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Sunday, May 10, 2009

SLDN Calls Out President Obama About Misleading Voters on Don't Ask, Don't Tell

SLDN Press Release:

WASHINGTON, DC - When asked this morning on This Week with George Stephanopoulos if "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" will be overturned, the president's national security advisor, General Jones, responded, "I don't know."

" 'I don't know?' The answer should have been a one-word answer ‘Yes,' said Aubrey Sarvis, executive director of Servicemembers Legal Defense Network.

"Jones's answer, along with Secretary Gates's remarks to the Army War College on April 16, make it clear that a calculated political decision has been made that the President is not going to take ‘Don't Ask, Don't Tell' on publicly-himself-and instead his defense team is doing it."

There should be no waffling in this Administration-whether from Jones or Gates, on whether repeal is going to happen. The discussions should be when and how. Recall what Obama said on the campaign trail in 2007:

America is ready to get rid of the 'don't ask, don't tell' policy. That work should have started long ago. It will start when I take office. America is ready to get rid of the "don't ask, don't tell" policy. All that is required is leadership.(Fall 2007 to Human Rights Campaign)

That was then. This is now. The Center for Military Readiness (CMR)-which wrote in Human Events recently, "Obama administration officials appear equivocal on this issue"- is boasting about "changing the debate" and taking credit for intimidating the White House to back off DADT. Phyllis Schlafly, grandmother of the conservative movement, sits on the CMR Board.

Gay and lesbian soldiers continue to get fired on this President's watch, most recently Arabic linguist Army Lt. Dan Choi and 2nd Army Second Lt. Sandy Tsao. At the end of the day, this is what the debate is about-them and their families.

Also on ‘This Week', Senator John McCain indicated that a study or review should be conducted.

"A protracted study or National Commission is a cop out," notes Sarvis. "It is the way Washington ignores something it doesn't want to deal with. We hope Obama is not going along with this."

There have been almost a dozen studies on the topic. Going back to 1993, RAND did a study on the impact of openly gay and lesbian soldiers on unit cohesion. Their conclusion: no negative impact. Every scientific, credible study since then has come to the same conclusion.

SLDN had hoped this president would offer leadership, not give in to some throw away study or commission. The right approach would be a presidential working group that focuses solely on implementation and reports back to the president with recommendations within 90 days.

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