A Federal District Court has ordered the United States Military to immediately suspend and discontinue any and all action taken in the name of its Don’t Ask Don’t Tell policy regarding homosexuals serving in the armed forces. Read California District Court Judge Virginia Phillips’ findings here.
Former Vice-President Dick Cheney told This Week’s Jonathan Karl that he supports President Obama’s decision to reconsider the military’s policy of “Don’t Ask Don’t Tell.” Many across the political spectrum will be all over this story as the issue strikes a cord that crosses ideological boundaries. I for one have repeatedly stated that this should be a military issue rather than a political one, but it appears that such a path is anything but a foregone conclusion. I think the policy was nothing short of idiotic when first implemented under the Clinton administration as it supposes that armed service men and women are about the most clueless class of Americans if they can’t figure out who is straight and who is gay. I’m not sure that either matters in a foxhole. My position is simple. Treat the military like any other workplace in the sense that sexual advances and fraternization are expressly prohibited. I know that many will argue that the military is anything but an ordinary work environment and while I certainly respect that argument, in the context of sexual preference, I simply fail to see where being gay, lesbian, heterosexual or otherwise makes a difference. If impropriety is really the only issue here lets take this state-sanctioned discrimination to a whole other level. Lets ban all hot women form being able to take up arms in defense of our country. I have no doubt that they serve as a far greater distraction than the small percentage of gay men or lesbian women willing to die for this country.
After a day of memorials and tributes to our nation’s military both past and present, the President sat down with his “war council” and once again deliberated the fate of troop deployment plans for Afghanistan provided by General Stanley McChrystal. While the President made no official statement after the meeting, news of the decision-making process leaked to the press as they have so frequently done with this administration leaving many to wonder if these are intentional leaks or signs of internal conflict between and among those closest to the President and this decision.
In a rain soaked ceremony at Arlington National Cometary, President Obama placed a wreath at the tomb of the Unknown Soldier just as is tradition on the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month. He then delivered a brief speech in which he thanked soldiers for their sacrifices and told them that the United States “will not let them down.” He pledged to honor them for their service long after their missions are complete. Clearly affected by the events of the last week, President Obama stated that there was no greater duty or profound honor than serving as Commander ‘n Chief. On a day of national remembrance and heavy hearts, President Obama served the Office well.
For an hour today, the hearts and minds of many were on greater things, as the focus was not on questions of terrorism, lunacy, mental breakdowns, rage, or revenge; the focus was on mourning the lives of those who perished that day, and honoring their service to our country. The families of the 13 victims were in attendance and many of those injured in the shooting were there as well. The President and the First Lady paid their condolences and so did Senator John McCain. Army Secretary McHugh and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Adm. Mike Mullen stood beside Secretary of Defense Robert Gates. The Base Commander, Lt. General Robert Come, gave a heart-felt speech and President Obama offered words of encouragement to the families of the victims placing his Presidential coin at the foot of a photograph of each fallen soldier. Amidst tightened security, thousands gathered to pay tribute to those who lost their lives and to those who took steps to help avert further tragedy.
Below is a list of the names of the victims of the terrorist rampage that occurred at Fort Hood last week. The Army announced the list after all family members had been contacted Saturday.
Reports rang out last night that the Fort Hood soldier, Major Malik Nadal Hasan, who went on a rampage yesterday afternoon had not been shot and killed, but was in a hospital in the area being treated for wounds that military officials characterized non life threatening. He is reportedly in stable condition under military custody, but it still unable to speak according to officials.
Fort Hood Texas was the scene of a mass shooting today at the military base there. The shooter is said to have been killed and was a soldier stationed there at the base. In addition to the 12 confirmed dead, there were also more than 30 other individuals sent to local hospitals with injuries related to the shooting. The motive for the shooting has yet to be determined. The chaos took place in a movie theater on the base in a “soldier readiness facility.” The Fort Hood base is the largest base in the United States and is the primary training facility for soldiers being deployed to Iraq and Afghanistan.
In an interview that will undoubtedly reverberate throughout this news week, Rush told Fox’s Chris Wallace that the President went to Dover, Delaware as a “photo-op” rather than as a Commander-in-Chief committed and concerned about the loss of American soldiers in Iraq and Afghanistan. The statement came in the context of a discussion of the president’s Afghan policy and his slow progress on making a decision about troop deployment. Rush said that the visit to Dover was an attempt to appear more concerned and more invested in the Afghan effort because of recent outrage over his inaction. He also pointed out that the President was only able to find one family willing to allow pictures of the President to be taken as the other families abstained. I agree with Rush on this one. I think it would have been a classy move on the President’s part if he would have simply went and let the White House press pool write about the scene without the pictures. Asking grieving families to take part in a PR campaign is flatly ridiculous and a shame on the office.
Today a senior military official speaking in Hong Kong told reporters that he and much of the US military command are growing concerned about recent increased military spending by the Chinese government. Its 2009 budget has increased by 15 % and Rear Admiral Kevin Donegan is calling for increased “transparency” by the Chinese as to their motivations. He told reporters that China’s efforts could serve to destabilize the region, which is certainly not a favorable scenario for the US now that we are already dealing with stability issues on nearly every other continent. You can read the full article below.