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May 20, 2009

Annals of Uncertainty

In addition to its recent mixed signals on medical marijuana, the Obama Administration seems to be rethinking another controversial policy: the awkward “don’t ask, don’t tell” position on homosexuality in the Military that became policy in 1993 when Bill Clinton was unable to keep a campaign promise and demonstrated that he lacked the political courage of a Harry Truman.

Since DADT became policy, about 12,500 service members have been outed; however, the rate has declined significantly since the military has been fighting in two protracted wars started by the Bush Administration in response to 9/11. In addition to the well-known conservatism of Republicans and flag officers, two other subtleties may be hinted at in that statistic.

One is that retention of younger gays who have have already demonstrated their willingness and ability to do the job makes perfect sense in a setting in which recruitment has become a problem and rank and file service personnel seem untroubled by their presence.

Another is suggested by the otherwise irrational decision to cashier an outstanding Lieutenant-Colonel two years short of retirement: his potentially expensive lifetime benefits would be saved.

All of which raises more troubling questions. If; as they have been hinting, the Obama people plan to wait for a more propitious time to seek certain changes once “believed in,” would those changes be retroactive? Would medical marijuana offenders arrested, convicted, or sentenced by the feds in California either be pardoned or have their sentences commuted? Would gay service members swindled out of their retirement benefits have them restored?

Doctor Tom

Posted by tjeffo at May 20, 2009 05:52 PM