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Court oversteps its bounds on DADT

How sad that just two days after our nation celebrated another Independence Day, a major U.S. court decided to ignore the Constitution. I refer to the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals decision on July 6 to allow open homosexuality in the military ranks, thus immediately ending the "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" (DADT) policy which has been in effect for 18 years.

Article I, Section 8, of the Constitution empowers Congress "To make Rules for the Government and Regulation of the land and naval Forces..." Article II, Section 2, empowers the president to be "Commander in Chief of the Army and Navy of the United States..."

Article III delineates the responsibilities of the judiciary, yet it is conspicuously silent about the courts' role in military matters. For this, we should all be grateful. Micro-managing military policies by judicial fiat ignores the authority of our military leadership and circumvents the military's own Uniform Code of Military Justice.

By allowing judges to institute military policy, we diminish the roles of the Secretary of Defense, The Joint Chiefs of Staff, Congress and the constitutionally mandated role of the nation's commander-in-chief. Simply put, the military's role is to fight and win our nation's wars. Judges lack the expertise and, in my opinion, the authority on how to best do this.

A three judge panel of the 9th Circuit vacated their earlier stay of the lower court's ruling that DADT was unconstitutional. The Wall Street Journal pointed out that the latest decision "creates the possibility that recruiting rules could shift back and forth for weeks to come."

This lack of consistency and expertise by the courts makes it very difficult to operate a first-rate military, much less fight two wars. It underscores the rationale (that many courts respected over the years) to give great leeway for the military to decide these issues, hopefully in an environment devoid of political and social considerations.

We want to make sure that the repeal of DADT does not detrimentally affect military readiness. Our concern is not based on prejudice or discrimination but solely on unit cohesion and combat readiness.

When a lame duck Congress rushed through legislation last year that would likely repeal DADT, it included a requirement that Department of Defense (DoD) officials first certify that the new policy would not have an adverse effect on combat readiness. That certification has not yet happened.

Moreover, last year's legislation passed after Congress was presented with a report that some have called into question. It contained what was supposed to be an honest survey of how those who matter most - the men and women in uniform - feel about the issue. It was later revealed that the numbers were manipulated in media reports that falsely indicated that 70 percent of the military members surveyed had no concern about the repeal.

Secretary of Defense Robert Gates was so bothered by the unauthorized and premature leaks of the report that he ordered an investigation by DoD's Inspector General. The U.S. Army and U.S. Marine Corps have been bearing the brunt of the combat, yet last year both of their service chiefs ignored political winds and bravely testified in favor of keeping DADT.

Then-Army Chief of Staff Gen. George W. Casey told lawmakers, "Implementation of the repeal of ‘Don't Ask, Don't Tell' would be a major cultural and policy change in the middle of a war. It would be implemented by a force and leaders that are already stretched by the cumulative effects of almost a decade of war."

Marine Corps Commandant Gen. James Amos was even more forceful in an interview last year with newspaper reporters. He noted that a large percentage of Marine combat veterans that were surveyed are opposed to the change. "So the Marines came back and they said, ‘Look, anything that's going to break or potentially break that focus and cause any kind of distraction may have an effect on cohesion,'"Amos said. "I don't want to permit that opportunity to happen. And I'll tell you why. If you go up to Bethesda [Naval] Hospital . . . Marines are up there with no legs, none. We've got Marines at Walter Reed [Army Medical Center] with no limbs."

The Obama administration should defend the president's constitutional role as commander in chief by directing the Justice Department to immediately appeal the 9th Circuit's ruling. Moreover, the military brass and civilian leadership at DoD should withhold certification until the issues of military readiness and unit cohesion are studied more honestly and thoroughly.

 

 

garyb

July 25, 2011 - 5:05pm

Guess I'm getting too old; I'm just tired of the arguments. Whether we like it or not, seems to me we are not going to have it our own way just because we feel that it is the right way. None of us have a corner on common sense and none of us are "without sin"; and all of us think we are right.
"Tone Down The Rhetoric" doesn't mean give up on your beliefs. Rather, it means that we don't have to demonize each other just because we see things differently.
The issue (DADT) will be resolved by the social system we have set up and, at least for now, it seems to be the job of the courts and the congress within that system to do it. Why don't we let them?
Meanwhile, if you want to leave the Legion, leave; but don't paint those of us who stay all with the same brush.

Lance3

July 21, 2011 - 3:47pm

Thank God. I was able to cancel my membership before it took effect. Good riddance.

Lance3

July 21, 2011 - 3:38pm

I just joined about 10 minutes ago. This disturbing article from the so-called commander was the first article I read. If I had known that I was joining an organisation that discriminates against my fellow veterans, I would not have joined. This is just totally ignorant for a leader of the AL to pen an article like this. I'm embarrassed to be a part of this. I wish I could get my money refunded. Never again.

Jim_in_MI

July 16, 2011 - 1:57am

When the Commander of the Legion exhibits such bigotry and hatred, there is no place in the Legion for me.

I hereby resign my membership, until the Legion changes it's stance, and the current commander is gone.

For the record, the military follows the law set down by Congress. Major General Stephan Hummer has submitted testimony to the Court in this case, saying that full certification that the Military is ready to implement repeal of DADT is only weeks away.

And the Legion commander demonstrates grade "A" bigotry and hostility towards American service members.

Lance3

July 21, 2011 - 3:15pm

I just joined about 5 minutes ago and this article was the first thing I read. I was stunned to read something like this from an organisation that is supposed to represent all veterans. If I had read this article beforehand, I would not have joined. I plan on writing to this so-called commander directly concerning this issue. I wish I could get my money back.

jlsmith1003

July 15, 2011 - 11:07pm

I guess some people are not getting out of this post is not the issue that being homosexual in the military is right or wrong. The issue is with the judges that feel they can dictate to everyone and we are suppose to accept their judgements. They should concentrate more on keeping criminals off the streets and leave military issues to people that have worn a uniform.

megahurst

July 15, 2011 - 9:30pm

To those who are posting negative comments- read the article slowly and comprehend the message. The point is not what you support or don't support. The point is the courts have no right to superceed the legislative branch.

And now,after some time of consideration, Ihave decided to JOIN the Americian Legion.

DocM

July 21, 2011 - 11:26pm

Read the Constitution slowly, and comprehend that the courts exist to provide checks on the Legislative branch... Furthermore... Contrary to what the CDR believes, they have the power to tell the military when it is violating someone's rights... And lastly, DADT is not a military regulation, it is actually codified under the Code of Federal Regulations, which is civilian law. So they were well within their jurisdiction, and in my opinion quite correct in finding DADT unconstitutional.

fletchmd

July 15, 2011 - 3:07pm

I suppose that Wall Street knows more about managing money as does the FAA about flying planes as do doctors about healthcare; but when anyone does not know or care to do the right thing -- it is the role of our judicial government to step in and make it so. The argument for increased security, trust and cohesion is so much stronger and deeper with the repeal of DADT than not. Secret baggage for blackmail or intelligence is diminished. If someone has a problem with it, it is more likely to be revealed so that person or institution can get help. If someone is out of line, the same sexual harassment penalaties apply that are currently in force. And this is just bare-bones stuff. The capacity for higher moral, innovative contributions and greater international regard and respect are examples of the big stuff. Change is always hard for everyone and for some, extremely hard or near impossible. Sometimes, it is best to sit down, be quite and do nothing spare listening and watching.

Lrocman

July 14, 2011 - 4:34pm

Commander-SHAME ON YOU! Are you so narrow minded you can see through a key hole with both eyes? Perhaps you are blinded to all the distinctions that make you different, those distinctions for which you could easily be discriminated against. Open your eyes, many of our brothers & sisters we have served with have served with distinction for who they are, what they have done for our country and how they have served with honor, not what they do in the bedroom. Old paradigms must be reconstructed and brought to light. We fight for freedom and democracy, the freedom of those who live in this country to be free to live as they are without apology; not what a person in position dictates they should be. The legion is a great organization. Its leadership must embrace all veterans not just the ones that fit the OLD stuffy mold! Oy Veh!

WSA

July 13, 2011 - 11:21pm

I am an Air Force Veteran and I have worked as a Civilian for the Air Force for 17 years. I applaud and stand by the remarks of Commander Jimmie Foster. Just because the Main Stream Media and the Hollywood Elates have determined that homosexual acts, and behavior are an acceptable lifestyle to be modeled at every opportunity, most of American society does not agree, does not wanted it promoted in our schools, taught to our children as simply a choice. Every time Homosexual/Lesbian Marriage is put on a state ballet for a vote it has been defeated. We in the military are tired of being guinea pigs for social engineering, social justice and political correctness. If you have to force your agenda through the courts, whom are the intolerant ones?

Lance3

July 21, 2011 - 3:23pm

Who gives a damn about whether or not you or anybody else feels it is ok to discriminate against veterans who served and died for the same causes that you did. Who are you to judge another human walking the face of this earth? NOBODY!! Discrimination in any form is just wrong, no matter where in the hell it comes from. You are no better than anyone else.

area vet

July 13, 2011 - 2:31pm

I do NOT agree with the position taken by the National Commander, however, I will continue my membership in the Legion in hopes that I can assist in changing this attitude among some our veterans.

mcsaber

July 24, 2011 - 10:08am

Overall, I agree with the above comment. If you do not agree with the National Commander, I ask that you keep your membership and try to change attitudes. You do not win wars by running away, you have to stay and fight.

jonathan2470

July 12, 2011 - 10:57pm

Thank you to National Commander Jimmie L. Foster for clarifying your position on DADT.

Now I will clarify my position on the American Legion by shredding my 2012 renewal form that I received in the mail today.

ChaplainRaymond

July 12, 2011 - 12:04pm

Even though you are classified as the "Leader" of the American Legion - you have no right to lead anyone except bigots, racists and volunteer at the Southboro Baptist Church with Rev. Phelps.

I plead to all of my fellow Comrades out there to renew your memberships, not abandon your support and dedication to the Legion that provides so much needed support to veterans causes, even though our "Leader" feels otherwise.

This one man may speak for the Legion ONLY because of his office (thankfully only for a one year term) - but he does NOT speak for the principles and mission of the Legion.

As it states in the American Legion's Chaplain's Manual, "Direct our efforts to lift this community up toward God's Kingdom on earth in spite of ANY personal differences" and "Be with us in ALL our deliberations, give us the grace to think what is RIGHT and be our guide and counselor as we work for the good of our comrades, communities, state and our beloved land. Amen."

Chaplain Raymond

ChaplainRaymond

July 12, 2011 - 11:47am

First, I am thankful to know how you feel about DADT. Second, I am even more greatful to know you ONLY serve a one year term!

Your ignorance and bigotry has no place supporting our veterans or the military. Guess you were also upset when women and blacks were allowed to serve as well.

It has been a disgrace soldiers serving our country had to live secret lives in fear of a discriminating policy and also the risk of being blackmailed.

Sad our military has kicked out very needed arabic linguists in Iraq and Afghanistan over the past 9 years who were willing to serve in combat and promote democracy worldwide.

As a former JAG officer and current Legion Chaplain, your remarks towards ANY soldier willing to lay down their lives for this great nation disgusts me.

Our Post thankfully supports ANY and EVERY veteran, period. I knew gay soldiers when I served and now vets in the Legion, VFW & DAV - do you want to turn your back on them as well? Join Rev Phelps church next year.

Cabralfm

July 12, 2011 - 9:35am

Wow, I've seen some ignorant comments on here, especially the one's of heterosexual people determining that me and other service members have a "condition" and that being homosexual is a choice. How can you determine that if you are not homosexual??? Are you telling me that you straight gentlemen could very well just make the choice of "switching" to men? I have always known what I was, since I was a very young child. I never made any choice's besides trying to be "straight" during my teens because of how being gay was frowned upon. I remember trying to like girls and go out with them and even have sex...I remember how wrong I felt for doing it.....so explain to me how me being gay was a choice?? I am proud to say that I am a damn good soldier and my being gay has never affected the way me and my fellow battle buddies worked together, even while deployed. People, this is a new century, get with the program and worry about more important issues!

ajgregory7

July 12, 2011 - 8:26am

This article will be looked back on as proof of past bigotry. I am an active duty officer and cannot understand how you can seriously believe these things. Our gay brothers and sisters who serve with us deserve to do so without shame. I am a member of the American Legion and have been the past 2 years. I will never again renew my membership unless the leadership takes a non-discrimatory stance on the repeal of DADT.

24Yrvet

July 11, 2011 - 11:42pm

Im amazed at the comments on this section. I think the commander has a well thought out and well written statement which I agree with. I believe that homosexual behavior is a choice, a preference that has been against the law and continues to be in many socities. In my system of beliefs it is sinful, just like adultry, murder, rape, etc. The US military has upheld Sodemy and adultry laws for countless years until now. If we are going to make adultry and sodomy legal now and continue to push for legalizing gay marriage, are we going to make a new word of claiming we are now adultry...aphobic and create yet another alleged group we should integrate into the military? I hope this will not lead to integrating the pedifiles, or polygamists? Havn't we discriminated against them too? Surely we have had or currently have them them serving "in the closet. These are all based on behavior choices, which is different then race or gender. This is not change that will help our military.

DocM

July 21, 2011 - 11:37pm

Sodomy laws were found unconstitutional in 2003 by the Supreme Court... See Lawrence v Texas.

Lance3

July 21, 2011 - 3:30pm

Who in the hell are you to judge another human being? Comments like yours are just plain old stupid and ignorant. It's bigots like you that always get caught banging their own kids. Die off already.

Carmac

July 11, 2011 - 6:37pm

USAF, 1962-66, Medic/Flight Medic (ARS), Vietnam vet who was just approached about joining the AL and starting to do basic research as to its merits.

This message from this commander makes further research unneeded.

I will never join any homophobic organization, even less so one that so disrespects the worth of all American citizens and the Constitution of the United States.

Bye.

Michael A. Carpick Jr.

johndmullin

July 11, 2011 - 11:02am

The president also said, ""There will never be a full accounting of the heroism demonstrated by gay Americans in service to this country," he said. "As the first generation to serve openly in our armed services, you will stand for all those who came before you, and you will serve as role models for all those who will come after you."

In stead of trying to get rid of Gays in the Military how about supporting them and their contributions. I think that there are gays in the American Legion and if you keep on this path you are going to loose their membership.

I am not going to renew my membership I am just entering my 12th year. The men and women on the US Military deserve your support, gay or straight.

John Mullin post 57, Lake City, Florida

johndmullin

July 11, 2011 - 10:55am

President Obama has signed a bill to end DADT.

President Obama this morning signed into law the bill repealing Don't Ask, Don't Tell.

"I am just overwhelmed," Obama said as he took the stage among chants of "Yes we can!" and whoops from the audience. "This is a very good day."

"No longer will our country be denied the service of thousands of patriotic Americans who were forced to leave the military, regardless of their skills, no matter their bravery or their zeal, no matter their years of exemplary performance, because they happen to be gay," he said. "No longer will tens of thousands of Americans in uniform be asked to live a lie."

I spent 7 years on active duty in the Navy and most of my time was on Submarines. I was (at one time) as homophobic as you apparently are.

Later in life I met many gays that were working and contributing to the American Dream. I have met retired military people who are openly gay today.

alrkrash

July 10, 2011 - 2:20pm

I hope the Commander reads these. I don't see much support for his comments and thoughts. Maybe he can learn from this. Hope he never gets elected to any state or national political office.

alrkrash

July 10, 2011 - 2:12pm

Being a Heterosexual Caucasian Veteran of Vietnam, let me remind the Commander that there are only 3 branches of Government. The President, the Congress and the Supreme Court. Where does it say the Military can be a bigoted organization. The Military and the American Legion are there to SERVE. As an enlisted man, from day one I was told not to question my superiors and that there were parts of the Constitution that I was no longer privilege to. I'm proud to say the State Commander of Florida is a Black man and friend. A few years ago as 2nd Vice Commander at Post 0125 in Florida I was asked/told by the Commanders wife, a veteran herself, not to encourage a Veteran black man that was helping me in the Kitchen to join the Legion as we just had too many Redneck members. I think you can guess my answer and a couple of months later, I joined a different post. I was suppose to honor and help escort the commander on the next Legacy Run...I think I'll Pass.

alrkrash

July 10, 2011 - 2:11pm

Being a Heterosexual Caucasian Veteran of Vietnam, let me remind the Commander that there are only 3 branches of Government. The President, the Congress and the Supreme Court. Where does it say the Military can be a bigoted organization. The Military and the American Legion are there to SERVE. As an enlisted man, from day one I was told not to question my superiors and that there were parts of the Constitution that I was no longer privilege to. I'm proud to say the State Commander of Florida is a Black man and friend. A few years ago as 2nd Vice Commander at Post 0125 in Florida I was asked/told by the Commanders wife, a veteran herself, not to encourage a Veteran black man that was helping me in the Kitchen to join the Legion as we just had too many Redneck members. I think you can guess my answer and a couple of months later, I joined a different post. I was suppose to honor and help escort the commander on the next Legacy Run...I think I'll Pass.

junx

July 10, 2011 - 6:42am

Growing up I was always told what a great organization this was. After my military service I was eligible to join it and so I happily did.

I later discussed it among other service members in my last few days as a soldier. Many just shook their heads and said I shouldn't join and was suggested other organizations to join.

After interacting with many other AL members I began to realize why. Although I am glad for what this organization has done for vets and those currently serving, in the past. I am ashamed of what it's views and actions of the present.

Needless to say in 2010, after my second consecutively year of being a member, I decided not to continue my membership.

Again, thank you for reminding me why.
05-06, 07-08 Iraq war vet.

theclines.1

July 10, 2011 - 12:36am

It is far too often in this society that leaders crumble and whimper to PC, due to fear of other's actions. I am pleased to see a leader stand up and maintain good clean values and support the DADT policy, or the repeal of the removal of it. Thank you COMMANDER!

junny29

July 11, 2011 - 6:42pm

I have to answer to you Sir. Doing the right thing and respect others is not just "PC", it is the Moral thing to do. People like you preach high values and morality, while spending your life discriminating against everyone who is different than you, whether it is blacks, women, latinos, asians, or gays. The old tired argument is always the same, and it is hipocritical, and wrong. The commander was not being a brave or grandious leader. The legion commander, and you Sir, are nothing but old hatefull dinosaurs who no doubt will be left behind and be replaced with real Americans who believe in the words of the declaration of independence which says that "ALL MEN ARE CREATED EQUAL". You likely preach the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution. I suggest you read and live it. There is no room in these documents for bigotry and discrimination.

alrkrash

July 10, 2011 - 2:17pm

You served your Country and should be proud, but not so much your comment, which is very Bigoted and undoubtedly also Racist. Did you learn nothing in life.

brentrn

July 9, 2011 - 10:37pm

Commander Foster may have a valid legal point regarding the 9th Circuit ruling but the disingenuousness of the argument is revealed in the quote " Our concern is not based on prejudice or discrimination but solely on unit cohesion and combat readiness." This is same tired excuse that was used to bar blacks from service. If the Israeli army can function with openly gay soldiers then I am sure we can too.

I am a Legion member and Desert Storm vet. I want my Legion to fight for vet benefits and flag etiquette. Leave the old prejudices about how the military should run behind. Just because there is not unanimity among the generals that is not an excuse for clinging to outdated and unwarranted fears.

Most of the anti-gay arguments are the same ones used 60 years ago when the military was integrated. Believe me, in 60 years folks will look back on this debate and shake their heads in amazement that it was even an issue, just like we look back on the integration opponents today.

junny29

July 9, 2011 - 8:12pm

I just joined the American Legion, but I am already regreting it. Just reading the nonsense coming from the Legion's Commander's editorial regarding DATD, is enough to make me thin twice about joining this organization. First, it is absolutely the job of the courts to review laws and determine their constitutionality. That is just what the 9th Circuit did. Second, the fact that most soldiers currently in the military have no issues serving with homosexuals, is a fact. I just retired as a First Sergeant and I can testify that this is true. The biggest complainers are the old leaders, like the legion commander. Old remnants of a time gone by, still reminiscing of the "good old days" when bigotry and discrimination rule the military. My advice to the legion commander, get with the times, and learn how to attract new blood in the legion by being more tolerant, or find himself a new job. If he didn't like homosexuals in the military, wait until he sees women in combat! That's next! LOL

greghays33

July 9, 2011 - 4:59pm

I just joined this organization! Seeing what the commander stands for, I wish now I had not joined. I was not aware I was joining an organization that backs discrimination! I will save my money next time!

papaowlretired65

July 9, 2011 - 4:37pm

This organization needs (desperately) new blood. If the current commander has thoughts about anything he needs to reserve them to present to the membership before he speaks to any media or the general public about them! He may think that he speaks for the membership and the Military in general, but to this member he has to start to recruit new blood to support the new vets and those still alive and in need of help. The best way to do that is to be TOTALLY impartial. I vaguely remember that when I originally inquired for membership the Vietnam (Police Action) was NOT consider a qualifying war and membership was not afforded me. Well I for one have paid my last dues. Good Luck Folks when you old bigot(s) die the shop closes up. Thank God for the VVA! I still hold dear my membership in the VFW!

Irqafgvet

July 9, 2011 - 12:16pm

How about you worry about bigger issues like retirement benefits, GI bill flaws, Military suicides, 13% Veterans unemployment, what is going to happen when we bring our men and women back, government shut down and military pay...I can go on and on!

Irqafgvet

July 9, 2011 - 12:13pm

I just received my renewal papers in the mail yesterday and looked at my current card. 8 years of continuous membership all early bird. Today I am upset and unsure if I want to join a group of old closed minded Veterans. Organizations like the VFW (which I am a life member of) and the American Legion want young blood and fresh faces to start taking over, yet the continue to think about the old days. I was raised to respect all people and joined to fight for everyones freedoms but the people I look up to can't do what they taught me? How sad is that! Google search "American legion don't ask don't tell" and you will find articles that are about YOUR GAY members! Forget "PC" that is old too start opening your minds! I too am NOT gay, I'm married with four kids and have taught them to respect all people. I have served with very honorable and great gay people and let me tell you they can kick just as much ass as any one else. Get over it American Legion!

prespalm

July 9, 2011 - 11:33am

As members of the armed services, we all swore to uphold the U.S. Constitution. That includes our federal courts and their decisions.
The American Legion sjhould applaud the opportunity to eliminate unconstitutional discrimiation in the military, rather than take the old-line, homophobic positions opposing the repeal of DADT.
I would guess that the legaion also opposed the integration of blacks into the military by former President Harry S Truman.
The legion's position is so old-school and unsupported by the facts and merits of this issue.

I am reposting this comment. Kudos to Leo Laurence.

flbukeye

July 8, 2011 - 10:47pm

I just rejoined the Legion and want to say Kudos to the Commander for taking the right stance on this issue. I was worried that the Legion might have fallen victim to the PC pressure on this issue. Those that elevate sexual preference to the sufferage of historical racial prejudice/bigotry, womens sufferage and other true forms of prejudice is shameful. If GLBT are ever openly allowed to serve and and then of course be "celebrated", we will become one of the weakest nations in the world within a decade. Mark my words, history has proven it to so.

Vietnamvet

July 8, 2011 - 8:34pm

Before I joined your group I over heard one of you state "At least we won our war." A fellow VN veteran was refused membership because we were not at war. It was a police action. Right. WW1 was supposed to be the war to end all wars. So why did you go to war? I joined the legion for my fathers sake. He is dead and so is my membership! There are alot more decent homosexuals than there are legionaires. Your fellowship is sure to die out. I will tell---
I am not homosexual. Married twice. Still wondering where are the freedoms I fought for???? Bye bye

leopowerhere

July 8, 2011 - 7:13pm

As members of the armed services, we all swore to uphold the U.S. Constitution. That includes our federal courts and their decisions.
The American Legion sjhould applaud the opportunity to eliminate unconstitutional discrimiation in the military, rather than take the old-line, homophobic positions opposing the repeal of DADT.
I would guess that the legaion also opposed the integration of blacks into the military by former President Harry S Truman.
The legion's position is so old-school and unsupported by the facts and merits of this issue.
/s/ Leo E. Laurence, J.D.; San Diego leopowerhere@msn.com (619) 757-4909

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