Thursday, December 09, 2010

I Hate The War

The latest Gallup Poll finds that 67% of respondents would vote in favor of repealing Don't Ask, Don't Tell -- the policy by which the US military regularly launches witch hunts. And yet today Don't Ask, Don't Tell was up for another vote in the Senate (it's in the Defense Authorization bill). And how did that go? Mark Sappenfield (Christian Science Monitor) reports that 57 senators voted to advance the bill to the floor of the Senate (for a vote) and 40 voted not to advance it. (60 votes are needed to advance it to the floor.) The House has already passed this bill. Not just voted to vote on it, they've passed it. Before the mid-terms, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid refused to allow Republicans into the process and they responded by refusing to allow a floor vote on the Defense Authorization.

So did Harry Reid's ineptitude kill it again?

Lisa Mascaro (Los Angeles Times) reports
, "Some Republicans do support a repeal of the 'don't ask, don't tell' policy but objected to how Democrats proceeded in bringing the legislation to the floor." Mark Thompson (Time magazine) makes this call, "The move all but kills any chance of over-turning the 17-year old ban on gays serving openly in the U.S. military for the foreseeable future."

Last Friday, Senator Scott Brown announced he would support repeal. He did not vote to advance the bill. Nor did Senator Lisa Murkowski who announced yesterday that she supported repealing Don't Ask, Don't Tell. The two are both Republicans. So is Susan Collins whose office issued the following:

Washington, DC - U.S. Senator Susan Collins, a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, and the only Senate Republican to vote in favor of a motion to proceed to the Defense Authorization bill which includes language to repeal Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell, released this statement following today’s vote.
“It is extremely unfortunate that the Majority Leader scheduled a vote on the Defense Authorization bill today, knowing that it would fail, when he could have chosen another path forward. I am also troubled and perplexed as to why the leader walked away from bipartisan negotiations which were making progress.
“This is not only a debate about repealing “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.” This bill includes many provisions that are important to the men and women in our military, including a pay raise for troops fighting in Iraq and Afghanistan, a provision to expand the number of mental health providers to care for our service members, and a provision to make it easier for DoD to transfer health care information regarding wounded warriors to the VA.
“The bill also includes important provisions for my home State, including investments to modernize and improve the Portsmouth Naval Shipyard Portsmouth Naval Shipyard and authorizing the full funding of ship construction at Bath Iron Works.”
“That is why Senator Lieberman and I have been working for weeks to negotiate a reasonable agreement that would enable the Senate to pass this important bill.
"As the only Republican on the Senate Armed Services Committee to support including a carefully constructed repeal of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell in the Defense Authorization bill, I am disappointed that the Democratic leadership refused to help pave a successful path to the 60 votes needed to consider this legislation. This goal clearly was within reach, but this bill, like so many others, has become an unfortunate victim of politics.
“I recognize time is at a premium, but there’s no reason why the Majority Leader could not have kept the Senate in session day, night and all weekend in order to finish the bill extending tax relief, the DoD Authorization, and other top legislative priorities.
“The leader’s decision today was a set-back for proponents of this bill and for efforts to overturn DADT. Senator Lieberman and I will continue our efforts, despite this set back, and will look at other avenues, including introducing a separate, free-standing bill to overturn DADT.”
Immediately following today’s vote, Senator Collins joined Senator Joe Lieberman (I-CT) in introducing a bipartisan stand-alone bill to repeal Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell that is similar to the provision included in the Fiscal Year 2011 National Defense Authorization Act.

And the two senators that support repeal but voted against advancing the bill to the Senate Floor? Mark Sappenfield (Christian Science Monitor) explains, "But Senators Brown and Murkowski, as well as other Republican moderates, are holding firm on their pledge not to allow any business to take place until the Obama-GOP tax deal has been passed."
KTVA reports, "Repeatedly over the last week, Sen. Murkowski said she would vote to repeal the law if democrats allowed unlimited debate and amendments to the Defense Reauthorization Act, which includes the repeal of 'Don't Ask, Don't Tell'." So despite Senator John McCain vowing last Friday that the measure wouldn't make it to the floor, Harry Reid thought he could ignore discussions and promises and just push the measure through?

The National Gay and Lesbian Task Force issued the following statement this evening:

December 09, 2010

Inga Sarda-Sorensen
Director of Communications
(Office) 646.358.1463
(Cell) 202.641.5592

WASHINGTON, Dec. 9 — The National Gay and Lesbian Task Force strongly denounced the U.S. Senate's failure today to allow a vote on the National Defense Authorization Act, blocking action on “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” repeal.

Statement by Rea Carey, Executive Director
National Gay and Lesbian Task Force

“The Senate’s failure to allow a vote on ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’ repeal is a huge disgrace and disservice to our country. Senators had an opportunity — and an obligation — to move toward ending an outdated, unnecessary and costly policy that discriminates against courageous and qualified people willing to risk their lives by serving in the military. How many more personal and painful stories of discrimination must these lawmakers hear before they act to end this harmful policy? How many more exhaustive Pentagon studies need to be done that affirm it's time to end the ban? Three-quarters of Americans say ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’ should be repealed, as do top military leaders. People from every background, every faith, every community across the country know that qualified, patriotic Americans willing to risk their lives by serving in the military should be able to do so, free of discrimination.

"Despite today's obstructionism by a few politicians, 'Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’ will end. We will continue to work to ensure all qualified Americans who wish to serve their country openly and freely are able to do so. We must, because the lives and livelihoods of thousands of dedicated service members hang in the balance.”

To learn more about the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force, follow us on Twitter: @TheTaskForce.


The National Gay and Lesbian Task Force Action Fund, founded in 1974 as the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force, Inc., works to build the grassroots political power of the LGBT community to win complete equality. We do this through direct and grassroots lobbying to defeat anti-LGBT ballot initiatives and legislation and pass pro-LGBT legislation and other measures. We also analyze and report on the positions of candidates for public office on issues of importance to the LGBT community. The Task Force Action Fund is a 501(c)(4) non-profit corporation incorporated in New York. Contributions to the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force Action Fund are not tax deductible.

Is Harry Reid serious about repealing Don't Ask, Don't Tell? Is Barack Obama? The little dog and pony show they've been putting on has produced a lot of crap, just no results.

It's over, I'm done writing songs about love
There's a war going on
So I'm holding my gun with a strap and a glove
And I'm writing a song about war
And it goes
Na na na na na na na
I hate the war
Na na na na na na na
I hate the war
Na na na na na na na
I hate the war
Oh oh oh oh
-- "I Hate The War" (written by Greg Goldberg, on The Ballet's Mattachine!)

Last week, ICCC's number of US troops killed in Iraq since the start of the illegal war was 4432. Tonight it is still [PDF format warning] listed as 4432. That's because DoD hasn't issued the announcement on today's death yet. (USF issues the death announcements, DoD issues the name of the fallen after the family has been notified.) So the actual number's 4433.

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