- Egypt rights center raided, 2 Mubaraks acquitted
- New Mexico Supreme Court rules same-sex marriage constitutional
- Blame Bush: 5 years later, that’s still the mantra, pollsters find
- Dutch prostitutes demand same retirement benefits as soccer stars
- John McCain to Harry Reid: I’ll ‘kick the crap’ out of you
- Dogs that talk: Researchers seek $10K for ‘No More Woof’ technology
- 1,000 firefighters called to battle stubborn Big Sur wildfire
- Black Friday brouhaha: Millions of Target shoppers hit by credit card theft
- Britain orders airplane to rescue citizens from violent South Sudan
- Mega Millions winner emerges as Georgia mom, in ‘disbelief’
Lawmaker wants OK from service chiefs in lifting of ‘don’t ask’
Question of the Day
Just when Democrats thought the thorny issue of repealing a ban on allowing gays to serve openly in the military had been resolved, a Republican lawmaker reopened the debate by calling for more military voices to have a say if, when and how the ban is lifted.
Rep. Duncan Hunter of California is expected to introduce legislation Wednesday that would require the heads of the four military branches to OK the planned lifting of the controversial “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy in place since 1993.
A bill passed by Congress and signed by President Obama in December calls for the policy’s repeal after the president, secretary of defense and chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff certify that scrapping the ban would not hurt military readiness and effectiveness, unit cohesion, and recruiting and retention.
Mr. Obama, Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates and Joint Chiefs Chairman Adm. Mike Mullen support the law and have vowed to overturn the ban as soon as possible before a court strikes down the policy, action they say would leave the armed services unprepared for the change.
But under Mr. Hunter’s measure, repeal would occur only after the chiefs of staff of the Army, Navy and Air Force, and the Marine Corps‘ commandant, certified that the move “will not degrade the readiness, effectiveness, cohesion, and morale of combat arms units and personnel of the Armed Force under the officer’s jurisdiction engaged in combat, deployed to a combat theater, or preparing for deployment to a combat theater.”
Mr. Hunter’s “point is we need to put them at the forefront of this process to ensure that they can provide a clear, candid assessment about whether or not the implementation is feasible at the moment, or whether it creates any type of impediment to combat ranks.”
Those against the repeal say that with the military waging a war in Afghanistan and winding down another in Iraq, now is not the time to force through a major policy change. Supporters counter that the 18-year-old policy is outdated and unjust and that repeal would not harm the armed services or undermine morale.
A Pentagon survey released in November found that about two-thirds of troops don’t care if the ban is lifted. Of the 30 percent who objected, most were in combat units.
But Marine Corp Commandant Gen. James Amos has opposed the new law, saying lifting the ban during wartime could be a distraction and cost lives. Army General George W. Casey Jr. and Air Force General Norton A. Schwartz also have expressed reservations about the change.
“The service chiefs stated they had strong concerns with implementation, indicating it’s going to take away time and attention and funding all better directed at winning the war in Afghanistan,” Mr. Kasper said.
The Republican’s proposal faces an uphill battle to become law. While his party controls the House, the measure likely would face stiff opposition in the Democrat-controlled Senate and from the White House.
A similar measure pushed last month by Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, Kentucky Republican, quickly died in the chamber.
© Copyright 2013 The Washington Times, LLC. Click here for reprint permission.
About the Author
Sean Lengell covers Congress and national politics and can be reached at email@example.com.
- GOP tests Democrats on college loan issue
- Lawmakers outside intelligence loop get miffed about briefing structure in Congress
- John Boehner: Time is right to bring latest farm bill to House floor
- Supreme Court nears rulings on key voting rights cases
- John Boehner demands answers on NSA, phone records
Latest Blog Entries
By Andrew P. Napolitano
Fourth Amendment says Obama is not at liberty to collect metadata
- Calling sentence disparities unfair, Obama pardons 8 crack offenders
- Homeland Security helps smuggle illegal immigrant children into the U.S.
- Gov't wasted $30 billion on 'pillownauts,' crystal goblets -- buying human urine!
- Duck Dynasty Phil Robertson suspended indefinitely for gay quip
- Bill Gates: The Secret Santa disguised as a 'friendly fellow' on Reddit
- Armed response, not restrictive gun laws, brought swift end to school shooting
- Obamacare 'pajamas boy' gets roundly mocked
- BOLTON: Nero in the White House
- Democrats cite pope in call for minimum wage hike, jobless benefits
- Outrage over Phil Robertson suspension, 'malignant' political correctness
Independent voices from the The Washington Times Communities
The world impacts us. What happens in our towns, cities, states, country and on this planet makes a difference to us.
Brazen, leading-edge, “call it like it is” columns and reporting from Ohio native, radio host and writer, Sara Marie Brenner.
Crystal Wright is a black conservative woman living in Washington, D.C.
Wall Street news for retail investors who want to know what's going on.
Top 10 handguns in the U.S.
Extraordinary day at Redskins Park
White House pets gone wild!
Let it snow