In his State of the Union address, President Obama called for the end of "don't ask, don't tell" (DADT) within the year. The controversial policy, begun in the Clinton administration, bars openly gay men and women from serving in the military. It mandates that service members who are discovered to be gay be booted from the military. In October, liberals launched an extended campaign to pressure Obama to repeal the policy, as he'd long promised. He may be following through. NBC News reports that the White House is now coordinating with the military (which began DADT talks earlier in the month) and Congress on how to move forward with ending DADT, a process that could begin as early as next week.
- Key Questions for White House NBC News Courtney Kube asks, "Is there a drop dead date that the policy will end? Will military members who were discharged under DADT be allowed back in? What, if any, new training will U.S. military members go through (ie sensitivity training, etc)? Are any new or separate facilities necessary?" And the "million dollar question" is whether the repeal "will effect good order and discipline in the U.S. military?"
- The Challenge Ahead Christian Science Monitor's Gordon Lubold explains, "Legislation to eliminate the policy has dozens of supporters in Congress, though whether it has enough votes to pass is not clear. Moreover, the Joint Chiefs - the heads of the services - are mixed about repealing it." However, stress on the military from missions in Iraq, Afghanistan and Haiti may change that.
- We Can Hold Obama to This Liberal blogger John Aravosis is cautiously optimistic. "I think it's great. Doesn't mean I'm convinced it's going to happen. But it does mean they've now given us concrete promises with concrete timetables that we can now hold them accountable to."
- DADT Is Bad Economics The New York Times's Tim Hsia says his position has "changed drastically now that a close friend has been 'outed' and is being kicked out of the Army." He laments, "When competent professionals are being forced to leave the service because of their sexual orientation it is an enormous waste of government resources. Taxpayers and the military reap little to no return on the investment that has been made them, especially if they have undergone specialized training such as language skills or flight school."
- Not Easy to Defend DADT Spencer Ackerman writes that, with 69% of Americans supporting a repeal, few people will likely want to defend the policy. "There is not a single argument for Don't Ask Don't Tell that does not reduce to either bigotry or acquiescence to bigotry. Neither is worthy of the American promise."
- Considerations for Repealing The L.A. Times has two you might not have thought of. "If gays are allowed to serve openly, defense officials are considering measures to limit public displays of affection on military bases and to address potential problems such as ports of call in nations that outlaw homosexuality."