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May 28, 2010 06:49 PM UTC

Colorado Delegation Votes Party-Line on DADT

  • 55 Comments
  • by: Colorado Pols

Colorado’s Congressional delegation voted along party lines on a House measure to end “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” in the military. As The Associated Press reports:

The House of Representatives on Thursday delivered a victory to President Barack Obama and gay rights groups by approving a proposal to repeal the law that allows gays to serve in the military only if they don’t disclose their sexual orientation.

The 234-194 vote to overturn the military’s “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy reflected a view among many in Congress that America was ready for a military in which gays and straights can stand side by side in the trenches…

…Republicans, who voted overwhelmingly against it, cited statements by some military leaders that they need more time to study how a change in the law could affect the lives and readiness of service members.

The House vote came just hours after the Senate Armed Services Committee took the same course and voted 16-12 in favor of repealing the 1993 law. In both cases the measure was offered as an amendment to a defense spending bill.

Comments

55 thoughts on “Colorado Delegation Votes Party-Line on DADT

  1. it awaits a report before implementation. I don’t have to wonder if Gates and the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs are going to be absolutely inundated with calls from McCain, et al.

    1. .

      would be adversely affected by this proposed integration ?

      That’s what I think.

      SSG Dan may respond that today’s soldiers are all progressive and tolerant and open-minded (or he may not.)  

      That would not match my experience, which I gained more than 20 years ago.  People change.  But consider who ends up in those infantry positions.  I don’t think that they have changed all that much.

      .

      1. I bet Americans can too.

        The argument you just made sounds exactly like the arguments people made against desegregation of units. The only difference is that the gays and lesbians are already there, they’re just not allowed to say so.

        1. They manage just fine in Israel, too  The same arguments were used against integrating blacks after WWII .  Truman insisted and the sky didn’t fall. And it wasn’t a volunteer force then.  There was a draft.  You couldn’t just not sign up if didn’t we want to serve with blacks. It was great for the military and for the country.  Now nobody is freaked out by blacks and whites and you name it serving side by side. It forced us to grow the hell up.

          It was right to take that leap then and it’s right to do so now.  If you don’t like it, don’t join or re-up.  Considering the proportion of gays in the population, whatever losses result from homophobes opting out will be made up for by gays and lesbians who will want to serve or who will feel secure in remaining in the service once they can do so without having to live a lie and look over their shoulders constantly for fear of someone outing them and ruining their careers.  

          Our fighting men and women already are serving with gays and you can bet most of them know it.  Apparently the GOP thinks we are the most childish people in the civilized world.  Considering that conservative politicians now have to apologize for things like accepting the science of evolution, they may be right.  But the sky didn’t fall when the military was forced to cut out racism and it won’t fall when it’s forced to cut out homophobia.

          If you want to worry about a real morale problem, how about the problem of so many women in the armed forces getting harassed, forced to provide sexual favors to superiors and being raped by their comrades in arms and then being pressured to keep their mouths shut? Now there’s a morale problem.  Why aren’t Republicans raising hell over that?  

          1. .

            could you pull together a representative list of some of our “peer countries ?”

            I’m trying to think of countries that have military forces fighting in 8 undeclared wars, 2 official wars, and conducting covert operations in about 40 countries.  

            Certainly you don’t consider serving in the IDF to be comparable, do you ?  Except for 1 soldier, Gilad Shalit, most of those in the IDF are free to go home almost every night, or at least for weekends.  

            .

            1. Like the same ones that also all have civilized healthcare? In Europe? The grown-ups of the world. And Israeli soldiers have participated in many conflicts that didn’t allow for going home at night (not at all the norm) and from which some of them are never going home and are prepared to do so again at any time.

              I won’t even respond to your comment that, except for Shalit, they almost all go home to sleep at night. What a crock. You think that’s why the IDF allows gays to serve? Because the  straights all go home to sleep safely in mommy’s house every night?  I’m stunned to hear such a moronic thing from you.

              So you think if Great Britain or Israel, etc had more wars to fight having gays openly serving would be a problem for them?  Is that your point?  I don’t agree and neither, apparently do they. Once again, that’s what they said about integrating the military 60+ years ago.  Instead our soldiers just grew up and got used to it, even wiithout their mommies to protect them from having to share space with blacks.

              1. .

                I was thinking that most IDF soldiers are free to go home, not that they actually exercised that option, but I didn’t state that clearly.

                Obviously that doesn’t apply to the Druze forces I visited on the Northern Border, nor to the soldiers stationed within the West Bank Occupied Territories, like the ones I visited in Ram’Allah.  

                I don’t pretend to be an expert on IDF, or Shin Bet, or Mossad, but I have studied all of these forces, attending seminars and lectures in the Headquarters of each, presented by senior officers, 6 years ago.  I even got the guy who was the tank commander in 1973 who almost single-handedly stopped the Syrian Army to show me the actual terrain he so ably defended.  

                The IDF mission is quite different than the mission of the US military.  US forces, for lack of a better term, are expeditionary.  In fact, I can think of no other industrialized nation whose military is nearly as expeditionary.  The closest comparison might be to al-Qaeda cells around the globe.  

                But for the LГ©gion Г©trangГЁre, and various rebel groups, nobody else puts their infantrymen (including SF and USMC) through the hardships that ours endure.  I don’t believe that facile comparisons add to the discussion.

                No European Army’s infantrymen have even 1/4 the combat experience of ours, on a per soldier basis.  

                Golly, US soldiers who fought the entire European Campaign in WW II saw less combat, man for man, than today’s US infantryman.  I’m not as knowledgeable about the Pacific Campaign, but the comparison might hold true for that theater, as well.  

                20%+ come home today with serious mental problems.  Combat is raw and primal.  

                I don’t know for sure how today’s soldiers will respond to this DADT repeal, but that doesn’t mean that we can just embark on some grand social experiment, consequences or no.

                Here’s something for you to Google: MacNamara’s 100,000.   When draft resisters were gaining sympathy with the public with their protests, MacNamara thought it expedient to drop mental standards for those wanting to enlist.  Folks I served with said that guys in that 100,000 got their buddies (and themselves) killed at a much higher rate.  Anecdotal.  Not even my story.  

                And I sure don’t mean that homosexuals are not as smart as others.  

                Just want to say that, when fiddling with the institutions that guarantee our freedom and this experiment in self-governance, take it easy.

                .  

                1. already largely know who is and isn’t gay in their units and open service, therefore, represents a far less radical change than did integrating the armed forces following WWII.  

                  During WWII German POWs got to eat in places black US soldiers couldn’t and Lena Horne had to raise a stink over German POWS sitting up front at one of her performances while black soldiers were relegated to the back.  

                  So when Truman said, tough luck deal with it and integrated the troops in time for the Korean War, many thought that was terrible and would destroy morale.  White soldiers might even have to, horrors, take orders from black superiors!  Instead, the military grew up and got used to it.  As I said,  this is much less of a change since those serving today already largely know that they are serving with gays and lesbians. DADT is just a fig leaf except when it’s used to drive people out of the military.  Then it’s a travesty.

                  If it is a matter of soldiers’ religious beliefs, once again, tough luck. The military is part of the government and the government is barred from showing preference to anyone’s religious beliefs over anyone else’s, including the religious beliefs of the majority.  That’s how religious minorities and the non-religious are able to enjoy complete freedom of conscience and to be full and equal citizens.

                  If your beliefs would bar you from accepting that, then the military isn’t for you.  In fact you’d better consider self-employment as that kind of discrimination is banned in most private sector jobs too.

                  I’m pretty sure our troops aren’t the only ones in the world who can’t deal with this.

        2. .

          in today’s open thread you make fun of Glenn Beck’s stupid kids, fated to flipping burgers.  

          But on this thread, you figure that the chillun’ of JimBob RedNeck will be all sweetness and light as far as accepting and tolerating and working alongside homosexuals.

          JimBob is a Glenn Beck fan.  

          I know the folks who join the Army; I R one.  And those of us who cannot get into higher skilled MOS’s end up humping rucks and living on COP’s.

          .

          By the way, I understand that homosexuals in the Russian Fleet (not as knowledgeable about the Russian Army) have a pretty high “assisted suicide” rate.  Is that what you mean by “handle it ?”

          .

        1. .

          as the opinions of people who have never served in combat units, would never serve in combat units, would sooner die than serve in a combat unit, hold front-line combat soldiers and Marines in contempt, regard such front line fighters as “Neanderthals,” and believe that their progressive position on the issue is the correct and proper one because, well, because they hold that position.  

          Before you opine on the impact on combat readiness, get a clue what “combat readiness” means.  Soldiers on a combat outpost in Narangar province would eat, sleep, defecate, you name it, within sight of each other for 180 days at a stretch.  Zero privacy.  Did I forget to mention “shower ?”  Oh, right.  No showers on a COP.  

          SSG Dan, and few others, have standing on this issue.

          The experiences of an Airman on Bagram Air Base are irrelevant, as far as I’m concerned.  That person may as well be in Arvada, as far as being exposed to danger and understanding what combat and front-line duty are like.  

          All the cutesy YouTube videos made by troops in the wars that I’ve seen were made by REMF’s.  They see about as much combat as GW Bush did, or Dave Petraeus did.    

          .

          1. the military is all volunteer.  We don’t have a draft, so no one is forced to serve.  

            Your opinion on this matter is no more or less valuable than any other taxpaying American.

            Do you think that we should poll our service men and women on every combat operation before our commander in chief decides where to send them?

          2. in my local paper, to whom a couple of us responded like this:

            Gays have always been, and are right now, serving in the military. If they were as undisciplined and out of control as you seem to think, how come they haven’t all “outed” themselves in the showers and been booted out of the ranks? Truth be told, gay men aren’t all that interested in straight men. Ever heard of “gaydar”?

            Somehow your including “defecate” is a little ooky. Methinks thou dost imagine this stuff in more detail than is necessary?

            Why do you think that the American military is so petty that it can’t handle what the rest of the world already does? It is too bad you have so little faith in Americans.

            Answers????  Crickets???

              1. you’re supposed to answer those first.

                BTW, I believe it’s been well established here and in many other venues that one can have a valid opinion without having experienced the exact situation that’s being discussed. E.g., allowing men who never have and never can be pregnant, their opinions about pregnancy and abortion.

                1. .

                  This so-called repeal or roll-back is contingent on the military chiefs agreeing.

                  You and I both know what their response is going to be (unqualified support;) but the Congress seems to be acknowledging that these people, with their experience in the armed forces, have some special insight.  

                  .

                  1. which YOU made, not to anything said by the military top brass.  I doubt that, in public at least, they’ve shown themselves to be worried about gay and straight soldiers have to defecate together.

          1. Why do I always forget these things? It’s kind of like the French–whatever they do, we must do the opposite. Thank God for you. 🙂

      2. …and as I’ve stated before, I don’t think the Military in general, and Combat Arms in particular were ready for this change in the early 90’s.

        Based on the conversations I’ve had with OIF/OEF vets, Generation Kill does not give a shit what orifice you prefer to copulate in….if you can handle an M4 and clear a house, or pull a M2 Bradley’s engine in under 4 hours, you’re good to go.

        And I don’t think all ground-pounders and support troops are all open-minded, but they all respond to the military order and discipline of the society they are part of. The integration of the military in the 50’s didn’t start off so smooth, but between the Cruel & Unusual Punishment of the UCMJ, experiences in WWII and a changing US Society, it was made to work.

      3. my partner likely served alongside you 20 years ago.

        Given the fear that we gays and lesbians seem to stoke in the hearts of our fighting men and women, perhaps we are in actuality the perfect weapon…

        1. and I know that a number of military supervisors and officers (prob including Barron X) KNEW they had SM’s under their command that were Gay.

          They chose to ignore it, play stupid, hide behind DADT whatever…but there was absolutely  no problems with military effectiveness or unit cohesion.

          Because if there is, there’s plenty of legitimate tools under the UCMJ and regulations to fix the problem. That applies to SM’s who are racist, can’t follow orders or just can’t keep their fat-ass out of the chow all.

          The idea that teh gayz would destroy unit moral welfare and discipline is so much bullshit.

        2. .

          by which I really mean, “no, duh.”

          My best friend in BK, SHJC, fell in love with me, a mutual friend informed me, 1974.  AWKWARD.

          The second best Platoon Sergeant I ever knew was outed in Korea and spirited out of the country because the Chain of Command feared that he would be murdered by his own men, 1980.  

          There were homosexuals in front-line units before I ever served in one, and there are homosexuals in those units today.  No surprise.

          In my dated opinion, if a homosexual served openly in such assignments today, it would really bother some of the less than progressive soldiers on his left and on his right.  I think it would seriously bother some of them so much that they might let him get killed simply by not watching his back.

          I’ve been in a position where I was inspecting soldiers on guard duty, and came across one in a remote location not doing his duty properly.  Knowing this soldier, and our circumstances, it occurred to me that he might murder me if I handled the situation indelicately.  

          There’s a lot of discretion in matters of life and death in a battlespace.   Misconduct is rarely reported, let alone investigated, due to the difficulties of operating in hostile territory.  

          I believe that DADT was crafted in recognition of this truth.  I opposed it, and still do.  I would be open to the idea of segregated homosexual combat units, but I think integrating them undermines unit esprit d’ corps.  SSG Dan disagrees, and his experience in the combat arms is much more recent.

          .

          You assert in a post above that your opinion on this is just as valuable as mine.  I don’t agree.  I don’t think you know as much about the organizational behavior or group dynamics of small infantry units as I do.  I believe that expert knowledge is more relevant in this matter than emotion or uninformed opinion.  Your partner, on the other hand, if he served in the combat arms, would merit more credibility.  

          As for the comparisons by others to other military forces,

          R U serious ?

          .

          1. Barron – if you knew with that soldier on guard duty that mishandling the situation might lead to “problems”, you obviously handled it reasonably well – you’re still here to tell about it.

            The same fears you note about homosexuality can be said about race and religion, and we have an integrated Army in both of those two areas, with occasional problems arising from bigotry along those lines.

            The job of the soldier is to follow orders; the simple order here is: respect your fellow soldier.  If you can’t follow it, you don’t deserve your post any more than if you get caught slacking off while on duty.

          2. …I’d venture to guess that more soldiers have whacked each other for their spouse’s infidelity than they have over someone that might be looking at their ass in the shower.

            I will never EVER forget covering a murder in Fulda in which one soldier cut the head off another while he was talking on the phone to his wife. After messily chopping the head off, he drove from the Kaserne to the German hospital his wife was admitted to, pregnant with the headless soldiers’ child. AND showed her the head.

            I’ve seen NCO’s beaten senseless for being an alleged Child Molester (he wasn’t), the same NCO kicked off an M113 in the middle of Hohenfels Training area because he was incompetent (he was), and many fights between infantry companies in the same battalion over possession of a bar. (OK, I actually participated in that one.)

            NONE of these resulted in the collapse of the military cohesion of the unit. In fact, the brutal hand of the UCMJ made sure that it didn’t happen. To me, same-same if we acknowledge gays in the military..,.and if someone assaults or murders a fellow SM, they’re off to the Disciplinary Barracks in Kansas.

              1. Here’s the story:

                http://articles.latimes.com/19

                and here:

                http://www.snopes.com/horrors/

                I was the Art Director at the time at American Forces Network Europe, and sent one my artist daily to cover the trial (he did courtroom sketches, and we aired them on our live broadcast.) We covered it DAILY, twice a day, and had updates on the radio constantly.

                The common sentiment in the Military Community, shared with the Commanding General reviewing the conviction was “he needed killin’.” At the time, there was a “rumor” that the CG would reduce the sentence to 25 years at the Disciplinary Barracks, but did confirm the sentence.

          3. tired (*yawn*) arguments were made against desegregating the military.  (The white soldiers will kill the black ones rather than serve with them; we must keep them separate in order to protect them).  Your kind of thinking was wrong then and it is wrong now.  Frankly you are not giving enough credit to our forces.  

            Just curious, when do you think the military would have desegregated had Truman not ordered it done?

             

  2. for Ted Haggard to enlist.

    Focus on the family can now try to “cure the gay” by taking more than one at a time on all expense paid vacations to Italy.

    /sarcasm

  3. .

    I’m guessing that the DADT repeal is rolled back in phases, rather than being killed in one fell swoop.

    I think that restrictions will be erased first in non-combat roles like the Air Force*, and take longer to be relaxed in the SF, infantry, armor and artillery.  

    I don’t think that homosexuals are not already in the tip-of-the-spear units; gays and straights already stand side by side in the trenches.  I’m just offering the guess that DADT will remain the official policy in those units after its been overturned elsewhere.

    * – I’m not using precise language here; certainly missileers and fighter pilots are combatants.  When I say “combatant,” I mean the folks who fire aimed rifle shots at other human beings, and who sleep in FOB’s, COP’s, foxholes, in pretty close proximity to other soldiers.

    .

  4. …Republicans, who voted overwhelmingly against it, cited statements by some military leaders that they need more time to study how a change in the law could affect the lives and readiness of service members.

    Then they should all have supported the repeal, because it won’t take effect until the study is complete and both the civilian and military heads of of the military sign off on the repeal.

    Their saying that they oppose it because it needs “more time” is the same as the fact that legislation is moving “too fast” for them and that it should all be “slowed down”.  Simple translation: they just want to stop it from happening.

  5. I think it’s interesting that we have two Congressmen that are veterans, John Salazar and Mike Coffman, but they voted differently on this issue.  I know they’re in opposing parties, but I’m intrigued at the contrast between the personal insight into the role of a service-member and partisan politics.

    Am I the only one who finds this interesting?  Is Salazar being brave in supporting the repeal?  Is Coffman being brave in opposing the repeal?  I’m genuinely curious what others think.

    1. Given the registration makeup of Salazar’s district, you could make the argument that his vote was braver than Coffman’s, but I wouldn’t call it that.

    2. They’re both representing their districts as they think they can do best.

      Coffman might be right in thinking that his (conservative) district’s majority opposes repeal of DADT – or he could just be marching to John Boehner’s tune.

      Salazar might rightly think that he best represents his (more libertarian) district by supporting the end of DADT – or he could be going along with his party in order to get the bill passed by the widest margin possible.

      I think it more likely that Coffman is listening to Boehner than that Salazar is listening to Pelosi though, if for no other reason than the numbers.  Salazar could have easily defected if he wanted to, and no harm would have come to the bill from his decision.  OTOH, the Republicans need to show unity if they ever have a hope of blocking the Democratic agenda.  But really I think Coffman was more concerned about his district’s reaction if he voted in favor – whether or not he personally supported it, I don’t know (and he won’t tell, for obvious reasons dealing with his political future in a very conservative GOP district).

      1. on the House vote and the Senate Committee votes?

        The Senate committee’s vote on the amendment was mostly partisan, with 15 Democrats and one Republican — Sen. Susan Collins of Maine — supporting the compromise repeal language. Thursday’s House vote also was along largely partisan lines, with 229 Democrats and five Republicans supporting the repeal amendment, while 168 Republicans and 26 Democrats opposed it.

          1. Judy Biggert (Ill.)

            Joseph Cao (La.)

            Charles Djou (Hawaii)

            Ron Paul (Texas)

            Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (Fla.)

            Ron Paul is Ron Paul – he voted for it on principle if nothing else.  Cao and Djou are both in very Democratic districts.  Ros-Lehtinen and Biggert are in swing districts, slightly Republican leaning – they’re the two who deserve some extra credit.

              1. Of all the Republicans in the House, only 5 had the strength of character to vote against their party leadership – or there are only 5 Republicans in the House who actually believe that a potential repeal of DADT might be good for the military after all of the fired gay soldiers who could have been supporting this country over the past decade.

  6. Republicans constantly talk about how they are going to address the social issues when they are in charge from abortions to guns but then they just put everything off as not quite ready to act until the next election cycle when they will make the case that they need to get elected to deal with these hot button social issues.

    Democrats follow through on their social issue solutions and work toward a more inclusive society. One uses the issues to get elected while the other tries to deal with the issue through a combination of solutions.

    The moral of the story is that social conservatives are probably the most gullible people in politics to continue to vote for the party the is all promise and no delivery.

    Watching the lame stream media, you would never guess which one is supposed to be losing support among their base?  

    1. That means resistant to change.  Voting to address their pet peeve social issues would be “change”, so maybe they’re just reluctant to go through with it?

      Nah – they just want to keep the issues that motivate their base available for the next election cycle.  And the next…

  7. I swear, that man gets no credit for the things he does for the American people.

    Save the American economy, check.

    Save the banking system, check.

    Save the car companies, check.

    Save & reform the health care system, check.

    DADT, check.

    Cover BP’s backside, check.

  8. Was a sargeant in the Army in WWII in France in 1943.  He and a buddy were in a fox hole in NE France and under heavy fire.  They both thought they might die that night.  My father-in-law lost one and one-half lungs but miraculously survived.  His buddy did not.  He died.  That night his buddy told him that he was homosexual (“gay” wasn’t used in that way in those days).  My father-in-law was shocked.  He was a real man’s man and probably didn’t even think about that kind of stuff.  But he told me before he died, that he would have served with his buddy even if he had known.

    I’ve got to think that if that was the attitude of a farm boy in the 1940’s, this isn’t going to be a problem for any but the very few who judge people on these issues rather than on the content of their character.

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