- The Washington Times - Tuesday, February 9, 2010


Does this sound familiar? President Obama decides to overturn some element of our national security. The decision is taken without regard for evidence that the consequences could be dire, on the grounds that the president believes “our values” necessitate a change.

Only after the presidentially directed change in course is announced is a study launched to figure out how to implement it. The public is told that within a year, that job will be done and Team Obama’s revisions will be put into place.

The first time this gambit was employed, the newly installed president announced that by Jan. 21, 2010, he would close the prison at Guantanamo Bay and relocate its detainees elsewhere. That was necessary, we were told, because the facility universally known as Gitmo had become identified with torture and inhumane incarceration of enemy combatants. For those reasons, it served as a “recruiting tool” for al Qaeda, and we can’t have that.

The president’s left-wing base was ecstatic. Most Americans, knowing little if anything about the actual nature of Guantanamo Bay and understandably reluctant to engage in practices that would help our enemies, seemed open to what, presumably, would be a careful review of ways in which Mr. Obama’s order could be accommodated safely.

Flash forward to last week’s hearing in the Senate Armed Services Committee. Headlines were made as Secretary of Defense Robert M. Gates announced that “we have our orders” from the commander in chief to accept openly homosexual people into the military. Joint Chiefs Chairman Adm. Mike Mullen chimed in, declaring that he was convinced that this was “the right thing to do.” Largely lost in the media adulation was Adm. Mullen’s caveat that he was “speaking personally and for myself alone.” (Read: The rest of the Joint Chiefs were not necessarily in accord.)

The two men then announced that a yearlong study would be commissioned to establish how the military would accommodate those who seek to serve but insist on doing so as avowedly gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender or “intersexed” (formerly known as hermaphrodite) folks.

Once again, the president’s political base is thrilled. The left sees him delivering for them on a long-standing promise at a time when he has abandoned them on many others. Forcing the military to adapt to the homosexual agenda, they reason, will make it vastly more difficult for the rest of society to object to, for example, gay marriage - something 17 states have done as a result of popular referendums.

And, once again, the initial response of many Americans is, “Whatever.” Few wish to risk being seen as engaging in “discrimination,” let alone denounced for “homophobia.” Fewer still may have any real appreciation for what is entailed in military life - for example, the unavoidable nature of “forced intimacy” to which many in uniform are subjected from boot camp on. In any event, they probably reason that the armed forces will be able to figure out any necessary fixes over a year’s time (which - wink, wink - coincidentally, will extend the implementation of this presidential decision past the midterm congressional elections).

As it happens, the unveiling of what might be called “Gitmo 2” comes as Mr. Obama’s “Gitmo 1” decision has begun to unravel. Despite more than a year of trying, Team Obama has not been able to figure out how safely to close the prison in Cuba. In the meantime, the public has awakened to the ominous security implications of the relocation of “the worst of the worst” from Guantanamo Bay to places like New York City; Standish, Mich.; and Thomson, Ill. Anger has been heightened by the prospect of affording those terrorists the panoply of constitutional rights enjoyed by American citizens so that they might use our civilian courts as platforms for waging political warfare against us.

In the months ahead, the same awakening and public rejection is likely to attend the president’s decision to force the GLBTI agenda on the military - notwithstanding the political cover afforded by Adm. Mullen’s endorsement. There are simply no practical answers to the myriad problems associated with integrating people with these many avowed sexual proclivities into military settings of forced intimacy. The net result of trying is that it is likely to force vastly more people to leave the services than will be induced to join them. If one of the principal, stated rationalizations for this exercise is to expand the pool of personnel for the armed forces, it would be madness in time of war to be pursuing it when, on net, the effect will actually deprive the military of far larger numbers of skilled, experienced troops and officers.

Such legitimate concerns have only been further exacerbated by Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr.’s now notorious decision - taken without consulting of the rest of the president’s intelligence, homeland security and national defense team - to allow the Christmas Day panty bomber, Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, to lawyer up after just 50 minutes of interrogation. Scott Brown is a U.S. senator today in no small measure because of the public outrage over these examples of national security malpractice, if not outright malfeasance.

At the end of the day, Gitmo 2 probably will founder for the same reason Gitmo 1 has: Congress must enact legislation to implement these high-handed and ill-considered presidential decisions. Particularly after the left’s sweeping repudiation in Massachusetts, majorities on Capitol Hill are unlikely to be found to pay for a new detention facility in the United States, try detainees in civilian courts here or repeal the still-valid statute barring openly homosexual individuals from the military.

Frank J. Gaffney Jr. is president of the Center for Security Policy, a columnist for The Washington Times and host of the nationally syndicated program “Secure Freedom Radio.”

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