Tuesday, May 12, 2009

# Posted 11:08 PM by Ariel David Adesnik  

DON'T ASK, DON'T TELL, DON'T PREPARE TALKING POINTS: On Sunday morning, national security adviser Jim Jones didn't want to be asked about "Don't Ask, Don't Tell". This past week, President Obama sent a handwritten letter to 2nd Lt. Sandy Tsao, who is leaving the Army after disclosing that she is a lesbian. Obama wrote Tsao, "It is because of outstanding Americans like you that I am committed to changing our current policy."

On Sunday, Gen. Jones did his best to avoid saying anything about the administration's policy, even to reiterate the President's own pledge to Lt. Tsao:

JONES: So it's a complicated issue. It will be teed up appropriately and it will be discussed in the way the president does things, which is be very deliberative, very thoughtful, seeking out all sides on the issue and trying to ...

STEPHANOPOULOS: But if the president is against the policy, why not suspend prosecutions and investigations while that review continues?

JONES: Well, maybe that's an option that eventually we'll get to but we're not there now...


JONES: We will have long discussions about this. It will be thoughtful. It will be deliberative. The president I know will reach out to fully understand both sides or all sides of the issue before he makes a decision.

STEPHANOPOULOS: But it will be overturned.

JONES: I don't know. We'll have to - the president has said that he is in favor of that. We'll just wait - we'll have to wait and see - as a result of the deliberations and as a result of the - in the months and weeks ahead. We have a lot on our plate right now. It has to be teed up at the right time so - to do this the right way.
When the President says he is committed to something, the national security adviser isn't supposed to say "I don't know." Was Jones surprised to hear about Obama's letter to Tsao? Did he think the White House had begun to back away from its commitment? Some opponents of Don't Ask Don't Tell have been critical of the White House's efforts to quietly change it's website in order to back away from Obama's commitment.

So where do I stand on all of this? I've never served, so I don't really know what enlisted troops think about this issue. But I've worked with troops and have always been impressed by their professionalism. My best guess is they won't have a problem working with openly gay colleagues who are equally committed to the mission. As a matter of principle, that is the right way to go.

Cross-posted at Conventional Folly
(3) opinions -- Add your opinion

that's something to think about...
"We will have long discussions about this. It will be thoughtful. It will be deliberative. And the decision will follow the position that requires the absolute smallest amount of political courage. Experience has shown that the fallout for ignoring all past promises and commitments will be virtually nonexistant."
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