Letting DADT Wither On The Vine?

HRC poop bags

Suzy Khimm gets a hold of some new guidelines that went unmentioned by Gates last week:

[T]he Pentagon now requires that "a preponderance" of evidence be provided to warrant a dismissal. Investigators can no longer use a service member's decision "not to discuss the matter" against him or her. And investigators are also now expected to consider the source of evidence against a service member and the circumstances in which it's received. For instance, a source may be considered unreliable if he or she has a "prior history of conflict" with target of the investigation or "a motive to seek revenge against or cause personal or professional harm" to the service member in question.

Basically, it seems to me that this is an attempt to reverse the way in which DADT was used in the Clinton and Bush years to intensify expulsion and persecution of gay service-members. So it's a return to the promise in 1993 that  the gay ban will slowly wither like an old chestnut on the vine, as it were. We should not mistake this for repeal but we should not mistake it for nothing either. It is a highly unsatisfying piece of Obama pragmatism.

What it means, I suspect, is that Obama will finish his first term with the military ban in place but he will make the argument that he has made it practically obsolescent, and has persuaded the brass to stop harassment. The data will either prove or disprove that in due course, but the stigma against gay service-members will remain until it becomes utterly ridiculous.

This is not what Obama clearly promised in the campaign and since the law won't be repealed before next January, and the Congress, even on historical norms, will be more Republican, i.e. more anti-gay, after November, it will remain on the books indefinitely.

And HRC will sell this to the gay community as yet another triumph for its 20 million member lobbying organization. Which is perhaps the only good reason to buy their civil rights doggie poop-bags.