Thursday, April 01, 2010

I Hate The War

As part of the White House push to repeal the "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" policy banning gays and lesbians from serving openly in the military, the Pentagon is conducting a study on the impact of repealing the policy.
The two men in charge of the study, Gen. Carter F. Ham and Jeh C. Johnson, have been instructed to speak to rank and file members of the military to get their opinions about repeal -- including service members who are gay.

That's the opening to Brian Montopoli's "'Don't Ask, Don't Tell' Study Hits Snag: Asking" (CBS News) and it's fine article except for one point, he will go on to inform that the answer is a "third-party pollster" who "will likely reach out to gay service members through an outside group." What?

So every straight member has the opportunity to be polled but gay service members have to belong to some outside group? The whole point of the hideous Don't Ask, Don't Tell is that it prevents open discussions and now they're going to reinforce that?

The easiest way is not to put DoD in charge of the survey. Why would you anyway? Jeh's an attorney. There's your answer. Either turn it over to the attorneys in the Justice Dept or use DoD lawyers and let Barack make it clear that the clients in this case are the tax payers, the military and the service members. The last one ensures that attorneys cannot break confidentiality and turn a service member in.

This idea that you're going to get some miracle pool is nonsense. You're not going to get any outside group providing you with what you need. That's reality. And if DoD is conducting a survey with questions they shouldn't be asking, that goes to the need to overturn the policy. And there's no study necessary for that.

Let's turn to the subject of John Sheehan, retired general and homophobe. He testified to Congress March 18th making an absurd claim (covered in the March 18th snapshot and other parts of his testimony were covered in the March 19th snapshot -- we'll come back to the second half).

Sheehan has had to retract his assertions. AOL does a bad write up where they even claim he said a name (not quite) and pretend like he knew what he was talking about. He didn't know a damn thing. As I noted in the March 18th snapshot, a friend at the Dutch embassy explained to me who Sheehan was talking about and Sheehan didn't even know the name of the man. Spency Ack the Yack is lost as well, including with the (US) general's first name.

David Taffet (Dallas Voice) explains the outrage and the problems that forced the apology:

The Dutch military was outraged. Pink Army, a Dutch gay military group, threatened to sue him for slander. The Dutch prime minister called the remark "disgraceful." The Dutch general he claimed to have quoted called the statement "complete nonsense."

You can read his 'apology' to Gen Henk van den Breemen [PDF format warning] here. You'll grasp, if you really followed this, how poorly the press did on this story. HvdB does not fit the profile of the man Sheehan described in his testimony. If they'd paid attention (check the 19th snapshot), they'd also be raising the issue that Pat Schroeder is a woman but Sheehan, in his testimony, apparently thought she was a man -- unless he was trying to be insulting to her. Point being, Sheehan did some quick and weak 'research' on the net assembling a grab bag of things to reference and did not know the first thing about any of them.

Let's also remember that he was losing with Senator Roland Burris. He was raising his voice, he was red in the face. A detail the press forgot to tell you about as well. (Burris provided the walk through on how the military was racially integrated by Harry S. Truman.) It was really something to watch (White) Sheehan attempt to grandstand on what African-Americans think while attacking the only African-American in the US Senate. It's really interesting how the press avoided that aspect of Crazy Sheehan's testimony.

In other Don't Ask, Don't Tell news, Ambreen Ali ( interviews Lt Dan Choi who refuses to be silent:

What are you hoping to accomplish?

It's very obvious right now that the President is ambivalent. We're making the message absolutely clear that the President must show leadership. Most substantively, the fact is the time for his leadership is right now to put repeal language into the Defense authorization bill.

It is quite clear that if he wants to make good on his promise, the only way to do that is to show that resolve so that it requires any opponents of Don't Ask Don't Tell — opponents from both parties — to garner 60 votes in the Senate to strip it out.

What is it about the stand-alone bill in Congress and the current Pentagon review that are unsatisfactory to you and your group, GetEqual?

You're still going to have people kicked out every day that we wait for this process to continue. There are many problems that we see with just being satisfied with the prospects just because we have a bill now. Many people would have you believe that should be enough and that we should be placated just by the fact that it's there.

For me as a soldier, as long as there are people who are still suffering under Don't Ask Don't Tell and are having to get fired, how can I be satisfied and still consider myself a moral person? How can the President be satisfied either?

If others had the fortitude Dan Choi does, the news media would be reporting about pressure on Obama from the left.

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 Thursday, ICCC's number of US troops killed in Iraq since the start of the illegal war was 4386. Tonight? 4387. The addition? DoD announced today:

The Department of Defense announced today the death of a soldier who was supporting Operation Iraqi Freedom.
Pfc. Raymond N. Pacleb, 31, of Honolulu, Hawaii, died March 29 in Baghdad, Iraq, of injuries sustained from a non-combat related incident. He was assigned to the 1st Battalion, 487th Field Artillery Regiment, Wahiawa, Hawaii.
For more information media may contact the Hawaii National Guard public affairs office at 808-733-4258 or 808-779-8008.

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