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Not at obstructionists in the military.  Not at a recalcitrant Senate. Not at all.

I do know that President Obama gets angry every time he's heckled by "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" protesters. He thinks he's doing everything he can given the constraints imposed on him by reality.

Marc Ambinder

And that's the problem. What the President thinks is divorced from reality, not constrained by reality.  Is it just me, or can you honestly say that you too didn't believe, as you watched the election returns in November of 2008, that something like the following would come down on or about January 21st, 2009:

President Obama, in the Oval Office, meeting with the Joint Chiefs: "As you know, I promised to end the Don't Ask, Don't Tell policy.  I want an implementation plan on my desk in sixty days.  I will present the plan to Congress and ask that the law be undone immediately.  That's an order."

Admiral Mullen: "Yes sir!"

(I admit that I thought a similar thing would happen in January of 1993 too.  Fool me once, shame on you, fool me twice...)

Instead, the military has co-opted, once again, a President of the United States.

To the point where he believes he is not the Commander-in-Chief; that it is the Defense Secretary and the military brass who are to decide if, when and how the policy will be changed:

On Wednesday, Gates told reporters traveling with him in Europe that repeal of the "don't ask, don't tell" law should be considered only after the Pentagon completes a study of the impact of lifting the ban, including an assessment of service members' attitudes toward the change.

Marine Corps Commandant Gen. James Conway told the Senate Armed Services Committee Thursday that he does not think the law should be changed.

To the point that the President of the United States believes that if he were to use the authority granted to him by Congress under 10 U.S.C. 12305 to halt all Don't Ask, Don't Tell discharges, or if he were to accede to Judge Philips' ruling that the policy is unconstitutional, the military would suddenly turn into mush:

((The under-secretary of Defense)) argued that immediately blocking that policy worldwide would create large logistical problems and would disrupt their own efforts to prepare the armed forces and work with Congress to repeal the policy in an orderly way.

During the appeal, "the military should not be required to suddenly and immediately restructure a major personnel policy that has been in place for years, particularly during a time when the nation is involved in combat operations overseas," Mr. Stanley argued. The stakes here are so high, and the potential harm so great, that caution is in order.

(Yes, the potential harm here is extreme.  People would no longer be discharged.  Just like they haven't been being discharged for these last few days; or when they were critically needed for the Gulf War.  And, oh yeah, the entire command structure of the US military would disintegrate. I forgot that part.)

To the point where the President has stated that one of his biggest victories on this matter was convincing his Secretary of Defense, and his Joint Chief, to support his policy preferences:

Obama stressed that he's been able to convince Secretary of Defense Robert Gates and Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Mike Mullen to support repeal...

To the point where the President has been convinced (or convinced himself) despite precedent, and despite action to the contrary by him own Justice Department, that he must appeal Judge Philips' ruling:

Based on this advice from the Department of Defense and Joint Chiefs of Staff, and after consulting with the Department of Justice about the legal effect of that advice, the President concluded that the Dornan Amendment is unconstitutional. It arbitrarily discriminates and violates all notions of equal protection. Again, at the direction of the President, the Attorney General and the Department of Justice will decline to defend this provision in court. If the Congress chooses to defend this treatment of men and women in the military, it may do so. But this administration will not." - White House Counsel Jack Quinn, 1996

Witt v Department of the Air Force

The Obama administration declined to appeal, allowing a May 3, 2009, deadline to pass and leaving Witt as binding on the entire Ninth Circuit.

This is not the President I thought I had helped elect.

The President I helped elect told us to

"Keep holding me accountable."

not to stop protesting when he has failed so far to keep his promise.

The President I thought I had elected would in fact have done everything he could to end this hateful policy; would have stopped the discharges immediately; and would have demanded that Congress repeal the law 20 months ago -- regardless of what some antediluvian generals thought.

How did it come to this?

Where is the horse and the rider?
Where is the horn that was blowing?
They have passed like rain on the mountain,
like wind in the meadow.
The days have gone down in the West
behind the hills into shadow.
How did it come to this?

============================================================

Update

Log Cabin Republicans respond to Department of Justice request for stay.
(Dan Woods is the attorney for LCR for the DADT Trial.)

"Homosexual servicemembers are fighting and dying today in two wars for their fellow Americans’ Constitutional rights; their own Constitutional rights should not be held hostage to an uncertain bureaucratic process that wants time to develop educational and training materials."

Woods added that allowing enforcement of DADT to continue "would have the effect of continuing to weaken our national security, a result the government should be ashamed to be seeking."

Update: Christian Berle, deputy executive director of the Log Cabin Republicans, which filed the suit, issued the following statement:

"At the same time the Pentagon was complying with the injunction against enforcing ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell,’ President Obama’s attorneys were making the argument that compliance would be impossible. Log Cabin Republicans believes that the Department of Justice is severely underestimating the professionalism of our men and women in uniform. The United States military is the most powerful, most adaptable armed force in the world. It has dealt with racial integration and greatly expanded opportunities for women, and has grown stronger because of it. Open service for gay and lesbian Americans will be no different."

Originally posted to jpmassar on Fri Oct 15, 2010 at 01:59 PM PDT.

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