Headline from the Washington Post — Colin Powell now says gays should be able to serve openly in military. This follows statements by chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Admiral Michael G. Mullen and U.S. Defense Secretary Robert Gates that the Don’t Ask Don’t Tell policy should be put back in the closet, so to speak. Gates actually talked about this as far back as July of 2009 (which is a lifetime in terms of our non-stop news cycle). According to CNN, Gates told the Pentagon back then that he was “looking at ways to make the policy ‘more humane,’ including letting people serve who may have been outed due to vengeance or a jilted lover.”
Not everyone is in favor of this, of course. Rep. Duncan Hunter (R-CA) told NPR that “most people in the military would be uncomfortable” if Don’t Ask Don’t Tell (DADT) were repealed. John McCain said in 2006 that “the day that the leadership of the military comes to me and says, ‘Senator, we ought to change the policy,’ then I think we ought to consider seriously changing it because those leaders in the military are the ones we give the responsibility to.” Now that the leadership of the military is saying just that, McCain doesn’t seem all that interested in listening, and even accused Gates of trying to repeal DADT “by fiat.” A McCain spokesperson says that this is not inconsistent, telling the Washington Post, “One person, speaking individually, not on behalf of the Navy at all, is not going to change Senator McCain’s position. There has to be a determination from our military leaders that they think it is a good idea to change the policy. Then of course Senator McCain will listen to them.”
Except that this isn’t just one person. It’s at least three people. Two top military officials, and, oh, who was the third person? Oh. That’s right. President Obama. The Commander in Chief of our Armed Forces. But hey, who cares what that guy says?
Remember the first Gulf War (“the one everybody says we won” to paraphrase a comic book I read recently), how we were all supposed to “support the President”? How we really, really needed to support the President in a time of war? Aren’t we still at war, this time in two countries? If the Commander in Chief and two top military officials say that they are in favor of something, you have to take it seriously. Senator McCain has to “listen to them.” Not that he can’t have a difference of opinion. But the idea that Senator McCain was responding to some off-hand remark made by “one person” is laughable. It also ties into what I think is a serious lack of respect for the office of the President, not to mention those who serve in the military. Anyone who is willing to volunteer to be shot at should be able to acknowledge their sexual preferences. Are people afraid that this is sort of thing will start to happen on the battlefield? (Warning — video not really safe for all workplaces and sensitivities, although there’s nothing too crazy in there.)
This isn’t about gay people wanting to have a big ol’ party in the barracks.
Bottom line, though, is that whether any Senators agree with the idea or not, they should take it seriously. They don’t get to ignore the President just because they don’t like him.
In other news…
The Air Force Academy is actually setting aside Pagan Worship Space according to NPR.
Pagan Worship Space sounds like the name of an album by, I don’t know, Muse. And speaking of Muse, you can get an MP3 download of Black Holes And Revelations for only five dollars today. Whoo-hoo! Twi-hards, take note — Muse is on the Twilight soundtrack. Here’s the song, Supermassive Black Hole.
Some are predicting 20 inches of snow in Washington D.C. That’s a lot of snow. Here’s your LIVE DOPPLER 12 PINPOINT FUTURECAST!
I love weather reports like this. It takes three minutes to tell us that it’s going to snow, like, a lot?
And finally, a “sweat-lodge guru” (which also would be a good name for an album, now that you mention it) named James Ray has been accused of manslaughter because three people died during one of his sweat-lodge thingies. Guru Ray’s lawyer said “accepts responsibility for what happened…but that does not make it a crime.” Um… actually, it might. That’s kind of up to a jury, not a guru. Sad stuff.
Colin Powell photo from Wikipedia