Republicans embarrass themselves at DADT hearings
Rep. Allen B. West (R-Florida) belled the cat neatly during a hearing last Friday on the military's breakneck pace in implementing the new lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) law.
Mr. West, whose 20-plus years in the U.S. Army included combat commands, noted that he and others at Fort Bragg had to endure "sensitivity training" in the 1990s. It didn't enhance the "warrior ethos," he recalled.
What became clear at the hearing of the House Armed Services Committee's Personnel Subcommittee chaired by Joe Wilson (R-South Carolina) is that the Pentagon is forging into unknown territory, driven by political correctness, not military need.
Mr. Wilson, Mr. West and Rep. Mike Coffman (R-Colorado) were openly skeptical about how honest the process has been. Mr. West noted that political correctness can prove costly, as when commanders ignored Maj. Nidal Malik Hasan's plunge into radical Islam before the Fort Hood shootings. Likewise, people are afraid to share qualms over the LGBT law, Mr. West said.
I'll say one thing for Knight. What he doesn't have in truth, he makes up in creativity.
In reality, according to the site Equality Matters, the Republicans were hoping to use the hearings to find something - anything - that they could use to delay the repeal of DADT. And they couldn't find a thing:
Under Secretary of Defense for Personnel and Readiness Clifford Stanley said he saw "no issues or problems" with the repeal of DADT, which is expected to be completed by midsummer. "All is going well," Stanley said.
Republicans weren't pleased.
Rep. Austin Scott (R-GA) attempted to make the case that under DADT gay and lesbian service members were being discharged for violating standards of conduct rather than for simply being gay and that training for repeal was costing the military too much money. He was rebuked, not once but twice, by Vice Admiral William E. Gortney, who testified that the majority of soldiers discharged under DADT had not violated standards of conduct and that training had only cost about $10,000, a minuscule amount considering the military's annual budget.
Rep. Vicky Hartzler (R-MO) tried to rehash the issue of troops showering together, criticizing Vice Admiral Gortney for "not being consistent" in his responses.
Extremely embarrassing to Republican efforts to derail the DADT repeal was the following exchange between Rep. Austin Scott (R-GA) and Vice Admiral William E. Gortney. Scott was trying to prove that gay soldiers had been discharged for violating standards of conduct rather than their sexual orientation.
Needless to say, he wasn't successful:
Transcript:SCOTT: Did you discharge him from the service because he was gay or because he violated a standard of conduct?
GORTNEY: Because he was gay.
SCOTT: He did not violate a standard of conduct before he was dismissed?
GORTNEY: He did not.
SCOTT: That's not the answer I thought you would give to be honest with you, Admiral.
From what I understand there will be another hearing today. I'm hoping that Republicans will end up with more egg on their faces, while Knight will continue to sing their praises from whatever alternate universe he is viewing the hearings.