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DOJ Cites Powell’s Past Support For DADT To Defend The Policy In Court

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on March 31st, 2010 4:39 am by HL

DOJ Cites Powell’s Past Support For DADT To Defend The Policy In Court
The New York Times reported in January that President Obama, who deeply believes banning gay men and women from serving openly in the military is “just wrong,” was finally spurred to push for repeal of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell by the realization that “if he did not change the policy, his administration would be forced […]

PowellHandsThe New York Times reported in January that President Obama, who deeply believes banning gay men and women from serving openly in the military is “just wrong,” was finally spurred to push for repeal of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell by the realization that “if he did not change the policy, his administration would be forced to defend publicly the constitutionality of a law he had long opposed.”

Unfortunately, that’s exactly what the Justice Department is doing, defending the constitutionality of DADT against a lawsuit filed by the Log Cabin Republicans in 2004. This brief, submitted yesterday, notes that Congress is considering repealing the policy, but quotes “from retired Gen. Colin Powell’s statements nearly two decades ago in favor of the gays-in-the-military ban without noting that Powell has since reversed himself on the issue.” The brief also regurgitates numerous conservative talking points:

– General Colin Powell similarly testified that, “[t]o win wars, we create cohesive teams of warriors who will bond so tightly that they are prepared to go into battle and give their lives if necessary for the accomplishment of the mission and for the cohesion of the group and for their individual buddies.” Id. Congress found that unit cohesion is improved by reducing or eliminating the potential for sexual tension to distract the members of the unit, and by protecting the personal privacy of service members.

– General Powell testified that homosexual conduct in units “involves matters of privacy and human sexuality that, . . . if allowed to exist openly in the military, would affect the cohesion and well-being of the force.”…He further testified that “it would be prejudicial to good order and discipline” if the military required heterosexuals and persons who demonstrate that they do or are likely to engage in homosexual acts “to share the most private facilities together,” id. at 283, and that “[c]ohesion is strengthened or weakened in the intimate living arrangements we force upon our people.

– Among other things, Congress determined that the statute was necessary because “[t]he presence in the Armed Forces of persons who demonstrate a propensity or intent to engage in homosexual acts would create an unacceptable risk to the high standards of morale, good order and discipline, and unit cohesion that are the essence of military capability.

Gen. Collin Powell officially announced his opposition to DADT back in February, noting that “attitudes and circumstances have changed.” Yet DOJ continues to cite his outdated views to justify a policy that the government is supposed to be unraveling.

All this puts Obama and repeal advocates in a strange position. It’s difficult to push for reform and push back against supporters of the policy when the federal government is using their arguments to defend it. If anything will motivate the president and his national security team to begin working directly with Congress to get repeal legislation into this year’s defense authorization bill, this is it.

Former Bush officials rip Tea Parties: They?re ?outrageous,? based on ?fear and hatred,? bad for GOP.
Last night on CNN, Larry King discussed the growth of the Tea Parties and their effect on the Republican Party. While Nancy Pfotenhauer, a Republican strategist who has worked in the past for David Koch, the oil billionaire funding the top groups organizing the Tea Parties, praised the development as “phenomenal,” other Republicans were doubtful. […]

Last night on CNN, Larry King discussed the growth of the Tea Parties and their effect on the Republican Party. While Nancy Pfotenhauer, a Republican strategist who has worked in the past for David Koch, the oil billionaire funding the top groups organizing the Tea Parties, praised the development as “phenomenal,” other Republicans were doubtful. David Frum, a speech writer in the Bush White House, and Scott McClellan, the former press secretary to Bush, decried the Tea Parties for their extreme views, like seeking to abolish Social Security. McClellan explained that the Tea Parties have “limited appeal” because they are simply a “divisive protest movement” that “plays too much to people’s fears and hatred”:

FRUM: When you bring on two people on to an important show like this, and they represent themselves as leading a conservative and libertarian uprising against the president, and you say what you would really like to do, and they say, we would like to abolish Social Security, if given half a chance, is that helpful to the Republican Party? There probably aren’t even two percent of the members of the Republican Party who think that way. But that — those are the people on television. That’s not helpful. […]

MCCLELLAN: And then you also had the comments from the one Tea Party activist that was at the rally over the weekend in Searchlight, referring to President Obama as a terrorist. I mean, that’s just outrageous. You know, I think that there are probably many decent people in the Tea Party movement that have some legitimate concerns about their economic security. […]

But this is a divisive protest movement that plays too much to people’s fears and hatred. And it’s got limited appeal. I think that after the 2010 elections, you’re going to see this party or the Tea Party movement dissipate to a great degree. … It has limited influence. It really hasn’t shown itself to be a strong, powerful force, even within the Republican Party. However, it is pushing Republicans too far to the right.

Watch it:

As ThinkProgress has documented, rather than lead the Tea Parties into a responsible direction, GOP lawmakers have sought to inflame the movement with violent rhetoric, outlandish conspiracy theories, and hate towards Democrats. The Tea Parties are providing loyal protesters and campaign volunteers to Republican campaigns though, so it is unclear if the Republican Party is even capable of separating from them.

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