Only two days after it proclaimed the end of the Pentagon’s homosexual exclusion policy, The Washington Post is now admitting that open homosexuals can NOT join the military services. “‘Don’t ask, don’t tell’ ban on gays won’t change immediately,” was the headline over the article in the print edition of the paper. The on-line version was different. It said “‘Don’t ask, don’t tell’ repealed: What’s next?”
As previously noted by Accuracy in Media, the votes in Congress to “repeal” the policy have not actually repealed it. The law that was passed says the homosexual exclusion policy can only be lifted if it can be demonstrated by military authorities that the change will not adversely affect military readiness, recruitment, and retention.
“On Monday, Pentagon officials repeatedly declined to predict how long they would need, saying only that they would proceed at a ‘methodical’ and ‘deliberate’ pace,” the Post is now saying.
An Associated Press story noted that defense officials must certify that “the change will not damage combat readiness.” AP noted that Air Force Chief of Staff Norton Schwarz told the troops that “the current law remains in effect.”
Indeed, AP reported that Pentagon spokesman Marine Col. Dave Lapan “stressed that the ban on open service is still in effect, and any service member who decided to declare he or she was gay would risk enforcement of the current law—which calls for removal from service.”
In order to secure the vote of Senator Jim Webb, Democrat of Virginia, Defense Secretary Robert Gates said that “neither he [Admiral Mullen] nor I would sign a certification until we were satisfied, after having consulted with each of the Service Chiefs and Combatant Commanders, that risks to combat readiness, unit cohesion, and effectiveness had, in fact, been mitigated, if not eliminated, to the extent possible for all Services, commands, and units.”
The law, however, specifically states that the changes must be “consistent with the standards of military readiness, military effectiveness, unit cohesion, and recruiting and retention of the Armed Forces.” The option of changing the policy as long as the negative impact is just “mitigated” is not there.
Senator Webb, a highly-decorated combat Marine in Vietnam and chairman of the Senate Armed Services Personnel Subcommittee, voted for the “repeal” anyway.
In a statement opposing the overturning of the homosexual exclusion policy, Jimmie L. Foster, national commander of The American Legion, said that “The American Legion remains convinced a repeal of ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’ cannot be easily implemented and could compromise the effectiveness of crucially needed fighting forces.”
It is now apparent that the new policy cannot be easily implemented without major negative consequences. Which means that it will be practically impossible for Gates and Mullen to truthfully certify that the change will not undermine military order, recruiting, and retention.