Twelve former Senators, led by Rick Santorum and Jim Talent, last week wrote a powerful open letter to Majority Leader Harry Reid and his Republican counterpart, Mitch McConnell, pointing out that the Senate has never before voted on a nuclear arms reduction treaty under the severe time-constraints of a lame-duck session. They urge that what has been called "the world's greatest deliberative body" not accede to the Obama administration's demands to break with past, and sensible, precedent - and in the process disenfranchise those new Senators on whose watch the repercussions of this deficient accord will be felt.
The President similarly hopes to jam through the Senate during the lame-duck session what amounts to a mortal threat to the Nation's all-volunteer force by eliminating the law that bars homosexuals from serving in the armed forces.
To this end, a Comprehensive Working Group (CRWG) in the Pentagon has prepared a report that has been selectively leaked, notably by an unnamed individual who told the Washington Post last week that he did so to prevent opponents of repeal from "mischaracterizing" the report's findings. In other words, Senators - and the rest of us - are being "spun": We are being encouraged to believe that the Defense Department has determined that there will be no adverse implications of the President's social experiment.
Yet, according to the Post, even the cynically manipulative leaks reveal that a survey by the CRWG of military personnel and families found that an unspecified number among the "more than 70%" of respondents to the survey said repeal would have "mixed results." Fully forty percent of Marines are "concerned about lifting the ban." And "a significant minority" in the other services reportedly oppose serving alongside openly gay troops.
Now, the issue has never been whether some in the armed forces would continue to do serve if avowed homosexuals are allowed in uniform. Rather, the question is whether in time of war it is prudent, let alone advisable, to take steps that predictably will result in the loss of significant numbers of military personnel, individuals who do not want to be put in positions of forced intimacy with people who may find them sexually attractive.
Shamefully, the Pentagon allowed such leaks - and the false impression they were designed to promote - to go uncontested for days, until last Friday afternoon (the news equivalent of a black-hole) when the press spokesman issued a statement denouncing them. Secretary Gates, who strongly supports repeal, is "very concerned and extremely disappointed" (read, "shocked, shocked") to discover that some in his camp are trying, in his words, "to shape perceptions of the report prior to its release." Round up the usual suspects!
The United States Senate is being given the bum's rush on New START and the gays-in-the-military issue. If the newly elected Senators do not want their welcome to Washington to be disenfranchisement on such momentous matters, they better tell President Obama - and his allies among yesterday's Senators - to "fuggedaboutit."
Frank Gaffney Jr. is the founder and president of the Center for Security Policy and author of War Footing: 10 Steps America Must Take to Prevail in the War for the Free World .
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