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As has been reported, the DREAM Act and Don't Ask Don't Tell votes will be included in next week's defense authorization bill in the Senate.

Cue "shaking fists at clouds" John McCain, who apparently thinks there's no room for human rights in the military. This is from his prepared statement, via e-mail:

"....We learned on Monday that before we go home for this election cycle, there will be no debate at all on the Defense Authorization Bill except for three amendments handpicked by the Majority Leader for narrow political reasons two months before an election. One of those amendments will be on banning the use of so-called ‘secret holds.’ Another will be on the DREAM Act, which allows the children of immigrants who entered the country illegally to become U.S. citizens.... The Majority Leader has no business putting these two amendments on the National Defense Authorization Act, and certainly not as two of only three amendments that will even get to be voted on at a time when our military is engaged in two wars overseas, and when numerous defense issues demand the Senate’s time.

That leads us to an amendment to strike the provision in the bill that would repeal the ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’ law as the only other issue the Senate will be able to debate and vote on....

“Now, the Majority will say that this amendment does not actually ‘repeal’ ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell;’ it merely authorizes its repeal pending a certification from the President, the Secretary of Defense, and the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff that a repeal would not harm military effectiveness – just those three officials, and not the four Service Chiefs, or Congress for that matter. [T]he Senate will turn its responsibility to legislate on this important matter over to three officials who have already publicly stated their support for repealing ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.’ It is a blatant message of disrespect to our men and women in uniform that Congress is unwilling to even wait to hear what the force has to say on this important matter before pushing ahead with a controversial, political vote two months before an election
....

It was actually a pretty fun floor speech to watch as McCain wound himself tighter and tighter. A tour de force of sputtering outrage from the Maverick. He might have a point that secret holds aren't particularly relevant to this legislation, but on DREAM Act and DADT, he's full of hot air.

The DREAM Act is specifically included in the DoD's strategic plan for the coming fiscal year. Military service is one of the paths to citizenship these young people could follow. Margaret Stock, a retired Lt. Col in the Army Reserve has stated:

Potential DREAM Act beneficiaries are also likely to be a military recruiter’s dream candidates for enlistment ... In a time when qualified recruits—particularly ones with foreign language skills and foreign cultural awareness – are in short supply, enforcing deportation laws against these young people makes no sense. Americans who care about our national security should encourage Congress to pass the DREAM Act.

As for DADT, is McCain really questioning the authority of the Commander in Chief, the Secretary of Defense, and the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff to make this determination? Sounds like it to me. So if a Democratic Commander in Chief is strengthening the military by allowing thousands of willing and able people to serve, Congress can override his decision, but if it's a Republican flouting torture bans, well, that's the way it goes.

Originally posted to Daily Kos on Thu Sep 16, 2010 at 01:30 PM PDT.

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