Ambitious leftists with legal training always pursue at least two paths. They vote "present" on tough bills; they are "for it before they were against it;" and they would have voted with the majority if it was close, but thought the minority had the better argument.
The latest data compiled by the gay rights group Servicemembers United from Defense Department numbers, shows that "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" expulsions from the military hit women and minorities disproportionately. In 2008, 209 women and 279 minorities were among the 619 troops discharged in 2008 under the 17-year policy.
I have no problem with allowing gays openly to serve in the military, provided that this change in policy would not reduce the military's effectiveness. As to whether the change would, in fact, have such an impact, it is folks in the military who have the best sense of this. Unfortunately, it's not easy to get that sense, and the difficulties run both ways. Some in the military might baselessly claim, due to prejudice or simply out of an aversion to change, that altering current policy would impair the military. But others, especially those at the highest level, might baselessly make the contrary claim in order to curry favor with politicians and civilian officials bent on ending "don't ask, don't tell." This much seems clear, however: the Senate should not be voting on whether to change current policy until we have made our best effort to obtain the military's best thinking on the subject. Yet, the Democrats seem intent on voting to repeal "don't ask, don't tell" before the Pentagon completes its review of the matter. Under a deal brokered by the White House, repeal would occur now but would not be implemented until the Pentagon completes a study of the matter in December. But there is no excuse for repealing the policy, and thereby quite possibily creating something close to a fait accompli, on an inadequate factual record. Indeed, Obama's own Secretary of Defense, Robert Gates, "continues to believe that ideally the DOD review should be completed before there is any legislation to repeal the Don't Ask Don't Tell law." Accordingly, Scott Brown, a veteran and a lieutenant colonel in the Massachusetts National Guard, will oppose repeal tomorrow when the Senate Armed Services votes: I am keeping an open mind, but I do not support moving ahead until I am ab