Ding, Dong, DADT Is Dead
"Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell" is dead ... in 60 days that is. No longer an "if." And the question of "when" has been answered. Victory, at this point, is ours. The repeal of the Clinton policy under which LGBT service people serving out country in the Armed Forces were forced into hiding is unquestionably a win for our side. But the real winners in all of this are the brave men and women of the U.S. Armed Forces -- all of them, gay and straight. In fact, this couldn’t have happened without the support of the entire military.
There is no question about it. By January 2011, Americans were done with the debate over DADT. Aside from your run-of-the-mill crackpot right-winger, most people began to see DADT for what it was: a discriminatory policy that hurt the armed services not helped it. Poll after poll told the president and the Pentagon alike that the time for repeal was now.
The problem? "Now" is not a word that the courts, nor Congress, understand. The system is just not set up that way. No matter how much we all would’ve liked to have seen DADT written off immediately, history will show, Obama did it right.
Yes, the Department of Justice continued to protect it. Yes, the Pentagon still processed discharges even after Obama told them to repeal the outdated law. But in the end, it was his savvy decision to meet with, and work out a plan with, Pentagon officials that ultimately would put this destructive policy to an end for the last time.
When the Pentagon surveyed the troops, many of us scratched our heads and asked, "What are they up to?" After all, it is uncommon to ask the enlisted soldier how he feels about, well ... anything. The service runs as a dictatorship, not a democracy. He who has the most rank holds the law of the land.
A simple "roger that" or "aye, aye" is all that is required of the newly commissioned officer or enlisted man. But this was different. DADT struck a chord, not only with service men and women, but also with America. Social change was blowing in and the service chiefs could feel it.
So they set out to ask the troops (deployed in Iraq and Afghanistan as well as at home) and their families, "Is the DoD ready to be Gay friendly?" The troops and their spouses answered back with a resounding "yes." That’s all she wrote, as they say.