Security comes before politics- every day becomes more critical to repeal Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell

December 3, 2010 at 4:00 pm 42 comments

By Adam Bink

Yesterday, Courage joined with VoteVets.org and Rep. Patrick Murphy to deliver nearly 700,000 petition signatures to Senate leaders asking them to repeal Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell. This came amid the two days’ worth of hearings, which if you missed it, you can find coverage of day 1 here and day 2 here at Prop8TrialTracker.com.

Yesterday we held a conference call for traditional and blog media on the subject. I think it’s notable to mention that key messages that were emphasized coming out are in line with what the Secretary of Defense, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs, and several service chiefs emphasized this morning: failing to act puts our troops at risk. It puts our troops at risk because of what veteran Anthony Woods said yesterday: “With every passing day this discriminatory law remains on the books, it continues to erode our ability to fight and win wars.” It puts our troops at risk because a judicial ruling rather than Congressional action, while still justice served and a military strengthened, is not the ideal way to go at this time, but that is the danger Sen. McCain and his cohorts are putting the nation’s military in. Security comes before politics.

The second item of note is that this is a cross-generational issue, and we prove that because we have testimony from veterans of every living generation and every U.S. conflict from World War II here on our Testimony site. Check it out.

Third and finally, all of these arguments can be used to pressure members of Congress. Having sat through two days of hearings and watched every  swing Senator carefully, Sen. Scott Brown just announced he’ll support repeal, but has not yet committed to a cloture vote. Sen. Manchin, for whom service chaplains and their future with the military is in question, has not yet announced. Sen. Collins, while supportive of repeal, has not yet committed to supporting a cloture vote. And of course, as I laid out in a State of Play post here, having talked with a number of sources close to the lobbying process, Sens. Voinovich, Murkowski, Snowe, Lugar, Ensign, Gregg, Kirk and Bond are in play. That all remains true as of this post.

So, knowing what we know after the hearings, and armed with these arguments and Testimony work, let’s hit the phones, and ask constituents especially to do so. The ask is to support repeal AND to vote for cloture in order to the bill up for consideration. The switchboard is 202-224-3121.

The full press release about the call is below.

SECURITY BEFORE POLITICS–VETS RENEW CALL FOR “DON’T ASK DON’T TELL” REPEAL

Courage Campaign, VoteVets.org, Rep. Patrick Murphy Deliver nearly 700,000 Petition Signatures to Senate Leaders, including nearly 12,500 from veterans and military families

Washington: Yesterday, after delivering nearly 700,000 petitions signatures including more than 12,500 from veterans and military families to Senate Leaders, four of the nation’s leading advocates for repeal of “Don’t Ask Don’t Tell”—three of whom served in the Iraq War—joined forces to renew their call for the U.S. Senate to enact legislative repeal of the policy during the lame duck session of Congress.

Congressman Patrick Murphy, VoteVets.org outgoing Chairman Jon Soltz and Former U.S. Army Captain Anthony Woods joined Courage Campaign Chairman and Founder Rick Jacobs in announcing the petition delivery on a conference call with reporters that followed that Senate Armed Service Committee’s first of two hearings on the recently released Pentagon Study that calls for repeal of “Don’t Ask Don’t Tell.”

“While I was fighting overseas, I watched as “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” robbed our fighting forces of combat tested troops our country needs,” said Anthony Woods, a West Point Graduate and former US Army Captain who served two tours in Iraq before being discharged under DADT in 2008. “With every passing day this discriminatory law remains on the books, it continues to erode our ability to fight and win wars.”

With Senate Republicans promising to block a vote on the National Defense Authorization Bill that includes DADT repeal unless tax cuts are given to the wealthiest Americans, the Courage Campaign has also launched a website featuring the comments of veterans and military families represented by GOP Senators Brown (MA), McCain (AZ), Snowe (ME) and Collins (ME) urging repeal.

You can view the site, which includes both video and comments from veterans of every branch and every U.S. conflict since WW II here: http://testimony.couragecampaign.org/veterans-for-repeal

“The clear consensus from the Pentagon Study, top military leaders, our Allies around the world, and veterans and military families is that open service will be a non-issue,” said Courage Campaign Chairman and Founder Rick Jacobs. “It is equally clear that by depriving  our military of mission critical specialists, diverting resources that could be spent fighting our enemies on discharging professional soldiers, encouraging troops to lie, and exposing them to distracting investigations into their personal lives, DADT is undermining our nation’s security and unnecessarily putting service member’s lives at risk.”

While the U.S. faces record deficits and two of its longest wars, many military personnel  are facing multiple and extended combat deployments, and the military has faced manpower shortages in vital specialties in recent years. “Don’t Ask Don’t Tell” has led to the discharge of nearly 14,000 servicemen and women –at a taxpayer cost of more than $500 million.   Nearly 80% of Americans, majorities in both houses of Congress, the President, our top military leaders and two-thirds of troops recently surveyed by the Pentagon support elimination of the policy.

“Why, at a time when we are in the midst of two wars, would we tell infantrymen, fighter pilots, and even Arabic translators who are willing to take a bullet for their country that their services are not needed?” asked Congressman Murphy, who served with the Army’s 82nd Airborne Division in Iraq and successfully ushered repeal through the U.S. House of Representatives. “This policy is damaging to our national security, it’s hurting our military readiness, and it’s time for it to go.”

“Repealing Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell is a matter of strengthening our Armed Forces and American Security,” said outgoing Chairman of VoteVets.org, and Iraq War Veteran, Jon Soltz. “A repeal means officers can spend their time protecting America, and not spending countless hours and taxpayer dollars investigating claims that someone is gay.  And mostly, it means we send the very best to war, instead of kicking them out.  Thousands of badly needed troops have been lost – experienced troops – because of this policy.  It comes down to this.  If you want our military stronger, you support a repeal.”

The Murphy/VoteVets.org/Courage Campaign “Vets for Repeal” petition was the largest of its kind.  It included veterans and military families across the country and around the world, representing every U.S. conflict since WW II, and every branch of military service.

###

The Courage Campaign is a multi-issue online organizing network that empowers more than 700,000 grassroots and netroots supporters to push for progressive change and full equality in California and across the country.  Courage holds politicians accountable, works for reform, and trains and organizes activists to change their communities.  www.couragecampaign.org

Founded in 2006, VoteVets.org is a non-profit advocacy group with over 100,000 members.  It’s mission is to ensure that today’s troops have the necessary resources to successfully complete their missions abroad and the support they deserve when they come home.  The group is committed to winning the war on terror and preserving the strength of our military.  It primarily focuses on education and advocacy on issues of importance to the troops and veterans, and holding politicians accountable for their actions on these issues. www.votevets.org

Rep Patrick Murphy (D-Pa.) is a former Army Captain in the 82nd Airborne Division and was awarded the Bronze Star for service in Iraq. He currently serves on the House Armed Services Committee and is the lead House sponsor of the bill to repeal Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.

Entry filed under: Don't Ask Don't Tell.

Will Scott Brown become the new Dave Reichert on Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell? Okay, far-right: You wanna talk about the Manhattan Declaration? Let’s go.

42 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Alan E.  |  December 3, 2010 at 4:02 pm

    Just repeal it already!

    (can’t wait until i can stop saying that)

    Reply
    • 2. Ann S.  |  December 3, 2010 at 4:03 pm

      Hear, hear!

      Reply
  • 3. Alan E.  |  December 3, 2010 at 4:06 pm

    Someone mentioned reconciliation the other day in the comments (this is a budget bill). Is there enough time for that?

    Reply
  • 4. Ronnie  |  December 3, 2010 at 4:13 pm

    Do ask…Do tell…it is as easy as that…<3…Ronnie

    Reply
  • 5. Alan E.  |  December 3, 2010 at 4:13 pm

    Don’t read this if you have hypertension:

    Pentagon survey: Spinning a yarn

    Reply
    • 6. Sagesse  |  December 3, 2010 at 4:49 pm

      I would be interested to know about Perkins military service (only because he makes so much of it). It was only one tour… it’s not like he speaks from a career of military experience. And what was his rank? I’m betting he wasn’t an officer… if he was, he would say so. Not to denigrate anyone who has served, but he really lacks credibility on this issue.

      Reply
      • 7. fiona64  |  December 3, 2010 at 4:59 pm

        He was probably some ground-pounding grunt (like my bigoted nephew) — in other words, cannon fodder.

        Love,
        Fiona

        Reply
        • 8. nightshayde  |  December 3, 2010 at 6:13 pm

          Too bad the cannon didn’t get him.

          Reply
      • 9. Lesbians Love Boies  |  December 3, 2010 at 7:55 pm

        All the sudden (since FRC was accurately described as a Hate Group) TP started using this ‘Marine’ title. I am really not sure if he even served. He has blatantly lied in the past, so I wouldn’t put it past him now.

        If he did serve, it was a VERY brief stint. I added up all of this jobs since college, and he certainly couldn’t have been in for 4 years. I truly don’t believe he can accurately used ‘retired’ either (looking at the article, it seems they stopped using the term retired since last week and now are using ‘former’.)

        The man is a joke. I hope he isn’t ‘tee-heeing’ secretly at all of our Proud Servicemen.

        Reply
        • 10. Lesbians Love Boies  |  December 3, 2010 at 7:57 pm

          I should proof before posting! CC – we need an a preview before post button!

          Reply
        • 11. Sagesse  |  December 3, 2010 at 9:24 pm

          He only uses the “I was a Marine” line when he is commenting on DADT.. He’s very insistent about injecting himself into this debate. Otherwise, its a bit of a stretch to fit DADT into the FRC’s ‘family’ mandate.

          Reply
    • 12. book in tracy  |  December 3, 2010 at 5:11 pm

      Ovbiously, TP didn’t read the same survey results I did. It truly bothers me that he speaks for EXtians AND the Marines!! I can only wonder what terrible experiences he and McPain had with gays for them to be so very negative. There were a lot of ‘us’ when I was in, and there wasn’t much of a push to drum us out! I think McPain and his comrades envision the military being turned into one huge drag show if DADT is repealed. Get a gripe, guys.MEN, You aren’t all THAT wonderful to most of us!!! geez, louise. . .

      Reply
  • 13. Richard A. Jernigan  |  December 3, 2010 at 4:13 pm

    We will be calling every senator we can, and will follow that with calling every member of the House of Representatives that we can reach.

    Reply
    • 14. Straight Ally #3008  |  December 3, 2010 at 8:42 pm

      Richard, I’m pretty sure the House can’t take any further action on the bill, so I would focus on the Senate. Letting your Rep know how you feel is always a good idea, of course!

      Reply
  • 15. Kathleen  |  December 3, 2010 at 4:32 pm

    Reply
    • 16. JonT  |  December 3, 2010 at 6:45 pm

      Will catch up later…

      Reply
  • 17. Sagesse  |  December 3, 2010 at 4:40 pm

    Fingers still crossed.

    Reply
  • 18. Rhie  |  December 3, 2010 at 5:10 pm

    Watching

    Reply
  • […] Security Comes Before Politics-Every Day Becomes More Critical Repeal DADT. Read more  […]

    Reply
  • 20. Ray in MA  |  December 4, 2010 at 5:51 am

    I think this post should be put in simpler terms:

    Having to maintain a lie is a distraction from duty.

    Reply
    • 21. Ray in MA  |  December 4, 2010 at 5:51 am

      That is the RISK.

      Reply
  • 22. Ray in MA  |  December 4, 2010 at 6:06 am

    Give HIM a call:

    http://www.queerty.com/republican-cosmo-model-scott-brown-will-vote-to-repeal-dadt-20101203/

    Reply
  • 23. Lesbians Love Boies  |  December 4, 2010 at 6:35 am

    C-SPAN has updated it’s TV schedule and online viewing for the PROP 8 trial.

    Below is a direct link.

    http://www.c-spanvideo.org/program/Perryv

    Reply
  • 24. fern  |  December 4, 2010 at 6:40 am

    In my professional life I always worked for the people I wanted to work for and had it been possible I would have given more than a hundred percent of myself.
    On the other hand if for some reason I decided it was time to leave I would do just that and depending of my feelings I would give notice or just tell them to shove it.
    I never felt sorry for my actions and now I’m happy I didn’t lose my integrity.
    The way I feel is that if I were in the military I would step forward and claim to be gay and if all gay people and those (in the military) who support them would just step forward I’m sure the brass would have a day of reckoning.
    There’s this lady who left West Point stating she was a lesbian and went to, I think Yale, I know this person will never be sorry and will be proud of the choice she made.

    Reply
    • 25. Kate  |  December 4, 2010 at 8:45 am

      Yes, yes, yes! Just like the King of Denmark in WWII telling all the country’s residents to wear yellow stars.

      Reply
      • 26. fern  |  December 4, 2010 at 3:32 pm

        I vaguely remember something like that, kate but I mentioned a professional life here and I could be ‘fired’ but in those days the Germans were there and they would not be fired but face the fire(ing) squad, in the military U.S. that is they would be fired and would not face enemy fire.
        Another thing I learned with Dutch people, Danish people and a few other nationalities is that they still hate the Germans because of the second world war, now what I find may interest you is that plenty of these people were post war and their hatred came from their parents and it still runs deep. What I mean here is that plenty of people my age (62) are anti gay only because of their parents, their environment and their parents’ religion (mainly). When I mentioned the word ‘integrity’ I may not see eye to eye with the dictionary’s, I was bullied by kids smaller than me and you should know only a ‘f…’ backs out of a fight, reads poetry or ‘good books’ even my father called me one like that seeing the shrimp who gave me a shiner. Then it stopped I started to be dangerous they got scared and I discovered myself and stood up for what I was, scared no more this is my ‘integrity’ If I feel close to you people is that I consider myself a weirdo aren’t gay people weirdos?
        Love you all and Merry Xmas.

        Reply
  • 27. Ronnie  |  December 4, 2010 at 7:03 am

    This video was posted on FF4E, thought you would enjoy it….the song is called “This is Who We Are” sung by Tom Goss & Matt Alber….& they are singing it on the National Mall….in the beginning of the video two soldiers introduce themselves:

    “My name’s Mike Almy. I served as a Major in the United States Airforce leading a unit of nearly 200 men & women. I served 4 tours of duty in the Middle East, in Saudi Arabia & Iraq. I was discharged under the “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” law after the air force searched my private emails that I wrote to family & friends while I was deployed in Iraq. Ultimately the discharge proceedings lasted 16 months before I was finally thrown out. My security clearance was suspended & on my last day in the military I was giving a police escort off of my base as if I were a common criminal”

    “My name is David Hall. I served 5 years enlisted in the air force as a Staff Sargent before being let out early to go into air force ROTC. One year as a cadet I was kicked out under “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” even though I was ranked number one in my class & I had just received my pilots license. So instead of flying planes I no longer have a career in the military.”

    (me) Two brave & patriotic men who chose to serve their country & how does their country treat them?….unacceptable…enjoy the video…..<3…Ronnie:

    Reply
  • 28. Ronnie  |  December 4, 2010 at 7:16 am

    Video Compilation for Day 2 of the DADT hearings in 9 minutes…..<3 …Ronnie:

    Reply
    • 29. fern  |  December 4, 2010 at 4:17 pm

      Dear Ronnie I was wondering if there were hearings like this for the black people in the military, then for the women in the military and if there were any videos made they should run parallel with this one.
      None of these said they would quit if DADT was repealed and to the contrary they would accept a repeal if it was imposed on them. I myself would be more a Uncle Jo or uncle Adolf I’d put a tube of vaseline, a gun, a quill and an ink pot and say your choice muthas, but then again it’s not ‘politically correct’ is it?
      Merry Xmas.

      Reply
  • 31. Ray in MA  |  December 4, 2010 at 8:12 am

    Gen. Cartwright: “We will not be shrinking violets…”

    Did he really mean “pansies” ?!?!!? LOL!

    Reply
    • 33. Sagesse  |  December 4, 2010 at 9:15 am

      What an intelligent, civil thread. What I would expect from members of the military.

      Reply
    • 34. fern  |  December 4, 2010 at 4:50 pm

      Dear Ray in MA Pansies is almost the same pronunciation for ‘pensées’ in French for the same flower, I loved them since a kid, as they express a human face with different thoughts, ‘une pensée pour toi’ means a thought for you.
      I didn’t hear about Cartwright mentioning shrinking violets in this here video.
      You should know that violets are blue like roses are red and I was a pig ’cause I put sugar in his bed, but that was another story and 1966 England.

      Reply
      • 35. Ray in MA  |  December 5, 2010 at 6:29 am

        Bonjour Monsieur Fern,

        Je ne parle pas Francais! Mais, Je wish I was able to!

        In the video (above) @ app 6:42 Cartwright says they will not be “shrinking violets” when it comes to implementing the repeal.

        Reply
  • 36. fern  |  December 4, 2010 at 6:02 pm

    Dear Ray in MA
    Having been in the U.S. military civilian personnel in Germany 1972 – 1975 during this time the only thing I knew about gay people is that a Major (air force) thought I was his wife’s lover and it is true she was hitting on me, but I felt uneasy about her then the MPs started to bother me and I complained (not mincing my words and expletives). A week later his wife was caught in bed with another wife at least the major apologized, this is my only experience with gay people in the military that I’ve been aware of. But I also talked with people who fought in Nam, three of which were certainly suffering from PTSD, unknown then like agent orange and here is my point when in hostile territory and have to take a piss or a dump in the Vietnamese jungle, living on raw K-rations for a week are you worried about your openly gay buddy watching you? In combat situation one has to be ready 48/24 and 14/7 and I don’t think anyone on the field thinks about sex or who’s wearing a tutu.
    The problems with gay people will be with the pencil pushers in the military, not with the warriors.
    Merry Xmas…

    Reply
  • 37. Ray in MA  |  December 5, 2010 at 6:32 am

    Heya Fern,

    Interesting story with an unusual twist!

    Reply
  • 38. Sagesse  |  December 5, 2010 at 8:49 am

    Inbox in a state of exhaustion. Taking a deep breath and waiting for Monday.

    Repeal of ‘don’t ask’ is far from certain

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2010/12/04/AR2010120403468.html

    Reply
  • 39. Sagesse  |  December 5, 2010 at 8:59 am

    Not sure it adds much…

    Gay Marriage on Appeal: A Look at the Judges

    Read more: http://www.time.com/time/nation/article/0,8599,2034534-2,00.html#ixzz17G1JsdQq

    Reply
    • 40. Ann S.  |  December 5, 2010 at 9:29 am

      Hey, there’s Alan E.’s sign! And Alan!

      Hi, Alan!!

      Reply
  • 41. Sagesse  |  December 5, 2010 at 9:43 am

    Yes, sorry, forgot to acknowledge Alan’s most excellent sign.

    Reply
  • 42. Tisha Denzin  |  December 10, 2010 at 1:00 am

    I want reading and I think this website got some genuinely utilitarian stuff on it! .

    Reply

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