Milbloggers Release A Statement

Uncle Jimbo at Blackfive:

JOINT STATEMENT FROM MILITARY BLOGGERS                                                      12 MAY 2010

We consider the US military the greatest institution for good that has ever existed. No other organization has freed more people from oppression, done more humanitarian work or rescued more from natural disasters.  We want that to continue.

Today, it appears inevitable to us that the Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell policy and law restricting those displaying open homosexual behavior from serving will be changed.  And yet, very little will actually change.  Homosexuals have always served in the US Military, and there have been no real problems caused by that.

The service chiefs are currently studying the impact and consequences of changing the DADT policy, and how to implement it without compromising the morale, order and discipline necessary for the military to function. The study is due to be completed on Dec. 1st. We ask Congress to withhold action until this is finished, but no longer.  We urge Congress to listen to the service chiefs and act in accordance with the recommendations of that study.

The US Military is professional and ready to adapt to the repeal of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell without compromising its mission.  Echoing Sec. Def. Gates and ADM Mullen, we welcome open and honorable service, regardless of sexual orientation.

Matt Burden- Warrior Legacy Foundation & BLACKFIVE

Jim Hanson- Warrior Legacy Foundation & BLACKFIVE

Blake Powers- BLACKFIVE

Fred Schoenman- BLACKFIVE

David Bellavia- House to House

Bruce McQuain- Q&O

JD Johannes- Outside the Wire

Diane Frances McInnis Miller- Boston Maggie

Mark Seavey- This Ain’t Hell

Michael St. Jacques- The Sniper

Mary Ripley- US Naval Institute Blog

John Donovan- Castle Argghhh!

Andrew J. Lubin- The Military Observer

Marc Danziger- Winds of Change

Greta Perry- Hooah Wife

Bruce McQuain at Questions And Observations:

The expected pushback is already beginning to mount in the comment section of the link above.  I’ve thought about it long and hard.  I’ve actually changed my mind from years ago.  I guess that’s because I’ve known of and served with soldiers I knew were gay.  And every one of them were good soldiers who served honorably and did an excellent job.

I’ve also come to understand that it isn’t going to be the activists or those who want to flaunt their homosexuality who are going to seek to serve their country. Being a Soldier, Sailor, Marine or Airman is a hard, dirty and dangerous job.  Those that choose to serve are not going to do it because of who they love, but simply because want to serve their nation and the military is their chosen method of doing so.

This is a cultural change thing.  And the culture has been changing for years to more and more acceptance of homosexuality in terms of offering equal rights and protections.  This is simply an extension of that.  If I thought it would seriously effect readiness, I’d probably oppose it – but I don’t think it will.  Will there be some problems and some objections to overcome?  Yes.  But the military can and will overcome them.

The institution of the military is important to me, I’ve thought about this in some depth and come to the conclusion this is the right thing to do.  I agree with SecDef Gates and the JCS that DADT is a policy which needs to be repealed.  But I also support their recommendation that it needs to be done thoughtfully and at their own pace.  It also means that Congress will need to enact legislation to makes changes the UCMJ and some other necessary legislative steps to make this come to pass.

Sexual orientation should never be a bar to serving your country honorably in the profession of arms.

Ben Smith at Politico:

The community of “mil-bloggers” — often hawkish, critical of White House and military leadership, devoted to both the First and Second Amendments — isn’t easy to define politically, but has proven an increasingly powerful voice from the ranks. The statement, which says that there have always been gay soldiers and that “very little will actually change” with the repeal of “Don’t Ask,” carries the signatures of the authors of some of the most prominent: Blackfive, Q&O, Outside the Wire, and the US Naval Institute Blog, among others.

Rachel Slajda at Talking Points Memo:

Jim Hanson of BlackFive, who organized the effort, told TPM that not everyone who signed the statement wants repeal.

Instead, Hanson said, there was a sea change earlier this year when Defense Secretary Robert Gates and Joint Chiefs Chairman Adm. Mike Mullen announced their support for repeal. That’s when, for many who serve in or cover the military, repeal became inevitable.

“We wanted it done right,” he said. “We’re of the impression that if it’s gonna be done, that Congress doesn’t do it precipitously.”

Gates and Mullen have warned Congress against legislating such a change before December, the deadline for a Department of Defense review into how to best implement repeal.

The bloggers said they support waiting.

“We ask Congress to withhold action until this is finished, but no longer,” they wrote in the statement. “We urge Congress to listen to the service chiefs and act in accordance with the recommendations of that study.”

There are “a bunch of issues that need to be worked through if it’s gonna be the non-problem I think it’s gonna be,” Hanson said. “Let the service chiefs figure out how to do this, pass legislation that mirrors that and I think you’ll have a much less painful transition.”

Armed Services Chairman Sen. Carl Levin (D-MO), however, said yesterday that he will put repeal into the Defense Authorization Act in committee markup this month if he can get the votes for it. That could lead to passage months earlier than Gates and Mullen want, but Levin said he’d make the effective date of repeal after December 1.

Hanson said he thinks including repeal in the authorization bill is a “horrible idea, because the military hasn’t had a chance to weigh in yet.”

“There’s no need for people to be chaining themselves to the White House fence,” he said, referring to Lt. Dan Choi, who recently did so to protest how slow repeal is moving. “Relax, and let’s do a good job of it.”

Vodka Pundit at Pajamas Media:

We’ve come a long way in just 15 years. By and large the troops support repeal, and I’ve never met a better or smarter group of people (even if we were in Vegas at the time, and I’m even including Uncle Jimbo ) than the folks at BlackFive and the other milbloggers. If they all say it’s time, then it’s time.

Allah Pundit:

I think it’s an impressively bold move, not only because they didn’t have to make it but because the bulk of their readership, I assume, comes from vets and hawks, both of which are perceived (fairly or not) as being cooler to repealing DADT than the average joe. But then, as Uncle Jimbo says of those who disagree, “no one’s going to lose their mind over DADT.”

Tom Maguire:

My *guess* was that the repeal of DADT would actually be easier in wartime when soldiers are focused on more important issues such as not getting blown up.

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