Initially, both Admiral Mullen and Secretary of Defense Robert Gates both strongly urged Congress not to repeal the ban until the Pentagon study was completed. But the White House apparently had a change of political heart. Both Gates and Mullen eagerly and dutifully flip-flopped on the issue.
If the ban is lifted before the study is completed, even though delayed in its implementation, the views of the military men and women who are currently serving will be moot. And all the behind the scenes political maneuvering that has been going on and the flagrant end run around the Joint Chiefs who were basically ignored and snubbed…well, how will that play out in the day-to-day realities of military readiness?
Already, there is more than a hint of push back from both top brass and enlisted service members and one can only speculate on the extent of the politically correct witch hunts that might be instituted within the military to force compliance. Check out this article in Military.com that appeared back in March. The article highlights some of the hardcore resistance to lifting the ban.
In a letter sent to Stars and Strips, Lt. General Benjamin Mixon urged his troops to lobby Congress to keep the ban on gays and lesbians from openly serving in the military. Although publicly admonished by both Gates and Mullen for using his rank to advocate a political position, he was not formally reprimanded.
And an interesting comment from Admiral Mullen in addressing Mixon’s letter. Admiral Mullen stated: The answer is not advocacy; it is, in fact, to vote with your feet. In other words, if you don’t like it, take a hike. Considering that one of the major justifications for lifting the ban is to ensure that those who wish to serve our country have the opportunity to do so, especially when there is a shortage of competent military personnel, it seems a flippantly cavalier statement for the Joint Chiefs Chairman to make.
Well, it looks like, in true Obama fashion, we’re off to a hobbled start. With the military leadership split on the issue of the repeal and the concerns over implementation challenges, I wonder just how this fractured approach will play out as it filters down through the ranks.