By ordering the Pentagon to stop enforcing "Don't ask, don't tell," a U.S. district judge has triggered a new showdown over the ban on gays in the military. Amid Pentagon warnings that abruptly ending the policy would threaten U.S. troops' "readiness," the Obama administration is appealing the decision — by Judge Virginia Phillips of California, who has already ruled that DADT is unconstitutional and has agreed to hear new arguments today. With President Obama vowing to let gay men and lesbians serve openly on his "watch," has the time come to resolve this issue once and for all? (Watch Robert Gibbs defend the president's orders)
Yes, it's time to end this unjust policy die: The Obama administration is conjuring up "inflated fears," say the editors of The New York Times. It is ludicrous to suggest that the armed forces can't enforce "morale" and "unit cohesion" unless it forces gay soldiers to lie about who they are. This policy, which has been "used to drum out some 13,000 service members in the past 17 years," has "done more to harm military readiness" than Judge Phillips ever could.
"Don't stay the 'Don't ask' ruling"
Phillips is naive: "Judge Phillips apparently sees herself as supreme judicial commander of the U.S. military," says Elaine Donnelly of the conservative Center for Military Readiness, as quoted by Time. If the Pentagon says abruptly halting "Don't ask, don't tell" will create discipline problems, who is she to argue? "It is absurd to suggest that a rogue district judge knows more" about this than our military and elected leaders.
"Yet another 'don't ask, don't tell' showdown today"
The administration's position is understandable — but misguided: The Obama Team's appeal is hardly shocking, says Leonard Pitts Jr. in The Miami Herald. The Justice Department is "usually duty bound" to defend Congress' laws, "even those with which the president disagrees." But it's clear this policy, a "misbegotten, Clinton-era compromise," is "doomed" — 70 percent of American adults want to let gays serve openly in uniform. Obama campaigned promising change, now he faces "a simple choice: Lead, follow or get out of the way."
"Obama's delay on military gays puts off the inevitable"
THE WEEK'S AUDIOPHILE PODCASTS: LISTEN SMARTER
- The mystery behind China's aggressive push into space
- What would a U.S.-Russia war look like?
- The best places to find love — and lust — according to science
- Sex can't explain the culture war
- Here's the schedule very successful people follow every day
- Why GOP reformers are bound to fail
- How the battle for religious freedom became a nonsensical free-for-all
- The 5 best and worst states for a well-lived life
- Boyhood's refreshingly unsentimental take on motherhood
- The 6 best low-cost smartphones
Subscribe to the Week