A Pentagon study shows 70 percent of armed services members overwhelmingly believe allowing gay people to serve openly in the military would have a positive, mixed or no effect, and Defense Secretary Robert Gates wants Congress to end “don’t ask, don’t tell,” but don’t expect U.S. Sen. Jim Inhofe to drop his opposition to repeal.
In September, Inhofe went to the Senate floor and spoke out sanctimoniously against repealing DADT, urging his fellow senators to wait for the Pentagon study to be completed before considering the matter. Inhofe argued:
. . . if you want to know the effect, you need to go and talk to the troops in the field and then you need to talk also to the chiefs of the military . . .
That has now happened, and it’s time for a vote. The House has already voted to repeal the measure.
DADT was implemented 1993 under the former President Bill Clinton administration. It allows gay people to serve in the military as long as they don’t reveal their sexual orientation. It’s an archaic, demeaning and psychologically damaging policy that needs repeal. It’s an obvious violation of individual rights.
Inhofe, as I’ve written before, has been an ardent opponent of repealing the policy, but his delay tactics and rhetorical subterfuge over the issue is simply shameless, especially because it involves an important, contemporary equal rights matter. Inhofe is out of touch on this issue, and he should drop his opposition, but it’s likely that won’t happen.
In September, I wrote on Okie Funk:
Ostensibly, Inhofe wants a full discussion about the issue after the study is completed, but he could also simply want to delay the vote, hoping the midterm elections will bring enough anti-gay rights politicians back into the Senate to stop the repeal.
This was part of Inhofe’s response to the study:
. . . it is little surprise that the results of the survey were slanted to achieve the liberal political ends endorsed by President Obama and those within his Administration. The military did not ask for this change and all the Service Chiefs and the Marine Commandant have all voiced concerns about repealing Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell. It is now the job of Congress, especially the SASC, to peal the curtain back on the survey and the results and to look further into this matter.
Obviously, there’s nothing much new here, and, of course he has support from The Oklahoman editorial page, but it’s important to note that Inhofe’s plea for a vote delay until the study was completed was really nothing more than political posturing. How can voters continue to support this type of distorted approach to leading issues of our day? What a waste of time for Inhofe to go to the Senate floor on this matter? If he’s going to oppose the repeal of DADT, then he should just oppose it. What does he have to feign interest in a study or what some military leaders might argue?
Meanwhile, here’s what Secretary Gates had to say about DADT after the study was released:
Although potentially disruptive in the short term [it] would not be the wrenching, traumatic change many have feared and predicted.