people have the right to marry. Thank you

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Republican Rep. Louie Gohmert: Claims Hate Crimes Bill will lead to Nazism, legalization of necrophilia, pedophilia, and bestiality

U.S. Representative Louie Gohmert (TX-01)

U.S. Representative Louie Gohmert (TX-01)

Think Progress/Lee Fang—Led by Rep. Patrick Murphy (D-PA) last night, lawmakers convened for a special session of floor speeches urging a repeal of Don’t Act Don’t Tell. Rather than participate positively in the discussion, Rep. Louie Gohmert (R-TX) took to the floor to deliver a hate-filled response. Gohmert fired off a litany of attacks, calling the DADT repeal “perverse…social experimentation” and that soldiers are being “held hostage by a sociological attack.” His rant included a bizarre argument that the Matthew Shepard hate crimes bill would lead to a legalization of necrophilia, pedophilia, and bestiality. Later in the speech, after reading lengthy passages from the Bible against homosexuality, Gohmert said that taking away “moral teaching in America” would create a situation similar to that of Germany in the “1920’s and 1930’s” when a “little guy with a mustache” took over…

More @ thinkprogresssmall2

If you would like to contact Rep. Louie Gohmert at his: Tyler, TX office phone: 903.561.6349, at his Washington, DC office phone: 202.225.3035 fax: 202.226.1230. If you’d like to send him an email, remember he will only accept emails from people in his district.

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Filed under Gay (LGBT) Rights, Hate Crimes, Military, Partisan Politics, Politics, Republicans, War