Monday, March 01, 2010

Some conservatives waffle on trying to keep "don't ask don't tell"

The Washington Times loves to put the “gays in the military” issue on its front page at least once a week. Rowan Scarborough has a story in The Washington Times this morning, “Breaking ranks on gays in military: some on right not opposed” link here.

The story reports on the activities of the so-called “Military Culture Coalition” to retain the 1993 law, which at one time had actually been viewed by the Clinton administration as an “advance” over “asking.”

The news story, in the midsection, reports on statements by Fox news Bill O’Reilly and Charles Krauthamer (a hawk on the war against Al Qaeda), as well as former president Dick Cheney, as not particularly opposed any more to the service of gays and recognizing a “generational thing.” Cheney had learned some subtlety back in the early 90s when Pete Williams, as a closeted gay man, worked as a top official in DoD and was “outed”. Ever since that, Cheney has tended to speak of the ban as “an old chestnut.” While hawkish on the wars and very critical of any softening (as with Obama) on terror, he seems to accept moderation on gay policies and realize things have changed.

But Aaron Belkin, of the Palm Center in Santa Barbara (I met him in Feb. 2002) was quoted as saying, about those who want to keep the ban and perhaps go back to asking (as Newt Gingrich once proposed in 1995), ”I think they’re motivated by moral concerns and a distaste for homosexuality. Most of these groups don’t make any bones about that.” Indeed, they want to see civilians affected as well, secondarily, as they used to be in the area of security clearances.

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