Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Obama's Inaction on Repealing Don't Ask, Don't Tell

President Barack Obama pledged during his campaign to do away with the military policy known as Don't Ask, Don't Tell (DADT). But with the economy in the tank and two wars to fight, the president has been slow to act on repealing the pointless policy.

According to a study conducted by University of California, Santa Barbara think tank, The Palm Center, between 1993, when the policy went into affect and 2003, "the military discharged 49 nuclear, biological, and chemical warfare specialists, 90 nuclear power engineers, 52 missile guidance and control operators, 150 rocket, missile and other artillery specialists, and 340 infantrymen."

In an appearance on ABC's This Week, White House National Security Advisor James Jones said, "We have had preliminary discussions with the leadership of the Pentagon, (Defense) Secretary (Robert) Gates, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs (Admiral Mike Mullen)."

Jones continued saying that although the president is committed to overturning the policy, he wants to do it right. Obama has contended that he needs congressional support in order to do so.

In a study released yesterday by The Palm Center, legal experts content that Obama could overturn the policy by executive order.

DADT was implemented as a compromise to the outright ban on gays serving openly when former president Bill Clinton faced stiff congressional opposition to his attempt to lift the ban in 1993. Like Clinton in the early days of his first term, Obama has enormous political capital, but having learned from Clinton's experience, appears reluctant to use it on such a controversial issue so early in his presidency.

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