Marine Corp Commandant Defies Obama on Don’t Ask Don’t Tell

By Susan Brinkmann, OCDS
Staff Journalist

With a critical decision on the future of the controversial Don’t Ask Don’t Tell policy  looming in the near future, the new commandant of the U.S. Marine Corps has broken ranks with the president and the Secretary of Defense to say he believes allowing homosexuals to serve openly in the armed forces would be “disastrous to combat effectiveness.”

The Thomas More Law Center is reporting that Marine Corps Lt. General James Amos told the Los Angeles Times that a repeal of the ban would have devastating effects on unit cohesion.

“There is nothing more intimate than young men and young women . . . laying out, sleeping alongside of one another and sharing death, fear and loss of brothers,” Lt. General Amos said. “I don’t know what the effect of that will be on cohesion. I mean, that’s what we’re looking at. It’s unit cohesion, it’s combat effectiveness.”

Both the Secretary of Defense Robert Gates and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Admiral Mike Mullen, told Congress earlier this year that they personally believe the law should be repealed.  However, no formal decision will be made until the Pentagon receives a report assessing the impact of a repeal on the readiness of the armed forces which is due on December 1.

The controversy over the Obama’s efforts to repeal the “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” law has created a public split between senior military leaders and President Obama’s political appointees.  In  February 2010,  Army Chief of Staff, General George W. Casey Jr. told the Senate Committee on Armed Services, “I do have serious concerns about the impact of the repeal of the law on a force that is fully engaged in two wars and has been at war for 8 ½ years. We just don’t know the impacts on readiness and military effectiveness.” 

In the same month, Marine General James T. Conway, the out-going Commandant of the Marine Corps, told the Senate Committee on Armed Services that the “the current policy works.” 

“My best military advice to this committee, to the secretary, to the president would be to keep the law such as it is, ” Gen. Conway said at the time.

He later told Fox News that as many as 95 percent of Marines would be uncomfortable serving alongside openly gay troops.  He indicated that a majority of his men and women think a repeal of the “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy barring gays would be problematic. 

On the day after his party received a devastating blow in the midterm elections, the president once again promised homosexual activists that he intends to overturn the policy in an upcoming lame-duck session of Congress, a vow many believe is motivated more by politics than a sincere interest in the safety of our troops in the field.

“President Obama’s motivation to repeal the ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’ law has nothing to do with a desire to enhance the combat effectiveness of our Armed Forces,” said Richard Thompson, President and Chief Counsel of the Thomas More Law Center. “It has everything to do with his desire to fulfill campaign promises and curry favor with homosexual advocacy groups—regardless of its harm to our national security.”

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