from yesterday's inbox:
Today, Congressman Patrick Murphy introduced an amendment to the Defense policy bill that would repeal “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.” In the seventeen years since the policy was enacted, over 13,500 well trained, able-bodied soldiers willing to take a bullet for their country have been kicked out of the military simply because they were gay. As a Captain in the 82nd Airborne Division who served as a paratrooper in the Iraq War, Rep. Murphy has fought tirelessly to repeal a policy he believes damages national security and hurts military readiness.
“Arguments for keeping this policy in place are weak and outdated,” said Rep. Murphy. “To remove honorable, talented and patriotic troops from serving contradicts the American values our military fights for and our nation holds dear.”
Murphy added that more than 20 nations, including Britain, Israel and others fighting alongside our troops in Iraq and Afghanistan today, allow gays and lesbians to serve openly, without any detrimental impact on unit cohesion. At a time when our military is stretched thin fighting two wars and servicemembers are being sent on fourth and fifth deployments, it makes little sense to kick out infantry officers, fighter pilots, and Arabic translators just because of their sexual orientation.
The Congressman’s amendment respects the timeline of the Pentagon’s Implementation Study Group. When the President signs the Department of Defense Authorization bill into law, DADT will not instantly be repealed. Repeal would take place only after the study group completes its work in December 2010 and after the President, the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and the Secretary of Defense all certify that repeal will not hurt military readiness or unit cohesion.
Defense Secretary Gates and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Admiral Mullen have voiced support for repeal and said it’s no longer a matter of “if” but “when.” In recent testimony before Congress, Admiral Mullen stated, “It comes down to integrity – theirs as individuals and ours as an institution.” Further, in a letter dated May 24, 2010, the Administration said they support the amendment and noted that this approach “recognizes the critical need to allow our military and their families the full opportunity to inform and shape the implementation process through a thorough understanding of their concerns, insights, and suggestions.”