Skip to main content

Originally posted at Cagle.

Nine months after nearly 400,000 servicemembers and over 150,000 spouses of active and reserve component servicemembers were surveyed by the Pentagon for their views on a potential repeal of "Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell," the results are in.

In what’s been called "one of the largest surveys in the history of the U.S. military," more than 70 percent of the 115,052 service members who completed the survey said the impact of repealing the policy that bans openly gay men and lesbians from serving in the armed forces would be positive, mixed or nonexistent.

Of course, such decisive findings will likely mean nothing to those opposed to lifting the ban including obstructionist-in-chief John McCain, who is now serving out his twilight years as the nation’s elder, bitter, not quite statesman.

To be fair, while McCain says the policy "is working," he really doesn’t understand how the policy works or his past positions on the issue.

See, ever since the Arizona Senator lost the presidential race to Barack Obama, he’s been merely a shell of what he once was.

Remember McCain the media’s "maverick?" He died during the 2008 Republican primaries as the former Vietnam prisoner of war became captive to the fringe within his own party to secure its nomination.

Gone are the days when McCain would occasionally cross party lines to work with Democrats on widely popular issues like campaign finance reform. That guy was buried for good during his contentious primary campaign for reelection this year when he was forced even further to the right by his tea party rival and ultimately disavowed his work on issues like comprehensive immigration reform.

In June of 2009, McCain seemed open to the idea of repeal when and if military leaders said it was time -- a position he’d long articulated. He said, "My opinion is shaped by the view of the leaders of the military... I am especially guided, to a large degree, by their views."

What happened when military leaders like Secretary of Defense Robert Gates and Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Mike Mullen told McCain that it was, in fact, time for such action? He reacted angrily saying it was Congress that should be consulted on such matters. How’s that for being "especially guided" by military leaders?

McCain went on to add new conditions that he claimed could very well change his mind on the subject -- the completion of the Pentagon’s survey of servicemembers -- but now that the study has been released and finds our men and women in uniform having little trouble with the concept of serving alongside their openly gay brethren, McCain is pushing the goal posts even further.

Arizona’s seasoned Senator isn’t even all that familiar with how the policy he claims "works" so well actually, you know, works.

He told a room full of reporters in September, "We do not go out and seek. Regulations are, we do not go out and seek to find out if someone's sexual orientation. We do not!" A point he repeated again and again as journalists attempted to offer him examples of troops who met that very fate.

McCain should’ve been familiar with at least one such example. As ranking member of the Senate Armed Services Committee he heard testimony from Michael Almy, a 13-year Air Force veteran who was discharged after emails to his same-sex partner were discovered.

The plain truth is that "Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell" doesn’t work.

Nearly 15,000 servicemembers have been discharged because of the ban, including decorated officers and those in "critical occupations" costing taxpayers an estimated $555.2 million through fiscal year 2008. Lifting the ban would likely result in retaining more than 4,000 men and women who would’ve left otherwise each year.

Lifting the ban wouldn’t undermine retention, morale, or unit cohesion -- many of our own allies (at least 25 countries) allow open military service not to mention the findings of the new Pentagon survey. Perhaps that’s why more than 100 retired U.S. generals and admirals along with a hefty majority of Americans support lifting the ban.

Anyone who tells you otherwise is either uniformed or deliberately trying to deceive you for his or her own political agenda. That includes Senator McCain.

This late in life, politics may have gotten in the way of McCain serving his country with dignity and respect but that doesn’t mean he should stand in the way of gay men and lesbians offering such service openly and honestly in our armed forces.

Please Help Promote This Column So Others Will See It: Twitter | Facebook | Digg | Reddit | StumbleUpon

Karl Frisch is a syndicated columnist and progressive political communications consultant. He can be reached at You can also follow him on Twitter, Facebook and YouTube or sign-up to receive his columns by email.

Distributed by the Cagle Cartoons Inc. syndicate. For information on carrying Karl's columns, call Cari Dawson-Bartley at 800-696-7561 or e-mail

Originally posted to Karl Frisch on Wed Dec 01, 2010 at 07:53 AM PST.


Which best describes McCain?

0%0 votes
6%2 votes
3%1 votes
3%1 votes
87%27 votes

| 31 votes | Vote | Results

Your Email has been sent.
You must add at least one tag to this diary before publishing it.

Add keywords that describe this diary. Separate multiple keywords with commas.
Tagging tips - Search For Tags - Browse For Tags


More Tagging tips:

A tag is a way to search for this diary. If someone is searching for "Barack Obama," is this a diary they'd be trying to find?

Use a person's full name, without any title. Senator Obama may become President Obama, and Michelle Obama might run for office.

If your diary covers an election or elected official, use election tags, which are generally the state abbreviation followed by the office. CA-01 is the first district House seat. CA-Sen covers both senate races. NY-GOV covers the New York governor's race.

Tags do not compound: that is, "education reform" is a completely different tag from "education". A tag like "reform" alone is probably not meaningful.

Consider if one or more of these tags fits your diary: Civil Rights, Community, Congress, Culture, Economy, Education, Elections, Energy, Environment, Health Care, International, Labor, Law, Media, Meta, National Security, Science, Transportation, or White House. If your diary is specific to a state, consider adding the state (California, Texas, etc). Keep in mind, though, that there are many wonderful and important diaries that don't fit in any of these tags. Don't worry if yours doesn't.

You can add a private note to this diary when hotlisting it:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary from your hotlist?
Are you sure you want to remove your recommendation? You can only recommend a diary once, so you will not be able to re-recommend it afterwards.
Rescue this diary, and add a note:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary from Rescue?
Choose where to republish this diary. The diary will be added to the queue for that group. Publish it from the queue to make it appear.

You must be a member of a group to use this feature.

Add a quick update to your diary without changing the diary itself:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary?
(The diary will be removed from the site and returned to your drafts for further editing.)
(The diary will be removed.)
Are you sure you want to save these changes to the published diary?

Comment Preferences

Subscribe or Donate to support Daily Kos.

Click here for the mobile view of the site