Barack Obama

Yes, He Can. Maybe. When He Gets Around To It: An Ongoing Series

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Some of his supporters may not be disappointed at all. He did warn that he might not be able to achieve all his goals in one term. (And for most of his goals, that's a very good thing.) Still, this from today's Washington Times. Obama

will not move for months, and perhaps not until 2010, to ask Congress to end the military's decades-old ban on open homosexuals in the ranks, two people who have advised the Obama transition team on this issue say.

Repealing the ban was an Obama campaign promise. However, Mr. Obama first wants to confer with the Joint Chiefs of Staff and his new political appointees at the Pentagon to reach a consensus and then present legislation to Congress, the advisers said.

"I think 2009 is about foundation building and reaching consensus," said Aubrey Sarvis, executive director of the Servicemembers Legal Defense Network. The group supports military personnel targeted under the ban.

Mr. Sarvis told The Washington Times that he has held "informal discussions" with the Obama transition team on how the new president should proceed on the potentially explosive issue.

Lawrence Korb, an analyst at the Center for American Progress and an adviser to the Obama campaign, said the new administration should set up a Pentagon committee to make recommendations to Congress on a host of manpower issues, including the gay ban.

Apparently Obama remembers how Clinton got sandbagged on this one. But a lot has changed since then. It has been an extraordinary decade of progress in public acceptance of gays, with gay marriage, for example, going from a Falwellian horror fantasy to gin up donations for halting American moral decay to something courts are willing to grant as a right, and the voting public can get close to supporting when asked. And as the article mentions, "Today, gay activists cite national polls that show public sentiment, unlike in 1993, support removing the ban." See one such poll here, from early 2007, with 55 percent support for open gay service in the military.

I imagine if Obama makes this change cleanly at any time in his term, he'll be fondly remembered. Still, his apparent unwillingness to be bold on something he considers a matter of both justice and wise policy–and that he has clear political support on–should be disconcerting to his fans.

Mike Riggs on the disaster of "don't ask, don't tell" back in July.

[Hat tip: John Kluge]

NEXT: Eric Holder and the Second Amendment

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  1. I am perversely looking forward to Obama’s picks being horrible in nearly every way. I can be a bit of a masochist sometimes.

  2. I wonder if anyone has broken the news to Andrew Sullivan yet.

  3. Andrew Sullivan will not hear insults against his Lord and Savior.

  4. It’s more important that this actually works than that it gets done quickly.

    Funny how the Lamda Legal Defense Fund people don’t seem to think this represents a setback, but people who don’t actually care much about the issue do.

  5. I wonder if anyone has broken the news to Andrew Sullivan yet.

    If he reacts to this, please post a link.

  6. Still, his apparent unwillingness to be bold on something he considers a matter of both justice and wise policy–and that he has clear political support on–should be disconcerting to his fans.

    I’m not all that familiar with Obama’s congressional record. Is there any evidence of his being bold–as opposed to just talking bold–on anything?

  7. I think Andrew Sullivan has a compulsive need to worship a public authority figure.

    Remember when he had a man crush on Bush?

  8. Dammit, who do I need to blow to be able to move in with my boyfriend?

  9. What possible purpose could that leak have served, except to pursue the time-honored tradition of dropping unhealthily high expectations into the basement so that he’ll look better when he goes about doing the things he wants to do?

    Cause I can’t think of one.

  10. It’s more important that this actually works than that it gets done quickly.

    Count this as an Agreement With joe. Its also pretty much what I’ve been saying about gay marriage. Court-imposed = get it done quickly. Actually works = legislative/public support.

    But in that context, I’m usually shouted down.

  11. “I’m not all that familiar with Obama’s congressional record. Is there any evidence of his being bold–as opposed to just talking bold–on anything?”

    No there really isn’t. As you can see with the parade of Clinton retreads, some good (Napolitano) some downright awful (Holder), he is an empty suit. There is a reason why he voted present so many times. It is because really believe in anything besides getting ahead. What exactly is he going to do about the economy? Pass a stimulus bill? Wow that is revolutionary. Good thing we have President McHopey around or no one would have thought of that. If there is one pattern to his entire career from day one at the Ayers home up through getting elected to State Senate and first defending then throwing Wright over the side all the way up to what he is doing now, it is shiftyness. Obama is not going to stick his neck out for anybody and has a survival instinct that trumps all.

  12. BTW, there is nothing complicated about this. You just change the law and stop throwing people out of the military for being gay. There are more complicated issues like do you give their partners benefits, but those issues can be solved later. You could very quickly stop kicking out openly gay military members. That is easy.

  13. Should we really be all that shocked that he is choosing not to blow carefully accumulated political capital on a minor issue when the economy is going down the shitter? I know I’m not.

  14. Told you so.

    BDB: I remember Andrew’s reaction to Bush’s stem cell speech waaaay the hell back when; Andrew found it damned near Churchillian. His praise for Bush was almost as hyperbolic as his Obama worship. What do you want to be his archives don’t go back that far anymore?

  15. Love that post title. It should be the official one of this new administration.

  16. I took the plunge and looked at Sullivan. He hasn’t picked this up yet. He is mostly acting shocked of rumors Brennan will become head of the CIA. He is starting to turn on Obama a bit. When he does, since Sullivan is completely and certifiable insane, it will be completely over the top. You will know it has happened when Sullivan starts demanding to see Obama’s birth certificate.

  17. with gay marriage…going from a Falwellian horror fantasy to gin up donations for halting American moral decay

    This is horribly unfair; given that gay marriage (or least an non-one-sided fight) over gay marriage was, in fact, right around the corner, isn’t “accurate, prescient foresight of the direction of current trends” a better description than “horror fanstasy [ginned] up” to spur donations?

    Shouldn’t libertarians be particularly sensitive to this, since they often present horror stories about the way things are going?

  18. Stubby–

    I bet they don’t. Though I was shocked to find The Corner didn’t scrub their worshupful entries from Flight Suit Day. They are a hilarious read.

  19. John | November 21, 2008, 11:57am | #

    BTW, there is nothing complicated about this. You just change the law and stop throwing people out of the military for being gay.

    It’s not the technical complexity of the task that’s been holding it up. It’s the politcal risk to its supporters, and the active hostility to the idea among its opponents – said opponents having been in charge of the military for the past eight years.

  20. BDB,

    *squeal* This footage is going to end up in campaign ads!

    You gotta admit, they were right about that one.

  21. I remember back when an issue of Time from late 2003 had an article called “The Flight Suit Primary” on the Democratic candidates for 2004.

  22. Ending DADT was NEVER an Obama campaign promise, as gays know all too well. He merely went on record that he thought the policy was counterproductive and expensive, and promised to “study the issue” in consultation with the generals.

    You folks should know better than to trust a WaTimes “exclusive.”

  23. RC Dean,

    The difference here is that gay marriage is a right, and thus, its provision should not be held hostage to political concerns, while military service is not.

    I don’t think DADT violates Equal Protection, I just think it’s a really stupid thing to do.

  24. I have never heard Obama say anything particularly progressive about gays. As KIpEsquire points out above, he was pretty shifty about this and he has clearly stated that he objects to gay marriage on religous grounds.

    I bet he never touches this issue with a ten foot poll beyond saying “we are working towards a consensus” which will never be obtained. That may be the poltically smart thing to do. But, this issue is important to a lot of people who supported him and they have a right to be angry and call him to account.

  25. He’s completely right on the politics. This is not priority one, or even priority fifteen. But the incendiary politics around it would make make all other work very difficult. The best time is after the 2010 midterms.

  26. MAX HATS,

    There is no best time. Do it in 2010 so the Dems from Republican leaning districts are toast in 2012 rather than 2010? He will never get the JCS to buy off on it. You either think it is important and are willing to take the political hit for it or not. If not, that is his call, but it is not exactly a couragous decision. Neither is trying to sneak it through during the waning days of an administration for that matter.

  27. John –

    1) Do you think there is or should be such thing as priorities?

    2) Do you think DODT is the most important issue right now?

  28. I am certain that there is still a large amount of opposition to gays in the military today. Lord knows I goddamed heard about it for two decades. If Obama believes he can change that ignorant intolerant mindset in a couple years before then dropping the ban he needs to get some different military advisors.

    To all the active duty guys, It won’t be a big deal. I don’t think I need to remind you that you are all legally and morally obligated to follow lawful orders.

    To President-elect Obama, click here.

  29. I don’t know. Doing it as soon as possible gives plenty of time to show that the military won’t implode because the gay members it already has no longer have to maintain a silly lie.

  30. FWIW, you’d have to give everyone a couple weeks to get over their homophobia.

  31. If there’s really no consensus and bipartisan support to be gained, then taking the hit in 2010 means that his first act out of the gate isn’t throwing himself on his sword, dealing a blow to his effectiveness for the rest of his presidency.

    If, on the other hand, a hand-holding process actually can gain consensus for the change, then that effort should absolutely be pursued.

    Either way, doing this later in his term makes sense.

    BTW, Barack Obama will be sworn in as president in sixty one days. It’s a bit early to be talking whether he’s keeping his campaign promises, and who “told you so.” If he issues an executive order on April 3, 2011, does anyone actually think he will be remembered as The President Who Didn’t Rescind DADT Until Year 3, rather than as The President Who Rescinded Don’t-Ask-Don’t-Tell?

  32. J Sub D,

    I think there is a generational difference. Most people in the military under the age of 40 are pretty neutral about DADT. It is the older generation that is really radical. Of course the older generation are the ones in charge. That is why the JCS will never buy off on it nor will their defenders in Congress. Either someone has the courage to say screw it and take the hit or it won’t happen. When Obama says “we are building consensus” he is just saying “I am not going to do it”.

  33. BTW, there is nothing complicated about this. You just change the law and stop throwing people out of the military for being gay.

    You’re the military lawyer (IIRC) so I’ll defer to your greater knowledge, but I was under the impression that it’s even more simple than that. Specifically, that there’s no ‘law’ -i.e. congressional action – required because all the regs covering this are entirely within Executive Orders and DoD Instructions. At least that’s the way it is with the assignment of women (I think). I thought the non-acession of gays was the same. But I could be wrong about both.

  34. I’m curious about something. We’ve got “don’t ask, don’t tell”, which presumably means keep your trap shut if you’re gay. That leaves two choices: keep quiet during the inevitable sex talk that gets thrown around, get suspected, “investigated”, and tossed out; or lie, dishonor yourself, maybe get caught and… tossed out.

    It seems to me the only way for a gay person to make it in the military is to lie convincingly enough to oneself and others so as to not draw any suspicions. Props might be necessary too, like pictures of your “girl” back home.

  35. Barack Hussein Obama is a radical leftist Socialist, and also a Clintonian centrist with no principles who is throwing his liberal supporters under the bus!

    Is that it?

  36. Doing it as soon as possible gives plenty of time to show that the military won’t implode because the gay members it already has no longer have to maintain a silly lie.

    It would also show that he means to do what he said. This is something that can be done–if desired–right away and would send the message that change really is in the works.

    This is why it won’t happen.

  37. If there’s really no consensus and bipartisan support to be gained, then taking the hit in 2010 means that his first act out of the gate isn’t throwing himself on his sword, dealing a blow to his effectiveness for the rest of his presidency.

    Nonsense! As a non-supporter of Obama since before the primaries and a non-voter for Obama in the general election, I would be very disappointed if Obama doesn’t spend his political capital on a series of highly charged wedge issues of little real world consequence.

  38. It seems to me the only way for a gay person to make it in the military is to lie convincingly enough to oneself and others so as to not draw any suspicions

    rhywun, are you saying that it’s not easy and comfortable for you to talk (lie) about, say, muff diving? God, you homos are such prima donnas.

  39. I would be very disappointed if Obama doesn’t spend his political capital on a series of highly charged wedge issues of little real world consequence.

    Not for nothing, but for those actually affected by such issues, they have a great deal of consequence (right here, in the real world, even).

  40. Barack Hussein Obama is a radical leftist Socialist, and also a Clintonian centrist with no principles who is throwing his liberal supporters under the bus!

    Barack HUSSEIN Obama promised that he would bring Change, but here he is, waffling on something because of the political opposition. His supporters should be very, very disappointed that they were so taken in by…wait, what’s that? He issued the order?

    Barack HUSSEIN Obama promised a new, bipartisan tone in Washington, but here he is, ramming far-left policies down America’s throat without the slightest nod towards producing consensus across party and ideological lines. His supporters should be very, very disappointed that they were taken in by his promises.

    Does that about sum it up?

  41. The “throwing his liberal supporters under the bus” meme might work at dividing the left, but the right needs to realize it has to drop the “far left radical” stuff for it to make any damn sense at all.

  42. That leaves two choices: keep quiet during the inevitable sex talk that gets thrown around, get suspected, “investigated”, and tossed out; or lie, dishonor yourself, maybe get caught and… tossed out.

    There is no “getting suspected and investigated”. That just is not the way it works. The first LTC in your chain-of-command has to initiate an investigation based on extremely credible and obvious evidence; i.e. a video or something.

    Most BCs (Battalion Commanders) do not care enough to even bother. They have better things to do.

  43. Not for nothing, but for those actually affected by such issues, they have a great deal of consequence (right here, in the real world, even).

    You know what gay people in the military are concerned about most right now?

    Their next combat tour.

  44. To answer a question above, Congress passed a law in 1993 that prevented the President from allowing gays to serve openly. DADT was the President’s way around the law.

    My experience is the same as AO’s. Commanders are loath to kick anyone out over being gay. People get put out under that chapter for two reasons; misconduct (like having an affair with a subordinate) or they come forward and admit they are gay because they want out of the military. Really, the biggest effect ending DADT is ending the ability to use being gay as an excuse to get out of a deployment or basic training.

  45. So, what did you do last weekend? (Got married to the man/woman who is the love of my life.)

    So, you seeing anyone? (Yes, actually, I’m dating a rugby team.)

    Is that your brother? (I certainly hope not.)

    Encouraging people to be adept at misleading their COs doesn’t strike me as a terribly wise thing for a military to do.

  46. rhywun, are you saying that it’s not easy and comfortable for you to talk (lie) about, say, muff diving? God, you homos are such prima donnas.

    I am not a good liar so I avoid such situations. OTOH I’ve known lots who would have no trouble with it.

    The first LTC in your chain-of-command has to initiate an investigation based on extremely credible and obvious evidence; i.e. a video or something.

    I wasn’t aware of that. Thanks for the info.

  47. I think there is a generational difference. Most people in the military under the age of 40 are pretty neutral about DADT. It is the older generation that is really radical. Of course the older generation are the ones in charge. That is why the JCS will never buy off on it nor will their defenders in Congress. Either someone has the courage to say screw it and take the hit or it won’t happen. When Obama says “we are building consensus” he is just saying “I am not going to do it”.

    Congratulations for making me wrack my brains. Admirals today would have been LCDRs to Captains when I was ending my career (fuck, it’s been that long) and I did have the philosphical discussions with those some of those very people about the subject. IIRC, (and I usually do), there was a lot of go along to get along talk, but not a lot of virulent “We hatez the gayz, we hatez them very much” sentiment. Concerns about the integration process were discussed, yes. That’s just reality based thinking.

    IMHO, it’ll be easier than desegregation was if only because you can’t detect queer in a fellow servicemember by looking at them. He/she will already be perceived a shipmate/warrior brother* before that kind of info enters into the comradery equation.

    Familiarity breeds tolerance. Yeah the fundies will squeal, and they exist in all ranks, but I’d have enjoyed that if had happened in my time. Contrary to the public’s general perception, the military is probably less religious than the general public. At least the Navy is.

  48. So, how many zealous, traditional-values-loving military personnel have been kicked out or in any way sanctioned for violating the “Don’t Ask” part?

    Because I’ve ready plenty of reports from people who were discharged because someone snooped around in order to find that “extremely credible evidence” necessary to start the ball rolling.

  49. Encouraging people to be adept at misleading their COs doesn’t strike me as a terribly wise thing for a military to do.

    There is not any misleading involved. I do not stand around BSing about sex with my Soldiers, because that is inappropriate regardless of whether the nature of the discussion is homo-or-hetero.

    When I was with 1 CD, there was a major who moved around with its* same-sex partner, from base to base. Everyone knew what the major was and nobody gave a damn.

    * – I say “its” because it’s really not my story to repeat.

  50. joe, I want to see lots of evidence for your assertions.

    I want links, official reports, the whole works. Because right now that just sounds like “a friend of a friend told me that…”

  51. I am not a good liar so I avoid such situations. OTOH I’ve known lots who would have no trouble with it.

    I must say it would be tremendously amusing hearing a dude who has never touched female genitalia in his life try to bullshit about it.

    Not amusing if it got him discharged, of course.

  52. I do not stand around BSing about sex with my Soldiers

    Do you ever BS about how their family is doing, what they did during leave, or any discussion of their non-duty lives at all?

    Not a single one of the questions I described above is about sex.

  53. I must say it would be tremendously amusing hearing a dude who has never touched female genitalia in his life try to bullshit about it.

    A bag of sand?

  54. Do you ever BS about how their family is doing, what they did during leave, or any discussion of their non-duty lives at all?

    BSing, in the military context, is standing around with one’s peers during breaks and downtime doing some of the following:

    – Bitching about policies or training
    – Talking about sex, drinking, whatever
    – Etc. etc. You get the idea

    I do not “BS” with my Soldiers at all. When I ask them how their families are doing (or whatever), I expect perfunctory answers of “doing well, Sir” or whatever. I’m asking them to appear like I care, and they know that’s the purpose behind it.

    To put it in context, when your boss asks you “how are you doing today?”, that is not the proper time to launch into how bad your post-nasal drip is or how you chased pussy all night and now you’re exhausted.

    A “doing great, boss! how are you?” will suffice.

  55. “So, how many zealous, traditional-values-loving military personnel have been kicked out or in any way sanctioned for violating the “Don’t Ask” part?

    Because I’ve ready plenty of reports from people who were discharged because someone snooped around in order to find that “extremely credible evidence” necessary to start the ball rolling.”

    I don’t know what the other services are like. I can only speak for the Army. I never saw anything like that. I did see several cases where soldiers were guilty of misconduct try to claim they were only being kicked out because they were gay. I did see soldiers use being gay or claiming to be so as a way to get out of the military. But I never saw an otherwise good soldier who kept to themselves get kicked out. never. Maybe it happens but I never saw it.

  56. Most BCs (Battalion Commanders) do not care enough to even bother. They have better things to do.

    So, like most bad rules, being screwed by it is dependent upon your proximity to a douchebag who gets his jollies from actually enforcing it?

    Somehow I doubt this mitigates the pain of getting screwed by a vindictive son-bitch in the chain of command very much.

  57. Sure, TAO, and that’s how it’s supposed to work, but do you really think that people who live and work together for weeks or months or years on end aren’t going to talk about life, the universe, and everything?

  58. A bag of sand?

    Ok, I don’t get this and I need you to explain it to me now, because I have to know.

  59. So, like most bad rules, being screwed by it is dependent upon your proximity to a douchebag who gets his jollies from actually enforcing it?

    That’s like most rules period.

    Look, folks, if your commander does not like you, he can “get” you, one way or the other. DADT is so rarely used to “get” a Soldier because there about a million more valid and easier ways to really put the screws to somebody if you’ve got a mind to do it.

  60. Epi – Have you never seen The 40-Year-Old Virgin?

  61. from 40 year old virgin, Steve Carrell bullshitting: “You know, when you, like, you grab a woman’s breast and it’s… and you feel it and… it feels like a bag of sand when you’re touching it.”

  62. Just don’t say a cooter looks like canned ham. (SFW)

  63. There’s an objection I’ve heard a lot from the pro-exclusion people that makes no sense to me, and I’d love to have an actual military guy’s (or chick’s) take on it.

    I have heard people say – in all seriousness – that soldiers would be all freaked out if they knew that the dude next to them in the shower was scoping out their butt, basically, and it would harm unit cohesion because all the straights would be worried about if any of the gays were secretly pining over them, and what about same sex sexual harrassment, and wouldn’t it really mess up the emotional and psychological health of the unit.

    That’s always seemed really specious to me. Soldiers are trained to fight and kill and maybe get captured and tortured – in other words, they’re trained to, and expected to do, very difficult stuff. If their psyches are so fragile that they’ll fall apart when another dude ogles them, then the US military has a problem, no? In the overall scheme of things that an active duty member of the military has to worry about, telling your buddy that you don’t like him that way shouldn’t be such a biggie. And sexual harrassment would be treated the way it’s supposed to be treated between members of the opposite sex: harshly and punitively. Besides which, I know very few gay men who go around hitting on guys they know are straight.

    Seems like all the objections that were applied to allowing women in the military are used to object to gays in the military, and they are just as bogus.

    I didn’t explain that well, but I trust that John and AO will get what I’m talking about.

  64. Epi – Have you never seen The 40-Year-Old Virgin?

    Saw it but was loaded and not paying much attention. I am not a Judd Apatow fan. I like my comedy substantially more insane, hence ATHF and Always Sunny.

    “Well, the elves came from the red planet, and there was much defecation.”

  65. Wow. This could be the first American presidency in history that has failed before it has begun. Pending economic depressions do that sometimes. But still…it’s hope we can believe in…eventually…if we’re not dead…isn’t it?

  66. Because I’ve ready plenty of reports from people who were discharged because someone snooped around in order to find that “extremely credible evidence” necessary to start the ball rolling.

    My understanding is that the policy DADT does not carry the weight of law – so no one would be kicked out for asking (or for telling.)

    You get kicked out for engageing in the act – which is what the actual law prohibits.

    Oh and count me in the camp of former military officers who agrees that most younger soldiers wouldn’t give much of a crap. The military people I served with were far more tolerant than the (mostly civilian) people who were intent on keeping the gays out.

  67. Ep: You watch Venture Brothers?

  68. “I don’t don’t want to be Jet Boy and Jet Girl! Even if I get to be Jet Boy!”

  69. I do not “BS” with my Soldiers at all.

    But do they BS with each other? My concern was that Private Rhywun would get “investigated” merely because Private Derbyshire got suspicious of Private Rhywun’s lame attempts at butching it up and reported his suspicions to his commander. If you say it doesn’t happen that way, fine.

  70. Ep: You watch Venture Brothers?

    I do, but I am not up on the most recent season.

  71. If Private Derbyshire came to me with some half-formed “evidence” like “Private Rhywun didn’t sufficiently pass our sex bull session” I’d chew his ass and throw him out of his office.

    And god help him if he bothered a LTC with that.

  72. Stubby,

    That is the arguement. I am not sure what to think of it to be honest. When you are deployed or in the field you live in very close proxcimity to other people. Certainly in coed units, the young people do what young people do; fuck like mink. Sometimes, you have someone you work with and you literally spend your entire lives with them. You sleep in the same room as they do, eat with them, and spend nearly every waking hour with them. So when two men do that and one of them is openly gay, does that lead to rumors that it is like some scene out of Brideshead Revisited or do people go “oh Bob is not gay, that would never happne”? I am not really sure to be honest.

  73. OK… so what happens if you tell someone you’re gay but there’s no evidence?

  74. And correct me if I’m wrong, but I thought M/F sex was a no-no between soldiers anyway?

  75. Just note, “2010” means “never”.

    2010 means it won’t be considered for 2009.

    It won’t happen in 2010 because that’s a Congressional election year, and would put too many Congressmen on the spot.

    It won’t happen in 2011 because, barring a miracle, the Democrats will have lost a bunch of House districts in the 2010 elections anyway, and will have to concentrate resources on other issues.

    Then, 2012 is an election year.

  76. There are three ways that one can “tell” if someone is gay:

    Statement: “I am gay”
    Actions: Homosexual actions
    Marriage: Marrying or attempting to marry someone of the same sex

    If you, Private Rhywun, came to me and said “Sir, I am gay”, I would report it to the first LTC in the chain. He would either:

    A) Declare that there is insufficient evidence to investigate further or
    B) Investigate further.

    It’s entirely at his discretion. Most LTCs (the ones I know, of course) would listen to a guy say “I am gay” and straight-facedly say “that’s not enough evidence. Get back to work.”

    thought M/F sex was a no-no between soldiers anyway?

    Fraternization (that is, sex between superior/inferior) is a no-no, but if you had two PFCs in different units (or the same unit, lots of times) screwing around, it’s not against the rules.

    It’s frowned on and I would encourage an NCO to “encourage” those PFCs to knock it off.

    Also, all sex is pretty much a “no-no” in Iraq.

  77. Also, all sex is pretty much a “no-no” in Iraq.

    Goddamn sand gets in everything.

  78. AO,

    Enlisted of different ranks can screw as long as one of them is not in the same chain of command and their scewing doesn’t affect moral and welfare. Officers of different rank cannot unless it is a pre-existing relationship. Officers and enlisted is a definite no no. But NCO to enlisted is a go as long as the enlisted is not under the supervision of the NCO. I call that the Sergeant Major rule. They let enlisted as opposed to officers screw people of different rank because God forbid Sergeant Majors don’t bank the occasional private.

  79. “Also, all sex is pretty much a “no-no” in Iraq.

    Goddamn sand gets in everything.”

    That doesn’t stop them. Yes, sex is supposed to be a no no. But you take a bunch of 18-25 year olds and mix them together for a year and try to stop them from having sex with each other. Good luck with it. I hope it works out for you.

  80. I wish I could be 18-25 again. I don’t want to be a soldier; I would just have a hell of a lot more fun the second time around.

  81. Sergeants Major go one of two ways: they’re either giant, lazy douches or they’re awesome. There is no in-between.

    And little 2LT me got into a shouting match with one of them when I found out he was banging a SPC from another platoon. What a fuckin’ shitbag.

  82. Officers of different rank cannot unless it is a pre-existing relationship.

    Yeah, right, that’s why all you CPTs view all the OBC graduates as “fresh meat”.

  83. “Sergeants Major go one of two ways: they’re either giant, lazy douches or they’re awesome. There is no in-between.”

    Warrent Officers are the same way. I have never met a mediocre SGM or Warrent. They are either oxygen thiefs are the greatest guys in the world. There is no in between.

  84. But do they BS with each other? My concern was that Private Rhywun would get “investigated” merely because Private Derbyshire got suspicious of Private Rhywun’s lame attempts at butching it up and reported his suspicions to his commander. If you say it doesn’t happen that way, fine.

    Fwiw, the first assumption would be that Private Rhywun was just too dorky to have a girlfriend, not that he was gay.

    The ones that everyone kind of suspect are gay normally have a lot of female friends due to that whole ‘will & grace’ dynamic. And likely have switched hit with these friends from time to time so they have a passing familiarity with the terrain.

  85. No big deal – Obama is just voting present.

    That’s what his supporters wanted right? That’s the background and experience he had and what they rewarded him for with their orgasmic explosion of support. What’s the complaint?

  86. I think the vast majority of gay people in the military are women. This is really a “women’s issue” as much as anything. Not that there are not gay men. Just that there are more gay women than men.

  87. John: I know a gay female Marine who says the same thing.

  88. joe,

    I’m really not quite sure how non-discrimination in marraige is any less of a right than non-discrimination in gaining entrance into military service.

    As for Obama only being 61 days out from being President, etc., during the formation of his proposed cabinet, etc. seems to be about the best time to comment on, criticized, praise, etc. the President-elect, you know, before the ball starts really rolling, before the inevtible inertia sets in, etc. Which is in part why it happens in seemingly every President-elect.

  89. I’d chew his ass

  90. Seward,

    The military can discriminate in ways the rest of the world can’t. Think about disability discrimination.

    Even in the strict-scrutiny standard, you can discriminate if you can show a pressing need. The military right now classifies the unit-cohesion argument as an important public purpose that allows discrimination.

    I don’t think it’s any better, it’s just that the military has more leeway.

    As for Obama only being 61 days out from being President, etc., during the formation of his proposed cabinet, etc. seems to be about the best time to comment on, criticized, praise, etc. the President-elect, you know, before the ball starts really rolling, before the inevtible inertia sets in, etc. Which is in part why it happens in seemingly every President-elect.

    Criticizing his cabinet choices during the time he’s putting together his cabinet, no problem, but this wishful-thinking spitballing about what he is and isn’t going to do is really transparent.

  91. “Criticizing his cabinet choices during the time he’s putting together his cabinet, no problem”

    Like Hillary Clinton for Secretary of State?

  92. joe,

    Even if I accepted your argument that still doesn’t undercut the fact that non-discrimination this is area is a right.

    Let’s quote you:

    The difference here is that gay marriage is a right…

    So is non-discrimination in the field of military recruitment a right? Or not?

    …but this wishful-thinking spitballing about what he is and isn’t going to do is really transparent.

    Well, perhaps the Obama folks ought to stop talking about what they are going to do and not do. Anything the Obama folks say about what they plan to do in the future is fair to comment on, speculate about, etc. Just as was the case for every other President-elect.

  93. joe,

    Also, there is nothing wrong at all with speculation or imagination when it comes to things like this, particularly given how close to the vest government tends to be regarding what information it is willing to disseminate about its present and future decisions.

  94. Well, perhaps the Obama folks ought to stop talking about what they are going to do and not do. Anything the Obama folks say about what they plan to do in the future is fair to comment on, speculate about, etc. Just as was the case for every other President-elect.

    No. Obama is special and should not be criticized until after the injustice/death toll passes a thousand.

    Thinking it over, I realize we should not have criticized the Gonzalez AG appointment until he was confirmed and committed some fuckups as well.

  95. J sub D,

    One of the more annoying thing about the last eight years was that segment of Republicans who took on the “how dare you criticize a sitting President in wartime” line of argument.

  96. joe, I want to see lots of evidence for your assertions.

    I want links, official reports, the whole works.

    Oh, c,mon. You should know by now that’s not how joe rolls. The burden is on you, my friend, to research joe’s statements of fact, not on joe to provide support for what he says.

    I’m really not quite sure how non-discrimination in marraige is any less of a right than non-discrimination in gaining entrance into military service.

    Me, neither.

    The military can discriminate in ways the rest of the world can’t. Think about disability discrimination.

    Even in the strict-scrutiny standard, you can discriminate if you can show a pressing need. The military right now classifies the unit-cohesion argument as an important public purpose that allows discrimination.

    Unconvincing, to me. If unit cohesion satisfies strict scrutiny, why doesn’t the kind of “social cohesion” that supporters of gay marriage bans say will be undermined if traditional definitions of marriage are revoked?

  97. Obama would be an idiot to move quickly on this non-essential policy.

  98. With all due respect to all concerned, this is total trivia in the context of the recession, Detroit debacle, financial collapse, two wars to name but a few. Obama is not going to, nor should he, expend valuable political capital at this moment on minor issue.

  99. You gotta hear this 90 minute blogradio on why the media has a blackout of the looming Obama Birth Certificate Constitutional Crisis:

    http://politicalpistachio.blogspot.com/2008/11/why-is-obamas-birth-certificate-still.html

  100. Political winner if Obama doesn’t hem and haw and/or bring in some dipshit like Sam Nunn to water it down and Third Way it. Make another awesome speech, overturn DADT, and move on to more important business. By 2012, nobody but religious jackasses will care. And social moderates will not want to be associated with them. Good policy, good politics.

  101. Perhaps it is politically expedient for Obama to duck this, and keep ducking it. And his track record to date would indicate a strong desire to be politically expedient at all times.

    OTOH, if Obama repealed DADT, and made the point that it was wrong to keep blacks from full participation in the military, just as it is wrong to keep gays from full participation, I’d start having a smidgen of respect for Obama.

    I don’t think he’ll do it. He’ll let other people study it to death.

  102. Testimonials from people kicked out the military under DADT are really not that hard to find. Look them up yourself in your interested.

    And his track record to date would indicate a strong desire to be politically expedient at all times.

    You mean like his bill requiring police to videotape their interrogations of murder suspects and witnesses? Yeah, real smooth sailing on that one.

  103. And his track record to date would indicate a strong desire to be politically expedient at all times.

    Not true. In November of 2002, Obama gave a clear and compelling cased against the disastrous and entirely unnecessary Iraq Invasion, and for all the right reasons (i.e., it was an incredibly stupid idea). We know where you were back then. Lining up behind Commander Bunnypants.

  104. McCain would’ve been worse.

  105. Don’t care Don’t care Don’t care

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